(Pacianus) (Catalan: Sant Pacià) (c. 310–391 AD)
Saint Pacian, Bishop of Barcelona writes a letter to a Phrygian, which is the group from whom we get Puritans and Pirates. Piracy is part of a tribal religion, repentance is abandoned, which is what the Phrygian sect did. The Phrygian has asked St. Paciens about the source of the name ‘Catholic’.
“Certainly that which has stood through so many ages was not borrowed from man,” wrote Saint Pacian, concerning the name ‘Catholic’. He points out that “this name ‘Catholic’ sounds not of any” protestant name which he knew at the time, that the list, from the beginning has always been an endless one. Catholic law does not “take heretics as its authors”, the Bishop writes in the Fourth Century. A Catholic agrees that God’s law is the highest law. A Catholic agrees that there is no changing the law, the entirety is to be followed by all, including and especially the Bishop. This describes Catholic.
According to Bishop Pacian, ‘learned men’ tell us that the word ‘Catholic’ means “obedience in all’. ‘In All’ refers to all of God’s commandments, not just some of them, all of the traditions, not just some of them, all of the lessons that Jesus and the Saints taught, not just some of them. If any of these are contradictory, they are not Catholic. Catholic is the description of a system that is harmonious in all of its aspects, from the ancient rites and music, to the fairness and logic and its laws, to the effectiveness of its prescribed way of life and education, and even to voluntary membership. All of these points have been successful in assuring survival and prosperity for the community, even though, and precisely because the individual is called to honesty, self-sacrifice.
Saint Pacian reminds us that the terms Dove, Queen of God and Virgin are metaphors for the true Catholic Church in its pure form:
- But under the Apostles, you will say, no one was called Catholic. Be it thus. It shall have been so. Allow even that. When after the Apostles heresies had burst forth, and were striving under various names to tear piecemeal and divide the Dove and the Queen of God, did not the Apostolic people require a name of their own, whereby to mark the unity of the people that were uncorrupted, lest the error of some should rend limb by limb the undefiled virgin of God?
Was it not seemly that the first and foremost should be set apart by its own peculiar name? Suppose, this very day, I entered a populous city with many sects of Christianity. How should I recognize the congregation of my own people, unless it were named Catholic? Come tell me, who bestowed so many names on the other peoples? Why have so many cities, so many nations, each their own description? The man who asks the meaning of the Catholic Name, will he be ignorant himself of the cause of his own name if I shall enquire its origin? Whence was it delivered to him? Certainly that which has stood through so many ages was not borrowed from man. This name “Catholic” … does not take heretics as its authors.
- “And if at last we must give an account of the word Catholic, and draw it out from the Greek by a Latin interpretation, “Catholic” is ‘everywhere one,’ or as learned men say, “obedience in all,” i.e. all the commands of God.”
St. Paciens is telling us that the whole barrel is Catholic, and this includes scripture, Apostolic teaching, and ritual, all without change, world without end, Amen.
“Whence the Apostle Paul advised us to ‘be obedient in all things; not just some things. The Apostle also gave us the reason for this when he said, For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.”
For example, Jesus specifically forbade divorce, and in the case of a necessary separation, both parties are required to refrain from remarrying. This is a tough law to follow, but it protects the children against step-family who can be brutal and unscrupulous, and it protects their property rights.
No one has the right to change the law, but everyone has the right to choose to be a heretic or not, to be part of the Catholic Church or to be out of it. Even the Koran says that there is no compulsion in religion.
So since being obedient to ALL OF THE LAW is being Catholic, St. Paciens writes:
“Therefore he who is a Catholic, the same is obedient. He who is obedient, the same is a Christian, and thus the Christian is a Catholic.
Therefore our people when named Catholic are separated from heretical names.
