Friday, May 29, 2015

Shepherds for the Whole World

"And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness" (1 John 5:19).

"Adulterers, know you not that the friendship of this world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of this world, makes himself an enemy of God" (Jas. 4:4).

"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world" (Jas. 1:27).

"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:18-19).

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph. 6:12).

"We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God" (1 Cor. 2:12).

"Woe unto the world because of offences! For it is necessary that offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence comes!" (Matt. 18:7)

"Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?" (1 Cor. 6:2)

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives do I give you" (John 14:27).

"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the pagans seek...But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matt. 6:31-33).

"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither does it know him" (John 14:17).

"For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world" (2 Tim. 4:10).

"I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me" (John 17:9).

"The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God" (1 Cor. 3:19).

"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1 John 2:16).

"Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you" (1 John 3:13).

"But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world" (1 Cor. 11:32).

"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Gal. 6:14).

"For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome , the latter end is worse with them than the beginning" (2 Pet. 2:20).

"They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world hears them" (1 John 4:5).

"Be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom. 12:12).

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, That you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and you shall be sorrowful , but your sorrow shall be turned into joy" (John 16:20).

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15).

"For what does it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 16:26)

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The list of Bible verses above is just a sampling of those that deal with the Christian's relationship with that entity known as "the world". The world is a very interesting term in the New Testament. It appears throughout the New Testament, but especially in the writings of St. John, where it is used a total of 105 times in 78 verses. 

The word can mean various things. Sometimes it simply means the sum total of things here and now; i.e., the universe, as in Revelation 13:8, "And all that dwell upon the earth adored him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb, which was slain from the beginning of the world." Sometimes it means the world as the physical location of humanity, or simply in contrast with heaven, such as in John 3:17, "For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him." Sometimes "the world" is synonymous with humanity, as in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world." 

But the majority of uses of "the world" in the New Testament refer to the world as the system of human existence under its various aspects: as a place of earthly joys and passions, and especially as a system that is hostile to God. In this sense, the world is something that is in opposition to God and His kingdom, as in John 8:23, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world." Over 50% of all uses to the word "world" (κόσμος, "kosmos") in the writings of John use this adversarial language; this percentage increases when we take into account similar uses of κόσμος, by St. Paul ("Hath God not made foolish the wisdom of this world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world, by wisdom, knew not God" ~1 Cor. 1:20-21).

Thus, although there is certainly some nuance in the word, we are safe in suggesting that the primary usage of the phrase "the world" in the New Testament is in reference to the entire earthly system of opposition to God under all its aspects, the "City of Man" of St. Augustine, whose head is ultimately the devil (cf. Luke 4:5-6. 1 John 5:19). Because the head of this system is the devil - and because there is no concord between the Kingdom of Christ and the Kingdom of the Devil (2 Cor. 6:15) - it is clear that the New Testament posits a relationship of fundamental and irreconcilable hostility between the Church and the world. Hence St. James can say, "do you not know that the friendship of this world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of this world, makes himself an enemy of God" (Jas. 4:4).

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Of course there is a popular saying, long hallowed in Christian tradition, that believers are to be "in the world but not of the world." This formula, "in but not of", is seen as a way to resolve the tension between the Christian's call to love the people of the world whilst simultaneously refusing to become "part" of the world. It is often invoked as an admonishment to those Christians who no longer wish to engage the corrupt culture but merely withdraw from it. "The Bible says we are to be in the world but not of it. Disengagement is not an option."

You may surprised to learn that this phrase "in the world but not of the world" never appears in the New Testament. It seems to be based loosely on John 17:14-15, where Jesus prays,"I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world; as I also am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from evil." Here Jesus specifically teaches that we are "not of the world", and that though we must remain physically present in it, He prays that God would keep us from its evil. In other words, Jesus never says by way of command that we are to be engaged in the world; He merely says that since we must be physically present in the world by necessity, God should keep us from the world's evil, which is quite a different shade of meaning than that conveyed by "in but not of."

