Exsurge Domine

I just looked at the thread on whether Luther was unjustly excommunicated, and noticed that as often happens the discussion was a bit vague. Claims were made about “what Luther taught” without specific citations. So here are the teachings of Luther condemned in the papal bull *Exsurge Domine, *which was essentially a shot across the bow warning Luther he’d be excommunicated if he didn’t recant (he didn’t, and so he was). And if you wonder why the Pope was so longsuffering with one obnoxious friar, bear in mind that Luther had a very powerful protector (Elector Frederick of Saxony), and was already gaining a wide reputation–apart from any genuine concerns with justice and mercy that he may have had, the Pope had to tread carefully and prepare the ground thoroughly.

Anyway, here are the condemned teachings, with my comments on whether I think they should have been condemned or not. I welcome feedback from both Protestants and Catholics. (But remember that these are summaries of Luther’s teachings as understood by the Papal curia.)

  1. It is a heretical opinion, but a common one, that the sacraments of the New Law give pardoning grace to those who do not set up an obstacle.

Luther is rejecting standard medieval (and ongoing Catholic) sacramental teaching here by calling this view heretical. To me the question is “what is the obstacle”? I understand Luther’s concern–that this language makes it sound as if grace just works automatically apart from faith–but given that a lack of faith is certainly seen as an obstacle in Catholic theology, I think Luther was overreacting. Maybe the formulation he’s criticizing is less than ideal, but it’s not heretical. And so one can’t blame the Pope for condemning Luther’s condemnation, although one can wish that both sides had been more willing to engage in dialogue here!

  1. To deny that in a child after baptism sin remains is to treat with contempt both Paul and Christ.

Again, this is a matter of definition. I can see arguments on both sides, but on the whole I come down on the Catholic side here. Sin “properly so called,” to quote Wesley, is a deliberate act of the will. One can legitimately say that sin remains in the believer if one defines one’s terms carefully. I suspect that Luther is thinking of Romans 7 and similar passages–“when I would do good, evil is present with me.” But the Catholic position also expresses something found in Scripture–that baptism genuinely washes sin away. So again, Luther’s outright condemnation of the traditional view is unwarranted.

  1. The inflammable sources of sin, even if there be no actual sin, delay a soul departing from the body from entrance into heaven.

This brings us to the question of the nature of Purgatory. (And yes, in the period of his theology from which this material was taken, Luther did believe in Purgatory, but he had an innovative theory about it.) Is it a judicial punishment? If so, then this brings us back to whether the “tinder of sin” that remains in baptized believers is itself sin in a strict sense. But I don’t think the view of Purgatory as a judicial punishment is defensible. And if Purgatory is the purgation of whatever lingering attachment to sin we may have (even if it isn’t culpable), then Luther’s view makes sense.

  1. To one on the point of death imperfect charity necessarily brings with it great fear, which in itself alone is enough to produce the punishment of purgatory, and impedes entrance into the kingdom.

Here I think Luther is on even sounder ground. If charity is what unites us to God, then imperfect charity is going to hinder our perfect union with God, and I think he shows both theological and psychological insight in saying that this happens through fear. (And yes, I know that Luther’s later theology was rather different. We are dealing here with the views condemned by the Pope in 1520.)

  1. That there are three parts to penance: contrition, confession, and satisfaction, has no foundation in Sacred Scripture nor in the ancient sacred Christian doctors.

Here Luther is once again making sweeping statements that can’t be defended. I think his main problem is the concept of satisfaction, and I would say that it does indeed need to be nuanced carefully. But the three-part structure developed over time based indeed on Scripture and the Fathers and shouldn’t simply be thrown out.

  1. Contrition, which is acquired through discussion, collection, and detestation of sins, by which one reflects upon his years in the bitterness of his soul, by pondering over the gravity of sins, their number, their baseness, the loss of eternal beatitude, and the acquisition of eternal damnation, this contrition makes him a hypocrite, indeed more a sinner.

Obviously Luther has a valid point if he is talking about a human effort to work oneself up into grief for one’s sins. Contrition is a gift of God. But Luther makes too sharp a dichotomy between grace and the means of grace (one that would then be turned against his own theology in various ways by other Protestants). Clearly the things he is describing are good things to do, and do not necessarily make a person a hypocrite or “more a sinner.” So here I side with the Pope.

