Saint Augustine…

…judges Francis’ idea on matrimony

  • The universal way for delivering the soul, the royal way which alone leads to the kingdom

This is the religion which possesses the universal way for delivering the soul; for except by this way, none can be delivered. This is a kind of royal way, which alone leads to a kingdom which does not totter like all temporal dignities, but stands firm on eternal foundations. […] For what else is the universal way of the soul’s deliverance than that by which all souls universally are delivered, and without which, therefore, no soul is delivered? […] What is this universal way of which he acknowledges his ignorance, if not a way which does not belong to one nation as its special property, but is common to all, and divinely bestowed? Porphyry, a man of no mediocre abilities, does not question that such a way exists; for he believes that Divine Providence could not have left men destitute of this universal way of delivering the soul. […] this universal way of the soul’s deliverance […] the grace of God […] This way purifies the whole man, and prepares the mortal in all his parts for immortality. […] Except by this way, which has been present among men both during the period of the promises and of the proclamation of their fulfillment, no man has been delivered, no man is delivered, no man shall be delivered. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The City of God, Book X, Ch. 32)

  • Due to their impenitent heart some treasure up wrath against the day of wrath

Will someone say, Why, then, was this divine compassion extended even to the ungodly and ungrateful? Why, but because it was the mercy of Him who daily ‘makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust’ (Mt 5:45). For though some of these men, taking thought of this, repent of their wickedness and reform, some, as the apostle says, ‘despising the riches of His goodness and long-suffering, after their hardness and impenitent heart, treasure up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his deeds’ (Rom 2:4). (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The City of God, Book I, ch. VIII, no. 1)

…judges Francis’ idea on union in the Catholic Church

  • Receive and eat the body of Christ; so as not to be separated, eat what unites you

Receive, therefore, and eat the body of Christ; now that you too have become members of Christ in the body of Christ; receive and drink the blood of Christ. So as not to be separated, eat what unites you; in order not to seem cheap in your own estimation, drink the price paid for you. […] So then, if you have life in him, you will be with him in one flesh. This sacrament, after all, does not give you the body of Christ so as then to divide you in it. […] You, then, begin to receive what you have already begun to be, provided that you do not receive it unworthily, eating and drinking your own condemnation. […] And you receive it worthily, if you keep far from the yeast of bad doctrines, so that you be ‘unleavened loaves of sincerity and truth’ (1Cor 5:8). (Saint Augustine. Sermon 228 B, About the Sacraments, on Easter Day, no. 3–5)

  • Man should live according to the soul by reason of the new birth and the renewing of spiritual conversation

For from Adam unto Moses the human race lived of the body, that is, according to the flesh: which is called the outward and the old man, and to which the Old Testament was given, that it might prefigure the spiritual things to come by operations, albeit religious, yet carnal. Through this entire season, when men lived according to the body, “death reigned,” as the Apostle says, “even over those that had not sinned.” Now it reigned “after the similitude of Adam’s transgression” (Rom 5:14), as the same Apostle says; for it must be taken of the period up to Moses, up to which time the works of the law, that is, those sacraments of carnal observance, held even those bound, for the sake of a certain mystery, who were subject to the One God. But from the coming of the Lord, from whom there was a transition from the circumcision of the flesh to the circumcision of the heart, the call was made, that man should live according to the soul, that is, according to the inner man, who is also called the “new man” (Col 3:10) by reason of the new birth and the renewing of spiritual conversation. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Expositions of the Psalms, Psalm 6, no. 2)

  • Those who have renounced this world only in words deceive the unwary with their lives and seduce them away from Catholic safety

I know that there are many who in words have renounced this world, and yet desire to be burdened with all the weight of worldly things, and rejoice in such burdens. Nor is it surprising that among so many multitudes you should find some by condemning whose life you may deceive the unwary and seduce them from Catholic safety; for in your small numbers you are at a loss when called on to show even one out of those whom you call the elect who keeps the precepts, which in your indefensible superstition you profess. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Of the morals of the Catholic Church, Ch. 34, no. 75)

  • This is the universal way of the soul’s deliverance: the grace of God

This is the religion which possesses the universal way for delivering the soul; for except by this way, none can be delivered. This is a kind of royal way, which alone leads to a kingdom which does not totter like all temporal dignities, but stands firm on eternal foundations. […] that no system of doctrine which furnishes the universal way for delivering the soul has as yet been received […] For what else is the universal way of the soul’s deliverance than that by which all souls universally are delivered, and without which, therefore, no soul is delivered? […] What is this universal way of which he acknowledges his ignorance, if not a way which does not belong to one nation as its special property, but is common to all, and divinely bestowed? Porphyry, a man of no mediocre abilities, does not question that such a way exists; for he believes that Divine Providence could not have left men destitute of this universal way of delivering the soul. […] This, then, is the universal way of the soul’s deliverance […] the grace of God […] This way purifies the whole man, and prepares the mortal in all his parts for immortality. […] Except by this way, which has been present among men both during the period of the promises and of the proclamation of their fulfillment, no man has been delivered, no man is delivered, no man shall be delivered. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The City of God, Book X, Ch. 32)

…judges Francis’ defense of the Jovinian heresy

  • Chastity of continence is better than marriage chastity

Therefore, if we compare the things themselves, we may no way doubt that the chastity of continence is better than marriage chastity, while yet both are good: but when we compare the persons, he is better, who has a greater good than another. Further, he who has a greater of the same kind, has also that which is less; but he, who only has what is less, assuredly has not that which is greater. For in sixty, thirty also are contained, not sixty also in thirty. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Of the good of marriage, 28)

  • The greater sanctity of the unmarried than of the married

What therefore he says, ‘She, that is unmarried, thinks of the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit;’ we are not to take in such sense, as to think that a chaste Christian wife is not holy in body. Forsooth unto all the faithful it was said, ‘Do you not know that your bodies are a temple of the Holy Ghost within you, Whom you have from God?’ Therefore the bodies also of the married are holy, so long as they keep faith to one another and to God. And that this sanctity of either of them, even an unbelieving partner does not stand in the way of, but rather that the sanctity of the wife profits the unbelieving husband, and the sanctity of the husband profits the unbelieving wife, the same Apostle is witness, saying, ‘For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in a brother.’ Wherefore that was said according to the greater sanctity of the unmarried than of the married, unto which there is also due a greater reward, according as, the one being a good, the other is a greater good: inasmuch as also she has this thought only, how to please the Lord. For it is not that a female who believes, keeping married chastity, thinks not how to please the Lord; but assuredly less so, in that she thinks of the things of the world, how to please her husband. For this is what he would say of them, that they may, in a certain way, find themselves obliged by marriage to think of the things of the world, how to please their husbands. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Of the Good of Marriage, 13)

  • The virgin is with good reason set before a married woman

Therefore that virgin is with good reason set before a married woman, who neither sets herself forth for the multitude to love, whereas she seeks from out the multitude the love of one; nor, having now found him, orders herself for one, taking thought of the things of the world, ‘how to please her husband;’ but has so loved ‘Him of fair beauty above the sons of men,’ as that, because she could not, even as Mary, conceive Him in her flesh, she has kept her flesh also virgin for Him conceived in her heart. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On holy virginity, 11)

  • Chastity of married life must yield to virginal chastity and freedom through pious continence: the portion of Angels

All these, however, are offices of human duty: but virginal chastity and freedom through pious continence from all sexual intercourse is the portion of Angels, and a practice, in corruptible flesh, of perpetual incorruption. To this let all fruitfulness of the flesh yield, all chastity of married life; the one is not in (ma’s) power, the other is not in eternity; free choice has not fruitfulness of the flesh, heaven has not chastity of married life. Assuredly they will have something great beyond others in that common immortality, who have something already not of the flesh in the flesh. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On holy virginity, 12)

  • Those who follow perpetual continence and holy virginity choose greater gifts while not condemning the lesser – This is the doctrine of the Lord and of the Apostles

Wherefore I admonish both men and women who follow after perpetual continence and holy virginity, that they so set their own good before marriage, as that they judge not marriage an evil: and that they understand that it was in no way of deceit, but of plain truth that it was said by the Apostle, ‘Who so gives in marriage does well; and who so gives not in marriage, does better; and, if you shall have taken a wife, you have not sinned; and, if a virgin shall have been married, she sins not;’ and a little after, ‘But she will be more blessed, if she shall have continued so, according to my judgment.’ And, that the judgment should not be thought human, he adds, ‘But I think I also have the Spirit of God.’ This is the doctrine of the Lord, this of the Apostles, this true, this sound, so to choose greater gifts, as that the lesser be not condemned. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On holy virginity, 18)

  • Two errors: making marriage equal to perpetual virginity or altogether condemning it

But lest any should think that of two works, the good and the better, the rewards will be equal, on this account it was necessary to treat against those, who have so interpreted that saying of the Apostle, ‘But I think that this is good by reason of the present necessity,’ as to say that virginity is of use not in order to the kingdom of heaven, but in order to this present time: as though in that eternal life, they, who had chosen this better part, would have nothing more than the rest of men. And in this discussion when we came to that saying of the same Apostle, ‘But such shall have tribulation of the flesh, but I spare you;’ we fell in with other disputants, who so far from making marriage equal to perpetual virginity, altogether condemned it. For whereas both are errors, either to equal marriage to holy virginity, or to condemn it: by fleeing from one another to excess, these two errors come into open collision, in that they have been unwilling to hold the mean of truth: whereby, both by sure reason and authority of holy Scriptures, we both discover that marriage is not a sin, and yet equal it not to the good either of virginal or even of widowed chastity. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On holy virginity, 19)

  • They discourage rather than exhort holy virgins, those who compel them to continue so by passing sentence on marriage

Here someone will say, what has this to do with holy virginity, or perpetual continence, the setting forth of which was undertaken in this discourse? To whom I make answer in the first place, what I mentioned above, that the glory of that greater good is greater from the fact that, in order to obtain it, the good of married life is surmounted, not the sin of marriage shunned. Otherwise it would be enough for perpetual continence, not to be specially praised, but only not to be blamed: if it were maintained on this account, because it was a crime to wed. In the next place, because it is not by human judgment, but by authority of Divine Scripture, that men must be exhorted unto so excellent a gift, we must plead not in a common-place manner, or merely by the way, that divine Scripture itself seem not to any one in any matter to have lied. For they discourage rather than exhort holy virgins, who compel them to continue so by passing sentence on marriage. For whence can they feel sure that that is true, which is written, ‘And he, who gives her not in marriage, does better:’ if they think that false, which yet is written close above, ‘Both he, who gives his virgin, does well?’ But, if they shall without all doubt have believed Scripture speaking of the good of marriage, confirmed by the same most true authority of the divine oracle, they will hasten beyond unto their own better part with glowing and confident eagerness. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On holy virginity, 21)

  • Marriage is no sin, and yet set its good below virginal continence

But we, according to the faith and sound doctrine of holy Scriptures, both say that marriage is no sin, and yet set its good not only below virginal, but also below widowed continence; and say that the present necessity of married persons is an hindrance to their desert, not indeed unto life eternal, but unto an excellent glory and honor, which is reserved for perpetual continence: and that at this time marriage is not expedient save for such as contain not; and that on the tribulation of the flesh, which comes from the affection of the flesh, without which marriages of incontinent persons cannot be, the Apostle neither wished to be silent, as forewarning what was true, nor to unfold more fully, as sparing man’s weakness. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On holy virginity, 21)

  • Holy virginity is itself honored not because it is virginity, but because it has been dedicated to God

Therefore no fruitfulness of the flesh can be compared to holy virginity even of the flesh. For neither is itself also honored because it is virginity, but because it has been dedicated to God, and, although it be kept in the flesh, yet is it kept by religion and devotion of the Spirit. And by this means even virginity of body is spiritual, which continence of piety vows and keeps. For, even as no one makes an immodest use of the body, unless the sin have been before conceived in the spirit, so no one keeps modesty in the body, unless chastity have been before implanted in the spirit. But, further, if modesty of married life, although it be guarded in the flesh, is yet attributed to the soul, not to the flesh, under the rule and guidance of which, the flesh itself has no intercourse with any beside its own proper estate of marriage; how much more, and with how much greater honor, are we to reckon among the goods of the soul that continence, whereby the virgin purity of the flesh is vowed, consecrated, and kept, for the Creator Himself of the soul and flesh. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On holy virginity, 8)

…judges Francis’ idea on the use of internet for catholic education

  • For Christ’s sake parents should warn, teach, exhort, and correct

But be yourselves also in your own way serving Christ, by good lives, by giving alms, by preaching His name and doctrine as you can; and every father of a family also, be acknowledging in this name the affection he owes as a parent to his family. For Christ’s sake, and for the sake of life eternal, let him be warning, and teaching, and exhorting, and correcting all his household; let him show kindliness, and exercise discipline; and so in his own house he will be filling an ecclesiastical and kind of episcopal office, and serving Christ, that he may be with Him for ever. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractate 51 on the Gospel of Saint John, no. 13)

…judges Francis’ idea on interpersonal relationships no longer need to seek purity and perfection

  • In the proportion that the married persons fear God, so much better is the marriage

Therefore marriage is a good, wherein married persons are so much the better, in proportion as they fear God with greater chastity and faithfulness, especially if the sons, whom they desire after the flesh, they also bring up after the spirit. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The Good of Marriage, no. 22)

  • For no reason is it ever permitted to put away a wife – whosoever does this is held to be guilty of adultery by the law of the gospel

For this is preserved in the case of Christ and the Church; so that, as a living one with a living one, there is no divorce, no separation forever. And so complete is the observance of this bond in the city of our God, in His holy mountain — that is to say, in the Church of Christ— by all married believers, who are undoubtedly members of Christ, that, although women marry, and men take wives, for the purpose of procreating children, it is never permitted one to put away even an unfruitful wife for the sake of having another to bear children. And whosoever does this is held to be guilty of adultery by the law of the gospel; though not by this world’s rule, which allows a divorce between the parties, without even the allegation of guilt, and the contraction of other nuptial engagements — a concession which, the Lord tells us, even the holy Moses extended to the people of Israel, because of the hardness of their hearts (Mt 19:8). The same condemnation applies to the woman, if she is married to another man. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On Marriage and Concupiscence, I, Ch. 11[X])

  • Blessed are those that walk undefiled in the law of the Lord

Blessed are those that are undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord’ (Ps 118:1). As much as to say, I know what you wish, you are seeking bliss: if then you would be blessed, be undefiled. For the former all desire, the latter fear: yet without it what all wish cannot be attained. But where will any one be undefiled, save in the way? In what way, save in the Law of the Lord? That is why we are exhorted, and not in vain is it said to us: Blessed are those that are undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord’ (Saint Augustine of Hippo, Commentary on Psalm 118/1 (119))

  • Amid trials, God consoles holy parents with heavenly joys

And You sent Your hand from above, and drew my soul out of that profound darkness, when my mother, Your faithful one, wept to you on my behalf more than mothers are wont to weep the bodily death of their children. For she saw that I was dead by that faith and spirit which she had from You, and You heard her, O Lord. You heard her, and despised not her tears, when, pouring down, they watered the earth under her eyes in every place where she prayed; yea, You heard her. For whence was that dream with which You consoled her, so that she permitted me to live with her, and to have my meals at the same table in the house, which she had begun to avoid, hating and detesting the blasphemies of my error? […] And when she looked she saw me standing near her on the same rule. […] Your answer through my watchful mother – that she was not disquieted by the speciousness of my false interpretation, and saw in a moment what was to be seen, and which I myself had not in truth perceived before she spoke – even then moved me more than the dream itself, by which the happiness to that pious woman, to be realized so long after, was, for the alleviation of her present anxiety, so long before predicted. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Confessions, Book III, Ch. XI)

…judges Francis’ idea that preaching the Gospel does not entail doctrinal and moral principles

  • If you are seeking bliss, be undefiled

From its commencement, dearly beloved, does this great Psalm exhort us unto bliss, which there is no one who desires not. And therefore this is the lesson which he teaches, who says, “Blessed are those that are undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord” (Ps 118:1). As much as to say, I know what you wish, you are seeking bliss: if then you would be blessed, be undefiled. For the former all desire, the latter fear: yet without it what all wish cannot be attained. But where will any one be undefiled, save in the way? In what way, save in the law of the Lord? […] No other class of the blessed seems to me to be mentioned in these words, than that which has been already spoken of. For to examine into the testimonies of the Lord, and to seek Him with all the heart, this is to be undefiled in the way, this is to walk in the law of the Lord. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Ennarations on the Psalms, Psalm 119)

…judges Francis’ idea on Christian marriage realized in a partial and analogous way by adultery

  • The good of children, in itself, is not sufficient reason for an irregular marital situation

The sacrament demands the indissolubility of matrimony, and the repudiated man or woman may not unite with another person not even for the sake of bearing children. (Saint Augustine of Hippo, Literal Commentary of Genesis, Book. IX, ch. VII, no. 12)

…judges Francis’ idea on Judas being a poor, penitent man

  • By hanging himself Judas aggravated rather than expiated the guilt of his betrayal – he left to himself no place for a healing penitence

For if it is not lawful to take the law into our own hands, and slay even a guilty person, whose death no public sentence has warranted, then certainly he who kills himself is a homicide […] Do we justly execrate the deed of Judas, and does truth itself pronounce that by hanging himself he rather aggravated than expiated the guilt of that most iniquitous betrayal, since, by despairing of God’s mercy in his sorrow that wrought death, he left to himself no place for a healing penitence? […] For Judas, when he killed himself, killed a wicked man; but he passed from this life chargeable not only with the death of Christ, but with his own: for though he killed himself on account of his crime, his killing himself was another crime. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. City of God, Book I, Ch. 17)

  • We give thanks to God, and detest Judas

See the many things that God offers us, making use of wicked men! Yet their recompense will not be calculated according to the benefits for us that their deeds operate, but rather according to their malice. Note for instance the benefits that we gained from that most enormous crime committed by the traitor Judas. Judas betrayed and handed the Son of God over to death. By His passion, the Son of God redeemed all peoples, and they obtained salvation. But the recompense that was given unto Judas was not measured by the salvation obtained by the peoples, but rather to him was imposed the penalty that his malice merited. Considering in fact the handing over of Christ to his enemies in itself and not the intention of the traitor, one should say that Judas did the same thing that the Father did, of which it is written: ‘He did not spare his own Son, but handed him over for us’ (Rom 8:32). Judas, moreover, would seem to have done the same thing that Our Lord did, for it is written that ‘Christ handed himself over for us as a victim and sacrifice to God in fragrant aroma’. And also; ‘Christ loved his Church and gave himself up for her’ (Eph 5:25). And yet we give thanks to God the Father who did not spare his own Son but immolated Him for us; we thank the Son for having let Himself be killed for us, fulfilling the Father’s will; but we detest what Judas did, even if by it God knew how to obtain the greatest of his benefits. And we have reason when we say that God repaid him according to his iniquity, and He destroyed him according to his evil. For he did not give Christ over to his enemies for love of us, but for money that he gained by his treachery, even though by the treason against Christ we were recuperated, and with the selling of Christ we were redeemed. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Exposition on Psalm 93, no. 28)

  • The damnable end of the traitor Judas

Have you not heard or read in the Psalm, in which the damnable end of the traitor Judas is foretold, how the prophecy spoke of him, ‘Let his prayer be turned into sin?’ (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 6, no. 2)

  • Christ redeemed us with his blood and chastised Judas

In fact, in Christ what was to be accomplished was accomplished: that is, the passion, for which He came. And yet He punished him who led Him to suffer, that is Judas the traitor. Christ was crucified; He redeemed us with his blood. Nevertheless, he chastised Judas for his bargain. He [Judas] threw away the sum of money with which he had sold the Lord, and he did not know how to recognize the price by which he himself was bought by the Lord. And so it was with Judas. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 68, no. 11)

…judges Francis’ idea that the Orthodox are no longer schismatics

  • In wicked separations, Schismatics break off from brotherly charity

But heretics, in holding false opinions regarding God, do injury to the faith itself; while schismatics, on the other hand, in wicked separations break off from brotherly charity, although they may believe just what we believe. Wherefore neither do the heretics belong to the Church catholic, which loves God; nor do the schismatics form a part of the same, inasmuch as it loves the neighbor […] (Augustine of Hippo. Of Faith and the Creed, X)

…judges Francis’ idea on God’s mercy aimed at religious syncretism

  • Let us not indulge ourselves in a season of mercy, saying, God spares forever…

Now hear the season of judgment; you have heard the season of mercy, on which account, mercy and judgment will I sing unto You, O Lord: But you, says the Apostle, after your hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up unto yourself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his deeds. […] Since therefore, brethren, we have a season of mercy, let us not on that account flatter, or indulge ourselves, saying, God spares ever…. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Commentary on Psalm 101, no. 2)

