Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Church is not defined by numbers

Please read also:
The Church's Sacraments Today
The Little Number of the Saved

Pope Pius IX, Qui Pluribus, 1846, #11: "The faithful who live in every place constitute the whole Church."

Numbers and official titles do not matter,
Only the sound confession of the Catholic Faith;

St. John Chrysostom, Homily XI on the First Epistle to St. Timothy, commenting on verse 3:15: "'That thou mayest know,' he says, 'how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.' Not like that Jewish house. For it is this that maintains the Faith and the preaching of the Word. For the truth is the pillar and the ground of the Church."

St. Basil the Great, Epistle to the Monks Harassed by Arians: "I exhort you, therefore, not to faint in your afflictions, but to be revived by God's love, and to add daily to your zeal knowing that in you ought to be preserved that remnant of true religion which the Lord will find when He cometh on the earth. Even if bishops are driven from their Churches, be not dismayed. If traitors have arisen from among the very clergy themselves, let not this undermine your confidence in God. We are saved not by names, but by mind and purpose, and genuine love toward our Creator. Bethink you how in the attack against our Lord, high priests and scribes and elders devised the plot, and how few of the people were found really receiving the word. Remember that it is not the multitude who are being saved, but the elect of God. Be not then affrighted at the great multitude of the people who are carried hither and thither by winds like the waters of the sea. If but one would be saved, like Lot at Sodom, he ought to abide in right judgment, keeping his hope in Christ unshaken, for the Lord will not forsake His holy ones. Salute all the brethren in Christ from me. Pray earnestly for my miserable soul."

Saint Theodore of Studium: "It is your prerogative to prefer the drowned multitude to Noah who was saved; but as for me, allow me to run to the Ark along with the few." "One who is well-pleasing to God is to be preferred over myriads who are invested with presumption." - Patrologia Greaca 99, 1081C; Patrologia Greaca 99, 1084A

Saint Theodore of Studium, Epistle to Abbot Theophilus: "Let us not raise a stumbling-block for the Church of God which, according to the teaching of the Saints, is made up of even three orthodox, so that we may not be condemned according to the Lord's verdict." - Patrologia Greaca 99, 1049C

The Life of Saint Hypatius: "When Saint Hypatius understood what opinions Nestorius held, immediately, in the Church of the Apostles, he erased his name from the diptychs, so that it should no longer be pronounced at the Oblation. [This was before Nestorius' condemnation by the Third Ecumenical Council.] "When Bishop Eulalius learned of this, he was anxious about the outcome of the affair. And seeing that it had been noised abroad, Nestorius also ordered him to reprimand Hypatius. For Nestorius was still powerful in the city. Bishop Eulalius spoke thus to Hypatius: Why have you erased his name without understanding what the consequences would be? Saint Hypatius replied: From the time that I learned that he said unrighteous things about the Lord, I have no longer been in communion with him and I do not commemorate his name; for he is not a bishop. Then the bishop, in anger, said: Be off with you! Make amends for what you have done, for I shall take measures against you. Saint Hypatius replied: Do as you wish. As for me, I have decided to suffer anything, and it is with this in mind that I have done this." - Sources Chretiennes, No.177, pp. 210-214

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 3: "[T]his council has thought good, that the Symbol of faith which the holy Roman Church makes use of,--as being that principle wherein all who profess the faith of Christ necessarily agree, and that firm and alone foundation against which the gates of hell shall never prevail,--be expressed in the very same words in which it is read in all the churches. Which Symbol is as follows: I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages; God of God, light of light, true God of true God; begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things were made: who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from the heavens, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man: crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, he suffered and was buried; and he rose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures; and he ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father ; and again he will come with glory to judge the living and the dead; of whose kingdom there shall be no end: and in the Holy Ghost the Lord, and the giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is adored and glorified; who spoke by the prophets and one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen."

Should we be nice to heretics so we don't hurt their feelings?


While evangelizing others to Christ, it is certainly expedient and just to have as kind and gentle admonitions as possible be our primary course. Nevertheless, displayed below are the harsh words and strong warnings of God's beloved servants and ordained authorities in regard to the deadliness of heresy and communion with it, not for the purpose of gleefully attacking and condemning our fellow human beings for whose sake Christ in inexpressible divine love condescended to become man and endure His saving Passion, but rather so that, once their bad will is manifest, nothing that we could have prevented will impede them from inheriting both in this age and in the age to come that wondrous gift of which He desired and ever desires to make them partakers.

Since "whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth" and He corrects us "for our profit, that we might receive his sanctification" "and holiness: without which no man shall see God" [cf. Heb. 12:6-14], will it not be an act of love on our part toward those who are depriving themselves of the grace and life in God by their wrong course to tell them of their peril and warn them, "And make straight steps with your feet: that no one, halting, may go out of the way; but rather be healed" [Heb. 12:13]?

We truly wish for the healing of each and every soul, but so often the sick man thinks that he is in health, the blind that he sees, and the lame that he is running swiftly down the path to salvation, when in fact he is only limping down the broad path at the end of which he will lose his soul; therefore it is necessary to be blunt with those upon whom the careless ecumenical spirit of our times has settled so as to wake them up out of their stupor and deliver them from the unhappy delusion of the evil one and bring them to the straight and narrow path that leads to Christ, the true God and Life. In speaking the truth bluntly but in love, we follow the teaching of the much-suffering, great servant of God, St. Maximus the Confessor, whose exhortation we have reproduced here below:

St. Maximus the Confessor: "I write these things not wishing to cause distress to the heretics or to rejoice in their ill-treatment -- God forbid; but, rather, rejoicing and being gladdened at their return. For what is more pleasing to the Faithful than to see the scattered children of God gathered again as one? Neither do I exhort you to place harshness above the love of men. May I not be so mad! I beseech you to do and to carry out good to all men with care and assiduity, becoming all things to all men, as the need of each is shown to you; I want and pray you to be wholly harsh and implacable with the heretics only in regard to cooperating with them or in any way whatever supporting their deranged belief. For I reckon it hatred towards man and a departure from Divine love to lend support to error, so that those previously seized by it might be even more greatly corrupted." - Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 91 col. 465c

Again, do not mistake for the spirit of hate the spirit of true love and care for your salvation in which these exhortations and warnings of the Saints are presented. If the reader should find himself to have been in error and in need of correction, let not the reader be offended and, with shame and wounded pride, turn away from the truth and the Church that would heal him, clinging, instead, to the innumerable number of false shepherds and physicians that will tell him that he is healthy and in no danger in this or that sect.

Such is a deadly temptation and such deceitful words are full of true hatred towards man. Do not be deceived, but rather read carefully the words of God's holy servants below and hold fast to them when the tempest of worldly cares, trials, and criticisms from others threaten to sweep you back into the false church of the Ecumenists. If we follow the same path that the God-pleasing Saints and Fathers followed, then certainly we shall find the same inheritance at its end.