  1. It is a most truthful proverb and the doctrine concerning the contritions given thus far is the more remarkable: “Not to do so in the future is the highest penance; the best penance, a new life.”

It’s hard to believe that the Pope could condemn this. It seems impeccably orthodox to me.

  1. By no means may you presume to confess venial sins, nor even all mortal sins, because it is impossible that you know all mortal sins. Hence in the primitive Church only manifest mortal sins were confessed.

He has a point historically–in the early Church people do not appear to have confessed sins that were not public (though no doubt this can be debated). However, the theological issue here is once again how we define mortal sin. If mortal sin really requires deliberate consent to grave matter, then yes, one can conceivably know all one’s mortal sins. I share Luther’s concern about the torture of conscience that is possible if you believe that you won’t be forgiven unless you “get them all,” but I recognize that Catholic moral theology and pastoral practice has tried to deal with this problem. So while I have some sympathy for Luther’s view here, I don’t think it was unjust for the Pope to condemn it. The basic question is whether mortal sin is a deliberate choice or something that inevitably pervades everything we do. On that, I think the Catholic Church was right.

  1. As long as we wish to confess all sins without exception, we are doing nothing else than to wish to leave nothing to God’s mercy for pardon.

I think this is nonsense, because confessing and repenting our sins do not take the place of God’s mercy–rather, they bring the sins out into the light of God’s mercy. This view was rightly condemned.

I’ll continue this list as I have time.


Excellent information. I hate to say it, but I was one of those who never gave the reasons, only the vague references. Thanks.

  1. Sins are not forgiven to anyone, unless when the priest forgives them he believes they are forgiven; on the contrary the sin would remain unless he believed it was forgiven; for indeed the remission of sin and the granting of grace does not suffice, but it is necessary also to believe that there has been forgiveness.
  2. By no means can you have reassurance of being absolved because of your contrition, but because of the word of Christ: “Whatsoever you shall loose, etc.” Hence, I say, trust confidently, if you have obtained the absolution of the priest, and firmly believe yourself to have been absolved, and you will truly be absolved, whatever there may be of contrition.
  3. If through an impossibility he who confessed was not contrite, or the priest did not absolve seriously, but in a jocose manner, if nevertheless he believes that he has been absolved, he is most truly absolved.
  4. No one ought to answer a priest that he is contrite, nor should the priest inquire.
  5. Great is the error of those who approach the sacrament of the Eucharist relying on this, that they have confessed, that they are not conscious of any mortal sin, that they have sent their prayers on ahead and made preparations; all these eat and drink judgment to themselves. But if they believe and trust that they will attain grace, then this faith alone makes them pure and worthy.

These five points raise some interesting and difficult questions. However, I’m inclined to think that Luther is wrong here, because I don’t think faith is faith in the fact of our forgiveness. Rather, faith is faith in Christ. This I think illustrates what Luther meant by rejecting the view that sacraments give grace when there is no obstacle. Obviously Catholics agree that lack of faith in Christ is an obstacle. But Luther insists on faith in the specific fact that I have been forgiven. Clearly Catholics would say that you must believe in the power of the sacrament, but they would also say (am I correct?) that one can never be 100% sure of one’s own heart. Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith is intended to get past such doubts by saying that faith gives certainty. You don’t have to worry about whether you are truly contrite. (It should be mentioned in Luther’s favor that in his day the precise degree of contrition necessary for forgiveness in sacramental confession was still being debated. Some penitential theologians taught that perfect contrition was necessary even in the sacrament, and I believe this is what Luther is responding to.) You just look to Christ (whose forgiveness is being declared to you in the sacrament) and are confident on this basis that you have been forgiven. As a matter of pastoral psychology, Luther’s teaching does not necessarily give certainty. It seems to work for some people and not for others. One can also worry about whether one’s faith is real, of course. And as a matter of theology, I don’t think it holds up. The NT says “repent and believe.” It does not say, “As long as you believe, you don’t need to worry about whether you are truly repentant or not.”

  1. In the sacrament of penance and the remission of sin the pope or the bishop does no more than the lowest priest; indeed, where there is no priest, any Christian, even if a woman or child, may equally do as much.

