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It is the manifestation of the glory of God in the Face of Jesus; it is that view of the attributes and perfections of Almighty God; it is the beauty of His sanctify, the sweetness of His mercy, the brightness of His heaven, the majesty of His law, the harmony of His providences, the thrilling music of His voice, which is the antagonist of the flesh, and the soul's champion against the world and the devil. — Cardinal Newman 49
We now turn to the kind of devastation of the vineyard of the Lord which does not express itself by open attacks against the depositum catholicae fidei, by explicit, formal heresies, but rather by tendencies which, like a creeping poison, work in a still more dangerous way. Of course, these tendencies always contain grave theological and philosophical errors, but unlike explicit theses, they carry out their work of destruction in an “underground” way, unfortunately usually without being recognized.
The most fundamental and catastrophic of these tendencies is the distortion of the sacred humanity of Christ, indeed a false interpretation of the Incarnation.
It is overlooked that though Jesus ontologically possessed a fully human nature, he was qualitatively not an “average man,” nor a man afflicted with all kinds of negative qualities, but the Holy One par excellence. At the beginning of St. John's Gospel we read, “Et verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis et vidimus gloriam ejus gloriam quasi Unigeniti a Patre, plenum gratiae et veritatis” (“And the Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, the glory of the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.”). These words not only testify to the incomprehensible, impenetrable mystery that the second divine person of the Blessed Trinity — the Logos — assumed a human nature, but also to the fact that this human nature is “full of grace and truth.”
But by assuming human nature, the Logos in no sense loses His divine nature. Christ has two natures, a divine one and a human one. Although the two natures remain completely distinct ontologically, and are not mixed, yet in a mysterious way they are uniquely united, because they belong to one and the same Person. His sacred humanity is thus an epiphany of God. It is qualitatively formed by the holiness of God. “Quia per incarnati Verbi mysterium nova mentis nostrae oculis lux Tuae claritatis infulsit — ut dum visibiliter Deum cognoscimus per hunc in invisibilium amorem rapiamur.” (“Because through the mystery of the Word made flesh the light of your glory has shone afresh upon the eyes of our mind, so that while we acknowledge Him to be God seen by men, we may be drawn by Him to the love of things unseen.”) 50
What concerns us here, however, is this: the fact that Christ was ontologically torus homo (fully man) in no way contradicts the fact that His sacred humanity is qualitatively an epiphany of God. When St. Paul saws he was like us in all things except sin, this must be understood to mean that He ontologically possessed all the susceptibilities and weaknesses of human nature, but no negative qualities at all. Thus He was not only free from sin in the strict sense, but also from all such negative things as mediocrity, narrowness, pettiness.
And here begins the horrible distortion of the humanity of Christ which we see today. It is explained that His human nature would only be fully human if it possessed qualitatively everything which we encounter in men — everything which characterizes the “average man.” Certain modern catechisms emphasize how much Jesus liked a good meal. Books are being written about the sex life of Jesus, for this is supposed to belong to full humanity. After all, it is part of the Incarnation of God, so they say, that Jesus was fully man, totus homo, and that His human nature must therefore contain everything which occurs in man.
At this point, we must reflect on the essence of man, on that which distinguishes him ontologically from all other living creatures. For only then can the true meaning of totus homo be seen in its clear outlines. 51 Man alone is a conscious being, and this conscious being contains a completely new dimension of being. Scholastic philosophy very aptly named this kind of being “a being which possesses itself.” Truly, an abyss separates material bodies such as rocks, or living matter such as a tree, or even living creatures such as animals, from man, who alone possesses the capacity for knowledge, free will, and responsibility. Man alone can be the bearer of moral values and disvalues. He alone is a person, and the difference between personal and apersonal is the greatest, most decisive metaphysical distinction of all, except for that between infinite and finite, between the absolute, eternal Person and the contingent person.
Man as a person is the only “awakened” being: all other foms which we find in nature are “asleep” so to speak. They only “undergo” being. Only man as a person can seek the truth, recognize and know truths; and above all: of man alone can St. Augustine say, “Fecisti nos ad Te, Domine” (“Thou hast made us for Thyself. O Lord.”). Man alone can know the existence of God by his reason.
