9

Let’s Starve the Church?

“Because the story of Theodore McCarrick isn’t just a story about sexual abuse. It’s about institutions and power.”
—Jonathan Last, The American Standard, 15 Sept. 2018.

There is a fine article in The American Standard by Jonathan Last giving a long view on the current crisis in the Church.  He gives a good summary of what has gone on before and, most importantly, puts it all in a context of who has power in the Church and what that signifies.

“The institutional damage is done not by the abusers but by the structures that cover for them, excuse them, and advance them. Viewed in that way, the damage done to the Catholic church by Cardinal Wuerl—and every other bishop who knew about McCarrick and stayed silent—is several orders of magnitude greater than that done by McCarrick himself.”
loc. cit.

As Last points out, the Pope has absolute authority as a moral judge; he can ignore immorality or he can deal with it.

The Catholic church is unlike any other earthly institution. It is strictly hierarchical, with its ultimate power derived from the son of God. The head of the church—the successor of Peter—is elected to a lifetime appointment by his peers, and his authority over them is total. He can allow them to carry on sexual affairs in broad daylight, as Francis did with Father Krzysztof Charamsa, a priest who worked for years in the Vatican curia while living openly with his gay lover. Or he can drive them from the church, as Francis did with Father Charamsa after the priest made his situation public in the Italian media in 2015. He can make either of these choices—or any choice in between—for any reason he likes. Or none at all. Such is the supreme power of the vicar of Christ.”
loc. cit.

Last goes on to talk about how a cabal of four “progressive” cardinals acted to get Bergoglio elected Pope, and the consequences of this.  He then projects four possible scenarios for the future:

  1. Francis could resign;
  2. Catholics could resign themselves to the moral mess to which some of the hierarchy has led us;
  3. A low probability option is schism;
  4. Finally, Catholics could resist the changes the liberal hierarchy is trying to install (a la the liberal resistance to Trump?)

And how would this resistance be carried out?   One weapon Last suggests is to

“..starve bishops such as Wuerl, Cupich, and Tobin of funds. Not a dime for any church in any diocese headed by a bishop who refuses to root out abusers and their enablers.”
loc. cit.

And resistance plus organization might work …in another 40 years or so.   Is that too long?  I’m not sure.

So, what do  you think, dear reader?  (Go here to read the full article.  It’s well worth the 20 minutes.)

 

3

I Place Before You St. Augustine and Jorge Bergoglio; Choose The Saint

 

 

St. Augustine had views on marriage, sin, adultery,  and conscience directly contrary to those of Jorge Bergolgio as stated in his proclamation Amoris Laetitia (“AL” below). Passages quoted below from the works of St. Augustine, (henceforth “St. Augustine”) and Jorge Bergoglio (henceforth “Jorge”) show how widely the views of Jorge depart from, and in many instances contradict, Church teaching.

 

  1. Can there be eternal condemnation ?

Jorge:  “The way of the Church is not to condemn anyone for ever” (AL, 296).

St. Augustine:  “The Death of the Wicked Shall Be Eternal in the Same Sense as the Life of the Saints.This perpetual death of the wicked, then, that is, their alienation from the life of God, shall abide for ever, and shall be common to them all, whatever men, prompted by their human affections, may conjecture as to a variety of punishments, or as to a mitigation or intermission of their woes; just as the eternal life of the saints shall abide for ever, and shall be common to them all, whatever grades of rank and honor there may be among those who shine with an harmonious effulgence.” (Enchiridion, Chapter 113).

 

  1. Can saying Hell is not eternal make it so, even if you are wearing papal white ?

Jorge:  “No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel !” (AL. 297)

St. Augustine: “There is No Ground in Scripture for the Opinion of Those Who Deny the Eternity of Future Punishments. It is in vain, then, that some, indeed very many, make moan over the eternal punishment, and perpetual, unintermitted torments of the lost, and say they do not believe it shall be so; . . . at the suggestion of their own feelings, they soften down everything that seems hard, . . .there is no reason why they should therefore suppose that there will be an end to the punishment of those of whom it is said, These shall go away into everlasting punishment; for this shall end in the same manner and at the same time as the happiness of those of whom it is said, but the righteous unto life eternal. “(Enchiridion, Chapter 112).

