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Bad Examples Undermine Our Teachings

Convert Others By Our Good Example / Practice What We Preach

Defense of the Faithful Against Errors & Temptations is Greater Than Bodily Protection

Duty to Profess / Defend the Faith

Duty to Reject Strange Doctrine

How To Conduct Ourselves

Marriage Between Catholics & Non-Catholics

Non-Association with Heretics / Schismatics

Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke

Tips for the Conversion of Sinners

Unlawful to Force Others to Embrace the Catholic Faith

We Must Attend To Our Own Souls

We Must Have Charity For All People

We Must Not Refrain From Correcting Our Neighbor

We Must Persevere

Zeal for Souls

Zeal Without Knowledge May Be Dangerous

Misc.

Category
Quotation

Bad Examples Undermine Our Teachings

"Whoever bids other folks to do right, but gives evil example by acting the opposite way, is like a foolish weaver who weaves quickly with one hand and unravels the cloth just as quickly with the other." (St. Thomas More)

Also See: Convert Others By Our Good Example / Practice What We Preach | How To Conduct Ourselves | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | We Must Attend To Our Own Souls | Catholics Not Living Their Faith Will Be Swept Away | Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment | Cannot Live as One Chooses | Greater Knowledge / Greater Blame | We Must Persevere | Tips for Apologists | Conversion / Repentance | The Church Can Forgive All Sin  

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Convert Others By Our Good Example / Practice What We Preach

"What will convert [your neighbor] will be the sanctity of your own life!" (St. John Vianney)

"We are taught better by deeds than by words." (St. Maximus of Turin)

"You must practice first, all that you desire to teach others." (St. Bernardine of Siena)

"[D]o first thyself that which thou wishest another to do, and so encourage others by thy example." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

"For this is a worse mischief, when one who teaches well in words, impugns the teaching by his deeds." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Be sure that you first preach by the way you live. If you do not, people will notice that you say one thing, but live otherwise, and your words will bring only cynical laughter and a derisive shake of the head." (St. Charles Borromeo)

"[I]n human actions and passions, wherein experience is of great weight, example moves more than words." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Let them show, also, examples of virtue, so as to prove that a Christian is a hater of idleness and self indulgence, that he stands firm and unconquered in the midst of adversity. Examples of that kind have a power of moving people to dispositions of soul that make for salvation" (Pope Leo XIII, "Graves De Communi Re", 1901 A.D.)

"In addition, example should accompany words. We should show ourselves in all things as an example of good works so that our opponents will respect us and not have anything bad to say about us. Deeds should not be silent without words, nor should the lack of deeds shame the words." (Pope Clement XIII, "A Quo Die", 1758 A.D.)

"[A]ll should be reminded that nothing more effectively paves the way for the erring to find the truth and to embrace the Church than the faith of Catholics, when it is confirmed by the example of upright living." (Instruction of the Holy Office, 1949 A.D.)

"Great is the force of example; particularly with those who are earnestly seeking the truth, and who, from a certain inborn virtuous disposition, are striving to live an honorable and upright life, to which class very many of your fellow-citizens belong. If the spectacle of Christian virtues exerted the powerful influence over the heathens blinded, as they were, by inveterate superstition, which the records of history attest, shall we think it powerless to eradicate error in the case of those who have been initiated into the Christian religion?" (Pope Leo XIII, "Longinqua", 1895 A.D.)

"To ever specious argument that would seem to counsel silence on our part, we oppose this other - namely, that charity counts as nothing either her own proper interests or the difficulties of the times. Even though no man is willing to follow our example, what then? Are we ourselves, just for that, to let duty alone? In the fiery furnace the children of the Babylonish captivity chanted their canticle to the Lord, without making any reckoning of the multitude who set truth aside: they were quite sufficient for one another, merely three as they were!" (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Bad Examples Undermine Our Teachings | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness | How To Conduct Ourselves | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Defense of the Faithful Against Errors & Temptations is Greater Than Bodily Protection

"[I]t is a greater thing to employ spiritual arms in defending the faithful against the errors of heretics and the temptations of the devil, than to protect the faithful by means of bodily weapons." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Duty to Profess / Defend the Faith | Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | Gospel Doesn't Support False Tolerance | One Should Not Be Open Minded to Error | Duty to Reject Strange Doctrine | Heresy/Heretics & Schism/Schismatics | The Anathema is an Act of Love | Our Behavior / Tips | Truth / Error / Nature of Man | Zeal for Souls

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Duty to Profess / Defend the Faith

Note: History proves that being a faithful Christian may be dangerous to one's bodily health. Consult appropriate, competent Church authorities for assistance in interpreting / applying items herein. We are not responsible for anything which may occur due to use of this site.

"Can. 1325 § 1 The faithful of Christ are bound to profess their faith whenever their silence, evasiveness, or manner of acting encompasses an implied denial of the faith, contempt for religion, injury to God, or scandal for a neighbor." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Every Christian is obliged to lay down his life rather than deny any of the articles of our holy Faith: it was the debt we contracted with Jesus Christ when he adopted us in Baptism as his Brethren." (Dom Gueranger)

"...the Christian who has attained the use of reason has more to do than suffer for his faith: he must confess it before persecutors and tyrants when they bid him deny it, and also before that more permanent tribunal of the world and his own passions. No man has received the glorious character of a Christian on the condition that he should never own himself one." (Dom Gueranger)

"If a heretic perverts a whole community with a false doctrine, a private individual is held, when he is able to do it, to obstruct it at the risk of his life. If, in fact, anyone is bound to assist at the risk of life the common temporal good, how much greater reason the spiritual good. All the more in the case where many individuals are found in extreme necessity." (Billuart) 

"For a man ought to suffer anything and everything, rather than divide the Church of God, and it is no less glorious to incur martyrdom to avoid schism than to avoid idolatry; in fact in my opinion it is more so. For in one case a man is a martyr for the sake of his own single soul, but in the other for the sake of the whole Church." (Dionysious of Alexandria, 252 A.D.) 

"Amid such reckless and widespread folly of opinion, it is, as We have said, the office of the Church to undertake the defense of truth and uproot errors from the mind, and this charge has to be at all times sacredly observed by her, seeing that the honor of God and the salvation of men are confided to her keeping. But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: 'Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.' To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is the characteristic of true Christians, and very frequently by such display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are thwarted. Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: 'Have confidence; I have overcome the world.' Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace. The chief elements of this duty consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine, and in propagating it to the utmost of our power. For, as is often said, with the greatest truth, there is nothing so hurtful to Christian wisdom as that it should not be known, since it possesses, when loyally received, inherent power to drive away error. So soon as Catholic truth is apprehended by a simple and unprejudiced soul, reason yields assent." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890 A.D.)

Also See: Defense of the Faithful Against Errors & Temptations is Greater Than Bodily Protection | Duty to Reject Strange Doctrine | Gospel Doesn't Support False Tolerance | One Should Not Be Open Minded to Error | Heresy/Heretics & Schism/Schismatics | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Our Behavior / Tips | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | Truth / Error / Nature of Man | Tips for Apologists

Can Catholic Dogma Ever Change?

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Duty to Reject Strange Doctrine

"But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed! Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ. Now I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin. For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it, and progressed in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my race, since I was even more a zealot for my ancestral traditions." (St. Paul, cf. Gal. 1:7-14)

"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works." (2 Jn. 1:10-11)

"Hold fast to the faith of holy Innocent, who is the son of Anastasius of blessed memory and his successor in the apostolic throne; receive no strange doctrine, however shrewd and prudent you may think yourself." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"The defense of Catholicism, indeed, necessarily demands that in the profession of doctrines taught by the Church all shall be of one mind and all steadfast in believing; and care must be taken never to connive, in any way, at false opinions, never to withstand them less strenuously than truth allows." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885 A.D.)

