Sunday, November 27, 2011

Instructions for Advent






What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Christmas)
















What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Vigil of the Nativity (Christmas Eve)





What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Ember Saturday in Advent








What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Ember Friday in Advent








What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (also used for Ember Wednesday in Advent)

 
 
 
 
 


THE ANGELUS

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Ghost. Hail Mary, etc
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to Thy word. Hail Mary, etc
V. And the Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt among us. Hail Mary, etc V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an Angel, may by His passionate cross, be brought to the glory of His resurrection, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

 



What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Catholics Marrying Heretics: Forbidden and Condemned without a dispensation

Please read also


I recently wrote an article on the same topic as this one (which this one replaces), in which I stated that the Church merely tolerated the marriages of Catholics with non-Catholics when she grants a dispensation.  My thanks go to my opponent Emmanuel as well as to my friend Francis for correcting me on my mistake (both of whom made substantially different comments, and hold substantially different positions in regard to related issues).

The reason that I began to spend more time studying the Church position on such marriages was because the Dimonds hold them out as an example of a Church discipline, which justifies their position on receiving sacraments of Eucharist and Confession from public heretics and schismatics.  My main articles refuting their position are entitled Re: “Sacraments from Undeclared Heretics” Debate – The Important Quotes and Sacraments from Undeclared Heretics - Debate Analysis, and have both been slightly revised to take into account the matter discussed in the present article.  The important thing to note is that nothing has changed in terms of the position that I believe must be held:  Catholics may never ask for the Sacraments of Eucharist, Penance or Orders from any priest who, by his own public words and actions, can and ought to be known as a heretic or schismatic.



Toleration vs. Permission, My Previous Oversight

In examining the issue of mixed marriages, I had erroneously read the encyclical Quas Vestro of Pope Gregory XVI as stating that any and all marriages of Catholics with non-Catholics are merely tolerated, but it was shown to me that any time a dispensation is granted by the Church, this amounts to a sanction or permission.  It is only those marriages that do not receive the dispensation that are merely tolerated, and which are in fact absolutely condemned by the Church's ecclesiastical law, as demonstrated by the following quotes:

Pope Gregory XVI, Quas Vestro, #1, 6, 8: "If, indeed, in certain places, because of difficulties of place and conditions, such marriages are tolerated, the reason is surely a sort of moderation. It is in no way to be considered approbation or approval, but merely a toleration, brought about not willingly but by necessity to avoid greater evils...

"Sometimes because of conditions of time, person, or place, the marriage of a non-Catholic to a Catholic without the precautions prescribed by the Church cannot be prevented without danger of greater evil or scandal to the detriment of religion...

"We grieve that this type of toleration is necessary... Also see that such toleration towards mixed marriages does not extinguish the memory of the canons execrating such marriages as well as of the constant care of the Church to prevent her children from entering into such marriages to the loss of their souls."

And those marriages which receive the dispensation are no longer considered to be tolerated, but permitted and licit, as the following quotations imply:

Pope Benedict XIV, Magnae Nobis, #2, 4, 5: "Nor is it necessary for us to prove in full the antiquity of the discipline by which the Apostolic See always condemned the marriage of Catholics with heretics...

"When a dispensation is requested to allow a Catholic to marry a heretic or to remove some canonical impediment which exists between the contracting parties, neither the permission nor the dispensation is granted except with the addition of this expressed law or condition, namely that the heresy must first be abjured. Pope Innocent X was on his guard and ordered that such dispensations should not be granted at all unless there was proof, supported by authentic documents, that the heretical fault of the heterodox contracting party had been rejected under oath...

"Finally, from what We have said so far, it is obvious that the Apostolic See has always both disapproved and condemned such marriages unless the abjuration of the heresy preceded; it still abominates and detests them."

From this last statement, then, it follows that the official (disciplinary) position of the Apostolic See is that it does not disapprove and condemn such marriages if an abjuration has taken place and a dispensation has been granted.

For a detailed exposition of the Catholic discipline concerning tolerated marriages which are not granted a dispensation, we turn to Pope Pius VI:

From the Rescript of Pius VI to Cardinal de Franckenberg, Archbishop of Mechlin, and to the Bishops of Belgium, July 13, 1782 (Denz. 1496-1499): "And therefore we must not depart from the uniform opinion of our predecessors and from ecclesiastical discipline, which do not approve marriages between parties who are both heretics, or between a Catholic on the one hand and a heretic on the other, and this much less in a case where there is need of a dispensation of some sort...

"Passing now to that point about the requested assistance of parish priests in mixed marriages, we say that if the above named admonition to recall the Catholic party from the unlawful marriage has been fulfilled, and nevertheless he persists in his will to contract it, and it is foreseen that the marriage will inevitably follow, then the Catholic priest can lend his material presence, nevertheless in such wise that he is bound to observe the following precautions:

"First, that he does not assist at such a marriage in a sacred place, nor clothed in any vestment betokening a sacred function, nor will he recite over the contracting parties any prayers of the Church, and in no way shall he bless them.

"Secondly, that he will exact and receive from the contracting heretic a declaration in writing, in which with an oath in the presence of two witnesses, who also ought to sign their names, he obligates himself to permit his partner the free use of the Catholic religion, and to educate in it all the children who shall be born without any distinction of sex.

"Thirdly, that the contracting Catholic make a declaration signed by himself and two witnesses, in which he promises with an oath not only never to apostatize from his Catholic religion, but to educate in it all his future offspring, and to procure effectively the conversion of the other contracting non-Catholic.

"Fourthly, that which concerns the proclamations commanded by the imperial decree, which the bishops hold to be civil rather than sacred acts, we answer: Since they have been preordained for the future celebration of marriage and consequently contain a positive cooperation with it, a thing which certainly exceeds the limits of simple tolerance, we cannot consent that these be made...

"It remains now to speak about one more point, concerning which, although we have not been expressly interrogated, nevertheless we do not think it should be passed over in silence, insomuch as, in practice, it could too frequently happen; namely, this: Whether the contracting Catholic, afterwards wishing to share in the sacraments, ought to be admitted to them? To this we say that as long as he shall demonstrate that he is sorry for his sinful union, this can be granted to him, provided he shall sincerely declare before confession that he will procure the conversion of his heretical spouse, that he renews his promise of educating his children in the orthodox religion, and that he will repair the scandal he has given to the other faithful. If these conditions obtain, we are not opposed to the Catholic party receiving the sacraments."