  • In God, neither does justice exclude mercy, nor does mercy hinder justice

Thus it is shown that the God of Israel, the true God who made heaven and earth, and who administers human affairs justly and mercifully in such wise that neither does justice exclude mercy with Him, nor does mercy hinder justice […] (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Harmony of the Gospels, I, XIV, 21)

  • We, in our perversity, would like God to be so merciful, that He would be unjust

My brethren, pay attention to all that I will say to you now. I do not wish to speak of the past. Change your life from today; may tomorrow find you converted. We, in our perversity, would like God to be so merciful, that He would be unjust. Others, on the contrary, confiding greatly in their own justice, would like Him to be so just as to not be merciful. God, however, manifests himself in both; He shines in both: neither does his mercy determine his justice, nor does his justice eliminate his mercy. He is merciful and just. Where do we have the proof that He is merciful? From the fact that He pardons the sinners now, and He grants pardon to those who repent. Where do we have the proof that He is just? From the fact that the day of judgement will come, which though momentarily deferred, is not excluded. When it arrives, He will give to each according to his merits. Or do you by chance wish Him to give to those who are his enemies what He will give to those who converted to Him? Brethren, do you think it just that Judas be put in the same place as Peter? Even judas would have been there with Peter if he had corrected himself. But losing hope of obtaining pardon, he preferred to hang himself instead of begging clemency of the king. Therefore, brethren — as I had started saying — there is no reason to reproach God for anything. When He comes to judge, there will be nothing that we may claim against Him. May each one think of his sins, and correct them now, while there is still time. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Commentary on Psalm 67, 3, no. 5-6)

  • We should invite the Jews to conversion; resisting it they continue sinners

Dearly beloved, whether the Jews receive these divine testimonies with joy or with indignation, nevertheless, when we can, let us proclaim them with great love for the Jews. Let us not proudly glory against the broken branches; let us rather reflect by whose grace it is, and by much mercy, and on what root, we have been ingrafted. Then, not savoring of pride, but with a deep sense of humility, not insulting with presumption, but rejoicing with trembling, let us say: ‘Come you and let us walk in the light of the Lord,’ because His ‘name is great among the Gentiles.’ If they hear Him and obey Him, they will be among them to whom Scripture says: ‘Come you to him and be enlightened: and your faces shall not be confounded.’ If, however, they hear and do not obey, if they see and are jealous, they are among them of whom the psalm says: ‘The wicked shall see, and shall be angry, he shall gnash with his teeth and pine away.’ (Saint Augustine of Hippo. In Answer to the Jews (Adversus Judaeos), 10, 15)

  • In failing to recognize in Jesus Christ, the Jews are blind and sick

When these Scriptural words are quoted to the Jews, they scorn the Gospel and the Apostle; they do not listen to what we say because they do not understand what they read. Certainly, if they understood what the Prophet, whom they read, is foretelling: ‘I have given you to be the light of the Gentiles, that you may be my salvation even to the farthest part of the earth’ they would not be so blind and so sick as not to recognize in Jesus Christ both light and salvation. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. In Answer to the Jews (Adversus Judaeos), 1,2)

  • No sinner is to be loved as a sinner

Now he is a man of just and holy life who forms an unprejudiced estimate of things, and keeps his affections also under strict control, so that he neither loves what he ought not to love, nor fails to love what he ought to love, nor loves that more which ought to be loved less, nor loves that equally which ought to be loved either less or more, nor loves that less or more which ought to be loved equally. No sinner is to be loved as a sinner; and every man is to be loved as a man for God’s sake; but God is to be loved for His own sake. And if God is to be loved more than any man, each man ought to love God more than himself. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On Christian Doctrine, Book I, ch. 27, no. 28)

…judges Francis’ idea on zeal for the liturgy, doctrine and prestige of the Church

  • Perfect order reigns in the family or society regulated by the Church

You [the Church] give to men authority over their wives, not to mock the weaker sex, but in the laws of unfeigned love. Thou dost subordinate children to their parents in a kind of free bondage, and dost set parents over their children in a godly rule. You bind brothers to brothers in a religious tie stronger and closer than that of blood. Without violation of the connections of nature and of choice, you bring within the bond of mutual love every relationship of kindred, and every alliance of affinity. Thou teachest servants to cleave to their masters from delight in their task rather than from the necessity of their position. You render masters forbearing to their servants, from a regard to God their common Master, and more disposed to advise than to compel. Thou unitest citizen to citizen, nation to nation, yea, man to man, from the recollection of their first parents, not only in society but in fraternity. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Of the morals of the Catholic Church, Ch. 30, 63)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church having defects

  • Let us love the Church as a Mother – do not tolerate that they calumniate and blaspheme Her

Let us love our Lord God, let us love His Church: Him as a Father, Her as a Mother: Him as a Lord, Her as His Handmaid, as we are ourselves the Handmaid’s sons. But this marriage is held together by a bond of great love: no man offends the one, and wins favor of the other. Let no man say, “I go indeed to the idols, I consult possessed ones and fortune-tellers: yet I abandon not God’s Church; I am a Catholic.” While you hold to your Mother, you have offended your Father. Another says, Far be it from me; I consult no sorcerer, I seek out no possessed one, I never ask advice by sacrilegious divination, I go not to worship idols, I bow not before stones; though I am in the party of Donatus. What does it profit you not to have offended your Father, if he avenges your offended Mother? What does it serve you, if you acknowledge the Lord, honor God, preach His name, acknowledge His Son, confess that He sits by His right hand; while you blaspheme His Church? Does not the analogy of human marriages convince you? Suppose you have some patron, whom you court every day, whose threshold you wear with your visits, whom you daily not only salute, but even worship, to whom you pay the most loyal courtesy; if you utter one calumny against his wife, could you re-enter his house? Hold then, most beloved, hold all with one mind to God the Father, and the Church our Mother. Celebrate with temperance the birthdays of the Saints, that we may imitate those who have gone before us, and that they who pray for you may rejoice over you; that “the blessing of the Lord may abide on you for evermore. Amen and Amen.” (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Expositions on the Psalms, Psalm 89, no. 41)

…judges Francis’ idea on the role of women in the Church

  • Virgin and mother, of lasting virginal integrity and incorrupt fruitfulness

[Our Lord Jesus Christ] is the most beautiful of the sons of man, son of Holy Mary, spouse of the Holy Church, which he transformed into similarity with his Mother. In effect, for us he made her Mother, and for himself he conserved her as Virgin. It is to her the apostle refers when he wrote: ‘He has united her to only one man to present her to Christ as a chaste virgin.’ Referring to her, he also says that our mother is not a slave, but free, the abandoned one that had more children than the married one. Also the Church, as Mary, remains always integral and fruitful while always remaining incorrupt. That which Mary deserved to have in the flesh, the Church conserved in the heart; but with one difference: Mary gave birth to one Son alone; the Church gives birth to many, that are nonetheless to be gathered in unity by that only Son of Mary. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 195, no. 2)

  • Mary was chosen to be the one from whom Salvation would come to the human race

Didn’t the Virgin Mary do the will of the Father? I mean, she believed by faith, she conceived by faith, she was chosen to be the one from whom salvation in the very midst of the human race would be born for us, she was created by Christ before Christ was created in her. Yes, of course, holy Mary did the will of the Father. And therefore it means more for Mary to have been a disciple of Christ than to have been the mother of Christ. It means more for her, an altogether greater blessing, to have been Christ’s disciple than to have been Christ’s mother. That is why Mary was blessed, because even before she gave him birth, she bore her teacher in her womb. Just see if it isn’t as I say. While the Lord was passing by, performing divine miracles, with the crowds following him, a woman said: Fortunate is the womb that bore you. And how did the Lord answer, to show that good fortune is not really to be sought in mere family ties? Rather blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it (Lk 11:27-28). So that is why Mary, too, is blessed, because she heard the word of God and kept it. She kept truth safe in her mind even better than she kept flesh safe in her womb. Christ is truth, Christ is flesh; Christ as truth was in Mary’s mind, Christ as flesh in Mary’s womb; that which is in the mind is greater than what is carried in the womb. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 72 A, no. 7)

…judges Francis’ idea that it is no longer necessary to declare one’s sins to a confessor to be pardoned

  • God does not cure those who cover up their sins out of shame

May it be God who covers your wounds, not you. In fact, if you wish to cover them up because them cause you shame, the physician will not cure them. May the physician hide and cure them; because he covers them with the plaster. Beneath the physician’s bands the wound will heal; beneath the sick man’s blinds the wound is hidden. From whom do you hide it? From He who knows all things. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Commentaries on Psalm 31, no. 12)

…judges Francis’ attitude towards public sinners, changing Vatican protocol

  • The Lord’s gentleness is a call to the amendment of ways

But when that woman was left alone, and all they had gone out, He raised His eyes to the woman. […] But He, who had driven back her adversaries with the tongue of justice, raising the eyes of clemency towards her, asked her, ‘Hath no man condemned you?’ She answered, ‘No man, Lord.’ And He said, ‘Neither do I condemn you;’ by whom, perhaps, you feared to be condemned, because in me you have not found sin. ‘Neither will I condemn you.’ What is this, O Lord? Do You therefore favor sins? Not so, evidently. Mark what follows: ‘Go, henceforth sin no more.’ Therefore the Lord did also condemn, but condemned sins, not man. For if He were a patron of sin, He would say, Neither will I condemn you; go, live as you will: be secure in my deliverance; how much soever you will sin, I will deliver you from all punishment even of hell, and from the tormentors of the infernal world. He said not this. […] The Lord is gentle, the Lord is long-suffering, the Lord is pitiful; but the Lord is also just, the Lord is also true. He bestows on you space for correction; but you love the delay of judgment more than the amendment of your ways. Have you been a bad man yesterday? Today be a good man. Have you gone on in your wickedness today? At any rate change tomorrow. You are always expecting, and from the mercy of God makest exceeding great promises to yourself. As if He, who has promised you pardon through repentance, promised you also a longer life. How do you know what tomorrow may bring forth? Rightly you say in your heart: When I shall have corrected my ways, God will put all my sins away. We cannot deny that God has promised pardon to those that have amended their ways and are converted. For in what prophet you read to me that God has promised pardon to him that amends, you do not read to me that God has promised you a long life. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractate 33 on the Gospel of Saint John, no. 6-7)

  • Fellowship with God cannot be had without moving faway from the darkness of sin, for He is Light

You say you have fellowship with God, and you walk in darkness; ‘and God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all:’ then how should there be fellowship between light and darkness? […] But sins are darkness, as the Apostle says of the devil and his angels, that they are ‘rulers of this darkness’ (Eph 6:12). He would not call them of darkness, save as rulers of sins, having lordship over the wicked. Then what are we to do, my brethren? Fellowship with God must be had, other hope of life eternal is none; […] Let us walk in the light, as He is in the light, that we may be able to have fellowship with Him. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Homily I on the first letter of Saint John, no. 5)

  • God forgives sins provided you always displease yourself and change until you be perfected

And lest haply he should seem to have given impunity for sins, in that he said, ‘He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all iniquity;’ and men henceforth should say to themselves, Let us sin, let us do securely what we will, Christ purges us, is faithful and just, purges us from all iniquity: He takes from you an evil security, and puts in an useful fear. To your own hurt you would be secure; you must be solicitous. For ‘He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,’ provided you always displease yourself, and be changing until you be perfected. […] if from the infirmity of this life sin shall overtake you, see to it straightway, straightway be displeased, straightway condemn it; and when you have condemned, you shall come assured unto the Judge. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Homily I on the first letter of Saint John, no. 6)

  • No man should keep company with notorious and public sinners   

In answer to them I say in the first place: let no man interpret those passages of Holy Scripture which speak of the present or future existence of good and bad in the Church as meaning that the discipline or vigilance of the Church ought to be relaxed or dispensed with. To give them this meaning would show that a person was ignorant of Scripture and deceived by his own thinking. And in the case of Moses, the servant of god, although he was very patient with those of his people who mingled with foreigners, nevertheless he also punished many even with death. Likewise, Phinees the priest put to death with the sword the adulterers whom he had caught in the act. In these examples we have a sign that the same was to be done in the Church by means of excommunication and degradation, since the external sword was no longer to be used in the discipline of the Church. […] In whatever way these words are understood, whether as meaning that the wicked should be punished by the Church with excommunications, or that each man should remove evil from himself by reproving and correcting himself, nevertheless what was said above is clear, namely, that no man should keep Company with those brethren who are classified with the sinners spoken of above, that is, with notorious and public sinners. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On Faith and Works, II, 3, pg. 8-9)

…judges Francis’ idea that Christ was stained by sin

  • Just as they who looked on Moses’ serpent perished not by the serpent’s bites, so they who look in faith on Christ’s death are healed from the bites of sins

What are the biting serpents? Sins, from the mortality of the flesh. What is the serpent lifted up? The Lord’s death on the cross. For as death came by the serpent, it was figured by the image of a serpent. The serpent’s bite was deadly, the Lord’s death is life-giving. A serpent is gazed on that the serpent may have no power. What is this? A death is gazed on, that death may have no power. […] Meanwhile brethren, that we may be healed from sin, let us now gaze on Christ crucified; for ‘as Moses,’ says He, ‘lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believes in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life.’ Just as they who looked on that serpent perished not by the serpent’s bites, so they who look in faith on Christ’s death are healed from the bites of sins. But those were healed from death to temporal life; while here He says, ‘that they may have everlasting life.’ Now there is this difference between the figurative image and the real thing: the figure procured temporal life; the reality, of which that was the figure, procures eternal life. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, XII, 11)

  • Christ loved us so much that, sinless himself, he suffered for us sinners the punishment we deserved for our sins

This Word of God made flesh and dwelt amongst us. […] This was the way in which, though immortal, he was able to die; the way in which he chose to give life to mortal men: he would first share with us, and then enable us to share with him. Of ourselves we had no power to live, nor did he of himself have the power to die. In other words, he performed the most wonderful exchange with us. Through us, he died; through him, we shall live. The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory. In taking upon himself the death that he found in us, he has most faithfully promised to give us life in him, such as we cannot have of ourselves. He loved us so much that, sinless himself, he suffered for us sinners the punishment we deserved for our sins. How then can he fail to give us the reward we deserve for our righteousness, for he is the source of righteousness? How can he, whose promises are true, fail to reward the saints when he bore the punishment of sinners, though without sin himself? Brethren, let us then fearlessly acknowledge, and even openly proclaim, that Christ was crucified for us; let us confess it, not in fear but in joy, not in shame but in glory. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon Guelf 3 from the Office of Readings, Monday of Holy Week)

…judges Francis’ idea on conversion of the papacy

  • The Church does not fall because it is founded upon a rock

‘I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven’ (Mt 16:19), he represented the universal Church, which in this world is shaken by various temptations, that come upon it like torrents of rain, floods and tempests, and falls not, because it is founded upon a rock (petra), from which Peter received his name. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, 124, 5)

  • In the name of Peter, the Church was figured

‘And he brought him to Jesus; and when Jesus beheld him, He said, You are Simon the son of Joannes: you shall be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, Peter.’ […] Peter is from petra, a rock, but the petra [rock]; is the Church; in the name of Peter, then, was the Church figured. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, 7, no. 14)

  • In Peter the Church must be recognized                                                                             

We see, then, in Peter insinuated the ‘rock’; but the apostle Paul, speaking to the people of the first alliance: ‘They drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, but the rock was Christ’. In this way, then, this disciple, Peter, received his name derived from rock, as ‘Christian’ is derived from Christ. Why have I wished to begin by telling you these things? To indicate to you that in Peter you must recognize the Church. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 229)

…judges Francis’ idea on John the Baptist doubting the Messiah

  • Jesus himself gave testimony that John the Baptist was the greatest man born of woman. Could Truth say of him anything different?

It is regarding John the Baptist, not the Evangelist, whose great day of birth we celebrate, that we have a grand testimony of the Lord himself. Our Savior speaks of him; [He who is] our Lord and his. Could Truth say of him anything different? Among those born of women, no one is greater than John the Baptist. Behold the one whose solemnity we celebrate today: he greater than whom there never arose another, among those born of woman. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 239D)

  • John the Baptist, example of humility: he could have easily passed himself off as Christ before the crowd, but his grandeur consisted in confessing the truth

Bear in mind, conserve there the aforementioned testimony of the Lord regarding John; that is, that among those born of woman there has arisen none greater than John the Baptist. This is what Jesus said of John; what did John say of Jesus? Before all else, observe how the testimony of the Lord regarding John was fulfilled. […] consider how easy it would have been for him to abuse the error of men and presume to be Christ. He did not do this, and with good reason; he is more powerful in confessing than neighing with pride. By chance did he have to persuade them that he was Christ? This is what they already thought; he would only have to confirm what they opined; presenting himself as that which he was not, he would deceive them as to who he really was. Where would he be if he had done so? ‘You sent messengers to John’, said the Lord Jesus to the Jews; ‘he was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in its light’. ‘I, however, have a greater testimony than John’. Good lamp; with sound reason it took refuge at under the rock so that the wind of pride would not put it out. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 239D)

  • The life of John the Baptist is the most beautiful testimony of sublime humility

Before John there were prophets; there were many, great and holy, worthy and filled with God, announcers of the Savior and testimonies of the truth. Nonetheless, of not one of them could be said that which was said of John: Among those born of women, no one is greater than John the Baptist (Mt 11,11). What does this greatness sent before the Great One signify? It is a testimony of sublime humility. He was, in effect, so great that he could pass for Christ. John could have taken advantage of the error of men even without effort and convince them that he was the Christ, since although he was silent on this those who heard and saw him already attributed this to him. He did not have to sow the error; it would be enough for him to confirm it. But he, as a humble friend of the Bridegroom, full of zeal for him, without adulterously usurping the condition of Bridegroom, gives testimony in favor of the friend and confides the bride to the authentic Bridegroom. To be loved in him, he loathed to be loved in his place. […] Here the grandeur of John appears with all evidence. Being able to pass as Christ, he preferred to give testimony of Christ and make him increase; humiliate himself before usurping His place, and failing himself. Justifiably it was said that he was more than a prophet. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 288)

  • To give testimony of He who was not only man but also God, John the Baptist had to be greater than the others

‘A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.’ In order to give testimony of he who was not only man, but also God it was becoming that a man so great that it could be said that among those born of woman there was none greater than John. In this manner, He of whom John, himself greater than the others, gave testimony, surpassed even him precisely because he was not only man, but also God. John was, then, light also, but such a light, that the Lord himself proclaimed it by saying: ‘He was a burning and shining lamp.’ (Saint Augustine. Letter 140, no. 7)

  • The virtues of Saint John the Baptist are so great that it is impossible to express them all

There are many things that could be said of Saint John the Baptist; but I have not the means to express them all, nor you, to hear them. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 293D)

  • Do not suspect that John was offended in Christ. How could he prepare the way if he himself strayed from the way?

