Fathers of the Church on the Unity of the Church…… February 11, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, different religion, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Papa, sanctity, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
…….and the grave evil of placing oneself outside the Church in a schismatic and/or heretical sect. All the quotes below come from Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Satis Cognitum (1896). The Fathers quotes are identified in line. I add a few explanatory comments:
Origen writes: “As often as the heretics allege the possession of the canonical scriptures to which all Christians give unanimous assent, they seem to say: ‘Behold the word of the truth is in the houses.'” [I take this to mean something akin to protestant viewing a church as just whatever group of people who come together to worship the Lord, rather than the formal institution founded by Christ]
“But we should believe them not and abandon not the primary and ecclesiastical tradition. We should believe not otherwise than has been handed down by the tradition of the Church of God.” Irenaeus too says: “The doctrine of the Apostles is the true faith……..which is known to us through the Episcopal succession…….which has reached even unto our age by the very fact that the Scriptures have been zealously guarded and fully interpreted.” And Tertullian: “It is therefore clear that all doctrine which agrees with that of the Apostolic Church – the matrices and original centers of faith, must be looked upon as the truth, holding without hesitation that the Church received it from the Apostles, the Apostles from Christ and Christ from God……..We are in communion with the Apostolic Churches and by the very fact that they [the many local churches] agree amongst themselves we have a testimony of the truth.” And so Hilary: “Christ teaching from the ship signifies that those who are outside the Church can never grasp the divine teaching; for the ship typifies the Church where the word of life is deposited and preached. Those who are outside are like sterile and worthless sand; they cannot comprehend.” [I really like that quote by St. Hilary of Poitiers]
Rufinus praises Gregory of Nazianum and Basil because “they studied the text of Holy Scripture alone, and took the interpretation of its meaning not from their own inner consciousness, but from the writings and on the authority of the ancients, who in their turn, as it is clear, took their rule for understanding the meaning from the Apostolic succession.”…… [Which is contrary to what the protestants have done, rejecting the Faith that has been handed on and searching the Scriptures, interpreted solely by themselves, for ways to justify that rejection. That is the critical point to keep in mind, with all the headstrong protestants (not those so much born into error and ignorant of it), they start from the position “Catholic = wrong” and search for justifications for that belief. They can be murderously dangerous to the poorly formed.]
……..In this wise, all cause for doubting being removed, can it be lawful for anyone to reject any one of those truths without by the very fact falling into heresy? – without separating himself from the Church? – without repudiating in one sweeping act the whole of Christian teaching? For such is the nature of faith that nothing can be more absurd than to accept some things and reject others. Faith, as the Church teaches it, is “that supernatural virtue by which, through the help of God and through the assistance of His Grace, we believe that what He has revealed to be true, not on account of the intrinsic truth perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God himself, the Revealer, who can neither deceive nor be deceived……..
……..In many things they are with me, in a few things not with me; but in those few things in which they are not with me, the many things in which they are will not profit them.
And this indeed most deservedly; for they who take from Christian doctrine what they please, lean on their own judgments, not on faith; and not “bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ,” they more truly obey themselves than God. “You who believe what you like of the Gospels and believe not what you like, believe yourselves rather than the Gospel.”…….
………It is then undoubtedly the office of the Church to guard Christian Doctrine and to propagate it in its integrity and purity. But this is not all, the object for which the Church has been instituted is not wholly attained by the performance of this duty. For since Jesus Christ delivered Himself up for the salvation of the human race, and to this end directed all His teaching and commands, so He ordered the Church to strive, by the truth and its doctrine, to sanctify and to save mankind.
With regard to that last paragraph, is that what the large majority of the institutional Church has been doing since Vatican II – striving to convert, sanctify, and save the world? Is that what Francis is doing with his attacks – for that is what they are, whether he intends them to be so or not – on belief and practice that certainly impact doctrine?
The Church is alienated from herself. She is at war with herself. The outlook expressed in, say, Evangelii Guadium, and Satis Cognitum, are not just alien to one another, they are mutually exclusive. One might even say irretrievably opposed. How the faithful are supposed to reconcile all this is always left unsaid, except we’re just supposed to go along with whatever Rome says today, even if that contradicts what was said yesterday and will be contradicted twice again tomorrow. It is the way towards doubt, indifference, dissension, and collapse.
Once again, feature/bug, and all that.
But I thought some of those Church Fathers quotes on Church unity might be helpful, so……yay us.