Sunday, December 6, 2015

Nicholas VS Arius - Another Consideration

Today, Dec 6 is the Feast of St. Nicholas.  Today the feast is subordinated to the Second Sunday of Advent.  Still, the bishop is being celebrated today.  He is considered to be  the inspiration behind "Santa Claus", with that name being a mutation of St. Nicholas.

He is also known for his confrontation of the heretic Arius at the Council of Nicea.  Thus, on Facebook I'm seeing things like "Happy Slap-A-Heretic Day" and a song starting with "I saw Santa slapping Arius".  I just got done with a Facebook discussion in which I held (still do) that Nicholas's slapping was a definite moral lapse.  From an account of the event found on "St Nicholas Center", it seems that the sainted bishop himself would have concurred.  Note that it says Nicholas was ashamed and asked forgiveness.  Only after he did that did Our Lord and His mother appear to Nicholas and he was later restored.

Arius was committing heresy, no doubt.  Had Nicholas refuted him verbally in the course of the council, there would have been no problem.  But Nicholas slapped him - an act of violence.  The ends don't justify the means.  St. Nicholas realized that later so I'm not troubled by this episode.  What does trouble me is the undercurrent of glee that I detect in many of my friends as they ponder the incident.  Any reader of this blog (and thank you for the half-million hits, by the way!) knows that I share their displeasure at so much heresy, blasphemy and scandal pouring from the highest echelons of Church hierarchy.  However, we cannot let that frustration impel us to view with glee any violence inflicted upon any dissidents.  The ends don't justify evil means.

So many of us are up to our eyeballs in fighting the rot within the Church that we can find ourselves defeated by it if we aren't vigilant over ourselves.  I speak to myself as well.

Happy St. Nicholas Day and blessed Advent.


  1. I used to be troubled by Church history where heretics were burned at the stake. This seemed extreme; indefensible. How can you kill someone for thoughts, ideas, opinions?

    Your confluct of conscience seems to correspond to my own.

    Then it was explained that heresy is not just a wrong idea. It is much more. It is an act of spiritual violence. Heresy, persisted in, when Church teaching is explained, is an act of violence;'possibly spiritual murder depending upon the severity and influence of the heretical thoughts and actions.

    We see this today. Heresy is taking over Holy Mother Church. It has never been dealt with bravely by those who can. They do nothing but wring their hands and make speeches. It still goes on and heresy gains strength. It is embraced at high levels and taught to unsuspecting masses as Truth. These masses are going to hell because of heresy unaddressed. As Jesus said, fear not what man can do to the body; rather fear what Satan can do to the soul. The body passes away. The soul lives forever, (whether in heaven or hell).

    Just as violence is not just permissible but sometimes mandatory to protect against evil acts of violence, rape, murder, so also (and more so) is righteous violence sometimes required against spiritual violence (heresy). Arianism was defeated at a time that might have seemed impossible. It is now a cautionary footnote when it could have destroyed everything.

    I see the punch as a brave, righteous act. I see the fist as a symbol of our deliverance from dangerous Shepherds. Perhaps the tide turned with the throw of the punch. Perhaps the spell of Arius was broken over those in attendance. Perhaps it will again.

  2. Janet, do you still have post office box 2192 in Montgomery Village? WE want to mail you some information relating to an Archdiocesan directed financial cover up at Saint Gabriel parish. Thanks.

    1. Yes. Address it to Faithful Catholics of MD/DC. Zip 20886


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