What then is the meaning of this; that John sent his disciples to Him when He was shut up in prison, on the eve of being put to death, and said to them, “Go, say to Him, Are You He that should come, or do we look for another?” Is this then all that praise? That praise is it turned to doubting? What do you say, John? To Whom are you speaking? What do you say? You speak to your Judge, yourself the herald. You stretched out the finger, and pointed Him out; you said, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world.” Thou said, “Of His fullness have we all received.” Thou said, “I am not worthy to unloose the latchet of His shoes.” And do you now say, “Are You He that should come, or do we look for another?” Is not this the same Christ? And who are you? Are you not His forerunner? Are you not he of whom it was foretold, “Behold, I send my messenger before Your face, who shall prepare Your way before you?” How do you prepare the way, and you are yourself straying from the way? So then the disciples of John came; and the Lord said to them, “Go, tell John, the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the poor have the Gospel preached to them; and blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me.” Do not suspect that John was offended in Christ. And yet his words do sound so; “Are You He that should come?” Ask my works; “The blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the dead are raised, the poor have the Gospel preached to them;” and do you ask whether I am He? My works, says He, are My words. “Go, show him again.” (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 16, no. 3)

  • Before he died, John wanted Christ to confirm his disciples in the faith

“Go, show him again. And as they departed.” Lest haply any one should say, John was good at first, and the Spirit of God forsook him; therefore after their departure, he spoke these words; after their departure whom John had sent, Christ commended John. […] Therefore because John’s disciples highly esteemed their master, they heard from John his record concerning Christ, and marvelled; and as he was about to die, it was his wish that they should be confirmed by him. For no doubt they were saying among themselves; Such great things does he say of Him, but none such of himself. ‘Go then, ask Him;’ not because I doubt, but that you may be instructed. ‘Go, ask Him,’ hear from Himself what I am in the habit of telling you; you have heard the herald, be confirmed by the Judge. ‘Go, ask Him, Are You He that should come, or do we look for another?’ They went accordingly and asked; not for John’s sake, but for their own. And for their sakes did Christ say, ‘The blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the lepers are cleansed, the dead are raised, the poor have the Gospel preached to them.’ You see Me, acknowledge Me then; ye see the works, acknowledge the Doer. ‘And blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me.’ But it is of you I speak, not of John. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 66)

…judges Francis’ idea on Christians and Muslims sharing the same points

  • The Scriptures are like letters that come to us from Heaven

Letters have reached us too from that city, apart from which we are wandering: those letters are the Scriptures, which exhort us to live well. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Expositions on the Psalms, Psalm 91, no. 13)

  • God commanded His own doings and sayings to be written by the disciples for our perusal

Accordingly, He who sent the prophets before His own descent also dispatched the apostles after His ascension. Moreover, in virtue of the man assumed by Him, He stands to all His disciples in the relation of the head to the members of His body. Therefore, when those disciples have written matters which He declared and to them, it ought not by any means to be said that He has written nothing Himself; since the truth is, that His members have accomplished only what they became acquainted with by the repeated statements of the Head. For all that He was minded to give for our perusal on the subject of His own doings and sayings, He commanded to be written by those disciples, whom He thus used as if they were His own hands. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Harmony of the Gospels, 1, 35, 54)

  • Nonetheless, there are deceivers who make crafty calumnies against the Scriptures

I heard him, indeed, every Lord’s day, ‘rightly dividing the word of truth’ (Tim 2:15) among the people; and I was all the more convinced that all those knots of crafty calumnies, which those deceivers of ours had knit against the divine books, could be unravelled. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The Confessions, Book VI, ch. III)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church called to dialogue

  • The shepherd who lives a wicked life before the people kills the sheep under his care

After the Lord had shown what wicked shepherds esteem, he also spoke about what they neglect. The defects of the sheep are widespread. There are very few healthy and sound sheep, few that are solidly sustained by the food of truth, and few that enjoy the good pasture God gives them. But the wicked shepherds do not spare such sheep. It is not enough that they neglect those that are ill and weak, those that go stray and are lost. They even try, so far as it is in their power, to kill the strong and healthy. Yet such sheep live; yes, by God’s mercy they live. As for the wicked shepherds themselves, they kill the sheep. ‘How do they kill them?’ you ask. By their wicked lives and by giving bad example. Or was God’s servant, who was high among the members of the chief shepherd, told this in vain: Show yourself as an example of good works toward all men, and, Be an example to the faithful? Even the strong sheep, if he turns his eyes from the Lord’s laws and looks at the man set over him, notices when his shepherd is living wickedly and begins to say in his heart: ‘If my pastor lives like that, why should I not live like him?’ The wicked shepherd kills the strong sheep. But if he kills the strong one what does he do to the rest? After all, by his wicked life he kills even the sheep he had not strengthened but had found strong and hardy. I appeal to your love, and again I say, even if the sheep have life and if they are strong in the word of the Lord, and if they hold fast to what they have heard from their Lord, Do what they say but not what they do. Still, as far as he himself is concerned, the shepherd who lives a wicked life before the people kills the sheep under his care. Let such a shepherd not deceive himself because the sheep is not dead, for though it still lives, he is a murderer – just as when the lustful man looks on a woman with desire, even though she is chaste, he has committed adultery. For the Lord said in plain truth: Whoever has looked upon a woman with desire has already committed adultery with her in his heart. He has not entered her bedroom, yet he has ravished her within the bedroom of his heart. Therefore anyone who lives wickedly before those who have been placed under his care kills, as far as he himself is concerned, even the strong. Whoever imitates him, dies; whoever does not, has life. But as for him, he kills both of them. You kill what is healthy and you do not pasture my sheep. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 46 On Pastors, no. 9)

…judges Francis’ idea on obtaining spiritual fruits in other religions

  • The efficacy of our fasting is based on the faith of Christ: pagans and jews also fast, but without a true objective – God is not pleased with the fasting of those who rend the members of Christ

The efficacy of our fasting is based on the faith of Christ. For us, the objective of our fasts is on our path. What is our path and where are we going? This is what we should consider. For the pagans also fast at times, but they do not know of the homeland to which we direct ourselves. The Jews also fast every now and then, and they also have not taken the path on which we journey. This is the same as a rider who rides his horse with which he strays. The heretics fast; I observe how they journey and I ask: Where are you going? You fast to please who? God, they respond. Do you believe that He receives your offering? Pay attention before to what was said: ‘Leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift’ (Mt 5:24). Do you rightly govern your members, you who rend the members of Christ (cf. 1Cor 6: 11)? Your fast ends in quarreling and fighting, says the Prophet, striking with wicked claw. On your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive your laborers. Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on high! (Is 58: 4 – 5). So your fast will be reproved when you show yourself to be severe and without pity for your servant, and will your fasting be approved when you do not recognize your brother? I do not ask of what nourishment you abstain from, but rather, what nourishment you love. Tell me what nourishment you love so that I approve that you abstain from it. Do you love justice? I love it passionately, you respond. Then may your justice be seen. Because I believe that it is just that the you serve the greater so that the lesser serves you. In effect, we are speaking of the flesh, that is less than the spirit, and that when it is dominated and governed it is submissive. Work with it in the way that it obeys you, and you control nourishment because you wish it to be subject to you. Recognize who is greater, recognize who is superior, so that the inferior obeys you justly. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. De utilitate ieiunii, On the usefulness of fasting, V, 7)

  • Fasting is an element to unite with the angels and remain far from the infidels

The men of faith, separated cordially from the band of infidels, and rising toward God, to whom they say: Lift you heart! Carriers of another hope (cf. Rom 8: 23-24), and conscious that we are pilgrims in this world (cf. 2Cor 5: 6-7), occupy an intermediate place: there is nothing to compare them with nor with those who think of nothing other than enjoying earthly delights (cf. Ps 31:9; Ps 48: 21), nor even with the superior habitants of heaven, whose delights are the Bread itself, that has been their Creator. The first, as men inclined to the earth, that only claim for the flesh food and joy, similar to beasts, very distant from the angels by their condition and costumes: for their condition, because they are mortal; by their customs, because they are sensual. […] Therefore, we should regulate our fasting. It is not, as has been said, an obligation of the angels, and less the fulfillment of those who serve their stomachs. (cf. Phil 3: 19); It is a half-term in which we live far from the infidels, desiring to be united to the angels. […] Therefore, if the flesh, inclining itself toward the earth, is a weight for the soul and obstacle that troubles its flight, the more one delights with the superior life, the lighter the earthly burden of his life becomes. And this is what we do when fasting. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On the usefulness of fasting, 2)

…judges Francis’ idea on God judging us by loving us

  • Eternal salvation is only granted to those who live well

Knowing, then, that some wicked christens had taken advantage of some difficult passages of the Apostle Paul in order to not be concerned in living well, presuming themselves secure in the salvation that resides in faith, [Peter] remembered that in his letters there are passages that are difficult to understand, whose meaning – as happens also with the rest of the Scriptures – men distort, for their own perdition: even Paul says, just like the other Apostles, that eternal salvation is granted only to those who live well. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On Faith and Works, 14, 22)

  • To promise salvation by means of faith without observance of the commandments is contrary to the Lord’s prescription

The third problem is the most dangerous: when having been little studied and not investigated, according to the divine word, it seems to me that from it [this problem] derives that opinion that promises to all who live in a way that is absolutely perverse and obscene, and persist in these ways of living, that they will have salvation and eternal life so long as they believe in Christ, and receive his sacraments. All this is contrary to the very clear sentence of the Lord, who responded to him who desired eternal life: ‘If you wish to obtain life, keep the commandments;’ and recalled precisely the commandments that prescribe avoiding those sins to which – I do not know how – eternal salvation is promised by means of faith without works, that is, dead faith. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On Faith and Works, 27, 49)

  • Those who believed in Christ with no purpose and without fruit will be placed with the evil

For He will come in the glory of His power, who of old condescended to come in the lowliness of humanity; and He will separate all the godly from the ungodly–not only from those who have utterly refused to believe in Him at all, but also from those who have believed in Him to no purpose and without fruit. To the one class He will give an eternal kingdom together with Himself, while to the other He will award eternal punishment together with the devil. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On the catechizing of the uninstructed Ch. 24, no. 45)

…judges Francis’ idea on Grace

  • We have been made sons of God, we have been made gods: fellow-heirs with Christ

See in the same Psalm those to whom he says, ‘I have said, You are gods, and children of the Highest all; but you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.’ It is evident then, that He has called men gods, that are deified of His Grace, not born of His Substance. For He does justify, who is just through His own self, and not of another; and He does deify who is God through Himself, not by the partaking of another. But He that justifies does Himself deify, in that by justifying He does make sons of God. ‘For He has given them power to become the sons of God’ (Jn 1:12). If we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods: but this is the effect of Grace adopting, not of nature generating. For the only Son of God, God, and one God with the Father, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, was in the beginning the Word, and the Word with God, the Word God. The rest that are made gods, are made by His own Grace, are not born of His Substance, that they should be the same as He, but that by favour they should come to Him, and be fellow-heirs with Christ. For so great is the love in Him the Heir, that He has willed to have fellow-heirs. What covetous man would will this, to have fellow-heirs? But even one that is found so to will, will share with them the inheritance, the sharer having less himself, than if he had possessed alone: but the inheritance wherein we are fellow-heirs of Christ, is not lessened by multitude of possessors, nor is it made narrower by the number of fellow-heirs: but is as great for many as it is for few, as great for individuals as for all. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Exposition on Psalm 50, no. 2)

  • By grace we are cleansed from sin and led onwards to the fullest perfection

This is the reason why there has been vouchsafed to us, through the Mediator, this grace, that we who are polluted by sinful flesh should be cleansed by the likeness of sinful flesh. By this grace of God, wherein He has shown His great compassion toward us, we are both governed by faith in this life, and, after this life, are led onwards to the fullest perfection by the vision of immutable truth. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. City of God, Book X, Ch. 22)

  • Without God’s grace no one can live rightly

From which examples we are undoubtedly reminded that there are two sorts of aids. Some are indispensable, and without their help the desired result could not be attained. Without a ship, for instance, no man could take a voyage; no man could speak without a voice; without legs no man could walk; without light nobody could see; and so on in numberless instances. Amongst them this also may be reckoned, that without God’s grace no man can live rightly. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On the proceedings of Pelagius, Ch. 3)

  • Except by this royal way no man shall be delivered

This is the religion which possesses the universal way for delivering the soul; for except by this way, none can be delivered. This is a kind of royal way, which alone leads to a kingdom which does not totter like all temporal dignities, but stands firm on eternal foundations. […] For what else is the universal way of the soul’s deliverance than that by which all souls universally are delivered, and without which, therefore, no soul is delivered? […] What is this universal way of which he acknowledges his ignorance, if not a way which does not belong to one nation as its special property, but is common to all, and divinely bestowed? Porphyry, a man of no mediocre abilities, does not question that such a way exists; for he believes that Divine Providence could not have left men destitute of this universal way of delivering the soul. […] this universal way of the soul’s deliverance […] the grace of God […] This way purifies the whole man, and prepares the mortal in all his parts for immortality. […] Except by this way, which has been present among men both during the period of the promises and of the proclamation of their fulfillment, no man has been delivered, no man is delivered, no man shall be delivered. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The City of God, Book X, Ch. 32)

  • Unrepentant sinners treasure up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath

Will someone say, Why, then, was this divine compassion extended even to the ungodly and ungrateful? Why, but because it was the mercy of Him who daily ‘makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust’ (Mt 5:45). For though some of these men, taking thought of this, repent of their wickedness and reform, some, as the apostle says, ‘despising the riches of His goodness and long-suffering, after their hardness and impenitent heart, treasure up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his deeds’ (Rom 2:4). (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The City of God, Book I, ch. VIII, no. 1)

  • The irresistible movement of grace in Saint Augustine’s soul, which led him to conversion

Too late did I love You, O Fairness, so ancient, and yet so new! Too late did I love You! For behold, You were within, and I without, and there did I seek You; I, unlovely, rushed heedlessly among the things of beauty You made. You were with me, but I was not with You. Those things kept me far from You, which, unless they were in You, were not. You called, and cried aloud, and forced open my deafness. You gleamed and shine, and chase away my blindness. You exhaled odours, and I drew in my breath and do pant after You. I tasted, and do hunger and thirst. You touched me, and I burned for Your peace. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The Confessions, Book 10, Ch. 27, no. 38)

  • He who knows the Truth knows that Light

And being thence warned to return to myself, I entered into my inward self, Thou leading me on; and I was able to do it, for You had become my helper. And I entered, and with the eye of my soul (such as it was) saw above the same eye of my soul, above my mind, the Unchangeable Light. Not this common light, which all flesh may look upon, nor, as it were, a greater one of the same kind, as though the brightness of this should be much more resplendent, and with its greatness fill up all things. Not like this was that light, but different, yea, very different from all these. Nor was it above my mind as oil is above water, nor as heaven above earth; but above it was, because it made me, and I below it, because I was made by it. He who knows the Truth knows that Light; and he that knows it knows eternity. Love knows it. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The Confessions, Book VII, Ch. X, no. 16)

  • Our free will can do nothing better for us than to submit itself to be led by God, without doubting that it was helped to do it by Him

‘Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance; rule them, and lift them up for ever.’ They would not, of course, stay, if they are ruled only by their own will without God, even as sheep which have no shepherd: which, God forbid for us. For, unquestionably to be led is something more compulsory than to be ruled. He who is ruled at the same time does something himself – indeed, when ruled by God, it is with the express view that he should also act rightly; whereas the man who is led can hardly be understood to do any thing himself at all. And yet the Saviour’s helpful grace is so much better than our own wills and desires, that the Apostle does not hesitate to say: ‘As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God’ (Rom 8:14). And our free will can do nothing better for us than to submit itself to be led by Him who can do nothing amiss; and after doing this, not to doubt that it was helped to do it by Him of whom it is said in the psalm, ‘He is my God, His mercy shall go before me.’ (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On the proceedings of Pelagius, Ch. 5, no. III)

  • It is necessary to have humility to accept the truth of grace

Oh, had you but recognized the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord, and that very incarnation of His, wherein He assumed a human soul and body, you might have seemed the brightest example of grace! But what am I doing? I know it is useless to speak to a dead man – useless, at least, so far as regards you, but perhaps not in vain for those who esteem you highly, and love you on account of their love of wisdom or curiosity about those arts which you ought not to have learned; and these persons I address in your name. The grace of God could not have been more graciously commended to us than thus, that the only Son of God, remaining unchangeable in Himself, should assume humanity, and should give us the hope of His love, by means of the mediation of a human nature, through which we, from the condition of men, might come to Him who was so far off – the immortal from the mortal; the unchangeable from the changeable; the just from the unjust; the blessed from the wretched. And, as He had given us a natural instinct to desire blessedness and immortality, He Himself continuing to be blessed; but assuming mortality, by enduring what we fear, taught us to despise it, that what we long for He might bestow upon us. But in order to your acquiescence in this truth, it is lowliness that is requisite, and to this it is extremely difficult to bend you. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The City of God, Book X, Ch. 29)

…judges Francis’ idea on Faith

  • How much more honorable a creed uttered by the prophets who were moved by God’s Spirit

How much more honorable a creed is that which was taught by the holy and truthful angels, uttered by the prophets who were moved by God’s Spirit, preached by Him who was foretold as the coming Saviour by His forerunning heralds, and by the apostles whom He sent forth, and who filled the whole world with the gospel? (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The City of God, Book X, ch. 30)

…judges Francis’ idea on Catholic Faith and Luteran belief

  • The sacraments build up the Church

For at the beginning of the human race the woman was made of a rib taken from the side of the man while he slept; for it seemed fit that even then Christ and His Church should be foreshadowed in this event. For that sleep of the man was the death of Christ, whose side, as He hung lifeless upon the cross, was pierced with a spear, and there flowed from it blood and water, and these we know to be the sacraments by which the Church is ‘built up’. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. City of God, Book XXII, Ch. 17)

  • It is proper to error to wrongly interpret signs of God

Now he is in bondage to a sign who uses, or pays homage to, any significant object without knowing what it signifies: he, on the other hand, who either uses or honors a useful sign divinely appointed, whose force and significance he understands, does not honor the sign which is seen and temporal, but that to which all such signs refer. […] But at the present time, after that the proof of our liberty has shone forth so clearly in the resurrection of our Lord, we are not oppressed with the heavy burden of attending even to those signs which we now understand, but our Lord Himself, and apostolic practice, have handed down to us a few rites in place of many, and these at once very easy to perform, most majestic in their significance, and most sacred in the observance; such, for example, as the sacrament of baptism, and the celebration of the body and blood of the Lord. And as soon as any one looks upon these observances he knows to what they refer, and so reveres them not in carnal bondage, but in spiritual freedom. Now, as to follow the letter, and to take signs for the things that are signified by them, is a mark of weakness and bondage; so to interpret signs wrongly is the result of being misled by error. He, however, who does not understand what a sign signifies, but yet knows that it is a sign, is not in bondage. And it is better even to be in bondage to unknown but useful signs than, by interpreting them wrongly, to draw the neck from under the yoke of bondage only to insert it in the coils of error. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On Christian Doctrine, Book III, Ch. 9, no. 13)

  • Baptism exists in the Catholic Church, and in it alone can it be rightly received

But if anyone who has it in his power to receive baptism within the Catholic Church prefers, from some perversity of mind, to be baptized in schism, even if he afterwards bethinks himself to come to the Catholic Church, because he is assured that there that sacrament will profit him, which can indeed be received but cannot profit elsewhere, beyond all question he is perverse, and guilty of sin, and that the more flagrant in proportion as it was committed wilfully. For that he entertains no doubt that the sacrament is rightly received in the Church, is proved by his conviction that it is there that he must look for profit even from what he has received elsewhere. There are two propositions, moreover, which we affirm–that baptism exists in the Catholic Church, and that in it alone can it be rightly received […] Further, if any one fails to understand how it can be that we assert that the sacrament is not rightly conferred among the Donatists, while we confess that it exists among them, let him observe that we also deny that it exists rightly among them, just as they deny that it exists rightly among those who quit their communion. Let him also consider the analogy of the military mark, which, though it can both be retained, as by deserters, and, also be received by those who are not in the army, yet ought not to be either received or retained outside its ranks; and, at the same time, it is not changed or renewed when a man is enlisted or brought back to his service. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On Baptism, Book 1, Ch. 2 – 3, no. 4 – 5)

  • It is wrong to receive Christ’s baptism in antagonism to the Church of Christ

However, we must distinguish between the case of those who unwittingly join the ranks of these heretics, under the impression that they are entering the true Church of Christ, and those who know that there is no other Catholic Church save that which, according to the promise, is spread abroad throughout the whole world, and extends even to the utmost limits of the earth; which, rising amid tares, and seeking rest in the future from the weariness of offenses, says in the Book of Psalms, ‘From the end of the earth I cried unto You, while my heart was in weariness: You exalted me on a rock.’ But the rock was Christ, in whom the apostle says that we are now raised up, and set together in heavenly places, though not yet actually, but only in hope (Eph 2:6). And so the psalm goes on to say, ‘You were my guide, because You have become my hope, a tower of strength from the face of the enemy.’ By means of His promises, which are like spears and javelins stored up in a strongly fortified place, the enemy is not only guarded against, but overthrown, as he clothes his wolves in sheep’s clothing (Mt 7:15), that they may say, ‘Lo, here is Christ, or there’ (Mt 24:23); and that they may separate many from the Catholic city which is built upon a hill, and bring them down to the isolation of their own snares, so as utterly to destroy them. And these men, knowing this, choose to receive the baptism of Christ without the limits of the communion of the unity of Christ’s body, though they intend afterwards, with the sacrament which they have received elsewhere, to pass into that very communion. For they propose to receive Christ’s baptism in antagonism to the Church of Christ, well knowing that it is so even on the very day on which they receive it. And if this is a sin, who is the man that will say, Grant that for a single day I may commit sin? For if he proposes to pass over to the Catholic Church, I would fain ask why. What other answer can he give, but that it is ill to belong to the party of Donatus, and not to the unity of the Catholic Church? Just so many days, then, as you commit this ill, of so many days’ sin are you going to be guilty. And it may be said that there is greater sin in more days’ commission of it, and less in fewer; but in no wise can it be said that no sin is committed at all. But what is the need of allowing this accursed wrong for a single day, or a single hour? For the man who wishes this license to be granted him, might as well ask of the Church, or of God Himself, that for a single day he should be permitted to apostatize. For there is no reason why he should fear to be an apostate for a day, if he does not shrink from being for that time a schismatic or a heretic. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On Baptism, Book 1, Ch. 4, no. 5)

