John Zmirak discusses the danger of extremes and how rigorist versions of Christianity have caused havoc over the centuries.
That's how the devil works -- goading us to and fro between a laxness that makes Faith bland and meaningless and a rigor that renders Faith unlivable and implausible....Share
In the early Church, Gnostic Christians called for universal celibacy, rejecting marriage and procreation. In medieval France, the Albigensians revived this doctrine. So, more recently, did the Shakers -- a sect that survived for centuries by adopting the children of non-Shakers, which now consists of a few old ladies and one lonely male convert. The Church duly condemned each of these Rigorist attacks on the holiness of marriage....
So let's state the matter baldly: Each Rigorist heresy that arises -- from open borders globalism to Christian socialism, from Albigensianism to pacifism -- is more than a threat to the prudent governance of human society. It is a direct attack on the truth of the Christian claim. If Christ had meant the evangelical counsels to apply literally to everyone, the Church He founded would have been the enemy of the human race, and Christianity would be false. The Pharisees would have been right, and Judas a hero. That healthy gut realization, and not some drunken love affair with Prudence, is why we Catholics fight the Rigorists with all the fervor our ancestors displayed against the Albigensians.