NEW COMPENDIUM BOOK: Defending the Faith against Present Heresies….

Since the Church’s earliest days, even in the Letters of Paul, there developed a genre of writing adversus haereses, against heresies.  The reason is obvious:  Christ is the Truth.  With the exception of those on the ideological Left regarding elections, Christians want the TRUTH, even though it is hard.   When people stray from the Truth to sow error, they and what they teach become a threat to the salvation of souls, their own and those of others who embrace their errors.   Christ gave a special ministry to the Church, the Petrine Ministry with Tradition, the Rule of Faith handed down and protected through Apostolic Succession.

The very people of God has a sensus fidei, a sense of the Faith.  Though the better description is sensus fidei fidelium… the faithful’s sense of the Faith: to have it, you have to be faithful.

Along comes Francis, who says and writes curious things which raise questions in the minds of the faithful.   It is not the role of Popes to bring about doubts and divisions.  On the contrary.   But, here we are.  Doubts and controversies are multiplying.  There are a lot of factors, but I think in honesty we have to admit that Francis is in the mix to one degree or another.

One is led to wonder about what is going on in the heads of those who never evince the slightest puzzlement about some of the things Francis issues.

People of Faith want to know the Truth.  These days, with “fake news” and competing voices and, now, cancelling and suppression of speech, getting to the Truth can be hard.

Not forgetting that Francis himself has called for parrhesia, clear, honest talk, some people of good will have raised concerns about certain recent developments.  They also do it in public when their concerns haven’t been addressed in private.

Results vary.

One thing invariably happens, those on the Left who seem not to see anything at all odd in things right in front of their faces, shout explanations along the lines of, “SHUT UP!”

Given the growing willingness of some within the Church to embrace the cancel culture, terror tactics of the secular Left (I’m a recent target, along with a bishop), in the future it maybe become hard to find the questions, concerns, challenges, pleas for answers, respectful rebuttals, etc. online.  I readily imagine a cancelling of all such things by catholic news media outlets, etc, the purging of sites that have archived them by a growing catholic Minitrue.

Until we move into the 451ºF phase, scripta manent. Concrete books are not as susceptible to widespread obliteration.

A small Catholic publishing house in Canada, Arouca Press, has put out a seriously provocative volume.

Defending the Faith against Present Heresies: Letters & Statements Addressed to Pope Francis, the Cardinals, and the Bishops with a Collection of Related Articles & Interviews,

edited by John R.T. Lamont and Claudio Pierantoni, with a Foreword by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.


Long title.  But you get what it’s about.

This is a compendium of things which – to be blunt – does not make Francis, Cardinals, Bishop look good.  Quite the opposite.   The book is provocative.

Those who tend to favor what Francis and his crew have been doing will become shrill.  This is hardly to be doubted.

Some will dismiss it out of hand, saying that those who are represented in it, or who would want to read it, are crazy outliers. Pay no attention to the tilting deck, life boats and iceberg, everything is fine.  “Shut up!” they explain.

This is what I draw out of the existence of such a book.

Whether you are a staunch supporter of Francis and his crew or you are a sharp critic, …

You might be able to dismiss one or two smart people who have problems with, say, certain aspects of Amoris laetitia.  You might be able to brush aside as an isolated incident when Francis says something weird to a journalist.

When you start to collect all of these things, odd sayings and teachings, reactions to them, into one volume so that you can see a picture emerging, you can’t simply brush it aside.

The cumulative force of the things collected in this book may just prompt questions.   Just scanning through the table of contents and the useful index makes you go, “Whoa!  There’s a lot here.”

Again, the book is printed and not just in the cloud.  The left might be able to make it rare, try to cancel the publisher, buy up copies, and destroy them.  Some will remain.   The more you all buy, … etc.

Again, the left might be able to attack and even silence sites which have the book’s content piece meal, here and there, but this is a compendium which produces a cumulative effect.

What I would say to those who are 1000% in favor of everything that’s been going on for the last few years, and who think this is a bad book, blah blah, is:

If you think this compendium is bad, then produce your own book, respond to it.  Collect into one volume your supportive open letters and explanatory essays.  Let people see the cumulative effect of your no-doubt-incontrovertible position, bound to persuade.

Rather than respond with “Shut up you kooks!”, put up or shut up yourselves.

Take it seriously and see what happens.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Kathleen10 says:

    They have no rationale and this is why Francis quotes himself when he emits something or other. They need no rationale, they believe, it is enough they feel something. This should convince you and why doesn’t it. Something is wrong, with you, they think.
    You can’t debate blockheads, and the people on the other side of these issues have heads like rock. As a Polish acquaintance said, “talk to wall, more better”.
    This is a good book to have out there. I always thought a book cataloguing the retributions of Francis as a response to faithful Catholics or Feast Days, etc. would be an interesting read. Or times he made himself the center of attention in one way or another, when it got too quiet. He grew very predictable.

  2. Padre Pio Devotee says:

    I strongly believe and have a feeling that there are more people in the Church on the side of the Truth/Logos/Word Made Flesh & His Church than there are of those who seek to dismantle Him, His Church, and Truth.
    Though those who dismantle and try to destroy truth are in high positions of great influence, power, and governance—-there are but a few of them and a few of their minions. There are much more of us than there are of them (at least in the church).
    Perhaps I am naive. I could possibly be wrong, but over the last several years I have truly seen the faithful come out in full force against the craziness and confusion.

  3. Tooksam says:

    “Along comes Francis, who says and writes curious things which raise questions in the minds of the faithful.”

    I was so blessed during my conversion to be around an orthodox Catholic community that the curious writing and comments of Francis raises in my mind questions about him.

  4. Rod Halvorsen says:

    IMO we have long passed the due date for a new, serious condemnation of “ambiguity” itself as it has become entrenched in Catholic public discourse and one might even go so far as to say it “defines Catholicism” today as manifested in Vatican 2 documents and subsequent papal writings and teaching in general. Absolutely shockingly and shamelessly, we have even seen the use of the term to DEFEND papal teaching, that use being made by the none other than the celebrity Bishop Robert Barron who as the spokesman for the USCCB coined the term “eloquent ambiguity” to defend the Pope’s supposed “change” of the teaching on the death penalty. Truly, we have now reached the point of incoherence and cartoonlike representation of Catholic doctrine by senior leaders of the Church.

    As for very clear teaching on the need and indeed the requirement for clarity in doctrinal formation, we can start with CCC 1697. But more is available from the doctrinal history. We see in Denzinger-Huenermann adequate examples of the sharp condemnation the Church has in the past issued against ambiguity itself. See Pius V: In eam pro nostro, DH 1980 and Pius VI: Auctorem Fidei, DH 2600, 2601, 2695.

    In short, ambiguous teaching must be condemned.

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