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Friday, 13 January 2012

The Hammer of the Heretics

Today is the Feast of St. Hilary, Doctor of the Church, and Hammer of the Heretics. He was not afraid to excommunicate the Arians, possibly the largest group of heretics, until modern times, who were publicly against him and the Church.. He was, for four years, exiled  by the Arian supporters in the government. Not only did he write doctrinal treatises, but apologetics against the Arians. He encouraged the setting up of at least one monastery by Martin of Tours, whom he baptized (picture), and, although none of his works are extant, wrote Latin hymns for liturgical use.

Hmmm...where are the Hammers of the Heretics? We have a few.

What people forget is that heretics are in the Church, not outside it. Heretics are Catholics who are not in obedience to Rome on a subject, such as those errors leading to liturgical abuse. We have developed in the Church a laxity toward heresy to the point where it is hardly noticed in some places. This laxity has come from poor catechesis and an emphasis on the experiential rather than the doctrinal. St. Hilary would be working hard writing and preaching today against Modernism and liturgical abuses.

I always liked this day as it was the traditional starting of the new term-at Oxford and at Dublin. Hilary's Term was based on an earlier legal system from England, the courts running from January to April. January is a special month in my family, as four of us have birthdays and my parent's have their anniversary in this month. St. Hilary's Day adds to the festive character of January.

St. Hilary, send us new and strong bishops to lead our Church in these heretical times. Here is a selection from the TLM reading from Timothy:

..preach the word: be instant in season , out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and will indeed turn away from hearing the truth, but will be turned unto fables.