Saturday, February 27, 2010

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?

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