Disposing of Lukewarm Sewage
Though we are defective creatures, we have a divine duty to clean out the muck so dangerously close to the devil's septic tanks. If we don't, we will become yesterday's scum, flushed into oblivion.
The sewers contain the fetid decay of regurgitated waste. That is what those who wallow in the depths of mediocrity become as the Lord has affirmed in Apocalypse 3: 16. If we are not 100% committed to defending Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, then we deserve to be spewed forth as nothing more than useless excrement in the infernal cesspool. That means standing up for the truths and traditions passed down through the ages; upholding doctrines that have been compromised, twisted and revised to suit the polluted minds of the Modernists who have breached the Barque of Peter.
"Silence and passivity in this regard are no less evils than the evil observed itself. It was St. Catherine of Siena, whose feast we just celebrated Sunday, who uttered in disgust, 'I see the world is rotten because of silence.' Likewise, Pope St. Leo the Great once stated that 'He that sees another in error and endeavors not to correct it testifies himself to be in error.' So great is the power of evil and the duty it imposes on a true follower of Christ that it taints the casual and complacent observer with sin unless that observer acts upon the divine duty that being a true follower entails."
Anyone who has spoken or written against the present evils of the Church has invariably been slapped with the notion that he or she is not perfect and therefore is in no position to judge, or that only God may judge others. Only He can judge hearts, but we can and must judge the actions and words of others. If we did not, there would be complete anarchy. Others argue that one's opinion is just that and should not be imposed on others. Still others contend that one need only not support evil and no more.
Therein, I believe, lies the difference between so-called believing in Christ and truly being a follower of Christ. You see, it is never enough to believe, although that is certainly a start. Belief without application is smoke, and following without application is fraud. There is no midway in this duty. Either one is ready to fully follow with all that this entails, or one is merely an obstruction on the road and, therefore, useless. There is an old rule of law that states that a half-rescue is not only no rescue at all but may be worse than having ignored the rescue in the first place. Once one endeavors in any way to defend the faith, a half-baked effort will only be used as a weapon by the enemy to prove some weakness of one's position or inconsistency with one's argument.
Silence and passivity in this regard are no less evils than the evil observed itself. It was St. Catherine of Siena whose feast we just celebrated Sunday, who uttered in disgust, "I see the world is rotten because of silence". Likewise, Pope St. Leo the Great once stated that "He that sees another in error and endeavors not to correct it testifies himself to be in error." So great is the power of evil and the duty it imposes on a true follower of Christ that it taints the casual and complacent observer with sin unless that observer acts upon the divine duty that being a true follower entails.
Perhaps the best expression of this concept that I have ever seen was eloquently and forcefully expressed by Pope St. Felix III of the 5th century when faced with the kind of heresy and splits in the Church that we face today.
"Not to oppose error is to approve it and not to defend Truth is to suppress it; and, indeed, to neglect to confound evil men when we can do it is no less a sin than to encourage them."
We must break this profound expression of loyalty to true discipleship in Christ in order to fully grasp the depth of its message.
"Not to oppose error is to approve it"
Christ told us that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If we are to be true followers of Christ we must embrace that Way, that Truth and that Life. Given this logical point, error would be anything that misleads, contradicts truth or darkens the soul.
That being said, one cannot possibly accept error in any way or form or from anybody whether they be a fellow Catholic, pastor, bishop or pope! To do so would be to approve of that error thus misleading, contradicting and darkening those around us. We are thus called to passionately and forcefully oppose error so as to leave no doubt that we do not, in fact, approve of it and rather greatly disapprove of it.
We can answer those who argue that we are not qualified or worthy to oppose, judge or approve anything with the response that one does not question the qualification of an envelope to deliver the mail because it is merely a vehicle by which that mail is delivered. Likewise, we are mere vehicles or agents of He Who is so qualified, and hence are not claiming a right or power reserved to The Ultimate Divine Judge.
As St. Catherine's words above remind us, silence is the drivel from which much evil is spilled on this earth without opposition. St. John the Evangelist put it even more forcefully in Apocalypse 3: 15-16, or rather the Lord did in which the beloved disciple merely recorded these haunting words:
"I know thy works: that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot: But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of My mouth."
A world that has lost all sense of sin and evil defines tolerance as accepting and including that sin and evil and intolerance as fighting and rejecting it. If that be this world's perception, then we are called to include Christ and not evil, and to embrace more than tolerate God's Divine Will. To no other cause do we owe allegiance. Opposing error, of course, does not mean that we are vindictive, mean, hateful, or vicious. Rather, we are called to apply charity and patience while still standing firm in our resolve to oppose and fight that error by whatever means Christ may provide for us. Finally, silence in the face of evil implies approval and approval must never be implied at any cost.
