All that Giles could do for the Order of Saint Augustine was to influence the choice of his successor as Prior General in 1519 (this nominee had been Vicar General in the interim), and hope that the program of reform would continue.
(For the pages of Augnet that offer a more complete biography of Giles of Viterbo O.S.A., click here.)
The General Chapter of 1519, which Giles travelled from Spain to attend, once again repeated the call to reform of the Order of Saint Augustine.
Unfortunately, the successor to Giles in the office of Prior General did not succeed subsequently in enforcing the continuation of plan of Giles for reform, and, in fact, he then let it lapse.
Admittedly, the outbreak of the Protestant Reformation was a most difficult time to maintain communications and to reinforce routine and consistency in community life – in spite of how much it was desperately needed.
Even more unfortunate for the Order of Saint Augustine was the general conflagration precipitated in the Church by Martin Luther with the posting of his 95 theses on the door of the castle Church in Wittenberg on 31st October 1517.
Because of the consequences of the actions of Luther, the reform of the Order of Saint Augustine was consumed in the far larger battle for the reform of the Church in general.
Thanks to Giles of Viterbo O.S.A., the Order of Saint Augustine had been undertaking general systemic reform at grass roots level for a dozen years before the Protestant Reformation.
In this task, Giles of Viterbo had personally won Martin Luther to his side of the argument in Rome in December-January of 1510-1511.
Would the history of the Christian church and the Western world have been different if Giles of Viterbo had still been Prior General after 1517 and been the one to meet with Martin Luther once again?
(Continued on the next page.)