"Fly from them and from their doctrines; do not go near them, for you know that whoever is found in a place where outrage has been offered to the king has to come into court to be questioned according to law. Even if he can prove he was not guilty he will be condemned for want of zeal. Do not sit with heretics nor associate with apostates. It would be better to dwell with a demon than with a renegade. For if you abjure the demon he will flee, for he cannot stand before the name of Jesus, but even were you to exorcise the apostate ten thousand times he would not cease from his wickedness or renounce his folly. It would be better to teach demons than to try to convince heretics." (St. Ephraem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church)

"I have learned however, that certain persons from elsewhere, who have evil doctrine, have stayed with you; but you did not allow them to sow it among you, and you stopped your ears so that you would not receive what they sow...Do not err, my brethren: the corrupters of families will not inherit the kingdom of God. And if they who do these things according to the flesh suffer death, how much more if a man corrupt by evil teaching the faith of God, for the sake of which Jesus Christ was crucified? A man become so foul will depart into unquenchable fire; and so also will anyone who listens to him." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, hearer of St. John the Apostle, c. 110 A.D.)

"In a matter of such importance and where the seduction is so easy in these times, it is urgent that the Christian watch himself from the beginning. He should fear the least danger, avoid every occasion, and take the greatest precautions. Use all the prudence of the serpent, while keeping in your heart the simplicity of the dove, according to the evangelical counsel. Fathers and mothers should be wary of inviting strangers into their homes or admitting them to domestic intimacy, at least insofar as their faith is not sufficiently known. They should try to first ascertain that an astute recruiter of the sect does not hide himself in the guise of a friend, teacher, doctor or other benefactor. Oh, in how many families has the wolf penetrated in sheep's clothing!" (Pope Leo XIII, "Custodi Di Quella Fede", 1892 A.D.)

"Pan-Christians who strive for the union of the churches would appear to pursue the noblest of ideals in promoting charity among all Christians. But how should charity tend to the detriment of the faith? Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems in his Gospel to have revealed the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and who never ceased to impress upon the memory of his disciples the new commandment 'to love one another', nevertheless strictly forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt form of Christ's teaching: 'If any man comes to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house, nor say to him, God speed you.' (2 John 1:10)" (Pope Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos")

"And yet this same gentle and loving Saint was the inflexible enemy of heresy; for heresy, by destroying Faith, poisons Charity in its very source. It is from this Apostle that the Church has received the maxim she gives to us, of shunning heresy as we would shun a plague: If any man come to you and bring not the doctrine of Christ, receive him not into the house, nor say to him 'God speed thee', for he that saith unto him 'God speed thee', communicateth with his wicked works (Jn. 1:10-11). St. John having one day entered one of the public baths, he was no sooner informed that the heresiarch Cerinthus was in the same building, than he instantly left the place as though it were infected. The disciples of Cerinthus were indignant at this conduct of the Apostle, and endeavored to take away his life by putting poison into the cup from which he used to drink; but St. John having made the sign of the cross over the cup, a serpent was seen to issue from it, testifying both to the wickedness of his enemies and to the divinity of Christ, This apostolic firmness in resisting the enemies of the Faith made him the dread of the heretics of Asia; and hereby he proved how justly he had received from Jesus the surname Son of Thunder" (Dom Gueranger)

"I could point out the very spot where sat blessed Polycarp while he conversed with us; I could describe exactly his bearing, his address, his manner of life, his every feature, and the discourses he made to the crowd. Thou rememberest how he used to tell us of his intercourse with John [the Apostle] and the rest of those that had seen the Lord, and with what a faithful memory he repeated their words; what he had learnt from them respecting our Lord, his miracles, his doctrine, all these things Polycarp transmitted to us, as having himself received them from the very men that had beheld with their eyes the Word of life; all of what he told us was conformable to the Scriptures. What a grace from God were these conversations of his! I used to listen so eagerly, noting everything down, not on parchment, but on my heart; and now, by the grace of God, I still live on it all. Hence, I can attest before God, if the blessed apostolic old man [St. Polycarp] had heard [heretical] discourses ... He would have stopped his ears, saying, as was his wont: 'O God most good, to what sort of times hast thou reserved us!' Then would he have got up quickly, and would have fled from that place of blasphemy." [St. Irenaeus (disciple of St. Polycarp, a disciple of St. John the Apostle), 2nd Century A.D.)

Also See: Gospel Doesn't Support False Tolerance | One Should Not Be Open Minded to Error | Against Human 'Progress' in Religion | Against Modernism / Novelty (Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition Reflections) | Duty to Profess / Defend the Faith | Non-Association with Heretics / Schismatics | Heresy/Heretics & Schism/Schismatics | Defense of the Faithful Against Errors & Temptations is Greater Than Bodily Protection | Personal Interpretation of Scripture / Rejection of Truth | Truth / Error / Nature of Man | Truth is Unchanging

Can Catholic Dogma Ever Change?

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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How To Conduct Ourselves

"We should remember that [Jesus Christ] himself said that by gentleness we inherit the earth. If we act on this we will win people over so that they will turn to the Lord. That will not happen if we treat people harshly or sharply." (St. Vincent de Paul)

"Remain humble, remain simple; the more you are so, the more good you will do." (St. John Vianney)

"Jesus is also gentle in his words. When he dwelt on earth he won everyone over by his gentle speech. Never was he heard to raise his voice or argue heatedly." (St. Louis de Montfort)

"It is to those who have the most need of us that we ought to show our love more especially." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"On behalf of your admirable religion, never forsake all goodness, patience, learning, gentleness and mildness as you try to gain for Christ the pitiful errant: lead them back into his one sheepfold and restore them to the hope of their eternal inheritance." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, "Amantissimus", 1862 A.D.)

"[T]hose who sincerely seek after truth will preserve equanimity, modesty, and courtesy in matters of dispute. They will not let differences of opinion deteriorate into conflicts of wills." (Pope Leo XIII, "Graves De Communi Re", 1901 A.D.)

"Heretics are to be converted by an example of humility and other virtues far more readily than by any external display or verbal battles. So let us arm ourselves with devout prayers and set off showing signs of genuine humility and go barefooted to combat Goliath." (St. Dominic)

"A man ought so to avoid giving offense, as neither by wrong deed or word to be the occasion of anyone's downfall. 'But if scandal arise from truth, the scandal should be borne rather than the truth be set aside,' as Gregory says (Hom. 7 in Ezech.)." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"I have never succeeded when I have spoken with the faintest suspicion of hardness. One must ever be on one's guard not to embitter the heart, if one wishes to move the mind." (St. Vincent de Paul)

"...and while you blame the sin, always spare the sinner as much as possible." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"God forbid that the children of the Catholic Church should even in any way be unfriendly to those who are not at all united to us by the same bonds of faith and love. On the contrary, let them be eager always to attend to their needs with all the kind services of Christian charity, whether they are poor or sick or suffering any other kind of visitation. First of all, let them rescue them from the darkness of the errors into which they have unhappily fallen and strive to guide them back to Catholic truth and to their most loving Mother who is ever holding out her maternal arms to receive them lovingly back into her fold. Thus, firmly founded in faith, hope, and charity and fruitful in every good work, they will gain eternal salvation." (Pope Pius IX, "Quanto Conficiamur Moerore", 1863)