But if also the word Catholic means ‘everywhere one,’ the psalms indicate this very thing in saying, ‘The queen did stand in a vesture of gold, wrought about with, diverse colours’ that is, one Queen, one Church for all. And in the Song of Songs the Bridegroom is a metaphor for God who speaks of the Catholic Church with the words ‘My dove, My undefiled,’ in singing praises to a woman who is faithful; she is the only one of her mother; she is the choice one of she that bore her. Again it is written that the Catholic Church is the Queen who leads the laity as ‘virgins’ before God the King: ‘The virgins shall be brought unto the King after her.’ And further reference to a Catholic congregation so large its members are described as ‘Virgins without number’.
Therefore amidst all she is one, and one over all. If thou askest the reason of the name, it is evident.”
One mind-set, one congregation, composed of many pure people obedient to one set of laws, this is Catholicism.
There are elements common to all Protestant sects, the main thing being to eliminate the Virgin Mary. But this is not ‘obedience in all’. To remove the Virgin Mary is to remove all virtuous women from the picture, which is a return to Paganism. When a Catholic asks the Virgin Mary for intercession, it is to follow the pattern set at the Wedding of Cana. Jesus did not want to perform the miracle of turning water to wine, but he had to obey Mary’s request because Mary is his mother. He set the pattern for us to obey our Mother when He bowed to her command. He will continue to bow to her command until the Judgment Day, when the opportunity for intercession is past.
The Catholic Church believes that it is God’s plan to use the Virgin Mary specifically to destroy the Serpent, that old devil Satan. Until humanity arrives at the point that we can acknowledge the sublime importance of the role of the Virgin Mary when she so humbly accepted a most difficult task, until that day we cannot be rid of the rule of the devil. The message is that women must return to purity, and the only way to do that is to reject divorce and remarriage as an option, reject abortion as an option, reject out-of-wedlock sex as an option. This will create a chain reaction that will heal all wounds.
Instead of Alcoholic or Shopaholic, we have the option to be “Pure-a-Holic”, Holy in our belief, Whole in our purity. We cannot protest against any of the laws of the Traditional Catholic Church, by doing so we join with heretics and the misguided. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.
Catholics have a law, in no uncertain terms, against participating in non-Catholic religious services, or even entering non-Catholic temples or churches. Catholics are to distance themselves from unbelievers and attend only Catholic churches. This is for our own good and the good of the Holy Church which is our Divinely Appointed protector. Rather than protest the law, what we do instead is to seek knowledge and understanding of the entirety of the ancient law, the entirety of our holy heritage, uncorrupted, untainted and pure. This is all voluntary. But when non-believers force Catholics to participate in corrupt practices inside of our own churches, Jesus told the Apostles to , the Church Militant has a tradition and set of rules for warfare.
In Catholicism, St. Paciens reminds us, “the tradition remains that it is not allowed the Priests of God to contend long with one who resists. After one admonition the contentious is passed by. Who can persuade any of anything against his will? It is your own fault brother, that no one convinced you of what in itself is most excellent. It is in your power to despise our writings also, if you would rather refute than approve them. Very many people resisted both the Lord Himself, and the first Apostles. No one could ever be persuaded of the truth, unless he consented to it by his own inner feeling.”
The example of the Wedding at Cana is such an important example, because God had foreknowledge of the sorry state of affairs that the world would come to, when men everywhere would neglect their duties as father either through corruption or misfortune, or else be killed in great numbers, leaving the women to raise families alone, and ending up having to give orders to their grown sons. To say that the man is the head of the woman and that God is the head of the man, does not apply when the fathers are gone, even the fatherly Catholic Priests that I remember. This is why Jesus showed us that a strong man, an intelligent man either young or old, would obey his mother’s instructions, or else all society would fall into a very embarrassed state of chaos and rebellion, just as the hosts of the Wedding at Cana would have been humiliated and embarrassed at the lack of wine.