 

  1.  Is there a  Mortal Sin-Loving Adultery-Full Holy Marriage  sacramental matrimony continuum ?

Jorge:  “Christian marriage, as a reflection of the union between Christ and his Church, is fully realized in the union between a man and a woman who give themselves to each other . . . Some forms of union radically contradict this ideal, while others realize it in at least a partial and analogous way. “ (AL, 292).

St. Augustine:  “Let us suppose another, a fornicator, unclean, lascivious, covetous, or even more openly given to idolatry, a student of witchcraft, a lover of strife and contention, envious, hot-tempered, seditious, jealous, drunken, and a reveller, but a Catholic; can it be that for this sole merit, that he is a Catholic, he will inherit the kingdom of God, though his deeds are of the kind of which the apostle thus concludes: “Of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God?”  (On Baptism, Against The Donatists, Book IV, Chap 18).

 

Jorge: “Whatever the case, “all these situations  [civil marriage without sacramental marriage; divorced and civil remarriage;  simple cohabitation;  de facto unions;  material poverty] require a constructive response seeking to transform them into opportunities that can lead to the full reality of marriage and family in conformity with the Gospel.” (AL, 294).

St. Augustine: “Let us therefore not flatter the Catholic who is hemmed in with all these vices, nor venture, merely because he is a Catholic Christian, to promise him the impunity which holy Scripture does not promise him . . .  For, in writing to the Corinthians, the apostle enumerates the several sins, under each of which it is implicitly understood that it shall not inherit the kingdom of God: “Be not deceived,” he says: “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,  . . . shall inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.  He does not say, those who possess all these vices together shall not inherit the kingdom of God; but neither these nor those: so that, as each is named, you may understand that no one of them shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (On Baptism, Against The Donatists, Book IV, Chap 19).

 

  1. Is marriage a holy “Reality” for some &  loving adultery a holy “Reality” for others ?

Jorge: “ For the Church’s pastors are not only responsible for promoting Christian marriage, but also the “pastoral discernment of the situations of a great many who no longer live this reality.” (AL, 293)

St. Augustine: “We must, however, beware of incurring the prophetic condemnation: Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. . . . Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil! For he condemns the work of God, which is the man, and praises the defect of man, which is the wickedness. .” (Enchiridion: Chapter 13).

 

  1. Can we enlist sympathy for innocent children to justify adultery ?

Jorge: “The Church acknowledges situations “where, for se- rious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate” (AL 298).

Jorge:  “I am in agreement with the many Synod Fathers who observed that “the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried need to be more fully integrated into Christian communities in the variety of ways possible, while avoiding any occasion of scandal. . . .. This integration is also needed in the care and Christian upbring ing of their children, who ought to be considered most important”. (AL 299).

St. Augustine:  “ . . the good sons of adulterers are no defense of adulteries . . “ (On The Good Of Marriage, Section 18).

 

  1. Hirelings Say To The Sinner: You Do Not Sin

Jorge:  “ . . .since “the degree of responsibility is not equal  in  all  cases”, the  consequences  or  effects of a rule need not necessarily always be the same.”  (AL, 300).

Jorge:  “This is also the case with regard to sacramental discipline, since discernment can recognize that in a particular situation no grave fault exists” (AL, 300, footnote 336).

Jorge: “   Hence it is can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace “ (AL, 301).

St. Augustine: “If the hireling observe anyone indulging in wicked talking, or in sentiments to the deadly hurt of his soul, or doing ought that is abominable and unclean, and notwithstanding that he seems to bear a character of some importance in the Church (from which if he hopes for advantage he is an hireling); says nothing, and when he sees the man perishing in his sin, sees the wolf following him, sees his throat dragged by his teeth to punishment; says not to him, You sin; does not chide him, lest he lose his own advantage. This I say is, When he sees the wolf, he flees; he does not say to him, You are doing wickedly. This is no flight of the body, but of the soul. He whom you see standing still in body flies in heart, when he sees a sinner, and does not say to him, You sin; yea when he even is in concert with him.” (Sermons ON New Testament Lessons, Sermon LXXXVII).

