Category Archives: The Faith

The Task of Redemption

St. John Paul II describes how Christ’s act of redeeming us from slavery to sin is both a free gift and a task:

“In the mystery of Redemption, Christ’s victory over evil is given to us not simply for our personal advantage, but also as a task. We accept that task as we set out upon the way of the interior life, working consciously on ourselves—with Christ as our Teacher. The Gospel calls us to follow this very path. Christ’s call “Follow me!” is echoed on many pages of the Gospel and is addressed to different people—not only to the Galilean fishermen whom Jesus calls to become his Apostles (cf. Mt 4:19, Jn 1:43), but also, for example, to the rich young man in the Synoptic Gospels (cf. Mt 19:16-22, Mk 10:17:22, Lk 18:18-23). Jesus’s conversation with him is one of the key texts to which we must constantly return, from various points of view, as I did, for example, in the encyclical Veritatis Splendor.
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Eyes Shut

“Even in the very depths of the worst possible of worst-case scenarios of crisis in the Catholic Church, denial is not helpful. The crocodile does not care how tightly we close our eyes as it eats us.” — Hilary White

The habit of neglecting true books

“IT is an interesting speculation by what means the Book lost its old position in this country. This is not only an interesting speculation, but one which nearly concerns a vital matter. For if men fall into the habit of neglecting true books in an old and traditional civilization, the inaccuracy of their judgments and the illusions to which they will be subject, must increase.

“To take but one example: history. The less the true historical book is read and the more men depend upon ephemeral statement, the more will legend crystallize, the harder will it be to destroy in the general mind some comforting lie, and the great object-lesson of politics (which is an accurate knowledge of how men have acted in the past) will become at last unknown.”

— Hilaire Belloc: On the Decline of the Book

On Heresy

“Therefore, heresy is so called from the Greek word meaning ‘choice,’ by which each chooses according to his own will what he pleases to teach or believe. But we are not permitted to believe whatever we choose, nor to choose whatever someone else has believed. We have the apostles of God as authorities, who did not themselves of their own will choose what they would believe, but faithfully transmitted to the nations the teaching received from Christ. So, even if an angel from heaven should preach otherwise, he shall be called anathema.” — St. Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – 636): Etymologies, 8, 3.

Society is Dissolving

“Cultures spring from religions; ultimately the vital force which maintains any culture is its philosophy, its attitude toward the universe; the decay of a religion involves the decay of the culture corresponding to it—we see that most clearly in the breakdown of Christendom today. The bad work begun at the Reformation is bearing its final fruit in the dissolution of our ancestral doctrines—the very structure of our society is dissolving.” — Hilaire Belloc: The Great Heresies, Chap. III

Schism and Heresy

“Heresy and schism are distinguished in respect of those things to which each is opposed essentially and directly. For heresy is essentially opposed to faith, while schism is essentially opposed to the unity of ecclesiastical charity. Wherefore just as faith and charity are different virtues, although whoever lacks faith lacks charity, so too schism and heresy are different vices, although whoever is a heretic is also a schismatic, but not conversely. This is what Jerome says in his commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians [In Ep. ad Tit. iii, 10]: “I consider the difference between schism and heresy to be that heresy holds false doctrine while schism severs a man from the Church.” Nevertheless, just as the loss of charity is the road to the loss of faith, according to 1 Timothy 1:6: “From which things,” i.e. charity and the like, “some going astray, are turned aside into vain babbling,” so too, schism is the road to heresy. Wherefore Jerome adds (In Ep. ad Tit. iii, 10) that “at the outset it is possible, in a certain respect, to find a difference between schism and heresy: yet there is no schism that does not devise some heresy for itself, that it may appear to have had a reason for separating from the Church.” — St. Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 39, a. 1, ad 3

Atheist for a Day

“Often even fully catechized Christians act from unbelief. For the man who succumbs to a terrible temptation is playing atheist for the day. He might think himself Christian on other days, when there are no significant temptations. But he is fooling himself. For God IS watching.” — David Warren

Facing the Future on the Downside of the Liberal Revolution

“When everything that smacks of the transcendent is eliminated from the public life of a culture, something has to take its place. In our case it is largely commerce and the ideals and ideas that commerce fosters. Moreover, the liberty that accompanies such a commercial society is a liberty whose chief effect is the dissolving of traditional ties and the destruction of traditional communities, whether that takes place because of direct attacks on the family and chastity or indirectly because of an economic system that works as a solvent in hundreds of ways: driving mothers out of the home, exploiting sex to sell products, moving families about to seek employment, or emptying rural areas of farm families.” — Thomas Storck