SERMON: On the Rule of Faith by Patron Saint of Tradition: St. Vincent of Lerins
Sermon by Fr. Samuel Waters | The Daily Knight
St. Vincent: “Hold fast to that Faith which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all."
The Rule of Faith by St. Vincent of Lerins
During the time of Jesus, He performed miracles for the primary purpose of salvation. Jesus sought to give the Jews convincing proof that He was the Son of God. All the people of good will were convinced of Jesus’ Divinity and His Doctrine they believed.
Miracles are not necessary in our day to bring people to the One True Faith. We will ask today: what is the ordinary way by which men come to the One True Faith? The answer is: Through the Infallible Teaching Church (The Catholic Church).
We can ascertain the One True Faith only from the Church whose teachings are infallible. No Catholic denies that Christ established a Church. During His public life He established a society of men who received His Holy Doctrine with a believing heart. They lived according to the rules and used the means of grace for the attainment of eternal salvation. Christ established an infallible teaching ministry. This was necessary for the preservation of the True Faith so that we may not be children tossed “to and fro” and carried about with every “wind” of doctrine owing to the wickedness of men. If Christ had given the Bible only, but not an infallible teaching authority, it would have fallen to pieces immediately after it had begun. This would have happened because there would have been no one with authority to rectify the false interpretation of Sacred Scripture. This would have led to the growth of heresies running rampant. Reason tells us that Christ was obliged to give His Church an infallible teaching ministry. He told His Apostles to “go ye and teach all Nations baptizing them, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.
Christ wanted all men to submit and be instructed by them in the Truths of Religion. He told His Apostles that He would give them the same power that he received from His Heavenly Father and that the same obedience was due to them as to Himself: “as the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). “He that hears you, hears Me” (Luke 10:16). “If he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathens and publican” (Matthew 18: 17). Since Jesus gave His Apostles this teaching ministry and strictly obliged all men to submit themselves, then it evidently follows that they could not error or else He would have exposed all men to the danger of being led into error and being seduced.
The Rule of Faith became a process in the One True Church (the Catholic Church) by which the Deposit of Faith (Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition) was to be protected and continued to be spread to Catholics everywhere in the world. The Saint who is known for understanding the process by which the Catholic Church protects the Deposit of Faith, keeping error away and having it develop in a pure and truthful was is St. Vincent of Lerins. He is a 5th Century Monk who lived in Gaul (France) who died around 445 AD (He should be the Patron Saint of Traditional Catholicism). He has rules by which the One True Church of Christ is to follow, thus to keep the Deposit of Faith pure and true. His first rule is: In the Catholic Church, all care must be taken so we hold that which has been “believed: everywhere, always, and by everyone”.
St. Vincent of Lerins says “by adhering to the Faith that has been believed everywhere, always, and by all, Truth is that which the entire world would have confessed in continuity with the Faith of our ancestors. Only the universal consent of the Catholic Church can assure that the teaching is indeed ancient and well attested to, rather than only local and peculiar to the individual. St. Vincent of Lerins insists that there is a way, always rooted in Sacred Scripture as the unshakable foundation to ensure that the Apostolic Teaching remains unsullied. He believed that the Councils of Nicaea (325 AD) and Ephesus (431 AD) themselves represent the Judgement of Antiquity (Antiquity begins with the Apostolic Age and it has no end).
This rule should not be understood as if it represents a Utopian Dream. He looks around at the Catholic Church of his day and sees Catholic Truth everywhere under attack, everywhere contending with heretical interpretations being promoted by notable churchmen (Like Fr. James Martin in our own day).
St. Vincent says the Catholic Church already has the means and authority to separate Biblical Truth from error. He goes onto say “we adhere to antiquity if we do not discard any interpretation shared by the venerable Holy Ones and by our Fathers (the Apostles and the Church Fathers).
Our first Rule (Believed everywhere, always, by everyone) must always be taken in conjunction with the second rule: growth undoubtedly occurs in Catholic Doctrine. St. Vincent of Lerins insists that any further Doctrinal understanding must always be according to the same Doctrine, the same meaning and the same judgement. The Deposit of Faith and the Rule of Faith are both important terms for St. Vincent of Lerins in the protection of Catholic Truth.