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The goal of the Christian life if holiness. Yet what is holiness? What does it meant to be holy? We understand that we are called to be loving, forgiving, etc. But what does it mean to be "holy"? Is holiness a mere sum of all other natural and supernatural virtues? And what about God? God is love, power, forgiveness, justice and so on. But what does it mean when the angels cry that God is "holy, holy, holy?"

The fundamental definition of holiness is separation. The Latin word for holiness is sanctitas, from whence sanctity. Holiness denotes separation or consecration unto God. When the angels cry "holy, holy, holy" it is because God is so far separate and distinct from all created things that awe is the only appropriate response in his presence. "Between creator and creature there can be noted no similarity so great that a greater dissimilarity cannot be seen between them", the Fourth Lateran Council taught (cap. 3, "On Heretics"). St. Thomas defines holiness as a firm separation of created things which are translated from profane use to use in the service of God (STh II-II Q. 81 art. 8). This is why Holy Water, Holy Cards, Holy Candles, Holy Oil, etc. have the adjective "holy" - once they are consecrated, they are "set apart" for divine worship exclusively. To use Holy Oil for cooking for Holy Water for common washing would be sacrilegious. Their consecration is what makes them "holy", and hence set apart for divine use exclusively.

Of course, a person is holy in a different sense than an object, but the fundamental reality that holiness means separation remains. 
A man with Holy Orders is set apart for the service of God. A holy person is one whose life is separated from worldly concerns and activities and who already lives, even in the flesh, in contemplation of heavenly things. Holiness is separation; separation from worldly uses and a setting apart unto God, "who is above all, through all, and in all" (Eph. 4:6).

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With the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church adopted a posture of "openness" to the world. Pope John XXIII harbored great hopes for a kind of reconciliation between the Church and the world that would lead to the mutual building up of both; what he called a "new order of human relations", while also condemning those "prophets of gloom" who only saw the modern world in a negative light. This led to a massive paradigm shift in the post-Conciliar Church, a pivot towards the world. It matters not whether the Council documents ever called for this pivot; the essential weakness of the conservative response to the Council has been a narrow focus on the Council documents' language and a failure to comprehend the Council as an event (see, USC, "Book Review: Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story", Aug. 2013). The pivot happened and it must be acknowledged as a fact.

The result of this pivot was a blurring of distinction between the Church and world, between merely natural goods and supernatural goods. Worldly concerns seemed to be become the Church's concerns. It started innocently enough with "world peace," but then moved on to all sorts of other issues, occupying bigger and bigger parts of the Church's canvas until the Church appeared as little more than an NGO concerned with worldly problems like climate change and youth unemployment. Not that the Church has no concern with temporal evils that offend God; but as the Church shifted its focus more and more towards merely natural goods, it began to address them with increasingly little reference to man's supernatural ends.

The results were a spiritually deadening and embarrassingly banal Church that gives us such gems as "Driver's Ten Commandments", documents about immigration reform, and of course, encyclicals on global warming.

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This is all very shady territory, of course, because there can always be an argument made that these are all issues of profound concern to Christians. There is often an ambiguity in these sorts of pronouncements; what one gets out of them largely depends on what one reads into them. We are talking about mood and emphasis, not doctrine. I remember a Protestant friend of mine, upon hearing of some new papal gesture for world peace, said, "It's's like he's trying to be the pope of the world or something." And that was under the pontificate of Benedict! Needless to say he is not very impressed with Pope Francis; there is no discernible "Francis Effect" on him, at least not in the positive sense.

Perhaps this all expresses the tension in modern Catholicism - once one has opened up to the world, what is the overlap between one's duties to the Church and to the world? What happens when they are in contradiction? Can they be in contradiction? In traditional Catholicism the answer was clear: the Church and the world were in a fundamental state of opposition. But once we have pivoted towards the world, what now?

Case in point: Consider Pope Benedict XVI's recent letter in which the Pope Emeritus states that the Church's pastors should be "shepherds for the whole world." Benedict wrote:

"The service of a shepherd cannot be only limited only to the Church [even though] in the first place, we are entrusted with the care of the faithful and of those who are directly seeking faith. [The Church] is part of the world, and therefore it can properly play its service only if it takes care of the world in its entirety.”