Ramifications

From the very detailed exposition of just how the Church views those who marry heretics without obtaining a dispensation, it is clear that the principles involved, in order to be consistently applied to other sacraments, would at the very least require both an abjuration of heresy and a dispensation from the Church before one could approach the heretic for any other sacraments, except for Baptism in cases of necessity.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Tertia Pars, Q. 82, Art. 7, Reply to Obj 2: "Baptism alone is allowed to be conferred by heretics, and schismatics, because they can lawfully baptize in case of necessity; but in no case can they lawfully consecrate the Eucharist, or confer the other sacraments."

But after abjuration, such priests would no longer be heretics, so long as they publicly professed the Catholic Faith, thus making any such hypothetical dispensation irrelevant and superfluous.  Because priests, by their vocation, necessarily publicly profess (that is, they publicly and externally state that they hold to) the Catholic faith, but a non-Catholic spouse does not necessarily.  So in the case where an abjuration takes place, it would make the priest Catholic on account of his renunciation, under oath of heresy and his subsequent public profession of Faith in the Mass and since the faithful cannot know if he still harbours secret heresy in his heart.  A non-Catholic spouse who has abjured would only become Catholic by doing the same (that is, publicly professing the faith after his abjuration).

Unless the abjuration, in the case of a non-Catholic spouse, were followed by a solemn and sincere profession of the Catholic Faith, then it is still a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic, and a most unfortunate compromise of the Church's law prohibiting the same.  If the early Christians were so willing to be martyred rather than be defiled, how did the Church ever permit heretics to marry the children of God?

It is reasonable to conclude that before the hierarchy of the Church could fall into heresy and schism, thus losing their Catholicity and usurping the Church's buildings (as happened beginning with the alleged election of Leo XIII, there had to be compromises of another nature in the discipline of the Church.  This stuff does not just happen over night.

To say that we disagree with the pastors of the Church when they dispense with the Church's good laws is entirely permissible.  I heartily disagree with the decisions of the popes to grant dispensations for any Catholic to marry someone who does not believe or love God.

Nevertheless, the Dimonds' argument that "mixed marriages are proof that one can lawfully approach known heretics for the Eucharist or Penance" still falls flat on its face for, as shown above, if we apply the principles of mixed marriages to the heretic priests one would approach for the sacraments, then before the Church would grant a dispensation, as it were, the law of the Church would require the heretic to abjure.  If a priest, who professed to be Catholic, but otherwise held to some public heresy or schism abjured (and did not relapse), then he would be a Catholic.  And of course, it is permitted to receive sacraments from a Catholic priest.


FINAL NOTE:  The Dimonds seem to imply in their arguments that our position in this matter is based upon a belief that "the Church commands ABSOLUTE AVOIDANCE of ALL HERETICS ALL THE TIME".  We do not believe that at all.  We certainly would be pleased if this was a realistically achievable way to live our lives, but it is impractical.  Certainly, we must avoid heretics as much as we reasonably can (like the spiritual poison they are), and we should shun all familiar discourse with them and never commune with them in religious matters.  But anyone who tells you that it is even a sin to buy apples from a heretic in the market is definitely scrupulous and unreasonable.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Re: “Sacraments from Undeclared Heretics” Debate – The Important Quotes

Please also read:

Sacraments from Undeclared Heretics - Debate Analysis
Catholic Marrying Heretics: Forbidden and Condemned


This article is a substantial refutation of the one by the Dimonds entitled '“Sacraments from Undeclared Heretics” Debate – The Important Quotes'.

Below you will read some of their specious arguments in red, followed by common sense refutations based on fact and sound principles. Take your time; this will be a longer article, so once you have calmed your spirit and asked the grace of God to enlighten you and give you contrition for all your sins, let us begin.



Peter Dimond uses incompatible quotes to "prove" points on an unrelated matter.

THE FIRST COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE PROVES OUR POSITION ON THIS MATTER

First Council of Constantinople, 381, Canon 6: “But if the charge alleged against the Bishop be that of some ecclesiastical offence, then it is necessary to examine carefully the persons of the accusers, so that, in the first place, heretics may not be suffered to bring accusations touching ecclesiastical matters against orthodox bishops. And by heretics we mean both those who were aforetime [already] cast out and those whom we ourselves have since anathematized, and also those professing to hold the true faith who have separated from our canonical bishops, and set up conventicles in opposition to them.” (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 14, p. 183)

Notice that in this ecclesiastical decree, they refer to heretics as: 1) those who have been specifically anathematized (i.e., declared, notorious in law) or those who set up meetings/conventicles in direct opposition to the true Church – and thus openly and without concealment reject the Catholic Church (i.e., notorious in fact).

Dimond's inconsistency here is that, while he admits that the Church uses term "heretic" in different ways throughout the Ecumenical Councils, he ignores this principle and attempts to argue his point about reception of sacraments with the above quote, which has nothing to do with reception of sacraments. The Council clearly states "by heretics we mean..." and the definition is purely given for the purposes of the immediate issue being discussed in that canon, i.e. such heretics accusing bishops of crimes. In other words, the Council leaves it completely open for undeclared heretics to accuse a bishop of a crime, a point I did not consider when writing the above "Debate Analysis" article.

Why would the Council forbid only declared heretics? Simple: They would be the ones most likely to have a vendetta of revenge.

But to attempt to draw a principle concerning other matters relating to heretics from this decree is disingenuous at best, since there is a world of difference between the permissibility of an undeclared heretic accusing a bishop of a crime and the alleged permissibility of participating with, encouraging, requesting, or otherwise condoning what one knows to be the sin of a heretic, i.e. performing the sacraments.

So the Dimonds have attempted to make an analogy where it is simply not applicable, indeed from a quote incompatible to the issue at hand.



Peter Dimond REDEFINES the word "concealment".

When the councils refer to avoiding “meetinghouses of heretics” and “non-Catholic churches,” they are, like this canon, referring to groups, buildings and sects that are notorious in law (declared) or notorious in fact (openly non-Catholic in the external forum). This should be obvious even to the Catholic sense of any person who considers this issue; for there is an obvious difference between an Eastern “Orthodox” individual, who doesn’t conceal his rejection of the Papacy, and a “traditionalist” heretic under Benedict XVI, who conceals his rejection of Catholic teaching under a false claim of fidelity to Vatican I’s teaching on the Papacy. The “concealment” of the latter could render him less notorious in the external forum, even though it doesn’t “excuse him” for obstinately adhering to a heretic. 