I would defend this statement. However, the two halves of it are very different. I would defend the first half as a thoroughly Catholic and orthodox statement. The idea that certain sins are “reserved” to the Pope, others to the bishops, seems to me to be an abuse of medieval ecclesiastical bureaucracy and not good sacramental theology. Perhaps one could make a case for certain sins being reserved to the bishop, since the bishop exercises the fullness of orders. But the Pope’s primacy should not be relevant to the sacrament of reconciliation.

The second half of the statement is of course a much more radical claim. I am willing to defend it, but I recognize that it goes against Catholic teaching and raises difficult issues concerning the nature of ordination and the relationship between ordination and baptism.

  1. It seems to have been decided that the Church in common Council established that the laity should communicate under both species; the Bohemians who communicate under both species are not heretics, but schismatics.

I am not sure which Council Luther is referring to, or who has “decided” this (early-sixteenth-century scholars, I presume). However, I am certainly willing to defend the view that communion under both kinds is not heretical, and surely no contemporary Catholic will argue with me! This is one where Luther seems pretty clearly right, even by Catholic standards.

  1. The treasures of the Church, from which the pope grants indulgences, are not the merits of Christ and of the saints.

I agree with Luther here, although I recognize that the “treasury of merits” doctrine has been rephrased in far less problematic ways.

  1. Indulgences are pious frauds of the faithful, and remissions of good works; and they are among the number of those things which are allowed, and not of the number of those which are advantageous.

I’d like to see the context for this–it seems a bit garbled. The statement “Indulgences are pious frauds” is too vague in the absence of a discussion of a specific theology of indulgences. And I’m not sure what is meant by “remissions of good works,” although I suspect Luther meant that indulgences let people off doing truly good works. Certainly that could be true, depending on what the indulgences were given for and how they were proclaimed. I’m also not sure what it means for something “allowed” not to be “advantageous.” Why allow something that isn’t advantageous? I think he means that the Church has the right to give indulgences (purely as a canon-law measure and with no effect on one’s state after death), but that it isn’t something that helps people spiritually. I’m inclined to agree, but this whole article is too vague to discuss very clearly.

  1. Indulgences are of no avail to those who truly gain them, for the remission of the penalty due to actual sin in the sight of divine justice.

I thoroughly agree with Luther here.

  1. They are seduced who believe that indulgences are salutary and useful for the fruit of the spirit.

Here I disagree. I can see ways in which indulgences could be spiritually helpful.

  1. Indulgences are necessary only for public crimes, and are properly conceded only to the harsh and impatient.

I think this is a legitimate and defensible view, though as I said above I can perhaps see other ways in which indulgences might be legitimate, if properly defined.

And the same goes for no. 22.

  1. For six kinds of men indulgences are neither necessary nor useful; namely, for the dead and those about to die, the infirm, those legitimately hindered, and those who have not committed crimes, and those who have committed crimes, but not public ones, and those who devote themselves to better things.
  2. Excommunications are only external penalties and they do not deprive man of the common spiritual prayers of the Church.
  3. Christians must be taught to cherish excommunications rather than to fear them.

I would tend to agree with no. 23. I don’t know what no. 24 is supposed to mean–I’d have to see the context.

  1. The Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, is not the vicar of Christ over all the churches of the entire world, instituted by Christ Himself in blessed Peter.

I think that the phrase “vicar of Christ” is an unfortunate one, but I can see a sense in which it is legitimate. I do agree that the Pope has some kind of authority over the universal Church, and that this authority derives from the authority given to Peter by Christ. So on that point I think Luther was wrong, understandable as his rejection of papal authority was under the circumstances.

  1. The word of Christ to Peter: “Whatsoever you shall loose on earth,” etc., is extended merely to those things bound by Peter himself.

I don’t think this is true. But I do think that there is a difference between the disciplinary authority of church leaders and their proclamation of the Word (whether in teaching or in declaring the forgiveness of sins). I don’t think one can apply the Church’s disciplinary authority to the afterlife in a straightforward manner, and I think this is what Luther was reacting to.

  1. It is certain that it is not in the power of the Church or the pope to decide upon the articles of faith, and much less concerning the laws for morals or for good works.