What is a Catholic to make of these words? It is certainly true, in one sense, that since the mission of Christ was to redeem the whole human race, the Church can never concern herself solely with matters entirely internal. She must always be considering her mission ad gentes; God wills all men to be saved, and so we must labor for all men to be so.

This is nothing new. But is that the sense in which Benedict means it? He goes on to say that the Church "must be involved in the efforts that humanity and society put into action" to address "the questions of our times."

The fundamental question is this: Is he envisioning the Church reaching out to make the world think about heavenly things, or the Church focusing more of its attention on worldly things? Does he want the Church to call the world to remember man's supernatural ends, or is he proposing the Church help to world attain its merely natural ends? Is this a call of the world to the Church or a capitulation of the Church to the world? The problem is both philosophies can be read into Benedict's words, depending on one's predisposition.

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The Church has come a long way in its relation with the world. From a New Testament relation of essential opposition, to the modern zeitgeist of positivity and openness to the developments of the world. The tendency in the modern age is for the things going on in the world to be accepted by the Church. This certainly didn't begin with Vatican II; I personally think it began back when the Church began acclimating itself to the credit economy by mitigating its condemnations of usury (see USC, "Usury and Love of Money").

The Church must always engage the world with an aim of bringing men from the City of Man to the City of God; but this translation of one city to the other happens on the Church's terms, not the world's. We "become all things to all men that by all means we might save some" (1 Cor. 9:22); we go out into the highways and byways to all. But we go out into the highways so that we might bring the lost into the feast; we do not go into the highways that we might join the lost wandering around outside. This is what so many Christians are missing, because like a kid who wants to be 'cool' and is embarrassed by his parents, Christians are ashamed to bring the lost to their Father's house.

In other words, finding it increasingly too difficult to break with the world to become truly Christian, the Christian people have simply decided to become one with the world and call it Christian. Rather than seek holiness by separating from worldly thoughts and behaviors, they have chosen to wallow in their worldliness and call it the 'universal call to holiness.' And as long as this is the reality, protestations against creeping worldliness will go unheeded, the worldiness of anthropocentric ecclesiastical policies will not even be recognized let alone corrected, and those who seek to pursue a true separation from the world in the classical Christian sense will ironically be accused of escapism and failure of Christian charity.

"When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" ~Luke 18:8

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Faithful Island Has Become a Harlot

"As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes" (Luke 19:41-42).

Our Lord spoke these words about the city of Jerusalem, but they could easily be applied to Ireland in the wake of its shameful referendum yesterday legitimizing homosexual marriage. 

The faithful isle has become a whore; the land of saints and sages has become drunk with the abominations of the nations and is reeling in its inebriation. Éire has betrayed St. Patrick. Éire has betrayed the Irish martyrs. Éire has betrayed its own constitution, which begins with the words, "In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred, We, the people of Éire, Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial..."

Yes, a disappointment to all Catholics, especially those who love the Catholic heritage of Ireland. Yet it is hard to tell what is more disappointing, the referendum results, or the lame excuses offered by the Irish Church's prelates. Rorate Caeli has documented how the bishops of Dublin and Derry offered the most mediocre, ambiguous, limp-wristed resistance to the vote, basically telling Irish Catholics that it was better to vote 'Yes' than to vote 'No' for the "wrong reasons."

After the vote, Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin placed the blame squarely on the Church, conveniently omitting any mention of the degenerate morals of his flock.

“I think really that the church needs to do a reality check, a reality check right across the board, to look at the things it’s doing well, to look at the areas where we really have to start and say, ‘Look, have we drifted away completely from young people?’ ” 

This reveals immediately the error in his thinking. If a reality check is needed, it is not because the Church has "drifted away" from young people - indeed, the Church doesn't drift away from people, people drift away from the Church - rather, the reality check needed is that this wishy-washy affirming dialogue centered nonsense that passes for Catholicism in most of the West is incapable of attracting young people. They're bored to tears with it. It means nothing to them. It's a fundamental failure of "modern" Catholicism.

But does the Archbishop recognize this? Nooooo. Of course not. The problem isn't that the Church has reformed; it's that she hasn't reformed far enough! More dialogue! More new language! More reaching out!