St. Joseph is an example for Foster Fathers. Without these important examples, Catholics would not have survived the genocidal wars that have been waged against them over the millennia. Without knowledgeable priests, we would lose knowledge of these Saints. Through the Saints, we have been given the examples of behavior that we need for survival, and those who follow those examples have had prosperity even amid adversity. To remove the example and teachings of the Holy Saints is to leave people in ignorance of a history of many important survival mechanisms, attitudes and triumphs within the Church. It would also remove the misconception that Christians don’t make war. They most certainly have, and those wars changed the world for the better. But first you have to know about them.
We have Saints who were academics, simple workers and servants, Kings, Queens, monks, nuns, navigators, soldiers, generals, doctors, nurses and the list goes on, each with an important personal and historical lesson. There is no better way to learn history than to study the Catholic Saints. There is no better way to learn lessons of government and warfare, than to study the Catholic Saints. There is no better way to learn anything, than to study the Catholic Saints. Why else would our enemies seek first to eliminate the Saints from our presence when they go about creating new religions constantly?
From the very beginning, the creation of schisms and new religions was a technique used by the enemies of the Christians. St. Pacian wrote:
For such are the heresies which have sprung forth from the Christian head, that of the mere names the roll would be immense. For to pass over the heretics of the Jews, Dositheus, the Samaritan, the Sadducees, and the Pharisees, it were long to enumerate how many grew up in the times of the Apostles, Simon Magus, and Menander, and Nicolaus, and others hidden by an inglorious fame, the Cataphrygians, and Novatians, not to notice any recent swarms!
St.Pacien answers a question concerning the need for penance before forgiveness. This is the issue being dealt with when Bergoglio wants to grant absolution to all Catholic divorcees, and acceptance of even the most corrupt religious groups, without mentioning the need for penance, without acknowledging that divorce and corrupt religious practices are sinful and destructive, without answering the need for proper pre-marital and religious instruction, without any movement toward eliminating the all-pervasive corruption of media and education, all of which is what leads to divorce. Thus Bergoglio reveals himself as a Phrygian.
2. …indeed by your writings which in every way condemns penance, you declare your agreement with the Phrygians.
But, most illustrious Lord, so manifold and so diverse is the error of these very men, that in them we have not only to overthrow their peculiar fancies against penance, but to cut off the heads, as it were, of some Lernaean monster.
To those who wish to do away with tradition and laws by eliminating the need for Penance, St. Pacian asks:
Do we wish to teach the teacher? Are we wiser than Jesus was, and are we puffed up by the spirit of the flesh against Jesus, whom his noble shedding of blood, and a crown of most glorious suffering, have set forth as a witness of the Eternal God?
And what of so many Priests, who throughout the whole world were in a Compact together in one bond of peace with Jesus? What of so many aged Bishops, so many Martyrs, so many Confessors? If they were not enough of an authority for the use of the name and substance that we call Catholic, are we enough authority for its rejection?
And shall the Church Fathers now follow our authority, and the antiquity of Saints give way to be corrected by us in this time now rotten because of our sins, because we disrespect the ancient Apostolic age? And yet, my brother, be not troubled because Christian is my name, but Catholic my surname. The former gives me a name, the latter distinguishes me.
Does a Priest or Pope have the power to forgive?
“Never would God threaten the impenitent, unless He would pardon the penitent. This, you will say, God alone can do this. It is true. But that which God does through His Priests, is also His own authority.”
Even the confusion within the church today is through God’s authority. The eclipse of the Church has been foretold in scripture from the earliest days.
The Priests, as Apostles, were given their power when Jesus said to them, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven?
“Why said He this, if it was not lawful for men to bind and loose? Is this allowed to Apostles only? Then to them also only is it allowed to baptize, and to them only to give the Holy Spirit, and to them only to cleanse the sins of the nations; for all this was enjoined on none others but Apostles,”
But in doing so, it was not denied to God.
So if the day ever came when there were no Apostles, no priests, no bishops, God can still give grace to whom he chooses, God can still bind and loose, Catholics continue forward by obeying the ancient law.