And it is these Saints and Fathers who, when the need arose, BLASTED STUPID HERETICS to make them feel shame for their corrupt and perverse doctrines - in the hopes that they would  be humbled and convert or at least shame them so they would SHUT UP and stop dragging souls to hell.

But often when we are "wholly harsh and implacable with the heretics" as St. Maximus desires us to be, we are accused of being uncharitable, ungracious, ignorant or even vindictive.

What do these things mean anyway?

Uncharitable = lacking love and generosity
Ungracious = lacking social grace or graciousness
Ignorant = lacking or presumptuous in knowledge
Vindictive = prone to seeking revenge

When another person is in error on a point that has the power to lead him to ETERNAL SPIRITUAL DEATH it is neither ungracious to rebuke and reprove him, ignorant to demonstrate the truth of the matter supported by quotations from the Scripture and Tradition, the Magisterium and the Fathers, and it is certainly not vindictive to point out his dishonesty if he fails to fess up to the matter.

In fact doing this is what is known as a spiritual work of mercy, and is the LOVING AND GENEROUS thing to do when a person proves to be so stubbornly obstinate that reason and friendly discourse is to no avail.

But if you think otherwise, do you also think the Saints were uncharitable, ungracious, ignorant and vindictive?

St. Jerome, to Vigilantius in Letter 61, said: "For then you will give everyone reason to laugh at your folly... For your whole mind slumbers and you actually snore, so profound is the sleep— or rather the lethargy— in which you are plunged."

St. Augustine, in Contra Faustum Book 20, said: "Still this use of the word would not be so much amiss, notwithstanding your ignorance; for it would thus be applied, as it properly is, to that which takes form, and not to that which gives it. Even here, however, your folly and impiety would appear in tracing so much that is good to the evil principle, from your not knowing that all natures of every kind, all forms in their proportion, and all weights in their order, can come only from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As it is, you know neither what Hyle is, nor what evil is. Would that I could persuade you to refrain from misleading people still more ignorant than yourselves!"

Irenaeus mentions St. Polycarp in Adversus Haereses, Book III, Chapter 3, #4: "But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time, a man who was of much greater weight, and a more stedfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics. He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles, that, namely, which is handed down by the Church. There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, "Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within." And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, "Dost thou know me? "I do know thee, the first-born of Satan." Such was the horror which the apostles and their disciples had against holding even verbal communication with any corrupters of the truth; as Paul also says, "A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself." There is also a very powerful Epistle of Polycarp written to the Philippians, from which those who choose to do so, and are anxious about their salvation, can learn the character of his faith, and the preaching of the truth. Then, again, the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true witness of the tradition of the apostles."

Keep in mind that these people being addressed by the saints were the heresiarchs and teachers of heresy themselves, not simply those who had been led astray by their teachings. Still even when these who have been deceived or when anyone at all resolves himself to go about like a lion, devouring souls by actively propagating heresy, it is not the time for a false friendliness and human respect, but a time to tell the truth and vehemently rebuke the heretic, who is odious in the site of God, and after this, avoid him until he shows signs of good will and conversion.

Titus 3:10-11: "A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid: Knowing that he, that is such an one, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment."

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life: Of the Sanctity of the Marriage Bed

Please also read
The Right Ordering of Marital Intimacy

The marriage bed must be undefiled, as the apostle says, that is to say, kept free from uncleanness and all profane filthiness. Holy wedlock was first instituted in the earthly paradise, where as yet there never had been any disorder of concupiscence or of anything immodest.

There is some resemblance between amorous pleasures and those that are taken in eating. Both of them have relation to the flesh, though the former, by reason of their brutal vehemence, are called carnal without qualification. I will explain what I cannot say of the one by what I shall say of the other.

1. Eating is ordained for our preservation. Hence, just as eating merely in order to nourish and preserve life is a good, holy and obligatory thing, so that which is requisite in marriage for bringing children into the world and increasing mankind is a good and very holy thing, for it is the principal end of marriage.

2. Just as to eat, not for the preservation of life, but to keep up that mutual intercourse and consideration which we owe to each other, is a thing in itself both very just and lawful, so the mutual and lawful compliance of the persons united in holy marriage is called by St. Paul a debt. But it is a debt so great that he allows neither of the parties exemption from it without the free and voluntary consent of the other, not even for the exercises of devotion, as I have already observed in the chapter on Holy Communion. How much less, then, may either party be dispensed from it through a capricious pretense of virtue, or through anger or disdain?

3. They who eat so as to maintain a mutual intercourse of friendship with others should eat freely and not as if compelled to and they should also try to show an appetite for their food. So also the marriage debt should always be paid as faithfully and freely as if it were in hopes of having children, although on some occasions there might be no such expectation.

4. To eat for neither of these reasons, but merely to satisfy the appetite, may indeed be tolerated, but it cannot be commended. The mere pleasure of the sensual appetite cannot be a sufficient object to render an action commendable.

5. To eat not merely for the gratification of the appetite but also with excess and irregularity is a thing more or less blamable as the excess is great or small.

6. Excess in eating consists not only in eating too much but also in the time and manner of eating. It is surprising, dear Philothea, that honey, which is so proper and wholesome a food for bees, may nevertheless become so hurtful to them as sometimes to make them sick, as when they eat too much of it in the springtime. It then disturbs their stomachs and sometimes even causes their death, as when they are overcharged with it in the forepart of their head and on their wings.

In truth, nuptial commerce, which is so holy, just and commendable in itself and most profitable to the commonwealth, is yet in certain cases dangerous to those that exercise it. Sometimes it causes their souls to be seriously ill with venial sin, as in cases of simple excess. Sometimes it kills it effectually by mortal sin, as when the order appointed for the procreation of children is violated and perverted. In this latter case according as one departs more or less from this order, the sins are more or less abominable, but they are always mortal. The procreation of children is the first and principal end of marriage. Hence no one may ever lawfully depart from the due order that that end requires. This holds even at times when conception cannot take place because of some condition or circumstance as happens when sterility or pregnancy prevents it.

In these occurrences corporal commerce does not cease to be just and holy, provided the rules of generation are followed. No accidental condition whatsoever can injure the law that the principal end of marriage has imposed. Certainly the infamous and execrable action done by Onan in his marriage was detestable in God’s sight, as the holy text of the 38th chapter of Genesis testifies.

Certain heretics of our days, a hundred times more blamable than the Cynics of whom St. Jerome speaks in his commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, have been pleased to say it was only the perverse intention of that wicked man which displeased God. The Scripture positively asserts the contrary and assures us that the act itself that he committed was detestable and abominable in the sight of God.