Right, but let us never forget that even one heresy means someone is not a Catholic.  Therefore if a priest publicly professes even one unconcealed heresy, even if it is one that is contrary to less well known dogmas, it is still enough to bind all who see it to admonish him, and then avoid communion with him (unless he humbly and publicly corrects himself, in which case it may have been only a material heresy).



MORE PROOF FOR THIS POINT ON NOTORIOUS IN FACT

The Code of Canon Law contains the distinctions between public, notorious in law, and notorious in fact.


Canon 2197.1-4, 1917 Code of Canon Law:

“A Crime is public: (1) if it is already commonly known or the circumstances are such as to lead to the conclusion that it can and will easily become so;

(2) Notorious by notoriety of law, [if it is] after a sentence by a competent judge that renders the matter an abjudicated thing, or after a confession by the offender made in court in accord with Canon 1750;

(3) Notorious by notoriety of fact, if it is publicly known and was committed under such circumstances that no clever evasion is possible and no legal excuse could excuse [the act]

(4) Occult, if it is not public; materially occult, if the delict is hidden; formally occult, if imputability [is not known]…”


To summarize the Definitions: 

Public = commonly known or can be commonly known

Notorious in law = declared

Notorious in fact = public and so notorious that it cannot be concealed or excused


Please remember the above quote from the Dimonds: Notorious in fact = public and so notorious it cannot be concealed or excused, according to their own admission.  While the so-called 1917 Code of Canon Law was not promulgated by a Catholic pope and does contain heresy, it can also be seen as a potential indicator of what the true Church laws have been, though it cannot be cited as a definitive or even a Catholic source thereof.

Since the meaning of notorious in law (declared) is obvious, we must continue to focus on notorious in fact. As we see above, the lack of “concealment” or “evasion” is the key in rendering something notorious in fact. The crime of the person who is notorious in fact cannot be concealed. While there are numerous examples we could consider, the Eastern “Orthodox” rejection of Vatican I is an excellent one. There is no concealment: they don’t accept the Papacy. They openly and without evasion reject it. They are, therefore, notorious in fact. Such a priest is openly non-Catholic and must be avoided.


Agreed. But there are more elements of Catholicism than just the Papacy. To reject or contradict any one of these publicly, with no (successful) attempt to hide the rejection or contradiction, makes one a notorious heretic, according to Dimond's own admission. And this is the crux of the issue, and it has been from the beginning. If you know the priest is a heretic because he publicly contradicts the Catholic Faith in some way, then you must avoid him under pain of schism, because HIS CRIME IS NOT CONCEALED!  He is notorious in fact! If his crime were concealed you would NOT KNOW he holds to a heretical position!

Read the encyclical of Pius IX, Graves Ac Diuturnae again and you will see the clear principles upon which the statement in bold is made. The Dimonds will argue (until they are blue in the face) that it is the declaration itself which obliges us to avoid such people, whereas their own definition of "notorious in fact" is the true measure of those with whom we MUST avoid in communicatio in sacris (communion in religious matters).




Peter Dimond strings together two SEPARATE clauses from the Council to create a clause of his own that "proves" his position

Now that we all agree that failure to conceal a crime means that we must avoid the criminal (as Peter Dimond has just admitted), let's observe how Dimond, in addition to redefining the word "conceal", changes the entire substance of the principle and invents one of his own!

Dimond invents a statement, "concealed in law", but none of the sources (including the so-called 1917 Code of Canon Law, promulgated by an antipope), use this term or anything like it. Now lets read the six sections in which Dimond himself uses the made up expression:

"It refers to those declared, like Luther, or those who are so notorious that their crime cannot be concealed in law."

"Concealed in law". The first time those words are put together in such a manner, and it is in a quote by Peter Dimond, not the Church. The only other times it is quoted as such is by Peter. He is making up his own rule, calling it Church discipline and hoping that others will follow him in his audacious error.

"In fact, we already saw that “heretics” in the Church’s ecclesiastical law are those who have been declared or are so notorious that it cannot be concealed in law. Simply put, the radical schismatics couldn’t have been more wrong."

Liar. Heretics are those who are declared or so notorious it cannot be concealed - PERIOD. Excused in law was a completely separate issue, and it pertains only to sentences that would have been declared if not for the fact that there were a legitimate excuse in law, as I explained in the Debate Analysis article, linked to atop this page (see therein St. Thomas' explanation about laymen who strike a cleric).

"[T]he Fourth Lateran Council clearly teaches that heretics, as well as those suspect of heresy and believers who defend heretics, are to be avoided in accordance with the Church’s declaration, or if someone’s crime is so notorious that it cannot be concealed in law."

Dimond, you liar, where are the words "concealed in law" in a Church document or decree? You will not find them.

"[T]he Church has made it clear that until someone is declared, or is so notorious that his heresy cannot be concealed in law, it is not necessarily a sin to receive a sacrament from him..."

Again, the Church has done no such thing. Concealed in law is a made up invention of Dimond's perverse schismatical mind, an invention that I have already exposed in the previous article, yet he continues to repeat it over and over.

"As we saw already in the Church’s decrees that do address the issue of avoiding heretics in every case, the absolute obligation to avoid people in every case kicks in with the Church’s declaration, or when he is so notorious that it cannot be concealed in law."

A lie, repeated often enough, becomes truth, according to Peter Dimond?

"The absolute obligation to avoid someone in every case comes with the declaration, or if it’s so notorious that it cannot be concealed in law."


I guess that answers my last question.

Peter goes to great lengths trying to prove his point by citing examples of heretics who were pronounced against by the Church (i.e. Elizabeth I, Luther). He attempts to prove that because the pope made explicit commands to avoid these people, that it was permissible to have communicatio in sacris with them before the declaration. This is nonsense. Once a person is aware that someone is a heretic, it means that their heresy and opposition to the true Catholic Faith is NOT CONCEALED, end of story. It is not complicated at all.

So in the case of Luther, if a person who had never had heard of him met up with him before the declaration, and for some reason Luther decided to pretend that he believed all the Church teaches, then you have a perfect example where a person would not be considered culpable (before the Church or before God) for communing with him.  But once the Church had exhausted her merciful attempts to call back Luther from what may have been material heresy, and once it was clear to the Church authorities that Luther indeed was a heretic, She made Her declaration so that nobody would fall victim to his malice against the Church's true teachings.  After that time, anyone who publicly communed with him would be considered excommunicated and schismatic, unless they could prove two things: 1) that Luther had concealed his heresies by tergiversation (i.e. by pretending he held to no heresies), and 2) that they had not been aware of the declaration of Luther's excommunication.