St. Bonaventure calls all the creatures on earth (pure matter, plants and animals) “vestigia Dei,” (“traces of God”). But because man is a person, he is the imago Dei, the “image of God.” We are told in Genesis: “And God created man in His image.” Human nature is ontologically characterized by being the image of God, inasmuch as it is a conscious being, a person.
But the ontological structure of man is not characterized solely by his being a person. Man, in contradistinction to God, the absolute Person, is a creaturely, contingent person. He is created, and only at the moment of conception does he begin to exist. He has not existed from all eternity. He is mortal, even though his soul is immortal. Though the angels are also created. contingent persons, they are pure spirits. Man on the other hand, is a creature consisting of a body and a soul. Human nature is characterized by this possession of body and soul and by the mysterious. deeply intimate union of body and soul, in spite of their clear and radical difference. We cannot go into all this in detail here; we can only point to some characteristics of human nature, the greatness and weakness of which were so magnificently portrayed by Pascal. 52 The soul is a conscious being and thus essentially. radically different from all matter: from lifeless matter as well as from living matter such as plants and animals. It differs above all from all physiological processes. including the chemical processes in the human brain. In my book, The Sacred Heart, I discussed in detail the various levels within the spiritual sphere, ranging from bodily pain up to the highest spiritual responses. Although in that work I limited myself to the affective sphere, the following things belong ontologically to human nature: a close union with the body, the weakness and susceptibility of man which results from it, as well as the capacity for suffering (from bodily pain up to spiritual pain), the ability to feel fear and anxiety, the metaphysical dependence on God, and much more.
When we speak of human nature from an ontological point of view, therefore, we mean the body-soul structure, and man's status as a person.
Before we analyze in detail the distinction which is decisive for us in our present context, the distinction between the qualitative and the ontological aspects of human nature, we still have to emphasize that Christ fully possessed a human nature ontologically, but that His person is not created, and is not a mere imago Dei, but rather the second Divine Person of the Blessed Trinity, who assumed a human nature. Therefore even from an ontological point of view there is an essential difference between Christ and all other men. We possess this truth by faith. But the Man Jesus in His inconceivable holiness was not only seen by the Apostles: we too encounter Him in the Gospels ontologically as a Man.
From an ontological point of view, Socrates had a human nature in common with Hitler and Stalin; they were created by God in His image. From an ontological point of view, they are the same kind of creature, namely human persons. But Socrates is obviously separated by an abyss from Hitler and Stalin. This abyss is not related to the ontological structure of being human, but rather to the qualitative difference which exists between them: Socrates is a deeply moral man, an uncommonly noble personality, whereas Hitler was a criminal. Socrates was a great, an extraordinary thinker, whereas Hitler was a very confused, mediocre man.
We must now understand that the expression in the Creed “totus homo” refers to the ontological structure of man. But we must also not forget the fundamental ontological difference between Jesus and all other men. This is due to the fact that although He possessed a human nature, His person was divine. He possessed a human and a divine nature in one person, but this person is the second Person of the Blessed Trinity: He is divine. This is certainly an impenetrable mystery, but it has been unequivocally revealed. In the Nicene or Chalcedonian Creed we say: “Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum. Et ex Patre Natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo... Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine.” (“And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God. Born of the Father before all ages. God of God... Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven. And was made flesh by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary.”) We find the same thing in the beginning of the Gospel according to St. John (John 1: 1-14), “In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erar apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum. . . . et Verbum caro factum est.” (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.., and the Word was made flesh.”) All this shows clearly that it was the second Divine Person who assumed a human nature.
The “totus homo” refers to the ontological structure of human nature, but in no way denies that the person is divine. Let us repeat: not only are a divine and a human nature united in one person in Jesus Christ, but this one person is self-identical with the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Logos. The Person of Jesus is not created; only the soul (and the body) of Jesus are created. The divine nature is inseparably united with the Person of Jesus, whereas the human nature is assumed by the Divine Person, even though as something which will continue to exist forever.