7. It is an infallible mark of a truant, base, infamous and abject spirit to think of food and eating before mealtime. Still more is it such to amuse ourselves afterward with the pleasure which we took in eating, keeping it alive in our words and imagination and delighting to recall the sensual satisfaction we had in swallowing down those morsels. These men do who before dinner have their minds fixed on the spit and after dinner on the dishes, men worthy to be scullions in a kitchen who, as St. Paul says, "make a god of their belly." Persons of honor never think of eating except when they sit down at table. After dinner they wash their hands and their mouth so that they may neither retain the taste nor the scent of what they have been eating.

Although a huge beast, the elephant is yet the most decent and most sensible of all that live upon earth. I will give you an instance of his chastity. Although he never changes his mate and has a tender love for her whom he has chosen, he couples with her only at the end of every three years and then only for the space of five days and so privately that he is never seen in the act. When he makes his appearance again on the sixth day, the first thing he does is to go directly to a river. There he washes his body entirely, for he is unwilling to return to the herd till he is quite purified.

6. These good and modest habits in an animal of this kind serve as lessons to married people. They are not to keep their affections fixed on those sensual pleasures in which, according to their vocation, they have indulged. When they are over, they ought to wash their hearts and their affections and to purify themselves from them as soon as possible, so that afterward they may with undisturbed minds practice other purer and more elevated actions.

In this advice consists the perfect practice of that excellent doctrine which St. Paul gave to the Corinthians: "The time is short," said he, "it remaineth that they also who have wives be as though they have none." According to St. Gregory,' that man has a wife as if he had none, who takes bodily consolation with her in such a manner as not to be diverted from spiritual demands. What is said of the husband is understood likewise of the wife. "Let those that use the world," says the same apostle, "be as though they used it not."

Let everyone use this world according to his calling, but in such manner that he does not engage his affection in it and remains as free and ready to serve God as if he did not use it. "It is the great evil of man," says St. Augustine," "to desire to enjoy the things which he should only use, and to desire to use those which he should only enjoy." We should enjoy spiritual things but only use corporal. When their use is turned into enjoyment, our rational soul is also changed into a brutish and beastly soul.

I think I have said all that I need to say to make myself understood, without saying anything that I do not wish to say.

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life: Decency in Attire

Please read also
The importance of Modesty (especially for women)
Modesty and Natural Law
Natural Law

St. Paul desires that devout women, and the same may be said of men, should be attired “in decent apparel, adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety” (1 Tim. ii. 9). Now, the decency and the ornaments of apparel, depend on the matter, the form, and the cleanliness of them. As to their cleanliness, it should be always very great, and we should not suffer any kind of dirt on them. Exterior neatness represents in some measure the cleanliness of the interior; and God Himself requires corporal cleanliness in those that altars, and have the principal charge of devotion.

As to the matter, form, and decency of our dress, it should be considered according to the several circumstances of the time, the age, the quality, the company, and the occasions. People are ordinarily better dressed on holidays, in proportion to the solemnity of the feast which is celebrated. In times of penance, as in Lent, ornaments are laid aside. At marriages wedding garments are worn; at funerals, mourning.

The married woman may and ought to adorn her self when she is with her husband, and he desires it ; but if she should do so when she is at a distance from him, it will be asked whose eyes she desires to favour with that particular care ? A greater liberty in point of ornaments is allowed to maidens, because they may lawfully desire to appear agreeable to many, although with no other intention but that of gaining a husband. Neither is it considered amiss that widows who purpose to marry should adorn themselves in some measure, provided they betray no levity ; for, having already been mistresses of families and passed through the griefs of widowhood, they should be considered as being of a more mature and settled mind. But as for those that are widows indeed, not in body but in heart, no other ornament becomes them but humility, modesty, and devotion; for if they have an inclination to make men fall in love with them, they are not widows indeed, and if they have no such desire, why do they carry about them the instruments of love? The host that ceases to receive guests must pull down the sign from his inn. Old people are always ridiculous when they try to make themselves look youthful.

Be neat, Philothea; let nothing hang loose about you, or be put on in a slovenly manner. It is a kind of contempt of those with whom we converse to come into their company in unseemly apparel; but, then, avoid all affectation, vanity, strangeness, or levity in your dress.  Keep yourself always, as much as possible, on the side of plainness and modesty, which without doubt, is the greatest ornament of beauty, and the best way to make up for the want of it.

St. Peter admonishes women in particular (1st Epistle iii. 3), not to wear their hair much curled and frizzled in rings and wreaths; but men who are so weak as to amuse themselves about such foppery are justly ridiculed for their effeminacy. They say they think no evil in these things; but I repeat, as I have said elsewhere, that the devil thinks quite otherwise. For my part, I desire that devout people whether men or women, should be the best clad in any company, but the least pompous and affected: I would have them adorned with gracefulness, decency, and dignity. St. Louis says that each one should dress according to his condition; so that the wise and the good may have no reason to complain that you dress too much, nor young people say you do too little. But in case young people will not content themselves with what is decent, we must conform to the judgment of the wise.

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

On the absence of salvation among heretics and schismatics and those in communion with them

St. John of Damascus:
"With all our strength, therefore, let us beware lest we receive communion from or grant it to heretics"

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Cantate Domino, 1442, ex cathedra: “…all those who are outside the catholic church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the catholic church before the end of their lives.”

Believing it is ever permissible to go ask heretics or schismatics, the adulterous enemies of God, for Mass or confession, MAKES ONE an adulterous enemy of God, as proven from:

The teaching of the Church on heretics

and those in communion with them

St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians 5:19-21: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, SECTS, envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God."

["sects", otherwise heresies, here described as works of the flesh; indeed one may find himself a part of a sect as punishment for some unrepented fleshly sin, in accordance with 2 Thessalonians 2:10]

The Church teaches that any rejection of the supreme Magisterium is heresy, and makes one not a Catholic and that any religious communion with heresy is "wretched schism" and separates one from God, the Church, sanctifying grace, and salvation.

Pope Leo X, Fifth Lateran Council, Session 8, Dec. 19, 1513, ex cathedra:  "...And since truth cannot contradict truth, we define that every statement contrary to the enlightened truth of the faith is totally false and we strictly forbid teaching otherwise to be permitted.  We decree that all those who cling to erroneous statements of this kind, thus sowing heresies which are wholly condemned, should be avoided in every way"

We already know that outside the Church there is no salvation or remission of sins, as Pope Boniface VIII dogmatically defined in his bull Unam Sanctam:

Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, 1302, ex cathedra: "Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins,"

Pope Vigilius, Second Council of Constantinople, ex cathedra: "And about that claim of the Apostle: Even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what you have received, let him be accursed. As we said earlier, I repeat once more: If anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you have received, let him be accursed. Since the Lord declares that the person is judged already, and the Apostle curses even the angels if they instruct in anything different from what we have preached, how is it possible even for the most presumptuous to assert that these condemnations apply only to those who are still alive? Are they unaware, or rather pretending to be unaware, that to be judged anathematized is just the same as to be separated from God? The heretic, even though he has not been condemned formally by any individual, in reality brings anathema on himself, having cut himself off from the way of truth by his heresy. What reply can such people make to the Apostle when he writes: As for someone who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned."

