Monday, March 30, 2015

New Arians

When there is a problem in the Church I always blame the Arians, I think they were at the root of  of the sixteenth century schism, other people might well blame others; lizards or Masons, for my part I blame those Arians.

Maybe they are not formal Arians but there is always a tendency to strip Christ of some of his divinity, to make him a little less than God, to further empty him of his divinity, to take away from his dignity, to wash our hands of him.

It is man's nature to destroy God, that is what is is played out in Holy Week. It is as if we cannot bear to have him live amongst us. It is our fallen nature, we prefer darkness to light, being lost to being found, perdition to salvation. God for His part shows himself willing to put himself into our hands and endure the dreadful consequences.

Orthodox Catholicism is essentially about a correct Trinitarian belief. I have a suspicion that deep down the real problem with the Synod is one of the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and His place within the Church, and how seriously we take him.
If Jesus is not truly God then he's guarantees about being with his Church until the end of time need not be taken too seriously. The idea of the Church being the very Body of Christ raised to life by the Father by being imbued with the Spirit gives way to a body that in some way adheres to him. Similarly if he is not 'God amongst us' then the power of the Holy Spirit has not been poured out on those who receive the sacraments, we are un-graced, and only have ourselves to rely on. Pelagianism is the next step on from Arianism.

Arianism was not just an academic heresy, in fact it was much more a pastoral one. Arians tend to see what is there and what is human rather than what is divine and can be accomplished by grace.
I have never found it in his writings but I remember told Athanasius said, 'You can tell an Arian by the way he treats the poor'. If we looking for signs of this heresy we should look for its simple 'cash value', how it causes us to treat the poor. The last great Arian Crisis, the Reformation, resulted very quickly in Germany, in the war against the peasants and in this country the poor being whipped from parish to parish.

Orthodoxy speaks of intimacy, Arianism of distance and the first to be distanced are always 'the little ones', on the poor, the unborn, the poor at the bottom of society, on children and those dependant on stable homes and marriages.

The effect on the liturgy of Arianism is that it makes the presence of Christ more distant. Abbot Paul Delatte in his commentary on the Rule of St Benedict says that the saint introduced the Gloria Patri in order to stop his monks praying with Arians. Today words tend to be ignored, so actions often tend to speak louder, there is a liturgical style that seems to indicate that the Mass far from being the Saving Sacrifice is merely a community gathering or a praise service and the Eucharist itself though not quite ordinary bread is far from the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Some might indeed argue that the stripping of the liturgy of many of its physical actions tends to Arianism.

In marriage itself the sacramental action of the Church creates the marriage, orthodox Christianity has the expectation that God en-graces the couple to be faithful and fruitful in grace, an Arian tendency would see little difference in sacramental act and non-sacramental co-habitation, that although God might indeed bless the marriage, he is not incarnate within it, he might be a benign watcher but he is not incarnate with in it.


Gregkanga said...

Fr Ray, a lot of what you have written makes sense to me, and to some extent explains the wave of crises currently gripping the Church. Before attending the upcoming Synod, it should be made compulsory for bishops to do a crash course on the tri-core doctrinal structure of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the logic and significance of its contents and how the Catechetical Directory compliments it. Any pastoral approach detached from the Trinitarian Mystery, the Christological Mystery and the Ecclesiological Mystery of the Faith is doomed to fail, and will render the Church's mission in the world fruitless, null and void.

August said...

I once heard a deacon say something to the effect that 'Jesus once had not said yes.' It seemed quite Arian to me, and when I confronted him about it he pretended he misspoke. He is a charismatic speaker and is trained as a lawyer, so he can blather on about nothing forever, and most of what he say centers around emotion- he says the word happy entirely too much.
Unfortunately, he cannot take correction, and I am sure he is too foolish to suffer any pangs of repentance for what he has done to me.

gemoftheocean said...

Think I found it for you: History of the Arians, Part VII, para 61-62 Try this link I think the quote you mean is: " And when the Arians saw that the brethren readily ministered unto them and supported
them, they persecuted the widows also, beating them on the feet, and accused those who gave to
them before the Duke. This was done by means of a certain soldier named Dynamius. And it was
well-pleasing to Sebastian1712, for there is no mercy in the Manichæans; nay, it is considered a
hateful thing among them to shew mercy to a poor man1713. Here then was a novel subject of
complaint; and a new kind of court now first invented by the Arians. Persons were brought to trial
for acts of kindness which they had performed; he who shewed mercy was accused, and he who
had received a benefit was beaten; and they wished rather that a poor man should suffer hunger,
than that he who was willing to shew mercy should give to him. "

Unknown said...

