St. Charles Borromeo is one of the greatest of the Counter-Reformation saints. Charles was born in northern Italy and, through family patronage, became Archbishop of the great city of Milan when he was just 26. But despite his age this was no sinecure and he was zealous in putting into effect the teachings of the Council of Trent.
He set up ‘Sunday Schools’ to combat the ignorance of the people, and opened seminaries to combat the ignorance of the clergy. He insisted on the decent and proper celebration of the Mass and the sacraments. He was fearless in denouncing the loose living of the rich and powerful.
All this earned Charles much love from his people but much opposition from his enemies who were annoyed to be challenged and confronted. One priest even tried to assassinate him!
The Church is always in need of reform. Pope Benedict challenged us to think again about the way in which we celebrate the Mass. Pope Francis challenges us to think again about the way in which we treat the poor.