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council, Session 3, Chapter 3, #8-9: "Wherefore, by divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her Ordinary and Universal Magisterium.  Since, then, without faith it is impossible to please God and reach the fellowship of his sons and daughters, it follows that no one can ever achieve justification without it, neither can anyone attain eternal life unless he or she perseveres in it to the end."

So we know how to determine who is and who is not a heretic, that is anyone who rejects any portion of the Divine and Catholic Faith is a heretic and not a child of God, and it follows that we must also apply this not only to individual heretics, but to their sects as well.

Now if we profess communion with heretics, that is if we are in communion with those we KNOW or CAN and OUGHT TO KNOW reject ANY dogmatic definitions of Holy Mother Church, are we still Catholic? Pope Pius IX has the answer to that one. He lays down the very principle that we should adopt when dealing with anyone or any sect that rejects dogmatic definitions of the See of St. Peter:

Pope Pius IX, Graves Ac Diuturnae, 1875: "1. The serious and long-lasting plots and efforts which the new heretics who call themselves Old Catholics use daily in your country to deceive the faithful and to tear them away from their ancient faith, urge Us, as a duty of Our supreme apostolate, to zealously devote Our paternal care and attention to protecting the spiritual welfare of our children...

"2. Having violently occupied parishes and churches with apostate priests, they have not neglected any deception or cunning to lead the children of the Catholic Church into wretched schism."

He clearly is telling us here that LIES AND CUNNING lead souls into schism, leads them OUT of the Church. A person does not necessarily know that he has been deceived. Does that mean that because he is unaware of the trickery of his enemies that he is any less schismatic? Evidently not, according to Pope Pius IX.

(Graves Ac Diuturnae cont'd) "Because it has always been especially characteristic of heretics and schismatics to use lies and deception, these sons of darkness are to be reckoned among those the prophet spoke of: "Woe to you deserting children who have faith in the shadow of Egypt. You have rejected the word and have hoped in trickery and rebellion." They love to deceive the unwary and the innocent and to draw them into error by deception and hypocrisy.

"They repeatedly state openly that they do not in the least reject the Catholic Church and its visible head but rather that they are zealous for the purity of Catholic doctrine declaring that they are the heirs of the ancient faith and the only true Catholics. But in fact they refuse to acknowledge all the divine prerogatives of the vicar of Christ on earth and do not submit to His supreme Magisterium."

"3. This sect overthrows the foundations of the Catholic religion, shamelessly rejects the dogmatic definitions of the Ecumenical Vatican Council, and devotes itself to the ruin of souls in so many ways. We have decreed and declared in Our letter of 21 November 1873 that those unfortunate men who belong to, adhere to, and support that sect should be considered as schismatics and separated from communion with the Church."

The principle is clearly laid out by this Pope of the Catholic Church. Any sect that rejects the dogmatic definitions of the Vicar of Christ is a heretical sect, and good willed or no, we learn that that any of those "unfortunate men who belong to, adhere to, and support that sect should be considered as schismatics and separated from communion with the Church." This position, as you will read further on, is exactly that proposed by the Saints and Fathers of old.

The only objection that might be brought forward at this point is that Pope Pius IX was talking about a sect that had already received formal condemnation, and that until this takes place for individual sects, one is free to attend their "worship" and still remains Catholic. Pope Vigilius, however, in the sixth century, ratified the following declaration of the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, which shows the fallacy of making such an objection:

Pope Vigilius, Second Council of Constantinople, ex cathedra: "And about that claim of the Apostle: Even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what you have received, let him be accursed. As we said earlier, I repeat once more: If anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you have received, let him be accursed.  Since the Lord declares that the person is judged already, and the Apostle curses even the angels if they instruct in anything different from what we have preached, how is it possible even for the most presumptuous to assert that these condemnations apply only to those who are still alive? Are they unaware, or rather pretending to be unaware, that to be judged anathematized is just the same as to be separated from God? The heretic, even though he has not been condemned formally by any individual, in reality brings anathema on himself, having cut himself off from the way of truth by his heresy. What reply can such people make to the Apostle when he writes: As for someone who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned."

It is rash and inconsistent to propose that the above teaching of Pope Vigilius applies only to individuals and not to groups of individual as well (sects).

So how are we supposed to deal with such sects then? Should we take the advice of those who say we can go to them for the Eucharist? Mingle with the enemies of God so that we can receive the Blessed Sacrament from a heretical or schismatic priest who SINS EVERY TIME HE CONFECTS IT?

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Tertia Pars, Question 82, Art. 9: "I answer that, As was said above , heretical, schismatical, excommunicate, or even sinful priests, although they have the power to consecrate the Eucharist, yet they do not make a proper use of it; on the contrary, they sin by using it. But whoever communicates with another who is in sin, becomes a sharer in his sin."

And what does Pope Pius IX say?

(Graves Ac Diuturnae cont'd) "4. You should remind them to beware of these treacherous enemies of the flock of Christ and their poisoned foods. They should totally shun their religious celebrations, their buildings, and their chairs of pestilence which they have with impunity established to transmit the sacred teachings. They should shun their writings and all contact with them. They should not have any dealings or meetings with usurping priests and apostates from the faith who dare to exercise the duties of an ecclesiastical minister without possessing a legitimate mission or any jurisdiction. They should avoid them as strangers and thieves who come only to steal, slay, and destroy. For the Church's children should consider the proper action to preserve the most precious treasure of faith, without which it is impossible to please God, as well as action calculated to achieve the goal of faith, that is the salvation of their souls, by following the straight road of justice."

No further comments on Pius IX.

But a question arises: What if we simply don't know that we are attending the Mass of a heretic or schismatic?

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa, Prima Secunda Pars, Q. 76, Art. 2: "Now it is evident that whoever neglects to have or do what he ought to have or do, commits a sin of omission. Wherefore through negligence, ignorance of what one is bound to know, is a sin; whereas it is not imputed as a sin to man, if he fails to know what he is unable to know. Consequently ignorance of such like things is called "invincible," because it cannot be overcome by study. For this reason such like ignorance, not being voluntary, since it is not in our power to be rid of it, is not a sin: Wherefore it is evident that no invincible ignorance is a sin. On the other hand, vincible ignorance is a sin, if it be about matters one is bound to know; but not, if it be about things one is not bound to know."