  • When heretics receive this Sacrament, they receive testimony against themselves

Behold what you have received! Therefore, just as you see that the bread which was made is one mass, so may you also be one Body by loving one another, by having one faith, one hope, and an undivided charity. When heretics receive this Sacrament, they receive testimony against themselves, because they seek division, while this bread indicates unity. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 229, no. 2)

  • Heretics and schismatics receive the same sacrament with no profit, rather to their own hurt

He then who is in the unity of Christ’s body (that is to say, in the Christian membership), of which body the faithful have been wont to receive the sacrament at the altar, that man is truly said to eat the body and drink the blood of Christ. And consequently heretics and schismatics being separate from the unity of this body, are able to receive the same sacrament, but with no profit to themselves–nay, rather to their own hurt, so that they are rather more severely judged than liberated after some time. For they are not in that bond of peace which is symbolized by that sacrament. […] In fine, He Himself, when He says, ‘He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him’ (Jn 6:56), shows what it is in reality, and not sacramentally, to eat His body and drink His blood; for this is to dwell in Christ, that He also may dwell in us. So that it is as if He said, He that dwells not in me, and in whom I do not dwell, let him not say or think that he eats my body or drinks my blood. Accordingly, they who are not Christ’s members do not dwell in Him. And they who make themselves members of a harlot, are not members of Christ unless they have penitently abandoned that evil, and have returned to this good to be reconciled to it. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. City of God, Book XXI, Ch. 25)

  • The Eucharist is received worthily if the yeast of bad doctrine is avoided

And therefore receive and eat the body of Christ, yes, you that have become members of Christ in the body of Christ; receive and drink the blood of Christ. In order not to be scattered and separated, eat what binds you together; in order not to seem cheap in your own estimation, drink the price that was paid for you. […] So then, having life in him, you will be in one flesh with him. This sacrament, after all, doesn’t present you with the body of Christ in such a way as to divide you from it. […] You receive worthily, however, if you avoid the yeast of bad doctrine, in order to be unleavened loaves of sincerity and truth (1Cor 5:8). (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 228B. The Paschal Sacraments, no. 3 – 5)

  • Gathered together into Christ’s body, may we be what we receive

So then the Eucharist is our daily bread; but let us in such wise receive it, that we be not refreshed in our bodies only, but in our souls. For the virtue which is apprehended there, is unity, that gathered together into His body, and made His members, we may be what we receive. Then will it be indeed our daily bread. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 7, On the Lord’s prayer no. 7)

…judges Francis’ idea on God’s love for sinners

  • The Lord is full of mercy, but by ill using his mercy you store up wrath for yourself

‘The Lord is full of compassion and mercy: long-suffering, and of great mercy’ (Ps 102:8). Why so long-suffering? Why so great in mercy? Men sin and live; sins are added on, life continues: men blaspheme daily, and ‘He makes His sun to rise over the good and the wicked’ (Mt 5:45). On all sides He calls to amendment, on all sides He calls to repentance, He calls by the blessings of creation, He calls by giving time for life, He calls through the reader, He calls through the preacher, He calls through the innermost thought by the rod of correction, He calls by the mercy of consolation: ‘He is long-suffering, and of great mercy.’ But take heed lest by ill using the length of God’s mercy, you store up for yourself, as the Apostle says, wrath in the day of wrath….For some there are who prepare to turn, and yet put it off, and in them cries out the raven’s voice, ‘Cras! Cras!’ […] How long, Tomorrow! Tomorrow!? Look to your last morrow: since you know not what is your last morrow, let it suffice that you have lived up to this day a sinner. You have heard, often you are wont to hear, you have heard today also; daily you hear, and daily you amend not.… […] What terrible anxieties here in this life? I omit hell. Beware lest you even now become a hell unto yourself. The whole of this, my brethren, is the result of His anger: and when you have turned yourself unto works of righteousness, you cannot but toil upon earth; and toil ends not before life ends. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Commentary on the Psalms, Psalm 103, no. 13-14 )

  • God is liberal with the sinner who repents. He invites with gracious calls

For thou, my God, thou hast made all things by the power, and art wonderful in all thy doings; yet art thou most wonderful, and exceeding glorious in thy Works of pity and love. In this sense too is that most true, which thou speakest of thyself by the moth of thy servants. ‘The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works’ (Ps 145:9). And what was said of one particular person, we may most truly apply to thy people in general, my mercy will I not take from him (Ps 89:24, 28). For thou abhorrest, despises, forsaketh no man; but such only as, lost to all sense of their own duty and happiness, do first despise and forsake thee. Hence it is that thou dost not only not strike when thou art not angry, but even when thou art most justly so. Thou givest good things liberally, upon the request of those wretches who have provoked thee to anger. O my God, the horn of my salvation, and my refuge, I am sadly sensible that I am one of those miserable wretches; I have provoked thy wrath, and done evil in thy sight; and yet thou holdest thy hand. I have sinned, thou hast suffered; I have offended, and still thou bearest with me. If I repent thou sparest; if I return, thou receivest me with open arms; nay, even while I delay, thou waitest patiently for my coming back to thee. Thou callest me to thee, when I go astray, thou invitest me while I am deaf to thy gracious calls; thou stayest till I shake off my wicked sloth; and, when thy prodigal child at last bethinks himself, thou meetest and embracest him most gladly. Thou instructest my ignorance, comfortst my sorrows, keepest me from falling, raiseth me up when I am fallen, givest when I ask, art found when I seek thee, and openst the door when I knock (Mt 7:7). (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Meditations, Book I, Ch. 2, pg. 12-13)

  • Jesus is faithful and just to forgive sins, provided you change until you be perfected

And lest haply he should seem to have given impunity for sins, in that he said, ‘He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all iniquity;’ and men henceforth should say to themselves, ‘Let us sin, let us do securely what we will, Christ purges us, is faithful and just, purges us from all iniquity’: He takes from you an evil security, and puts in an useful fear. To your own hurt you would be secure; you must be solicitous. For ‘He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,’ provided you always displease yourself, and be changing until you be perfected. […] if from the infirmity of this life sin shall overtake you, see to it straightway, straightway be displeased, straightway condemn it; and when you have condemned, you shall come assured unto the Judge. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Homilies on the First Epistle of Saint John. Homily 1, no. 7)

  • Christ is ready to forgive sins, but also to punish those who do not acknowledge their sin

Run, my brethren, lest the darkness lay hold of you. […] Awake, then, while it is day: the day shines, Christ is the day. He is ready to forgive sins, but to them that acknowledge them; ready to punish the self-defenders, who boast that they are righteous, and think themselves to be something when they are nothing. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, Tractate 12, no. 14)

  • To have fellowship with Christ the darkness of sin must be driven away

If ‘God be light, and in Him is no darkness at all, and we must have fellowship with Him,’ then from us also must the darkness be driven away, that there may be light created in us, for darkness cannot have fellowship with light. […] You say you have fellowship with God, and you walk in darkness; ‘and God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all:’ then how should there be fellowship between light and darkness? […] But sins are darkness, as the Apostle says of the devil and his angels, that they are ‘rulers of this darkness’ (Eph 6:12). He would not call them of darkness, save as rulers of sins, having lordship over the wicked. Then what are we to do, my brethren? Fellowship with God must be had, other hope of life eternal is none; […] Let us walk in the light, as He is in the light, that we may be able to have fellowship with Him. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Homilies on the First Epistle of Saint John, Homily 1, no. 5)

  • Obstinate sinners are deceived by hope

From both, then, men are in danger; both from hoping and despairing, from contrary things, from contrary affections. Who is deceived by hoping? He who says, God is good, God is merciful, let me do what I please, what I like; let me give loose reins to my lusts, let me gratify the desires of my soul. Why this? Because God is merciful, God is good, God is kind. These men are in danger by hope. And those are in danger from despair, who, having fallen into grievous sins, fancying that they can no more be pardoned upon repentance, and believing that they are without doubt doomed to damnation, do say with themselves, We are already destined to be damned, why not do what we please with the disposition of gladiators destined to the sword. This is the reason that desperate men are dangerous: for, having no longer anything to fear, they are to be feared exceedingly. Despair kills these; hope, those. The mind is tossed to and fro between hope and despair. You have to fear lest hope slay you; and, when you hope much from mercy, lest you fall into judgment: again, you have to fear lest despair slay you, and, when you think that the grievous sins which you have committed cannot be forgiven you, you do not repent, and you incur the sentence of Wisdom, which says: ‘I also will laugh at your perdition’ (Prov 1:26). How then does the Lord treat those who are in danger from both these maladies? To those who are in danger from hope, He says, ‘Be not slow to be converted to the Lord, neither put it off from day to day; for suddenly His anger will come, and in the time of vengeance, will utterly destroy you’ (Sir 5:8-9). To those who are in danger from despair, what does He say? ‘In what day soever the wicked man shall be converted, I will forget all his iniquities’ (Ez 18:21). (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, Tractate 33, no. 8)

  • One is damned, the other saved. In the middle is the One who damns and saves – that cross was the tribunal

It is not the penalty but the cause that makes the martyr. Three were crucified. Identical is the penalty, but diverse the cause. One will be damned, the other saved; in the middle the One who damns and saves. He punishes one, saves the other. That cross was the tribunal. (Saint Augustine. Discourse 328 – In Natali Martyrum, no. 8/6)

…judges Francis’ idea on proclaiming the Gospel

  • Of the house of God: He is Himself the wall; blessed are those who dwell therein

If you have your own house, you are poor; if God’s, you are rich. In your own house you will fear robbers; of the house of God, He is Himself the wall. Therefore ‘blessed are those who dwell in Your house.’ (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Expositions on the Psalms, Psalm 84, no. 8)

  • Without walls the flock will be exposed to many dangers

Separate, then, from the healthy body, the malignant tumor, and dispelling the contagion of the virulent plague, maintain with greater care the healthy parts and purify the flock from this contagion of the bad sheep. […] Otherwise, wandering afar, and deprived of the walls and defenses of the faith, they will be exposed to all dangers, condemned to being torn and devoured by the teeth of the wolves; they will not be able to resist this perverse doctrine with which they were disturbed. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Letter 181, no. 9)

  • Anyone who clashes against this impregnable wall of the Church’s power will be wiped out

This is in lieu of the power of the authority of mother Church; this is conceded by the canon of well-founded truth: anyone who clashes against this force, against this impregnable wall is wiped out by it. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 294, no. 17)

  • Charity to one’s neighbor is shown in correction

If any of you perchance wish to keep charity, brethren, above all things do not imagine it to be an abject and neither sluggish thing; nor that charity is to be preserved by a sort of gentleness, nay not gentleness, but tameness and listlessness. Not so is it preserved. Do not imagine that you then love your servant when you do not beat him, or that you then love your son when you give him not discipline or that you then love your neighbor when you dost not rebuke him: this is not charity, but mere feebleness. Let charity be fervent to correct, to amend: but if there be good manners, let them delight you; if bad, let them be amended, let them be corrected. Love not in the man his error, but the man: for the man God made, the error the man himself made. Love that which God made, love not that which the man himself made. When you love that, you take away this: when you esteem that, you amend this. But even if you be severe at any time, let it be because of love, for correction. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Homily 7 on the first letter of Saint John)

…judges Francis’ idea on the pastor

  • The shepherd who lives a wicked life is a murderer of the sheep entrusted to his care

But the wicked shepherds do not spare such sheep. It is not enough that they neglect those that are ill and weak, those that go stray and are lost. They even try, so far as it is in their power, to kill the strong and healthy. Yet such sheep live; yes, by God’s mercy they live. As for the wicked shepherds themselves, they kill the sheep. “How do they kill them?” you ask. By their wicked lives and by giving bad example. Or was God’s servant, who was high among the members of the chief shepherd, told this in vain: Show yourself as an example of good works toward all men, and, Be an example to the faithful? Even the strong sheep, if he turns his eyes from the Lord’s laws and looks at the man set over him, notices when his shepherd is living wickedly and begins to say in his heart: “If my pastor lives like that, why should I not live like him?” The wicked shepherd kills the strong sheep. But if he kills the strong one what does he do to the rest? After all, by his wicked life he kills even the sheep he had not strengthened but had found strong and hardy. I appeal to your love, and again I say, even if the sheep have life and if they are strong in the word of the Lord, and if they hold fast to what they have heard from their Lord, Do what they say but not what they do. Still, as far as he himself is concerned, the shepherd who lives a wicked life before the people kills the sheep under his care. Let such a shepherd not deceive himself because the sheep is not dead, for though it still lives, he is a murderer. (Saint Augustine. Sermon 46 on Pastors, Ez 34:1-16, no. 4, 9English)

…judges Francis’ idea on new forms of poverty

  • The members of the Church: we are made not only Christians, but Christ

Let us rejoice, then, and give thanks that we are made not only Christians, but Christ. Do ye understand, brethren, and apprehend the grace of God upon us? Marvel, be glad, we are made Christ. For if He is the head, we are the members: the whole man is He and we. […] ‘Until we all come together into the unity of faith, and to the knowledge of the Son of God, to the perfect man, to the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ’ (Eph 4:14). The fullness of Christ, then, is head and members. Head and members, what is that? Christ and the Church. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of John, Tractate 21, no. 8)

  • God does not inhabit in all men

But what causes great amazement is the fact that God, although he is entirely in every place, does not inhabit in all men. In fact, my above-mentioned citation of the Apostle, or this one: ‘Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you’ (1Cor 3:16)? may not in fact be applied to all. That is why, on the other hand, the same Apostle said regarding others: ‘Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him’ (Rom 8:9). Furthermore, who would dare to think, except one who is entirely ignorant of the indivisibility of the Trinity, that the Father and the Son can inhabit someone in whom in the Holy Spirit does not dwell? Or that the Holy Spirit may live in someone in whom Father and the Son do not? In this way, one must admit that God is in all places by the presence of the divinity, but not in all places by the grace with which He inhabits souls. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Epistle 187: Treatise on the presence of God, no. 16)

  • God does not inhabit all: sin makes one distant from Him

Well then, God who is in every place, does not, however, inhabit all; nor does He live in the same manner in all of those He inhabits. […] Then it must be said that those are far from Him, who due to sin have become totally different from Him; and that those are close to Him, who with a holy life receive His similitude, in the same way that one justly says that eyes are so much farther from the light of the earth, as they are blinder. (Saint Augustine. Epistle 187: Treatise on the presence of God, no. 17)

…judges Francis’ idea that Jesus is only mercy

  • Your righteousness displeases the wicked

And I discerned and found it no marvel, that bread which is distasteful to an unhealthy palate is pleasant to a healthy one; and that the light, which is painful to sore eyes, is delightful to sound ones. And Your righteousness displeases the wicked. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Confessions, Book VII, Ch. 16)

  • Christ shepherds with justice, and the good shepherds follow his voice

It concludes in this way: ‘And I will shepherd them with justice’ (Ez 34:16). Keep in mind that he only shepherds, because he shepherds them with justice. […] He shepherds, then, with justice, distributing to each one his own: this to these, that to those, the merits to those who deserve, be it this or that one. You know what you should do: he shepherds with justice those who he redeemed when they were judged. So he himself shepherds with justice. […] Where is your hard head now? Where is your tongue? Where is your mocking? Effectively, as your last days approached, you were a fool, you were fearful but lacking justice. For you wished not to judge rightly, neither regarding your error, nor regarding the truth. Unlike you, Christ shepherds with justice, he distinguishes the sheep that are his from those that are not. My sheep – he said – hear my voice and follow me (Jn 10:27). Here one discovers all good shepherds in the one Pastor. For there is no lack of good shepherds, but they exist in only one. Those who are divided are many. […] In these that shepherd: it is Christ who shepherds. The friends of the spouse do not prefer their own voice, but rather enjoy the voice of the spouse. Therefore, it is He himself who shepherds when they shepherd. Thus he says: ‘It is I who shepherd’ for his own voice and his charity echoes in theirs. […] In this way, then, he himself, being one, shepherds in them; and they shepherd forming part of he who is one. […]This is shepherding for Christ, shepherding in Christ, shepherding with Christ and not shepherding for oneself outside of Christ […] In this way, then, all are in the only shepherds, all announce the only voice of the shepherd, in such a way that the sheep hear and follow their shepherd, not this or that one, but rather the only shepherd. All announce, united in him, in one voice; let there not be different voices. ‘I pray thee brethren, that all have the same heart and that there not be divisions among you’ (1Cor 1:10). May the sheep hear this voice far removed from division, expurgated of all heresy, and follow their shepherd who said: ‘My sheep hear my voice and follow me’ (Jn 10: 27). (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon 46, On Pastors, no. 27, 29-30)

  • Compassion is obedient to reason when shown without violating right

And what is compassion but a fellow-feeling for another’s misery, which prompts us to help him if we can? And this emotion is obedient to reason, when compassion is shown without violating right, as when the poor are relieved, or the penitent forgiven. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The City of God, Book 9, ch. 5)

…judges Francis’ idea on the poor being the heart of the Gospel

  • ‘The poor in spirit’ are the humble and God-fearing

What, then, does He say? ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ We read in Scripture concerning the striving after temporal things, ‘All is vanity and presumption of spirit;’ but presumption of spirit means audacity and pride: usually also the proud are said to have great spirits; and rightly, inasmuch as the wind also is called spirit. And hence it is written, ‘Fire, hail, snow, ice, spirit of tempest.’ But, indeed, who does not know that the proud are spoken of as puffed up, as if swelled out with wind? And hence also that expression of the apostle, ‘Knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies.’ And ‘the poor in spirit’ are rightly understood here, as meaning the humble and God-fearing, i.e. those who have not the spirit which puffs up. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The Sermon on the Mount, Book 1, Ch. 1, a. 3)

…judges Francis’ idea that Koran is a book of peace

  • Nothing is so greatly desired as peace

For peace is a good so great, that even in this earthly and mortal life there is no word we hear with such pleasure, nothing we desire with such zest, or find to be more thoroughly gratifying. So that if we dwell for a little longer on this subject, we shall not, in my opinion, be wearisome to our readers, who will attend both for the sake of understanding what is the end of this city of which we speak, and for the sake of the sweetness of peace which is dear to all. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. City of God, Book XIX, Ch. 11)

  • Every man seeks peace, even those who wage war…

Every man seeks peace by waging war, but no man seeks war by making peace. For even they who intentionally interrupt the peace in which they are living have no hatred of peace, but only wish it changed into a peace that suits them better. They do not, therefore, wish to have no peace, but only one more to their mind. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. City of God, Book XIX, Ch. 12)

  • The peace of all things is the tranquility of order, which is the distribution that allots to each being its own place

The peace of the body then consists in the duly proportioned arrangement of its parts. The peace of the irrational soul is the harmonious repose of the appetites, and that of the rational soul the harmony of knowledge and action. The peace of body and soul is the well-ordered and harmonious life and health of the living creature. Peace between man and God is the well-ordered obedience of faith to eternal law. Peace between man and man is well-ordered concord. Domestic peace is the well-ordered concord between those of the family who rule and those who obey. Civil peace is a similar concord among the citizens. The peace of the celestial city is the perfectly ordered and harmonious enjoyment of God, and of one another in God. The peace of all things is the tranquility of order. Order is the distribution which allots things equal and unequal, each to its own place. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. City of God, Book XIX, Ch. 13)

  • God administers the peace of the universe and His laws are strictly observed

Yet throughout this process the laws of the most high Creator and Governor are strictly observed, for it is by Him the peace of the universe is administered. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The City of God, Book XIX, Ch. 12)

  • To have peace it is necessary to be in accord with Christ, and not with the world

But when the Lord proceeded to say, ‘Not as the world gives, give I unto you’, what else does He mean but, Not as those give who love the world, give I unto you? For their aim in giving themselves peace is that, exempt from the annoyance of lawsuits and wars, they may find enjoyment, not in God, but in the friendship of the world; and although they give the righteous peace, in ceasing to persecute them, there can be no true peace where there is no real harmony, because their hearts are at variance. For as one is called a consort who unites his lot (sortem) with another, so may he be termed concordant whose heart has entered into a similar union. Let us, therefore, beloved, with whom Christ leaves peace, and to whom He gives His own peace, not after the world’s way, but in a way worthy of Him by whom the world was made, that we should be of one heart with Himself, having our hearts run into one, that this one heart, set on that which is above, may escape the corruption of the earth. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, Tractate 77, no. 5)

…judges Francis’ idea that spiritual direction is a charism of the laity

  • Christ left his apostles as shepherds of his flock

And indeed, brethren, because He [Jesus] is the Shepherd, He has given to His members to be so likewise. For both Peter, and Paul, and the other apostles were, as all good bishops are, shepherds. But none of us calls himself the door. This – the way of entrance for the sheep – He has retained as exclusively belonging to Himself. In short, Paul discharged the office of a good shepherd when he preached Christ, because he entered by the door. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, 47, 3)