I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. This, therefore, we build up, which the doctrine of the Apostles laid as the foundation. And, lastly, Bishops also are named Apostles, as saith Paul of Epaphroditus, My brother and fellow-soldier; but your Apostle.
But what makes an Apostle out of a Bishop or Priest if not the handing on of the ancient laws? Without the laws, no amount of learning or ritual can substitute. Even though we have no proper Priests, we must still obey the law of in its entirety. If a non-Catholic religion is using Catholic buildings, the law still prohibits us from entering or participating in non-Catholic religious ceremonies. Without priests, there is no binding or loosening of anything by anyone other than God. Without priests we have no intervention, no mediator, no peace maker other than the Virgin Mary who can act as a mediator with God. This is the purely spiritual and eternal realm of Catholicism.
A return to the proper way can happen at any time by anyone who calls himself a priest now, and by anyone who wants to be a priest or member of the congregation. It is a personal choice, and the point of power is in the present moment, no matter what has happened in the past. This is the highest form of theology: that penance and prayer lead to conversion, not the other way around.
St. Paciens advises how to deal with priests within the Catholic Church who are at fault:
Let no one despise the Bishop on consideration of the man. Let us remember that the Apostle Peter was forgiven for denying Christ, and afterwards named by our Lord to be Bishop. But are now, he saith, returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. Though the Bishop operates in the Name of God, he shall indeed give an account, if he has done anything wrong, or if he has been corrupt and unrighteous in his judgment. Nor is God’s Judgment delayed, but God may undo the work of a wicked builder at any time. On the other hand, if the Bishop is holy, he abides as a helper in the work of God. The Apostle writes to Laity: To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also in the person of Christ; lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. Therefore neither the Anointing, nor Baptism, nor remission of sins, nor the renewing of the Body, were granted to the Bishop’s sacred authority alone, because nothing was entrusted to him alone as assumed by himself, but the whole has descended in a stream from the Apostolic privilege in union with the laity and the law.
The laity has as much power to forgive the priest as the priest has power to forgive the laity, but this forgiveness must be in the name of Jesus Christ, in the spirit of oneness with God’s law. We forgive, as we expect also to be forgiven, but first there must be an acknowledgement that the action was sinful, and sorrow for having committed the sin, in other words, repentance and recompense. This is very different from saying that the sin is no longer a sin, as the Pirates do. Notice the metaphors used here refer to slavery:
…not indiscriminately to all is this pardon through penance granted; There must be some indication of the Divine will, or perchance some visitation, before we can be loosed, or freed from our sins, freed from our bondage. That with careful pondering and much balancing, after many groans and much shedding of tears, after the prayers of the whole Church, pardon in this case is not refused to true penitence. Yet still, no one has the power to overcome the future Judgment of Christ, because no one knows for sure whether the penance is true, except God alone.
For although we be unskilled, most skilful is the Spirit of God, and if we are faithless, faithful is God, who cannot deny Himself.
Therefore, my Lord, neither have we written with that confidence, as though we could persuade you, if you resist, but in that faith by which we would not deny you an entrance to holy peace, if you will it. Which peace, if it be after your own soul and heart, there ought to be no contest about the name of Catholic. For if it is through God that our people obtain this name, no question is to be raised, when Divine authority is followed. If through man, you must discover when it was first taken. Then, if the name is good, no odium rests with it; if ill, it need not be envied. The Novatians, I hear, are called after Novatus or Novatian; yet it is the sect which I accuse in them, not the name: nor has any one objected their name to Montanus of the Phrygians.
Reading between the lines of this letter, St. Paciens lets it be known that he’s aware that the source of all these sects is the Phrygians and that he knows their motivation is of envy.
The full text with scriptural references can be found at: www.tertullian.org under the index for Church Fathers.
From the Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church 17 (1842) pp. 317-327.
EPISTLES TO SYMPRONIAN