Truly, one is bound to know the Catholic Faith well enough to be able to spot heresy and to know whether or not he is joined to heretics and schismatics. So the answer to the question is, in accordance with the Angelic Doctor, if we ARE ABLE to know that our priest, bishop, etc. is heretical or schismatic, but we adhere to him anyway, then we indeed share in his sin, the sin of schism or heresy, whereby we would then be labouring OUTSIDE the true religion. Invincible ignorance on the other hand, ignorance that is not able to be overcome by any well ordered human effort, is a different matter, for Pope Pius IX himself also said:

Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quadem, December 9, 1854: "For it must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood; but, on the other hand, it is necessary to hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if this ignorance is invincible, are not stained by any guilt in this matter in the eyes of God."

So if the person had NO JUSTIFIABLE and HUMANLY POSSIBLE WAY AT ALL of being ABLE to know that his priest was a heretic, then indeed according to the Roman Pontiff, this person would not be stained with any guilt in that matter, namely schism or heresy. So clearly it behooves us all, if we are about to profess subjection to such and such a priest or bishop, to do our utmost to make sure that he indeed holds the Catholic Faith whole and inviolate.

Let's go to the Saints and Fathers of the Church and see what their take is on the matter has been:


The Saints and Fathers of the Church teach to shun ALL contact with heretics, ESPECIALLY religious contact

St. John Chrysostom, 4th Century AD: "We know that salvation itself is a property of the One Church, and that no one can be outside of the catholic Church and yet share the Faith of Christ, or be saved...Neither do we offer any part of that hope to the ungodly heretics, but we place them entirely outside of that hope; indeed, they have not the least participation in Christ, but vainly assume for themselves that saving Name." - Patrologia Greaca 59:725

St. John Chrysostom, 4th Century AD, Homily 34 on Hebrews: "How then does Paul say, 'Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves'? (Heb. 13:17) After having said before, 'Whose faith follow, considering the end of their life' (Heb. 13:7), he then said, 'Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves'. What then (you say), when he is wicked, should we obey? Wicked? In what sense? If indeed in regard to matters of the Faith, flee and avoid him; not only if he be a man, but even if he be an angel come down from Heaven; but if in regard to his life, be not overly curious."

St. John Chrysostom, Homily 1 on the Epistle to the Galatians: "The fact that we do not become indignant over small matters is the cause of all our calamities; and because slight errors escape fitting correction, greater ones creep in. As in a body, a neglect of wounds generates fever, infection and death; so in the soul, slight evils overlooked open the door to graver ones . . . But if a proper rebuke had at first been given to those who attempted to depart from the divine sayings and change some small matter, such a pestilence would not have been generated, nor such a storm have seized upon the Church; for he that overturns even that which is minor in the sound Faith, will cause ruin in all."

St. Theodore of Studium: "Even if one should give away all his possessions in the world, and yet be in communion with heresy, he cannot be a friend of God, but is rather an enemy." - Patrologia Graeca, 99, 1205

St. Theodore of Studium, Epistle to Abbot Theophilus: "Chrysostomos loudly declares not only heretics, but also those who have communion with them, to be enemies of God."

St. Theodore of Studium: "Guard yourselves from soul-destroying heresy, communion with which is alienation from Christ." - Patrologia Graeca 99, 1216

St. Theodore of Studium: "The heretics were totally shipwrecked with regard to the Faith; but as for the others, even if in their thinking they did not founder, nevertheless, because of their communion with heresy they are perishing." - Patrologia Graeca 99, 1164

St. John the Almsgiver, Patriarch of Alexandria, 7th Century AD: "Another thing the blessed man taught and insisted upon with all was never on any occasion whatsoever to associate with heretics and, above all, never to take the Holy Communion with them, 'even if', the blessed man said, 'you remain without communicating all your life, if through stress of circumstances you cannot find a community of the catholic Church. For if, having legally married a wife in this world of the flesh, we are forbidden by God and by the laws to desert her and be united to another woman, even though we have to spend a long time separated from her in a distant country, and shall incur punishment if we violate our vows, how then shall we, who have been joined to God through the orthodox faith and the Catholic Church -- as the apostle says: 'I espoused you to one husband that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ' (2 Cor. 11:2) -- how shall we escape from sharing in that punishment which in the world to come awaits heretics, if we defile the orthodox and holy faith by adulterous communion with heretics?"

"For 'communion', he said, 'has been so called because he who has 'communion' has things in common and agrees with those with whom he has 'communion'. Therefore I implore you earnestly, children, never to go near the oratories of the heretics in order to communicate there.'" - [Three Byzantine Saints, "The Life of Saint John the Almsgiver",Translators: Elizabeth Dawes & Norman H. Baynes, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, Crestwood: 1977; p. 251]

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Trallians: "I therefore, yet not I, but the love of Jesus Christ, entreat you that ye use Christian nourishment only, and abstain from herbage of a different kind; I mean heresy. For heretics mix up Jesus Christ with their own poison, speaking things which are unworthy of credit, like those who administer a deadly drug in sweet wine, which he who is ignorant of does greedily take, with a fatal pleasure leading to his own death."

St. Isidore of Pelusium, Letter to Timothy the Reader: "Just as the fishermen hide the hook with bait and covertly hook the fish, similarly, the crafty allies of the heresies cover their evil teachings and corrupt understanding with pietism and hook the more simple, bringing them to spiritual death" - Patrologia Graeca 78, 252C

St. Athanasius the Great, Patriarch of Alexandria, History of the Arians , 80: "One might say much more against this detestable and antichristian order that our words may not be too many, it will be well to content ourselves with the divine Scripture, and that we all obey the precept which it has been given us both in regard to other heresies, and especially respecting this. That precept is as follows; `Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of them, and be ye separate, that bear the vessels of the Lord' This may suffice to instruct us all, so that if any one has been deceived by them, he may go out from them, as out of Sodom, and not return again unto them, lest he suffer the fate of Lot's wife; and if any one has continued from the beginning pure from this impious thing, heresy, he may glory in Christ and say, `We have not stretched out our hands to a strange god; neither have we worshipped the works of our own hands, nor served the creature more than Thee, the God that hast created all things through Thy word, the Only-Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom to Thee the Father together with the same Word in the Holy Spirit be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen."

St. Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesaria in Cappodocia: "As for all those who pretend to confess sound orthodox Faith, but are in communion with people who hold a different opinion, if they are forewarned and still remain stubborn, you must not only not be in communion with them, but you must not even call them brothers." - Patrologia Orientalis, Vol. 17, p. 303

St. John of Damascus, Exposition of the Faith Book IV, Chapter 13: "With all our strength, therefore, let us beware lest we receive communion from or grant it to heretics; Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, says the Lord, neither cast ye your pearls before swine (St. Matthew 7:6), lest we become partakers in their dishonour and condemnation. For if union is in truth with Christ and with one another, we are assuredly voluntarily united also with all those who partake with us. For this union is effected voluntarily and not against our inclination. For we are all one body because we partake of the one bread, as the divine Apostle says (1 Corinthians 10:17 )."

