In Sheep's Clothing
Originally published on October 2000
Yet, more important now than ever
It was God Himself, in the Person of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, who
warned us at the Sermon on the Mount
Beware of false prophets, who come
to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly are ravening wolves. (Matt.
These words echo across the centuries to Catholics, as well as to all
Christians in general, who are even more in need of such a warning in
the 21st century.
What is that should motivate us to heed this warning most
carefully in our day-to-day lives? The reality that a person's true
Faith is a serious matter and can easily be corrupted.
But before continuing, let us pause and meditate upon the
contents of the following Note which was added barely
two years after the original publication of the document.
NOTE Added on February 6, 2003
As the Faithful become more confused by the incoherence in the
"teachings" flowing out of The Vatican, and the many deviant practices
being implemented at the parish level, we read [VATICAN, Feb. 3, 2003
The Vatican has released a
long-awaited document on New Age ideology, putting Christians on guard
against the "cultural currents" created by New Age theories.
The influence of New Age theory, the Vatican notes with
concern, has become obvious within the Catholic Church,... The document
calls attention to theories about the psychological affirmation of the
individual, and the search for an "alternative vision" of human
potential, as signs of danger.
That is indeed excellent advice, but then... the Faithful are told
[VATICAN CITY, Mon. Feb. 3, 4:03 PM ET (AP)]:
The Vatican is giving two thumbs
up to the Harry Potter series.
The good vs. evil plot lines of the best-selling books are
imbued with Christian morals, the Rev. Don Peter Fleetwood told a
Vatican news conference Monday.
"I don't see any, any problems in the Harry Potter series,"
Fleetwood said... responding to questions following the release of a
new Vatican document on the New Age phenomenon, which he helped
draft as a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
As if this was not enough to completely disorient the faithful,
then, at the same News Conference, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald,
president of the Pontifical Council for Inter religious Dialogue chimes
in [VATICAN CITY, FEB. 4, 2003 (Zenit.org)]:
"There can be positive New Age practices, so long as they do
not cast doubt on Catholic doctrine," he said.
Brothers and sisters - the ONLY solution to stay on the Truth is to
remain in tune with the Holy Spirit of God and follow Its prompting.
Yes, we agree that the Holy Spirit of God is the Infallible Guide
of the Church. That is not the problem. The problem is that the Roman
Catholic Church has become a very fallible listener and a reluctant
follower of the Truth.
Let us remain tuned in to the Holy Spirit with a solid prayer
life, because the times ahead will make absolute darkness look like the
light by comparison. The Vatican seems completely caught up in said
darkness with no sign of let up... not that we expected it!
Let us now return to the original
Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical Satis Cognitum, reminded
us about this in so many words:
"Nothing is more dangerous than the heretics who, while conserving
almost all the remainder of the Church's teaching intact, corrupt with
a single word, like a drop of poison, the purity and the simplicity of
the faith which we have received through tradition from God and through
Not only should we heed Our Lord's warning because of how EASILY a
person's Faith can be corrupted, but we should find urgent motivation
in the fact that the danger is more prevalent today than when
Pope Pius X felt it necessary to write:
"The partisans of error are to be
sought not only among the Church's open enemies; but... in her very
bosom, and are the more mischievous the less they keep in the
"The Church has no greater enemies.
For they put into operation their designs for her undoing, not from
without but from within. Hence, the danger is present almost in the
very veins and heart of the Church, whose injury is the more certain
from the very fact that their knowledge of her is more intimate."
"They seize upon professorships in the
seminaries and universities, and gradually make of them chairs of
Certainly we do not expect to find men dressed in sheepskin. No.
What we are told to be wary of is that what, on the surface, sounds
pleasing to the ear and seems "positive" or "beneficial" at first
glance, yet behind it all there is a subtle error that destroys Faith.
What is one of the best ways that an error against the Faith can
be taught to a Catholic, and have him easily accept it as true even if
at first they question its novelty?
The most effective way was launched when the concepts that
"doctrine evolves" and that "truth evolves with man" at the turn of the
20th century. Today however, being that the concept of evolution is not
generally looked upon favorably by Catholics, they will instead utilize
the word/concept of 'development'. So now they will speak of "doctrinal
development". This is the "sheep's clothing" of which Our Lord speaks.
What better way to have false doctrines accepted by the faithful
than to claim that the doctrine only "seems different" because they are
the truths of old which have "developed"! This is one of the most
insidious and treacherous methods of corrupting the faith of a
Catholic. The word "development" sounds beneficial and very
"theological" to the ear, and may very well catch the faithful off
guard. It is a very general term that has more than one meaning: Beware
of ambiguous wording. The term must be properly understood.
When an oak tree grows, it matures and develops as
everything does in nature. The oak tree has in fullness what the acorn
had in essence. The acorn does not become an apple tree.
