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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Catholic Inflexibility Is Catholic Charity

Catholic Inflexibility Is Catholic Charity

In these days when any attack against an error or an evil person is branded a lack of charity, it is good to hear the traditional teaching of the Church, which instructs us to fight this liberal opinion. Even when this opinion can appear attractive, at bottom it is contempt for the good of men, the rights of the truth, and the authentic love of God. This is what Fr. Sardá y Salvani teaches us.

Fr. Felix Sardá y Salvani

It is often necessary to displease or offend one person, not for his own good, but to deliver another from the evil he is inflicting. It is then an obligation of charity to repel the unjust violence of the aggressor. One may inflict as much injury on the aggressor as is necessary for defense. Such would be the case should one see a highwayman attacking a traveler. In this instance, to kill, wound, or at least take such measures as to render the aggressor impotent, would be an act of true charity.

The good of all good is the divine Good, just as God is for all men the Neighbor of all neighbors. As a consequence, the love due to a man, insomuch as he is our neighbor, ought always to be subordinated to that which is due to our common Lord. For His love and in His service we must not hesitate of offend men. The degree of our offense toward men can only be measured by the degree of our obligation to Him.

Charity is primarily the love of God, secondarily the love of our neighbor for God's sake. To sacrifice the first is to abandon the latter. Therefore, to offend our neighbor for the love of God is a true act of charity. Not to offend our neighbor for the love of God is a sin.

Modern Liberalism reverse this order. It imposes a false notion of charity: our neighbor first, and, if at all, God afterwards. By its repeated and trite accusations toward us of intolerance, it has succeeded in disconcerting even some staunch Catholics.

But our rule is too plain and too concrete to admit of misconception. It is this: Sovereign Catholic inflexibility is sovereign Catholic charity.

This charity is practiced toward our neighbor when, in his own interest, he is crossed, humiliated and chastised. It is practiced toward a third party when he is defended from the unjust aggression of another, as when he is protected from the contagion of error by unmasking its authors and abettors and showing them in their true light as iniquitous and perverse, by holding them up to the contempt, horror and execration of all. It is practiced in relation to God when, for His glory and in His service, it becomes necessary to silence all human considerations, to trample underfoot all human respect, to sacrifice all human interests - even life itself - to attain this highest of all ends.

All this is Catholic inflexibility and inflexible Catholicity in the practice of that pure love which constitutes sovereign charity.

(Fr. Felix Sarda y Salvany, Liberalism Is a Sin, Rockford: TAN, 1993, pp. 94-95)