Saint Athanasius the Great, Patriarch of Alexandria: "As we walk the unerring and life-bringing path, let us pluck out the eye that scandalizes us, not the physical eye, but the noetic one. For example, if a bishop ... who is the eyes of the Church conduct himself in an evil manner and scandalize the people (he is speaking here of heresy, viz. the Arian heresy, against which he was valiantly opposed), he must be plucked out. For it is more profitable to gather without him in a house of prayer, than to be cast together with him into the gehenna of fire together with Annas and Caiaphas." - Patrologia Greaca 26, 1257 C

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Ephesians: "Do not err, my brethren. Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And if those that corrupt mere human families are condemned to death, how much more shall those suffer everlasting punishment who endeavour to corrupt the Church of Christ, for which the Lord Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, endured the Cross, and submitted to death! Whosoever, "being waxen fat," and "become gross," sets at nought His doctrine, shall go into gehenna. In like manner, every one that has received from God the power of distinguishing, and yet follows an unskillful shepherd, and receives a false opinion for the truth, shall be punished. "What communion hath light with darkness? or Christ with Belial? Or what portion hath he that believeth with an infidel? or the temple of God with idols? "And in like manner say I, what communion hath truth with falsehood? or righteousness with unrighteousness? or true doctrine with that which is false?

For this end did the Lord suffer the ointment to be poured upon His head, that His Church might breathe forth immortality. For saith [the Scripture], "Thy name is as ointment poured forth; therefore have the virgins loved Thee; they have drawn Thee; at the odour of Thine ointments we will run after Thee." Let no one be anointed with the bad odour of the doctrine of [the prince of] this world; let not the holy Church of God be led captive by his subtlety, as was the first woman. Why do we not, as gifted with reason, act wisely? When we had received from Christ, and had grafted in us the faculty of judging concerning God, why do we fall headlong into ignorance? and why, through a careless neglect of acknowledging the gift which we have received, do we foolishly perish?"

Everyone is called to this struggle;
One cannot simply be 'Catholic in one's heart', while apostatizing externally

Saint Theodore of Studium, Letter Two (Book Two) to Monastics: "Not only if one possesses rank or knowledge is one obliged to strive to speak and to teach the doctrines of orthodoxy, but even if one be a disciple in rank, one is obliged to speak the truth boldly and openly." - Patrologia Greaca 99, 1120 B

Saint Theodore of Studium, Epistle 81: "It is a commandment of the Lord that we should not be silent when the Faith is in peril. So, when it is a matter of the Faith, one cannot say, 'Who am I? A priest, a ruler, a soldier, a farmer, a poor man? I have no say or concern in this matter.' Alas! The stones shall cry out, and you remain silent and unconcerned?" - Patrologia Greaca 99, 1321 AB

St. Basil the Great, Homily on Gordianus the Martyr: "Many people were being irrational by trying to convince the martyr to deny Christ with his words only, and keep his faith in his soul, in his inner disposition, claiming that God does not pay attention to our words but to our disposition. However, Gordianus the Martyr was rigid in his belief and replied, "The tongue, which is created by Christ, cannot bear to utter anything against Him... Do not deceive yourselves, God cannot be mocked, He judges us according to our own mouth, He justifies us by our words, and by our words, He convicts us".

So do you still want to go to the oratory in such and such a town where the priest offers the traditional Latin Mass, yet proclaims that Benedict XVI is a Catholic pope by including his name in the PUBLIC prayer in the Canon of the Mass? How about the priest who teaches that a person does not really need to receive the sacrament of Holy Baptism to be saved? After all, he seems so nice and he went to seminary for NINE YEARS!

There can be no peace or common God with heretics

St. Gregory of Nyssa, in his Oration (2.82) in defense of his flight to Pontus, writes in regard of peace with heresy that "better is a laudable war than a peace which severs a man from God." and (ibid. 6.11) "For disagreement over piety is better than emotional concord." - Patrologia Greaca 35:488C; Patrologia Greaca 35:736AB

St. Hermenegild was imprisoned in Tarragona or Toledo. He subjected himself to mortifications, and asked God to aid him in his struggles. During his captivity in the tower of Seville, an Arian bishop was sent to St. Hermenegild during the Easter Season, but he would not accept Holy Communion from the hands of that prelate. King Leovigild ordered him to be killed, and the axemen found him to be resigned to this end. He was martyred on April 13, 585." - Wikipedia

Scripture Condemns receiving Sacraments from Heretics

Certainly to trivialize the Faith and the holy death of a martyr such as St. Hermenegild by receiving sacraments from people we know or can and OUGHT to know are heretics or schismatics, flies in the face of such Scriptures as:

Psalms 95:5: " Gather ye together his saints to him: who set his covenant before sacrifices."

1 Kings 15:22: " And Samuel said: Doth the Lord desire holocausts and victims, and not rather that the voice of the Lord should be obeyed? For obedience is better than sacrifices: and to hearken rather than to offer the fat of rams."

1 Corinthians 10:21-22: "You cannot drink the chalice of the Lord, and the chalice of devils: you cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?"

2 Corinthians 6:15-17: "And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God; as God saith: I will dwell in them, and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, Go out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing"

2 St. John 1:10-11: "If any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him, God speed you. For he that saith unto him, God speed you, communicateth with his wicked works. "

2nd Machabees 6:18-31: "Eleazar one of the chief of the scribes, a man advanced in years, and of a comely countenance, was pressed to open his mouth to eat swine's flesh. But he, choosing rather a most glorious death than a hateful life, went forward voluntarily to the torment. And considering in what manner he was come to it, patiently bearing, he determined not to do any unlawful things for the love of life.

"But they that stood by, being moved with wicked pity, for the old friendship they had with the man, taking him aside, desired that flesh might be brought, which it was lawful for him to eat, that he might make as if he had eaten, as the king had commanded of the flesh of the sacrifice: That by so doing he might be delivered from death: and for the sake of their old friendship with the man they did him this courtesy. But he began to consider the dignity of his age, and his ancient years, and the inbred honour of his grey head, and his good life and conversation from a child: and he answered without delay, according to the ordinances of the holy law made by God, saying, that he would rather be sent into the other world. For it doth not become our age, said he, to dissemble: whereby many young persons might think that Eleazar, at the age of fourscore and ten years, was gone over to the life of the heathens: And so they, through my dissimulation, and for a little time of a corruptible life, should be deceived, and hereby I should bring a stain and a curse upon my old age.