…judges Francis’ idea on adulterine unions

  • Not even for the sake of bearing children may one unite with another person

The sacrament demands the indissolubility of matrimony, and the repudiated man or woman may not unite with another person not even for the sake of bearing children. (Saint Augustine of Hippo, Literal Commentary of Genesis, lib. IX, Ch. VII, no. 12)

  • The sinner’s unfortunate good fortune

Since nothing is more unfortunate for sinners, than the good fortune of their sins. (Saint Augustine of Hippo quoted by Saint Thomas Aquinas. Catena Aurea, in Mt 5:38-42)

  • If you would be blessed, be undefiled – ‘blessed are they that walk in the law of the Lord’

From its commencement, dearly beloved, does this great psalm exhort us unto bliss, which there is no one who desires not […] As much as to say, I know what you wish, you are seeking bliss: if then you would be blessed, be undefiled. For the former all desire, the latter fear: yet without it what all wish cannot be attained. […] Listen now to what he adds: ‘Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and seek Him with their whole heart’ (Ps 118:2). No other class of the blessed seems to me to be mentioned in these words, than that which has been already spoken of. For to examine into the testimonies of the Lord, and to seek Him with all the heart, this is to be undefiled in the way, this is to walk in the law of the Lord. He then goes on to say, ‘For they who do wickedness, shall not walk in His ways’ (Ps 118:3). And yet we know that the workers of wickedness do search the testimonies of the Lord for this reason, that they prefer being learned to being righteous: we know that others also search the testimonies of the Lord, not because they are already living well, but that they may know how they ought to live. Such then do not as yet walk undefiled in the law of the Lord, and for this reason are not as yet blessed. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Commentary on Psalm 118 (119)

…judges Francis’ idea on family

  • The more chaste the spouses the better the marriage

Therefore marriage is a good, wherein married persons are so much the better, in proportion as they fear God with greater chastity and faithfulness, especially if the sons, whom they desire after the flesh, they also bring up after the spirit. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The Good of Marriage, no. 22)

  • It is never permitted to abandon a spouse to unite with another

For this is preserved in the case of Christ and the Church; so that, as a living one with a living one, there is no divorce, no separation forever. And so complete is the observance of this bond in the city of our God, in His holy mountain — that is to say, in the Church of Christ— by all married believers, who are undoubtedly members of Christ, that, although women marry, and men take wives, for the purpose of procreating children, it is never permitted one to put away even an unfruitful wife for the sake of having another to bear children. And whosoever does this is held to be guilty of adultery by the law of the gospel; though not by this world’s rule, which allows a divorce between the parties, without even the allegation of guilt, and the contraction of other nuptial engagements,— a concession which, the Lord tells us, even the holy Moses extended to the people of Israel, because of the hardness of their hearts. Matthew 19:8 The same condemnation applies to the woman, if she is married to another man. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On Marriage and Concupiscence, I, Ch. 11[X])

  • The offenses contrary to nature of the Sodomites are everywhere and at all times to be held in detestation and punished

Therefore those offenses which be contrary to nature are everywhere and at all times to be held in detestation and punished; such were those of the Sodomites, which should all nations commit, they should all be held guilty of the same crime by the divine law, which has not so made men that they should in that way abuse one another. For even that fellowship which should be between God and us is violated, when that same nature of which He is author is polluted by the perversity of lust. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Confessions III, ch.8, no. 15)

…judges Francis’ idea on human suffering

  • Every lie is an unjust action to be chastised by God

Or, is a lie sometimes good, or sometimes a lie not evil? Why then is it written, ‘You hate, Lord, all that work iniquity; You will destroy all that speak leasing.’ For he has not excepted some, or said indefinitely, ‘You will destroy them that speak leasing;’ so as to permit some, not all, to be understood: but it is an universal sentence that he has passed, saying, ‘You will destroy all who speak leasing.’ Or, because it is not said, You will destroy all who speak all leasing, or, who speak any leasing whatsoever; is it therefore to be thought that there is place allowed for some lie; to wit, that there should be some leasing, and them who speak it, God should not destroy, but destroy them all which speak unjust leasing, not what lie soever, because there is found also a just lie, which as such ought to be matter of praise, not of crime? (Saint Agustine of Hippo. Against Lying, no. 1)

  • Those who love the truth should hate lies

Of lies are many sorts, which indeed all, universally, we ought to hate. For there is no lie that is not contrary to truth. For, as light and darkness, piety and impiety, justice and iniquity, sin and right-doing, health and weakness, life and death, so are truth and a lie contrary the one to the other. Whence by how much we love the former, by so much ought we to hate the latter. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Against Lying, no. 4)

  • The darkness of falsehood is incompatible with the splendor of the divine light

We can speak the truth, but we can also lie; although we are bound to speak the truth, still we have it in our power to lie when we will. But far be it from us to think that the darkness of falsehood could be found in the splendor of the divine light. He spoke as the Light, spoke as the Truth; but the light was shining in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not: therefore they judged after the flesh. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, Tractate 36, no. 3)

  • Christ is God; and God is true

‘He that received His testimony has set to his seal that God is true.’ What means ‘has set to his seal that God is true,’ if it be not that man is a liar, and God is true? For no human being can speak any truth, unless he be enlightened by Him who cannot lie. God, then, is true; but Christ is God. Would you prove this? Receive His testimony and you find it. For ‘he that has received His testimony has set to his seal that God is true.’ Who is true? The same who came from heaven, and is above all, is God, and true. But if you do not yet understand Him to be God, you have not yet received His testimony: receive it, and you put your seal to it; confidently you understand, definitely you acknowledge, that God is true. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, Tractate 14, no. 8)

  • Whom the Lord loves, He corrects

Thus an irreligious Pagan might bring the same reproaches against Christ […] He might say that Christ lacked foresight, not only because He was astonished at the faith of the centurion, but because He chose Judas as a disciple who proved disobedient to His commands. […] He might also cavil at Christ’s not knowing who touched Him, when the woman suffering from an issue of blood touched the hem of His garment; […] Again, he might call Christ greedy of the blood, not of beasts, but of men, because he said, ‘He that loses his life for my sake, shall keep it unto life eternal’ (Mt 10:39); […] He might say that Christ was angry with both His friends and His enemies: with His friends, because He said, ‘The servant that knows his lord’s will, and does it not, shall be beaten with many stripes;’ and with His enemies, because He said, ‘If any one shall not receive you, shake off against him the dust of your shoes; verily I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for Sodom in the day of judgment than for that city’ (Mt 10:14-15); […] Or he might say that Christ shed the blood of many without mercy, for a slight offense or for nothing. For to a Pagan there would appear to be little or no harm in not having a wedding garment at the marriage feast, for which our King in the Gospel commanded a man to be bound hand and foot, and cast into outer darkness; […] ‘Whom the Lord loves He corrects, and chastises every son whom He receives’ (Prov 3:12); and, ‘If we receive good at the hand of the Lord, shall we not also receive evil?’ (Job 2:10)? So we read also in the New Testament, ‘Whom I love I rebuke and chasten’ (Rev 3:19); and, ‘If we judge ourselves, we shall not be judged of the Lord; but when we are judged, we are corrected of the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world’ (1Cor 11:31-32). (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Contra Faustum Book XXII, no. 14)

  • The Lord expelled the merchants from the Temple not only on one occasion, but twice

When He had made a scourge of small cords, drove out of the temple those who were selling in it. This makes it evident that this act was performed by the Lord not on a single occasion, but twice over; but that only the first instance is put on record by John, and the last by the other three. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The Harmony of the Gospels, Book II, 67, 129)

  • Jesus made a scourge of small cords, and with it lashed the unruly, who were making merchandise of God’s temple

What follows upon this? ‘And the Jews’ passover was at hand; and He went up to Jerusalem.’ The narrator relates another matter, as it came to his recollection. ‘And He found in the temple those that sold oxen, and sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when He had made, as it were, a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple; the oxen likewise, and the sheep; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; and make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise’. […] It was not a great sin, then, if they sold in the temple that which was bought for the purpose of offering in the temple: and yet He cast them out thence. If, while they were selling what was lawful and not against justice (for it is not unlawful to sell what it is honorable to buy), He nevertheless drove those men out, and suffered not the house of prayer to be made a house of merchandise. […] Yet we say, brethren (for He did not spare those men: He who was to be scourged by them first scourged them), that He gave us a certain sign, in that He made a scourge of small cords, and with it lashed the unruly, who were making merchandise of God’s temple. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, Tractate 10, no. 4-5)

…judges Francis’ idea that sin forms a part of religious life

  • He who recognizes his own sin, is displeased with it and condemns it, receives God’s pardon

For ‘He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,’ provided you always displease yourself, and be changing until you be perfected. Accordingly, what follows? ‘My little children, these things I write unto you, that you sin not’ (1Jn 2:1). But perchance sin overtakes us from our mortal life: what shall be done then? What? Shall there be now despair? Hear: ‘And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the propitiator for our sins’ (1Jn 2:1-2). He then is the advocate; do your endeavor not to sin: if from the infirmity of this life sin shall overtake you, see to it straightway, straightway be displeased, straightway condemn it; and when you have condemned, you shall come assured unto the Judge. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Homily 1, no. 7)

…judges Francis’ idea that catholics and muslims adore the same God

  • The only true God is Trinity

Because in that only true God, which is Trinity, it is naturally true not only that he is only one God, but also that he is Trinity, thus the same true God is Trinity in persons, and is only one in nature. (Saint Augustine of Hippo, On Faith, dedicated to Peter, Ch. 1, no. 4 – attr.)

  • The faith the holy patriarchs and prophets received preaches that the Trinity is but one God

In effect, the faith that the holy patriarchs and prophets received by divine inspiration before the Incarnation of the Son of God, the faith, that the holy Apostles heard also of the same Incarnate Lord, and instructed by the magisterium of the Holy Spirit, they preached not only by words, but also they left fixed in their writings for the salutary instruction of their followers, faith that preaches that the Trinity is but one God, that is to say, Father Son and Holy Spirit. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On Faith, dedicated to Peter, Ch. 1, no. 4 – attri.)

  • Truth cannot be contradicted by God – His omnipotence does not mean that he can make good evil or make true what is false

Accordingly, to say, if God is almighty, let Him make what has been done to be undone, is in fact to say, if God is almighty, let Him make a thing to be in the same sense both true and false. […] This truth cannot be contradicted by God, in whom abides the supreme and unchangeable truth, and whose illumination is the source of all the truth to be found in any mind or understanding. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Reply to Faustus the Maniquean, Book 26, no. 5)

  • Almighty God only permits any evil among His works so as to bring good out of it

For the Almighty God, who, as even the heathen acknowledge, has supreme power over all things, being Himself supremely good, would never permit the existence of anything evil among His works, if He were not so omnipotent and good that He can bring good even out of evil. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The Handbook on Faith, Hope and Love, Ch. 11)

  • The punishment of the wicked is among God’s good works

The punishment of the wicked, then, which is from God, is certainly an evil to the wicked, but it is among God’s good Works, because it is just that the wicked be punished, and everything that is just is good indeed. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Retractions, book, 1, ch. 26english)

…judges Francis’ idea on sects forming part of the Church

  • The Manichaeans preach a false Christ

But because the Manichæans preach another Christ, and not Him whom the apostles preached, but a false Christ of their own false contrivance, in imitation of whose falsehood they themselves speak lies, though they may perhaps be believed when they are not ashamed to profess to be the followers of a deceiver. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Reply to Faustus the Manichæan, Book XII, no. 4)

…judges Francis’ idea on human suffering

  • He who wills not to suffer has not yet begun to be a Christian

Let whatsoever holy men therefore that are suffering pressing from those that have been put afar off from the saints, give heed to this Psalm, let them perceive here themselves, let them speak what here is spoken, that suffer what here is spoken of.… […] Let no one say to himself, There have been troubles in our fathers’ time, in our time there are not. If thou supposest thyself not to have troubles, not yet hast thou begun to be a Christian. And where is the voice of the Apostle, ‘But even all that will live godly in Christ, persecutions shall suffer.’ If therefore thou sufferest not any persecution for Christ, take heed lest not yet thou hast begun godly to live in Christ. But when thou hast begun godly to live in Christ, thou hast entered into the winepress; make ready thyself for pressings: but be not thou dry, lest from the pressing nothing go forth. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Exposition on the Psalms, Psalm LVI)

…judges Francis’ criteria for the nomination of Bishops

  • A higher place was given the Bishops, that they might the guardians of the people

The Bishops also do this. For a higher place was for this reason given the Bishops, that they might be themselves the superintendents and as it were the guardians of the people. For the Greek word Episcopus, and the vernacular Superintendent, are the same; for the Bishop superintends, in that he looks over. As a higher place is assigned to the vinedresser in the charge of the vineyard, so also to the Bishops a more exalted station is alloted. (Commentary on Psalm 127, no. 2)

  • Wicked shepherds kill their sheep by their wicked lives and by giving bad example

The defects of the sheep are widespread. There are very few healthy and sound sheep, few that are solidly sustained by the food of truth, and few that enjoy the good pasture God gives them. But the wicked shepherds do not spare such sheep. It is not enough that they neglect those that are ill and weak, those that go stray and are lost. They even try, so far as it is in their power, to kill the strong and healthy. Yet such sheep live; yes, by God’s mercy they live. As for the wicked shepherds themselves, they kill the sheep. ‘How do they kill them?’ you ask. By their wicked lives and by giving bad example. Or was God’s servant, who was high among the members of the chief shepherd, told this in vain: Show yourself as an example of good works toward all men, and, Be an example to the faithful? […] I appeal to your love, and again I say, even if the sheep have life and if they are strong in the word of the Lord, and if they hold fast to what they have heard from their Lord, Do what they say but not what they do. Still, as far as he himself is concerned, the shepherd who lives a wicked life before the people kills the sheep under his care. Let such a shepherd not deceive himself because the sheep is not dead, for though it still lives, he is a murderer. […] Therefore anyone who lives wickedly before those who have been placed under his care kills, as far as he himself is concerned, even the strong. Whoever imitates him, dies; whoever does not, has life. But as for him, he kills both of them. (Saint Augustine. Sermon 46 on Pastors, no. 4/9English)

…judges Francis’ idea that Christians should always humble themselves

  • Christ affirms of himself the lesser; and Peter affirms of Christ the greater

This is the confession true and full. You should unite one thing to the other: What Christ says of himself, and what Peter says of Christ. What did Christ say of himself? ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And what did Peter say of Christ? ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Unite both things and so Christ has come in the flesh. Christ affirms of himself the lesser, and Peter, of Christ, the greater. Humility speaks of the truth, and the truth, of humility; that is to say, humility [speaks] of the truth of God, and the truth, of the humility of the man. (Saint Augustine. Sermon 183, no. 3-4)

…judges Francis’ idea on capital punishment

  • Those who, representing public justice, put to death wicked men have by no means violated the commandment ‘You shall not kill’

However, there are some exceptions made by the divine authority to its own law, that men may not be put to death. These exceptions are of two kinds, being justified either by a general law, or by a special commission granted for a time to some individual. And in this latter case, he to whom authority is delegated, and who is but the sword in the hand of him who uses it, is not himself responsible for the death he deals. And, accordingly, they who have waged war in obedience to the divine command, or in conformity with His laws, have represented in their persons the public justice or the wisdom of government, and in this capacity have put to death wicked men; such persons have by no means violated the commandment, ‘You shall not kill.’ (Saint Augustine. City of God, Book I, Ch. 21)

  • Great and holy men punished some sins with death

But great and holy men, although they at the time knew excellently well that that death which separates the soul from the body is not to be dreaded, yet, in accordance with the sentiment of those who might fear it, punished some sins with death, both because the living were struck with a salutary fear, and because it was not death itself that would injure those who were being punished with death, but sin, which might be increased if they continued to live. They did not judge rashly on whom God had bestowed such a power of judging. Hence it is that Elijah inflicted death on many, both with his own hand and by calling down fire from heaven; as was done also without rashness by many other great and godlike men, in the same spirit of concern for the good of humanity. (Saint Augustine. On the Sermon on the Mount, Book I, Ch. 20, no.64)

  • Fear of the law represses the evil and gives security to the good

Conversely, the power of the sovereign, the right over life and death of the judge, the iron hook of the executioner, the soldier’s weapon, the power to punish of the authority, and even the severity of the good father have not been instituted in vain. All these regulations have their measure, their causes, their reasons and their utility. When these are feared, not only are the evil refrained, but even the good live more tranquilly among the evil. […] It is not useless to repress the arrogance and prepotency of men even by the fear of human laws, so that not only innocence might have security among the wicked, but also so that these same wicked ones may have, in fear of a torment, a brake to their possibility of doing evil, and so may they invoke God to cure their will to do so. (Saint Augustine. Letter to Macedonius, no.153, Ch. 6, no. 16)

…judges Francis’ vision on the divorced who re-marry

  • One may not unite with another person not even for children

The sacrament demands that the indissolubility of matrimony, and that the repudiated may not unite with another person not even for children. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. De Genesi ad litteram, Book 9, Ch.7, no. 12)

  • The Lord did not say: ‘Neither will I condemn you; go, live as you will: be secure in my deliverance; how much soever you will sin’

‘Neither do I condemn you;’ by whom, perhaps, you feared to be condemned, because in me you have not found sin. ‘Neither will I condemn you.’ What is this, O Lord? Do You therefore favor sins? Not so, evidently. Mark what follows: ‘Go, henceforth sin no more.’ Therefore the Lord did also condemn, but condemned sins, not man. For if He were a patron of sin, He would say, Neither will I condemn you; go, live as you will: be secure in my deliverance; how much soever you will sin, I will deliver you from all punishment even of hell, and from the tormentors of the infernal world. He said not this. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of St. John, 33, 6)

  • There is as great a difference between the righteous and sinners, as there is materially between heaven and earth

And most suitable is such a similitude, so that spiritually there may be seen to be as great a difference between the righteous and sinners, as there is materially between heaven and earth. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Sermon on the Mount, Book II, Ch. 5, no. 17)

…judges Francis’ idea comparing Catechesis with Yoga and Zen

  • Regarding all these branches of knowledge we must fear and shun the fellowship of demons

All arts of this sort, therefore, are either nullities, or are part of a guilty superstition, springing out of a baleful fellowship between men and devils, and are to be utterly repudiated and avoided by the Christian as the covenants of a false and treacherous friendship. ‘Not as if the idol were anything,’ says the apostle; ‘but because the things which they sacrifice they sacrifice to devils and not to God; and I would not that you should have fellowship with devils’ (1 Cor 10:19-20). Now what the apostle has said about idols and the sacrifices offered in their honor, that we ought to feel in regard to all fancied signs which lead either to the worship of idols, or to worshipping creation or its parts instead of God, or which are connected with attention to medicinal charms and other observances for these are not appointed by God as the public means of promoting love towards God and our neighbor, but they waste the hearts of wretched men in private and selfish strivings after temporal things. Accordingly, in regard to all these branches of knowledge, we must fear and shun the fellowship of demons, who, with the Devil their prince, strive only to shut and bar the door against our return. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. On Christian Doctrine, Book II, Ch. 23, no. 36)

…judges Francis’ ideas on faith being revolutionary

  • Young men: be humble

‘I write unto you, young men’. Again and again consider that you are young men: fight, that you may overcome: overcome, that you may be crowned: be lowly, that you fall not in the fight. (Saint Augustine. Homily on the first Epistle of John, no. 2, 7)

…judges Francis’ ideas on finding God

  • If the soul does not elevate itself, it does not know where or how to find God

‘I thought on these things, and poured out my soul above myself’ (Psalm 41:4). When would my soul attain to that object of its search, which is ‘above my soul’, if my soul were not to ‘pour itself out above itself’? For were it to rest in itself, it would not see anything else beyond itself; and in seeing itself, would not, for all that, see God. (Saint Augustine. Exposition on Psalm 42, no.7)

  • Where to find God?

