Skip to comments.On the “Benefits” of Heresy
Posted on 08/16/2018 8:02:17 AM PDT by Salvation
In times like these, filled with errors and a resurgence of heresies (old or recast as new), there is a cry that goes up among the faithful: How long, O Lord? We may wonder why the Lord permits such errors to flourish. St. Augustine pondered the question as well:
But that is precisely why divine providence permits so many heretics to come along with various errors; its so that when they taunt us and shower us with questions we do not know the answers to, we may at least in this way be shaken out of our mental sloth and start longing to become acquainted with the divine scriptures many people are lazy to want to be taught, unless they are sort of awakened from their slumbers by heretics making a nuisance of themselves with their taunts, so that then they start feeling ashamed of their ignorance and begin to realize that they are being put in a dangerous position by this ignorance of theirs.
That is why the apostle too says: There have to be many heresies, so that those who prove reliable may stand out among you (1 Cor 11:19). Those who can teach well are the ones who prove reliable in God’s eyes. But they can only stand out among people when they teach (Augustine, On Genesis, Book 1.2).
Yes, our detractors and dissenters provide us a gift, albeit in a strange package. Their scoffs and pronouncements that the Church is out of date and will eventually change to catch up to their newly minted truths, compels the orthodox to ponder again the ancient truths given by God and to do so more deeply.
In our own times, so beset with public dissent even from some in the clergy, there has also been a blossoming of Catholic teaching as never before. There is a magnificent array of books, videos, websites, podcasts, solid Catholic journalism, radio and television programming, and even new Catholic universities. Our teaching has become sharper and more apologetic, focused not simply on the what of faith but also the why.
As I look at younger adults, I think it is a small miracle that they even come to Mass. Where would they have gotten such an idea? Certainly not from our current culture! Although only a small percentage of them attend, the ones that do are far more intentional, devout, and knowledgeable in some ways than the generations that preceded them.
I grew up at the end of an era, in the 60s and 70s, when Mass attendance rode the wave of a cultural energy. Back then it was widely held that decent people went to Church. Politicians, community leaders, and business owners were all expected to manifest belief and membership, to include regular attendance at sacred services. It was part of ones bona fides. We went to Church in much larger numbers in those halcyon days, but in many cases we did so mostly because we were expected to do so. It was not that we were particularly devout or spiritual or that we were theological giants. Rather, it was a certain box that needed to be checked off. Surely not all were attending Mass perfunctorily, but a lot of people were swept in by the current of culture. When the culture turned (not just against attendance but against belief altogether), the numbers began to ebb. The whole thing was thousands of miles wide but only two inches deep. It broke up quickly under the scorching sun in the desert of our discontent, starting in the late 1960s.
Those of us who still attend Mass today are more intentional. Few seem to expect us to attend. Indeed, our attendance often provokes scorn, eliciting questions such as, You dont really believe all that Catholic stuff, do you? It is this very scorn, however, that can help to quicken our resolve and to be clearer about what we believe and why it makes sense. If you ask me, there is something deeper and richer about the faith of many Church-goers today. In many cases they have had to swim against the current to believe and to come to Mass each Sunday.
St. Augustines observation remains largely true. When you encounter heresy and error dont just get mad. Instead, get smarter and more devout!
Monsignor Pope Ping!
‘Auggie’ as I affectionately refer to him, always gave me something to think about.
Augustine’s large contribution of writings covered diverse fields including theology, philosophy and sociology. Along with John Chrysostom, Augustine was among the most prolific scholars of the early church by quantity of surviving writings. He was also (with possible exception of Thomas Aquinas) the most brilliant author/apologist for the Faith.
He was a sinner, bishop, theologian, and father of the Church who influenced millions!
I note that in John Calvin’s “Institutes of Christian Religion” he quotes and cites Augustine more than any source other than scripture itself.
Et cum spiritu tuo
There is actually a very simple explanation for this. Elohim only needs to replace the 1/3 of the Angels who fell from Grace, so He only needs about 1/3 of the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve.
My Grandparents walked to daily Mass. It left an impression and I now enjoy daily Mass more than when I was an altar boy.
I am concerned about those that have left the Catholic church, but there is always hope that they will return.
There are many sources to learn and recall the Catholic teaching that Jesus gave us so that we can respond to those that question the faith and the Church.
Why don’t the parish bulletins address some of the heresy and other issues so that Catholics will learn and know how to defend God and the Church?
I attended recently an Alpha program (an international program (started in London)-videos and discussion about Christianity and God) and at our parish was comprised of Catholics (although open to all religions or beliefs).
I noticed that many did not have familiarity with many teachings and issues since their schooling. We had good discussions and that seemed to benefit all.
Perhaps the parish should do more in their bulletins?
That is what happened to me when I went to college: did not lose faith but became more militant, read the Bible more, prayed more, went to church more.
start longing to
with the divine scriptures....
SCRIPTURE DOES NOT CHANGE......Roman Catholic "tradition" has, does and will change.
Or have a Faith 101 night with instructions from the priest or deacon!
It works well in our parish. Huge turnouts — usually 100-150 people.
good for you!
The answer, and the remedy:
Here, it may be, someone will ask: Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and is in itself abundantly sufficient, what need is there to join to it the interpretation of the Church? The answer is that because of the profundity itself of Scripture, all men do not place the same interpretation upon it. The statements of the same writer are explained by different men in different ways, so much so that it seems almost possible to extract from it as many opinions as there are men. Novatian expounds in one way, Sabellius in another, Donatus in another, Arius, Eunomius and Macedonius in another, Photinus, Apollinaris and Priscillian in another, Jovinian, Pelagius and Caelestius in another, and latterly Nestorius in another. Therefore, because of the intricacies of error, which is so multiform, there is great need for the laying down of a rule for the exposition of Prophets and Apostles in accordance with the standard of the interpretation of the Catholic Church.
"Now in the Catholic Church itself we take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all. That is truly and properly 'Catholic,' as is shown by the very force and meaning of the word, which comprehends everything almost universally. We shall hold to this rule if we follow universality, antiquity, and consent. We shall follow universality if we acknowledge that one Faith to be true which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is clear that our ancestors and fathers proclaimed; consent, if in antiquity itself, we keep following the definitions and opinions of all, or certainly nearly all, Bishops and Doctors alike.
(Vincent of Lerins, Commonitoria, around AD 417)
Ok.....please provide the list of those beliefs the article asserts are believed everywhere.
For the Semi-Pelagians of whom Vincent was a leading spokesman, St. Augustine of Hippo was a dangerous innovator teaching contrary to tradition. The Commonitoria is now generally admitted to be an indirect attack on Augustine, who is not named but to whom the work alludes. In the Commonitoria Vincent tries to provide a valid criterion for orthodoxy and, in doing so, enunciates the classic formula for traditional doctrine: What is believed everywhere, at all times, and by all. Most of Vincents other works are lost.
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