Our main concern here is with the qualitative distortion of the holy humanity of lcsus, and with the qualitative difference between Him and all other men. But this deep ontological difference must also be emphasized, impenetrable mystery as it is, for it in no way contradicts the “totus homo.”
Terrible consequences follow from confusing the ontological structure of man with the qualitative nature, which varies so greatly among men.
Our ontological structure as man is that which unites us with all the saints, be it St. Francis of Assisi or St. John Bosco. Jesus shares this with us as well. But the qualitative abyss which separates us from these saints cannot be compared with that which separates us from the sacred humanity of Jesus, the epitome of all sanctify, who is only faintly reflected by all the saints. We are only referring to the sacred humanity of Jesus, of course, and not to the fact mentioned above, that we are confronted here with a Person who besides His human nature also possesses a divine nature, and whose person is divine. The divine nature of Christ is ontologically of course beyond any possible comparison — it is the ontological difference between the absolute Person of the Creator and the mere imago Dei of the creature.
Behind the distortion of the sacred humanity of Christ is also a false concept of amplitude or breadth. One tries to smuggle in a denial of the incomprehensible holiness of the humanity of Jesus under the title “full man,” and to render the personality of Jesus mediocre. There is hidden in the title “full man” not only the confusion between ontological and qualitative, but also the confusion between real amplititude, and a merely horizontal extension. Whereas one often used to make the mistake of thinking that we attain greater amplitude and breadth the more all-encompassing our concepts are, and thus of confusing the degrees of abstraction with the hierarchy of values, the present error is the incomparably more primitive, flat equation between the essence of man and the sum total of men. It is forgotten that to be a full man does not mean that one must himself potentially have all the qualitative characteristics which can be inherent in men. The “full” refers to the true essence of man. not to the sum total of men.
Jesus, according to His human nature — not His person — was an Imago Dei ontologically, but qualitatively He possessed in His humanity not only the similitudo Dei — which it is our highest calling to attain, and which the saints did attain — but His humanity was an epiphany of God. It radiated the inconceivable holiness of God: “Philip, anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
We must never forget that the “uninventable” humanity of Christ in its inconceivable holiness is the center of the Christian Revelation, and that it — more than all the miracles — is the greatest proof of the divinity of Christ. What compelled the Apostles — “relictis omnibus” (“leaving all things behind”) — to follow the command “sequere me” (“follow me”) and to fall down before Christ, was the epiphany of God in His holy humanity. The qualitative epiphany of God, the inconceivable holiness of Jesus is the basis for our belief in the impenetrable mystery of the Incarnation, in the fact that Christ is God, that the second Person of the Blessed Trinity assumed a human nature, without losing His divine nature.
The worst undermining of the Christian Faith, of the belief in the authentic Christian Revelation, of the teaching of the holy Church, is the distortion of the sacred humanity of Christ, the qualitative desacralization of the personality of Jesus. 53 All the pompous talk about the consequences of the Councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon supposedly having led to a one-sided emphasis on the divinity of Christ and to a neglect of the humanity of Christ, is a subtle and cunning attempt, in the guise of a seemingly historical, scientific, objective attitude, to open the door for the desacralization of the humanity of Jesus, for blinding us to the center of Revelation: the holy humanity of Jesus. In reality, the ontologically full humanity of Jesus, which lies in the expression “totus Deus—totus homo” (“fully God and fully man”), has always remained fully living in the holy Church. Think of the Franciscan movement, which introduced the special devotions to the Child Jesus and to the suffering of Jesus, in both of which the complete human nature of Christ becomes vivid. Think of the “Stabat Mater dolorosa” by Jacopone da Todi, of all the individualization in the representation of Christ in the art of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. But thank God the qualitative epiphany of God in Jesus' holy humanity was always seen and emphasized; one was fully Christian, and remained so.