 

  1. Can an individual conscience make evil good ?

Jorge:  “Therefore, while upholding a general rule, it is necessary to recognize that responsibility with respect to certain actions or decisions is not the same in all cases. Pastoral discernment, while taking into account a person’s properly formed conscience, must take responsibility for these situations. Even the consequences of actions taken are not necessarily the same in all cases.” (AL, 302).

Jorge:  “ . . . individual conscience needs to be better incorporated into the Church’s praxis in certain situations which do not objectively embody our understanding of marriage.” (AL, 303).

Jorge:  “ Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal. ”(AL, 303; emphasis added)

St. Augustine:   “But however strong may be the purposes either of angels or of men, whether of good or bad, whether these purposes fall in with the will of God or run counter to it, the will of the Omnipotent is never defeated; and His will never can be evil.” (Enchiridion, Chapter 102).

 

  1. Can there be God’s grace & good in the “faithfulnesss” of one adulterer to another ?

Jorge:  “ . . . it  is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace . . . By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and of growth, and discourage paths of sanctification which give glory to God. ” (AL, 305).

St. Augustine:  “ . . .they [married people] owe faith alike to one another.  . . But the violation of this faith is called adultery, when either by instigation of one’s own lust, or by consent of lust of another, there is sexual intercourse on either side with another against the marriage compact: and thus faith is broken . . . But when faith is employed to commit sin, it were strange that we should have to call it faith; however of whatever kind it be, if also the deed be done against it, it is the worse done;. . . . Thus a woman, if, having broken her marriage faith, she keep faith with her adulterer, is certainly evil . . ..” (On The Good Of Marriage, Section 4).

 

 

Conclusion

St. Augustine, over sixteen hundred years ago, warned about those within the Church itself who would proclaim heresy and lead the faithful into sin:

“. . . . Nevertheless, what ought above all things to be guarded against is, that no individual may allow himself to be tempted and deceived by men who are within the Catholic Church itself, and who are borne by it like the chaff that is sustained against the time of its winnowing. . . .. Accordingly, you will have to witness many drunkards, covetous men, deceivers gamesters, adulterers, fornicators, men who bind upon their persons sacrilegious charms and others given up to sorcerers and astrologers, and diviners practised in all kinds of impious arts..  . . . . .. Consequently, when you see many not only doing these things but also defending and recommending them, keep yourself firmly by the law of God, and follow not its willful transgressors. For it is not according to their mind, but according to His truth that you will be judged . . . .Believe these things, therefore, and be on your guard against temptations (for the devil seeks for others who may be brought to perish along with himself); so that not only may that adversary fail to seduce you by the help of those who are without the Church, whether they be pagans, or Jews, or heretics; but you yourself also may decline to follow the example of those within the Catholic Church itself whom you see leading an evil life,. . . But as regards the perverse, even if they find their way within the walls of the Church, think not that they will find their way into the kingdom of heaven; for in their own time they will be set apart, if they have not altered to the better.”  (On The Catechising Of The Uninstructed, Chapter 25, Section 48, emphasis added).

 

Link to Augustine’s Works: (and many other Fathers Of The Church: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/index.html)

 

17

Jeremiahs or Jerks  ?

 

In the last few weeks some things have happened that have stunned me – and caused me to think and rethink writing about and discussing what I see as a the devastating crisis in Jesus’s Church.

A priest was introduced to me, ordained fifteen years, who is very active in parish work, not Judas social justice work, but real parish work, bringing the sacraments to the faithful. I mentioned the exhortation Amoris Laetitia and he said he had heard of it, but he had not read it.

In speaking with a close relative, she referred to the saintly man now wearing papal white and how she loves to hear the words he speaks to the faithful. She has only heard the “words” recounted from the pulpit at her local parish and as repeated to her by her fellow parishioners.

Another close relative told me he knows about all the corruption, wickedness, heresy and depravity of the priests, bishops, cardinals, and man wearing papal white, but he ignores it all, and would prefer I not speak of these things to him. He has a master’s degree in theology and teaches extensively in parish programs.

