Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER VI.: THE MALICIOUS UNTRUTHFULNESS OF HERETICS. - The Triumph of the Cross
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CHAPTER VI.: THE MALICIOUS UNTRUTHFULNESS OF HERETICS. - Girolamo Savonarola, The Triumph of the Cross 
The Triumph of the Cross, trans. from the Italian, edited, with an Introduction by the Very Rev. Father John Procter, S.T.L. With a frontispiece portrait of the author (London: Sands & Co., 1901).
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THE MALICIOUS UNTRUTHFULNESS OF HERETICS.
We must next consider the case of heretics, who, while acknowledging Christ and the Gospel, are involved in many errors. It would take too long to refute every heresy. Therefore, as learned authors have devoted themselves to this task, we will simply, by means of reasoning, confute the principles common to them all.
First, then, we will prove that it is necessary that the Church should be governed by one only head. For, if heretics believe that Divine Providence rules the world, and especially the Church, by which such great deeds have been wrought, they must, to be consistent, admit that the form of government ordained by the Lord of all things must be the best. Now, the best government is a monarchy; because, by it a nation is brought into closer unity, than by a government administered by many; and union and peace are the end aimed at by government. Therefore, as the government of the Church is the best kind of government, its government must be a monarchy.
Again, the government of lower things naturally follows the government of such as are higher; and the more closely it resembles it, the more perfect it will be. Hence, the government of the Church militant, being fashioned on the pattern of that of the Church triumphant, which is ruled by God alone, must be administered by one ruler only.
Further, supernatural things are more perfectly ordered than are things natural. Now in nature we see that wheresoever government exists there is only one ruler; for instance, bees have only one queen, and the limbs of the body are regulated by the heart. Therefore, as the government of the Church, being supernatural, is superior to all other governments, it must be administered by one governor alone.
Now, all heretics agree with us either about the New Testament alone, or about the New Testament and the Old together; although they dissent from us in the interpretation of the Scriptures. But both in the Old and in the New Testament, it is distinctly said that the Church is to have one head. “The children of Juda, and the children of Israel shall be gathered together: and they shall appoint themselves under one head,” says Osee (i. 11). “There shall be one fold and one Shepherd,” says our Lord (St. John x. 16). No one can reasonably understand such words as meaning, that after His ascension, Christ would be the Head of His Church in such sense that no earthly head would be required. For He would thus have created endless confusion and discord; and there would have been no means of adjudicating between the many opinions concerning faith and morals, which would have arisen amongst Christians. Therefore, our Lord, speaking to St. Peter alone, said, “Feed My sheep” (St. Matt. xxi. 18). And again, “I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not: and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren” (St. Luke xxii. 32). Hereby is shown that He left St. Peter as His vicar. He proved his intention still more clearly when he said, “Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven” (St. Matt. xvi. 18, 19).
It cannot, however, be supposed that Christ gave this dignity to St. Peter only, to the exclusion of his successors; since He Himself declared, that the Church should endure for ever in the order established by Him. Speaking to His disciples, and addressing, in their person, all the faithful, He said, “Behold I am with you, even unto the consummation of the world” (St. Matt. xxviii. 20). And again, by the mouth of Isaias, He says, “He shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his Kingdom: to establish it, and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever” (Is. ix. 7). These passages clearly indicate, that the office confided by Christ to St. Peter, being highly expedient and necessary to the Church, should, by a perpetual succession, be guaranteed to her for ever. Hence it follows that, as St. Peter was chosen by Christ to be His vicar and the shepherd of the whole Church, all his successors must inherit his power. And, as the Bishops of Rome hold the place of Peter, the Roman Church must consequently be the mistress and ruler of all churches; and the whole body of the faithful must be in unity with the Roman Pontiff. Whosoever therefore disagrees in his teaching with the doctrine of the Roman Church, withdraws from Christ, following crooked ways. And, as all heretics dissent from the teaching of the Church, they have all declined from the right way, and are unworthy of the name of Christians. For by heretics we mean such as, falsifying the Holy Scripture, and choosing a religion for themselves, do obstinately persevere in their error.
Again, it is often said: “Truth mates with truth, and all truths confirm each other”. But heretics disagree so completely between themselves, that they have scarcely a point in common; nay, rather, they are perpetually flinging abuse at one another; and no solid argument can be found in their teaching. This, of itself, proves how far they have strayed from the truth. But the doctrine of the Roman Church, so far as regards faith and morals, is one; and her doctors, though almost innumerable, never dissent, nor desire to dissent, from it.
Again, the Kingdom of Christ and of the Church militant will endure until the consummation of the world. Nay, more, even after the earth shall have been made new, this kingdom will last for ever, in the Church triumphant. Now, as many heretics have risen against the Roman Church, and have been absolutely crushed, it is clear that they cannot have formed part of the Church, and that their teaching was not of God.
Again, the sinful lives of many heretics prove, further, that they come not from God. Not one, even among the most eminent of the heresiarchs, has been held in the veneration accorded to the Saints of our Church, whose very bones and ashes are solemnly honoured, while the day of their death is commemorated by praises of their holy lives.
Heretics also fall into numerous errors not only concerning Holy Scripture, but regarding natural reason and true philosophy. This is another proof that their teaching is not inspired by God. But we need not further discuss their errors, since they have been abundantly refuted by holy doctors. And their heretical doctrines (I speak of those that have more publicly attacked the Church), have been almost entirely extirpated. This, of itself, is a proof that they came not forth from God.