"It’s very clear that if this referendum is an affirmation of the views of young people, then the church has a huge task in front of it to find the language to be able to talk to and to get its message across to young people, not just on this issue, but in general.”

Somebody tell the Archbishop that the "language" needed to address this issue does not need to be "found." It has always been here in the Church's traditional moral theology, which has always taught that homosexual acts are acts of grave depravity and that even the homosexual tendency is intrinsically disordered.

Yet, for Archbishop Martin, the problem is not the immorality of homosexual acts but rather hand-wringing concerns that the Catholic Church is becoming a "safe space for the like-minded." He dislikes the clear moral teaching proposed by the Catholic Tradition. Instead he prefers to lounge about in Satan's favorite area, the grayscale:

“We need to find...a new language which is fundamentally ours, that speaks to, is understood and becomes appreciated by others. We tend to think in black and white but most of us live in the area of grey, and if the church has a harsh teaching, it seems to be condemning those who are not in line with it. But all of us live in the grey area. All of us fail. All of us are intolerant. All of us make mistakes. All of us sin and all of us pick ourselves up again with the help of that institution which should be there to do that."

Gray area indeed. This sounds like the realm of the lukewarm, and we know what Christ said about that. Is it not obvious that this is the voice of Satan speaking through this man?

He wraps up his interview with this gem:

“The church’s teaching, if it isn’t expressed in terms of love - then it’s got it wrong."

Of course, truth must always be spoken in love. The problem with these days however is that the truth isn't spoken at all. The Archbishop made the most equivocating, minimal resistance to the homosexual marriage referendum; and then, when it unsurprisingly passed, blamed the Church for "getting it wrong" and "drifting away" from the young and now calls for "a new language" to rectify the problem he helped create.

The solution for the problems created by the revolution is always more revolution, isn't it Archbishop Martin?

So, where are the angry counter protests? Where are heroic calls by the country's Catholic politicians and clergy for repeal? Where are the spirited vows that same sex so-called marriage will never be recognized by Catholic Ireland, regardless of the law of the land? Not a peep. Martin could care less. I personally believe the man is relieved that this issue is "settled", as he now has the luxury of throwing up his hands and saying, "It's the law of the land. What can I do?"


In the beginning of this post, I cited our Lord's lament over Jerusalem and suggested it could be applied to Ireland. In fact, it could probably be applied to western civilization in its entirety, which continues to decay because it does not know what will bring it peace. But if this passage does apply to western civilization, let us also remember how the passage ends:

"The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 19:43-44)

"See how the faithful city has become a harlot, She who was full of justice! Righteousness used to dwell in her- but now murderers!"(Isaiah 1:21)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Guest Post: Latin Mass Prejudices

The following is a guest post by a friend and fellow blogger Kevin Tierney. Kevin posts regularly at Catholic Lane. Unam Sanctam Catholicam's has regularly promoted his excellent series of articles introducing Novus Ordo attendees to the Propers of the Extraordinary Form. We are grateful for this lovely post on the question of the Traditional Latin Mass and why calls for a "better tone" among online defenders of the TLM are meaningless.

*  *  *  *  *

"I love the Latin Mass - but at the same time, how much preservation does it really need? It isn't as though it's going to disappear from the face of the earth."

This is an query sometimes posed by Catholics who are perhaps sympathetic to the Traditional Latin Mass but don't get what all the hubbub is about. It is a serious question and it deserves an explanation.

I don't think traditionalists are calling for the Latin Mass to be "preserved." In the worst case of trad fantasy booking, Francis could re-institute the 1984 Indult, and it would last only as long as he is breathing. The culture has changed. There was a time where it was an open question if the Latin Mass would go away. That time is long passed. The Latin Mass will definitely be "preserved."

But is the Latin Mass at least equal to the Novus Ordo? I think that's where the interesting question is. According to Vatican II, Ecclesia Dei and Summorum Pontificum (amongst many others) the answer is an unqualified yes. It is an approved form of worship within the Church, and like all of the liturgical life of the Church, it is worth cherishing and celebrating.

