Muslims, Christians and Jews in Medieval Spain
St. Raymond of Penafort
Raymond Penafort was born in a castle in a small town outside of Barcelona named Vilafranca del Penedè. The castles name was Penafort, which is where his surname is derived from. He was a privaliged child who came from wealth and was also related to the royalty in Aragon. At a young age his intelligence was apparent. Raymond was well versed in all types of law codes including cannon law and secular law. Yet his true proficientcy was in his writing abilities. In fact “at age 20 he was already teaching philosophy at Barcelona. After 15 years, he resigned from that chair and went to Bologna to study civil and canon law. He received his doctorate in 1216 and occupied a first chair of canon law in the university for three years” (de Oliveira, 2012). Soon after giving up first chair at the university Raymond was in the presence of a Dominican preacher, who overwhelmed Raymond with his words. After that he decided to become a Dominican friar, and in 1222 he officially became a friar. In order for him to be forgiven for his past sins Raymond needed to complete a penance which would absolve his past sins. He was asked to write a book for his penance and he entitled this work The Summa of Penitential Cases, or Summa Casuum. This work is noted by many as to be Raymond’s most famous work. This piece describes the correct way in which the sacrament of penance is to be administered. This worked astonished Pope Clemente VIII who praised Penafort for this marvelous compulation.