For when I was ‘pouring out my soul above myself,’ in order to reach my God, why did I do so? ‘For I will go into the place of Your Tabernacle’. For I should be in error were I to seek for my God without ‘the place of His tabernacle’. ‘For I will go into the place of Your wonderful tabernacle, even unto the house of God’. (Saint Augustine. Exposition on Psalm 42, no.8)

  • God is also found in the souls of his faithful

For there are already many things that I admire in ‘the tabernacle’. See how great wonders I admire in the tabernacle! For God’s tabernacle on earth is the faithful; I admire in them the obedience of even their bodily members: that in them ‘Sin does not reign so that they should obey its lusts; neither do they yield their members instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but unto the living God in good works’ (Rom 6:12-13). (Saint Augustine. Exposition on Psalm 42, no.8)

…judges Francis’ ideas on the norms of the Church

  • For the honor of so great a Sacrament, the Body of the Lord should take precedence over all other food

If the authority of Scripture has decided which of these methods is right, there is no room for doubting that we should do according to that which is written; and our discussion must be occupied with a question, not of duty, but of interpretation as to the meaning of the divine institution. In like manner, if the universal Church follows any one of these methods, there is no room for doubt as to our duty; for it would be the height of arrogant madness to discuss whether or not we should comply with it. […] it is clear that when the disciples first received the body and blood of the Lord, they had not been fasting. Must we therefore censure the universal Church because the sacrament is everywhere partaken of by persons fasting? Nay, verily, for from that time it pleased the Holy Spirit to appoint, for the honour of so great a sacrament, that the body of the Lord should take the precedence of all other food entering the mouth of a Christian; and it is for this reason that the custom referred to is universally observed. For the fact that the Lord instituted the sacrament after other food had been partaken of, does not prove that brethren should come together to partake of that sacrament after having dined or supped, or imitate those whom the apostle reproved and corrected for not distinguishing between the Lord’s Supper and an ordinary meal. The Saviour, indeed, in order to commend the depth of that mystery more affectingly to His disciples, was pleased to impress it on their hearts and memories by making its institution His last act before going from them to His Passion. And therefore He did not prescribe the order in which it was to be observed, reserving this to be done by the apostles, through whom He intended to arrange all things pertaining to the Churches. Had He appointed that the sacrament should be always partaken of after other food, I believe that no one would have departed from that practice. (Saint Augustine. Letter 54 to Januarius, nos. 6-8)

  • What we hold on authority are held as approved by the Apostles themselves or by the plenary Councils

Our Lord Jesus Christ has appointed to us a ‘light yoke’ and an ‘easy burden,’ as He declares in the Gospel (Mt 11:30) in accordance with which He has bound His people under the new dispensation together in fellowship by sacraments, which are in number very few, in observance most easy, and in significance most excellent, as baptism solemnized in the name of the Trinity, the communion of His body and blood, and such other things as are prescribed in the canonical Scriptures, with the exception of those enactments which were a yoke of bondage to God’s ancient people, suited to their state of heart and to the times of the prophets, and which are found in the five books of Moses. As to those other things which we hold on the authority, not of Scripture, but of tradition, and which are observed throughout the whole world, it may be understood that they are held as approved and instituted either by the apostles themselves, or by plenary Councils, whose authority in the Church is most useful, e.g. the annual commemoration, by special solemnities, of the Lord’s passion, resurrection, and ascension, and of the descent of the Holy Spirit from heaven, and whatever else is in like manner observed by the whole Church wherever it has been established. (Saint Augustine. Letter 54 to Januarius, no. 1)

…judges Francis’ idea that the Pope should not judge

  • Sins are known to God in our heart although not known to men by deed

For there are three things which go to complete sin: the suggestion of, the taking pleasure in, and the consenting to. Suggestion takes place either by means of memory, or by means of the bodily senses, when we see, or hear, or smell, or taste, or touch anything. And if it give us pleasure to enjoy this, this pleasure, if illicit, must be restrained. Just as when we are fasting, and on seeing food the appetite of the palate is stirred up, this does not happen without pleasure; but we do not consent to this liking, and we repress it by the right of reason, which has the supremacy. But if consent shall take place, the sin will be complete, known to God in our heart, although it may not become known to men by deed. (Saint Augustine. Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, I, 34, no. 15)

  • Offences contrary to nature are to everywhere and always be detested and punished

Therefore those offences which be contrary to nature are everywhere and at all times to be held in detestation and punished; such were those of the Sodomites, which should all nations commit, they should all be held guilty of the same crime by the divine law, which hath not so made men that they should in that way abuse one another. For even that fellowship which should be between God and us is violated, when that same nature of which He is author is polluted by the perversity of lust. (Saint Augustine. Confessions, Book III, Ch. 8, no. 15)

…judges Francis’ idea on the laicity of the State

  • In this world the dominion of good men is profitable for human affairs

Wherefore if the true God is worshipped, and if He is served with genuine rites and true virtue, it is advantageous that good men should long reign both far and wide. Nor is this advantageous so much to themselves, as to those over whom they reign. For, so far as concerns themselves, their piety and probity, which are great gifts of God, suffice to give them true felicity, enabling them to live well the life that now is, and afterwards to receive that which is eternal. In this world, therefore, the dominion of good men is profitable, not so much for themselves as for human affairs. But the dominion of bad men is hurtful chiefly to themselves who rule, for they destroy their own souls by greater license in wickedness; while those who are put under them in service are not hurt except by their own iniquity. For to the just all the evils imposed on them by unjust rulers are not the punishment of crime, but the test of virtue. Therefore the good man, although he is a slave, is free; but the bad man, even if he reigns, is a slave, and that not of one man, but, what is far more grievous, of as many masters as he has vices; of which vices when the divine Scripture treats, it says, ‘For of whom any man is overcome, to the same he is also the bond-slave’ (2Pet 2:19). (Saint Augustine. City of God, Book IV, Ch. 3)

  • Two cities formed by two loves: the earthly by the egoistic love of self, the heavenly by the love of God – only in the latter can charity and justice reign

Accordingly, two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord. For the one seeks glory from men; but the greatest glory of the other is God, the witness of conscience. The one lifts up its head in its own glory; the other says to its God, ‘Thou art my glory, and the lifter up of mine head’ (Ps 3:3). In the one, the princes and the nations it subdues are ruled by the love of ruling; in the other, the princes and the subjects serve one another in love, the latter obeying, while the former take thought for all. The one delights in its own strength, represented in the persons of its rulers; the other says to its God, ‘I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength’ (Ps 18:1). And therefore the wise men of the one city, living according to man, have sought for profit to their own bodies or souls, or both, and those who have known God ‘glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened; professing themselves to be wise,’—that is, glorying in their own wisdom, and being possessed by pride, — ‘they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. For they were either leaders or followers of the people in adoring images, ‘and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever’ (Rom 1:21-25). But in the other city there is no human wisdom, but only godliness, which offers due worship to the true God, and looks for its reward in the society of the saints, of holy angels as well as holy men, ‘that God may be all in all’ (1 Cor 15:28). (Saint Augustine. City of God, Book XIV, Ch. 28)

  • Justice being taken away, what are kingdoms but great robberies?

Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, ‘What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor’. (Saint Augustine. City of God, Book IV, Ch. 4)

…judges Francis’ idea on religious liberty

  • No one is to be compelled to embrace the faith against his will; but it is common for treachery to be chastised

No one is indeed to be compelled to embrace the faith against his will; but by the severity, or one might rather say, by the mercy of God, it is common for treachery to be chastised with the scourge of tribulation. Is it the case, because the best morals are chosen by freedom of will, that therefore the worst morals are not punished by integrity of law? But yet discipline to punish an evil manner of living is out of the question, except where principles of good living which had been learned have come to be despised. If any laws, therefore, have been enacted against you, you are not thereby forced to do well, but are only prevented from doing ill. For no one can do well unless he has deliberately chosen, and unless he has loved what is in free will; but the fear of punishment, even if it does not share in the pleasures of a good conscience, at any rate keeps the evil desire from escaping beyond the bounds of thought. (Saint Augustine. Answer to Petilian the Donatist, Book III, no. 184)

…judges Francis’ idea on the multiplication of the loaves

  • He who multiplied the five loaves is the same One who multiplies the fruits of the seeds

A great miracle: but we shall not wonder much at what was done, if we give heed to Him That did it. He multiplied the five loaves in the hands of them that brake them, who multiplieth the seeds that grow in the earth, so as that a few grains are sown, and whole barns are filled. But, because he doth this every year, no one marvels. Not the inconsiderableness of what is done, but its constancy takes away admiration of it. But when the Lord did these things, He spake to them that had understanding, not by words only, but even by the miracles themselves. (Saint Augustine. Sermon 130, no. 1)

…judges Francis’ idea on the formation of consciences

  • The minds of men are obscured, and require the guidance of authority

Where, then, shall I begin? With authority, or with reasoning? In the order of nature, when we learn anything, authority precedes reasoning. For a reason may seem weak, when, after it is given, it requires authority to confirm it. But because the minds of men are obscured by familiarity with darkness, which covers them in the night of sins and evil habits, and cannot perceive in a way suitable to the clearness and purity of reason, there is most wholesome provision for bringing the dazzled eye into the light of truth under the congenial shade of authority. (Saint Augustine. Of the Morals of the Catholic Church, Ch. 2, no. 3)

…judges Francis’ idea on our sins drawing us close to Jesus

  • Those unwilling to change an evil and shameful life should not be admitted to the Sacraments

To some it seems right to admit all men, without distinction, to the laver of regeneration in Christ Jesus our Lord, even though they refuse to change their evil and shameful life, noteworthy by wickedness and evidently dishonorable actions, and even declare openly that they wish to persevere in these. If someone, for instance, is linked to a harlot, he should not be first ordered to leave her and only then permitted to approach baptism, but he should be admitted and baptized even, as he professes publicly, he continues to be with her and means to so continue; that he be not hindered in becoming a member of Christ, even though he persist in being a member of the harlot (1Cor 6). Only afterwards should he be taught how great this evil, and, already baptized, he be instructed on the way to change his customs for the better. For they think it a strange and contrary to good order, that the Christian should live and then be baptized: in their opinion the Sacrament of Baptism should precede, so that the teaching on good conduct may follow. And if the baptized be willing to accept this and to observe it, it will be for his interest; but if he be unwilling, as long as still retaining the Christian Faith, without which he would perish forever, in no matter what sin or impurity he may continue, he will be saved equally, as if through fire, in the same way as one who, upon the foundation which is Christ, had built not with gold, silver and precious stones, but wood, hay and straw; that is, not with righteous and pure ways of life, but unrighteous and opposed to shame. (Saint Augustine. On Faith and Works, no. 1)

  • That there are good and bad in the Church does not mean that an attenuation or suppression of severe discipline

No one should take those texts of Scripture, which imply, either as to the present or presage of the future, the mingling of the good and evil in the bosom of the Church, as if they suggest an attenuation or even a suppression of the severity of discipline or of watching, because they should consider themselves deceived by their own opinion and not instructed by these texts. (Saint Augustine. On Faith and Works, no. 2)

  • Faith without works is of no avail; the correct interpretation of St. Paul’s affirmation about justification through faith without works

When therefore the Apostle says that he judges that a man is justified through faith without the works of the law; he does not uphold this because the works of justice may be neglected once the faith has been received and professed, but so that each one may know that he may be justified by means of faith, even without having first accomplished the works of the law. […] Further, even Paul, defines as salvific and truly evangelical not any faith by which one may believe in God, but that [faith] which is preceded by the works of charity, saying: faith, which worketh through love (Gal 5:6). From which it is affirmed that the faith, which to some is sufficient for salvation, is of no avail, such that he says: If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing (1 Cor 13:2). But where charity inspired by faith works, without doubt one lives well, because: the fulfillment of the law is love (Rm 13:10) (Saint Augustine. On Faith and Works, no. 21)

  • Deception of those who promise themselves salvation based on a dead faith: the same profession of Christ’s divinity was praised in Peter and rebuked in the devils

James is so opposed to those who think that faith without works is useful to obtin salvation, that he compares them even with the devils. He says: Thou believest that there is One God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble (Jam 2:19). What could be said that is more true and in a way that is more concise and incisive? Even in the Gospel, we read this confession when the devils proclaim Christ as the Son of God and were rebuked by Him (Mk 1:24-25), when [what they said] was praised in Peter at the profession of his faith. What will it profit, asks James, my brethren, if a man say that he hath faith, and have not works? Will faith be able to save him? (Jam 2:14). And also: faith without works is dead (Jam 2:20). How long then are they to go on being deceived, who promise themselves life everlasting on the basis of a dead faith? (Saint Augustine. On Faith and Works, no. 23)

  • The Lord said: If thou wilt come unto life, keep the Commandments

I do not see why the Lord would have said: If thou wilt come unto life, keep the Commandments; and recalled those which pertain to good customs (Mt 19:17-19), if it is possible to attain eternal life even without observing them, through faith alone, which without works is dead. Besides, how can it be true what He will say to them who He will set on his left hand: Go ye into everlasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels? He does not rebuke them for not having believed in Him, but because they have not done good works. (Saint Augustine. On Faith and Works, no. 25)

  • The gifts of God come to those who receive with faith, even through the hands of Judas

What hath Christ done to you? who with such exceeding patience endured His betrayer, as to give to him, as to the other Apostles, the first Eucharist consecrated with His own hands, and blessed with His own mouth. What hath Christ done to you? who sent this same betrayer, whom He called a devil, who before betraying the Lord could not show good faith even to the Lord’s purse, with the other disciples to preach the kingdom of heaven; that He might show that the gifts of God come to those that with faith receive them, though he, through whom they receive them, be such as Judas was. (Saint Augustine. Exposition on the Book of Psalms, Psalm XI, 6)

  • The sacrilegious defile the temple of God within themselves

All who even within the Church profess that they know God, but deny Him in their deeds, such as are the covetous and envious, and those who, because they hate their brethren, are pronounced to be murderers, not on my testimony, but on that of the holy Apostle John, 1 John 3:15 — all these are both devoid of hope, because they have a bad conscience; and are faithless, because they do not do what they have vowed to God; and liars, because they make false professions; and possessed of devils, because they give place in their heart to the devil and his angels; and their words work corruption, since they corrupt good manners by evil communications; and they are infidels, because they laugh at the threats which God utters against such men; and accursed, because they live wickedly; and antichrists, because their lives are opposed to Christ; and cursed of God, since holy Scripture everywhere calls down curses on such men; and dead, because they are without the life of righteousness; and unpeaceful, because by their contrary deeds they are at variance with God’s behests; and blasphemous, because by their abandoned acts despite is done to the name of Christian; and profane, because they are spiritually shut out from that inner sanctuary of God; and sacrilegious, because by their evil life they defile the temple of God within themselves; and servants of the devil, because they do service to fraud and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Saint Augustine. On Baptism, Bk VI, Ch. 8, no. 12)

  • It behooves you to hate your own work and to love the work of God in you

For many loved their sins; many confessed their sins; and he who confesses his sins, and accuses them, does now work with God. God accuses your sins: and if you also accuse, you are united to God. There are, as it were, two things, man and sinner. That you are called man, is God’s doing; that you are called sinner, is man’s own doing. Blot out what you have done, that God may save what He has done. It behooves you to hate your own work in you, and to love the work of God in you. And when your own deeds will begin to displease you, from that time your good works begin, as you find fault with your evil works. The confession of evil works is the beginning of good works. (Saint Augustine. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, Tractate 12)

  • Sin is chastised either by man when he repents or by God when he judges

This is what your God says to you: ‘Sin should be chastised either by you or by me.’ Sin is chastised either by man when he repents or by God when he judges. You are thus chastised either by yourself without yourself, or with God together with yourself. For, what is penance, if not angere against oneself? He who repents becomes angry with himself. And even the striking of the breast, if done sincerely, from where does it proceed? Why do you strike yourself if you are not angered? In this way, when you strike your breast, you are angered with your heart, and wish to satisfy your Lord. In this way also can be understood the passage of Scripture: ‘Be angered and do not sin’ (Ps 4:5). Be angered for having sinned, and chastising yourself, sin no more. ‘Awaken your heart with repentance, and it will be a sacrifice to God’ (Ps 50: 19). (Saint Augustine. Sermon 19, no. 2)

  • Let us feel displeasure with ourselves when we sin, for God is displeased with sins

Let us feel displeasure with ourselves when we sin, for God is displeased with sins. And since we are not free from sin, let us be similar to God at least in feeling displeasure in that which displeases him. […] God is your maker; you therefore look toward yourself and destroy in your interior that which did not come from his workshop. For – as it is written- God created man upright. (Saint Augustine. Sermon 19, no. 4)

…judges Francis’ idea on knowing God’s will from the people

  • I am the good Shepherd’: Christ would not add ‘good,’ were there not bad shepherds

The Lord Jesus is speaking to His sheep -to those already so, and to those yet to become such-who were then present; for in the place where they were, there were those who were already His sheep, as well as those who were afterwards to become so: and He likewise shows to those then present and those to come, both to them and to us, and to as many also after us as shall yet be His sheep, who it is that had been sent to them. All, therefore, hear the voice of their Shepherd saying, ‘I am the good Shepherd.’ He would not add ‘good,’ were there not bad shepherds. But the bad shepherds are those who are thieves and robbers, or certainly hirelings at the best. (Saint Augustine. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, Tractate XLVI, no. 1)

…judges Francis’ idea on the essence of divinity

  • Distinction between the light of the divinity, other lights, and the human creature itself

And being thence warned to return to myself, I entered into my inward self, Thou leading me on; and I was able to do it, for You had become my helper. And I entered, and with the eye of my soul (such as it was) saw above the same eye of my soul, above my mind, the Unchangeable Light. Not this common light, which all flesh may look upon, nor, as it were, a greater one of the same kind, as though the brightness of this should be much more resplendent, and with its greatness fill up all things. Not like this was that light, but different, yea, very different from all these. Nor was it above my mind as oil is above water, nor as heaven above earth; but above it was, because it made me, and I below it, because I was made by it. He who knows the Truth knows that Light; and he that knows it knows eternity. Love knows it. (Saint Augustine. Confessions. Bk VII, ch.10, no. 16)

  • All things come from God, but are not God

And I viewed the other things below You, and perceived that they neither altogether are, nor altogether are not. They are, indeed, because they are from You; but are not, because they are not what You are. For that truly is which remains immutably. It is good, then, ‘for me to cleave unto God’ (Ps 72:28), for if I remain not in Him, neither shall I in myself; but He, ‘remaining in Himself, renews all things’ (Wis 7:27). And ‘You are the Lord my God, since You stand not in need of my goodness’ (Ps 15:2). (Saint Augustine. Confessions. Bk VII, ch.11, no. 17)

  • Christians do not ignore God, the Creator who transcends all

To that wherein they agree with us we prefer them to all others namely, concerning the one God, the author of this universe, who is not only above everybody, being incorporeal, but also above all souls, being incorruptible— our principle, our light, our good. And though the Christian man, being ignorant of their writings, does not use in disputation words which he has not learned—not calling that part of philosophy natural (which is the Latin term), or physical (which is the Greek one), which treats of the investigation of nature; or that part rational, or logical, which deals with the question how truth may be discovered; or that part moral, or ethical, which concerns morals, and shows how good is to be sought, and evil to be shunned—he is not, therefore, ignorant that it is from the one true and supremely good God that we have that nature in which we are made in the image of God, and that doctrine by which we know Him and ourselves, and that grace through which, by cleaving to Him, we are blessed. (Saint Augustine. City of God. Bk VIII, ch.10, no. 1-2)

  • Made in God’s image and likeness, but very distant from divinity

Is not God the maker of all beings? But man He made in his image and likeness (Gn 1:26-27). It is said that man has a certain similarity with God. But, what likeness? And in relation with which infinite being? Who has some kind of likeness, and in relation to whom? Man in relation to God: ‘Who is man that you remember him?’ (Ps 8:5). We say therefore to our God, though we be men made in His likeness: ‘God, who is like thee?’ (Ps 82:2; 34:10). And then adds: ‘Remember that we are dust’ (Ps 102:14); and therefore far from being like God. Man I made in God’s likeness, but this same likeness is so distant that it is not possible to even make a comparison [with God]. (Saint Augustine. Sermon XXIV, no.3)

…judges Francis’ idea on contemplative life

  • Nothing sweeter than to turn one’s gaze to the heart of the divine treasure

In effect, no one will exceed me in my desire to live in this certainty of absolute peace: [there is] nothing better, nothing sweeter than to turn one’s gaze to the heart of the divine treasure, ceasing the interior noise; it is a sweet and good thing; on the other hand, preaching, disputing, correcting, edifying, being preoccupied with each one individually, is a great responsibility, a huge load, a great weight and a terrible toil. (Saint Augustine. Sermon 339, 4)

…judges Francis’ idea on the flesh of Christ and poverty as a theological category

  • The Lord chose both the rich and the poor

But the Lord chose afterwards orators also; but they would have been proud, if He had not first chosen fishermen; He chose rich men; but they would have said that on account of their riches they had been chosen, unless at first He had chosen poor men. (Saint Augustine. Expositions on the Book of Psalms, 66, no. 4)

  • Amongst the number of the rich are counted those who, without riches, are caught up in the desire to have them

He [the Lord] calls rich the one who yearns for temporal goods and takes pride in them. Contrasting to these rich are the poor of spirit, to whom the kingdom of heaven belongs […] It must be understood that amongst the number of those [the rich] are counted even those who, although not having riches, are all caught up in the desire to have them. (Saint Augustine. Quastiones in Evangelium secundum Lucum, bk. II, no. 47)