"Not to defend Truth is to suppress it"
Just as we are called to oppose error, we must defend and spread Truth as revealed to us by God Almighty and modeled to us by Christ. Defending truth is not limited to actively fighting against myths, heresy, blasphemy, slander and libel against God's Will or Christ's Person and Message. Also included would be allowing for alternatives to that Truth under the guise of inclusiveness or open-mindedness. Simply put, Divine Truth is absolute and there is no alternative to the absolute. One cannot argue that there is one truth and then say that something less or different than that one truth is acceptable. Such an assertion would be absurd on its face not to mention contradictory in essence.
Christ told us that one does not place a lamp under a basket but that is precisely what one is doing when failing to defend Truth, given the chance. We should look at each opportunity to stand up for Truth and God's Will as a blessing sent by God, allowing us the chance to prove our love and loyalty. Given such a view, how can we do any less than embrace and cherish the chance to stand up for Our Lord. Even the certain insults and criticisms that may ensue, even from those close to us, should be seen as a kiss from Christ filling us with yet another chance to imitate our Divine Savior as closely as our defective nature can permit. Lastly, he who suppresses truth suppresses his own salvation.
"To neglect to confound evil men when we can do it is no less a sin than to encourage them."
By now we must all accept that there is great evil in the world and even within our Church. It may even be said that some of this evil is so great as to be beyond our ability to stop or restrain it. Nevertheless, we must do all we can to slow its progress, to make its journey toward acceptance in this lost society as difficult as possible.
God has promised us that if we love, respect and obey Him He will provide us with the means to obstruct and confound evil, at least slowing its progress. We must feel a great duty and pride in slowing the progress of evil in all its forms. This is why slowing the incidence of abortion, for example, is such a holy thing to do. Nobody would have expected us to stop Our Lord's execution that Good Friday, but Veronica slowed the process just enough to confound evil with kindness, to answer humiliation with royal reverence and service to Her King and to allow Christ to leave yet another Presence in a sorrowful, terrible situation.
We can do no less than be a frustration to evil and an obstacle to its progress as Veronica was that day on the Via Dolorosa. Though Christ went on, it was that true Christian charity and compassion that urged Him on to the ultimate sacrifice. So also, if we are not Veronicas in wiping the tears from His precious and holy Face, then we are contributing to the whips, scourges and mocking of the mob and Roman soldiers. We are either with Him or against Him. There is no in-between. Thus, when the Modernists speak against our Lord so insidiously that confuses the vast majority, then we have a duty before God to stand up and say it is wrong. By reinforcing the Faith we live our Faith, by living our Faith we reinforce souls to realize when they have been lied to. When we know our Faith and can express it, then we are being Veronicas to Jesus. If we fail to act, if we cower when we should speak out, are we no better than Judas Iscariot or Caiphas? Only in standing with Christ and for Him can we fully serve our Master and fulfill our divine duty as true followers of Christ.
Being a true follower of Christ is not a part-time hobby or some fanciful label worn to impress or gain favor. If anything, properly worn, this duty will be a full-time embrace of the crosses of rejection, hatred, criticism and isolation. St. Catherine and Pope Leo remind us that following Christ is not a spectator sport or a passive hobby. Pope St. Felix III's eloquent call to us offers us the clear mantra which should guide our every thought, word and action in service of God.
Like St. John the Baptist, we must be car alarms for God warning a lost society that the devil is stealing souls even as we speak. The unique gifts and talents that we all possess were given to us by God with the purpose that we use those talents to serve Him and bring others to serve Him. It is only our confusion and perversion of that sacred mission that allows us to believe that our talents and gifts are merely and exclusively for our own selfish and arrogant agendas, motives and benefit. In a sense, Pope Felix is telling us to put up or shut up for, in the words of Pope St. Pius V, "All the evils of the world are due to lukewarm Catholics."
Editor's Note: Heaven is once again under attack by those who would seek to ignore and overthrow God's majesty and authority. Gabriel Garnica, educator and attorney, submits regular insights and commentaries to remind and help guide readers toward a deeper and more assertive faith. Touching on topics and issues ranging from personal faith, doctrine, education, scripture, the media, family life, morality, and values, Gabriel's notes are music to traditional ears but unpleasant tones to those who have bought into the misguided notions so prevalent and spreading in today's Catholic world.