I think we have to understand the potential force of the word “decide.” Part of the problem with late medieval Catholicism was the dominance of canon lawyers, who applied their administrative and judicial approach to all sorts of theological issues. Clearly the Church as a whole or the Pope in particular does not create truth. It recognizes truth. So what is at stake here is the question of whether and how the Holy Spirit guides the Church and prevents it from making errors. I believe that the visible Church is prevented from making certain kinds of errors, and that Luther was wrong in abandoning this view. However, this is a point where he should be cut a lot of slack given the inappropriately administrative way in which many in the Church spoke of these issues at the time.

  1. If the pope with a great part of the Church thought so and so, he would not err; still it is not a sin or heresy to think the contrary, especially in a matter not necessary for salvation, until one alternative is condemned and another approved by a general Council.

I agree with Luther here.

  1. A way has beeri made for us for weakening the authority of councils, and for freely contradicting their actions, and judging their decrees, and boldly confessing whatever seems true, whether it has been approved or disapproved by any council whatsoever.

Again, this has obviously been taken out of context. As it stands, what Luther is purportedly describing is reprehensible. But I’d like to know where the Pope got this from.

  1. Some articles of John Hus, condemned in the Council of Constance, are most Christian, wholly true and evangelical; these the universal Church could not condemn.

I’d have to go look at all the articles in question, which I don’t want to do right now. But I’m certainly open to the possibility that Luther is right here. I am not convinced that the Council of Constance was necessarily protected from error.

  1. In every good work the just man sins.
    32. A good work done very well is a venial sin.

This is at best poorly phrased. It may be true that everything we do in this life involves venial sin, in the sense that we always fall short of perfect love. But the implications Luther drew from this are illegitimate and were rightly condemned.

  1. That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.

This is certainly true. Is anyone willing to defend the Pope’s condemnation here?

  1. To go to war against the Turks is to resist God who punishes our iniquities through them.

Again, I wonder what Luther actually meant, but as it stands this is indeed erroneous. I am not a true pacifist–self-defense is legitimate, even if one’s enemies are in fact instruments of God’s wrath.

  1. No one is certain that he is not always sinning mortally, because of the most hidden vice of pride.

This is interesting because I thought it was the Catholic position–at least that absolute certainty on this point is impossible, though moral certainty is. I agree with that position, not necessarily with what Luther meant by the condemned article, and certainly not with the implications he drew from it.

  1. Free will after sin is a matter of title only;

By “after sin” I think he means after the fall. This is too strongly worded, although of course Augustine and the Council of Orange would agree that sinful humans without grace are not able to use their free will to come to God, which may be what Luther means.

and as long as one does what is in him, one sins mortally.

If this is understood in the absence of grace, then Luther is right.

  1. Purgatory cannot be proved from Sacred Scripture which is in the canon.

I agree with Luther, although certainly there are passages that may point in that direction.

  1. The souls in purgatory are not sure of their salvation, at least not all;

I don’t know one way or the other, though I’m skeptical of Luther’s claim; and I tend to think that questions concerning purgatory are not proper subjects for dogmatic pronouncements.

nor is it proved by any arguments or by the Scriptures that they are beyond the state of meriting or of increasing in charity.

I would tend to agree with Luther, but I don’t see it as a very important issue–I certainly don’t see why Luther needed to be condemned here.

  1. The souls in purgatory sin without intermission, as long as they seek rest and abhor punishment.

Luther was wrong.

  1. The souls freed from purgatory by the suffrages of the living are less happy than if they had made satisfactions by themselves.

I’m not quite sure what this is supposed to mean. I think we’re back to Luther’s rather weird early teaching about Purgatory. As it stands, this is a strange and IMHO indefensible opinion.

  1. Ecclesiastical prelates and secular princes would not act badly if they destroyed all of the money bags of beggary.

Luther is talking about the mendicant orders here. While he and others had legitimate complaints about the abuses of the mendicant orders, and in particular there were ecclesiological problems with the degree of independence the orders had from the local bishop and priests (something the Council of Trent tried to address), Luther’s condemnation of the mendicants in principle was wrong. And his endorsement of the right of secular princes to suppress such orders shows the truly vicious side of the Reformation–its fundamental treason to the body fo Christ by appealing to secular authorities against the visible structures proper to the Church. And in particular, here, its opposition to precisely those aspects of the medieval Church which in principle allowed for a counter-cultural witness to the Gospel over against the materialism and power-hunger of the world.