And most likely they would prove this either by the testimony of witnesses, or if they could not find these, by their ABJURATION of having been in communion with Luther.  And of course, if they truly were orthodox and did indeed reject Luther's heresies, they would have no problem at all abjuring.



Dimond desperately attempts to lump me in with others who have used a certain false argument - when I never used that argument!

DAVE L.’S MASSIVE BLUNDER ON THE FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL

Making the same argument as the two radical schismatics described above, Dave L. attacked our position and argument on the Fourth Lateran Council. He called our argument “buffoonery,” and asserted concerning the decree: “Keep in mind that we are still talking about non-heretical people who have been excommunicated for in some way helping a heretic…”


That is exactly right, that particular quote means exactly what I said it means and the Dimonds did not lift a finger to debunk my statement about it, neither before this point, nor in the remainder of their section entitled "Dave's Massive Blunder", which we will continue to examine.  All they do is attempt to group me together with others who have used a faulty understanding of another quote from the Council, a quote which I NEVER used in any of my articles or emails when defending the Catholic position on this topic.


In other words, he adopted the same argument as the schismatics above: that the passage we cited only concerns believers who defend and help heretics – not heretics or those suspect of heresy. Heretics and those suspect of heresy must be avoided without a declaration, they claim.

Dave continues: “To the Dimonds, those gatekeepers of hell: This decree has NOTHING to do with HERETICS being pointed out by the Church, O ye lying wolves! The whole thing is talking about those whom the Church has excommunicated for DEALING FAVOURABLY WITH HERETICS, even if they are not heretics themselves.”

Again, he brashly asserts that the Council is not in any way teaching that heretics or those suspect of it must be avoided after having been declared, but that the declaration only referred to believers who help heretics. He concludes by saying: “The Dimonds are making a mockery of good willed souls who truly want the truth. They are undeniably evil and do not be surprised if they are laughing at all of their followers behind closed doors.”


After allowing them to dig their heels in even further to this nightmare of a sinful and schismatical position they hold, yes it is hard to believe that they are not laughing at everyone.


Many other radical schismatics made the same argument about the phrase “suspect of heresy,” and how such persons must be avoided without a declaration, including Eli, the schismatic I recently debated.


There is a fallacy on behalf of Peter Dimond. He assumes, without any proof at all, that I at some point in time shared in this "struck with the sword of anathema" argument, but I have not. Hey I am the first to admit that I am only a fallible man. I thought to myself "Oh did I once use this argument in the last few years, and simply not remember?"

So for the sake of due diligence I did a thorough search of both my blog and the email I use to correspond with the Dimonds, as well as public forums in which I have debated Catholic issues in the past, and sorry to say, they are wrong. I have not used this argument even once, nor do I support it or agree with it. In fact, I agree with the Dimonds (as I stated in the Debate Analysis article linked to atop this page), that "suspect of heresy... struck with the sword of anathema", as it was used in that section of the Council, does mean a declaration that such a person is suspect of heresy.


If you heard the debate, you know what happened. Their massive blunder was exposed, their arrogant false accusations were demolished, and their ignorance of the councils was made plain for all to hear.


Here is another bit of disingenuous tripe from Dimond, who is evidently lumping me in with those he debated.  I was NOT a part of the debate, and I do NOT agree with all the arguments used by Dimond's opponent in that debate, even if I do agree with him that it is always sinful and schismatic to knowingly go to heretics for confession or communion.

It should probably be added that after we exposed all the radical schismatics in the debate – for they all make the same arguments – including Eli, R.I., Dave, Frank, Eric, etc. ad nauseam – schismatic Dave is now lying about his position on the matter. Rather than admit he was completely wrong, he now pretends as if he understood all along that when Lateran IV referred to those “suspect of heresy,” it was referring to those declared! Needless to say, this is an outrageous lie, as we can see from his obnoxious assertion quoted above. He boldly (and wrongly) declared that it’s false to hold that the Fourth Lateran Council taught anything about heretics being declared or pointed out by the Church.

Can Dimond present to me a conversation or article in which I ever even mentioned this section of the Fourth Lateran Council in relation to this issue? He cannot, because I have not used it in any discussion of this issue. He is probably (carelessly) assuming that I used that argument since "everyone else does". And he calls me a liar because he assumes that I held the same position as "everyone else" who opposes him on the issue of sacraments from undeclared heretics. And he calls me outrageous?

Again to sum up:  Dimond says I make a massive blunder on the Fourth Lateran Council, and then refutes an argument that I have not once made, EVER.  Whose is the massive blunder here?



Mixed Marriages, a principle, which applied to receiving communion or confession from heretics actually ELIMINATES receiving either sacrament from heretics!

MIXED MARRIAGES – A REALITY FATAL TO RADICAL SCHISMATIC THEOLOGY

In the debate with Eli, I brought up the fact that the Church has permitted mixed marriages. While the Church does not recommend mixed marriages – it actively discourages them – it’s a fact that marriages between Catholics and heretics have been approved by popes on certain occasions. In addition to other points, this fact is fatal to the radical schismatics’ argumentation. That’s because they argue that to knowingly communicate in a sacrament with a heretic is necessarily to communicate in the sin of the heretic. They analogize it to a contagious disease that is transmitted by touch: if you knowingly receive it from someone infected, you get the disease. That line of argumentation, while appealing to the emotions, is completely wrong; and it is refuted by the reality of mixed marriages. That’s why the radical schismatics get extremely uncomfortable when they begin to discuss mixed marriages.

In marriage, the two people exchange the sacrament between each other. That means that a Catholic is actually exchanging the sacrament of matrimony with a heretic.

Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio (#6), May 27, 1832: “Once the Bavarian faithful understands this necessity of maintaining Catholic unity, admonitions and warnings to them against joining in marriage with heretics will certainly not be in vain. If on occasion some grave cause should suggest such a mixed marriage, they will then apply for a dispensation from the Church and observe the conditions We mentioned above.”

If communicating with a heretic in a sacrament necessarily entailed communicating in the sin of the heretic (catching the disease), then the Church and the popes would have defected in approving mixed marriages (and thus approving mortal sin). The fact that the Church did approve such marriages on occasion proves that communication in a sacrament with a heretic does not necessarily entail communication in the sin of a heretic.


We will see how ridiculous the Dimonds are for attempting to use mixed marriages as an excuse to receive sacraments from known heretics.

First of all, let us not permit the Dimonds to trick us into believing that regular exposure to heretics (such as we would receive by frequenting their company, especially for religious purposes) is somehow not a peril to our souls. We should also remember that the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist are NOT absolutely necessary for salvation when is not able to find a non-heretical (i.e. Catholic) priest. Lastly, we cannot let them convince us that the precept of receiving the Eucharist binds us into seeking out heretics (since avoidance of heretics is an longstanding precept).