Yes, the absolutely hugest problem throughout Western Christendom is the tendency to strip our Lord of divinity, reduce Christology, join the bandwagon of Paul of Samosata. ...But beware of generalised applications to the multiple schisms of the 16th century. We Lutherans share resolutely the Christology of St Cyril of Alexandria, so you can't hang that charge on our chief doctors, Luther & Chemnitz. ...A Blessed Holy Week in a time of unprecedented doctrinal tumult-cum-meltdown in Western Christendom.

Liam Ronan said...

"One of his disciples, the same Judas Iscariot who was to betray him, said when he saw it, 'Why should not this ointment have been sold? It would have fetched three hundred silver pieces, and alms might have been given to the poor.' He said this, not from any concern for the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse, and took what was put into it.

And Jesus said, 'Let her alone; enough that she should keep it for the day when my body is prepared for burial. You have the poor among you always; I am not always among you.'" John 12:4-8

Mark 14:7 "...But Jesus said, Let her alone; why should you vex her? She did well to treat me so. You have the poor among you always, so that you can do good to them when you will; I am not always among you."

Now I may be wrong, but while rebuking the treacherous Apostle Judas, Jesus does not seem to convey a desperate urgency to dash off and give alms to the (materially) poor other than that which may have been the routine and custom of the Apostles theretofore.

Rather, He says such may be done 'when you will'. Moreover, He says that the Apostles and disciples would 'always' have the poor among them (implying, I think all this current frenzy about eliminating poverty is futile at best).

No football matches or free shaves or free showers or beach balls.

The glory and adoration of Jesus Christ comes first. And even then our service to the materially and spiritually impoverished must be done in Christ's Christ's Name.

"For whosoever shall give you to drink a cup of water in my name, because you belong to Christ: amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward." Mark 9:41

Adrian said...

I think you will find it very difficult to find evidence that Luther, Zwingli, Calvin etc were anything other than Christologically orthodox.

Peter Kwasniewski said...

Thank you for this reflection, with which I agree 100%. Chapter 6 of my book Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis is entitled "Offspring of Arius in the Holy of Holies" and documents rather carefully the Arianizing moves made in the reform of the Mass.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Look at what they did.

JARay said...

Indeed what should not be forgotten is that Jesus rightly claimed to forgive sin as when he said to the man let down through the roof "Your sins are forgiven" and then the Pharisees said "Who can forgive sin except God himself" and then Jesus said "What is it easier to say 'your sins are forgiven' or 'rise take up your bed and walk', but that you shall know that the Son of Man has power to forgive sin, I say, 'rise, take up your bed and walk'"
By those words and those actions Jesus showed that he was God himself and he had the power to forgive sin. The Arians denied it.

Supertradmum said...

I highly suggest that all real Catholics read Garrigou-Lagrange's Grace, which is online. I have also done a long series on this and the synod. The basic doctrine of the sacraments and grace are being attacked by some of the synod members.

Jacobi said...


There are certainly Gnostics in the Church today, that is those who attribute a degree of divinity to man. There are people in the Church who think they know better than the Church, better than the Mystical Body of Christ on Earth the Catholic Church, and therefore better than Christ.

They think humanity can decide as well as, or better than, Christ. Who believe, for instance, that they have a right to receive Holy Communion regardless of their state of sin, who can decide for themselves, thank you.

But then they are as good as Christ, so by definition, Christ is not fully God. As Arian said, he is a good man, probably a very nice man, but no better than they are.

So of course they will troop up to receive the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ with everyone else.

Yes, Father, there are no new ideas. Just the same old ones in slightly new forms, leading to that ultimate heresy described by St Pius X as “the synthesis of all heresies”, Modernism, which is sorely afflicting the Synod, and the Catholic Church today.

Nicolas Bellord said...

When you compare the first substantive paragraph in Archbishop Bruno Forte's Relatio at the Synod with the final Relatio Synodi you see where he is coming from:

Forte wrote:

5. Anthropological and cultural change today influences all aspects of life and
requires an analytic and diversified approach,

This was rewritten by the Cardinals to read:

5. Faithful to Christ’s teaching, we look to the reality of the family today in all its complexity, with both its lights and shadows.

However the anthropological mumbo-jumbo still gets left in later in the same paragraph.