  • We are made Christ; if He is the head we are the members

Let us rejoice, then, and give thanks that we are made not only Christians, but Christ. Do ye understand, brethren, and apprehend the grace of God upon us? Marvel, be glad, we are made Christ. For if He is the head, we are the members: the whole man is He and we. […] But above he had said, ‘Until we all come together into the unity of faith, and to the knowledge of the Son of God, to the perfect man, to the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ’ (Eph 4:14). The fullness of Christ, then, is head and members. Head and members, what is that? Christ and the Church. (Saint Augustine. Tractates on Saint John, Tractate 21, no. 8)

…judges Francis’ idea on the origin of the Psalms

  • Our unleavened bread does not contain the leaven of decay

First of all, however, this error of theirs must be refuted, that the Books of the Old Testament do not concern us at all, because we observe the new sacraments and no longer preserve the old. For they say to us: ‘What is the reading of the Law and the Prophets doing among you who do not want to follow the precepts contained in them?’ They base their complaint on the fact that we do not circumcise the foreskin of the male, and we eat the flesh of animals which the Law declares unclean, and we do not observe the Sabbath, new moons and their festival days in a purely human way, nor do we offer sacrifice to God with victims of cattle, nor do we celebrate the Pasch as they do with sheep and unleavened bread, nor do we revere the other ancient sacraments which the Apostle classifies under the general expression of shadows of things to come, since at their time they signified events to be revealed which we have accepted and recognized as already revealed, so that with the shadows removed we are enjoying their uncovered light. […] Christ is our Pasch; our unleavened bread is sincerity of truth without the leaven of decay. If there are any other events over which there is no need for delay at this time, events which have been represented by those ancient signs, they have come to an end in Him whose kingdom will be without end. It was necessary, indeed, that all things be fulfilled in Him, who came to fulfill, not to destroy, the Law or the Prophets. (Saint Augustine. Treatise against the Jews, ch.2, no.3)

  • Why don’t the Jews realize that they have remained stationary in useless antiquity? The spiritual meaning has dawned, the natural action has ceased

Psalm 79 is likewise entitled: ‘For the things that shall be changed.’ In this psalm among other things is written: ‘look down from heaven, and see, and visit this vineyard: And perfect what your right hand has planted: and upon the son of man whom you have confirmed for yourself. This is the vineyard of which is said: ‘you have brought a vineyard out of Egypt.’ Christ did not plant another; by His coming He changed that one into a better vineyard. Accordingly, we find in the Gospel: ‘He will utterly destroy those evil men, and will let out the vineyard to other vine-dressers.’ The Gospel does not say: ‘He will uproot, and will plant another,’ but, ‘this same vineyard He will let out to other vine-dressers.’ […] This change, certainly having been foretold, is not indicated through the titles of psalms for the understanding few; it is expressed in the unmistaken proclamation of the Prophet. Clearly, a new covenant is promised, not according to that covenant which was made with the people when they were led out of Egypt. Since, then, there are in the Old Testament precepts which we who belong to the New Testament are not compelled to observe, why do not the Jews realize that they have remained stationary in useless antiquity rather than hurl charges against us who hold fast to the new promises, because we do not observe the old? Just as it is written in the Canticle of Canticles: ‘The day has broken, let the shadows retire,’ the spiritual meaning has already dawned, the natural action has already ceased. (Saint Augustine. Treatise against the Jews, ch. 6, nos. 7-8)

  • The sacrifice of the Christians is being offered everywhere

Open your eyes at last, at any time, and see, from the rising of the sun even to its settingnot in one place as established with you, but everywherethe sacrifice of the Christians is being offered; not to any god at all, but to Him who foretold these events, to the God of Israel. (Saint Augustine. Treaty against the Jews, ch. 9, no. 13)

…judges Francis’ idea on Christ at the Final Judgment

  • The season for mercy is followed by the season of judgment – God’s goodness must lead to repentance

There is therefore a season for mercy, when the long-suffering of God calleth sinners to repentance. Hear the Apostle distinguishing each season, and do thou also distinguish it… ‘Thinkest thou,’ he saith, ‘O man, that judgest them that do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?’ And as if we were to reply, Why do I commit such sins daily, and no evil occurreth unto me? He goeth on to show to him the season of mercy: ‘Despisest thou the riches of His goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering?’ And he did indeed despise them; but the Apostle hath made him anxious. ‘Not knowing,’ he saith, ‘that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?’ Behold the season of mercy. But that he might not think this would last forever, how did he in the next verse raise his fears? Now hear the season of judgment; thou hast heard the season of mercy, on which account, ‘mercy and judgment will I sing unto Thee, O Lord:’ ‘But thou,’ saith the Apostle, ‘after thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his deeds’. (Saint Augustine. Exposition on Psalm 101 (100), no. 1-2)

  • He who was unjustly judged by the unjust, shall come manifestly to judge

For He shall come manifestly to judge justly the just and the unjust, who before came hiddenly to be unjustly judged by the unjust. He, I say, shall come manifestly, and shall not keep silence, that is, shall make Himself known by His voice of judgment. (Saint Augustine. The City of God, bk. 20, ch. 24, no.2)

  • Among the ungodly are counted not only those who refuse to believe in Christ, but also those who believed in Him to no purpose and without fruit

For He will come in the glory of His power, who of old condescended to come in the lowliness of humanity; and He will separate all the godly from the ungodly,—not only from those who have utterly refused to believe in Him at all, but also from those who have believed in Him to no purpose and without fruit. To the one class He will give an eternal kingdom together with Himself, while to the other He will award eternal punishment together with the devil. (Saint Augustine. On the Catechising of the Uninstructed, ch. 24, no. 45)

…judges Francis’ idea on doing good

  • Man cannot do good unless aided by the gratuitous grace of God

Nor can a man will any good thing unless he is aided by Him who cannot will evil – that is, by the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. For ‘everything which is not of faith is sin’ (Rom 14:23). And thus the good will which withdraws itself from sin is faithful, because ‘the just lives by faith’ (Hab 2:4). And it pertains to faith to believe in Christ. ‘And no man can believe in Christ— that is, come to Him— unless it be given to him’ (Rom 1:17). No man, therefore, can have a righteous will, unless, with no foregoing merits, he has received the true, that is, the gratuitous grace from above. (Saint Augustine. Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, bk I, ch. III, no.7)

  • Without grace, man can do evil with the appearance of good

Nor let us be disturbed by what he wrote to the Philippians: ‘Touching the righteousness which is in the law, one who is without blame.’ For he could be within in evil affections a transgressor of the law, and yet fulfil the open works of the law, either by the fear of men or of God Himself; but by terror of punishment, not by love and delight in righteousness. For it is one thing to do good with the will of doing good, and another thing to be so inclined by the will to do evil, that one would actually do it if it could be allowed without punishment. For thus assuredly he is sinning within his will itself, who abstains from sin not by will but by fear. (Saint Augustine. Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, bk I, ch. IX, no.15)

…judges Francis’ idea on boasting of our sins

  • Boast of evil? But this is not glory but misery

Lord, I had believed that I was something of myself, I judged myself to be self-sufficient, without realizing that You governed me, until you distanced yourself from me, and then I realized, and saw and recognized that it was You who had helped me; that if I fell it was my fault, and if I got up it was because of You. You have opened my eyes, divine light, and have lifted me up and illuminated me; and I have observed that the life of man on this earth is a test, and that no flesh can boast before you, nor is any living being justified, because all good, great or small, is Your gift, and ours is only evil. What then may flesh boast of? Evil, perhaps? But this is not glory but misery. Could one boast of some good, even though not one’s own? But all good is Yours, Lord, and Yours is the glory. (Saint Augustine (attrib.). Soliloquies of the soul to God, 15)

  • St. Paul recognized his own nothingness, and that all must be attributed to the God’s grace

He [St. Paul] recognized that he is nothing on his own; and that all that he is must be attributed to the grace of God, not to his own strength. He recognized what is written, I will glory of my infirmities; recognized the truth of the words, To the humble He gives his grace, and he has been weakened; you however have strengthened him because power is made perfect in weakness. (Saint Augustine. Exposition on Psalm 67, no. 12)

  • Weakness is the power that holds pride in check

Power is perfected in weakness, for weakness obliges us to combat. The greater the facility in victory, the lesser is the effort in combat. How can one fight against himself, if he finds no resistance in his interior? And, what is that which resists within us if not that which needs to be cured, to be healed? Weakness is then, the only cause that obliges us to initiate a combat within ourselves; and weakness itself is a warning for us not to become proud. Consequently, the power that holds our pride in check when we may feel arrogant, is perfected in weakness. (Saint Augustine. Reply to Julian, bk IV, 11Italian)

  • Even little sins cannot be disregarded: they are like drops of water, which although small, form rivers and drag away boulders

If you do not take into account your sin, considering it light, at least be afraid of the gravity of the chastisement. But you would insist: ‘they are little things, trifling details, which live here below cannot be exempt from. Very well, gather together all these trifles and you will see if they do not form an enormous mass. Like the grains of wheat: so small, and yet they form a great heap; or like the drops of water, which although so small, form rivers and drag away even the boulders. The psalmist meditates on the innumerable sins, small ones perchance, that man commits every day, considering only those in thought and with the tongue, yet it does not escape him that putting together many light sins a great heap is made. (Saint Augustine. Expositions on Psalm 129, no. 5)

  • Sins stink foully

Let a man but have his soul’s sense of smelling sound, he perceives how foully sins stink. (Saint Augustine. Expositions on Psalm 38 (37), 8)

  • To arrive at a clear understanding of the truth: begin in confession, then let good works follow

‘Begin to the Lord in confession’ (Ps146:7). Begin with this, if you would arrive at a clear understanding of the truth. If you will be brought from the road of faith to the profession of the reality, ‘begin in confession’. First accuse yourself: accuse yourself, praise God. What after confession? Let good works follow. ‘Sing unto our God upon the harp’. What is, ‘upon the harp’? As I have already explained, just like the Psalm upon the psaltery, so also is the ‘harp’: not with voice only, but with works. (Saint Augustine. Expositions on Psalm 148, 11)

…judges the act of seeking blessings from heretics and schismatics

  • As an amputated member, a heretic does not possess the life of the Spirit

The Holy Spirit works in the Church what the soul works in all the members of one body. […] It could happen that in a human body, or better, of a human body, a member has to be amputated: a hand, finger or foot. Does the soul by any chance go after the separated member? While it was attached the body, it lived; once amputated, it loses life. In the same way, someone is a Christian Catholic when he lives in the body; separated from it, he becomes a heretic, and the Spirit does not follow the amputated member. Therefore, if you wish to have life in the Holy Spirit, conserve charity, love truth, desire unity and you will reach eternity. (Saint Augustine. Sermon 267, 4)

  • In these few things wherein they are not with the Church, there is no profit to them of the many things wherein they are with Her

‘He shall redeem in peace my soul’. Against them that love not peace: ‘in peace He shall redeem my soul.’ ‘Because with those that hated peace I was peace-making.’ ‘He shall redeem in peace my soul, from those that draw near to me.’ For from those that are afar from me, it is an easy case: not so soon doth he deceive me that saith, Come, pray to an idol: he is very far from me. Art thou a Christian? A Christian, he saith. Out of a neighbouring place he is my adversary, he is at hand. ‘He shall redeem in peace my soul, from those that draw near to me: for in many things they were with me.’ Wherefore have I said, ‘draw near to me?’ Because ‘in many things they were with me.’ […] Baptism we had both of us, in that they were with me: the Gospel we both read, they were in that with me: the festivals of martyrs we celebrated, they were there with me: Easter’s solemnity we attended, they were there with me. But not entirely with me: in schism not with me, in heresy not with me. In many things with me, in few things not with me. But in these few things wherein not with me, there is no profit to them of the many things wherein they were with me. (Saint Augustine. Exposition on Psalm 55(54), no. 18)

…judges Francis’ idea on sin and mercy

  • Sin: a transgression of the eternal law

Sin, then, is any transgression in deed, or word, or desire, of the eternal law. And the eternal law is the divine order or will of God, which requires the preservation of natural order, and forbids the breach of it. (Saint Augustine. Reply to Faustus, book XXII, no. 27)

  • If we say that we have fellowship with God, and walk in darkness, we lie: sins are darkness

But moreover, if ‘God be light, and in Him is no darkness at all, and we must have fellowship with Him,’ then from us also must the darkness be driven away, that there may be light created in us, for darkness cannot have fellowship with light. […] God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another […] But sins are darkness, as the Apostle says of the devil and his angels, that they are ‘rulers of this darkness.’ Ephesians 6:12 He would not call them of darkness, save as rulers of sins, having lordship over the wicked. Then what are we to do, my brethren? Fellowship with God must be had, other hope of life eternal is none […] Let us walk in the light, as He is in the light, that we may be able to have fellowship with Him. (Saint Augustine. Homily I on the First Epistle of John, no. 5)

  • Jesus pardons those who are displeased with their conduct and change until reaching perfection

And lest haply he should seem to have given impunity for sins, in that he said, ‘He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all iniquity;’ and men henceforth should say to themselves, ‘Let us sin, let us do securely what we will, Christ purges us, is faithful and just, purges us from all iniquity’: He takes from you an evil security, and puts in an useful fear. To your own hurt you would be secure; you must be solicitous. For ‘He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,’ provided you always displease yourself, and be changing until you be perfected. Accordingly, what follows? ‘My little children, these things I write unto you, that you sin not.’ 1 John 2:1 […] He then is the advocate; do your endeavor not to sin: if from the infirmity of this life sin shall overtake you, see to it straightway, straightway be displeased, straightway condemn it; and when you have condemned, you shall come assured unto the Judge. (Saint Augustine. Homily I on the First Epistle of John, no. 7)

  • Above all, recognition of sin

Before all, confession: lest any think himself righteous, and, before the eyes of God who sees that which is, man, that was not and is, lift up the neck. Before all, then, confession; then, love. (Saint Augustine. Homily I on the First Epistle of John, no. 6)

  • Few fear the death of the soul – a more horrifying kind of death

If we all consider, and understand that more horrifying kind of death, every one who sins dies. But every man is afraid of the death of the flesh; few, of the death of the soul. In regard to the death of the flesh, which must certainly come some time, all are on their guard against its approach: this is the source of all their labor. Man, destined to die, labors to avert his dying; and yet man, destined to live for ever, labors not to cease from sinning. And when he labors to avoid dying, he labors to no purpose, for its only result will be to put off death for a while, not to escape it; but if he refrain from sinning, his toil will cease, and he shall live for ever. (Saint Augustine, Tractate 49 on the Gospel of John, no. 2)

  • A grievous kind of death: the habit of wickedness

A grievous kind of death it is, and is distinguished as a habit of wickedness. For it is one thing to fall into sin, another to form the habit of sinning. He who falls into sin, and straightway submits to correction, will be speedily restored to life; for he is not yet entangled in the habit, he is not yet laid in the tomb. But he who has become habituated to sin, is buried, and has it properly said of him, ‘he stinks;’ for his character, like some horrible smell, begins to be of the worst repute. Such are all who are habituated to crime, abandoned in morals. (Saint Augustine. Tractate 49 on the Gospel of John, no. 3)

  • Do not make light of venial sin, for it leads to mortal sin

A man, so long as he bears the flesh, cannot but have some at any rate light sins. But these which we call light, do not make light of. If you make light of them when you weigh them, be afraid when you count them. Many light make one huge sin: many drops fill the river; many grains make the lump. (Saint Augustine. Homily I on the First Epistle of John, no. 6)

…judges Francis’ idea on ‘culture of encounter’

  • The Church secures and maintains earthly peace for all nations and languages

This heavenly city, then, while it sojourns on earth, calls citizens out of all nations, and gathers together a society of pilgrims of all languages, not scrupling about diversities in the manners, laws, and institutions whereby earthly peace is secured and maintained, but recognizing that, however various these are, they all tend to one and the same end of earthly peace. It therefore is so far from rescinding and abolishing these diversities, that it even preserves and adopts them, so long only as no hindrance to the worship of the one supreme and true God is thus introduced. (Saint Augustine, City of God, bk. XIX, 17)

  • A family or society structured by the Church is in perfect order

Thou [the Church] givest to men authority over their wives, not to mock the weaker sex, but in the laws of unfeigned love. Thou dost subordinate children to their parents in a kind of free bondage, and dost set parents over their children in a godly rule. Thou bindest brothers to brothers in a religious tie stronger and closer than that of blood. Without violation of the connections of nature and of choice, thou bringest within the bond of mutual love every relationship of kindred, and every alliance of affinity. Thou teachest servants to cleave to their masters from delight in their task rather than from the necessity of their position. Thou renderest masters forbearing to their servants, from a regard to God their common Master, and more disposed to advise than to compel. Thou unitest citizen to citizen, nation to nation, yea, man to man, from the recollection of their first parents, not only in society but in fraternity. (Saint Augustine. De moribus Ecclesiae catholicae, bk. I, ch. 30, no. 63)

…judges Francis’ idea on the impossibility of finding God with entire certainty

  • Truth is clearly manifested in all the realities of the Catholic Church – outside Her there is only the promise of truth, without any fulfillment

For in the Catholic Church, not to speak of the purest wisdom, to the knowledge of which a few spiritual men attain in this life, so as to know it, in the scantiest measure, indeed, because they are but men, still without any uncertainty (since the rest of the multitude derive their entire security not from acuteness of intellect, but from simplicity of faith,)— not to speak of this wisdom, which you do not believe to be in the Catholic Church, there are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosom. The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age. The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate. And so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house. Such then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name which keep a believer in the Catholic Church, as it is right they should, though from the slowness of our understanding, or the small attainment of our life, the truth may not yet fully disclose itself. But with you, where there is none of these things to attract or keep me, the promise of truth is the only thing that comes into play. Now if the truth is so clearly proved as to leave no possibility of doubt, it must be set before all the things that keep me in the Catholic Church; but if there is only a promise without any fulfillment, no one shall move me from the faith which binds my mind with ties so many and so strong to the Christian religion. (Saint Augustine. Against the ‘Fundamental Epistle’ of Manichaeus, ch.4, no.5)

…judges Francis’ idea on the liberty of conscience

  • Those who were deceived by others, but diligently seek the truth, have invincible ignorance

Saint Paul truthfully said: ‘After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, knowing that such a person is perverted and stands self-condemned.’ But they should not be counted amongst the heretics who defend their opinion, however perverse and false, without stubborn animosity, especially if this be not fruit of their own audacious presumption, but received from their parents who were seduced and induced into error, while on the other hand they seek the truth, although with circumspect care, and are disposed to correct themselves as soon as they encounter it. […] For this reason, I have written to some of the chiefs of the Donatists —  not letters of communion, which for some time they have refused to receive because of their departure from Catholic unity spread all over the world —  but rather private letters, as may be licitly sent even to pagans: even if the leaders have sometimes read them, nonetheless they did not want to, or what seems more believable, they have not been able to answer. We however think that we have, in doing this, fulfilled our duty of charity. (Saint Augustine, Epistle 43, no. 1)

…judges Francis’ idea on First Holy Communion

  • The Sacrifice of the altar is perpetuated in obedience to Christ

So Christ our Lord – who, in His Pasion, offered for us that which, in being born, He had received from us becoming forever the most high priest, ordered that the sacrifice which you see be offered, that is, of His body and his blood. In fact, his body, pierced by the lance, poured forth water and blood, by which he forgave our sins. Reembering this grace, working out your salvation (which is God who is at work in you), with fear and trembling come up to partake of this altar. Recognize in the bread that which hung on the cross, and in the chalice that which gushed out from his side. (Saint Augustine. Sermon 228 B: About the Sacraments on Easter Day, no.2)

  • A truth preached for centuries by the Church should be believed

Even if reason was incapable of understanding, and the word unable to express the reality, it is necessary to consider as true that which since antiquity was believed and preached as the true Catholic faith in the entire Church. (Saint Augustine. Contra Iulianum, book 6, ch. 5, no. 11)

  • Constituted as members of Christ, let us be that which we receive

The Eucharist, in consequence, is our daily bread. But we must receive it not only receive as refreshment for the body, but as sustenance for the srprit. The effect that is fitting to this nutrition is to produce is unity, in order that, integrated into the body of Christ, constituted as his members, we become that which we receive. And so it will effectively be our daily bread. (Saint Augustine. Sermon 57, On the Lord’s Prayer, no. 7)

