THE DUTY TO RESIST
By Atila Sinke Guimaraes
Taken from The Remnant, March 15, March 31, April 15, 2,000
Unhappily the Holy Catholic Church is passing through difficult days today. One hundred years ago she was enjoying one of her more glorious periods. After the proclamation of the dogma of Papal Infallibility (1870), the influence of the Papacy reached a new high point in History. Even though the dogma applied exclusively to the infallibility of certain extraordinary pontifical teaching, this infallibility understandably radiated into other areas of papal activity. The common teachings of the Pope were regarded with much more respect. Their acts of government took on characteristics of perennial laws. Their liturgical, exegetic, and canonical decisions came to be considered as almost perfect or holy. The proclamation of Papal Infallibility shed a kind of golden aura on the Papacy thereafter. This caused joy among Catholics, especially those turned toward the counter-revolutionary fight, that is to say, those who understand that there is a centuries-old conspiracy to destroy the Church and Christendom, and who thus dedicate their lives to defend them from this.
In a secondary refraction, the light of Papal Infallibility cascaded over the whole Church Hierarchy. With different intensities, Cardinals, Archbishops, bishops, and priests came to participate in the same aura that radiated from the Supreme Pontiff. Thus, at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, the Spouse of Christ saw the concept of a Monarchical Church splendidly established.
The natural consequence of this process was obedience. All hierarchical institutions proceed from obedience and generate obedience. This also happened in the Catholic Church.
These three characteristics - the exaltation of the Papacy, an increased respect for the Hierarchy and the obedience of the faithful - represented a victory for the Counter-Revolution. A victory against the protestant Reformation that denied the Papacy. A victory against the French Revolution that launched itself against the Monarchy in the State and in the Church. A victory against the liberal Catholic movement of the first half of the 19th century. These victories have thus enthused what there was of the best and most healthful among Catholics. Because of this enthusiasm, these elements remained a lively presence up to the vespers of Vatican II.
By a curious irony of History, after the de facto installation of progressivism in the directive bodies of the Church with Vatican Council II, these same characteristics came to play a role that, in practice, worked in an opposite sense. They came to serve the self-destruction of the Church.
John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II used this acquired prestige to spread principles different from the perennial teaching of the Magisterium. Mater et Magistra, Pacem in Terris, Ecclesiam Suam, Populorum progressio, Sollicitudo rei socialis, Mulieris dignitatem, Ut unum sint, Tertio millennio adveniente are some pontifical documents in which one notes this new teaching. In Vatican Council II as well, the express thinking in the principle documents clashes with earlier ordinary and extraordinary pontifical teaching. Written in a deliberately ambiguous language, such documents are founded on the same Nouvelle Theologie previously condemned as heterodox, especially Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes, Unitatis Redintegratio, Dignitatis Humanae, Nostrae Aetate.
Thus, by a kind of "wave of the magic wand," the Church radically changed her appearance. What was wrong came to be right, what was certain came to be uncertain. Today there is talk of abolishing Quanta Cura and the Syllabus of Pius IX; the Encyclical Pascendi is called outdated; so also with the Decree Lamentabili and the anti-modernist oath. The dogmatic constitutions of the Council of Trent and the anathemas against Liberalism are set aside. Pardon is asked for the age-old dogmatic teaching against the errors o the Jewish religion.
What was the secret force that led almost the whole body of Catholics to the relative acceptance of this enormous change, certainly the greatest ever witnessed in History? It was due primarily to the action of the three aforementioned factors: papal prestige, the strength of the Church Hierarchy and the obedience of the faithful.
Paradoxically, for more than a century, counter-revolutionary Catholics were the principal artisans who established these three factors on an institutional level. However, after John XXIII was raised to the Pontifical Throne, they were the ones who suffered most from the application of these elements. The choir of progressivists, permissivists, the pusillanimous, and the mediocre even today launch against these Catholics the epithets of being "against the Pope," "disobedient to the Hierarchy," "outside the Church."