"But mark how the Lord, instead of being troubled, condescends to dispute from the Scriptures with the wicked one, that you, as far as you are able, might become like Christ. The devil knew the arms of Christ, beneath which he sunk. Christ took him captive by meekness, He overcame him by humility. Do you also, when you see a man who has become a devil coming to meet you, subdue him in like manner. Teach your soul to conform its words to those of Christ. For as a Roman judge, who on the bench refuses to hear the reply of one who knows not how to speak as he does; so also Christ, except you speak after His manner, will neither hear you nor protect you." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"But in order that the desired fruit may be derived from this apostolate and this zeal for teaching, and that Christ may be formed in all, be it remembered, Venerable Brethren, that no means is more efficacious than charity. 'For the Lord is not in the earthquake' (III Kings xix., II) - it is vain to hope to attract souls to God by a bitter zeal. On the contrary, harm is done more often than good by taunting men harshly with their faults, and reproving their vices with asperity. True the Apostle exhorted Timothy: 'Accuse, beseech, rebuke,' but he took care to add: 'with all patience' (II. Tim.iv., 2). Jesus has certainly left us examples of this. 'Come to me,' we find Him saying, 'come to me all ye that labor and are burdened and I will refresh you' (Matth. xi., 28). And by those that labor and are burdened he meant only those who are slaves of sin and error. What gentleness was that shown by the Divine Master! What tenderness, what compassion towards all kinds of misery! Isaias has marvelously described His heart in the words: 'I will set my spirit upon him; he shall not contend, nor cry out; the bruised reed he will not break, he will not extinguish the smoking flax' (Is. xlii., I, s.). This charity, 'patient and kind' (I. Cor. xiii., 4.), will extend itself also to those who are hostile to us and persecute us. 'We are reviled,' thus did St. Paul protest, 'and we bless; we are persecuted and we suffer it; we are blasphemed and we entreat' (I. Cor., iv., 12, s.). They perhaps seem to be worse than they really are. Their associations with others, prejudice, the counsel, advice and example of others, and finally an ill advised shame have dragged them to the side of the impious; but their wills are not so depraved as they themselves would seek to make people believe. Who will prevent us from hoping that the flame of Christian charity may dispel the darkness from their minds and bring to them light and the peace of God? It may be that the fruit of our labors may be slow in coming, but charity wearies not with waiting, knowing that God prepares His rewards not for the results of toil but for the good will shown in it." (Pope St. Pius X, "E Supremi", 1903 A.D.)

Also See: Duty to Profess / Defend the Faith | Duty to Reject Strange Doctrine | We Must Have Charity For All People | Solicitude For Those Outside the Church | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | Bad Examples Undermine Our Teachings | Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | One Should Not Be Open Minded to Error | Non-Association with Heretics / Schismatics | We Must Attend To Our Own Souls | We Must Persevere | Tips for Apologists | Fellowship / Christian Behavior Towards Others (Topical Scripture) 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Marriage Between Catholics & Non-Catholics

Also See: Mixed Marriage (Topic Page)

"Do not be yoked with those who are different, with unbelievers. For what partnership do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What accord has Christ with Beliar? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said: 'I will live with them and move among them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people. Therefore, come forth from them and be separate,' says the Lord, 'and touch nothing unclean; then I will receive you and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.'" (St. Paul, 2 Cor. 6:14-18)

"When two do not agree about religion, it is nearly always futile to hope for agreement in other things." (Pope Leo XIII)

"How can hearts be united in perfect charity where minds do not agree in faith?" (Pope Leo XIII)

Canon 8: "That those who are of the Church are not to join their children indiscriminately in marriage with heretics." (Council of Laodicea, 4th century A.D.)

"Heretics, if they do not wish to come over to the Catholic Church, are not to be given Catholic girls in marriage. It is determined that they are to be given neither to Jews nor to heretics, because there can be no companionship between faithful and infidel. If parents disregard this prohibition, it is decided that they are to be excommunicated for five years." (Council of Elvira, c. 300 A.D.)

"Can. 1060 Most severely does the Church prohibit everywhere that marriage be entered into by two baptized persons, one of whom is Catholic, and the other belonging to a heretical or schismatic sect; indeed, if there is a danger of perversion to the Catholic spouse and children, that marriage is forbidden even by divine law." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1061 § 1 The Church does not dispense from the impediment of mixed religion, unless: 1° Just and grave cause so urge; ° 2 The non-Catholic spouse gives a precaution to remove the danger of perversion from the Catholic spouse, and from both spouses [there is a promise] that all children will be baptized only Catholic and so educated; °3 There is moral certitude the cautions will be implemented. § 2 These cautions are regularly required in writing.  Can. 1062 The Catholic spouse is bound by the obligation of prudently taking care for the conversion of the non-Catholic spouse." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

Also See: Mixed Marriages (Catholic Life) | Those Outside the Church | Those Who Reject the Church Reject Christ | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Against Religious Indifferentism | Duty to Reject Strange Doctrine | Gospel Doesn't Support False Tolerance | Heresy/Heretics & Schism/Schismatics | Non-Association with Heretics / Schismatics | Personal Interpretation of Scripture / Rejection of Truth | Protestantism is Not Another Equally Pleasing Form of the Same Christian Religion | Should Devote Greater Solicitude For Soul Than For Body | Truth / Error / Nature of Man | Unbelievers | Unlawful to Force Others to Embrace the Catholic Faith | We Must Attend To Our Own Souls | We Must Persevere | Sacraments Section

Can Catholic Dogma Ever Change?

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Non- Association with Heretics / Schismatics

Also See: Ecumenism (Topic Page)

"After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, realizing that such a person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned." (St. Paul, Ti. 3:10-11)

"I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who create dissensions and obstacles, in opposition to the teaching that you learned; avoid them." (St. Paul, Rom. 16:17)

"[B]y the very fact that a person communicates in the sacraments with a heretic who is cut off from the Church, he sins" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"None must either pray or sing psalms with heretics; and whomsoever shall communicate with those who are cut off from the Communion of the Church, whether clergymen or laic, let him be excommunicated." (Council of Carthage)

"Can. 2316 Whoever in any manner willingly and knowingly helps in the promulgation of heresy, or who communicates in things divine with heretics against the prescriptions of Canon 1258, is suspected of heresy." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1365 One who is guilty of prohibited participation in religious rites is to be punished with a just penalty." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Common participation in worship (communicatio in sacris) which harms the unity of the Church or involves formal acceptance of error or the danger of aberration in the faith, of scandal and indifferentism, is forbidden by divine law." (Second Vatican Council) 

"Can. 1258 § 1 It is not licit for the faithful by any manner to assist actively or to have a part in the sacred [rites] of non-Catholics. § 2 Passive or merely material presence can be tolerated for the sake of honor or civil office, for grave reason approved by the Bishop in case of doubt, at the funerals, weddings, and similar solemnities of non-Catholics, provided danger of perversion and scandal is absent." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"We should tolerate association with sinners only for the purpose of recalling them to repentance, by every means short of committing sin ourselves. But when every form of solicitude has been applied in their regard, we should avoid those who persist in their evil ways." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Everyone should avoid familiarity or friendship with anyone suspected of belonging to masonry or to affiliated groups. Know them by their fruits and avoid them. Every familiarity should be avoided, not only with those impious libertines who openly promote the character of the sect, but also with those who hide under the mask of universal tolerance, respect for all religions, and the craving to reconcile the maxims of the Gospel with those of the revolution. These men seek to reconcile Christ and Belial, the Church of God and the state without God." (Pope Leo XIII, "Custodi Di Quella Fede", 1892 A.D.)