The Deposit of Faith is “that which has been given to you; not what you have discovered (Like Pope Francis, the Popes since Vatican Council II, VC II itself). What you have received, not what you have invented. It is not private but belongs to Public Tradition (for many Roman Catholics the Latin Mass is the “gateway” to Sacred Tradition). The Gospel once received from Christ is something that Catholics must guard with care not thinking they have the authority to re-create or shape it in their own image. The Deposit of Faith indicates all the parts of Revelation that have come through the history of Israel and Jesus, now preserved in the Catholic Church. There is a unity and continuity in the Catholic Faith that cannot be betrayed. It must be handed down in complete integrity!! The Deposit of Faith must be both guarded as well as nurtured and properly developed. We are not to lead Religion where we please, but we are to follow Religion where it leads!!
The Development of Catholic Doctrine
The 2nd Rule Presents us with the tension between the unchangeability of Catholic Doctrine and its proper growth. Catholic teaching is alive, it is always growing and developing. This growth and change however must be related to that which proceeded it. (Hermeneutic of Continuity: it is a lie. It says that VC II theology can find roots in what has come before it. This is not true and it was Cardinal Ratzinger/ Pope Benedict XVI who came up with this term). God continues to work in history, guiding His Church to a fuller understanding of Revealed Truth. This is why St. Vincent of Lerins uses the understanding of how a child grows into an adult but keeps his nature and personhood.
Whatever is found in the adult already existed virtually in the child, so that nothing truly new appears in old age. St. Vincent of Lerins follows the same law concerning the development of Catholic Doctrine. He says, “it is consolidated by years, developed over time, rendered more sublime by time but it remains without corruption or adulteration so that it is always complete and perfect in all its dimensions and parts: admitting no change, no debasement of its unique characteristics, no variation within its defined limits, Doctrine cannot change into something different in kind. Doctrines must retain their integrity and their distinct character. Doctrine may indeed be enlarged but this is a growth where in the fundamental nature of previous teaching is not betrayed (Pope Francis has said on more than one occasion that the souls that do not go to heaven just disappear. This has never been a part of Catholic Doctrine and is heresy).
St. Vincent of Lerins tells us that over time, that doctrines should be smoothed, cleaned and polished, however they are not to be changed or mutilated. The same thing that you were taught, teach to others (this is why Traditional Catholicism uses catechetical materials before VC II).
Catholic Truth is that which has been believed everywhere, always, by everyone. This distinguishes Catholic Truth from heresy. This rule is for the purpose of maintaining antiquity and universality of the Catholic Faith; Catholic Faith can be clearly known within the Catholic Church during any period of time (this is why the Catholic Church in Tradition exists).
In St. Paul’s letter to Timothy, Paul tells Timothy: “lay up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold of the True Life. Oh, Timothy keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding the profane novelties of words and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called. Protect the Deposit of Faith (I Timothy 6:19-20).”
One Hundred years before Vatican Council II and well into the 50 some years after, The Catholic Church(Novus Ordo) has been working at changing the Catholic Church of Antiquity into another church with establishing new mechanisms that bring heresy into the Deposit of Faith and this is why the Catholic Church in Tradition is present in the world today and why the Novus Ordo Catholic Church is seeking to crush the Latin Mass, destroy Traditional Religious Life and get rid of priests who are preaching and teaching the Catholic Faith of Antiquity.
-where you go to church. If you financially support the N.O. Mass or the Latin Mass offered by the Diocese or the Religious Communities in union with Rome, you are supporting the entity that wants to destroy Catholic Truth.
-what catechetical materials you use to educate yourselves or your children. Materials since VC II have heresy all through the materials.
-how you dress, live your life.
-as a Traditional Catholic you have a responsibility to hand on the Faith of Catholic Antiquity and not the Catholicism of the Novus Order Church.
PART 2: Rule of Faith to be continued....