Thus, they see themselves in the sad circumstance of defending the Papacy but resisting the progressivist teachings of the conciliar Popes, of loving with ever increasing ardor the monarchic characteristics of the Church, of venerating the chains of dependancy that link those below to those above them. At the same time, they do not hesitate in denying their obedience to the Hierarchs who are promoting the auto-demolition of the Church.
The situation of these Catholics is delicate and paradoxical. Faced with the dilemma: "Fidelity to principles or to persons? Orthodoxy or obedience?" they adhere to the principles and resist the unorthodox authority.
From this the question necessarily arises: By acting in this way, do they place themselves outside the Church? The answer is no, positively no. They are one of the most precious parts of the faithful. They are following the divine example of Our Lord, Who obedient to the synagogue authorities in everything that was possible, nonetheless did not fear to disagree with them in discussions and deny them obedience in all that opposed true doctrine. This attitude does not imply either placing oneself outside the Church or of standing in judgment of the Pope.
Such a conclusion, however, is not only mine. Many great Saints and Doctors of the Church have spoken on this matter and recommended that attitude. The doctrine on the right of the faithful, even the most simple, to resist decisions of ecclesiastical authorities that are dangerous toe the Faith and objectively erroneous, was expounded by Saints and Doctors of the Church, as well as by famous theologians.
St. Thomas Aquinas, in many passages of his works, upholds the principle that the faithful can question and admonish Prelates. For example: "There being an imminent danger for the Faith, Prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects. Thus, St. Paul, who was a subject of St. Peter, questioned him publicly on account of an imminent danger of scandal in a matter of Faith. And, as the Glosa of St. Augustine puts it (Ad Galatas 2, 14), ‘St. Peter himself gave the example to those who govern so that if sometimes they stray from the right way, they will not reject a correction as unworthy even if it comes from their subjects." 1
Referring to the same episode, in which St. Paul resisted St. Peter "to his face," St. Thomas teaches: "The reprehension was just and useful, and the reason for it was not trivial: there was a danger for the preservation of evangelical truth... The way it took place was appropriate, since it was public and open. For this reason, St. Paul writes: ‘I spoke to Cephas,’ that is, Peter, ‘before everyone,’ since the simulation practiced by St. Peter was fraught with danger to everyone." 2
The Angelic Doctor also shows how this passage of the Scriptures contains teachings not only for Hierarchs, but for the faithful as well: "To the Prelates [was given an example] of humility so that they do not refuse to accept reprehensions from their inferiors and subjects; and to the subjects, an example of zeal and liberty so they will not fear to correct their Prelates, above all when the crime is public and entails a danger for many." 3
In his Comments on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, St. Thomas teaches how respectfully correcting a Prelate who sins is a work of mercy all the greater as the Prelate’s position is higher: "Eccl. XVII: 12 says that God ‘imposed on each one duties toward his neighbor.’ Now, a Prelate is our neighbor. Therefore, we must correct him when he sins. ..... Some say that fraternal correction does not extend to the Prelates either because a man should not raise his voice against heaven, or because the Prelates are easily scandalized if corrected by their subjects. However, this does not happen, since when they sin, the Prelates do not represent heaven and, therefore, must be corrected. And those who correct them charitably do not raise their voices against them, but in their favor, since the admonishment is for their own sake. ... For this reason, ... the precept of fraternal correction extends also to the Prelates, so that they may be corrected by their subjects." 4
Fr. Francisco de Vitoria, O.P. states: "A Pope must be resisted who publicly destroys the Church. What should be done when the Pope, because of his bad customs, destroys the Church? What should be done if the Pope wanted, without reason, to abrogate Positive Law?"
