Want to Fight Truthiness? Come to the YIMCatholic Bookshelf. Please.

Sheesh! I wonder if the video below was done before or after the allegations of problems with the staff of Real Catholic TV came to light. It is so far off the deep end, as you’ll see. Anyone with access to books can refute this asserted notion in under two minutes.

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That the Priscillianists were heretics is undisputed. But alas, Priscillian and his staff were excommunicated (and executed, by the way) not because they were “taking communion in the hand,” as alleged in this video. Unless, that is, you mean they took Our Eucharistic Lord by the hand and carted Him home with them, which was (and is now) an abuse. You see, Priscillianists wouldn’t communicate inside church at all, had weird ascetic practices, orgies at night, and assorted other troubling routines. Take a look,

The doctrines held by the Priscillianists were a mixture of Manicheism and Gnosticism.. They denied the Trinity of Persons and advocated Dualism and Docetism. They held the use of flesh-meat and marriage to be unlawful, but permitted sexual intercourse, on condition that generation should be prevented. They celebrated their orgies with great debauchery, and principally at night. For the suppression of this abominable sect, stringent laws were enacted by the Synods of Astorga and Toledo, in 446 and 447. Even as late as the year 563 the second Council of Braga found it necessary to adopt measures against the Pricillianists. After that, the sect disappears from history.

And there is this, and this, and this.

This would seem to me to be spinning an erroneous narrative from out of a tiny thread of truth. Isn’t that some new word that Stephen Colbert coined? Yes. Truthiness. And as everyone knows, books are the sworn enemy of truthiness, as Stephen explains here (forgive any commercials please).

Go with your gut—not! And seriously, once again, stuff like the RCTV video at the top of this post leads folks, who presume that what Mr. Voris is saying is factual, to doubt their appointed leaders. I’ve already covered that topic once before, remember? Follow your bishop.

This is where the YIMCatholic Bookshelf earns it’s keep, see? Because if what I found there supported Mr. Voris’s assertions, this post would have been written to reflect that. But, as my research shows in this particular matter, the Priscillianist heresy has nothing whatever to do with what he purports it has to do with. So this latest video, then, is much ado about nothing. Zilch. Nada. Zippo.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Using the search window of the YIMCatholic Bookshelf will bring you at least 27 books explaining this heresy in varying detail. Want to see what St. Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori has to say about them? Please do! While you’re there, look up assorted other information alluded to, like the Council of Sarragossa, etc. And then, there is Google.

Got reference questions? Want to do some fact checking? Fight “truthiness!” Stop in to the YIMCatholic Bookshelf. It’s open 24/7 and all at the low, low, price of “free.”

  • Anonymous

    <<<<<Take it easy, Frank! When did you first hear of the Priscillians? This is a first time for me! Wouldn't you agree the post is really about the Holy Father's initiative for kneeling Communion, and that the Priscillian stuff is either good or bad window-dressing for Voris' main point?I get it! You think it's bad window-dressing? What about Holy Father's initiative?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    I had never heard of him either, which is why I did the fact-checking on Priscillian afterwards. Intellectual curiosity and prudence would demand it. For a guy used to receiving "commands" and "directives", etc., I'm all for "initiatives," especially from the Holy Father. They show a slow, deliberate, and charitable approach that is refreshing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09994604395739905637 Dcn Scott Dodge

    Frank: Thanks for this correction of Voris' over-the-top assertion. Communion in the hand was not unknown in the church until after VII. TO keep it simple, we have the catechetical lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in which he instructs the ancient catechumens on how to receive communion IN THE HAND! It is the norm in the U.S., even if by way of an indult. But since the indult has been in effect for so long a very good argument can be made for it to remain permanently.

  • Anonymous

    Frank>>>>For a guy used to receiving "commands" and "directives", etc., I'm all for "initiatives," especially from the Holy Father. They show a slow, deliberate, and charitable approach that is refreshing.<<<It's me again, you speak favorably of initiatives in general. What of this specific initiative/invitation from the Holy Father–receiving Communion while kneeling? I have a feeling that you might be opposing it –Communion while kneeling– simply because RC supports it. Am I wrong?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    And "who" might you be? (see note in sidebar about "Anonymous" comments ====>>>)I've said in the past, and will say again, if a directive ever comes down from the Holy Father, or his bishops, that demands the faithful while at Mass must stand on their heads while doing scissor kicks, I would comply with it (to the best of my ability). =) 'Nuff said.