I welcome both Catholic and Protestant responses to the above. I am particularly interested in Protestant defenses of those points where I have disagreed with Luther, and in Catholic defenses of those papal condemnations with which I have disagreed. I would invite Catholics to start with articles 7, 16 (the part about communion under both kinds not being heretical), and 33. Is anyone willing to claim that these articles were justly condemned?


On point 16, there was an issue at one time that said if you did not receive both species, you did not receive Jesus in his entirity. AS you know, it is easy to “run out.” People began to say they did not have a valid mass because of it. It was combated by re-inforcing that Jesus is present body, blood, soul and divinity in the smallest amout of either form. At the same time, Rome ruled that only the Body would be given at mass. Some groups did not like taht ruling. Some were because they held the heresy, others because they felt it was local custom to use both and should be left as such.

I do not know which group this is. It is possible that Rome called one heretical when they were schismatic. It is also possible that Luther got them mixed up.

I am not sure about point 7. Something might be missing from one side or the other. THe pope might have taken it to mean that there is no need of penence if you stop sinning. I am not sure.

Not even gonna touch 33. I need more information.

Did the pope take it to mean that the state did not have the authority or that the Church should not allow the state to do it?

Yes, but the statement doesn’t refer to the theological assumptions behind it. It refers to the practice. If we bring context into it, then we need to look at some of Luther’s more problematic statements and see what the context may have been. Since the bull takes these statements out of context and condemns them in themselves, I think it’s fair to ask whether the statements themselves are necessarily wrong. The wording of this particular article refers *only *to the practice, not to the theology behind it. If you have evidence that would indicate that Pope Leo was implicitly making a distinction between the practice and the theology, then I’m interested to see that evidence. But I will not accept contemporary Catholic distinctions as evidence. I’m interested in what Pope Leo was condemning and what people in his day thought he was condemning. And as far as I can see he was condemning the practice as heretical.


Fair enough. I’ll see what I can find. This may take a minute

The Council in question was the Council of Florence (or Basel) in 1438.

According to the New Westminster Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship, the Bohemians in question were using both in giving infants communion, and that communication by all baptised in both species were a law of God. That work notes that they were the only group teaching this and no other Reformed Church did, even though Trent cited it. (page 253) The group in question are called Bohemian Utraquists.

This group seems to be connected to Huss. Eventually, the group merged with Lutherans.

Does this help with 16? It seems like the issue actually had nothing to do with Luther.

Yes, but what the Pope condemned was the statement that “the Bohemians who communicate under both species are not heretics.” There is no indication in the statement itself that the statement “communicating under both species is a law of God” is what is really being condemned here.

The debate did have to do with Luther, because the Protestants did in fact follow the “Bohemians” on this issue. New Westminster may be speaking specifically of infant communion in saying that no other church fully agreed with the Hussites (“communion of both species by all the baptized”). Anyway, my point is that the Pope does not distinguish between the view “communion should normally be in both species” and “communion must be in both species or it is invalid.” I agree that the latter view is erroneous. For instance, someone who struggles with alcoholism may receive under one species only. But the wording of this article implies that the practice itself is heretical. Admittedly the format of the bull makes it hard to be sure.


It does. Not to mention that I am having a rough time finding any explination of any of it. I am going to try to contact one of the EWTN theologins and see what I can find out.

I sent a message to one of the EWTN theologins. He has referred me to another one that is more well versed in that era and document. I have yet to hear back. As soon as I do, we can resume. :smiley:

Re 33
“And he said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should not come: but woe to him through whom they come. It were better for him, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones.”

Well if being cast into the sea with a millstone around one’s neck does not offend against the Spirit for the scandal wrought by heresy, then presumably neither does being burnt for it.
People today tend to be confused about what is and is not important. We would not think twice about the justice of dropping bombs if necessary to burn our enemies to stop them from waging a war to the death against us, so why would we think it improper to burn a heretic to death, especially one who would not desist even under the threat of being burnt to death? The heretic brings scandals that endanger the salvation of many souls and this is worse that merely killing people.
Of course moderns don’t really believe this any more. Everyone is entitled to hold whatever opinion they wish, and while others may oppose them, this opposition may not overstep the bounds of politeness. We must be tolerant of what others say. Yet if we really believe that what others say may mislead others to the point that the misled do not gain eternal salvation, then we should reserve the right to burn the misleaders.