Hand in hand with the profanation and desacralization of the holy humanity of Jesus goes logically the attempt to “reinterpret” all the miracles of Christ. This is cunningly done in the Dutch Catechism for Adults. For instance, the miracle of the Virgin Birth is denied in a cautious manner by speaking with sublime words of the creation of every human soul by God, then by speaking of the birth of Isaac and of St. John the Baptist as a heightening of the marvel which lies in every human birth, and finally by mentioning the birth of Jesus as the most marvelous birth of all. Thus in a seemingly reverent manner they explain away the fact that Jesus is not the son of loseph, but the Son of God. The “incarnatus est de spiritu sancto ex Maria virgine” of the Creed is demythologized in Bultmann's sense. The same thing is done to the fundamental dogma of the Resurrection of Christ.
The attempt to make Christ mediocre, which is found in modern school catechisms, especially in some of the American ones, goes of course much further than the desacralization of the sacred humanity of Christ. Here not only is the holiness of Christ's human nature explained away on the grounds that Jesus is “fully human,” not only is the epiphany of God in His holy humanity covered over, but the personality of Jesus is also made into a mediocre, average person. Holiness becomes a harmless geniality; the sublime spirit of Christ becomes average common sense. In short, the children are presented a personality which even in the sphere of human nature stands far beneath all the great and important historical figures. Under the guise of bringing Jesus nearer to the children, they distort the deeds and words of Christ in the Gospel, partly by leaving out the most important ones, partly by adding characteristics of Jesus which completely misrepresent His personality and which are completely arbitrary, without any basis in the Gospels. Thus Jesus becomes a harmless, average man, who is not worthy even to be the water-boy for Socrates or for the Graechi, or for any genius.
Thank God the presentation of a “mediocre Jesus” is not yet as widespread as the desacralization of the sacred humanity of Christ. It cannot yet be found in the well-known theologians; it is not yet as widespread a tendency as is the desacralization of the sacred humanity of Jesus, which is even to be found in pastoral letters and sermons. But it is particularly disastrous from a pastoral viewpoint because it is presented to children in catechisms. Thus from the very beginning they receive a picture of Christ which renders faith in the divinity of Christ impossible. Only an idiotic child could believe that this “jolly good fellow” is the Son of God!
The desacralization of the holy humanity of Jesus and above all the presentation of a “mediocre Jesus” is incomparably more dangerous than the open denial of the divinity of Christ, which is often repeated by free-thinkers. I am not thinking of Arianism in this connection, which was an invasion of Plotinism into the holy Church. For the Arians Christ still remained the Logos: the ontologically highest being after God (homoiusios instead of homousios (like God instead of equal to God). He still had a relation to God which was completely different from that of a mere man. No, we are thinking of the denial of the divinity of Christ by the liberal Protestant theologians, of the claim that Christ was only a particularly noble man, but not the Son of God. Here the divine nature of Christ is simply denied. The Person of Christ here is no longer identical with the second Person of the Trinity, nor does He possess a divine nature. Christ is just a man like all the others, even though He is the most perfect man. These liberal theologians often no longer believe in the Trinity, and sometimes not even in the existence of God. This attack on the divinity of Christ, which denies all ontological union with God, is less dangerous, or let us say, not so demonically cunning as the qualitative desacralization of His sacred humanity and the presentation of a mediocre image of it. The creeping poison which is not noticed until it is too late, is more dangerous than an open attack, than a disease which one recognizes as such as soon as it makes its appearance. The spy is even more dangerous than the enemy who attacks openly.
Everyone can see that the open and emphatic denial of the divinity of Christ is absolutely incompatible with the teaching of the holy Church. This thesis would destroy the basis of the whole Christian Revelation. But this is not so clearly recognized to be the case with the desacralized and mediocre image of the sacred humanity of Christ. The desacralization is introduced under the title of “full humanness” as an orthodox interpretation, and the mediocre image of Jesus is presented under the title of pastoral necessity. Desacralization is not immediately recognized as incompatible with the teaching of the Church. The tendency to undermine the Christian Faith, which is hidden behind it, is not grasped by the faithful. Desacralization is not seen through; it is seen by many as the necessary emphasis on the “totus homo.” And most children are not able to recognize the mediocre image of Jesus in its radical incompatibility with the Christian Revelation, with the Gospel, if their parents have not already introduced them to the Christian Revelation.