When I told both the priest and the one close relative that Jorge Bergolgio wrote and published the statement that “No one is condemned forever,” at first they did not believe me. I said that those were his actual, printed, proclaimed words. The priest said “that could be understood to lack clarity.”

I then asked the close relative had she heard of the homosexual cocaine orgies in the Vatican with male prostitutes or the pervert addicted to child pornography whisked away from the authorities in Canada, to the diplomatic safety of Vatican City,  and now recently arrested in the Vatican. She asked me never again to tell her about such things and to send her no emails with any such information, or with anything derogatory about Jorge Bergoglio.

These are not three folks in outer Mongolia who have never heard the name, “Jesus.” These were cradle Catholics, one ordained who daily acts in persona Christi,  all of whom, many times since the age of reason and literacy, have heard that Jesus said there is a hell and there is everlasting fire

So. This has made me think. Do I keep on keepin’ on ? Do I continue to say, when the occasion presents itself, I believe Jorge Bergoglio is a heretic and, while wearing the papal white,  he has proclaimed his heresy? Do I go on in telling people the bishops and cardinals, some of whom themselves are perverts, pederasts, pedophiles and the abusers and assaulters of women, girls and boys, that these men have stolen billions of the widows’ mites and the faithful’s  dollars, some  to live a life of perverted luxury or to  pay off those victims and their lawyers who speak out? Insuring that the details of their perfidy and the actions of the wicked are kept secret under the seals of the many, many courts who are dealing with these crimes?

I am thinking about the apostles, arrested by the church hierarchy of the time, and told you may not henceforth speak publicly in  the name of Jesus of Nazareth. I am thinking about St. Peter’s response, the response of the Rock Jesus chose for His Church, the first pope, when the hierarchy told him to shut up: we can obey you  or we can obey God.

I am praying.

I am also thinking about St. Dismas who, from his own cross, himself tortured and dying, ignored the crowd, ignored the ruling Romans, ignored the (so-called) “high” priests, and gave no heed to the soldiers of power gathered around celebrating Jesus’s suffering and crucifixion. St. Dismas, unlike his brother hanging nearby who was ridiculing Jesus in his agony. St. Dismas, the first and in some ways the most knowledegable evangelist of the passion, death and crucifixion of Jesus, who said, for all the world to hear, that Jesus is “Lord.”

 

5

The Pope: Rock or Stumbling-Block?

I recently ran across this reflection about “popes” from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (B16, now Pope Emeritus)…

“We have grown accustomed to making a clear distinction between Peter the rock and Peter the denier of Christ—the denier of Christ: that is Peter as he was before Easter; the rock: that is Peter as he was after Pentecost, the Peter of whom we have constructed a singularly idealistic image. But, in reality, he was at both times both of these…. Has it not been thus throughout the history of the Church that the pope, the successor of Peter, has been at once Petra and Skandalon—both the rock of God and a stumbling-block? In fact, the faithful will always have to reckon with this paradox of the divine dispensation that shames their pride again and again.”1

I’m typically a “big picture” type of guy and I like taking the long view. One could take a long view of Judeo-Christian history in terms of leadership, like reviewing the “good” vs. “bad” kings of Israel and then the “good” vs. “bad” popes of Church history. Seems to me we’ve had a pretty good run of popes in the past 100 years or so with the current papacy in a TBD category or perhaps “stumbling-block under construction”.

But another interesting way to look at Church history is via the history of heresy. I have a comprehensive list of all the major heresies courtesy of study materials from “Epic: A Journey Through Church History” and there seems to be a trend of sorts.

 

In the early Church (2nd & 3rd centuries) a major theme in heresy had to do with the nature of God:

  • Gnosticism – Matter is evil and spirit is good; God is the creator of heaven (good), not earth (evil).
  • Modalism – Denied the separate Persons of the Trinity.
  • Monarchianism – God is one Person, not three.