To gain an understanding of the truth of these statement, it is recommended to be familiar with the quotes from Catholic authority presented in following articles before reading further.

Absence of Salvation Among Heretics and Those in Communion with Them
On the Validity of Sacraments
Perfect Contrition, Remission of Sins Without a Priest

After you read those articles, you will see very clearly that God has left a means of salvation to every human person regardless of whether or not he can receive the sacraments of Penance or Eucharist.

Now we will quote the writings of two popes on the matter of mixed marriages, to show how the Church so abominates heresy that her very laws ELIMINATE (as far as possible) communicatio in sacris with heretics. The encyclicals are from Pope Benedict XIV, Magnae Nobis and Gregory XVI, Quas Vestro.

Note, also, that as of the time of this writing, the Dimonds' website contains zero references to the encyclical of Pope Gregory XVI, and only two references to that of Pope Benedict XIV. And these two references, on the pope being above canon law, are unrelated to the issue of mixed marriage, a topic on which there is virtually no discussion on the site, EXCEPT where it allegedly supports the Dimonds in their perverse position.

The quotes that show the Dimonds to be grasping at straws:


Pope Benedict XIV, Magnae Nobis, #2, 5: "Nor is it necessary for us to prove in full the antiquity of the discipline by which the Apostolic See always condemned the marriage of Catholics with heretics... Finally, from what We have said so far, it is obvious that the Apostolic See has always both disapproved and condemned such marriages unless the abjuration of the heresy preceded; it still abominates and detests them."

Pope Benedict XIV, Magnae Nobis, #4: "When a dispensation is requested to allow a Catholic to marry a heretic or to remove some canonical impediment which exists between the contracting parties, neither the permission nor the dispensation is granted except with the addition of this expressed law or condition, namely that the heresy must first be abjured. Pope Innocent X was on his guard and ordered that such dispensations should not be granted at all unless there was proof, supported by authentic documents, that the heretical fault of the heterodox contracting party had been rejected under oath"


So the Dimonds have failed to make clear to their readers that Church Law not only has "always condemned" mixed marriages, but that even when  mixed marriages have been given a dispensation, the Church has legislated that the non-Catholic spouse has to first ABJURE his heresy!

Pope Benedict XIV, Magnae Nobis, #2: "Also our predecessor Pope Clement XI, in the letters dated June 25, 1706, and found in the collection of his briefs and letters published in Rome in 1724, expresses himself no less clearly. On page 321 we read: "We consider it most important not to transgress the rules of the Church of God, of the Apostolic See, of our predecessors and of the holy people, all of whom shrink from the marriage of Catholics with heretics, unless the good of the entire Christian community should demand it."

Pope Gregory XVI, Quas Vestro, #1: "If, indeed, in certain places, because of difficulties of place and conditions, such marriages are tolerated, the reason is surely a sort of moderation. It is in no way to be considered approbation or approval, but merely a toleration, brought about not willingly but by necessity to avoid greater evils."

Now in order to determine what Pope Benedict means by "the good of the entire Christian community" and what Pope Gregory means by "greater evils", we have to discover exactly what the evil is of a mixed marriage. Once we know what this is, then we can know what "greater evils" are that must be avoided for "the good of the entire Christian community".

Pope Gregory XVI, Quas Vestro, #8: "Also see that such toleration towards mixed marriages does not extinguish the memory of the canons execrating such marriages as well as of the constant care of the Church to prevent her children from entering into such marriages to the loss of their souls."

There we have it. The evil of mixed marriages it the loss of souls, pure and simple. So the only possible way for them to be tolerated by the Church is to prevent greater evils, and the only possible greater evil than the loss of the souls of the spouses and family is the loss of the souls of them and others of their nation, hence the concession sometimes made to Catholic princes or princesses in marrying heretics.

Now let's apply the principles we have learned in regard to mixed marriages to receiving sacraments from undeclared heretics. If the Dimonds want to use mixed marriages as an excuse to receive sacraments from heretics, then let the heretics do the same thing as they would be required to do by the Church:

Pope Benedict XIV, Magnae Nobis, #4: "When a dispensation is requested to allow a Catholic to marry a heretic or to remove some canonical impediment which exists between the contracting parties, neither the permission nor the dispensation is granted except with the addition of this expressed law or condition, namely that the heresy must first be abjured. Pope Innocent X was on his guard and ordered that such dispensations should not be granted at all unless there was proof, supported by authentic documents, that the heretical fault of the heterodox contracting party had been rejected under oath"

Wait a sec... if a priest who professes to be Catholic, but has an UNCONCEALED heretical fault ABJURES his heretical fault under oath, then he is not a heretic at all any more is he?  No, obviously he is not.

See how the Dimonds' usage of mixed marriages DOES NOT HELP THEIR SCHISMATIC POSITION, and in fact DESTROYS IT if we apply the same canonical principles to priests who offer the sacraments?



Dimond capitalized on one phrase that I worded poorly

ONE RADICAL SCHISMATIC’S PATHETIC ATTEMPT TO ADDRESS THE MIXED MARRIAGES ARGUMENT

One extremely dishonest radical schismatic named Dave attempted to respond to our point about mixed marriages in this way:

“Dimond brought up the Sacrament of Matrimony, mixed marriages to be exact, as an example of "permission" by the Church to commune sacramentally with heresy… Just as a catechumen would have been permitted to join parts of the Mass, on account of his placing himself in subjection to the Church (by which fact he is agreeing to be subject to the rites of the true religion and the true God), the mixed marriage was only ever permitted when the non-Catholic spouse pledged subjection to the Church in all things spiritual, namely agreeing to raise the children Catholic, to let them attend Catholic school, Catholic worship, etc., and promised to keep silent about any heresy. In other words, mixed-marriages, when allowed by the Church, were NOT communion with heresy, and all effort was made to banish heresy from them.”

He responds by arguing that 1) we say the Church permitted people to commune sacramentally “with heresy.” To anyone who possesses even basic reading ability or listening skills, this is an obvious lie. We pointed out that to communicate in the sacrament with a heretic is not necessarily to communicate in the sin of the heretic – i.e., it is not to communicate “with heresy.” The Church’s past approval of mixed marriages proves that fact. He lies, however, and says we say that the Church allows communication “with heresy.” When people engage in such willful distortion, it’s because they have no argument. It’s also a mortal sin to so clearly distort the words of another.


