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A Passiontide reflection on heresy

March 16, 2016

Can adherence to the Catholic Faith be a meditation on Our Lord's Passion?

Image above: Judas betrays Jesus Christ with a kiss.

Passiontide is a period of the liturgical year when we contemplate more intensely the redemptive acts of Our Savior and thereby the love and devotion we rightfully owe to Him for having been redeemed by His Precious Blood.

In connection with this reflection, naturally the matter of our union with Christ and thereby His Catholic Church should also enter into our minds. For a better comprehension of this crucial necessity (unity through the Faith), we provide an extract on heresy from Fr. William F. Faber's book—aptly titled for this Passiontide period—The Precious Blood, or The Price of Our Salvation.

This extract is particularly pertinent considering our age of religious indifference and pluralism (or "silent apostasy") which is open to any diversity, and that these zealous words come from the soft-spoken Fr. Faber.


Zealous words on heresy by the pious Fr. Faber

The crowning disloyalty to God is heresy. It is the sin of sins, the very loathsomest of things which God looks down upon in this malignant world. Yet how little do we understand of its excessive hatefulness! It is the polluting of God’s truth, which is the worst of all impurities. Yet how light we make of it! We look at it, and are calm. We touch it and do not shudder. We mix with it, and have no fear. We see it touch holy things, and we have no sense of sacrilege. We breathe its odor, and show no signs of detestation or disgust.

Some of us affect its friendship; and some even extenuate its guilt. We do not love God enough to be angry for His glory. We do not love men enough to be charitably truthful for their souls. Having lost the touch, the taste, the sight, and all the senses of heavenly-mindedness, we can dwell amidst this odious plague in imperturbable tranquility, reconciled to its foulness, not without some boastful professions of liberal admiration, perhaps even with a solicitous show of tolerant sympathies.

Why are we so far below the old saints, and even the modern apostles of these latter times, in the abundance of our conversions? Because we have not the antique sternness! We want the old Church-spirit, the old ecclesiastical genius. Our charity is untruthful because it is not severe; and it is unpersuasive because it is untruthful. We lack devotion to truth as truth, as God’s truth. Our zeal for souls is puny, because we have no zeal for God’s honor. We act as if God were complimented by conversions, instead of trembling souls rescued by a stretch of mercy.

We tell men half the truth, the half that best suits our own pusillanimity and their conceit; and then we wonder that so few are converted, and that of those few so many apostatize. We are so weak as to be surprised that our half-truth has not succeeded so well as God’s whole truth. Where there is no hatred of heresy, there is no holiness. A man who might be an apostle becomes a fester in the Church for the want of this righteous abomination.

We need St. Michael to put new hearts into us in these days of universal heresy.


Fr. Frederick William Faber, D.D., The Precious Blood, or The Price of Our Salvation, 8th ed. (London: Burns & Oates, n.d. [Dedication, 1860]), pp. 289-290.