I am astonished that you are so promptly turning away from the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are going over to a different gospel- not that it is another gospel; except that there are trouble-makers among you who are seeking to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we ourselves or an angel from heaven preaches to you a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let God’s curse be on him. I repeat again what we declared before: anyone who preaches to you a gospel other than the one you were first given is to be under God’s curse. Whom am I trying to convince now, human beings or God? Am I trying to please human beings? If I were still doing that I should not be a servant of Christ. Now I want to make it quite clear to you, brothers, about the gospel that was preached by me, that it was no human message. It was not from any human being that I received it, and I was not taught it, but it came to me through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
There can hardly be a clearer word than that of the beloved apostle Paul, to warn us against all wrongdoing. The Gospel is our guideline, as well as the authentic teaching of the Church. All who wish to follow the Lord are called to do so: From the Pope to the simplest believers anywhere in the world. No one is above the Gospel, not even the angels, as St. Paul insists.
“I repeat again what we declared before: anyone who preaches to you a gospel other than the one you were first given is to be under God’s curse.”
These are strong words that are also necessary, because the Gospel does not come from man, and no one has the right to falsify it in any way. It is a revelation and therefore has the highest authority, even before the Magisterium of the Church. In Dei Verbum -one of the Constitutions of the Second Vatican Council- n. 10 it says: “This teaching office [the Magisterium of the Church] is not above the word of God, but serves it.” This is the only valid hierarchy.
It cannot be repeated often enough, because it is precisely at this stage of the Church’s journey that many false doctrines more and more creep in to confuse the faithful. Everyone who passes on the word of the Lord has to justify himself before God and his Gospel. The one who preaches other doctrines and falsifies the Gospel and the teaching of the Church is a false teacher who sprays poison. He must be rebuked by the leadership of the Church, lest he harm his own soul and the souls of other Christians and falsify the witness of the Church.
If this does not happen, the shepherds in question are guilty of not watching over the purity of the Gospel and over the flock entrusted to them, thus allowing the wolves to enter. In the worst case they howl with them or even become wolves themselves. A St. Paul, as we can clearly see in the text, would not have tolerated this. Therefore, unfortunately, it is necessary to say clearly to today’s believers: listen only to those who preach the Gospel in purity and not to those who bend it to fit their ideas. Not everyone who has been called to be a pastor in the Church carries it out accordingly. It is sad to have to say this, but it is inevitable: ecclesiastical authority must also be considered in the light of a discernment of spirits as to whether it is faithful to the Gospel and all that follows from it. I do not mean personal ‘sins’, which are certainly tragic but can be forgiven if one repents sincerely. Instead, I am speaking of false guidance, misguided orientations and falsifications of the message entrusted.
An unbending thinker was Dietrich von Hildebrand, whose books I highly recommend, even if they are not easy to read. In the first chapter of his book: “The devastated vineyard” he writes in 1973:
“One of the most horrifying and widespread diseases in the Church today is the lethargy of the guardians of the Faith of the Church …. I am thinking of… bishops who make no use whatever of their authority when it comes to intervening against heretical theologians or priests, or against blasphemous performances of public worship. They either close their eyes and try, ostrich-style, to ignore the grievous abuses as well as appeals to their duty to intervene, or they fear to be attacked by the press or the mass media and defamed as reactionary, narrow-minded, or medieval. They fear men more than God.”
Today one would have to say: “Dear Dietrich von Hildebrand, it has got even worse. Probably many shepherds have already contributed to the general blindness and no longer notice the mistakes made, because they have been used to it for decades and participate that the church is adapting to this world.”
There are still – thanks be to God – unbending shepherds who raise their voices in warning and remind us especially of those truths which are most attacked. On 31 May 2019 they published a paper entitled: “Explanation of truths concerning some of the most frequent errors in the life of the Church of our time”. This declaration is signed by Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, Cardinal Janis Pujats, Archbishop Tomash Peta, Archbishop-Bishop Jan Pawel Lenga, and Auxiliary Bishop
Athanasius Schneider. This can be found in the following link:
Another note on our own behalf:
I have been asked from several sides what to think of the advice given by a priest from Canada, who, in view of the current crisis and coming events, recommends getting food for three months.
Well, I have no special instruction from the Lord here. There is no question in my mind that there is a great crisis, which could become even more acute. Whether it requires such a measure is – as I said – not known to me personally. However, in view of what has happened in recent months, I can certainly imagine a scenario where it would not be wrong to have some longer-lasting food in the house. But this should be done without panic and in trust in the Lord. Even if nothing were to happen to confirm such a measure, it would not be a loss and the food could continue to be stored.