  • Ruth Lapeyre

    I think the implication Mr. Voris is making is that those who receive in the hand are doing what heretics did. In an earlier video on this same subject Mr. Voris claimed receiving in the hand was self-communication which of course, it is not. Oh well….

  • jeremy

    If you're going to criticise Voris for inaccuracy, you should avoid it yourself. He doesn't say that the Priscillianists were excommunicated for receiving communion in that manner; what he does point out is that local councils ruled such a manner of reception to be an excommunicable offence. He also points out that such a manner of reception was associated with Priscillianists. Neither of these points can be disputed.Deacon Dodge cites the catechetical instruction attributed to St Cyril of Jerusalem. This is the only evidence ever provided for the Church – as opposed to heretical movements – allowing communion in the hand pre-1969, and it is deeply problematic. The same text tells the faithful that they should,Carefully sanctify your eyes by touching them with the holy Body, being very watchful that no part of it fall. Approach to the cup of the Blood, bowed in a posture of adoration and reverence; saying, Amen, take of the blood of Christ. Whilst yet something of the moisture sticks on your lips, touch them with your hand, and by applying it then to your eyes, forehead and other senses sanctify them.Do those who take this text as authoratitive in the matter of Eucharistic reception want to defend this proposed smearing of the Precious Blood? Do they think it would be a reverent way in which to treat the Sacrament of the Altar?There is a great deal of scholarship which has concluded that at least some parts of the lectures attributed to St Cyril were, in fact, the work of others. A number of scholars (Teifer, Scherman, Esans – to name three) have suggested that the text in question was in fact authored by Cyril's successor, Patriarch John of Jerusalem. We know from their writings that both Augustine and Jerome considered John to be of suspect orthodoxy at best.If the Voris video deserves criticism at all, it's for the rather lame summaries of Gnosticism and Manicheanism. That said, he does preface those remarks by observing that they're "very simplistic" descriptions.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    Jeremy, read the texts. The offense regarding communion was that they did not consume the host "in church." And that seems to be one of the least of their offenses. My main criticism here is sloppy scholarship.

  • jeremy

    Frank,My apologies for being unclear. When I said that it cannot be disputed that "local councils" ruled against communion in the hand, I did not have Saragossa in mind but rather, e.g., Rouen: "nulli autem laico aut feminae eucharistiam in manibus ponat, sed tantum in os eius (…) ponat".As for Saragossa – the texts I've seen do suggest, as you say, that the canons condemn taking the Eucharist out of the church. Still, I haven't seen the canons themselves. Absent those, it's hard to assess whether Voris' description of their content is true or false. If you have them, perhaps you could post them?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    Jeremy, Here is the Creed of the Council of Toledo, which addressed the Priscillianists errors. (Broken into several parts)THE CREED OF THE COUNCIL OF TOLEDO OF THE YEAR 400 £[AND 447] [Formula, "A little book like a Creed"]The rule of the Catholic faith against all heresies [(Here) begin the rules of the Catholic faith against all heresies, and especially indeed against the Priscillianists, which the bishops of Tarraco, Carthage, Lusitania, and Baetica have composed and with a command of Pope Leo of the City transmitted to Balconius, bishop of Gallicia. .. .. .. ].19 We believe in one true God, Father, and Son and Holy Spirit, maker of the visible and the invisible, by whom were created all things in heaven and on earth. This God alone and this Trinity alone is of divine name [divine substance]. The Father is not [himself] the Son, but has the Son, who is not the Father. The Son is not the Father, but the Son is of God by nature [is of the Father's nature]. The Spirit is also the Paraclete, who is himself neither the Father, nor the Son, but proceeds from the Father [proceeding from the Father and the Son]. Therefore the Father is unbegotten, the Son is begotten, the Paraclete is not begotten, but proceeding from the Father [and the Son]. The Father is he whose words were heard from the heavens: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him. (Mt 17,5 2P 1,17 2P 1, Matt Mt 3,17). The Son is he who says: I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world (cf. John Jn 16,28). The Paraclete himself [the Spirit] is he, concerning whom the Son says: Unless I go to the Father, the Paraclete will not come toyou (Jn 16,17). This Trinity, though distinct in persons, is one substance [united], virtue, power, majesty [in virtue and in power and in majesty] indivisible, not different. [We believe] there is no divine nature except that [this], either of angel or of spirit or of any virtue, which is believed to be God.20 Therefore this Son of God, God, born of the Father entirely before every beginning, has sanctified in the womb [the womb] of the Blessed Mary Virgin, and from her has assumed true man, human nature having been begotten without the [virile] seed of man; [of not more or not less than two natures, namely, of God and of flesh, meeting completely in one person], that is, [our] Lord Jesus Christ. Not [And not] an imaginary body or one constituted of form alone [ in place of this:or that it belong to some phantasm in him]; but a firm [and true] one. And this man hungered and thirsted and grieved and wept and felt all the pains of a body [in place of this: suffered all the injuries of a body]. Finally he was crucified [by the Jews], died and was buried, [and] on the third day he arose again; afterwards he conversed with [his] disciples; the fortieth day [ after the resurrection ] he ascended to the heavens [ heaven ]. This son of man is called [named] also the Son of God; but the Son of God, God, is not (likewise) called the Son of man [calls the Son of man (thus)].We believe that there [will] assuredly [be] a resurrection of the human flesh [for the body]. However, the soul of man is not a divine substance, or a part of God, but a creature [we say] which did not fall by the divine will [created].

