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Reflections: Priests & Voctns. Sctn. (Novelty)

St. John Vianney, the Curé D'Ars (patron saint of priests)

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Priests & Vocations Sctn.:

Novelty & The Clergy

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Novelty & The Clergy



Novelty & The Clergy

"Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching." (St. Paul, Heb. 13:7-9)

"Anyone who is so 'progressive' as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son." (St. John, 2 Jn. 1:9)

"Now I am reminding you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand. Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 15:1-2)

"See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to human tradition, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ." (St. Paul, Col. 2:8)

"Whoever teaches something different and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the religious teaching is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes. From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions, and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds, who are deprived of the truth, supposing religion to be a means of gain." (St. Paul, 1 Tm. 6:3-5)

"I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by (the) grace (of Christ) for a different gospel (not that there is another). 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, Gal. 1:6-14)

"O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid profane babbling and the absurdities of so-called knowledge. By professing it, some people have deviated from the faith. Grace be with all of you." (St. Paul, 1 Tm. 6:20-21)

"Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father." (St. John, 1 Jn. 2:24)

"Far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty!" (Pope St. Pius X, "Pascendi Dominici Gregis", 1907 A.D.)

"It is a vain illusion to think oneself able to hide one's own inner poverty and still cooperate effectively in spreading the Kingdom of Christ by novelties in his method of action." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"[It] is incumbent on all Catholics who are anxious to approve themselves genuine sons of Mother Church, to adhere henceforward to the holy faith of the holy Fathers, to be wedded to it, to die in it; but as to the profane novelties of profane men - to detest them, abhor them, oppose them, give them no quarter." (St. Vincent of Lerins)

"What sad effects would not arise if that gravity of conduct which belongs to the priest, should be in any way lessened; if he should yield with lightness to the charm of every novelty; if he should deport himself with pretentious indocility towards his superiors; if he should lose that weight and measure in discussion which is so necessary, particularly in matters of faith and morals." (Pope Leo XIII, "Fin Dal Principio", 1902 A.D.)

"Can. 279 §1 Clerics are to continue their sacred studies even after ordination to the priesthood. They are to hold to that solid doctrine based on sacred Scripture which has been handed down by our forebears and which is generally received in the Church, as set out especially in the documents of the Councils and of the Roman Pontiffs. They are to avoid profane novelties and pseudo-science." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"What else do those preachers of another gospel than that which we have received try to do, but to corrupt us from the purity which we preserve for Christ, when they stigmatize the law of God as old, and praise their own falsehoods as new, as if all that is new must be good, and all that is old bad? The Apostle John, however, praises the old commandment, and the Apostle Paul bids us avoid novelties in doctrine." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Wherefore, let us also, considering that this struggle is for our all, and that the choice is now before us, either to deny or to preserve the faith, let us also make it our earnest care and aim to guard what we have received, taking as our instruction the Confession drawn up at Nicaea, and let us turn away from novelties, and teach our people not to give heed to seducing spirits,' but altogether to withdraw from [their] impiety" (St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church)

"Indeed, in no other way do these preachers cause greater harm and scandal to the less educated than when they preach on what should be left unspoken or when they introduce error by teaching what is false and useless. Since such things are known to be totally opposed to this holy and divinely instituted religion, as being novelties and foreign to it, it is surely just for them to be examined seriously and carefully, lest they cause scandal for the Christian people and ruin for the souls of their authors and of others." (Fifth Lateran Council)

"Watch earnestly lest deceitful men and the promoters of novelties continue to spread erroneous doctrines and false dogmas in your flock. Using the pretext of the common good, as is their custom, they take advantage of the credulity of those who are naive and rash, so that they may have them as blind servants and supporters in disturbing the peace of the kingdom and in overturning the order of society. Surely the fraud of these would-be teachers must be uncovered in clear words for the good and the instruction of the faithful. The fallacy of their thought must be refuted courageously everywhere with the words of divine scripture and the testimony of Church tradition." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Cum Primum", 1832 A.D.) 

