Author Topic: Berry, E. Sylvester. (1927). "Mark of Catholiicity During Arian Crisis".  (Read 56 times)

Joe Cupertino

The Church of Christ
E. Sylvester Berry, D.D. (1927)
pp.169-170

Quote
Objection II.  During the Arian heresy in the fourth century the Catholic Church ceased to be Catholic or universal, for, as St. Jerome said on one occasion: "The whole world groaned and was surprised to find itself Arian." ("Contra Luciferianos"; P.L., 23, 172.)

Answer. - These words of St. Jerome are not to be taken literally, as is evident from the circumstances.  At the councils of Rimini and Selucia, in 359, the Arians gained a victory by having a creed adopted in which their errors were not directly condemned.  This aided them in the spread of their doctrines, because they could make it appear that the councils had approved them.  When hearing of this, St. Jerome used the words quoted in the objection.  It is true that the Arians made rapid strides, even many priests and bishops fell into their errors, but the Church never ceased to be truly universal, and most probably continued at all times more wide-spread than the Arian sect, despite the fact that the emperors did all in their power to spread the heresy.  St. Athanasius and the bishops of his patriarchate wrote to the Emperor in this matter: "The churches of every nation agree with the Nicene Faith, - those in Spain, Britain, and Gaul; in Italy, Dalmatia, and Mysia; in Macedonia, in all Greece and the whole of Africa; in Sardinia, Cyprus, Crete, Pamphylia, Isauria, and Lycia, and in all Egypt and Lybia, Pontus, Cappadocia, and adjacent districts, and in all the eastern churches, except a few who believe with Arius.  We have certain knowledge regarding the above-mentioned  churches, because we have letters from them, and we know most religious Emperor, how few they are who contradict this faith." (St. Athanasius, "Ad Jovianum," quoted in Theordoret's Church History, IV, 3; P.G., 82, 1126.)

Even granting that these words contain some rhetorical exaggeration, they still show that the Church had not ceased to be truly Catholic by her diffusion through the then known world.
--Berry, E. Sylvester, D.D.  The Church of Christ: An Apologetic and Dogmatic Treatise. St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co. 1927.
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Joe Cupertino

Re: Berry, E. Sylvester. (1927). "Mark of Catholiicity During Arian Crisis".
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