"Furthermore, among the gravest causes of the aforementioned prohibition and condemnation reported in the Constitution inserted above, the first is that in societies and associations of this type men of any religion and sect whatever are united with each other, from which matter it is evident enough how great a destruction is able to be brought to the purity of the Catholic religion." (Pope Benedict XIV, "Providas", 1751)

"Irenaeus himself relates with regard to his master Polycarp [who was a disciple of St. John the Apostle], how, when being asked by the heretic Marcion if he knew him, he replied: 'I know thee to be the first-born of Satan.' He also tells us that St. John [the Apostle] hearing that Cerinthus was in the same public edifice into which he had just entered, fled precipitately, for fear, as he said, that because of this enemy of truth the walls of the building would crumble down upon them all: 'so great,' remarks the bishop of Lyons, 'was the fear the apostles and their disciples had of communicating, even by word, with any one of those who altered truth.'" (Liturgical Year)

"Fly from them and from their doctrines; do not go near them, for you know that whoever is found in a place where outrage has been offered to the king has to come into court to be questioned according to law. Even if he can prove he was not guilty he will be condemned for want of zeal. Do not sit with heretics nor associate with apostates. It would be better to dwell with a demon than with a renegade. For if you abjure the demon he will flee, for he cannot stand before the name of Jesus, but even were you to exorcise the apostate ten thousand times he would not cease from his wickedness or renounce his folly. It would be better to teach demons than to try to convince heretics." (St. Ephraem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church)

"They are to be avoided who are held of grievous faults, whether they are among the living, or not. For it is always necessary to fly from the wicked. Moreover there are diverse letters read of Augustine of religious memory, who was of great renown among the African bishops, which affirmed that heretics ought to be anathematized even after death. Such an ecclesiastical tradition other African Bishops also have preserved. And the Holy Roman Church also has anathematized some Bishops after death, although no accusation had been brought against their faith in their lifetimes." (Second Council of Constantinople)

"Let the faith of our fathers be proposed to [the misled] with all tenderness and charity; if they will assent thereunto, let us receive them into our midst; in other cases, let us dwell with ourselves alone, regardless of numbers; and let us keep aloof from equivocating souls, who are not possessed of that simplicity without guile, indispensably required in the early days of the Gospel from all who would approach the faith. The believers, so it is written, had but one heart and one soul (Acts iv. 32). Let those, therefore, who would reproach us for not desiring pacification, mark well who are the real authors of disturbance, and so not point the question of reconciliation on our side any more." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"But, all the same, although many non-Catholics may be found who loudly preach fraternal communion in Christ Jesus, yet you will find none at all to whom it ever occurs to submit to and obey the Vicar of Jesus Christ either in His capacity as a teacher or as a governor. Meanwhile they affirm that they would willingly treat with the Church of Rome, but on equal terms, that is as equals with an equal: but even if they could so act, it does not seem open to doubt that any pact into which they might enter would not compel them to turn from those opinions which are still the reason why they err and stray from the one fold of Christ. This being so, it is clear that the Apostolic See cannot on any terms take part in their assemblies, nor is it anyway lawful for Catholics either to support or to work for such enterprises; for if they do so they will be giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ." (Pope Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos", 1928 A.D.)

"These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith? Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems to reveal in his Gospel the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who never ceased to impress on the memories of his followers the new commandment 'Love one another,' altogether forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt version of Christ's teaching: '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 which reason, since charity is based on a complete and sincere faith, the disciples of Christ must be united principally by the bond of one faith. Who then can conceive a Christian Federation, the members of which retain each his own opinions and private judgment, even in matters which concern the object of faith, even though they be repugnant to the opinions of the rest? And in what manner, We ask, can men who follow contrary opinions, belong to one and the same Federation of the faithful?" (Pope Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos", 1928 A.D.)

"So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it. To the one true Church of Christ, we say, which is visible to all, and which is to remain, according to the will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it. During the lapse of centuries, the mystical Spouse of Christ has never been contaminated, nor can she ever in the future be contaminated, as Cyprian bears witness: 'The Bride of Christ cannot be made false to her Spouse: she is incorrupt and modest. She knows but one dwelling, she guards the sanctity of the nuptial chamber chastely and modestly.' The same holy Martyr with good reason marveled exceedingly that anyone could believe that 'this unity in the Church which arises from a divine foundation, and which is knit together by heavenly sacraments, could be rent and torn asunder by the force of contrary wills.' For since the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, compacted and fitly joined together, it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head." (Pope Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos", 1928 A.D.)

"With regard especially to mixed assemblies and conferences of Catholics with non-Catholics, which in recent times have begun to be held in many places to promote 'union' in the faith, there is need of quite peculiar vigilance and control on the part of Ordinaries. For if on the one hand these meetings afford the desired opportunity to spread among non-Catholics the knowledge of Catholic doctrine, which is generally not sufficiently known to them, yet on the other hand they easily involve no slight danger of indifferentism for Catholics. In cases where there seems to be some hope of good results, the Ordinary shall see that the thing is properly managed, designating for these meetings priests who are as well qualified as possible to explain and defend Catholic doctrine properly and appropriately. The faithful, however, should not attend these meetings unless they have obtained special permission from Ecclesiastical Authority, and this shall be given only to those who are known to be well instructed and strong in their faith. Where there is no apparent hope of good results, or where the affair involves special dangers on other grounds, the faithful are to be prudently kept away from the meetings, and the meetings themselves are soon to be ended or gradually suppressed. As experience teaches that larger meetings of this sort usually bear little fruit and involve greater danger, these should be permitted only after very careful consideration." (Instruction of the Holy Office, "On the Ecumenical Movement", 1949 A.D.)

"This being said, what must be thought of the indiscriminate mingling in which young Catholics will be caught up with heterodox and unbelieving folk in a work of this nature? Is it not a thousand-fold more dangerous for them than a neutral association? What are we to think of this appeal to all the heterodox, and to all the unbelievers, to prove the excellence of their convictions in the social sphere in a sort of apologetic contest? Has not this contest lasted for nineteen centuries in conditions less dangerous for the faith of Catholics? And was it not all to the credit of the Catholic Church? What are we to think of this respect for all errors, and of this strange invitation made by a Catholic to all the dissidents to strengthen their convictions through study so that they may have more and more abundant sources of fresh forces? What are we to think of an association in which all religions and even Free-Thought may express themselves openly and in complete freedom? For the Sillonists who, in public lectures and elsewhere, proudly proclaim their personal faith, certainly do not intend to silence others nor do they intend to prevent a Protestant from asserting his Protestantism, and the skeptic from affirming his skepticism. Finally, what are we to think of a Catholic who, on entering his study group, leaves his Catholicism outside the door so as not to alarm his comrades who, 'dreaming of disinterested social action, are not inclined to make it serve the triumph of interests, coteries and even convictions whatever they may be'?" (Pope St. Pius X, "Notre Charge Apostolique", 1910 A.D.)

