The studium generale that was probably second in importance and prestige was at Oxford in England. It too had lost its international students and its exalted reputation.
The studium generale at Cambridge nearby was in the worse position of having an unorthodox theology that developed further once Lutheran theology emerged.
By the sixth year of what would prove to be his twelve years as Prior General, the process of reform of the Augustinian vita communis was well in place, and was becoming an accepted pattern.
In holding back the desire of the Augustinian observant houses in Spain for greater autonomy, he succeeded by means of his method of proceeding patiently and without the use of the full force of his authority.
(Some would claim, however, that his work in Spain was partially undone in decades later when at Toledo in 1588 an Augustinian Chapter established the Order of Augustinian Recollects, which finally became totally autonomous from the Order of Saint Augustine in 1912.)
The same approach in Germany, however, was not proving as successful, although in his meeting with Martin Luther in Rome in 1510-1511 he had succeeded in changing the stance of Luther.
He won Luther over to the view on the observant movement that Giles himself held. This would be, however, the last time that an Augustinian Prior General achieved a change of mind by Martin Luther.
The famed Augustinian studium generale (general study house) in Paris was resistant to reform, and even more so was the house (convento) at Lyons, which was the main house of the Augustinian Province of Narbonne-Burgundy.
It took Giles of Viterbo O.S.A. ten years before he succeeded in introducing reform in Paris, but by then it was July 1517.
Three months later, the protest of Martin Luther at Wittenberg led to the undoing of the achievement of Giles in Paris and in many other houses of the Order outside of Italy.
The biggest blow to his hopes and plans was an untimely papal intervention. In 1st July 1517 the Pope made Giles a cardinal, and made him the papal delegate to the Spanish royal court.
This was just four months before Martin Luther nailed his theses to the church door in Wittenberg.
(Continued on the next page.)
Photos (at right):
A camp encounter for young adults of the Parish of Saint Augustine, Buenos Aires, Argentina.