His answer is: "He would certainly sin; he should neither be permitted to act in such fashion nor should he be obeyed in what was evil; but he should be resisted with a courteous reprehension. Consequently, ... if he wanted to destroy the Church or the like, he should not be permitted to act in that fashion, but one would be obliged to resist him. The reason for this is that he does not have the power to destroy. Therefore, if there is evidence that he is doing so, it is licit to resist him. The result of all this is that if the Pope destroys the Church by his orders and actions, he can be resisted and the execution of his mandates prevented." 5
Fr. Francisco Suarez, S.J., also defends this position: "If [the Pope] gives an order contrary to good customs, he should not be obeyed; if he attempts to do something manifestly opposed to justice and the common good, it will be licit to resist him; if he attacks by force, by force he can be repelled, with a moderation appropriate to a just defense." 6
St. Robert Bellarmine, the great paladin of the Counter-Reformation, maintains: "Just as it is licit to resist a Pontiff that aggresses the body, it is also licit to resist one who aggresses the souls or who disturbs civil order, or, above all, one who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and preventing his will from being executed. It is not licit, however, to judge, punish or depose him, since these are acts proper to a superior." 7
Fr. Cornelius a Lapide, S.J., argues: "Superiors can, with humble charity, be admonished by their inferiors in the defense of truth; that is what St. Augustine, St. Cyprian, St. Gregory, St. Thomas and others declare about this passage (Gal. 2:11). ... St. Augustine wrote (Epistula 19 ad Hieronymum): ‘By teaching that superiors should not refuse to be reprehended by inferiors, St. Peter gave posterity an example more rare and holier than that of St. Paul as he taught that, in the defense of truth and with charity, inferiors may have the audacity to resist superiors without fear.’" 8
Applying these teachings to our days, the conclusion is very grave and very simple: Catholics who truly love the Church have the duty to resist the doctrines, laws, norms and orders coming from an ecclesiastical authority, especially if it be the Pope, which favor progressivism. Such resistance should be courteous and charitable. It does not mean that one is placed outside the Church by this. Also, it does not mean that the Catholic who takes this position has the power to judge the Pope.
RESISTENCE: HISTORICAL PRECEDENTS
In my last article, the Reader could see that every Catholic has the right to resist commands and teachings of the ecclesiastical authority when they are in error and prejudice the Holy Church or the common good. In it are excerpts from very authoritative authors, among them St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, and St. Robert Bellarmine, who all hold that the faithful have the right and the duty to resist authority, and that the latter should receive such resistance and admonishments with the same spirit of humility that St. Peter received the famous reprimand of St. Paul (Gal 2:11). Departing from this exceptional example, the authors do not retreat before the possibility of a Pope who could fall into error or heresy or try to destroy the Church, and for this reason, merit the resistance and admonitions of the faithful.
The considerations of these authors are not academic hypothoses, elaborated behind closed doors in theological disputes and classrooms. They are well grounded in the reality of the Church be it past or present.
Without being overly concerned over documentation, I will briefly cite some cases of errors or heresies of Popes in the past and of the resistance that they occasioned. I leave open the possibility of returning to deal with these incidents in a more detailed and minutely documented way, should it be necessary.
1. In the second century, the rites of the Church still were not fixed. There was a natural tendency to maintain the Judaic rites. There was the influence of the Roman empire, dominant in almost the whole known world. There was the Greek influence, present principally in Egypt and Syria. With this, a question understandably presented itself to the Church. Which of these influences should the liturgical rite follow? Pope St. Anicetus (155-168) wanted to regularize the rites of the Church, initiating what would come to be the Roman Rite. St. Polycarp of Smyrna, a disciple of St. John the Evangelist, wanted to keep the same rites that he had learned from St. John and had been followed by the other Apostles. This Sant traveled from the East to Rome and spoke firmly to St. Anicetus, opposing this uniformization. St. Polycarp was intransigent. St. Anicetus could not manage to persuade him of his reform. The two rites were maintained, because of the resistance of the great Bishop of Smyrna. St. Polycarp, along with St. Clement of Rome, the Pope, and St. Ignatius of Antioch are honored with the singular title of Apostolic Father, that is, among the great apologists of the Church, these were instructed by one or another of the Apostles.