"It is your duty, then, to train as many really fit defenders of this holiest of causes as you can. They must be ready to combat not only those who deny the existence of the Supernatural Order altogether, and are thus led to deny the existence of any divine revelation or inspiration, but those, too, who - through an itching desire for novelty - venture to interpret the sacred books as though they were of purely human origin; Those, too, who scoff at opinions held of old in the Church, or who, through contempt of its teaching office, either [consider] little of, or silently disregard, or at least obstinately endeavor to adapt to their own views, the Constitutions of the Apostolic See or the decisions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Would that all Catholics would cling to St. Jerome's golden rule and obediently listen to their Mother's words, so as modestly to keep within the bounds marked out by the Fathers and ratified by the Church." (Pope Benedict XV, "Spiritus Paraclitus", 1920 A.D.)

"All these prescriptions and those of Our Predecessor are to be borne in mind whenever there is question of choosing directors and professors for seminaries and Catholic Universities. Anybody who in any way is found to be imbued with Modernism is to be excluded without compunction from these offices, and those who already occupy them are to be withdrawn. The same policy is to be adopted towards those who favor Modernism either by extolling the Modernists or excusing their culpable conduct, by criticizing scholasticism, the Holy Father, or by refusing obedience to ecclesiastical authority in any of its depositaries; and towards those who show a love of novelty in history, archaeology, biblical exegesis, and finally towards those who neglect the sacred sciences or appear to prefer to them the secular. In all this question of studies, Venerable Brethren, you cannot be too watchful or too constant, but most of all in the choice of professors, for as a rule the students are modeled after the pattern of their masters. Strong in the consciousness of your duty, act always prudently but vigorously." (Pope St. Pius X, "Pascendi Dominici Gregis", 1907 A.D.)

"You are already aware that among priests, especially those less equipped with doctrine and of less strict lives, a certain spirit of novelty is being diffused in an ever graver and more disturbing manner. Novelty is never in itself a criterion of truth and it can be worthy of praise only when it confirms the truth and leads to righteousness and virtue. The age in which we live suffers from serious errors indeed: philosophical systems which are born and die without improving morals in any way; monstrosities of art which even pretend to call themselves Christian; standards of government in many countries which are aimed at the personal interests of individuals rather than at the common prosperity of all; methods of living and economic and social relations which threaten honest men more than the cunning. From this it follows almost naturally that there are not lacking in our times priests, infected in some way by this contagion, who imbibe opinions and follow a mode of life even in dress and the care of their person alien to both their dignity and their mission; priests who allow themselves to be led astray by the mania for novelty whether it be in their preaching to the faithful or in combating the errors of adversaries; priests who compromise not only their consciences but also their good name and the efficacy of their ministry." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"'Keep the deposit.' What is 'The deposit'? That which has been intrusted to thee, not that which thou hast thyself devised: a matter not of wit, but of learning; not of private adoption, but of public tradition; a matter brought to thee, not put forth by thee, wherein thou art bound to be not an author but a keeper, not a teacher but a disciple, not a leader but a follower. 'Keep the deposit.' Preserve the talent of Catholic Faith inviolate, unadulterate. That which has been intrusted to thee, let it continue in thy possession, let it be handed on by thee. Thou hast received gold; give gold in turn. Do not substitute one thing for another. Do not for gold impudently substitute lead or brass. Give real gold, not counterfeit... O Timothy! O Priest! O Expositor! O Doctor! if the divine gift hath qualified thee by wit, by skill, by learning, be thou a Bazaleel of the spiritual tabernacle (cf. Ex. 31:1-5), engrave the precious gems of divine doctrine, fit them in accurately, adorn them skillfully, add splendor, grace, beauty. Let that which formerly was believed, though imperfectly apprehended, as expounded by thee be clearly understood. Let posterity welcome, understood through thy exposition, what antiquity venerated without understanding. Yet teach still the same truths which thou hast learnt, so that though thou speakest after a new fashion, what thou speakest may not be new." (St. Vincent of Lerins)

