Sunday, 20 November 2016

When bad doctrine stands in the Church...

The Deeds of the Antichrist - Luca Signorelli
Luca Signorelli, 1502


This Sunday is the last of Pentecost in the 1962 calendar, and the Gospel is St Matthew 24: 15-35, a prophesy of the end times:
When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand.
St Jerome's commentary on the text though, set for Matins, suggests this sign, the 'abomination of desolation', is foreshadowed in events leading up to the final occurrence:
But we may also understand by the abomination of desolation, any bad doctrine and when we see such a thing get a standing in the Holy Place, that is, in the Church, and showing itself that it is God, that is, pretending that it is His revealed truth, then will be the time when it will be our duty to flee from Judea into the mountains...
In these circumstances, St Jerome suggests, our duty is to take refuge in truth:
Then will it be our duty to find ourselves under a roof and in an house, where through the fiery darts of the wicked one can never pierce to smite us, and not to come down to take anything out of the house of our old conversation, or to have regard unto those things which are behind but rather to sow in the field of the spiritual Scriptures, that we may reap thereof a bountiful harvest...
When heresies contaminate the Church, then, we must ignore those who propagate it, and hold fast to the truth; pray with tears and do penance on behalf of those led astray by the allurements of erring men, that they might see their error and return to God.

*PS One has to wait until they are dead to throw their bones in the Tiber...

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