2. In the year 190, a similar question arose. Pope St. Victor (189-199) suffered the provocations of Blastus, a Catholic of the Jewish race who went to Rome with the intention of provoking a schism in the Church over the celebration of the Easter rites. St. Victor had decided to resolve the problem by making a uniform rite to be followed under the threat of excommunication. All the Churches agreed, with the exception of the Asian church, which at that time was very numerous. St. Irenaeus, an Asian and at that time Bishop of Lyons (France) opposed the decision of the Pope, and presented himself before St. Victor to show him all the evils that could come for the Church with the possible schism. The resistance of St. Irenaeus had the desired effect, and St. Victor, while maintaining the general rule for the rest of the Church, opened an exception for the Asians.
3. A more serious and sad case was that of Pope Marcellinus (296-304), which took place in the years 303-304. It is not a case of resistance per se, but the precedence of a Pope who fell into an error contrary to Catholic Doctrine. With regard to this, the Roman Breviary (reading of April 5) says: "During the cruel persecution of the Emperor Diocletian, Marcellinus of Rome, overcome with terror, offered incense to the idols of the gods. For this sin he did penance, and wearing a hairshirt, went to the Council of Sinuesso, where many Bishops had assembled, and there he openly confessed his crime." There is no account of resistance to this attitude, but one can well imagine that the heroic Catholics who were disposed to offer their lives as martyrs to avoid the crime of Marcellinus strongly opposed the shameful defection of the Supreme Pontiff.
4. The epoch of Pope Liberius (352-366), in the middle of the fourth century, was marked principally by three men. The Roman Emperor Constantius II, son of Constantine, directed the semi-Arian persecutions. St. Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria, and St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, resisted. At first, Liberius took a strong laudable stance supporting the Bishops who had resisted the Emperor and were exiled for refusing to sign semi-Arian decrees. In view of this, Constantius ordered the Pope to be taken and submitted him to pressures to intimidate him. Since the Pope remained constant up to the point, he was sent to Thrace. Then Constantius had Felix elected to occupy the Chair of Peter. This exile was more difficult for Liberius to sustain than the other pressures. After some time, he submitted to the desires of the Emperor. Four letters preserved by St. Hilary of Poitiers in his Historical fragments, and his work Ad Constantium contains the testimony of Pope’s submission. St. Athanasius also left a record of the papal defection in his History of the Arians (41) and his Apologia against the Arians (89). From Thrace, Liberius was taken to Sirmium, where he signed a semi-Arian profession of faith in the year 357. After he signed this document, the Pope was authorized to return to Rome. In his Chronicle (a. 349), St. Jerome wrote: "Liberius, conquered by the tedium of exile, with heretical perversity, signed [the semi-Arian faith] and entered Rome as a conqueror." It is interesting to note that neither St. Athanasius nor St. Hilary had any problem in resisting the Arian politics of Pope Liberius. It is largely from the writings of these two saints that the history of Pope Liberius is known today.
5. At the beginning of the fifth century, St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, St. Aurelius, Archbishop of Carthage, and St. Jerome in Bethlehem were shining lights in North Africa. The Church was afflicted with the Pelagian heresy. The doctrine of Pelagius was first condemned by the Council of Carthage in 411. Afterward, it gave rise to the great polemic of St. Jerome and Orosius in Jerusalem, where the heretic had established an important base. St. Augustine wrote various books against the Pelagian doctrine: The Remission of Sins and the Baptism of Children, the Spirit and the Letter, Letter to Hilary, Nature and Grace, Perfect Justice, The Acts of Pelagius, The Grace of Christ, and Original Sin. Alongside these intellectual efforts, the Bishop of Hippo and the Bishop of Carthage exercised their influence so that the two African Council’s of Carthage and Mileve held in 416 condemned the Pelagian doctrine and its promoters. This effort of the African bishops was approved and praised by Pope Innocent I (401-417), who also expressly condemned Pelagius, his doctrine and his followers.