Nonsense. The Dimonds position is that one can have communicatio in sacris with heretics. That you can go to a herteic and communicate in the sacraments at his hands.  In the external forum, that IS communion with heresy, no matter what the Dimonds want to call it. I am not the liar here.


2) He then argues against our point by declaring that mixed marriages were only allowed when the non-Catholic pledged submission to the Church in all things spiritual, agreed to raise the children as Catholics, etc. This is another distortion.


Actually, technically Peter is right. He capitalized on an accidental omission of mine. Here is how the statement is worded now (and the wording now is what I intended from the beginning and is exactly in line with the two encyclicals presented above):

"Just as a catechumen would have been permitted to join parts of the Mass, on account of his placing himself in subjection to the Church (by which fact he is agreeing to be subject to the rites of the true religion and the true God), the mixed marriage was only ever permitted when the non-Catholic spouse pledged complete spiritual subjection to the Church in all things relating to the marriage, namely agreeing to raise the children Catholic, to let them attend Catholic school, Catholic worship, and promised to keep silent about any heresy. In other words, mixed-marriages, when allowed by the Church, were NOT communion with heresy, but a complete subjugation of the heretical spouse to the Catholic spouse in all matters of religion, insofar as the contract of marriage was concerned."

That one last clause is all that is needed to make the whole statement blamelessly truthful, without any distortion whatsoever. It was simply a poor wording on my part; I should have included that clause in the first place, because that is exactly what I meant, and it is perfectly in line with the aforementioned encyclicals of Popes Benedict XIV and Gregory XVI.


By the way, the radical schismatic whose argument is refuted above (Dave),

Actually, it is not refuted, now that you see what I meant in the first place.  Anyway, moving on:

after having come to the knowledge of what was occurring with the Vatican II Church through our information, then returned to the Vatican II sect and the New Mass. That is to say, after he had been fully convinced of the sedevacantist position; after he had seen all the evidence of the New Mass’ invalidity; after he had seen all the proof on our website for the antipopes’ astounding apostasy (!), he went back to the Great Harlot. He also changed his position on the salvation dogma and water baptism many times in this period. He eventually changed his position again, and rejected the Vatican II Church. He said he needed to become a priest. He said he was a prime candidate for the priesthood because people notice him when he goes out. He called our monastery, spoke to Sr. Anne, and said that people would listen to what he says because he’s “tall,” “really good-looking” and “well-built.” He said this repeatedly. Obviously, a person who would say this is filled with vanity, wickedness and pride – a prime candidate for the promotion of diabolical schism.


Yes, that is me they are talking about, and I do not deny that facts that they declare, however their conclusions, where they presume to read my heart are grossly presumptuous.  I I already answered their attempt to poison the well, as you can read in my Retractions and Clarifications page (scroll down to Accusations from "Most Holy Family Monastery"). The simple fact is that at that stage in my conversion, I was confused, vain and sinful, God have mercy!



THE FIFTH LATERAN COUNCIL –THE RADICAL SCHISMATICS’ BIG ERROR ON THEIR FAVORITE QUOTE

In the writing of the radical schismatics, the following quote from the Fifth Lateran Council appeared perhaps more than any other. The following translation is how they would basically always present the passage.

Pope Leo X, Fifth Lateran Council, Session 8: "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 and punished as detestable and odious heretics and infidels who are undermining the Catholic faith."

After quoting it, they would argue that this statement dogmatically declares that whoever holds a heresy must be automatically avoided in every way. For example, radical schismatics Dave and Frank declared with glee: “[Fifth Lateran Council]: In every way, except for the reception of the sacraments dear Dimonds? Contradicting the dogmatic Council, dear Dimonds?”

The simple fact is that it is a dogmatic Council and by so lightly setting aside such a solemn command (which is of course only disciplinary, since it impels us to action, not to belief), they are indeed contradicting a disciplinary command in a dogmatic Council.

But it is not a dogma that all heretics must be avoided all the time - and I am sorry if that is the impression that I hold to the contrary, because I do not.  There are times when it is lawful to be in the presence of a heretic, even though never desirable, unless he has honestly expressed a desire to be taught the Catholic Faith.  This is clear and obvious truth, since you have to buy bread or eggs from someone, and that someone is more likely to be a heretic than a Catholic.  The fact that I discussed this principle in a previous article shows that I never considered this decree to be binding Catholics absolute avoidance of all heretics all the time.  But it is still a discipline that we ought to obey as best we can.



Dimond sacrilegiously recruits and distorts St. Thomas to defend his schismatic position

Next, Dimond goes on to make a long argument about St. Thomas, and he thinks that St. Thomas expressed permission to go to heretics before they are declared, while I continue to maintain that he used the word "sinners", instead of heretics for a very good reason. See the article "Imposing" or not for more on this.

But Dimond took another quote from the Summa out of context (one where St. Thomas quotes begins by saying "some have said"), and tries to argue that the toleration of heretics expressed therein means that anyone can go to certain publicly knowable heretics for the sacraments. In order to get a better bearing on the context of any alleged "toleration of heretics", I would simply suggest some reading that is more to the point, and which expresses St. Thomas' position of the Church and its alleged "toleration of heretics". Please read the Second Part of the Summa, Question 11, Art. 3 - "Whether heretics ought to be tolerated". A brief summary is that "toleration" on the part of the Church serves only one purpose: To test and see whether the person is truly a heretic or not, and if they are to proceed against them to the fullest extent possible (up to and including execution).  But this period of grace is NOT so that those who are actually in the same geographical location as the heretic, and who can see that he is notorious in fact in such and such a heretical or schismatic belief, can fritter away their salvation by befriending him or, worse, sharing religious communion with him.  It is solely a mercy to the potential heretic, giving him time to repudiate his errors in a show of good will so that he can avoid punishment.



Dimond also uses arguments from the so-called 1917 Code of Canon Law, but this is inadmissible as any kind of proof, since it was promulgated by a public heretic.  While the canons contained therein may serve as somewhat of an indicator as to what the true Church law commands, we have seen enough heresy taught in it to know that it cannot be cited as a definitive source of canon law, let alone as a Catholic one.  Canons from 1917 can only be accepted as correct if they are not in any way contrary to laws promulgated by Popes St. Peter to Pius IX.



Finally, Dimond uses St. Cyril of Alexandria to "prove" his point, but still fails to convince:


INTERESTING QUOTE FROM ST. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA

In the debate, I made reference to an interesting quote from St. Cyril of Alexandria. St. Cyril, a doctor of the Church, played a prominent role (arguably the most prominent) at the Council of Ephesus, and in the condemnation of Nestorius.

