Bellarmine, Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence


Did you know about the connection between the author of the Declaration of Independence and a Doctor of the Catholic Church?

Thomas Jefferson is honored rightly as one of the greatest minds in American history, who bequeathed to his country a statement of principles that began the extraordinary experiment of the American republic. It is surprising to learn, then, that a careful study of the Declaration reveals striking parallels between Jefferson’s eloquent appeal to the unalienable rights of men and self-determination and the Church’s teachings on the human person and a properly ordered society. In fact, nearly two centuries before Jefferson, his very same ideas were written by a Counter-Reformation Catholic of equal genius: the Jesuit theologian, saint, cardinal and doctor of the Church Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621).