"Avoid entirely men who consider light darkness, and darkness light. For what utility worthy of the name can arise from agreement with men who think that no consideration for God, no consideration for the more Sublime Powers, is needing to be had, who through intrigues and secret assemblies try to declare war on those things, and who are such that they cry even in public and everywhere that they are the greatest lovers of the public good, of the Church, and of society; nevertheless they have already declared by all their deeds that they wish to throw all things into disorder and to overturn all things. These are indeed similar to those men to whom John commands in his second Epistle (v. 10) that neither hospitality must be given no 'God speed' be said, and whom our Fathers do not hesitate to call the firstborn of the devil. Beware therefore of their flatteries and of their discourses sweetened with honey, by which they will seduce you to enroll in those sects to which they have been admitted. Have it for certain that no one can be a member of those sects, without being guilty of the most serious disgraceful act; and drive away from your ears the words of those who vigorously declare that you may assent to your election to the lower degrees of their sects, that nothing is admitted in those degrees which is opposed to reason, nothing which is opposed to Religion, indeed that there is nothing proclaimed, nothing performed which is not Holy, which is not Right, which is not Undefiled. Truly that abominable oath, which has already been mentioned, and which must be sworn even in that lower echelon, is sufficient for you to understand that it is contrary to Divine Law to be enlisted in those lower degrees, and to remain in them. In the next place, although they are not accustomed to commit those things which are more serious and more criminal to those who have not attained to the higher degrees, nevertheless it is plainly evident that the force and boldness of those most pernicious societies grow on account of the unanimity and the multitude of all who enroll in them. Therefore, even those who have not passed beyond the inferior degrees, must be considered sharers of their crimes. And that passage of the Apostle to the Romans (ch. 1) applies to them: 'They who do such things, but also those who consent to those doing them.'" (Pope Leo XII, "Quo Graviora", 1826 A.D.)

"Communication with a particular person is forbidden to the faithful, in two ways: first, as a punishment of the person with whom they are forbidden to communicate; secondly, for the safety of those who are forbidden to communicate with others. Both motives can be gathered from the Apostle's words (1 Corinthians 5:6). For after he had pronounced sentence of excommunication, he adds as his reason: 'Know you not that a little leaven corrupts the whole lump?' and afterwards he adds the reason on the part of the punishment inflicted by the sentence of the Church when he says (1 Corinthians 5:12): 'Do not you judge them that are within?' Accordingly, in the first way the Church does not forbid the faithful to communicate with unbelievers, who have not in any way received the Christian faith, viz. with pagans and Jews, because she has not the right to exercise spiritual judgment over them, but only temporal judgment, in the case when, while dwelling among Christians they are guilty of some misdemeanor, and are condemned by the faithful to some temporal punishment. On the other hand, in this way, i.e. as a punishment, the Church forbids the faithful to communicate with those unbelievers who have forsaken the faith they once received, either by corrupting the faith, as heretics, or by entirely renouncing the faith, as apostates, because the Church pronounces sentence of excommunication on both. With regard to the second way, it seems that one ought to distinguish according to the various conditions of persons, circumstances and time. For some are firm in the faith; and so it is to be hoped that their communicating with unbelievers will lead to the conversion of the latter rather than to the aversion of the faithful from the faith. These are not to be forbidden to communicate with unbelievers who have not received the faith, such as pagans or Jews, especially if there be some urgent necessity for so doing. But in the case of simple people and those who are weak in the faith, whose perversion is to be feared as a probable result, they should be forbidden to communicate with unbelievers, and especially to be on very familiar terms with them, or to communicate with them without necessity." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Duty to Reject Strange Doctrine | Gospel Doesn't Support False Tolerance | One Should Not Be Open Minded to Error | Against Religious Indifferentism | Heresy/Heretics & Schism/Schismatics | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Protestantism is Not Another Equally Pleasing Form of the Same Christian Religion | Marriage Between Catholics & Non-Catholics | Recognizing the True Religion | Those Who Reject the Church Reject Christ | True vs. False Church | Truth / Error / Nature of Man | We Must Have Charity For All People | Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture (Scripture Reflections) | Heresy / Error (Topical Scripture)

Can Catholic Dogma Ever Change?

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Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke

Note: Although one may have the duty to correct / rebuke, one must carefully determine when (and if) such correction is appropriate in any given case. One must also employ the proper means. Remember that we are not responsible for anything which may occur due to use of this site.

"Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Lk. 17:3)

[Jesus said,] "If your brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that 'every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector." (Mt. 18:15-17)

"Brothers, even if a person is caught in some transgression, you who are spiritual should correct that one in a gentle spirit, looking to yourself, so that you also may not be tempted." (St. Paul, Gal. 6:1)

"A slave of the Lord should not quarrel, but should be gentle with everyone, able to teach, tolerant, correcting opponents with kindness. It may be that God will grant them repentance that leads to knowledge of the truth, and that they may return to their senses out of the devil's snare, where they are entrapped by him, for his will." (St. Paul, 2 Tm. 2:24)

"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry." (St. Paul, 2 Tm. 4:1-5)

"The scriptures teach us that it is the duty of all to be solicitous for the salvation of one's neighbor, according to the power and position of each." (Pope Leo XIII, "Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae", 1905 A.D.)

"For this reason it is plainly the duty of all who teach to banish error from the mind, and by sure safeguards to close the entry to all false convictions." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas Praestantissimum", 1888 A.D.)

"It is a sin leading to death when sinners remain uncorrected, but still worse is it when people flaunt their sin as they override holiness and truth " (Second Council of Nicaea)

"[T]he benefit of correction must not be refused to any man so long as he lives here below" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"As the enemy makes no truce, so neither you nor We must remain silent or inert." (Pope Leo XIII, "Dall'alto Dell'apostolico Seggio", 1890 A.D.)

"Also when we visit a brother sick either in faith or in good works, with doctrine, reproof, or comfort, we visit Christ Himself." [Origen ("the greatest scholar of Christian antiquity" - although he would eventually be excommunicated and be regarded as a heretic), 3rd century A.D.]

"[W]e are not to neglect his salvation; for the heathens themselves, that is, the gentiles and pagans, we do not indeed regard in the number of our brethren, yet we ever seek their salvation." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Beseech, accuse, correct, rebuke and fear not: for ill-judged silence leaves in their error those who could be taught, and this is most harmful both to them and to you who should have dispelled the error." (Pope Pius VI, "Inscrutabile", 1775 A.D.)

"Our predecessor Felix III in this regard. 'An error which is not resisted is approved; a truth which is not defended is suppressed... He who does not oppose an evident crime is open to the suspicion of secret complicity.'" (Pope Leo XIII, "Inimica Vis", 1892 A.D.)

"Imitate the Good Shepherd, Who seeks for the lost sheep and brings it back on His shoulder… In thy zeal for the service of God, aim at winning back to Him, by the prayers of the Church, all those who have in any way strayed from it." (Pope St. Leo I the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Whatever is directed to end, becomes good through being directed to the end. Hence whenever fraternal correction hinders the end, namely the amendment of our brother, it is no longer good, so that when such a correction is omitted, good is not omitted lest evil should befall." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is not right to spare a wrongdoer at the risk of his falling into graver sin... We must not only do harm to no man, but also restrain him from sin or punish his sin, so that either the man himself who is punished may profit by his experience, or others be warned by his example." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Is it possible that we can see a soul in danger of being lost, and remain indifferent? Have we forgotten the divine promise, told us by the apostle: 'He that causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of his own sins'?" (Gueranger)

"The salvation of the multitude is to be preferred to the peace of any individuals whatsoever. Consequently, when certain ones, by their perverseness, hinder the salvation of the multitude, the preacher and the teacher should not fear to offend those men, in order that he may insure the salvation of the multitude." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is written (Proverbs 9:8): 'Rebuke not a scorner lest he hate thee,' where a gloss remarks: 'You must not fear lest the scorner insult you when you rebuke him: rather should you bear in mind that by making him hate you, you may make him worse.' Therefore one ought to forego fraternal correction, when we fear lest we may make a man worse." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The reproof of the sinner, as to the exercise of the act of reproving, seems to imply the severity of justice, but, as to the intention of the reprover, who wishes to free a man from the evil of sin, it is an act of mercy and loving-kindness, according to Proverbs 27:6: 'Better are the wounds of a friend, than the deceitful kisses of an enemy.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Severity that springs from love is preferable to deceitful gentleness. He who binds the delirious man, and wakes up the sleeper from his lethargy, molests them both, but for their good. If a house were on the point of falling, and our cries could not induce those within to come out, would it not be cruelty not to save them by force in spite of themselves?" (Liturgical Year) [Note: The reader is reminded that one should not wrongly employ force against others.]

