Saint Irenaeus of Lyon…

…judges Francis’ idea on ‘diversified unity’

  • The Apostles did not address the people in accordance with their opinion at the time but according to revealed Truth

For the apostles, who were commissioned to find out the wanderers, and to be for sight to those who saw not, and medicine to the weak, certainly did not address them in accordance with their opinion at the time, but according to revealed truth. For no persons of any kind would act properly, if they should advise blind men, just about to fall over a precipice, to continue their most dangerous path, as if it were the right one, and as if they might go on in safety. Or what medical man, anxious to heal a sick person, would prescribe in accordance with the patient’s whims, and not according to the requisite medicine? But that the Lord came as the physician of the sick, He does Himself declare saying, ‘They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ (Lk 5:31-32) How then shall the sick be strengthened, or how shall sinners come to repentance? Is it by persevering in the very same courses? Or, on the contrary, is it by undergoing a great change and reversal of their former mode of living, by which they have brought upon themselves no slight amount of sickness, and many sins? (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against Heresies, III, 5, 2)

  • Many offshoots of numerous heresies have already been formed: they create disunion

Many offshoots of numerous heresies have already been formed from those heretics we have described. This arises from the fact that numbers of them— indeed, we may say all— desire themselves to be teachers, and to break off from the particular heresy in which they have been involved. Forming one set of doctrines out of a totally different system of opinions, and then again others from others, they insist upon teaching something new, declaring themselves the inventors of any sort of opinion which they may have been able to call into existence. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against Heresies, I, 28, 1)

…judges Francis’ idea on if doctrine can be interpreted against the infallible Magisterium

  • It is not necessary to seek among others the truth, which is so easy to obtain from the Church

Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. (Rev 22:17) For she is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers (Jn 10:1, 8-9). On this account are we bound to avoid them, but to make choice of the thing pertaining to the Church with the utmost diligence, and to lay hold of the tradition of the truth. For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches? (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Treatise against heresies, Book 3, Ch. 4, 1)

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

  • The invented traditions of the elders: they made the law of God of none effect, and were on this account also not subject to His Word

As also Isaiah says: ‘This people honours Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me: howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching the doctrines and the commandments of men.’ (Is 29:13) He does not call the law given by Moses commandments of men, but the traditions of the elders themselves which they had invented, and in upholding which they made the law of God of none effect, and were on this account also not subject to His Word. For this is what Paul says concerning these men: ‘For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes.’ (Rom 10:3–4) And how is Christ the end of the law, if He be not also the final cause of it? For He who has brought in the end has Himself also wrought the beginning; and it is He who does Himself say to Moses, ‘I have surely seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have come down to deliver them;’ (Ex 3:7-8) it being customary from the beginning with the Word of God to ascend and descend for the purpose of saving those who were in affliction. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyon. Against heresies, Book IV, 2.4)

  • The Lord did not abrogate the natural precepts of the law

And that the Lord did not abrogate the natural [precepts] of the law, by which man is justified, which also those who were justified by faith, and who pleased God, did observe previous to the giving of the law, but that He extended and fulfilled them, is shown from His words. ‘For,’ He remarks, ‘it has been said to them of old time, Do not commit adultery. But I say unto you, that everyone who has looked upon a woman to lust after her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart’ (Mt 5:27–28). And again: ‘It has been said, You shall not kill. But I say unto you, Everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment’ (Mt 5:21–22). And, ‘It has been said, You shall not forswear yourself. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; but let your conversation be, Yea, yea, and Nay, nay.’ (Mt 5:33), etc. And other statements of a like nature. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyon. Against Heresies. Book IV, ch. 13)

  • Until heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall not pass from the law and the prophets till all come to pass

