From the beginning of my work as a Catholic apologist way back in 1966 I have always been most interested in defending the Church against those among her leaders and teachers who are unfaithful. I have had a special horror of all those who, in the name of the Church, preach and teach their own ideas, drawn uniformly from the surrounding secular culture, instead of what the Church enjoins them to preach and teach. This has always seemed to me to be the ultimate dishonesty.
Now, in perusing the Book of Jeremiah, I have found God’s own statement on this problem, expressing exactly what He thinks of every bishop, every priest, every deacon, every nun, every sister, every Catholic theologian, and every catechist who teaches his own ideas in the name of the Church:
“In the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his wickedness; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah. Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and give them poisoned water to drink; for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has gone forth into all the land.
“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes; they speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to every one who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No evil shall come upon you.’
“I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
“Am I a God at hand and not a God afar off? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? Do I not fill heaven and earth? I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams which they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal?
“What has straw in common with wheat? Is not my word like fire, and like a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets who steal my words from one another. Behold, I am against the prophets who use their tongues and say, ‘Says the Lord.’ Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them; so they do not profit this people at all.”
[Jeremiah 23:14-17;21-32; including only the words spoken by God Himself.]
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