 

During the 4th – 7th centuries a major theme had to do with the nature of Jesus:

  • Arianism – Denied the divinity of Christ. Jesus was a created being.
  • Nestorianism – Christ is two persons (divine and human) and only the human person was in the womb. Therefore, Mary is not the Mother of God
  • Monothelitism – Christ has only one divine nature and therefore one divine Will

 

Moving on to the 14th– 16th centuries a major theme had to do with the nature of The Church:

  • John Wycliffe – Denied Transubstantiation, papal authority; predecessor to Protestantism
  • Jan Hus – Denied Sacred Tradition as part of the Deposit of Faith; predecessor to Protestantism
  • Protestantism – Scripture alone, faith alone, denied papal authority, free will, sacrificial nature of the priesthood, sacraments, etc.

 

Seems that heresy in today’s postmodern world has a lot to do with the nature of man

  • Modernism – Faith and reason are opposed; an anti-Catholic worldview
  • Relativism – Right and wrong are relative to the individual or culture
  • Absolute Autonomy – BYOG…Be your own god!

 

Note: How ironic that even the question “What is the nature of man?” is seen as sexist and will invoke a politically correct reaction relating to the very problem it asks about.

Being more specific about heresy in our day and age, I think it’s fair to say that almost all dissent from Catholic teaching involves what it means to be human in terms of human life and human sexuality. Abortion, euthanasia, artificial fertilization methods, homosexuality, marriage confusion, gender confusion, contraception, women’s ordination, fornication, divorce and remarriage all relate to what it means to be human, both male & female.

If you’ve been concerned about things the Pope and other Church leaders have said or written lately, like “Who am I to Judge?” or the now infamous footnote #351 of Amoris Laetitia, you might also be concerned about what is not being said or written in the face of modern heresy; sometimes the silence is deafening. Instead of boldly speaking Truth to power consistently, lovingly and intelligently, some leaders seem to be compromising the ideals of Catholicism by softening the hard lines of Catholic moral teaching with respect to what it means to be human.

The Church councils of the past addressed the heresies of the past and the Nicene Creed we say at each Mass reflects the clarity which was ultimately achieved:

  • I believe in one God…(clarity about the nature of God)
  • I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ… (clarity about the nature of Jesus)
  • I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church…(clarity about the nature of the Church)

It’s also no coincidence that the very first pillar of the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches at great length about the creed, since it is foundational for the other three pillars.

The Church can be very clear when she wants to be. Maybe one day there’ll be a new council and then a new section to the creed all about the nature of man. In the meantime, what are we to do? I’m not exactly sure, but I do know this much…“Faith in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church requires us to soldier on, minding our consciences, upholding the truth out of love, and avoiding evil and false doctrine.”2

 

  1. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Co-workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1992) p. 208.
  2. Richard Rex, First Things [Website], “A Church in Doubt”, (1 April 2018), Site address: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2018/04/a-church-in-doubt
6

Professor Ratzinger on Hell

Since there is some talk this Triduum of what Pope Francis may or may not have said about Hell, I wanted to re-post an old post of mine that deals with the article of faith “He descended into hell” (Good Friday/Holy Saturday), being without God and the pain in the verse “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” It’s probably the best description of hell I’ve ever heard, not that I’ve heard many speak of it in detail.

Warning: This post is somewhat “dark”, but remember…darkness can be a kind of light if it helps you to see.

Briefly summarizing several pages from Joseph Ratzinger’s book (now Pope Emeritus) “Introduction to Christianity”, in Part II, The Development of Faith in Christ in the Christological Articles of the Creed:

Loneliness is a region of fear, which is rooted in the exposure of a being that must exist, but is pushed out into a situation with which it is impossible for him to deal. In the experience of utter loneliness, a fear arises peculiar to man which is not fear of anything particular, but simply fear in itself. Man cannot overcome this kind of fear by way of reason.

Example 1:

A child walking alone in the dark woods is frightened even if convincingly shown that there is nothing to be afraid of. The child will lose this fear the moment there is a loving hand to take him and he experiences the fellowship of “Another”.

Example 2:

Someone keeping watch over a corpse will feel somehow “eerie” even when he knows perfectly well the dead body can do him no harm. In fact, there would be more possibility of danger if the person was alive, but logic is of no help. This fear will also recede like the child’s if he experiences the loving nearness of a “You”.