But the servants would then have been proved false, and not sent by the Lord, if Christ on His advent, by being found exactly such as He was previously announced, had not fulfilled their words. Wherefore He said, ‘Think not that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets; I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, until heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall not pass from the law and the prophets till all come to pass’ (Mt 5:17–18). For by His advent He Himself fulfilled all things, and does still fulfil in the Church the new covenant foretold by the law, onwards to the consummation [of all things]. To this effect also Paul, His apostle, says in the Epistle to the Romans, ‘But now without the law, has the righteousness of God been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; for the just shall live by faith’ (Rom 1:17). But this fact, that the just shall live by faith, had been previously announced (Hab 2:4) by the prophets. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against heresies, Book IV, ch. 34)

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

  • The merciful Lord counsels: ‘Make straight your ways and your doings’

This same declaration does Esaias make: ‘To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me? Says the Lord. I am full’ (Is 1:11). And when He had repudiated holocausts, and sacrifices, and oblations, as likewise the new moons, and the sabbaths, and the festivals, and all the rest of the services accompanying these, He continues, exhorting them to what pertained to salvation: ‘Wash you, make you clean, take away wickedness from your hearts from before my eyes: cease from your evil ways, learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow; and come, let us reason together, says the Lord.’ […] But inasmuch as God is merciful, He did not cut them off from good counsel. For after He had said by Jeremiah, ‘To what purpose did you bring Me incense from Saba, and cinnamon from a far country? Your whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices are not acceptable to Me’ (Jer 6:20); He proceeds: ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all Judah. These things says the Lord, the God of Israel, Make straight your ways and your doings, and I will establish you in this place. Put not your trust in lying words, for they will not at all profit you, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, it is [here]’ (Jer 7:2-3). (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against Heresies 4, 17, 2-3)

…judges Francis’ idea on reforming the Church

  • It is necessary to make choices of things pertaining to the Church with the utmost diligence, and to lay hold of the Tradition of the Truth

Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. (Rev 22:17). For she is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers. On this account we are bound to avoid them, but to make choice of the thing pertaining to the Church with the utmost diligence, and to lay hold of the Tradition of the Truth. For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches? To which course many nations of those barbarians who believe in Christ do assent, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit, without paper or ink, and, carefully preserving the ancient tradition, believing in one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and all things therein, by means of Christ Jesus, the Son of God. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against Heresies. Book 3, ch. 4, 1 2)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church called to dialogue

  • The Apostles did not address the weak in accordance with their opinion at the time, but according to revealed truth

For the apostles, who were commissioned to find out the wanderers, and to be for sight to those who saw not, and medicine to the weak, certainly did not address them in accordance with their opinion at the time, but according to revealed truth. For no persons of any kind would act properly, if they should advise blind men, just about to fall over a precipice, to continue their most dangerous path, as if it were the right one, and as if they might go on in safety. Or what medical man, anxious to heal a sick person, would prescribe in accordance with the patient’s whims, and not according to the requisite medicine? But that the Lord came as the physician of the sick, He does Himself declare saying, ‘They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ Luke 5:31–32 How then shall the sick be strengthened, or how shall sinners come to repentance? Is it by persevering in the very same courses? Or, on the contrary, is it by undergoing a great change and reversal of their former mode of living, by which they have brought upon themselves no slight amount of sickness, and many sins? (Saint Irenaeus of Lyon. Against heresies, Book 3, ch. 5, no 2)

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

  • The same Father prepared the kingdom for the righteous and the furnace of fire for the evil

The Father, therefore, who has prepared the kingdom for the righteous, into which the Son has received those worthy of it, is He who has also prepared the furnace of fire, into which these angels commissioned by the Son of man shall send those persons who deserve it, according to God’s command. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against Hersies, book IV, ch. 40, 2)

…judges Francis’ idea on Faith

  • The Church proclaims, teaches and hands down doctrine with perfect harmony

The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith […] the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes these points [of doctrine] just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against heresies, I, 10, 1−2)

…judges Francis’ idea on proclaiming the Gospel only with gentleness

  • The Apostles did not address the weak in accordance with their opinion at the time, but according to revealed truth