With the rise of Pope Zosimus (417-418) to the papal throne, the Pelagians found an unexpected opportunity to return to the offensive. After various hypocritical maneuvers of Pelagius, Pope Zosimus, in the presence of the Roman clergy, recognized the perfect orthodoxy of the statements of the heretic. He expressed indignation that a man of Pelagius’ merit could have been so calumniated (Letter Postquam nobis, of November 21, 417). This papal support for Pelagius can also be found in the Letter Magnum Pondus. In addition to this inconceivable position, the Holy See demanded a formal retraction from the African Bishops.
The Africans appealed, asking Rome to take into consideration the prior condemnation of Pope Innocent I and the two councils of Carthage. The request was unheeded. In face of this situation, St. Augustine and St. Aurelius made an energetic protestation, or obtestatio - an oath with God as witness - affirming that the prior Catholic Doctrine prevailed over the judgment of Zosimus. A plenary council of all Africa then assembled to uphold the condemnation made by Pope Innocent I against Pelagius. Finally, Pope Zosimus, breaking with his prior measures, accepted the condemnation of Innocent I and renewed the excommunication of Pelagius. A brilliant example of resistance.
6. Vigilius was a kind of puppet of the Empress Theodora. He was the one who gave the order to Belisarius, one of the principal generals of Justinian, to depose Pope Silverius (536-537). Silverius was exiled to Asia, returned to Rome, and then newly exiled to the island of Palmaria where he died, abandoned. After Silverius, Vigilius himself was raised to the Pontifical Throne (537-555). At that time the question of the "Three Chapters" was a much-discussed topic. In summary, this referred to a position in relation to the Council of Chalcedon, which condemned the heresy of Eutiques, monophysitism. To condemn the "Three Chapters" was equivalent to condemning the Council and approving monophysitism. The Emperor Justinian wanted the Council of Chalcedon to be condemned. At first, Pope Vigilius took a firm attitude. For this, he was made prisoner and exiled to Constantinople. After years of struggle, in which he suffered ridicule and physical violence, Vigilius gave in. On the orders of Justinian, a new council of Constantinople was convoked and the "Three Chapters" were condemned, that is to say, it adhered to monophysitism. Vigilius, who wanted to end this exile, asked Justinian permission to return to Rome. The Emperor made the condition that the Pope approve the decisions of the recent Council. Vigilius turned from his former orthodox position, wrote a letter of retraction, condemned the "Three Chapters" and launched an anathema against its authors. After this reconciliation with Justinian, Vigilius was rewarded with concessions that would have allowed him to reorganize the government of Rome and Italy. He left Constantinople, but he never carried out his plans, because he died before he reached Rome.
This has been a brief account of six historical precedents that illustrate errors of Popes in the past and the consequent possibility of opposing them with a legitimate and salutary resistance. Three interesting cases still remain which will be dealt with in the next article.
LESSONS FROM THE PAST
With regard to the present day situation of the Church, the times that we are living in lend themselves to innumerable historical parallels. In effect, the crisis opened by Vatican Council II is certainly the most serious of History. From top to bottom the Church edifice was revolutionized. It is normal, therefore, for Catholics to ask if there have been analogous precedents to what we are now witnessing, in order to know how to act. If this is opportune with regard to the ecclesiastical crisis, it is imperative with regard to the Papacy. In fact, after the proclamation of papal infallibility, the notion began to spread that all the positions of a Pope are infallible and immutable – a Pope can never err, and whoever thinks such at thing would be committing a crime. The reality, however, is not so simple. The conditions under which papal infallibility is guaranteed are very restricted and rare. For a document of the papal Magisterium to be considered infallible, very precise elements are necessary. Thus, there is a significant margin of error in the attitudes assumed by a Pope. Saying this, I by no means want to encourage any lack of respect for the pontifical authority. I only want to place myself within the actual situation as it was desired by Our Lord and taught by the Church.