When it comes to the supernatural truths of Divine Revelation we
see that this is also true. The Faith cannot at one time condemn
something as a sin or error and later teach that it is true and/or a
virtue; or the reverse. If that were the case, the cause behind such
reversal would be a mistake and not a development.
Another and most interesting Example
Let us look at a young boy who lived generations ago - Michael
Ghislieri. At age 10 the boy learned his catechism, received the
sacraments and professed his Faith. He was a Catholic pure and simple,
and knew the truths of his faith. As he matured, so did his faith and
understanding of the truths, which he always knew were true. Later in
life he studied philosophy and theology and became a theologian.
He was still just as much of a Catholic as he was when he was 10
years old but now instead of simply believing things to be
true, he now understands the why and how of these
truths. He attained a better understanding as he grew older. This is
nothing less than a "development of doctrine" in its true sense. At age
10 he was Catholic with a good understanding of the Truths of
the Faith. As an elderly theologian he believed and professed the very same
doctrines with the same meanings but with a better
Incidentally, that boy, Michael Ghislieri blossomed into St. Pope
The Roman and Eastern Churches were given the Truths of the Faith
by Our Lord. Truth is immutable. What was once condemned by the Faith
cannot be later approved in principle, nor can what was once declared
as true and good by the Faith, later become false and sinful. A true
development of doctrine increases the understanding of the fine points
and its relation to other truths, it does not reverse it; in
spite of the efforts of Cardinal Ratzinger to justify such reversal.
A theologian believes the same truths as the school-boy, only he
knows them in better detail as an adult. This fuller detail cannot be
contrary to what the school-boy knows.
So, we see that Our Lord warns us that such men today, quite
often, wear the sheep's clothing of "doctrinal development" to fool
unwary Catholics into believing different doctrines than were
previously taught in the Catholic Faith.
The sheep's clothing, which is just as treacherous and
insidious, is that of "ecclesiastical position". The Vatican had to
deal with such heretics in the past; and dealt with them severely.
Heretics who hold high office in the Church can easily fool the average
Catholic simply by standing on the dignity of his office (as we see in
the quote above by Pope Pius X).
History shows that this has wreaked havoc on the Church. Bishop
Arius is a good example. The Arian heresy caused about 80% of the
clergy in the East to fall away from the Faith dragging many of the
faithful with them, who went along, not because they understood that
heresy, but because they simply followed their clergy into it.
St. Paul seemed to warn us about different doctrines specifically
when they come from a source with a high office or dignity:
"...there are some that trouble you,
and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from
heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to
you, let him be anathema. As we said: If any one preach to you a
gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema."
St. Paul gives us a principle to remember: "...brethren, stand fast;
and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by
our epistle." (2 Thess. 2:14)
Of course, in such a case, he would be an "anti-pope" and not a
real one although the general public would not be aware of this.
So effective is the Sheep's Clothing of "ecclesiastical office"
in promoting error that St. Bernard, Cardinal Newman, and others,
logically believed that the only way the Anti-Christ could possibly be
so effective in creating a "great apostasy" among Catholics is by
becoming an "anti-pope" whom the Catholic world at large would
think is a valid Pope.
So we can now see:
1) How easily one can fall into error.
2) How prevalent error is today.
3) How serious adherence to the fundamental Faith is.
4) The True meaning of Doctrinal Development.
5) The Sheep's clothing of both
"ecclesiastical office" and "evolution of truth".
The principle at the heart of all of this is: The Truth of
the Catholic Faith is immutable. It has not, cannot, and will not
As the Church is convulsed by the sexual abuse scandals worldwide
and Cardinals and other Vatican Officials meet to map out a Damage
Control Strategy, it behooves all of us to review the (obviously)
unheeded warnings of such Roman Catholic luminaries as Pope Leo XIII
and Pope Pius X as well as the beautiful example of the life of Pope
Their words and warnings, as well as their examples, are more
timely now than ever, when a few men, so called Princes of the Church,
have managed to almost destroy the little Faith left amongst believers.
There is nothing wrong with the Great
Catholic Faith, the problem lies with those who chose Caesar while
pretending to live for God.
Speaking of 'sheep's clothing' - The M+G+R Foundation
feels that it is worthy to note that: When archbishops receive the
pallium it symbolizes their metropolitan authority and his union with
the Holy See. A pallium is a white woolen vestment prepared by
nuns from lamb's fleece. Until they are conferred on the archbishops,
the white woolen strips are stored in a coffer at the tomb of St.
Peter. A coincidental play of words? Of course not! Our Lord does not
play with the truth; He was warning us about this very serious danger
2,000 years ago.
En Español: Lobos con piel de
Originally published on
October 18, 2000. Texas, USA. • Restructured on July 27, 2019
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