For the apostles, who were commissioned to find out the wanderers, and to be for sight to those who saw not, and medicine to the weak, certainly did not address them in accordance with their opinion at the time, but according to revealed truth. For no persons of any kind would act properly, if they should advise blind men, just about to fall over a precipice, to continue their most dangerous path, as if it were the right one, and as if they might go on in safety. Or what medical man, anxious to heal a sick person, would prescribe in accordance with the patient’s whims, and not according to the requisite medicine? But that the Lord came as the physician of the sick, He does Himself declare saying, ‘They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’ (Lk 5:31 – 32). How then shall the sick be strengthened, or how shall sinners come to repentance? (Saint Ireneaus of Lyons Against heresies, Book 3, Ch. 5, no. 2)

…judges Francis’ idea on proclaiming the Gospel

  • The Apostles did not evangelize in accordance with their opinion but according to revealed truth

For the apostles, who were commissioned to find out the wanderers, and to be for sight to those who saw not, and medicine to the weak, certainly did not address them in accordance with their opinion at the time, but according to revealed truth. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against heresies, III, 5, 2)

  • It is to repentance that the Lord came to call sinners. Who would advise blind men, just about to fall over a precipice, to continue as if it were on the right path?

For no persons of any kind would act properly, if they should advise blind men, just about to fall over a precipice, to continue their most dangerous path, as if it were the right one, and as if they might go on in safety. Or what medical man, anxious to heal a sick person, would prescribe in accordance with the patient’s whims, and not according to the requisite medicine? But that the Lord came as the physician of the sick, He does Himself declare saying, ‘They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’ (Lk 5:31-32). How then shall the sick be strengthened, or how shall sinners come to repentance? Is it by persevering in the very same courses? Or, on the contrary, is it by undergoing a great change and reversal of their former mode of living, by which they have brought upon themselves no slight amount of sickness, and many sins? (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against Heresies, III, 5, 2)

…judges Francis’ idea that Jesus is only mercy

  • Goodness does not desert God in the exercise of justice, neither does He show Himself unmercifully just

Again, that they might remove the rebuking and judicial power from the Father, reckoning that as unworthy of God, and thinking that they had found out a God both without anger and [merely] good, they have alleged that one [God] judges, but that another saves, unconsciously taking away the intelligence and justice of both deities. For if the judicial one is not also good, to bestow favours upon the deserving, and to direct reproofs against those requiring them, he will appear neither a just nor a wise judge. On the other hand, the good God, if he is merely good, and not one who tests those upon whom he shall send his goodness, will be out of the range of justice and goodness; and his goodness will seem imperfect, as not saving all; [for it should do so,] if it be not accompanied with judgment. Marcion, therefore, himself, by dividing God into two, maintaining one to be good and the other judicial, does in fact, on both sides, put an end to deity. For he that is the judicial one, if he be not good, is not God, because he from whom goodness is absent is no God at all; and again, he who is good, if he has no judicial power, suffers the same [loss] as the former, by being deprived of his character of deity. And how can they call the Father of all wise, if they do not assign to Him a judicial faculty? For if He is wise, He is also one who tests [others]; but the judicial power belongs to him who tests, and justice follows the judicial faculty, that it may reach a just conclusion; justice calls forth judgment, and judgment, when it is executed with justice, will pass on to wisdom. […] He is Lord, and Judge, and the Just One, and Ruler over all. For He is good, and merciful, and patient, and saves whom He ought: nor does goodness desert Him in the exercise of justice, nor is His wisdom lessened; for He saves those whom He should save, and judges those worthy of judgment. Neither does He show Himself unmercifully just; for His goodness, no doubt, goes on before, and takes precedency. The God, therefore, who does benevolently cause His sun to rise upon all, (Mt 5:45) and sends rain upon the just and unjust, shall judge those who, enjoying His equally distributed kindness, have led lives not corresponding to the dignity of His bounty; but who have spent their days in wantonness and luxury, in opposition to His benevolence, and have, moreover, even blasphemed Him who has conferred so great benefits upon them. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against Heresies, Book III, 25, 2-4)