"If, assuredly, the alms with which we relieve the needs of the poor are highly praised by the Lord, how much more precious in His eyes, then, will be the zeal and labor expended in teaching and admonishing, by which we provide not for the passing needs of the body but for the eternal profit of the soul! Nothing, surely, is more desirable, nothing more acceptable to Jesus Christ, the Savior of souls, Who testifies of Himself through Isaias: 'To bring good news to the poor he has sent me.'" (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)

"But they are our brethren, and we should not be quietly resigned to see them lose their souls. Let us hope against hope. Did our Lord, who knew with certainty that obstinate sinners would be lost, hesitate, on that account, to shed all His Blood for them?" (Liturgical Year)

"Display then a holy zeal of religious vigilance... Let not what has been done suffice, but let us persevere in searching them out: and by God's aid the result will be not only the continuance in safety of those who still stand, but also the recovery from error of many who have been deceived by the devil's seduction. And the prayers, and alms, and fasts that you offer to the merciful God shall be the holier for this very devotion, when this deed of faith also is added to all your other godly duties." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be; nor in theoretical or practical indifference toward the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged, but in the zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being. Catholic doctrine further tells us that love for our neighbor flows from our love for God, Who is Father to all, and the goal of the human family; and in Jesus Christ whose members we are, to the point that in doing good to others we are doing good to Jesus Christ Himself. Any other kind of love is sheer illusion, sterile and fleeting." (Pope St. Pius X, "Notre Charge Apostolique", 1910 A.D.)

"Relying therefore solely on the all-powerful aid of Him 'Who wishes all men to be saved,' let us strive with all our strength to help those unhappy souls who have turned from God and, drawing them away from the temporal cares in which they are too deeply immersed, let us teach them to aspire with confidence to the things that are eternal. Sometimes this will be achieved much more easily than seems possible at first sight to expect. For if wonderful spiritual forces lie hidden, like sparks beneath ashes, within the secret recesses of even the most abandoned man - certain proof that his soul is naturally Christian - how much the more in the hearts of those many upon many who have been led into error rather through ignorance or environment." (Pope Pius XI, "Quadragesimo Anno", 1931 A.D.)

"And it is to be noted, that whenever He intends to denounce any great sin, He begins with an epithet of reproach, as below, You wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt; and so here, You hypocrite, cast out first. For each one knows better the things of himself than the things of others, and sees more the things that be great, than the things that be lesser, and loves himself more than his neighbor. Therefore He bids him who is chargeable with many sins, not to be a harsh judge of another's faults, especially if they be small. Herein not forbidding to arraign and correct but forbidding to make light of our own sins, and magnify those of others. For it is necessary that you first diligently [examine] how great may be your own sins, and then try those of your neighbor; whence it follows, and then shall you see clearly, to cast the sliver out of your brother's eye." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Bring it home to their minds, as We have Ourselves oftentimes conveyed the warning, that matters of the highest moment and worthy of all honor are at stake, for the safeguarding of which every most toilsome effort should be readily endured; and that a sublime reward is in store for the labors of a Christian life. On the other hand, to refrain from doing battle for Jesus Christ amounts to fighting against Him; He Himself assures us 'He will deny before His Father in heaven those who shall have refused to confess Him on earth.' As for Ourselves and you all, never assuredly, so long as life lasts, shall We allow Our authority, Our counsels, and Our solicitude to be in any wise lacking in the conflict. Nor is it to be doubted but that especial aid of the great God will be vouchsafed, so long as the struggle endures, to the flock alike and to the pastors" (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890 A.D.)

"No sooner has one forgotten that the eternal salvation of our neighbor has to be our main concern for him, than the real love of neighbor becomes impossible. No sooner does one cease to understand that love of neighbor does not seek fulfillment of all his wishes, than this love becomes a weakness and a way of giving in. No sooner does one forget the words of St. Augustine, 'Interficere errorem, diligere errantem' ('kill the error, love him who errs'), than one loses all understanding for real love of neighbor. Love of neighbor can only be rightly understand that we live in a situation in which we are bound to reject all moral mistakes and even many non-moral disvalues, in which we have to struggle against error and evil - struggle against them with all our might - but in which love of neighbor extends even to him who errs, who is evil, even to whim who is the enemy of God." (Von Hildebrand)

"We must not fail to grasp the call of God to fight against these evils with all our might. It would be totally false to think that God expects of us only a resigned 'Thy will be done'. That would be a disastrous quietism. The criterion for determining the response which God expects of us is the will of God in the first sense, in the sense of that which is pleasing to God. It would be a great, indeed a catastrophic error to think that something is pleasing to God simply because it has happened, because it has come into existence... It is always the will of God for us to struggle against what is evil and false. Whether we will prevail in our struggle, that we do not know, and here again we should say, 'Thy will be done.' As Pascal says so beautifully, we must fight with Christ, but we do not know whether we will conquer with Him. But that Christ will conquer in the end - that we know." (Von Hildebrand)

"[T]he correction of the wrongdoer is twofold. One, which belongs to prelates, and is directed to the common good, has coercive force. Such correction should not be omitted lest the person corrected be disturbed, both because if he is unwilling to amend his ways of his own accord, he should be made to cease sinning by being punished, and because, if he be incorrigible, the common good is safeguarded in this way, since the order of justice is observed, and others are deterred by one being made an example of. Hence a judge does not desist from pronouncing sentence of condemnation against a sinner, for fear of disturbing him or his friends. The other fraternal correction is directed to the amendment of the wrongdoer, whom it does not coerce, but merely admonishes. Consequently when it is deemed probable that the sinner will not take the warning, and will become worse, such fraternal correction should be foregone, because the means should be regulated according to the requirements of the end." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Finally, not to delay too long, it is stated that the way and method hitherto in use among Catholics for bringing back those who have fallen away from the Church should be left aside and another one chosen, in which matter it will suffice to note that it is not the part of prudence to neglect that which antiquity in its long experience has approved and which is also taught by apostolic authority. The scriptures teach us that it is the duty of all to be solicitous for the salvation of one's neighbor, according to the power and position of each. The faithful do this by religiously discharging the duties of their state of life, by the uprightness of their conduct, by their works of Christian charity and by earnest and continuous prayer to God. On the other hand, those who belong to the clergy should do this by an enlightened fulfillment of their preaching ministry, by the pomp and splendor of ceremonies especially by setting forth that sound form of doctrine which Saint Paul inculcated upon Titus and Timothy." (Pope Leo XIII, "Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae", 1904 A.D.)

Also See: How To Conduct Ourselves | We Must Have Charity For All People | We Must Not Refrain From Correcting Our Neighbor | The Anathema is an Act of Love | Gospel Doesn't Support False Tolerance | One Should Not Be Open Minded to Error | Solicitude For Those Outside the Church | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | Zeal for Souls | Unlawful to Force Others to Embrace the Catholic Faith | Tips for Apologists | Should One Correct / Rebuke a Fallen Away Catholic?

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

Top | Reflections: A-Z | Catg. | Scripture: A-Z | Catg. | Help

Tips for the Conversion of Sinners

"Holy Communion and offering the holy Sacrifice...are the two most powerful means of intercession for others' conversion." (St. John Vianney)

"Christian belief, held in hatred by the world, is spread not only by persuasion but also by noble deeds." (St Ignatius of Antioch, 107 A.D.)

