Cajetan, Saint

Cajetan, Saint

(kăj`ətăn, kä'yātän`), 1480–1547, Italian churchman and reformer. Son of the count of Thiene, he studied civil and canon law, but abandoned work as a jurist at the papal court to become a priest. He advocated communities of priests who lived in poverty and worked among the people. He was the leader in founding the congregation of the Theatines, formally begun in 1524 and named for a cofounder and first superior, the bishop of Chieti [Lat.,=Theate], who was later Paul IVPaul IV,
1476–1559, pope (1555–59), a Neapolitan named Gian Pietro Carafa; successor of Marcellus II. First superior of the Theatines (see Cajetan, Saint), he was sternly ascetic. A leading reformer, he organized the Inquisition set up by Paul III.
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. Cajetan's vigor in reform made him a notable figure, and the Theatines were very active in the Counter Reformation. Cajetan was canonized in 1671. Feast: Aug. 7.
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