  • Nothing unbecoming or evil pleases God – He metes out punishment accordingly

Still further did He also make it manifest, that we ought, after our calling, to be also adorned with works of righteousness, so that the Spirit of God may rest upon us; for this is the wedding garment, of which also the apostle speaks, ‘Not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up by immortality.’ (2Cor 5:4) But those who have indeed been called to God’s supper, yet have not received the Holy Spirit, because of their wicked conduct ‘shall be,’ He declares, ‘cast into outer darkness’ (Mt 22:13). He thus clearly shows that the very same King who gathered from all quarters the faithful to the marriage of His Son, and who grants them the incorruptible banquet, [also] orders that man to be cast into outer darkness who has not on a wedding garment, that is, one who despises it. For as in the former covenant, ‘with many of them was He not well pleased;’ (1Cor 10:5) so also is it the case here, that ‘many are called, but few chosen’ (Mt 22:14). It is not, then, one God who judges, and another Father who calls us together to salvation; nor one, forsooth, who confers eternal light, but another who orders those who have not on the wedding garment to be sent into outer darkness. But it is one and the same God, the Father of our Lord, from whom also the prophets had their mission, who does indeed, through His infinite kindness, call the unworthy; but He examines those who are called, [to ascertain] if they have on the garment fit and proper for the marriage of His Son, because nothing unbecoming or evil pleases Him. This is in accordance with what the Lord said to the man who had been healed: ‘Behold, you are made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto you’ (Jn 5:14). For he who is good, and righteous, and pure, and spotless, will endure nothing evil, nor unjust, nor detestable in His wedding chamber. This is the Father of our Lord, by whose providence all things consist, and all are administered by His command; and He confers His free gifts upon those who should [receive them]; but the most righteous Retributor metes out [punishment] according to their deserts, most deservedly, to the ungrateful and to those that are insensible of His kindness; (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against Heresies, Book IV, 36, 6)

  • To scoffers and to those not subject to God are assigned everlasting perdition

If, therefore, the self-same person is present who was announced by the prophets, our Lord Jesus Christ, and if His advent has brought in a fuller [measure of] grace and greater gifts to those who have received Him, it is plain that the Father also is Himself the same who was proclaimed by the prophets, and that the Son, on His coming, did not spread the knowledge of another Father, but of the same who was preached from the beginning; from whom also He has brought down liberty to those who, in a lawful manner, and with a willing mind, and with all the heart, do Him service; whereas to scoffers, and to those not subject to God, but who follow outward purifications for the praise of men (which observances had been given as a type of future things—the law typifying, as it were, certain things in a shadow, and delineating eternal things by temporal, celestial by terrestrial), and to those who pretend that they do themselves observe more than what has been prescribed, as if preferring their own zeal to God Himself, while within they are full of hypocrisy, and covetousness, and all wickedness—[to such] has He assigned everlasting perdition by cutting them off from life. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against Heresies, Book IV, 6)

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

  • The Son of God became man so than man might participate in divine filiation

For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons (Against heresies, 3, 19, 1: PG 7/1, 939) quoted by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 460)

…judges Francis’ idea on adulterine unions

  • Those who do not obey God shall be righteously judged and those who have obeyed Him, honoured with immortality

For God at the first, indeed, warning them by means of natural precepts, which from the beginning He had implanted in mankind, that is, by means of the Decalogue (which, if any one does not observe, he has no salvation), did then demand nothing more of them. As Moses says in Deuteronomy: ‘These are all the words which the Lord spoke to the whole assembly of the sons of Israel on the mount, and He added no more; and He wrote them on two tables of stone, and gave them to me’ (Deut 5:22). For this reason [He did so], that they who are willing to follow Him might keep these commandments. […] And if certain persons, because of the disobedient and ruined Israelites, do assert that the giver (doctor) of the law was limited in power, they will find in our dispensation, that ‘many are called, but few chosen’ (Mt 20:16), and that there are those who inwardly are wolves, yet wear sheep’s clothing in the eyes of the world (foris); and that God has always preserved freedom, and the power of self-government in man, while at the same time He issued His own exhortations, in order that those who do not obey Him should be righteously judged (condemned) because they have not obeyed Him; and that those who have obeyed and believed on Him should be honoured with immortality. (Saint Ireneus of Lyons. Against heresies, Book IV, Ch. 15, no. 1-2)