  • Those who do not persevere in a holy life will be deprived of this bread

When we say ‘give us this day our daily bread,’ we can understand this as perfectly referring also to the Eucharist, the daily nourishment. In effect, the faithful know what they receive and that for them it is a good to receive this daily bread, that is necessary in this life. They pray for themselves in order to become better and to persevere in goodness, in faith and in an upright life. This they desire, this they beseech in prayer for, if they do not persevere in a good life, they will be dispossessed of that bread. Hence, what is the meaning of: ‘give us this day our daily bread?’ May we live in such a way as to not be separated from your altar.  (Saint Augustine. Sermon 58, On the Lord`s Prayer no. 5)

  • One worthily receives the Eucharist by avoiding false doctrine

Receive, therefore, and eat the body of Christ; now that you too have become members of Christ in the body of Christ; receive and drink the blood of Christ. So as not to be separated, eat what unites you; in order not to seem cheap in your own estimation, drink the price paid for you. […] So then, if you have life in him, you will be with him in one flesh. This sacrament, after all, does not give you the body of Christ so as then to divide you in it. […] You, then, begin to receive what you have already begun to be, provided that you do not receive it unworthily, eating and drinking your own condemnation. […] And you receive it worthily, if you keep far from the yeast of bad doctrines, so that you be ‘unleavened loaves of sincerity and truth’ (1 Cor 5:8). (Saint Augustine. Sermon 228 B, About the Sacraments, on Easter Day, nos. 3-5)

  • Erroneously interpreting signs is the result of being misled by error

Now he is in bondage to a sign who uses, or pays homage to, any significant object without knowing what it signifies:  he, on the other hand, who either uses or honors a useful sign divinely appointed, whose force and significance he understands, does not honor the sign which is seen and temporal, but that to which all such signs refer. […] But at the present time, after that the proof of our liberty has shone forth so clearly in the resurrection of our Lord, we are not oppressed with the heavy burden of attending even to those signs which we now understand, but our Lord Himself, and apostolic practice, have handed down to us a few rites in place of many, and these at once very easy to perform, most majestic in their significance, and most sacred in the observance; such, for example, as the sacrament of Baptism, and the celebration of the Body and Blood of the Lord.  And as soon as any one looks upon these observances he knows to what they refer, and so reveres them not in carnal bondage, but in spiritual freedom.  Now, as to follow the letter, and to take signs for the things that are signified by them, is a mark of weakness and bondage; so to interpret signs wrongly is the result of being misled by error. […] And it is better even to be in bondage to unknown but useful signs than, by interpreting them wrongly, to draw the neck from under the yoke of bondage only to insert it in the coils of error. (Saint Augustine. On Christian Doctrine, Book III, ch. 9, no. 13)

…judges Francis’ idea on God’s presence in a sinner’s life

  • God is everywhere by the presence of the divinity, but not by His grace inhabiting souls

But what causes great amazement is the fact that God, although he is entirely in every place, does not inhabit in all men. In fact, my above-mentioned citation of the Apostle, or this one: ‘Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?’ (1Cor 3:16) may not in fact be applied to all. That is why, on the other hand, the same Apostle said regarding others: ‘Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him’ (Rom 8:9). Furthermore, who would dare to think, except one who is entirely ignorant of the indivisibility of the Trinity, that the Father and the Son can inhabit someone in whom in the Holy Spirit does not dwell? Or that the Holy Spirit may live in someone in whom Father and the Son do not? In this way, one must admit that God is in all places by the presence of the divinity, but not in all places by the grace with which He inhabits souls. (Saint Augustine. Epistle 187: Treatise on the presence of God, no. 16)

  • God does not inhabit all – by sin, the sinner himself departs from God

Well then, God who is in every place, does not, however, inhabit all; nor does He live in the same manner in all of those He inhabits. […] Then it must be said that those are far from Him, who due to sin have become totally different from Him; and that those are close to Him, who with a holy life receive His similitude, in the same way that one justly says that eyes are so much farther from the light of the earth, as they are blinder.  (Saint Augustine. Epistle 187: Treatise on the presence of God, no. 17)

…judges Francis’ idea on responsible parenthood

  • Having offspring can never be a sin

That which is good about matrimony, and that, due to which matrimony is good, could never be a sin. Now this is threefold, faithfulness, offspring, and the Sacrament. Faithfulness demands not having relations with another man or woman; the offspring demands that it be lovingly welcomed, kindly nourished, religiously educated; the Sacrament demands indissolubility of marriage and that the man or woman divorced be not joined to another even for the sake of offspring. This is as it were the rule of marriages by which rule either fruitfulness is made seemly, or the perverseness of incontinence is brought to order. (Saint Augustine. De Genesis ad litteram, Bk. 9, no. 12English summary)

  • The Holy Family: paradigm of the blessings of matrimony

All of the blessings of matrimony are concentrated in the parents of Christ: the offspring, fidelity and the sacrament. The offspring, in very person of the Lord Jesus; fidelity, because there was no adultery; the sacrament, because it was not ruptured by divorce. (Saint Augustine. De nuptiis et concupiscentia, Bk. I, no. 13)

…judges Francis’ idea on the obedience of a Religious

  • It is also necessary to submit oneself to the human magisterium

If one should obey the commandments of the Lord, it is also necessary to submit to the human magisterium, for He himself said: ‘Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me.’ (Saint Augustine. Combat between the vices and virtues (attr.), ch. 5)

…judges Francis’ idea on all being saved

  • To reach heaven it is necessary to live in a saintly manner

Knowing that, of certain rather obscure sentences of the Apostle Paul, certain unrighteous men had taken occasion so as to be careless about a good life, as though secure of the salvation which is in faith, [St. Peter] made mention that there are certain things difficult to understand in his Epistles, which men perverted, as also they did other Scriptures, unto their own destruction. When, notwithstanding that Apostle [St. Paul] held, the same as the other Apostles, concerning eternal salvation, as what was not given except to them who live a good life. (Saint Augustine. De Fide et operibus, no. 22 – English)

  • Obeying the commandments is the condition for salvation

The third question is one very full of danger, whence, in that it hath been little considered, and not handled according to the divine sayings, it seems to me that all that opinion hath arisen, whereby promise is made unto persons living most wicked and shameful lives, even although they go on so to live and only believe in Christ and receive His Sacraments, that they shall come unto salvation and life everlasting; in opposition to the most open sentence of the Lord, Who made answer unto him that was longing for life everlasting: ‘If thou wilt come unto life, keep the Commandments’; and made mention of what Commandments, wherein those very sins are shunned, unto which is promised, I know not how, salvation everlasting, on account of faith without works. (Saint Augustine. De Fide et operibus, no. 49 – English)

…judges Francis’ idea on happiness

  • The supreme good of humanity is God, and nothing else

We all certainly desire to live happily; and there is no human being but assents to this statement almost before it is made. […] And no one can be happy who does not enjoy what is man’s chief good, nor is there any one who enjoys this who is not happy.  We must then have at hand our chief good, if we think of living happily. […] God then remains, in following after whom we live well, and in reaching whom we live both well and happily. (St. Augustine, De moribus Ecclesiae Catholicae et de moribus Manichaeorum, bk.1, nos. 4-5,10)

  • If you wish to be happy, be undefiled

From its commencement, dearly beloved, does this great Psalm exhort us unto bliss, which there is no one who desires not […] And therefore this is the lesson which he teaches, who says, ‘Blessed are those that are undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord’ (Ps 118:1). As much as to say, I know what you wish, you are seeking bliss: if then you would be blessed, be undefiled. For the former all desire, the latter fear: yet without it what all wish cannot be attained. But where will any one be undefiled, save in the way? In what way, save in the Law of the Lord? (Saint Augustine, Commentary on Psalm 118/1 (119))

…judges Francis’ idea on fraternal love

  • Jesus desires that we that we change our lives

Neither will I condemn you. What is this, O Lord? Do thou therefore favor sins? Not so, evidently. Mark what follows: Go, henceforth sin no more. Therefore the Lord did also condemn, but condemned sins, not man. For if He were a patron of sin, He would say, Neither will I condemn you; go, live as you will: be secure in my deliverance; how much soever you will sin, I will deliver you from all punishment even of hell, and from the tormentors of the infernal world. He said not this. (Saint Augustine. Tractates on the Gospel of John, Tractate 33, 6)

…judges Francis’ ideas on the Old Covenant still being valid

  • Christ changed the old signs, bringing them to their plenitude, such that there is a clear distinction between those which announced that Christ came, and those which foretold his coming.

 [The Jews] ask us: ‘What do the readings of the Law and the Prophets serve you, if you do not wish to observe their precepts?’ For we do not circumcise the flesh, and we consume the meat that the Law calls impure; we do not keep the Sabbath, the new moon or the feast days; we do not sacrifice animal victims to God, nor do we celebrate the Passover as they with the lamb and unleavened bread. Inclusively, the Apostle calls some other preceding sacraments, shadows of what was to come (Col 2:17), for they signified that which was to be revealed, that which was disclosed to us; such that, with the shadows removed, we benefit from their uncovered light. It would take much time to dispute each point separately: just as we are circumcised by uncovering the old man not by the cutting of flesh, […] so also, our Passover is Christ, and our unleavened bread is the sincerity of truth, which does not contain the leaven of malice (1Col 5: 7-8), and if there are other matters that need not be fulfilled now, contained within the former signs, they are fulfilled in He whose kingdom will not end. It is certainly fitting that all of the causes be fulfilled in He who did not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them. (Mt 5:17) In this way, Christ did not annul the former signs by opposing them; rather, he changed them by bringing them to their plenitude, in such a way that there is a clear distinction between those who announced that Christ came, and those who foretold his coming. (Saint Augustine. Adversus Iudaeos, no.3-4)

  •   The old sacrifice in Jerusalem having ceased, in all places is offered the new sacrifice

 Finally, if you insist, oh Jews, on distorting the meaning of prophetic words according to your own view, thus resisting the Son of God against your salvation; […] if you wish to understand things in this way, what will you say and how will you interpret the other Prophet (Mal 1:10-11) that cuts through such words, crying out with perfect clarity: ‘I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from you hand. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.’ With so much clear evidence with what right then, do you object? […] Certainly here you cannot deny that not only does He not accept a sacrifice from your hands, but also that you do not offer a sacrifice with your hands. For there exists only one place established by the law of the Lord, where he commanded that the sacrifices be offered by your hands, outside of which place he firmly prohibited it. Since such places were lost through by fault, you do not dare to offer in other places the sacrifices that were only licit to offer there. […] Then, do not think that just because you are not offering a sacrifice to Him, or due to the fact that he does not receive it from your hands, that sacrifices are no longer offered to God. […] Open your eyes at last and see that, from the rising of the sun to its setting, the sacrifice of the Christians is offered not only in one place, as you had established, but in all places; and not to any god, but to the One who had foresaid this, the God of Israel. For which he also said in another place to his Church: ‘And the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.’(Isa 54: 5)  (Saint Augustine. Adversus Iudaeos, no.12-13)

  • When the Jews approach Christ, they shall no longer be abandoned

 Therefore, the Prophet calls you to the light of the Lord when he said: ‘O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.’ ‘You, o house of Jacob,’ who He has called and chosen; not ‘You,’ who He has rejected: ‘For you have rejected your people, the house of Jacob’ (Isa 2: 5-6). Whosoever wishes to come from the house of Jacob will belong to house that is called, and set free from the one abandoned. In effect, the light of the Lord in which the people walk is that light of which the same Prophet said: ‘I will give you as a light for the nations that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isa 49: 6) To whom does he say this if not Christ? How has it been fulfilled if not in Christ? […] Then ‘Draw near to him and be radiant’ (Ps 34:5) What does ‘Draw near to Him’ mean other than: ‘Believe’? Why then are you going elsewhere to draw near to him, when he is the rock that the prophet Daniel said would increase and become such a great mountain so as to fill the earth? (Dan 2:35) In the same way, those who say: ‘Come, let us climb the mountain of the Lord,’ are not trying to move out and reach any other place. Where they are, is where they climb; for a sacrifice is offered according to Melchizedek in all places. Likewise, another prophet also said: ‘The Lord […] will famish all the gods of the earth and to him shall bow down, each in its place, all the lands of the nations.’(Zeph 2:11) When, therefore, one says: ‘Draw near to him,’ one doesn’t say: prepare ships or beasts that they may carry your victims, or, walk from the farthest places unto the place where God accepts the sacrifices of your devotion. Rather it is said: Draw near to Him whom you have heard preached, draw near to him who is glorified before your eyes. You shall not tire as you walk, for you shall draw near to him from wherever you believe. (Saint Augustine. Adversus Iudaeos, no. 14)

  • The Jews should be invited to conversion with love, resisting they shall continue as sinners

 Dearest ones, independently of whether the Jews hear this with pleasure or with indignation; we, however, and to the extent that we may, must preach with love toward them. In no way should we proudly boast against the separated branches, rather, we must consider the grace of he who, with such mercy, is the root that supports us, (Rom 11:17-18); for it is not by being haughty, but by associating with the lowly that we speak, without insulting presumption, but rather with celebration and trembling (cf. Ps 2:11): ‘Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord’ (Is 2:5). For, ‘his name is great among the nations’(Mal 1:11). If they heard and listen, they will be among those to whom it was said: ‘Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed’ (Ps 34: 5). If they hear and do not obey, if seeing, they becomes envious, they will be included among those of whom it was said: ‘The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away’ (Ps 112: 10). ‘But I,’ says the Church to Christ, ‘as a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever’(Ps 52: 8). (Saint Augustine. Adversus Iudaeos, n. 12-13)

…judges Francis’ ideas on peace

  • Those Who Love the World delude themselves with False Peace in Order to Enjoy their Beloved World

But when the Lord proceeded to say, “Not as the world gives, give I unto you,” what else does He mean but, Not as those give who love the world, give I unto you? For their aim in giving themselves peace is that, exempt from the annoyance of lawsuits and wars, they may find enjoyment, not in God, but in the friendship of the world; and although they give the righteous peace, in ceasing to persecute them, there can be no true peace where there is no real harmony, because their hearts are at variance. For as one is called a consort who unites his lot (sortem) with another, so may he be termed concordant whose heart has entered into a similar union. Let us, therefore, beloved, with whom Christ leaves peace, and to whom He gives His own peace, not after the world’s way, but in a way worthy of Him by whom the world was made, that we should be of one heart with Himself, having our hearts run into one, that this one heart, set on that which is above, may escape the corruption of the earth. (Saint Augustine. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, no.5)

…judges Francis’ idea on all being children of God

  • “Indignation Seizes Me Because of the Wicked Who Forsake Your Law”

 “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am languishing; my eye wastes away because of grief.” If you suffer, why are you angry? Your anger is due to sins of others. Who would not be enraged, observing those who confess God but deny him through their conduct? Who would not be enraged seeing those who renounce the world with their words but not with their deeds? Who would not become angry observing how some betray their brothers, unfaithful to the kiss of peace they exchanged during the  celebration of the divine Sacraments? Who may number all of the causes of anger within the body of Christ, which interiorly lives of the Spirit of Christ, and which moans as the grain amid the straw. Truly, it is difficult to find those who moan in this way, those who become angry with this anger, as it is difficult to see the grain while threshing the crops. He who doesn’t know how much grain was sown, things that all is straw. Yet, from what he believes is all straw will follow the purification of a great number. These, precisely, who do not moan and grieve are the cause of the anger of the one who said in another place “Zeal for your house has consumed me.” (Ps 69: 9) Seeing the number of those who practice evil works, another place says:  “Burning indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake your law.” (Ps 119: 53) And further on: “I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commandments.” (Ps 119: 158) (Saint Augustine. Exposition of Psalm 30, Sermon 2, n.4)

…judges Francis’ idea on the martyrdom of heretics

  • Those who, as Schismatics, do not Lead a Christian Life, do not Die as Martyrs

I have proved countless times, both by debate and by writing, that they cannot have the death of martyrs because they have not the life of Christians, since it is not the pain but the purpose that makes a martyr.  (Saint Augustine, Letter 204: to Dulcitius, n.4)

  • Those who Rebel against the Body of Christ cannot presume to be persecuted for His Sake

 With good reason you might say these things, seeking the glory of the martyrs, if you had the cause of the martyrs. The Lord did not call happy those who suffer such things, but rather happy those who suffer them for the sake of the Son of Man, who is Jesus Christ. However, you did not suffer for him, but against him. You suffer, it is true, but because you do not believe in him, and so you suffer for your disbelief. How, then, do you presume to have the faith that Jesus Christ left to the apostles? Do you wish, by chance, that men were so blind and so deaf as to not read or hear the Gospel, in which they discover that which Christ left for his apostles to believe regarding his Church? And if you divide and separate yourselves from it, you actually rebel against the words of the head and the body, and nonetheless you presume to suffer persecution for the Son of Man and for the faith that he left to the Apostles. […]

This is, then, the faith regarding the Holy Church that he left to the disciples. It is this faith, Donatists, that you oppose with your resistance. And you insist that you suffer persecution for the faith that Christ the Lord left to his Apostles! With surprising insolence and blindness you contradict this Son of Man, who recommended his Church which was in its beginnings in Jerusalem, and producing fruit and spreading to all peoples, and you proclaim that you are suffering calamities for the sake of the Son of Man.  (Saint Augustine, Contra Gaudentium Donatistarum Episcopum, lib. I, c.20/n.22)

  • If a Schismatic Dies Guilty of Sacrilege how may He be Baptized by his Blood?

In the next place, if all who are killed are baptized in their own blood, then all robbers, all unrighteous, impious, accursed men, who are put to death by the sentence of the law, are to be considered martyrs, because they are baptized in their own blood. But if only those are baptized in their own blood who are put to death for righteousness’ sake, since theirs is the kingdom of heaven, (Mt 5:10) you have already seen that the first question is why you suffer, and only afterwards should we ask what you suffer. Why therefore do you puff out your cheeks before you have shown the righteousness of your deeds? Why, does your tongue resound before your character is approved? If you have made a schism, you are impious; if you are impious, you die as one guilty of sacrilege, when you are punished for impiety; if you die as one guilty of sacrilege, how are you baptized in your blood? Or do you say, I have not made a schism? Let us then inquire into this. Why do you make an outcry before you prove your case?  (Saint Augustine. Answer to Petilian the Donatist, Book I, ch.23/52)

  • It is the Cause and not the Sufferings that Makes Martyrs

 But since there are many that suffer this, be it due to their own sins, or due to their crimes, one must be attentive in distinguishing not so much the hardship suffered, but the cause. A criminal could receive a chastisement similar to that of a martyr, but the cause is different. Three were crucified: one was the Savior, the second was saved, and the third, condemned. The suffering was the same for all three, but the cause was far different. […] Suffering is the same for the good and the evil. That is why what makes martyrs is not the suffering, but the cause. If it were merely suffering that made martyrs, all mines would be full of martyrs, all chains would bind martyrs, all of those wounded by the sword would be crowned. Therefore, let us carefully discern the cause. May no one say: I am just, for I suffer.  (Saint Augustine. Ennaratio in Psalmum 34/2, n.1, 13)

  • Those who Suffer Due to their Iniquities and with the Intent of Dividing Christian Unity are Not Martyrs

But true martyrs are such as those of whom the Lord says, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” (Mt 5:1). It is not, therefore, those who suffer persecution for their unrighteousness, and for the divisions which they impiously introduce into Christian unity, but those who suffer for righteousness’ sake.  (Saint Augustine. Letter 185, ch.2, n. 9)

  • The Same Furnace which Purifies the Martyrs, Reduces Heretics to Ashes

Adulterers, bandits, assailants, murderers, and all criminals suffer many torments; I, your martyr, also suffer countless torments, but “distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy” (Ps 42: 1). They may suffer what I suffer, but they do not have the same cause. In the furnace, I am purified, they are reduced to ashes. The heretics also suffer such things, many times through their own doing, wishing to be taken as martyrs. But against them have we sung: Defend my cause against all ungodly people. It is not the suffering which makes the martyr, but the cause.  (Saint Augustine. Sermon 327, n.1)

…judges Francis’ ideas on whether the Lord always pardons

  • Pardon is granted for correction, not to favor iniquity

So therefore, brethren, we have a season of mercy, let us not on that account flatter or indulge ourselves saying, “God spareth ever. Behold what I did yesterday God spared; I do so today also, and God spareth; I will do so tomorrow also because God spareth.” Thou heedest His mercy, but fearest not his judgment. If thou wish to sing of mercy and judgement, understand that He spareth that thou mayest amend, not that thou mayest remain in thy wickedness. (Saint Augustine. Exposition on Psalm 100 (101), n.3)

  • False hope leads to perdition

Who is deceived by hoping? He who says, God is good, God is merciful, let me do what I please, what I like; let me give loose reins to my lusts, let me gratify the desires of my soul. Why this? Because God is merciful, God is good, God is kind. These men are in danger by hope. (Saint Augustine. Homilies on the Gospel of John, XXXIII, 8) 

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