Re 16

“It seems to have been decided that the Church in common Council established that the laity should communicate under both species; the Bohemians who communicate under both species are not heretics, but schismatics.”

If “should communicate” means “must communicate,” then it is an error to suppose that the laity must communicate under both species. Those who would say that they must communicate under both species are indeed heretics.

Re 7

“It is a most truthful proverb and the doctrine concerning the contritions given thus far is the more remarkable: “Not to do so in the future is the highest penance; the best penance, a new life.””

Again this is a modernist confusion which is difficult to point to because one must work within its inherited terms. If the best part of going to jail is getting out, then why wait to get out? But if you are let out without doing time, then there is no jail. And if there is no jail, there is no crime except in a nominal sense.
The release into a new life is not a penance, rather it is that which is made possible through penance. There is an ontological dimension to penance. For there to be real conversion and justice done with respect to a wrong, there must first be a real recognition of the wrong, not a mere formal one. Penance, which includes contrition, is a mode of recognition by which we pass into a new life. Just as childhood is a mode of being by which we pass into adulthood. One would not say to a child, the best way to behave like a child is to be an adult. One would not say to one undergoing penance, the best way to do penance is to behave as if you have nothing any longer to be contrite about. One can only do the latter once one has been released into new life though penance.

Who are “we”? i agree that our society is wicked and ungodly. But Christians ought not to be.

You are assuming one wickedness as an excuse for another. In fact, if “dropping bombs” means indiscriminate bombing that would kill the innocent, the case you cite is far worse than executing heretics.

Killing combatants is a different matter. It’s more legitimate than killing heretics because military combatants are using physical force. (Of course some heretics have done so–fine, then they are just like anyone else using physical force and the normal response apply.) Heresy per se is a purely spiritual evil, and thus it should be resisted by spiritual methods.

so why would we think it improper to burn a heretic to death, especially one who would not desist even under the threat of being burnt to death?

Because a person who sticks to his or her views under threat of death is showing heroic virtue. It is wrong to kill someone as a criminal for showing heroic virtue. It may be right to do so in an act of self-defense (as in a war, where an enemy may be a personally virtuous and heroic person). But to see the execution of heretics as an act of self-defense is deeply mistaken. The Church doesn’t need the violence of the civil arm to defend itself against its spiritual enemies.

The heretic brings scandals that endanger the salvation of many souls and this is worse that merely killing people.

Whether it’s “worse” isn’t the point. The point is that physical force is not the proper response. It’s a confession of spiritual weakness. Furthermore, given the complexities of the human mind and heart and the mysterious nature of religious truth, it is simply false to claim that heretics are personally wicked people. Many heretics are sincerely mistaken. Tolerating them, and trying to refute them, can only strengthen the Church.

I do not think it would be unjust to execute a person who was deliberately distorting the truth for sinful reasons. But I do think it was always the wrong thing for the Church of Jesus to advocate or encourage. And furthermore, I think it’s impossible to determine with anything like moral certainty that a person falls under this category. ( L. Ron Hubbard in modern times would be the major possible exception.)

Of course moderns don’t really believe this any more. Everyone is entitled to hold whatever opinion they wish, and while others may oppose them, this opposition may not overstep the bounds of politeness.

It has nothing to do with politeness. It has to do with using the proper spiritual weapons to defend the cause of Christ; with showing charity to those who differ from us (quite different from politeness); and far less importantly, with not giving scandal.

We must be tolerant of what others say. Yet if we really believe that what others say may mislead others to the point that the misled do not gain eternal salvation, then we should reserve the right to burn the misleaders.

Nonsense. Your conclusions do not follow for the reasons I gave above. If you want to hold to harsh, unbending, traditional positions, you might at least try to be logical about it.


I think many underestimate the severe father complex from which Luther suffered, the trauma of his childhood treatment, and his obsesive compulsive efforts to “achieve” forgiveness and right relationship with God. He really was an extremely tortured soul. The more he “worked at” penance, the further away from God and grace he felt. His spiritual directors and pastors were puzzled about his pre-occupation with his unworthiness, and inability to accept and live in grace.

From what I had gleaned from a bishop who was on the Ecumenical Council at Vatican II, Guanaphore’s post here reflects that.

The history of faith revolves around a gathering of people, not individuals leading flocks away into subsequent further fragmentation of faith.

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