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

  • How heresies develop

This arises from the fact that numbers of them —indeed, we may say all— desire themselves to be teachers, and to break off from the particular heresy in which they have been involved. Forming one set of doctrines out of a totally different system of opinions, and then again others from others, they insist upon teaching something new, declaring themselves the inventors of any sort of opinion which they may have been able to call into existence. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyon. Against Heresies, Book I, Ch. 28, 1)

  • It is an impracticable attempt to mention all those who, in one way or another, have fallen away from the truth

Those who are called Encratites (self-controlled) preached against marriage, thus setting aside the original creation of God, and indirectly blaming Him who made the male and female for the propagation of the human race. […] A certain man named Tatian first introduced the blasphemy. He was a hearer of Justin’s, and as long as he continued with him he expressed no such views; but after his martyrdom he separated from the Church, and, excited and puffed up by the thought of being a teacher, as if he were superior to others, he composed his own peculiar type of doctrine. […] Others, again, following upon Basilides and Carpocrates, have introduced promiscuous intercourse and a plurality of wives, and are indifferent about eating meats sacrificed to idols, maintaining that God does not greatly regard such matters. But why continue? For it is an impracticable attempt to mention all those who, in one way or another, have fallen away from the truth. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyon. Against Heresies, Book I, Ch. 28, 1-2)

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

  • A good counsel from God in His mercy: ‘Make straight your ways and your doings’

This same declaration does Esaias make: ‘To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me? saith the Lord. I am full.’(Is 1:10) And when He had repudiated holocausts, and sacrifices, and oblations, as likewise the new moons, and the sabbaths, and the festivals, and all the rest of the services accompanying these, He continues, exhorting them to what pertained to salvation: ‘Wash you, make you clean, take away wickedness from your hearts from before mine eyes: cease from your evil ways, learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow; and come, let us reason together, saith the Lord.’ […] But inasmuch as God is merciful, He did not cut them off from good counsel. For after He had said by Jeremiah, ‘To what purpose bring ye Me incense from Saba, and cinnamon from a far country? Your whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices are not acceptable to Me;’ He proceeds: ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all Judah. These things saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Make straight your ways and your doings, and I will establish you in this place. Put not your trust in lying words, for they will not at all profit you, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the lord, it is (here).’ (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against Heresies, Book 4, Ch. 17, no. 1-2)

…judges Francis’ ideas on finding God

  • Our place of encounter: where the Church is, there God is; and vice versa

‘For in the Church,’ it is said, ‘God hath set apostles, prophets, teachers’(1Cor 12:28), and all the other means through which the Spirit works; of which all those are not partakers who do not join themselves to the Church, but defraud themselves of life through their perverse opinions and infamous behavior. For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church, and every kind of grace; but the Spirit is truth. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against Heresies, Book III, Ch. 24)

… judges Francis’ ideas present in Laudato Si’

  • Those who are not united to the Church reject the Spirit and dig for themselves broken cisterns, drinking putrid water out of the mire

For in the Church,’ it is said, ‘God hath set […] all the other means through which the Spirit works; of which all those are not partakers who do not join themselves to the Church, but defraud themselves of life through their perverse opinions and infamous behaviour. For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church, and every kind of grace; but the Spirit is truth. Those, therefore, who do not partake of Him, are neither nourished into life from the mother’ s breasts, nor do they enjoy that most limpid fountain which issues from the body of Christ; but they dig for themselves broken cisterns (Jer 2:13) out of earthly trenches, and drink putrid water out of the mire, fleeing from the faith of the Church lest they be convicted; and rejecting the Spirit, that they may not be instructed. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyon. Against Heresies, III, Ch. 24, no. 1)

…judges Francis’ idea on God’s omnipotence

  • God is not subject to created things, but created things to God

Neither the nature of any created thing, therefore, nor the weakness of the flesh, can prevail against the will of God. For God is not subject to created things, but created things to God; and all things yield obedience to His will. Wherefore also the Lord declares, ‘The things which are impossible with men, are possible with God’ (Lk 18:27), […] yet the scepticism of men of this stamp shall not render the faithfulness of God of none effect. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyon. Against Heresies, Book V, Ch. V)