The Papacy is for me the perfect institution: it is the mainstay of the created universe, the pillar of the temporal order and the summit of the spiritual order. The stairs that Jacob saw in his dream, with angels rising and descending on it, I consider as a symbol of the Papacy. It is by no means of the Papacy that the earth meets heaven. So much so that one might ask if some future theologian will study whether the attitudes of a Pope on earth might have juridical repercussions in heaven. The words of Our Lord, "And whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven" (Mt 18:18) seem to suggest a certain "heavenly jurisdiction" in the exercise of the Petrine Primacy. I mention this not to defend a new theological question – the times unfortunately are not propitious for this – but to make public my unrestrained veneration for the Papacy.
Even with the highest esteem for the Primacy, I do not see any problem with facing the following reality. The Pope can err; many Popes have erred in innumerable fields, not excluding doctrinary teachings, and some have even fallen into heresy. In the last article I showed the liturgical errors of St. Anicetus and St. Victor I, both Popes, and the resistance of St. Polycarp of Smyrna and St. Irenaeus of Lyons respectively in face of them. I narrated briefly how St. Marcellinus, Pope during the persecution of Diocletian, moved by fear, burned incense to the idols. A brief overview was given of the adhesion of Pope Liberius to Arianism, which was resisted by St. Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria, and St. Hilary, Bishop of Potiers. I also described the position of Pope Zosimus, who in written documents supported Pelagius and ordered those who were combating him to retract their objections, as well as the responses of St. Augustine, St. Aurelius and other African bishops who showed energetic resistance to that Pontiff. Finally, I referred to the case of Pope Vigilius, who, under the pressure of the Emperor Justinian, signed a Monophysitist document. In this article I will give several more examples which seem useful in understanding the lesson they contain. The incomplete history of events expounded here does not go beyond the 7th century. Perhaps I will have to return to the subject to present the documentation of the cases to which I have referred, or perhaps to give yet other cases.
1. The case of Pope Vigilius, which the Reader already knows, had a great repercussion in the Church of the time. In the West, the pontifical prevarication caused great indignation, even causing a schism in northern Italy. After the death of Vigilius, his disrepute continued for some time in the Church. In this general climate of confusion following the doctrinary fall of a Pope, one can understand the attitude of the Irish monk St. Columbanus. While in Italy in the city of Babbio, he learned from Agrippinus, Bishop of Cone, that Pope Boniface IV (608-615) was manifesting strong Nestorian tendencies. Concerned about the bad reputation of the See of Peter, St. Columbanus wrote to the Pope. After first affirming his humility, the Saint did not hesitate to make an admonition: "Vigilance, vigilance, I beg you, o Pope. Vigilance, I repeat, because perhaps Vigilius did not have enough vigilance" (Epistula V). St. Columbanus entreated the Pope to prove his orthodoxy and assemble a council that would clarify the doctrinary confusions of the time. He ended the letter with a reprimand addressed to the Pope.
2. In order to follow the heresy of Pope Honorius (625-638), some background information is necessary, which I will give here in a very brief way. The doctrines of monoenergism and of monothelism are two variants of monophysitism. The author of the heresy, Patriarch Sergius of Constantinople, defended the notion that in Christ there was only one single energy and one single will. This was countered by the strong and efficient opposition of St. Sophronius, who was afterward Patriarch of Jerusalem. This heresy was also combated by St. Maximus the Confessor and various Popes, as will be seen below. In an attempt to thwart the attacks of St. Sophronius and gain approval for the new heresy, Sergius wrote to Pope Honorius. The Pope responded with a letter of approval. In the document, Honorius praised the efforts of Sergius and approved his thesis about the single energy. The arguments of those who opposed him, said Honorius, could be reduced to merely a grammatical question. It was sufficient, Honorius affirmed, to teach that the same Word Incarnate divinely operates divine things and humanly operates human things, and that in all His action there is only one acting, therefore, only one will.