The qualitative distortion of the sacred humanity of Christ certainly has its roots in a lack of faith in the divinity of Christ, in the lack of seriousness with which the substantial union of the human and divine natures is taken. But for the children who are presented with this false, deformed, desacralized humanity, it is the destruction of their faith in the divinity of Christ. The qualitative falsification renders faith impossible for them, for it destroys the Revelation of God in the holy humanity of Christ. It is the cause, and the loss of faith in His divinity is the effect.
Beyond this, the presentation of a mediocre image of Jesus is especially dangerous today because the world as a whole has become much more mediocre than it was, say, 150 years ago. The sense for greatness and depth has completely receded, even on a purely natural” level. In the industrialized world which is viewed by Teilhard de Chardin as “progress,” in which the machine has replaced the tool and the computer ideal has captivated many people, in which education increases in breadth but loses its depth, in such an age the presentation of a mediocre image of the personality of Christ is harder to recognize for what it is because it fits in so well with our mediocre world. The more our age becomes one in which not only the air is poisoned by chemical elements, but the spiritual and intellectual atmosphere is poisoned by the mass media, the more one brings mediocrity into religion for pastoral reasons.
But the sacred humanity of Christ is not only qualitatively desacralized; the false understanding of “totus homo” has disastrous effects in yet another direction. The fact that the Person of Christ, although He possesses a fully human nature, is nevertheless identical with the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, gives the personality of Jesus a unique character. In other words, the mysterious union of divine and human natures in one Person elevates Christ even in His sacred humanity in an inexpressible way above all other men. As the litany of the Sacred Heart, the intimate center of His human nature, says: “Cor Jesu verbo Dei substantialiter unitum” (“Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God”). Even this fundamental truth of the teaching of the holy Church is covered up, thrust as it were into the background by utilizing the “totus homo” in order to approach the Man Jesus with doubtful false modern psychological theories. One forgets the essential difference in the humanity of Jesus which is effected by the mysterious “substantial” union with the divine nature. We should never think of Christ, never approach Him, never concern ourselves with the humanity of Christ without keeping before our eyes this dogma, which has been defined de fide by the infallible holy Church and is proclaimed in the Nicene Creed:
“Credo... et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum. Et ex patre natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero. Genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri: per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de coelis. Et incarnatus est de Spirtu Sancto...”
(“I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God. Born of the Father before all ages. God of God, light of light, true God of true God. Begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father: by whom all things were made. Who for us men and our salvation came down from heaven. And was made flesh by the Holy Spirit. . . .”)
We said before that the qualitative epiphany of God in the holy humanity of Jesus is the basis for our faith in the divinity of Christ, as it was for that of the Apostles. Now we see that the substantial union of the human and divine natures in Jesus Christ is also built into our faith; through the infallible teaching office of the Church we possess the knowledge that it is the second Divine Person who has assumed a human nature in Jesus Christ, as it is clearly stated at the beginning of the Gospel according to St. John: “Et Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis.” (“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”)
If we “repress” this and consent to a psychological analysis of the Man Jesus, we have already fallen into a distortion of the figure of Christ, and indeed into apostasy. In addition, the “torus homo” in no way contains the claim that the status of Christ, His mission, His holy priesthood. His holy teaching office, His character as King of Kings does not distinguish Him in a unique manner from all mere men, and elevate Him above them. “Unum est magister vester: Christus” (“One is your teacher: Christ”): what would be shocking arrogance for any mere man, a demonic pride, is in this case a radiant, blissful truth. In the mouth of Christ, spoken by the Man Jesus, it has a radically different, indeed contrary character to that which it would have in the mouth of any other man, even the most noble, most gifted man. Jesus is the absolute Lord. He issues commandments which are ultimately binding. He absolves sinners from their sins, something which of its very essense God alone can do. He says, “Whoever is not for me is against me.” He says on the Cross to the Good Thief, “This day thou shalt be with me in paradise.”