Does that sound like the way the Latin Mass is treated? The answer is an unqualified no. According to Robert Cardinal Sarah, Summorum Pontificum is not a reality within the dioceses of the world because a spirit of exclusion exists within Catholics who celebrate both forms. They weaponize the liturgy with hate and malice. Those are interesting words, but they don't convey the reality of why those words in Summorum Pontificum are often pious aspirations.

In several dioceses here in America, there is a de facto ban on advertising the availability of Latin Masses on websites, parish bulletins, etc. Other times there are countless hurdles being placed for celebrating the Latin Mass, including the bishop determining for himself whether or not someone is "competent" to celebrate it, something Ecclesia Dei has made clear is wrong. Saying the priest should tell the bishop to go screw while he appeals to Rome is nice in theory, but is probably going to make life quite difficult for the priest, and his congregation. In any such case, when priests have their visas revoked for saying that both the faithful trads and bishops need to be more accommodating towards each other, that is not faithful to the spirit of the Magesterium.

There is also the fact that individual traditionalists have to live up to a pretty ridiculous standard. They are not just ambassadors for themselves in all they do, but for the Latin Mass and all of Tradition as well. Any negative behavior can and will be attributed to the Latin Mass by popular bloggers, thinkers, and quite a few priests and bishops. When a random conservative Catholic blogger (both politically and religiously) is a jerk, nobody says that's because of the Novus Ordo. But with the Traditional Latin Mass it is another story. It is automatically assumed that the Latin Mass is the source of the divisive views, and that the Latin Mass contributes to a spiritually rotten subculture. That any one individual trad says "I don't do this!" doesn't make any difference. To say "such is life, deal with it", is true, but those outside the Latin Mass have the luxury of knowing that it will never be so with them. 

So given those realities, should anyone be surprised that when I hear "the biggest barriers to expanding the Latin Mass are bitter internet commenters" I roll my eyes and view them completely out of touch? Yes, everyone needs to be nicer to each other, more understanding, and promote true reconciliation. But do you think that message of reconciliation is going to be very effective in parishes where a lot of this crap takes place? There's a cold reality: every trad could be a saint and a paragon of tolerance and acceptance, and the situation today would change only at the margins, if at all. Once basic obligations are being done, then maybe the call for better tone can be taken with a shred of credibility. Right now, it has zero credibility.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Logo for Year of Mercy

In case you have not yet seen it, the above image is the official logo for the upcoming Year of Mercy. The art is the work of Slovenian Jesuit artist Fr. Marko Rupnik (click on the image for a bigger view if it is too small to see).

Notice that between Christ and the other figure, there are only three eyes, signifying apparently that "Christ sees through the eye of Adam and Adam sees through the eye of Christ." The motto of the Year of Mercy is "Merciful Like the Father", despite the fact that Pope Francis says the purpose of the year is to the demonstrate "the church's maternal solicitude."

Lest you have any doubt that this Year of Mercy will be used as a propaganda tool to push for greater acceptance of deviant lifestyles, Archbishop Reno Fisichella, spokesman for the Year of Mercy, stated that "The motto, 'Merciful Like the Father,' serves as an invitation to follow the merciful example of the Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and to give love and forgiveness without measure.”

I offer no new commentary here, but refer you to our article "Children's Crusade and the Age of Mercy" from March 21st, 2015.

All quotes and information from this Catholic Register article.
H/T to Blog for Dallas Area Catholics

Sunday, May 03, 2015

It's a Salvation Issue

In 1 Corinthians 10, the Apostle Saint Paul exhorts us to all agree with one another and let there be no divisions among us. Disunity, however, is a reality that we have to deal with. Our Lord says that weeds will grow alongside the wheat, and in the fifth chapter of Galatians, contentions, dissensions and sects are listed amongst the works of the flesh. The difficulty in unity is that even if a person where perfect in charity, it would only take his companions being imperfect to cause disunity and quarreling.

It can be very frustrating to be on the sidelines of a fight between Christian brethren who are acting in passions of anger. There does appear to be occasional break periods where a journal here, a blog there, a bishop over there, and so on, will scream the need to stop fighting and unite to (insert noble cause here).

