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More from von Hildebrand – Truth more important than unity January 9, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, episcopate, error, General Catholic, reading, scandals, the return, true leadership.

Another excerpt from The Devastated Vineyard, this time on the fact that adherence to the Truth which Christ has revealed to His Church being the most fundamental Christian duty.  It has been dereliction from this duty at so many levels of the Church that has allowed the progressive/modernist revolution to be so successful, and led so many souls to perdition.  Many, many good points below (I add emphasis and comments):

Only if we understand real love of neighbor and its holy fire and power, as we find this in St. Paul, can we understand that the anathema and excommunication are in no way opposed to the spirit of love of neighbor, but rather flow from its true spirit……

……The anathema is an act of love of God because it condemns the offense against God which lies in the distortion of Christian Revelation and of the teaching of the Holy Church, and because it officially unmasks error as error. The protection of the Divine Revelation has been entrusted to Holy Mother Church, and to fulfill this holy trust is a central act of holy obedience and of love for divine Truth, and indeed for God Himself. And it is an act of sublime love of neighbor to protect the faithful from the poison of false teachings, for it is a far more important and higher objective good for man to remain in the True Faith, than to be relieved in his physical or psychic sufferings. [So true, and especially important to remember when many in the Church seek to create a division between Truth and the Church’s corporal works of mercy.  Some try to say Truth is irrelevant today, or too hard for modern man to grasp, and should thus be ignored, or radically downplayed, so that the Church can “meet the people where they are.”  The problem is, even after meeting them, the Truth almost never gets conveyed, there is no demand for conversion, and people remain lost in sin.]  The anathema is for men in their pilgrimage through life something which protects that greatest good, which is so important for the salvation of their souls. It is thus a very great act of love because it protects the faithful from the deceits of heretics, who speak in the name of the Church, especially when they hold a position of authority and thus belong to the “teaching Church.”  [Would that Dr. von Hildebrand’s counsel had been heeded 40 years ago.  Today, there is a sense that heresy is some unstoppable phenomenon which simply has to be put up with.  Rubbish.  What is missin is the zeal and charity to overcome worldly concerns and keep the focus on the eternal good of souls.] These heretics are listened to with much sympathy and openness by the simply believing layman, and this makes it quite easy to seduce him to error and to poison his faith. [Which is a major reason why I cover scandal so much on this blog, in order to counter it.  Some soul may initially think some false teaching sounds pretty good, especially given our fallen nature, so it is very important that there be some public correction or at least counter-argument put forth]  Is it not a more fundamental, deeper act of love of neighbor to protect the faithful by unmasking heretics – and suspending  them   if they hold any office of authority – than to protect men against a plague, or to mitigate their poverty, or even to eliminate social injustice?…….

…..And even for him who is condemned it is an act of the greatest love of neighbor. It is for him like the knife of a surgeon which cuts away the cancer of a patient. It is a fully earnest admonition, an enlightenment as to his errors, an invitation to return to the truth. It protects him from completely lapsing into heresy without fully realizing it – it enables him to grasp the full incompatibility of his theses with the teaching of the Holy Church, to feel the significance of his error, and with terrible seriousness it forces him to decide “for or against God and His Holy Church.” If a spark of true faith in Christ and His Holy Church still lives in him, he will turn away form the temptation which his heresy involves, and return to the community of the Holy Church. [Think of all the heretics who went to their graves in the past 50 years thinking they were in full union with the Church!  What a great injustice was done to them, that they were never given the best medicine the Church had to offer!]

The vilification of the anathema – though it is through the anathema that the Church has preserved her identity and the purity of Her teaching since St. Paul and throughout the centuries – is a typical consequence of distorting love of neighbor, and of confusing this love with a weak cheerfulness, niceness, and readiness to give in.  The fear of the anathema betrays above all a loss of the sense of the supernatural, a lapse into this worldliness which is more concerned with the earthly welfare of man that with his eternal salvation…….[I agree.  Ultimately, the Truth is not defended because those charged with its defense are much more concerned with worldly matters, with not giving offense, or attracting bad PR, or making people mad, or decreasing donations, than they are with the true care of souls.]

……There is another great danger which goes together with the distortion of love of neighbor: the danger of putting community above truth, and of implicitly making peace the highest value.  Unfortunately, this tendency is very widespread in the Church today.

The first great error which we find here is the separation of the community from truth. All genuine community among men presupposes that they encounter one another in a certain realm of goods. The solidarity which comes from worshiping the same idol and working for it, or from working together for something false or evil, does not deserve the name of community. Such a pseudo-community is a definite evil, and possesses a disvalue. The value which community possesses as such is here poisoned by the disvalue of that which brings people together, of that in whose names they are united. Surely unity, community has a value of its own…….. [but] community based upon error or something evil not only has no value, it has a definite disvalue.  A pseudo-community built on some evil idol is something much worse than many individual, unrelated men who are in error or do evil. [Thus, false religions are not sources of “good.”  They are not sources of supernatural Grace.  Pagan rituals do not result in sanctification.  Some sects outside the Church do possess good, to the extent they still have remnants of the One True Faith within them, but the further a religion is from the Universal Church, the less a source of good it becomes.]  It is not only that it is worse for many to fall into error or heresy than for one to do so; it is not a question merely of a quantitative increase. No, it is the very unity of those who encounter one another in untruth and evil which gives birth to a pure disvalue and heightens the evil. [The mere presence of these false religions, the evils they convey and the encouragement they give to men to remain within them, is something which must be opposed by the Church, which is why for centuries missionaries braved enormous privation and even death in order to convert those who had not the Truth of Divine Revelation]  The value of true community, the concordia, becomes in a pseudo-community a definite disvalue.  Thus it  is utterly impossible to separate community from truth, and to make community the most important thing. 

———–End Quote———–

Are you finding these quote from von Hildebrand helpful?  Are they too long!  He writes in long paragraphs, and I have always felt we must respect an author’s format when slavishly copying them.

You might think about that last paragraph in respect to the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium released late last year.  There is certainly a contrast………


1. Branch - January 9, 2014

Yes, helpful. And no, not too long. Thank you for them.

2. Lorra - January 9, 2014

No, not too long.

Thank you for posting these excerpts.

3. Hannah - January 10, 2014

I’m enjoying these. Thanks, Tantum! Keep it up!

4. Dietrich von Hildebrand on the failure of authority in the Church | A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - January 13, 2014

[…] authority as uncharitable and harsh because one looks at it "from without," and fails to understand that it is a deed of the greatest love, that it is true love of neighbor to use God-given authority in the spirit of Christ and with the […]

5. Dietrich von Hildebrand on the collapse or authority in the Church | A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - January 13, 2014

[…] authority as uncharitable and harsh because one looks at it "from without," and fails to understand that it is a deed of the greatest love, that it is true love of neighbor to use God-given authority in the spirit of Christ and with the […]

6. MMC - January 14, 2014

Love the excerpts:+) I kept on thinking of how many people use the term “LGBT Community”…and how I always gag at that. There is no community in evil…and like Von Hildebrand noted, there is actually the opposite…a disvalue. Keep on posting DVH. God bless~

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