Saint Athanasius of Alexandria…

…judges Francis’ idea that Jesus came into the world to learn how to be a man

  • To elevate us to the divinity

For He was made man that we might be made God. (Saint Athanasius of Alexandria. On the Incarnation of the World, 54, 3. PG 25, 192B)

  • Christ underwent death in His flesh to offer Himself for us through death to the Father

And if because of His taking flesh ‘humbled’ is written, it is clear that ‘highly exalted’ is also said because of it. For of this was man’s nature in want, because of the humble estate of the flesh and of death. Since then the Word, being the Image of the Father and immortal, took the form of the servant, and as man underwent for us death in His flesh, that thereby He might offer Himself for us through death to the Father; therefore also, as man, He is said because of us and for us to be highly exalted, that as by His death we all died in Christ, so again in the Christ Himself we might be highly exalted, being raised from the dead, and ascending into heaven, ‘whither the forerunner Jesus is for us entered’. (Saint Athanasius of Alexandria. Discourse against the Arians I, ch. 11, no. 41)

…judges Francis’ idea on good-will replacing theological investigation

  • Anyone who separates from faith of the Catholic Church is no longer a Christian either in fact or in name

It profitable to consider the ancient tradition, teaching and faith of the Catholic Church, which was revealed by Our Lord, proclaimed by the Apostles and preserved by the Fathers. For upon this faith the Church is built, and if anyone were to separate from it, he would no longer be a Christian either in fact or in name. (Saint Athanasius. Epistle I ad Serapionem, 28: PG 26, 594-595)

…judges Francis’ idea on human suffering

  • The flesh of Jesus Christ is the Word’s – therefore the affections of the flesh are also ascribed to the Word

It became the Lord, in putting on human flesh, to put it on whole with the affections proper to it; that, as we say that the body was His own, so also we may say that the affections of the body were proper to Him alone, though they did not touch Him according to His Godhead. If then the body had been another’s, to him too had been the affections attributed; but if the flesh is the Word’s (for ‘the Word became flesh’), of necessity then the affections also of the flesh are ascribed to Him, whose the flesh is. And to whom the affections are ascribed, such namely as to be condemned, to be scourged, to thirst, and the cross, and death, and the other infirmities of the body, of Him too is the triumph and the grace. For this cause then, consistently and fittingly such affections are ascribed not to another, but to the Lord; that the grace also may be from Him, and that we may become, not worshippers of any other, but truly devout towards God, because we invoke no originate thing, no ordinary man, but the natural and true Son from God, who has become man, yet is not the less Lord and God and Saviour. (Saint Athanasius of Alexandria. Against the Arians, discourse III, no. 32-33)

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