We and others have pointed out that after Nestorius taught heresy, Catholics could have (and some did) reject him as outside the Church and devoid of Catholic authority. They came to that correct conclusion before any official deposition of Nestorius occurred. However, to illustrate how the Tradition of the Church makes it absolutely obligatory in every case to avoid someone after the declaration is issued, this quote is important.

St. Cyril of Alexandria, to Pope Celestine, obviously after Nestorius’ lapse: “We have not confidently abstained from communion with him (Nestorius) before informing you of this; condescend, therefore, to unfold your judgment, that we may clearly know whether we ought to communicate with him who cherishes such erroneous doctrine.” (NPNF, 2nd Series, Vol. 14, p. 192)

This quote is another example of the principle I’ve been covering in this article and which I explained in the debate. The absolute obligation to avoid someone in every case comes with the declaration, or if it’s so notorious that it cannot be concealed in law.


Concealed in law, huh? Where have I heard that expression before?

St. Cyril evidently did not feel confident enough to determine on his own whether or not Nestorius should be denounced as heretical or merely erroneous. That would presumably be why he asked, and he was obviously ready to assent to the answer he should receive. But today we have the benefit of many more definitions of dogma, we can more easily know who is an who is not explicitly contradicting divinely revealed doctrines, i.e. who is and is not a heretic, therefore this quote from St. Cyril is nowhere near convincing argument in favour of regular attendance of the Mass of a public and unconcealed heretic or schismatic.


ENGLAND

When the Protestant revolt occurred in England, there were priests who administered true Communion to remnant Catholics in the traditional rite of the Church. However, some of these priests were compromised heretics who simultaneously distributed the heretical and invalid Protestant bread to false “Catholics.” This is reported in The Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism, in the section authored by Fr. Edward Rishton. Rishton was a Catholic priest who was tried and condemned to death with Blessed Edmund Campion. He explains what was occurring:

“She [Elizabeth] also compelled the people to frequent the churches as before, and according to the act, inflicted a fine of one shilling upon every one who should be absent [from the New Mass] on holy days. And thus by force or fraud it came to pass that the largest portion of the Catholics yielded by degrees to their enemies, and did not refuse from time to time publicly to enter the schismatical churches and to hear sermons therein, and to receive communion in those conventicles. At the same time they had Mass said secretly in their own houses by those very priests who in church publicly celebrated the spurious liturgy, and sometimes by others who had not defiled themselves with heresy; yea, and very often in those disastrous times were on one and the same day partakers of the table of our Lord and of the table of devils, that is, of the blessed Eucharist and the Calvinistic supper. Yea, and what is still more marvelous and more sad, sometimes the priest saying Mass at home, for the sake of those Catholics whom he knew to be desirous of them, carried about him Hosts consecrated according to the rite of the Church, with which he communicated them at the very time in which he was giving to other Catholics more careless about the faith the bread prepared for them according to the heretical rite.” (Fr. Edward Rishton, The Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism, orig. published 1585, Tan Books, 1988, p. 267.)

Fr. Rishton was martyred with Blessed Edmund Campion. Therefore, we think that most would consider Rishton to have been a true Catholic. He explains that some Catholics were receiving the true Eucharist from priests who had compromised with heresy – priests who distributed the heretical and invalid Protestant bread. Rishton says that the Catholics who received the true Eucharist from such priests – again, heretical and compromised priests – were more careful about the faith.

Fr. Rishton obviously doesn’t condemn these people as heretical for receiving Communion from such heretics; for he recognized that it was a necessity, that they didn’t agree with the heretic, partake in his heresy, or receive the invalid bread which he gave to others.

As we can see, Fr. Rishton and the Catholics of that period did not view this issue as the radical schismatics do. The radical schismatics would have to condemn Fr. Rishton as a heretic. All of this demonstrates how their position is false, schismatic and contrary to the understanding of the Church throughout history.


The Dimonds like this story because these two men make it appear to be permissible to compromise on the obligation to avoid communicatio in sacris with heretics, that is if you consider these men to have been not only true Catholics, but good Catholics. The Dimonds play the association game and hope that their readers will be emotionally swayed into liking and revering Fr. Rishton because 1) he was ostensibly killed in the name of Catholicism, 2) he is associated with a man, Edmund Campion, who also ostensibly died in the name of Catholicism and is regarded by some false Catholics as "blessed" or even "saint" Edmund Campion. The Dimonds do this, realizing that it does not really make a convincing argument of anything at all, but hope the emotional appeal of what appears to be a courageous martyrdom, will lead their readers into accepting the conclusion that the Dimonds have chosen to draw from the story.

Edmund Campion is considered to be "blessed" by the Dimonds, owing to his "beatification" by antipope Leo XIII. But they have succeeded in sticking a proverbial foot in the mouth yet again. Campion was ostensibly regarded as a martyr, despite that he publicly manifested, right before his death, a rejection of Pope St. Pius V's command to English Catholics, that they should regard Elizabeth I as a heretic and a usurper of the throne, that she had forfeited all right of Queenship over England, as recorded in St. Pius V's bull of excommunication: Yes, that is right, the man that the Dimonds are hoping will prop up Fr. Rishton's credibility died in defiance of the pope!

First, let's read the relevant sections of the Bull excommunicating Elizabeth I, which also threatens excommunication to all those who do not assent to its decree:

Pope St. Pius V, Bull Excomunicating Elizabeth I, 1570: "1. But the number of the ungodly has so much grown in power that there is no place left in the world which they have not tried to corrupt with their most wicked doctrines; and among others, Elizabeth, the pretended queen of England and the servant of crime, has assisted in this, with whom as in a sanctuary the most pernicious of all have found refuge. This very woman, having seized the crown and monstrously usurped the place of supreme head of the Church in all England together with the chief authority and jurisdiction belonging to it, has once again reduced this same kingdom- which had already been restored to the Catholic faith and to good fruits- to a miserable ruin...

"4. And moreover (we declare) her to be deprived of her pretended title to the aforesaid crown and of all lordship, dignity and privilege whatsoever...

"5. And also (declare) the nobles, subjects and people of the said realm and all others who have in any way sworn oaths to her, to be forever absolved from such an oath and from any duty arising from lordshop. fealty and obedience; and we do, by authority of these presents , so absolve them and so deprive the same Elizabeth of her pretended title to the crown and all other the abovesaid matters. We charge and command all and singular the nobles, subjects, peoples and others afore said that they do not dare obey her orders, mandates and laws. Those who shall act to the contrary we include in the like sentence of excommunication."