"'Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.' Everywhere this 'not being ashamed'! And why is he ever so careful to guard him against shame? Because it was natural for many to be ashamed both of Paul himself, as being a tent-maker, and of the preaching, since its teachers perished. For Christ had been crucified, himself was about to be beheaded, Peter was crucified with his head downwards, and these things they suffered from audacious and despicable men. Because such men were in power, he says, 'Be not ashamed'; that is, fear not to do anything tending to godliness, though it be necessary to submit to slavery or any other suffering. For how does any one become approved? By being 'a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.' As the workman is not ashamed of any work, so neither should he be ashamed who labors in the Gospel. He should submit to anything. 'Rightly dividing the word of truth.' This he hath well said. For many distort it, and pervert it in every way, and many additions are made to it. He has not said directing it, but 'rightly dividing,' that is, cut away what is spurious, with much vehemence assail it, and extirpate it. With the sword of the Spirit cut off from your preaching, as from a [lash], whatever is superfluous and foreign to it. 'And shun profane novelties of speech.' For they will not stop there. For when anything new has been introduced, it is ever producing innovations, and the error of him who has once left the safe harbor is infinite, and never stops. 'For they will increase unto more ungodliness,' he says, 'And their word will eat as doth a canker.' It is an evil not to be restrained, not curable by any medicine, it destroys the whole frame. He shows that novelty of doctrine is a disease, and worse than a disease." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Rest assured, Venerable Brethren, that We on Our side will use the greatest diligence to prevent the members of the clergy from being drawn to the snares of a certain new and fallacious science, which savoureth not of Christ, but with masked and cunning arguments strives to open the door to the errors of rationalism and semi-rationalism; against which the Apostle warned Timothy to be on his guard, when he wrote: 'Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding the profane novelties of words, and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called which some promising have erred concerning the faith' (I Tim. vi., 20). This does not prevent Us from esteeming worthy of praise those young priests who dedicated themselves to useful studies in every branch of learning the better to prepare themselves to defend the truth and to refute the calumnies of the enemies of the faith. Yet We cannot conceal, nay, We proclaim in the most open manner possible that Our preference is, and ever will be, for those who, while cultivating ecclesiastical and literary erudition, dedicate themselves more closely to the welfare of souls through the exercise of those ministries proper to a priest jealous of the divine glory. 'It is a great grief and a continual sorrow to our heart' (Rom. ix., 2) to find Jeremiah's lamentation applicable to our times: 'The little ones asked for bread, and there was none to break it to them' (Lam. iv., 4). For there are not lacking among the clergy those who adapt themselves according to their bent to works of more apparent than real solidity - but not so numerous perhaps are those who, after the example of Christ, take to themselves the words of the Prophet: 'The Spirit of the Lord hath anointed me, hath sent me to evangelize the poor, to heal the contrite of heart, to announce freedom to the captive, and sight to the blind' (Luke iv., 18-19)." (Pope St. Pius X, "E Supremi", 1903 A.D.)

"For it is right that those ancient doctrines of heavenly philosophy should, as time goes on, be cared for, smoothed, polished; but not that they should be changed, not that they should be maimed, not that they should be mutilated. They may receive proof, illustration, definiteness; but they must retain withal their completeness, their integrity, their characteristic properties. For if once this license of impious fraud be admitted, I dread to say in how great danger religion will be of being utterly destroyed and annihilated. For if any one part of Catholic truth be given up, another, and another, and another will thenceforward be given up as a matter of course, and the several individual portions having been rejected, what will follow in the end but the rejection of the whole? On the other hand, if what is new begins to be mingled with what is old, foreign with domestic, profane with sacred, the custom will of necessity creep on universally, till at last the Church will have nothing left untampered with, nothing unadulterated, nothing sound, nothing pure; but where formerly there was a sanctuary of chaste and undefiled truth, thenceforward there will be a brothel of impious and base errors. May God's mercy avert this wickedness from the minds of his servants; be it rather the frenzy of the ungodly... Who ever originated a heresy that did not first dissever himself from the consentient agreement of the universality and antiquity of the Catholic Church? That this is so is demonstrated in the clearest way by examples... There are innumerable instances of this kind, which for brevity's sake, pass over; by all of which, however, it is manifestly and clearly shown, that it is an established law, in the case of almost all heresies, that they evermore delight in profane novelties, scorn the decisions of antiquity, and, through oppositions of science falsely so called, make shipwreck of the faith. On the other hand, it is the sure characteristic of Catholics to keep that which has been committed to their trust by the holy Fathers, to condemn profane novelties, and, in the apostle's words, once and again repeated, to anathematize every one who preaches any other doctrine than that which has been received." (St. Vincent of Lerins)

