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on making peace with heresy

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 17, 2005

Dale Price blogs the following quote from the late Cardinal Henri de Lubac, S.J.

If heretics no longer horrify us today, as they once did our forefathers, is it certain that it is because there is more charity in our hearts? Or would it not too often be, perhaps, without our daring to say so, because of the bone of contention, that is to say, the very substance of our faith, no longer interests us?

Men of too familiar and too passive a faith, perhaps for us dogmas are no longer the Mystery on which we live, the Mystery which is to be accomplished in us. Consequently, then, heresy no longer shocks us; at least, it no longer convulses us like something trying to tear the soul of our souls away from us. ... And that is why we have no trouble in being kind to heretics, and no repugnance in rubbing shoulders with them.

In reality, bias against 'heretics' is felt today just as it used to be. Many give way to it as much as their forefathers used to do. Only, they have turned it against their political adversaries. Those are the only ones who horrify them. Those are the only ones with whom they refuse to mix. Sectarianism has only changed its object and taken other forms, because the vital interest has shifted. Should we dare to say that this shifting is progress?

It is not always charity, alas, which has grown greater, or which has become more enlightened: it is often faith, the taste for the things of eternity, which has grown less.

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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Gertrude - Mar. 18, 2005 10:51 AM ET USA

    Political correctness (how dare you call someone a heretic) has so saturated the average mind, that most of us can't stand back far enough to know we have that mindset. Case in point; I was accused of being a narrowminded bigot when I taught my Religious Education class of high school students the difference between our Faith and other churches.

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Mar. 17, 2005 7:29 PM ET USA

    Dover, We also do a grave injustice to the blood that was shed by many witnessing to the Truth throughout the ages. Cardinal de Lubac certainly sees through much, and appears prophetic. Lord, we believe, help our un-belief...lest we be drawn into thinking that our charity has grown and been enlightened so much that we no longer see a need to stand for Truth...to cling to the Way...and to continually seek the real Life which is only found in Jesus, Our Lord!

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Mar. 17, 2005 5:18 PM ET USA

    In the past two millenia, almost every imaginable heresy has already been expounded by its adherents, and then intellectually demolished by the Church. Yet when an old heresy is put forward again in an attractive way -- e.g., in "The DaVinci Code" -- many Catholics are unable to explain why it is heresy, and some are even taken in by it. Why? Because we don't know our own history. Thus we throw away the hard work of those who came before us.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Mar. 17, 2005 12:54 PM ET USA

    Latinae, You should read Henri de Lubac's excellent and very revealing book called "The Drama of Atheist Humanism".

  • Posted by: - Mar. 17, 2005 11:45 AM ET USA

    I believe it is as (more) correct to say that for most modern Western people ideology has replaced faith. And since our Bishops and Pastors have embraced and dwell almost exclusively on only aspects of our Faith consistent with the ideological zeit geist of Socialism, Humanitarianism and Modernism, there is no longer an understanding of the Faith and thus no anchor of Truth.

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