Man cannot stand alone; he needs closeness; he needs unity. If man (and this is the true nature of sin) refuses to recognize his own limits and tries to “be like God”, standing alone on his own two feet, then precisely by adopting this attitude he delivers himself up to death. Scripture about the connection between sin and death is to be understood from this angle. Small wonder the devil wants us prideful. Pride naturally leads to isolation from God (and others), which will lead to a torment of anxiety. It’s the exact opposite of the life of the Trinity.

If a state of isolation were to arise that was so deep that no “You” could reach into it anymore, then we should have a total and terrifying loneliness; this is what theology calls “Hell”….. a loneliness which is as inescapable as it is dreadful!

45

PopeWatch: Pope Francis Wants to Change “The Lord’s Prayer”

Doing my morning scan of Foxnews.com, the following headline caught my eye: “Pope Francis wants to change line of ‘Our Father’ ”    Here’s the story:

“Pope Francis has suggested he wants to make a change to The Lord’s Prayer, widely known among the faithful as the ‘Our Father.’

 

Specifically, the Catholic leader said in an interview Wednesday he would prefer to adjust the phrase ‘lead us not into temptation,’ saying that it too strongly suggested that God leads people to sin.

 

‘That is not a good translation,’ the pope said, according to Reuters.

So, whaddya think?

 

1

How To Know & Deal With Heresy Today – Part III

Nothing can substitute for reading the entire text of the Commintory of St. Vincent of Lerins on heresy. It is available on several internet sites, e.g. at newadvent.org:

 

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3506.htm

 

This is Part III, the last of the summary of Vincent’s work on heresies. In the excerpts below, a pithy comment in brackets precedes some paragraphs  of Vincent’s own words.

 

“The Notes of a true Catholic.

 

[A single man does not and cannot determine the true faith]

 

“[48.] This being the case, he is the true and genuine Catholic who loves the truth of God, who loves the Church, who loves the Body of Christ, who esteems divine religion and the Catholic Faith above every thing, above the authority, above the regard, above the genius, above the eloquence, above the philosophy, of every man whatsoever; who sets light by all of these, and continuing steadfast and established in the faith, resolves that he will believe that, and that only, which he is sure the Catholic Church has held universally and from ancient time . . .

 

“Exposition of St. Paul’s Words.— 1 Tim. vi. 20.

 

[Wicked novelties of  heresies will be decapitated with a spiritual sword]

 

“[51.]  . . . I cannot sufficiently wonder at the madness of certain men, at the impiety of their blinded understanding, at their lust of error, such that, not content with the rule of faith delivered once for all, and received from the times of old, they are every day seeking one novelty after another, and are constantly longing to add, change, take away, in religion, .  . . as with a spiritual sword, all the wicked novelties of all heresies often have been, and will always have to be, decapitated,

 

[Heretics teach furtively, and in secret; and tell us “silly wretches” they, despite centuries of error, now have the true faith]

 

“[52.] After words such as these, is there any one of so hardened a front, such anvil-like impudence, such adamantine pertinacity, as not to succumb to so huge a mass, not to be crushed by so ponderous a weight, not to be shaken in pieces by such heavy blows, not to be annihilated by such dreadful thunderbolts of divine eloquence?  . . .Falsely called indeed, as applied to the doctrines of heretics, where ignorance is disguised under the name of knowledge, fog of sunshine, darkness of light. Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Professing what? What but some (I know not what) new and unheard-of doctrine. For you may hear some of these same doctors say, Come, O silly wretches, who go by the name of Catholics, come and learn the true faith, which no one but ourselves is acquainted with, which same has lain hid these many ages, but has recently been revealed and made manifest. But learn it by stealth and in secret, for you will be delighted with it. Moreover, when you have learned it, teach it furtively, that the world may not hear, that the Church may not know. For there are but few to whom it is granted to receive the secret of so great a mystery.  . .

 

 

“A more particular Exposition of 1 Tim. vi. 20.

 

[Heretics are thieves and adversaries]

 

“[53.] But it is worth while to expound the whole of that passage of the apostle more fully, O Timothy, keep the deposit, avoiding profane novelties of words. . . .