…judges Francis’ idea on the role of non-christian religions

  • The Church is where the Spirit of God is; and the Spirit of God is where the Church is

‘For in the Church,’ it is said, ‘God hath set […] and all the other means through which the Spirit works; of which all those are not partakers who do not join themselves to the Church, but defraud themselves of life through their perverse opinions and infamous behaviour. For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church, and every kind of grace; but the Spirit is truth. Those, therefore, who do not partake of Him, are neither nourished into life from the mother’s breasts, nor do they enjoy that most limpid fountain which issues from the body of Christ; but they dig for themselves broken cisterns (Jer 2:13) out of earthly trenches, and drink putrid water out of the mire, fleeing from the faith of the Church lest they be convicted; and rejecting the Spirit, that they may not be instructed. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against Heresies, Bk. 3 ch. 24)

…judges Francis’ idea on the multiplication of the loaves

  • If anyone does not agree with the Gospels, he despises Christ and stands self-condemned

We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith (1 Tim 3:15). […] These have all declared to us that there is one God, Creator of heaven and earth, announced by the law and the prophets; and one Christ the Son of God. If any one do not agree to these truths, he despises the companions of the Lord; nay more, he despises Christ Himself the Lord; yea, he despises the Father also, and stands self-condemned, resisting and opposing his own salvation, as is the case with all heretics. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Against Heresies, III 1,1:1,2)

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

  • The love of God: we may reach this prize for ourselves by striving after it

So run, that ye may obtain. Every one also who engages in the contest is temperate in all things: now these men that they may obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. But I so run, not as uncertainty; I fight, not as One beating the air; but I make my body livid, and bring it into subjection, lest by any means, when preaching to others, I may myself be rendered a castaway. […] And the harder we strive, so much is it the more valuable; while so much the more valuable it is, so much the more should we esteem it. And indeed those things are not esteemed so highly which come spontaneously, as those which are reached by much anxious care. Since, then, this power has been conferred upon us, both the Lord has taught and the apostle has enjoined us the more to love God, that we may reach this (prize) for ourselves by striving after it. For otherwise, no doubt, this our good would be (virtually) irrational, because not the result of trial. (Saint Irenaeus. Against Heresies, Bk. 4, ch. 37, 7)

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

  • The apostles did not address others in accordance with their opinion but according to Revealed Truth

For the apostles, who were commissioned to find out the wanderers, and to be for sight to those who saw not, and medicine to the weak, certainly did not address them in accordance with their opinion at the time, but according to revealed truth. For no persons of any kind would act properly, if they should advise blind men, just about to fall over a precipice, to continue their most dangerous path, as if it were the right one, and as if they might go on in safety. Or what medical man, anxious to heal a sick person, would prescribe in accordance with the patient’s whims, and not according to the requisite medicine? But that the Lord came as the physician of the sick, He does Himself declare saying, ‘They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’ (Lk 5: 31-32, Mt 9: 12-13). How then shall the sick be strengthened, or how shall sinners come to repentance? Is it by persevering in the very same courses? Or, on the contrary, is it by undergoing a great change and reversal of their former mode of living, by which they have brought upon themselves no slight amount of sickness, and many sins? (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, Bk. III, Ch. 5)

…judges Francis’ idea on Christ at the Final Judgment

  • The same Judge will send the good and evil both into a fitting place

The same Father is manifestly declared (in this passage), ‘making peace and creating evil things,’ preparing fit things for both; as also there is one Judge sending both into a fit place, as the Lord sets forth in the parable of the tares and the wheat, where He says, ‘As therefore the tares are gathered together, and burned in the fire, so shall it be at the end of the world. The Son of man shall send His angels, and they shall gather from His kingdom everything that offendeth, and those who work iniquity, and shall send them into a furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth’. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyon. Against heresies, bk. IV, ch. 40, no. 2)