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    1. If therefore [however] anyone says and [or] believes, that this world and all its furnishings were not made by God almighty, let him be anathema. 2. If anyone says and [or] believes, that God the Father is the same person as the Son or the Paraclete, let him be anathema. 3. If anyone says and [or] believes that God the Son [of God] is the same person as the Father or the Paraclete, let him be anathema.4. If anyone says and [or] believes that the Paraclete the Spirit is either the Father or the Son, let him be anathema.5. If anyone say and [or] believes that the man Jesus Christ was not assumed by the Son of God [ in place of this:that a body only without a soul was assumed by the Son of God], let him be anathema.6. If anyone says and [or] believes, that the Son of God, as God, suffered [ in place of this: that Christ cannot be born], let him be anathema.7. If anyone says and [or] believes that the man Jesus Christ was a man incapable of suffering [in place of this:the divine nature of Christ was changeable or capable of suffering], let him be anathema.8. If anyone says and [or] believes, that there is one God of the old Law, another of the Gospels, let him be anathema. 9. If anyone says and [or] believes, that the world was made by another God than [and not] by him, concerning whom it is written:In the beginning God created hea ven and earth (cf. Gen. Gn 1,1), let him be anathema.10. If anyone says and [or] believes that the human bodies will not rise again [do not rise] after death, let him be anathema.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    11. If anyone says and for] believes that the human soul is a part of God or is God's substance, let him be anathema.12. If anyone either believes that any scriptures, except those which the Catholic Church has received, ought to be held in authority or venerates them [If anyone says or believes other scriptures, besides those which the Catholic Church receives, ought to be held in authority or ought to be venerated], let him be anathema.13. If anyone says or believes that there is in Christ one nature of the Godhead of humanity, let him be anathema.14. If anyone says or believes that there is anything that can extend itself beyond the divine Trinity, let him be anathema.15. If anyone holds that astrology and the interpretation of stars (sic) ought to be believed, let him be anathema.16. If anyone says or believes, that the marriages of men, which are considered licit according to divine law, are accursed, let him be anathema.17. If anyone says or believes that the flesh of birds or of animals, which has been given for food, not only ought to be abstained from for the chastising of the body, but ought to be abhorred, let him be anathema.18. If anyone follows the sect of Priscillian in these errors or publicly professes it) so that he makes a change in the saving act of baptism contrary to the chair of Holy Peter, let him be anathema.That's it all. I hope that helps Jeremy. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01343888383568998242 Deacon Greg Kandra

