St. Francis de Sales on protestant butchery of Scripture May 24, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Bible, catachesis, Ecumenism, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, reading, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, Victory, Virtue.
I’m reading a very good book containing St. Francis de Sales writings against the protestants of the Chablais from the 16th century. These pamphlets were combined into book form under the title The Catholic Controversy. St. Francis is a very thorough writer whose pamphlets tend to be quite complex. As such, they are not easy to condense to blog post length. I’ve been meaning for weeks to try to share some of this content with you, but I’ve had a hard time finding excerpts of appropriate length that would still be understandable.
Deo Gratias, I believe I’ve found some in the chapters on protestant butchery of Sacred Scripture in order to justify their false beliefs. This is quite key, and really shocking, in that protestants who claim to rely on Scripture as the sole rule of Faith, in fact excluded many books (for reasons that are false, as St. Francis clearly demonstrates) specifically because they contained matters of belief they refused to accept! That is to say, they did not start out honestly examining Scripture and somehow found that books present in the Canon of Scripture since the 4th century were somehow false or “apocryphal,” quite the contrary, they started with false beliefs and then modified Scripture to only support those beliefs. Furthermore, in addition to excluding various Old Testament books, they also edited the content of others that they retained, even including the New Testament.
With that background, the great Doctor of the Church, St. Francis de Sales (my emphasis and comments):
What likelihood is there that the Holy Spirit has hidden Himself from all antiquity, and that after 1500 years he has disclosed to certain private persons the list of the true Scriptures? For our part we follow exactly the list of the Council of Laodicea, with the addition made at the Councils of Carthage and Florence. Never will a man of judgment leave these Councils to follow the persuasions of private individuals. Here, then, is the fountain and source of all the violations which have been made of this holy rule; namely, when people have taken up the fancy of not receiving it save by the measure and rule of the inspirations which each one believes and thinks he feels. [One of satan’s most effective traps, getting pious souls to assert their own judgment over that passed on by the Church Fathers. So much destructive has man’s pride in his own intellect – or, worse, his feelz – wrought!]
Now, how can an honest soul refrain from giving the rein to the ardor of a holy zeal and form entering into a Christian anger, without sin, considering with what presumption those who do nothing but cry Scripture, Scripture, have despised, degraded, and profaned this divine Testament of the eternal Father, as they have falsified this sacred contract of so glorious an alliance! O ministers of Calvinism, how do you dare to cut away so many noble parts of the Bible?! You take away Baruch, Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, the Machabees, why do you thus dismember the Holy Scripture? Who has told you that they are not sacred? There was some doubt about them in the ancient Church but was there not doubt in the ancient Church about Esther, the Epistle to the Hebrews, those of St. James and St. Jude, the Second of St. Peter, the last two of St. John, and especially of the Apocalypse? Why do you not also erase these as you have done those [that is, the books of Scripture they excluded] ?
Acknowledge honestly that what you have done in this has only been in order to contradict the Church. You were angry at seeing in the Machabees the intercession of the Saints and prayers for the departed; Ecclesiasticus stung you in that it bore witness to free will and the honor of relics. Rather than do violence to your notions, adjusting them to the Scriptures, you have violated the Scriptures to accommodate them to your notions; you have cut off the holy Word to avoid cutting off your fancies……Open your heart to the Faith and you will receive that which your unbelief shuts out from you. Because you do not will to believe what they teach, you condemn them; rather, condemn your presumption and receive the Scripture………. [de Sales has it right. Protestants are loathe to admit it, though]
[We now switch subjects from excluding books from the Canon of Scripture, to deliberately flawed biblical translations]
…….Your fine church has not contented itself with cutting off from the Scripture entire books, chapters, sentences, and words, but what it has not dared to cut off altogether it has corrupted and violated by its translations…….In our age, behold arise a thick mist created by the spirit of giddiness, which has so led astray these refurbishers of old opinions formerly current, that everybody has wanted to drag, one to this side, one to that, and always according to the inclination of his own judgment, this holy and sacred Scripture of God…….[in this way] as soon as we are assured that the ordinary edition [The Latin Vulgate] of the Church is so out of shape that it must be built up again anew, and that a private man is to set his hand to it and begin the process, the door is open to presumption……[Upon which, all of protestant opinion is built]
[After demonstrating how protestants mistranslated key bits of Scripture, for instance, Lk xxii:20, trying to pretend that Christ’s Sacrifice was only spiritual or allegorical by changing the words of Scripture]……You see something, then, of the violence and profanation your ministers do and offer to the Scriptures; what think you of their ways? What will become of us if everybody takes leave, as soon as he knows two words of Greek, and letters in Hebrew, thus to turn everything topsy turvy? I have therefore shown you what I promised, that this first rule of our faith has been and still is most sadly violated in your pretended church, and that you may know it to be a property of heresy thus to dismember the Scriptures, I will close this part of my subject with what Tertullian says, speaking of the sects of his time: “This heresy” [of the gnostics],” says he, “does not receive some of the Scriptures; and if it receives some it does not receive them whole…..and what it receives in a certain sense whole, it still perverts, devising various interpretations…….” [earlier in the book, de Sales demonstrated how virtually every major heresy of protestantism was simply the recreation of some ancient heresy. There is nothing new under the sun, or Son]
Thank you Lord for sending us great Saints like St. Francis de Sales, to refute the errors of heretics and shine the light of Truth on their errors. His words are so apropos to our own time, too, when so many in the Church have fallen into protestant errors.
St. Francis later goes on to attack vernacular translations of the Bible as prone to causing division and confusion, in addition to the fundamental problem of translations serving as sources of error. You can imagine what he would think of the vernacular Mass, then!
The testimony of a Doctor like de Sales is all the testimony I need to find vernacular Mass severely wanting.
I also fully endorse his practice of ecumenism – converting protestants by the tens of thousands. One wonders what kind of place St. Francis de Sales would find in the Church today?