Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Please Don't Call This Feastday "Slap A Heretic" Day

Today is the feast of St. Nicholas.  Among other accomplishments, he helped defeat the heresy of Arianism in the Church.  This heresy claims that Jesus Christ is not divine in nature.  There was a council conducted, with both Nicholas and Arius in attendance.  As the story goes, Arius was spouting his heresies.  Nicholas became so incensed that he went over and slapped Arius.  The others in attendance stripped Nicholas of the signs of his office and imprisoned him.  He repented.  In the cell he was visited by Jesus and Mary and they restored to him his office.

As I read the story, I see no signs of Jesus and Mary vindicating his loss of temper and act of violence.  I think it's safe to say that had not Nicolas repented, Jesus and Mary would not have come to him.

Those of us who write our blogs and otherwise engage in apostolates to counteract the heresies that bombard us will recognize in ourselves the temptations to act as did Nicholas.  While we must speak and act, we must continually keep our own emotions in check lest they undermine our tasks and perhaps our eternal salvation.  Let us not dare to snicker at Nicholas's fall into temptation for that might indicate a willingness to engage in impropriety and sin ourselves.  Nicholas repented; with that he was able to continue his mission.  Let's not celebrate his lapse into sin, but his repentance and great service to the Church.


  1. Are you aware that St.Thomas Aquinas wrote that heretics could be handed over to the state for execution, after being declared so by competent Church authority,because heretics are the cause of many souls being lost?

    1. Yes. Notice that Aquinas understood the importance of due process as opposed to spontaneous outbursts.

  2. I see St. Nicholas as part of the due process since, according to Dr. Taylor Marshall, St. Bishop Nicholas was part of the process at the council of Nicea where the slapping/punching? event happened.According to Dr. Taylor's account, Nicholas did not repent but was removed from his office of bishop and and the symbols of a bishop, the book of the Gospels and the special stole of a bishop were taken from him. In prison he received these symbols again from Our Lady because he had defended the Faith re the true divinity of her son, Jesus. After this those who had removed Nicholas from office realized their error and re-instated Nicholas.


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