…judges Francis’ idea on boasting of our sins

  • The Apostle shows that man is delivered over to his infirmity, lest being uplifted he might fall away. By means of infirmity man is acquainted with God’s power

The Apostle Paul has, moreover, in the most lucid manner, pointed out that man has been delivered over to his own infirmity, lest, being uplifted, he might fall away from the truth. […] My grace is sufficient for thee; for strength is made perfect in weakness. Gladly therefore shall I rather glory in infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. What, therefore? (as some may exclaim) did the Lord wish, in that case, that His apostles should thus undergo buffering, and that he should endure such infirmity? Even so it was; the word says it. For strength is made perfect in weakness, rendering him a better man who by means of his infirmity becomes acquainted with the power of God. For how could a man have learned that he is himself an infirm being, and mortal by nature, but that God is immortal and powerful, unless he had learned by experience what is in both? (Saint Irenaeus. Against Heresies. Bk.5, Ch. III, 503)

…judges Francis’ idea on eternal condemnation

  • They are themselves the cause of their inhabiting eternal darkness

But God, foreknowing all things, prepared fit habitations for both, kindly conferring that light which they desire on those who seek after the light of incorruption, and resort to it; but for the despisers and mockers who avoid and turn themselves away from this light, and who do, as it were, blind themselves, He has prepared darkness suitable to persons who oppose the light, and He has inflicted an appropriate punishment upon those who try to avoid being subject to Him. Submission to God is eternal rest, so that they who shun the light have a place worthy of their flight; and those who fly from eternal rest, have a habitation in accordance with their fleeing. Now, since all good things are with God, they who by their own determination fly from God, do defraud themselves of all good things; and having been [thus] defrauded of all good things with respect to God, they shall consequently fall under the just judgment of God. For those persons who shun rest shall justly incur punishment, and those who avoid the light shall justly dwell in darkness. For as in the case of this temporal light, those who shun it do deliver themselves over to darkness, so that they do themselves become the cause to themselves that they are destitute of light, and do inhabit darkness; and, as I have already observed, the light is not the cause of such an [unhappy] condition of existence to them; so those who fly from the eternal light of God, which contains in itself all good things, are themselves the cause to themselves of their inhabiting eternal darkness, destitute of all good things, having become to themselves the cause of [their consignment to] an abode of that nature. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Book IV, Chapter 39, no. 4)

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

  • It is not necessary to seek the truth among others: the Church holds in her hands all truth, received by Apostolic tradition

Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man (depositing his money) in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. (Rev 22:17) For she is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers. On this account are we bound to avoid them, but to make choice of the thing pertaining to the Church with the utmost diligence, and to lay hold of the tradition of the truth. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. Adversus Haereses, Bk III, c. 4, no.1)

…judges Francis’ idea on fraternal correction and love

  • A counsel from God Most Merciful: ‘Make straight your ways’

This same declaration does Isaias make: ‘To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me? Says the Lord, I am full’ (Is 1:11). And when He had repudiated holocausts, and sacrifices, and oblations, as likewise the new moons, and the Sabbaths, and the festivals, and all the rest of the services accompanying these, He continues, exhorting them to what pertained to salvation: Wash you, make you clean, take away wickedness from your hearts from before my eyes: cease from your evil ways, learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow; and come, let us reason together, says the Lord. […] But inasmuch as God is merciful, He did not cut them off from good counsel. For after He had said by Jeremiah, ‘To what purpose did you bring Me incense from Saba, and cinnamon from a far country? Your whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices are not acceptable to Me’ (Jer 6:20). He proceeds: ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all Judah. These things says the Lord, the God of Israel, Make straight your ways and your doings, and I will establish you in this place. Put not your trust in lying words, for they will not at all profit you, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord’ (Jer 7:2-3). (Saint Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses, Book IV, Ch. 17)

…judges Francis’ idea of the Roman Curia

  • Founded and Constituted by Peter and Paul

Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere. (Saint Irenaeus of Lyon, Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 3, no. 2)

Leave a Reply