But not only are there many things which He alone can say, which in the mouth of any other man would assume a completely different and indeed contrary character, but there are also many things which other men can do, which in the sphere of human life are normal and good, but which are impossible for Christ, because He, as the God-man, is beyond them. Spousal love between man and woman is certainly something which is fundamentally human. It is even something which is especially beautiful and deep. What would human life be if there were no capacity for such a love, or if it could not be actualized? What would human life be if there were no marriage, no generation of children? But nevertheless this would be incompatible with the God-Man Jesus Christ. The notion that the God-Man Jesus Christ would fall in love with a woman and marry her is absurd and conflicts with the unique position of Jesus Christ. This is in no way a limitation of the “totus homo,” in no way a lack of perfection of the human nature of the God-Man.
What must be our personal response to this terrible, blasphemous distortion of the sacred humanity of Jesus?
Our first response must be to contemplate the sacred humanity of Jesus Christ in all its inconceivable beauty and holiness. This devilish distortion of the sacred humanity of Christ must lead us to seek commerce intime (personal intimacy) with Jesus with renewed zeal. We must steep ourselves in the Scriptures which reveal the holy humanity of Jesus — especially, of course, the Gospels. But the sacred humanity as the epiphany of God, and its substantial union with the second Divine Person of the Blessed Trinity, is illuminated also in the Epistles of Saints Peter and Paul. Yes, in the face of the horrible deformation of the very center of Christian Revelation, we must immerse ourselves in the holy humanity of Christ, contemplating in a special way whatever is filled with the adoration of the God-Man Jesus Christ and which proclaims the sacred humanity of Christ, as do the readings from St. Leo and St. Augustine in the Matins for the feasts of our Lord; as does the hymn of St. Bemard, Jesus dulcis memoria, in the Vespers of the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, and the hymn of Ascension Vespers, Jesu nostra redemptio. We must nourish our spirits on books which draw us in a special way into the presence of God (in conspectu Dei) and which proclaim the loving adoration of the sacred humanity of Christ, as the Confessions of St. Augustine, the writings of St. Francis of Assisi, the Philothea (Introduction to the Devout Life) and Theotimus of St. Francis de Sales, and many works of Cardinal Newman.
We should build an altar in our hearts for the contemplation of the sacred humanity of Christ and the adoration of the God-Man. And as part of this response we should do penance for the horrible blasphemies which are being perpetuated in catechisms and sermons. And finally, we should battle actively against this distortion and deformation of the holy countenance of Jesus and His sacred humanity, each of us within his own sphere of influence. This battle must be relentless, free from all false, effeminate irenicism.
At the end of this book we will discuss in greater detail the divinely willed response not only to the distortion of the sacred humanity of Christ, but also to the whole devastation of the vineyard of the Lord.
49. John Henry Cardinal Newman, Discourses to Mixed Congregations, “Purity and Love,” p. 69.
50. Preface for Christmas.
51. I have analyzed the unique essence of the person in many of my works. Cf. Liturgy and Personality, Ethics, Transformation in Christ, and many essays. Cf. also Josef Seifert, Erkenntniss objektiver Wahrheit (Salzburg: Pustet, 1972), and specially his Leib und Seele (Salzburg: Pustet, 1973).
52. We want to point out the book by Josef Seifert, Leib und Seele (Salzburg: Pustet, 1973), as the most adequate presentation of the true nature of body and soul, of their substantial difference as well as their union in man.
53. We said that the distortion of the sacred humanity of Christ has more the character of a creeping poison than of an open challenge which would deny the divinity of Christ outright. Our main purpose here is to examine the qualitative distortion occurring under the title “totus homo,” which even victimizes those who still believe in the divinity of Christ, or who at least do not dare to deny it. But there are also many who openly express their denial of the divinity of Christ, and for these people this denial is the motive for distorting the sacred humanity of Christ. This is the case, for example, in all the horrible writings of Heer and Holl. However, we are more concerned hcre with the qualitative distortion of the sacred humanity of Jesus which finds expression in the modern catechisms in America and Europe. It is also found in many plays and musicals, such as Jesus Christ Superstar, as well as in all those which, for example. present the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene as a sexual one. The bishops who introduce the false calechisms, or who tolerate such plays, are certainly not all deniers of the divinity of Christ.