Monday, May 19, 2014

POPE JOHN I: WHAT TOLERANCE IS AND IS NOT

This was a particularly contentious weekend. So I found it coincidental (?) that the weekend included the feast of Pope St. John I (-526), whose handling of the Arian heresy speaks to a particular aspect of our debate with the  leaders of the Neocatechumenal Way.

First, here's what Butler's Lives of the Saints says about him:
Pope St John I (- 526)He was born in Tuscany and elected pope in 523. It was a time of high political and religious tension. Theodoric the Ostrogoth, the ruler of Italy, was an Arian, while many of his subjects were Catholics.  
Initially tolerant, he became increasingly suspicious of the Catholics’ influence and political allegiance – above all, because they naturally had strong links with the Catholicism of the surviving eastern Roman Empire in Constantinople. Moreover, Arians in the eastern Roman Empire were being persecuted by the Catholic emperor, Justin, and they appealed to Theodoric for help.   
Pope John I was sent on an embassy to the emperor, to ask for better treatment for the Arians. In this he succeeded; but the enthusiasm with which he was greeted in Constantinople excited Theodoric’s suspicions, and when he returned to Italy Theodoric had him imprisoned and he died from ill-treatment there a few days later.    
Pope John I’s career reminds us what tolerance is and is not. Arianism was a dangerous heresy (by making the Son subordinate to the Father it made the Atonement virtually pointless) and there could be no compromise with it – but this did not mean that Arians themselves were to be persecuted for their beliefs. 
Pope John's example is important in our current debate because of the constant attempt by the Kiko's (the leaders of the NCW) to turn every act of papal and episcopal kindness into some sort of official authenticating act of the Way itself, when in fact the primary concern of the pope and every member of the clergy is the care and salvation of souls, even of those who would kill them - as the Arians would kill Pope John. 

As we know well from the comments on this blog, the main defense of those practices of the Neocatechumenal Way which transgress what is legitimately permitted has been: "the pope knows and he hasn't stopped us." 

Actually, he did. Pope Benedict stopped the NCW from its practice of sitting while communicating the sacred species in 2008 with the publication of the Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way. The fact that the leadership of the NCW has persisted in its disobedience is no different that the persistence of Arius after he was first condemned a heretic at the First Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. 

Apparently, Arius, like Kiko, figured that Rome would come around to his way of seeing things because he ordered his followers to ignore Rome and carry on. Arius was for a time actually proved right when he was exonerated at the First Synod of Tyre in 335 A. D. 

The Kikonians make much of Kiko's appointment to this or that council as even more evidence of authentication, but imagine the "joy" of the Arians when their leader, officially condemned as a heretic, was later exonerated at a synod which, while elevating Arius, condemned and exiled his arch rival, St. Athanasius. 

The Church, the true one, eventually set things right when it again and finally declared Arius a heretic at the First Council of Constantinople in 381, but that was already 45 years after Arius' death. And while he died, his heresy not only continued for the next three centuries, but at one point, enlisted the support of more bishops than could the pope. 

The heresy reappeared after the Protestant reformation and has exploded with a vengeance today in the religions of Jehovah Witness and Iglesia ni Cristo, two of the fastest growing religions in the world, not to mention Islam, which also rejects the Trinity. 

Let's read again the last entry from Butler:
Pope John I’s career reminds us what tolerance is and is not. Arianism was a dangerous heresy (by making the Son subordinate to the Father it made the Atonement virtually pointless) and there could be no compromise with it – but this did not mean that Arians themselves were to be persecuted for their beliefs. 
To the members of the Neocatechumenal Way who read this and who care about the truth, read your Statute. Compare its provisions to what you see in practice and what you are told. Read especially Article 13 on the celebration of the Eucharist. Study the documents which are footnoted in that section. 

And please! Please do not mistake acts of kindness from our pastors and their decision not to openly discipline your leaders as acts of authentication. They are more likely acts of tolerance and mercy, as Pope St. John I showed us, 1700 years ago. 

3 comments:

  1. Read your Statute. That's all Tim is asking of you, my Neo brothers and sisters. Compare its provision to what you see in practice and what you are told. If it is different, ask why it is different. Just follow your Statute and Tim will go away. I know you want him to go away.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tim is very smart. I personally do not want him to go away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not hard to be "smart" when the other side doesn't even read their own Statute.

      Delete

Recommendations by JungleWatch