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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-01-14 21:32:02
Typefacelarge in Small

And let me add, fathers, that this may be done without any breach of charity either, though this is another of the charges you bring against me in your publications. For, according to St. Augustine, charity may sometimes oblige us to ridicule the errors of men, that they may be induced to laugh at them in their turn, and renounce them — Haec tu misericorditer irride, ut eis ridenda ac fugienda commendes.” And the same charity may also, at other times, bind us to repel them with indignation, according to that other saying of St. Gregory of Nazianzen: The spirit of meekness and charity hath its emotions and its heats.” Indeed, as St. Augustine observes, who would venture to say that truth ought to stand disarmed against falsehood, or that the enemies of the faith shall be at liberty to frighten the faithful with hard words, and jeer at them with lively sallies of wit; while the Catholics ought never to write except with a coldness of style enough to set the reader asleep?”

Pray, then, father, do teach me one of the easiest of them.”

Determined, however, to have a heresy made out, let it cost what it may, you have attempted, by the following manoeuvre, to shift the question from the point of fact, and make it bear upon a point of faith. The Pope,” say you, declares that he has condemned the doctrine of Jansenius in these five propositions; therefore it is essential to the faith to hold that the doctrine of Jansenius touching these five propositions is heretical, let it be what it may.” Here is a strange point of faith, that a doctrine is heretical be what it may. What! if Jansenius should happen to maintain that we are capable of resisting internal grace” and that it is false to say that Jesus Christ died for the elect only,” would this doctrine be condemned just because it is his doctrine? Will the proposition, that man has a freedom of will to do good or evil,” be true when found in the Pope’s constitution, and false when discovered in Jansenius? By what fatality must he be reduced to such a predicament, that truth, when admitted into his book, becomes heresy? You must confess, then, that he is only heretical on the supposition that he is friendly to the errors condemned, seeing that the constitution of the Pope is the rule which we must apply to Jansenius, to judge if his character answer the description there given of him; and, accordingly, the question, Is his doctrine heretical?” must be resolved by another question of fact, Does it correspond to the natural sense of these propositions?” as it must necessarily be heretical if it does correspond to that sense, and must necessarily be orthodox if it be of an opposite character. For, in one word, since, according to the Pope and the bishops, the propositions are condemned in their proper and natural sense,” they cannot possibly be condemned in the sense of Jansenius, except on the understanding that the sense of Jansenius is the same with the proper and natural sense of these propositions; and this I maintain to be purely a question of fact.


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