"For though, for the present time, I should be delivered from the punishments of men, yet should I not escape the hand of the Almighty neither alive nor dead. Wherefore by departing manfully out of this life, I shall shew myself worthy of my old age: And I shall leave an example of fortitude to young men, if with a ready mind and constancy I suffer an honourable death, for the most venerable and most holy laws. And having spoken thus, he was forthwith carried to execution. And they that led him, and had been a little before more mild, were changed to wrath for the words he had spoken, which they thought were uttered out of arrogancy. But when he was now ready to die with the stripes, he groaned, and said: O Lord, who hast the holy knowledge, thou knowest manifestly that whereas I might be delivered from death, I suffer grievous pains in body: but in soul am well content to suffer these things because I fear thee."Thus did this man die, leaving not only to young men, but also to the whole nation, the memory of his death for an example of virtue and fortitude."

How would St. Eleazar and St. Heremenegild feel about the traitorous and scandalous Judases who go into the meeting houses of heretics to receive the sacraments from them?  No doubt this causes the saints to cry out all the more:

Apocalypse 6:10: "How long, O Lord (holy and true) dost thou not judge and revenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?"

Numbers 16:20-35: "[T]he Lord speaking to Moses and Aaron, said: Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may presently destroy them. They fell flat on their face, and said: O most mighty, the God of the spirits of all flesh, for one man's sin shall thy wrath rage against all?  And the Lord said to Moses:  Command the whole people to separate themselves from the tents of Core and Dathan and Abiron.  And Moses arose, and went to Dathan and Abiron: and the ancients of Israel following him,

"He said to the multitude: Depart from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be involved in their sins. And when they were departed from their tents round about, Dathan and Abiron coming out stood in the entry of their pavilions with their wives and children, and all the people. And Moses said: By this you shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all things that you see, and that I have not forged them of my own head: If these men die the common death of men, and if they be visited with a plague, wherewith others also are wont to be visited, the Lord did not send me.  But if the Lord do a new thing, and the earth opening her mouth swallow them down, and all things that belong to them, and they go down alive into hell, you shall know that they have blasphemed the Lord.

"And immediately as he had made an end of speaking, the earth broke asunder under their feet: And opening her mouth, devoured them with their tents and all their substance.  And they went down alive into hell the ground closing upon them, and they perished from among the people.  But all Israel, that was standing round about, fled at the cry of them that were perishing: saying: Lest perhaps the earth swallow us up also.  And a fire coming out from the Lord, destroyed the two hundred and fifty men that offered the incense."

Apocalypse 18:4: "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying: Go out from her, my people; that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues."

But guess what? The anti-christian sect that is fraudulently passing itself off as the Catholic Church teaches the exact opposite of this, they teach that you may go ahead and be among the heretics and schismatics:

Antipope Paul VI, Oreintalium Ecclesiarum, #27: "Without prejudice to the principles noted earlier, Eastern Christians who are in fact separated in good faith from the Catholic Church, if they ask of their own accord and have the right dispositions, may be admitted to the sacraments of Penance, the Eucharist and the Anointing of the Sick. Further, Catholics may ask for these same sacraments from those non-Catholic ministers whose churches possess valid sacraments, as often as necessity or a genuine spiritual benefit recommends such a course and access to a Catholic priest is physically or morally impossible."

That is heresy, and cannot come from the Catholic Church.  To act in such a way is SINFUL and SCANDALOUS, and lends credence to the false religions we would be communing with.

In our evil days, it is necessary to resolve oneself NEVER to receive the sacraments from or worship in common with heretics or schismatics, especially those of the pernicious Vatican II sect. It would seem that it is precisely for perilous times such as ours that God has taught His Church about perfect contrition, that is, remission of sins without a priest.  It's time to develop a Catholic survival plan and stick to it.

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Deathblow to the soul and to religion: Sloth

Sloth is indeed a most deadly spiritual enemy, and one that we may very easily find ourselves subject to and even blindly so. It MUST be rooted out of the soul of every person who expects to attain to the justice of God.

Here are some of the teachings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church concerning this terrible and sinful disposition, to which I also have found myself blindly enslaved (may it be ever behind me by the grace of God and the help of His holy and sinless Ever Virgin Mother!):

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica > Second Part of the Second Part > Question 20, Despair:

Objection 1. It would seem that despair does not arise from sloth...

On the contrary, Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) reckons despair among the effects of sloth. I answer that, As stated above (17, 1; I-II, 40, 1), the object of hope is a good, difficult but possible to obtain by oneself or by another. Consequently the hope of obtaining happiness may be lacking in a person [...] the fact that a man deems an arduous good impossible to obtain, either by himself or by another, is due to his being over downcast, because when this state of mind dominates his affections, it seems to him that he will never be able to rise to any good. And since sloth is a sadness that casts down the spirit, in this way despair is born of sloth."

Catholic Encyclopedia, Sloth:

"One of the seven capital sins. In general it means disinclination to labour or exertion. As a capital or deadly vice St. Thomas (II-II:35) calls it sadness in the face of some spiritual good which one has to achieve (Tristitia de bono spirituali).

"Father Rickaby aptly translates its Latin equivalent acedia (Gr. akedia) by saying that it means the don't-care feeling. A man apprehends the practice of virtue to be beset with difficulties and chafes under the restraints imposed by the service of God. The narrow way stretches wearily before him and his soul grows sluggish and torpid at the thought of the painful life journey. The idea of right living inspires not joy but disgust, because of its laboriousness.

"This is the notion commonly obtaining, and in this sense sloth is not a specific vice according to the teaching of St. Thomas, but rather a circumstance of all vices. Ordinarily it will not have the malice of mortal sin unless, of course, we conceive it to be so utter that because of it one is willing to bid defiance to some serious obligation. St. Thomas completes his definition of sloth by saying that it is torpor in the presence of spiritual good which is Divine good.

"In other words, a man is then formally distressed at the prospect of what he must do for God to bring about or keep intact his friendship with God. In this sense sloth is directly opposed to charity. It is then a mortal sin unless the act be lacking in entire advertence or full consent of the will. The trouble attached to maintenance of the inhabiting of God by charity arouses tedium in such a person. He violates, therefore, expressly the first and the greatest of the commandments: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength." (Mark 12:30)."

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica > Second Part of the Second Part > Question 35, Article 3. Whether sloth is a mortal sin?

Objection 1. It would seem that sloth is not a mortal sin. For every mortal sin is contrary to a precept of the Divine Law. But sloth seems contrary to no precept, as one may see by going through the precepts of the Decalogue. Therefore sloth is not a mortal sin.

Objection 2. Further, in the same genus, a sin of deed is no less grievous than a sin of thought. Now it is not a mortal sin to refrain in deed from some spiritual good which leads to God, else it would be a mortal sin not to observe the counsels. Therefore it is not a mortal sin to refrain in thought from such like spiritual works. Therefore sloth is not a mortal sin.

Objection 3. Further, no mortal sin is to be found in a perfect man. But sloth is to be found in a perfect man: for Cassian says (De Instit. Caenob. x, l) that "sloth is well known to the solitary, and is a most vexatious and persistent foe to the hermit." Therefore sloth is not always a mortal sin.