Edmund Campion, the Dimonds' "champion", publicly and without concealment contradicted the latter command of Pope St. Pius V by recognizing her as queen, and therefore included himself in the excommunication.  Oh what miserable blindness!

Catholic Encyclopedia, Edmund Campion: "On the scaffold, when interrupted and taunted to express his mind concerning the Bull of Pius V excommunicating Elizabeth, he answered only by a prayer for her, "your Queen and my Queen"."

Thus did Campion publicly manifest that he did not assent to the declaration of Pius V that she was not the lawful sovereign, nor to the threat of excommunication pronounced against those who would remain subject to her as such. Thus did he compromise the fear and obedience of God and the Vicar of Jesus Christ for respect of persons. Campion was sorely blinded and died publicly excommunicated by his own blind disobedience to Pope St. Pius V. It is no wonder, then, that Leo XIII beatified him, since Leo XIII himself was a man of compromises.


Fr. Rishton was martyred with Blessed Edmund Campion. Therefore, we think that most would consider Rishton to have been a true Catholic.


Would they?  In the end, the Dimonds' attempt to bolster Fr. Rishton's credibility by associating him with a public rejector of a solemn papal bull only serves to further highlight the overwhelming blindness that seems to have overcome the world following the alleged election Leo XIII, and which overshadows the fallacious theology of the Dimonds.

In the end, when you understand that all heretics (even those undeclared) sin against Divine Law by performing the sacraments, and that to ask someone to commit a sin is itself a sin, then destroying the phony arguments of schismatics and heretics like the Dimonds is like shooting fish in a barrel.

If you know a priest is a heretic (or if you can know because it is public and not concealed), then you are forbidden under pain of mortal sin, schism and eternal damnation to approach him for any religious reason at all except to convert him (and even here admonish once or twice, then get the heck out of there if he doesn't accept correction).



What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

St. Thomas Aquinas against Freemasonic Politicians

Summa Theologica, Secunda Secundae Partis, Q. 104, Art. 6, ad 3: "Man is bound to obey secular princes in so far as this is required by order of justice. Wherefore if the prince's authority is not just but usurped, or if he commands what is unjust, his subjects are not bound to obey him, except perhaps accidentally, in order to avoid scandal or danger."

To put this information into context, please read this article.




Sunday, October 9, 2011

Re: Understanding Christ's Natures



Description:

Articles to refute Dimond's allegations of "Radical Schismatic", specifically addressing his distortion of our position on who is and is not schismatic, depending upon the heresies (known or unknown) of a religious superior:

http://willingcatholicmartyr.blogspot.com/2010/02/on-absence-of-salvation-among-heretics.html

http://willingcatholicmartyr.blogspot.com/2009/06/first-and-most-recent-popes-and.html

And his attacks about my past sins are answered here: http://willingcatholicmartyr.blogspot.com/2009/03/retractions.html

The corrected text from the article the Dimond's quoted (entitled "Most Holy Family Monastery are wrong even when they are right") is as follows:

"This teaching from Chalcedon was treating of the Divine and human natures in the hypostatic union. Just as Jesus Christ on the Cross yielded up His human soul and it separated physically from His human body, it has to be said that His Divine Personhood was the link between His soul and body, which although separated (that is the soul from the body and only temporarily) were still connected by the unity of the same Person of the Word.

"Pope St. Leo, in promulgating this decree, defended the doctrine of Christ's true humanity and true Divinity, united in one Person."

For more, read Question 17 and Question 25 of the Third Part of the Summa by St. Thomas.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sermon of Jean-Marie Vianney, Holy Priest of the Most High God: St. Nicholas and the Three Girls


Tell me, now, my brethren, on what foundation are rash judgments and sentences based? Alas! They are based upon very slight evidence only, and most often upon what "someone said." But perhaps you are going to tell me that you have seen and heard this and that. Unfortunately, you could be mistaken in the testimony of both your sight and hearing, as you are going to see.... Here is an example which will show you, better than anything else can, how easily we can be mistaken and how we are nearly always wrong.
 
What would you have said, my dear brethren, if you had been living during the time of St. Nicholas and you had seen him coming in the middle of the night, walking around the house of three young girls, watching carefully and taking good care that no one saw him. Just look at that bishop, you would have thought at once, degrading and dishonouring his calling; he is a dreadful hypocrite. He seems to be a saint when he is in church, and look at him now, in the middle of the night, at the door of three girls who do not have a very good reputation!
 
And yet, my dear brethren, this bishop, who would certainly have been condemned by you, was indeed a very great saint and most dear to God. What he was doing was the best deed in the world. In order to spare these young persons the shame of begging, he came in the night and threw money in to them through their window because he feared that it was poverty which had made them abandon themselves to sin.
 
This should teach us never to judge the actions of our neighbour without having reflected very well beforehand. Even then, of course, we are only entitled to make such judgments if we are responsible for the behaviour of the people concerned, that is, if we are parents or employers, and so on. As far as all others are concerned, we are nearly always wrong.
 
Yes indeed, my brethren, I have seen people making wrong judgments about the intentions of their neighbour when I have known perfectly well that these intentions were good. I have tried in vain to make them understand, but it was no good. Oh! Cursed pride, what evil you do and how many souls do you lead to Hell! Answer me this, my dear brethren. Are the judgments which we make about the actions of our neighbour any better founded thanthose which would have been made by anyone who might have seen St. Nicholas walking around that house and trying to find the window of the room wherein were the three girls?
 
It is not to us that other people will have to render an account of their lives, but to God alone. But we wish to set ourselves up as judges of what does not concern us. The sins of others are for others, that is, for themselves, and our sins are our own business. God will not ask us to render an account of what others have done but solely of what we ourselves have done. Let us watch over ourselves, then, and not torment ourselves so much about others, thinking over and talking about what they have done or said.
 
All that, my dear brethren, is just so much labor lost, and it can only arise from a pride comparable to that of the Pharisee who concerned himself solely with thinking about and misjudging his neighbour instead of occupying himself with thoughts of his own sins and weeping for his own poor efforts. Let us leave the conduct of our neighbour on one side, my dear brethren, and content ourselves with saying, like the holy King David: Lord, give me the grace to know myself as I really am, so that I may see what displeases Thee, and how to correct it, repent, and obtain pardon.
 
No, my dear brethren, while anyone passes his time in watching the conduct of other people, he will neither know nor belong to God.