"It is only by sacrifice and suffering, offered as penance, that you will be able, by the grace of God, to convert sinners." (St. John Vianney)

"It will be by what we are, not by what we know, that we shall convert those who will be converted" (Drew)

"Those who lack the faith are to recommended particularly to Mary as a means to finding Christ, the Son of God." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

"In any apologetic endeavor, it is always best to start with that which people already accept." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

"How many souls we may convert by our prayers! There are some among them for whom one Pater and Ave [Our Father and Hail Mary] would be enough to turn the scale." (St. John Vianney)

"Offer your temptations for the conversion of sinners. When the devil sees you doing this, he is beside himself with rage and makes off, because then the temptation is turned against himself." (St. John Vianney)

"Let us pray, let us make intercession for them, lest they fall into that awful threat, of a repentance that seeks mercy when it is too late to find aught save an inexorable justice." (Gueranger)

"If you wish to convert anyone to the fullness of the knowledge of Our Lord and of His Mystical Body, then teach him the Rosary. One of two things will happen. Either he will stop saying the Rosary - or he will get the gift of faith." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

"Heretics are to be converted by an example of humility and other virtues far more readily than by any external display or verbal battles. So let us arm ourselves with devout prayers and set off showing signs of genuine humility and go barefooted to combat Goliath." (St. Dominic)

"Unfortunately many are still wandering far from Catholic truth, being unwilling to follow the inspirations of divine grace, because neither they nor the faithful pray to God with sufficient fervor for this intention. Again and again We beg all who ardently love the Church to follow the example of the Divine Redeemer and to give themselves constantly to such prayer." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"If we pray with fervor for our brethren who are gone astray, we shall obtain for them the graces they stand in need of. We shall perhaps never know, during this life, those whom our prayer, united with the prayer of the Church, shall have converted from the error of their way; but the apostle assures us, that our charity will receive a rich reward - the mercy of God upon ourselves. (Jms. v. 19-20)" (Gueranger)

"There are two things which it specially behooves every Catholic engaged in controversy to observe in his treatment of adversaries: that the discussion ought to be a means of converting them from error, instead of repelling them from truth by the fault of its defenders; and that no bitterness or personality should scandalize them by occasions of sin." (Acton)

Also See: Convert Others By Our Good Example / Practice What We Preach | How To Conduct Ourselves | Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | Calls to Repentance | Duty to Profess / Defend the Faith | Duty to Reject Strange Doctrine | Conversion / Repentance | Flattery Confirms Sinners | Gospel Doesn't Support False Tolerance | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness | Truth / Error / Nature of Man | Unlawful to Force Others to Embrace the Catholic Faith | We Must Have Charity For All People | Zeal for Souls | Penance (Sacraments/Reflections) | Tips for Apologists

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Unlawful to Force Others to Embrace the Catholic Faith

"Can. 748 §2 It is never lawful for anyone to force others to embrace the Catholic faith against their conscience." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

Also See: Solicitude For Those Outside the Church | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners

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We Must Attend To Our Own Souls

Also See: Spiritual Growth (Topic Page)

"For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?" (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 16:26)

"For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?" (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mk. 8:36)

"For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, and cast away himself?" (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Lk. 9:25)

"You cannot put straight in others what is warped in yourself." (St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church)

"Let your own conscience be your care and concern much more than anybody else's, for if a man is not solicitous to be good and holy himself, how is he going to make other people such?" (St. Francis Xavier)

"If you cannot gain others, at least save your own soul." (St. Dionysius)

Also See: Catholics Not Living Their Faith Will Be Swept Away | Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment | No Repentance is Too Late | Should Devote Greater Solicitude For Soul Than For Body | We Must Persevere | Increase Holiness Section

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We Must Have Charity For All People

Also See: Love / Charity (Topic Page)

"This is my commandment: love one another as I love you." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 15:12)

"This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 13:35)

"All our religion is but a false religion, and all our virtues are mere illusions and we ourselves are only hypocrites in the sight of God, if we have not that universal charity for everyone - for the good, and for the bad, for the poor and for the rich, and for all those who do us harm as much as for those who do us good." (St. John Vianney)

Also See: Solicitude For Those Outside the Church | Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | How To Conduct Ourselves | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | Zeal for Souls

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We Must Not Refrain From Correcting Our Neighbor 

Note: Although one may have the duty to correct / rebuke, one must carefully determine when (and if) such correction is appropriate in any given case. One must also employ the proper means. Remember that we are not responsible for anything which may occur due to use of this site.

"Those who take notice of what is evil in their neighbors, and yet refrain their tongue in silence, withdraw, as it were, the aid of medicine from observed sores, and became the causers of death, in that they would not cure the venom which they could have cured. The tongue, therefore, should be discreetly curbed, not tied up fast." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | The Anathema is an Act of Love | Defense of the Faithful Against Errors & Temptations is Greater Than Bodily Protection | One Should Not Be Open Minded to Error | Duty to Profess / Defend the Faith | Flattery Confirms Sinners | Should Devote Greater Solicitude For Soul Than For Body | How To Conduct Ourselves | Sins / Sinners | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | Unlawful to Force Others to Embrace the Catholic Faith | We Must Have Charity For All People | Zeal for Souls

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We Must Persevere

"But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved." (Mt. 24:13) 

"We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end" (St. Paul, Heb. 3:14)

"Those who do not persevere will perish." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"As strongly as we could we urged them your brothers and ours, to preserve in the sound Catholic faith" (St. Augustine, c. 427 A.D.)

Also See: Catholics Not Living Their Faith Will Be Swept Away | Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment | No One Can Be Certain That He Will Be Saved | None Should Presume Their Own Salvation or Despair of Neighbor's Salvation | Should Devote Greater Solicitude For Soul Than For Body | Sins / Sinners | We Must Attend To Our Own Souls | Perseverance (Topical Scripture)

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Zeal for Souls

"No sacrifice is more acceptable to God than zeal for souls." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"But in order that the desired fruit may be derived from this apostolate and this zeal for teaching, and that Christ may be formed in all, be it remembered, Venerable Brethren, that no means is more efficacious than charity. 'For the Lord is not in the earthquake' (III Kings xix., II) - it is vain to hope to attract souls to God by a bitter zeal. On the contrary, harm is done more often than good by taunting men harshly with their faults, and reproving their vices with asperity. True the Apostle exhorted Timothy: 'Accuse, beseech, rebuke,' but he took care to add: 'with all patience' (II. Tim.iv., 2). Jesus has certainly left us examples of this. 'Come to me,' we find Him saying, 'come to me all ye that labor and are burdened and I will refresh you' (Matth. xi., 28). And by those that labor and are burdened he meant only those who are slaves of sin and error. What gentleness was that shown by the Divine Master! What tenderness, what compassion towards all kinds of misery! Isaias has marvelously described His heart in the words: 'I will set my spirit upon him; he shall not contend, nor cry out; the bruised reed he will not break, he will not extinguish the smoking flax' (Is. xlii., I, s.). This charity, 'patient and kind' (I. Cor. xiii., 4.), will extend itself also to those who are hostile to us and persecute us. 'We are reviled,' thus did St. Paul protest, 'and we bless; we are persecuted and we suffer it; we are blasphemed and we entreat' (I. Cor., iv., 12, s.)." (Pope St. Pius X, "E Supremi", 1903 A.D.)