What is Keep the deposit? Keep it, because of thieves, because of adversaries, lest, while men sleep, they sow tares over that good wheat which the Son of Man had sown in his field. Keep the deposit.. . . . Keep the deposit. Preserve the talent of Catholic Faith inviolate, unadulterate. That which has been entrusted to you, let it continue in your possession, let it be handed on by you. You have received gold; give gold in turn. Do not substitute one thing for another. Do not for gold impudently substitute lead or brass. Give real gold, not counterfeit.

 

“On Development in Religious Knowledge.

 

[Adulteration of the faith is not real progress]

 

“[54.] But some one will say, perhaps, Shall there, then, be no progress in Christ’s Church? Certainly; all possible progress. For what being is there, so envious of men, so full of hatred to God, who would seek to forbid it? Yet on condition that it be real progress, not alteration of the faith.  . . .

 

[The frenzy of the ungodly, the impious fraud. If one doctrine domino is allowed to fall, is contradicted, or is denied, all the doctrines fall; as does the Church itself]

 

“[58.] For if once this license of impious fraud be admitted, I dread to say in how great danger religion will be of being utterly destroyed and annihilated. For if any one part of Catholic truth be given up, another, and another, and another will thenceforward be given up as a matter of course, and the several individual portions having been rejected, what will follow in the end but the rejection of the whole? On the other hand, if what is new begins to be mingled with what is old, foreign with domestic, profane with sacred, the custom will of necessity creep on universally, till at last the Church will have nothing left untampered with, nothing unadulterated, nothing sound, nothing pure; but where formerly there was a sanctuary of chaste and undefiled truth, thenceforward there will be a brothel of impious and base errors. May God’s mercy avert this wickedness from the minds of his servants; be it rather the frenzy of the ungodly.

 

“Continuation of the Exposition of 1 Tim. vi. 20.

 

[Shun him who proclaims heresy as you would a poisonous snake]

 

“[60.] But let us return to the apostle. O Timothy, he says, Guard the deposit, shunning profane novelties of words. Shun them as you would a viper, as you would a scorpion, as you would a basilisk, lest they smite you not only with their touch, but even with their eyes and breath.  . . .  Receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed, for he that bids him Godspeed communicates with him in his evil deeds. 2 John 10

 

[Heretics do not speak clearly, and they cite Holy Scripture for their evil purposes]

 

“ [65.] But the more secretly they conceal themselves under shelter of the Divine Law, so much the more are they to be feared and guarded against. For they know that the evil stench of their doctrine will hardly find acceptance with any one if it be exhaled pure and simple. They sprinkle it over, therefore, with the perfume of heavenly language, in order that one who would be ready to despise human error, may hesitate to condemn divine words.  . . .So too do these act, who disguise poisonous herbs and noxious juices under the names of medicines, so that no one almost, when he reads the label, suspects the poison.

 

[Like Satan, their father,  heretics may seem to be of the light]

 

“ [67.]  . . .And no wonder, he says, for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. It is no marvel then if his servants are transformed as the servants of righteousness. Therefore,  . . . there is no doubt that they are following the cunning devices of their father, which assuredly he would never have devised, but that he knew that where he could fraudulently and by stealth introduce error, there is no easier way of effecting his impious purpose than by pretending the authority of Holy Scripture.

 

[Heresy can be the newly-devised error of one man, who could put our eternal salvation in jeopardy]

 

“[72.] . … But whatsoever a teacher holds, other than all, or contrary to all, be he holy and learned, be he a bishop, be he a Confessor, be he a martyr, let that be regarded as a private fancy of his own, and be separated from the authority of common, public, general persuasion, lest, after the sacrilegious custom of heretics and schismatics, rejecting the ancient truth of the universal Creed, we follow, at the utmost peril of our eternal salvation, the newly devised error of one man.

 

[Be wary of an individual man who arrogantly proclaims that he alone has the truth]

 

“[74.] And lest any one, disregarding every one else, should arrogantly claim to be listened to himself alone, himself alone to be believed, the Apostle goes on to say, Did the word of God proceed from you, or did it come to you only? And, lest this should be thought lightly spoken, he continues, If any man seem to be a prophet or a spiritual person, let him acknowledge that the things which I write unto you are the Lord’s commands.”