On the contrary, It is written (2 Corinthians 7:20): "The sorrow of the world worketh death." But such is sloth; for it is not sorrow "according to God," which is contrasted with sorrow of the world. Therefore it is a mortal sin.

I answer that, As stated above (I-II, 88, 1,2), mortal sin is so called because it destroys the spiritual life which is the effect of charity, whereby God dwells in us. Wherefore any sin which by its very nature is contrary to charity is a mortal sin by reason of its genus. And such is sloth, because the proper effect of charity is joy in God, as stated above (Question 28, Article 1), while sloth is sorrow about spiritual good in as much as it is a Divine good. Therefore sloth is a mortal sin in respect of its genus. But it must be observed with regard to all sins that are mortal in respect of their genus, that they are not mortal, save when they attain to their perfection. Because the consummation of sin is in the consent of reason: for we are speaking now of human sins consisting in human acts, the principle of which is the reason. Wherefore if the sin be a mere beginning of sin in the sensuality alone, without attaining to the consent of reason, it is a venial sin on account of the imperfection of the act. Thus in the genus of adultery, the concupiscence that goes no further than the sensuality is a venial sin, whereas if it reach to the consent of reason, it is a mortal sin. So too, the movement of sloth is sometimes in the sensuality alone, by reason of the opposition of the flesh to the spirit, and then it is a venial sin; whereas sometimes it reaches to the reason, which consents in the dislike, horror and detestation of the Divine good, on account of the flesh utterly prevailing over the spirit. On this case it is evident that sloth is a mortal sin.

Reply to Objection 1. Sloth is opposed to the precept about hallowing the Sabbath day. For this precept, in so far as it is a moral precept, implicitly commands the mind to rest in God: and sorrow of the mind about the Divine good is contrary thereto.

Reply to Objection 2. Sloth is not an aversion of the mind from any spiritual good, but from the Divine good, to which the mind is obliged to adhere. Wherefore if a man is sorry because someone forces him to do acts of virtue that he is not bound to do, this is not a sin of sloth; but when he is sorry to have to do something for God's sake.

Reply to Objection 3. Imperfect movements of sloth are to be found in holy men, but they do not reach to the consent of reason.

St. John Chrysostom, Third Homily on 2nd Thessalonians:

"For as in the case of husbandmen, the seeds are indeed cast into the earth once for all, yet do not constantly remain, but require much preparation withal, and if they do not break up the earth, and cover over the seeds sown, they sow for the birds that gather grain; so we also, unless by constant remembrance we cover over what has been sown, have but cast it all into the air. For both the devil carries it away, and our sloth destroys it, and the sun dries it up, and the rain washes it away, and the thorns choke it: so that it is not sufficient after once sowing it to depart, but there is need of much assiduity, driving off the birds, rooting up the thorns, filling up the stony ground with much earth, checking, and fencing off, and taking away everything injurious. But in the case of the earth all depends upon the husbandman, for it is a lifeless subject, and prepared only to be passive. But in the spiritual soil it is quite otherwise. All is not the teachers' part, but half at least, if not more, that of the disciples. It is our part indeed to cast the seed, but yours to do the things spoken for your recollection, by your works to show the fruits, to pull up the thorns by the roots."

St. John Cassian, Insitutes, Book 3, Chapter 5 (How they ought not to go back to bed again after the Mattin [morning] prayers.):

"But some in this province, not knowing the reason why this office was appointed and introduced, go back again to bed after their Mattin prayers are finished, and in spite of it fall into that very habit to check which our Elders instituted this service.

"For they are eager to finish it at that hour, that an opportunity maybe given, to those who are inclined to be indifferent and not careful enough, to go back to bed again, which most certainly ought not to be done (as we showed more fully in the previous book when describing the service of the Egyptians), for fear lest the force of our natural passions should be aroused and stain that purity of ours which was gained by humble confession and prayers before the dawn, or some illusion of the enemy pollute us, or even the repose of a pure and natural sleep interfere with the fervour of our spirit and make us lazy and slothful throughout the whole day, as we are chilled by the sluggishness caused by sleep.

"And to avoid this the Egyptians, and especially as they are in the habit of rising at fixed times even before the cock-crow, when the canonical office has been celebrated, afterwards prolong their vigils even to daylight, that the morning light when it comes on them may find them established in fervour of spirit, and keep them still more careful and fervent all through the day, as it has found them prepared for the conflict and strengthened against their daily struggle with the devil by the practice of nocturnal vigils and spiritual meditation."

St. John Chrysostom, Instruction to Catechumens:

"For strengthened not by our own power alone, but by the influence which comes from God, we are summoned to the conflict. Let as many therefore as have received what has been spoken, and have fulfilled it by their works, remain reaching forth to the things which are before. But let as many as have not yet arrived at this good achievement, arrive at it straightway, that they may dispel the condemnation which arises out of their sloth by their diligence for the future. For it is possible, it is indeed possible for him who has been very slothful, by using diligence for the future to recover the whole loss of the time that is past. Wherefore, He says, Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the day of provocation.

"And this, He says, exhorting and counseling us; that we should never despair, but so long as we are here, should have good hopes, and should lay hold on what is before us, and hasten towards the prize of our high calling of God.

"This then let us do, and let us inquire into the names of this great gift. For as ignorance of the greatness of this dignity makes those who are honored with it more slothful, so when it is known it renders them thankful, and makes them more earnest; and anyhow it would be disgraceful and ridiculous that they who enjoy such glory and honors from God, should not even know what the names of it are intended to show forth.

"And why do I speak about this gift, for if you will consider the common name of our race, you will receive the greatest instruction and incentive to virtue. For this name Man, we do not define according as they who are without define it, but as the Divine Scripture has bidden us. For a man is not merely whosoever has hands and feet of a man, nor whosoever is rational only, but whosoever practices piety and virtue with boldness. Hear, at least, what he says concerning Job. For in saying that there was a man in the land of Ausis, he does not describe him in those terms in which they who are without describe him, nor does he say this because he had two feet and broad nails, but he added the evidences of his piety and said, every just, true, fearing God, eschewing evil deed, (Job 1:1) showing that this is a man; even as therefore another says, Fear God, and keep his commandments, because this is the whole man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

"But if the name man affords such a great incentive to virtue, much rather the term faithful. For you are called faithful on this account, because you have faith in God, and yourself art entrusted from Him with righteousness, sanctification, cleansing of soul, adoption, the kingdom of heaven. He entrusted you with these, and handed them over to you.

"Thou in turn hast entrusted, and handed over other things to him, almsgiving, prayers, self-control and every other virtue. And why do I say almsgiving? If you give him even a cup of cold water, you shall not indeed lose this, but even this he keeps with care against that day, and will restore it with overflowing abundance. For this truly is wonderful, that he does not keep only that which has been entrusted to him, but in recompensing it increases it."

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?