    Michael Voris has also stated that the preferred method for receiving communion is kneeling and on the tongue — a notion that is not only incorrect, but patently false, as anyone can discover by a quick scan of the GIRM. He's got strong opinions. But he's not the most authoritative or reliable of teachers.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    Thanks for stopping by Deacon Greg! The particular section you referred to is here,160. The Priest then takes the paten or ciborium and approaches the communicants, who usually come up in procession.It is not permitted for the faithful to take the consecrated Bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them on from one to another among themselves. The norm established for the Dioceses of the United States of America is that Holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum, March 25, 2004, no. 91).As an FYI, the General Instructions of the Roman Missal, or GIRM (which is not some sinister group from a James Bond movie), can be found here.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04469448997139436175 Michael

    Frank and Deacon Greg,I think that the Pope himslef has made it very cleasr that the preferred posture for receiving communion is kneeling and on the tongue, and it is to this that Voris and others (like Father Z.) refer. No one doubts that the GIRM modified for the United States allows for standing communion in the hand as the *norm*. That is not the same as saying what is to be preferred.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    Howdy Michael. Two points: a) scroll up to see my comments on what I'm willing to do. b)note this post is about sloppy scholarship that spins an erroneous narrative from a slender thread that was then packaged and promoted in the veneer of infallible truth. I think you have to agree that the facts about this heresy do not bear out what the claims were.It is ironic to me that all the councils seem to be valid except the most recent Council, you know, the one whose subject is the Church in the Modern World.Then again, this should come as no surprise seeing how the Priscillianist heresy went on and on long after Priscillian was gone. In fact, it appears to have pressed on for over two hundred years before the last remnant of it died away. Such is the pattern. Thanks for your comment.

  • Anonymous

    I think the Council of Nicea made it clear, don't kneel on Sunday! See, we can all do this; so does this mean you must be Arian if you kneel on Sunday? Of course not. But that is the kind of sloppy logic of Michael Voris.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05205862627682998184 Christine

    Mr. Weathers,What in particular do you dispute about what Voris said? This is what he stated: The Council of Saragossa (380) made communion in the hand an excommunicable offense. True.The Council of Toledo confirmed this decree. True.Communion in the hand was associated with the Priscillianist heresy. True. That's the extent of what he said. Where is the sloppy scholarship? Where is the inaccuracy? You put words in Voris's mouth when you claim he stated that the only reason they were excommunicated was because they received on the hand. He never said that. And Dcn Kandra: Please see Cardinal Arinze's statement here about the universal preferred method of receiving Holy Communion:http://tinyurl.com/3vjpb6kCommunion on the tongue, he says, "is the traditional and preferred form." He quotes the Holy Father on this matter.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    Christine, thanks for your questions. As I hoped to clarify earlier by including the decrees from the Council of Toledo (see above), none of the 18 points make receiving communion in the hand anathema as claimed my Mr. Voris in his video. Therein lies the problem.Nor do the canons from the Council of Sarragossa. There are 8 canons from that council and you may find them at the link here, and by clicking on the further links found under the heading "Strategy and Performance in the Conciliar Acta." I believe #3 is the one regarding the Eucharistic question. To wit:III. If someone is proved not to have consumed the grace of the Eucharist received in church, let that one be anathema in perpetuity. By all the bishops it was said: It is agreed.Here is what Virginia Burrus, the scholar, and author of the volume The Making of a Heretic shares with us regarding this canon,Although this third judgment is brief and far simpler in structure than either of the first two, questions nevertheless remain as to what exactly is being proscribed. Are the targeted offenders crypto-Manichaeans who secretly abstain from the chalice? Or is the council perhaps opposing the apparently common and seemingly less alarming practice of reserving some part of the eucharistic elements for later consumption? Manuel Sotomayor argues persuasively, based in part on a comparison with the thirteenth and fourteenth judgments of the Council of Toledo (400), that this judgment is directed against Christians who attend the eucharistic assembly but—for unclear and possibly varied reasons—do not partake of the elements at all. The goal of the bishops gathered at Saragossa was thus to eliminate the ambiguous category of persons who seated themselves with the community yet did not fully "commune." The judgment attempts to draw clear boundaries between insiders and outsiders and, as in the second judgment, to oppose those who foster the creation of subgroups within the episcopally led Christian community.So what Mr. Voris said in his video, and what actually was anathematized by the councils are pretty clearly two different things.