Have you read the exhortations to stop arguing over issues like canonical jurisdiction to make a united Trad Catholic Voice. Like this call for Unity that Rorate Caeli Posted in January of last year.

Calls to unity can also be found from the Russian Orthodox, asking for an end to confrontation between Catholics and Orthodox and a relationship of solidarity so that we might fight relativism and secularism. (Like Archbishop Hilarion said during an address to the Sant’Egidio community on September 17 or extreme examples like Saint John Paul II inviting the leaders of the worlds religion to pray for and work towards the promoting of peace.) Some Eastern Catholics on the internet express upset (the self identified "Orthodox in Communion with Rome") that the West cannot just jettison 1000 years of theology in the name of unity and nuance the meaning out of Papal Supremacy so we can be united with the Orthodox again (thus betraying Christ, and the noble Eastern Catholic Martyrs and Confessors) . Father Laurent Cleenewreck, an Eastern Orthodox Priest, wants Christians to return to a pre-Nicene confession of the faith, so that all us Christians can stop fighting.

We have been exhorted to dwell in unity; so why do some Christians insist on fighting over dogma or practice?

Because these can be salvation issues.

When people unite at the expense of truth, they construct a new tower of Babel destined to not only fail, but to cause even greater disunity. Our faith is weak, or possibly dead, if we think our numbers will make a difference. God cares not for numbers, but faithfulness, even if the numbers are reduced to a remnant of "the remnant".

Should people remain silent if they believe (Insert dis-unifying belief here) will actually result in someone going to Hell? Admonishing the sinner has guidelines, we must not throw our pearls before swine, and Our Lord admonishes us to correct someone only so many times before (in effect) shunning them.

If a person is wrong about a belief being a salvation issue, it may be a salvation issue to them for if they violate their conscience and they would actually commit a soul-destroying mortal sin. “Then let us no more pass judgment on one another, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. (Rom 14:13–15)”

How must we deal with salvation issues, whether we our or neighbor believes that X is a salvation issue? By supplying evidence with patience and charity.

The Rule of the Poor Knights provides an excellent outline for how we should speak, and not speak, in these inevitable disagreements in our fallen world.

Do not give free play to wrath, do not bear anyone a grudge, do not nurse deceit in your heart, do not give a false greeting of peace, do not abandon charity…. Speak the truth with your heart and your lips, do not render evil for evil, do not wrong anyone, love your enemies, do not return insults or slander, but rather respond with benevolence towards our offendersChapter 4, The Instruments of Good Deeds.

Are we in the position to lay down the sword of truth if our friend wants to join the the Eastern Schism so we can avoid contention? Will we stay silent if a dogma of our Faith is questioned by a protestant standing next to us at a Pro-Life demonstration, because he is "basically a good person"? Are we going to let our friends go to Sedevacantist church with our blessing because they have been scandalized and are "traditional"? Should we stay silent if our family wishes to attend the illegal ordination of a priest who, upon ordination, would be suspended?

I hope to God that I be found not wanting for words then. "Love thy neighbor as thyself." If you believe something is necessary to do, or to avoid for your salvation, do not be silent because your words might stir up contention. “Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And as a man's enemies shall be they of his own household.” Matthew 10:34-36

It only takes one mortal sin for a person to lose the grace of God. What if God's providence chose you to be the person  to warn somebody about their impending spiritual suicide? So what if we have a united "Trad Front" if a quarter of those trads go to hell? So what if we have a united Christianity if a large segment of that rejects Dogma necessary for belief in order to be saved? And you won't avoid one day of warfare by different religious leaders pledging peace when God decides if we will have war or peace, lest we forget that the Angel of War is sent to punish those who reject the Gospel. I would hope that if I was in danger of losing my soul a friend would take the time to patiently and charitably correct me.

We can make our arguments firm, we can use strong evidence and even be forceful if need be, but we must always strive to do it in charity. If we cannot start with charity it is be better to stay silent, but not for unity’s sake, for God’s sake. "A judicious silence is always better than truth spoken without charity." ~St. Francis De Sales

We must always keep charity, and that is also a salvation issue.