"Such being the case, when I think over these things, and revolve them in my mind again and again, I cannot sufficiently wonder at the madness of certain men, at the impiety of their blinded understanding, at their lust of error, such that, not content with the rule of faith delivered once for all, and received from the times of old, they are every day seeking one novelty after another, and are constantly longing to add, change, take away, in religion, as though the doctrine, 'Let what has once for all been revealed suffice,' were not a heavenly but an earthly rule, - a rule which could not be complied with except by continual emendation, nay, rather by continual fault-finding; whereas the divine Oracles cry aloud, 'Remove not the landmarks, which thy fathers have set,' and 'Go not to law with a Judge,' and 'Whoso breaketh through a fence a serpent shall bite him,' and that saying of the Apostle wherewith, as with a spiritual sword, all the wicked novelties of all heresies often have been, and will always have to be, decapitated, 'O Timothy, keep the deposit, shunning profane novelties of words and oppositions of the knowledge falsely so called, which some professing have erred concerning the faith.' After words such as these, is there any one of so hardened a front, such anvil-like impudence, such adamantine pertinacity, as not to succumb to so huge a mass, not to be crushed by so ponderous a weight, not to be shaken in pieces by such heavy blows, not to be annihilated by such dreadful thunderbolts of divine eloquence? 'Shun profane novelties,' he says. He does not say shun 'antiquity.' But he plainly points to what ought to follow by the rule of contrary. For if novelty is to be shunned, antiquity is to be held fast; if novelty is profane, antiquity is sacred. He adds, 'and oppositions of science falsely so called.' 'Falsely called' indeed, as applied to the doctrines of heretics, where ignorance is disguised under the name of knowledge, fog of sunshine, darkness of light. 'Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.' Professing what? What but some (I know not what) new and unheard-of doctrine. For thou mayest hear some of these same doctors say, 'Come, O silly wretches, who go by the name of Catholics, come and learn the true faith, which no one but ourselves is acquainted with, which same has lain hid these many ages, but has recently been revealed and made manifest. But learn it by stealth and in secret, for you will be delighted with it. Moreover, when you have learnt it, teach it furtively, that the world may not hear, that the Church may not know. For there are but few to whom it is granted to receive the secret of so great a mystery.' Are not these the words of that harlot who, in the proverbs of Solomon, calls to the passengers who go right on their ways, 'Whoso is simple let him turn in hither.' And as for them that are void of understanding, she exhorts them saying: 'Drink stolen waters, for they are sweet, and eat bread in secret for it is pleasant.' What next? 'But he knoweth not that the sons of earth perish in her house.' Who are those 'sons of earth '? Let the apostle explain: 'Those who have erred concerning the faith.'" (St. Vincent of Lerins)

Also See: Novel Teachings Are Forbidden (Coming Home Reflections) | Against Modernism / Novelty (Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition Reflections) | Against Human 'Progress' in Religion (Coming Home Reflections) | Error / Truth (Coming Home Reflections) | One Should Not Be Open Minded to Error (Coming Home Reflections) | Truth is Unchanging (Coming Home Reflections) | Duty to Reject Strange Doctrine (Coming Home Reflections) | Heresy/Heretics (Coming Home Reflections) | Duties & Responsibilities of Priests | Proper Dress / Comportment [Pg.] | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition Section | Errors / Modernism (Classic Encyclicals) | Truth (Topical Scripture) | Heresy / Error (Topical Scripture)

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