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There must be heresies


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When I was an agnostic/atheist college student and very much on the outside looking in, I took a course on early Christian thought. Although I was not converted (that came later), I came away convinced that the Church had in the early centuries been challenged by a series of potentially destructive heresies and had each time some how been able to get it right. After I converted, I found that G.K. Chesterton had long before me discovered the same miracle. He pointed out how, when attacked from the right and from the left, the Church had not come to some compromise, some gray middle ground, but had rather wondrously, divinely, reconciled the extremes by embracing them both.

God was not an unapproachable singularity or a series of emanation, but a Trinity of three equal persons in one perfect Godhead. Jesus was not just a man, or a demi-god or a shell in which God dwelt, but true God and true man. The Church delighted in the magnificence of St. Peter's and honored the stark poverty of St. Francis of Assisi. The Church defended both fruitful marriage and celibacy for the sake of the kingdom. And the Church has protected and promoted true personal freedom by providing a hierarchical structure through which the individual can be assured of finding answers to the most difficult theological questions, the intimacy of the sacramental presence of her Lord, and assurance of the forgiveness of sins.

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