St. Sophronius was elected Patriarch of Jerusalem. He called a synod to combat the heresy. The final document of the assembly was a anti-monothelist profession of faith. The Patriarch also wrote a treatise about the first heresies and how the Church had always combated them. The central point of his analysis was to demonstrate that the Church had always taught that there were two energies, one human and one divine, in Christ. This is a natural consequence of the double nature of the Savior. To affirm the contrary is to fall into monophysitism. The documents of Sophronius – the conclusion of the synod and the treatise – were sent to Honorius. The Pope reproved the Patriarch, warning him that he should not separate the energies in Christ.
With this situation standing between Honorius and Sophronius, the Emperor Heralitus launched edicts about religious unity and the faith, in which he favored the heresy and combated St. Sophronius.
Monothelism was condemned by the successors of Pope Honorius: Pope Severinus (640-640) condemned it, Pope John IV (640-642) in 642, and Pope Theodore I (642-649) excommunicated Pyrrhus, Patriarch of Constantinople, for defending the same error. Pope St. Martin I (649-655) was imprisoned by the Emperor Constans II, and died a martyr because he would not accept monothelism. Pope Eugenius I (654-657) also rejected this doctrine. The Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (680-681) condemned monothelism and condemned Pope Honorius as a heretic. The condemnation document was elaborated by Pope Saint Agatho (678-681).
3. The Council of Toledo of 638 praised King Chintila for a law of interdict against those who professed the Jewish faith from remaining in Spain. The Council determined that in the future every King should swear to maintain this rigorous prescription, under punishment of anathema. This attitude of prevention in relation to the errors of the Jewish religion was a confirmation of a canon of the Council of Toldeo of 633, presided over by St. Isidore.
Pope Honorius sent an admonition to the Bishops of Spain, expressing benevolence in relation to the Jewish errors. In view of this, St. Braulio of Saragossa, disciple and friend of St. Isidore of Seville, reprimanded the Pope immediately after the Council of 638. He stated that he found it incredible that baptized Jews had received permission in Rome to return to their superstitious practices. The Saint sent Honorius an account of the "past and present" acts of the councils regarding the Jewish errors. Directing himself to the Pope, St. Braulio first manifested his respect toward the "the first and most eminent of the Prelates," to the "chief of our ministry." But then he affirmed that he could not believe that the "astuteness of the serpent had been able to leave traces of his passing over the stone of the Apostolic See."
One of the "dogmas" of progressivism that unfortunately is held by many in high places of the Church today is that of not combating the errors of the Jewish religion, which, nonetheless, continues to profess the same principles. It is interesting to see here how the Councils and the Saints have acted so courageously in the past. And how even when a Pope, a heretic Pope, had sustained the Jewish errors, he had received the exemplary resistance of a Saint.
1. Summa Theologiae (Taurini/Rome: Marietti), 1948, II.II, q. 33, a. 4.
2. Super Epistulas S. Pauli, Ad Galatas, 2, 11-14 (TauriniRome: Marietti, 1953), lec. III, nn. 83f.
3. Ibid., n. 77.
4. IV Sententiarum, d. 19, q. 2, a. 2.
5. Obras de Francisco de Vitoria (Madrid: BAC, 1960), pp. 486f.
6. De Fide, disp. X, sec. VI, n. 16, in Opera omnia (Paris: Vives, 1958), vol. XII, in Xavier da Silveira, La nouvelle Messe de Paul VI: Qu’en penser? (Chire-en-Montreuil: Diffusion de la Pensee Francaise, 1975), pp. 323f..
7. De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, chap. 29, in Opera omnia (Neapoli/Panormi/Paris: Pedone Lauriel), 1871, vol. I, p. 418.
8. Commentaria in Scripturam Sacram, Ad Galatas 2:11, (Paris: Ludovicus Vives, 1876), vol. 18, p. 528.