Over the years so many references to the supernatural have been deliberately cut out: 'And with you' instead of 'And with your spirit', 'Peace be with you' instead of 'The peace of Christ', 'Happy' instead of 'Blessed','Life' instead of 'Soul' etc etc.

Liam Ronan said...

Forgive me if this is a non-sequitur, but as it is Passion Week I trust you will indulge this observation.

I have always found the literal translation of the name of the murderer, Barabbas, whose release the High Priests passionately sought in preference to Jesus, to be so very telling. "son of the father" (as I understand the literal rendering).

Barabbas being one who was put in prison with some seditious men, who in the sedition had committed murder according to Mark.

So here we have Jesus, True Son of the Father and Barabbas 'son of the father' presented side-by-side to the chief priest and rabbis who stir up the people to cry out for 'mercy' for the 'son of the father of lies' (a murderer from the beginning) and condemn the Son of the Father of Truth (in Whom was Light and Life from the beginning)to death.

While Our Dear Lord continues to be scourged and put to death by the sins of men which go uncondemned, I gather there are plans for Francis to call for an end to the death penalty during the Stations of the Cross this Good Friday. (link below)

Frank Karwatowicz said...

Words matter. Translations matter. And, sloppy or intentionally misleading statements are at the least confusing at the most, devastating.
Here is a blog from another site which made me realize the deceptive operating system in the present Rome:

"Just at first glance, and without looking it up on Google Translate, what is the difference between these two passages of a recent important Vatican document, the final “Relatio” from October’s Extraordinary Synod of Bishops?

“…confronto alla luce del Signore Gesù per discernere le vie con cui rinnovare la Chiesa e la società nel loro impegno per la famiglia fondata sul matrimonio tra uomo e donna.”


“…facing the situation, with an eye on the Lord Jesus, to discern how the Church and society can renew their commitment to the family.”

A little pared down, perhaps? The official Italian original says, roughly, “…facing, in the light of the Lord Jesus, [how] to discern the ways in which to renew the Church and society in their commitment to the family based on marriage between a man and a woman.”

El Codo said...

Yes.Now the interesting thing about Arius is that he was a veryupright,worthy,respectable sort of clergyman.In fact he was ,dare one whisper it,more admirable in his earnestness than the Orthodox of the day.The monks in particular who looked after glorious St Athanasius,were a rough crew not at all C of E.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Frank: Extraordinary! Surprisingly the earlier Relatio Post Deceptationem is better:

"4. In the light of the same discourse we have gathered together the results of our reflections and our dialogues in
the following three parts: listening, to look at the situation of the family today, in the complexity of its light and
shade; looking, our gaze fixed on Christ, to re-evaluate with renewed freshness and enthusiasm what the
revelation transmitted in the faith of the Church tells us about the beauty and dignity of the family; and
discussion in the light of the Lord Jesus to discern the ways in which the Church and society can renew their
commitment to the family."

Possibly the "eye" comes from the agenda document Relatio ANTE disceptationem:

The most serious of family problems themselves are considered “signs of the times”
to be discerned in the light of the Gospel and read with the eyes and heart of Christ and
from his perspective in the house of Simon the Pharisee (cf. Lk 7.36 50).

That was written by Cardinal Erdo rather than Archbishop Forte as was the final Relatio Synodi. But the eyes of Christ have become the eye of the Synod possibly squinting at the bright light!

viterbo said...

Oh, Father, c'mon - it's the lizards! Even if they don't have the magical powers to move back and forth - it's the blimmin' lizards (BTW some protestants teach literal lizardism whilst still being confused about the divinity of Christ).

The divine-demotion of the Incarnate Second Person of the Holy Trinity - is probably, as you say, the source of the problems.

Unknown said...

Didn't St. Nicholas slap Arius? Maybe a few Aruans need a good slapping.

Seattle Kim

Denis said...

Dear Father Blake. This is completely off topic. I copied it from a Daily Mail comment page. I thought it of interest.
"Is this a surprise given that the male and female vicars, bishops, etc., hardly mention Jesus Christ themselves. Listen to the early morning religious programme on Radio 2, usually presented by Clare Balding, and you'll hear the words of religious 'word of wisdom' are generalised or about feminism. Last week the female vicar spoke about clearing out drawers and this morning a male vicar spoke about something or other that I've already forgotten. I am not a Christian but I went to school when religious education was Christian and its as if the vicars only preach what they think will be as vapid as possible in order not to offend anyone. So it's hardly surprising that there are far more people buried in churchyards than use the Church itself"