Also See: Solicitude For Those Outside the Church | Defense of the Faithful Against Errors & Temptations is Greater Than Bodily Protection | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Should Devote Greater Solicitude For Soul Than For Body | The Worth of One Saved Soul | Convert Others By Our Good Example / Practice What We Preach | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | Zeal Without Knowledge May Be Dangerous | We Must Attend To Our Own Souls | Tips for Apologists | Conversion (Topical Scripture)

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Zeal Without Knowledge May Be Dangerous

"Zeal without knowledge is always less useful and effective than regulated zeal, and very often is highly dangerous." (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: False Opinions Influence / Pervert Actions | Truth / Error / Nature of Man | Ignorance | Heresy/Heretics & Schism/Schismatics | Duty to Reject Strange Doctrine | Novel Teachings Are Forbidden | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | Zeal for Souls | Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture (Scripture Reflections) | Infallibility (Vatican View) | Truth (Topical Scripture)

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Misc.

"My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." (St. James, Jms. 5:19-20)

"[T]hat desire of gaining souls to Christ...is known as the Apostolic Spirit" (Pope Pius XI, "Mens Nostra", 1929 A.D.)

"[F]ruits are gathered only after many labors" (Pope Pius XII, "Divino Afflante Spiritu", 1943 A.D.)

"...those who wage war on religion seem to show more energy than those who repel it." (Pope Leo XIII, "Inimica Vis", 1892 A.D.)

"Whether your immediate task be to assist, to protect, to heal, to make peace, let your one aim and most ardent desire be to win or to secure souls for Christ." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"For there is nothing which We believe to be more needful than that truth should find defenders more powerful and more numerous than the enemies it has to face" (Pope Leo XIII, "Providentissimus Deus", 1893 A.D.)

"Nor should anything deter us from throwing ourselves into battle for the glory of God and for the salvation of souls: 'Think of the way he endured such opposition from sinners'" (Pope Clement XIII, "A Quo Die", 1758 A.D.)

"The spirit of Christian charity lives not within you, if you lament the body from which the soul has departed, but lament not the soul from which God has departed." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"For it is the genuine effect of charity that the just soul, in whom God dwells by grace, burns in a wondrous way to call others to share in the knowledge and love of that Infinite Good, which she has attained and possesses." (Pope Pius XI, "Mens Nostra", 1929 A.D.)

"If we are afraid of the audacity of worthless men, it affects the strength of the episcopacy and its sublime and divine power to govern the Church. Nor can we Christians endure or exist any longer - if it has come to that - if we become overly frightened by the snares or threats of the damned." (Pope Clement XIII, "A Quo Die", 1758 A.D.)

"Can. 209 §1 Christ's faithful are bound to preserve their communion with the Church at all times, even in their external actions. §2 They are to carry out with great diligence their responsibilities towards both the universal Church and the particular Church to which by law they belong." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"We have fallen upon times when a violent and well-nigh daily battle is being fought about matters of highest moment, a battle in which it is hard not to be sometimes deceived, not to go astray and, for many, not to lose heart. It behooves us, venerable brethren, to warn, instruct, and exhort each of the faithful with an earnestness befitting the occasion: that none may abandon the way of truth." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890 A.D.)

"Our great predecessor Gregory, in instructing the heads of the churches, said with his usual excellence: 'Often imprudent guides in their fear of losing human favor are afraid to speak the right freely. As the word of truth has it, they guard their flock not with a shepherd's zeal but as hirelings do, since they flee when the wolf approaches by hiding themselves in silence... A shepherd fearing to speak the right is simply a man retreating by keeping silent.'" (Pope Pius VI, "Inscrutabile", 1775 A.D.)

"Whether one ought to dispute with unbelievers in public? [Objection:] Further, disputations are conducted by means of arguments. But an argument is a reason in settlement of a dubious matter: whereas things that are of faith, being most certain, ought not to be a matter of doubt. Therefore one ought not to dispute in public about matters of faith. [Answer to the objection:] On the contrary, It is written (Acts 9:22,29) that 'Saul increased much more in strength, and confounded the Jews,' and that 'he spoke... to the gentiles and disputed with the (Greek).'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"In order to conquer the emotions of lust, and the snares of the devil, lest we should be led into evil, we are commanded to seek the divine help in the words, 'pray that ye enter not into temptation.' How much more is this necessary, if we wish to labor for the salvation of others? Christ our Lord, the only begotten Son of God, the source of all grace and virtue, first showed by example what he taught in word: 'He passed the whole night in the prayer of God,' and when nigh to the sacrifice of his life, 'He prayed the longer.'" (Pope Leo XIII, "Exeunte Iam Anno", 1888 A.D.)

"One ought to dispute about matters of faith, not as though one doubted about them, but in order to make the truth known, and to confute errors. For, in order to confirm the faith, it is necessary sometimes to dispute with unbelievers, sometimes by defending the faith, according to 1 Peter 3:15: 'Being ready always to satisfy everyone that asketh you a reason of that hope and faith which is in you.' Sometimes again, it is necessary, in order to convince those who are in error, according to Titus 1:9: 'That he may be able to exhort in sound doctrine and to convince the gainsayers.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"In obedience to Our Lord's institution, the Church extends her charity to all, not only to friends, but also to foes who persecute her, according to Matthew 5:44: 'Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you.' Now it is part of charity that we should both wish and work our neighbor's good. Again, good is twofold: one is spiritual, namely the health of the soul, which good is chiefly the object of charity, since it is this chiefly that we should wish for one another. Consequently, from this point of view, heretics who return after falling no matter how often, are admitted by the Church to Penance whereby the way of salvation is opened to them. The other good is that which charity considers secondarily, viz. temporal good, such as life of the body, worldly possessions, good repute, ecclesiastical or secular dignity, for we are not bound by charity to wish others this good, except in relation to the eternal salvation of them and of others. Hence if the presence of one of these goods in one individual might be an obstacle to eternal salvation in many, we are not bound out of charity to wish such a good to that person, rather should we desire him to be without it, both because eternal salvation takes precedence of temporal good, and because the good of the many is to be preferred to the good of one." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"In disputing about the faith, two things must be observed: one on the part of the disputant; the other on the part of his hearers. On the part of the disputant, we must consider his intention. For if he were to dispute as though he had doubts about the faith, and did not hold the truth of faith for certain, and as though he intended to probe it with arguments, without doubt he would sin, as being doubtful of the faith and an unbeliever. On the other hand, it is praiseworthy to dispute about the faith in order to confute errors, or for practice. On the part of the hearers we must consider whether those who hear the disputation are instructed and firm in the faith, or simple and wavering. As to those who are well instructed and firm in the faith, there can be no danger in disputing about the faith in their presence. But as to simple-minded people, we must make a distinction; because either they are provoked and molested by unbelievers, for instance, Jews or heretics, or pagans who strive to corrupt the faith in them, or else they are not subject to provocation in this matter, as in those countries where there are not unbelievers. In the first case it is necessary to dispute in public about the faith, provided there be those who are equal and adapted to the task of confuting errors; since in this way simple people are strengthened in the faith, and unbelievers are deprived of the opportunity to deceive, while if those who ought to withstand the perverters of the truth of faith were silent, this would tend to strengthen error. Hence Gregory says (Regulae Pastoralis ii,4): 'Even as a thoughtless speech gives rise to error, so does an indiscreet silence leave those in error who might have been instructed.' On the other hand, in the second case it is dangerous to dispute in public about the faith, in the presence of simple people, whose faith for this very reason is more firm, that they have never heard anything differing from what they believe. Hence it is not expedient for them to hear what unbelievers have to say against the faith." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"To colloquies between Catholic and non-Catholic theologians, none should be sent but priests who have shown themselves truly fit for such work by their knowledge of theology and their firm adherence to the principles and norms which the Church has laid down in this matter." (Instruction of the Holy Office, 1949 A.D.)

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