Everyone Can Quote A Saint
Canonised Saints are rather numerous. There are several thousands of them. Many of them are on record with some – or many – of the very many things they must have said in their life. The context of the phrase is often not recorded. In addition, it is obvious that the Saint did not want to – knowingly, at least – be at variance with what the Church teaches. Add to this that in the past people expressed themselves in a far more robust, and far less precise, way than in our technology-dominated, soft-spoken era, where 6:02 pm is undoubtedly something different than 6:00 pm and “intrinsically disordered” sounds “harsh” to the whining girlies of both sexes. Lastly, Saints are obviously not infallible.
You must, therefore, not be deceived by all those who, in good faith or more probably not, dish you a “quote” from a Saint (authentic or not) to try to make a point that goes against Catholic teaching. Besides the fact that the Saint in question may simply have been tragically wrong – even St Augustine ran the risk of being declared a heretic, and rightly so – no Saint would want you to be deceived because of what he has said. Every “quote” must, as a result, be proofed using the touchstone of… what the Church teaches.
Two examples of crass abuse of what I have just explained should be mentioned here.
The first example is the abuse of St Francis in order to downplay Catholic doctrine and its proper transmission, and making of him a kind of über emotional girly who went around caressing trees all the time. “if necessary, use words” is an extremely misleading statement if taken literally. Of course it is necessary to use words! Catholicism isn't an ad libitum outburst of emotions. It is a very rigidly structured, highly complex, perfectly rational system of values surpassing and transcending every emo fantasy of the effeminate crowd. It must be obvious to every thinking Catholic that St Francis wanted, if the quote is authentic, make a kind of emphatic statement on the importance of loving, but certainly did not want to mean that provided you luuv everything goes, every difference between confession can be forgotten, & Co., & Co.
The second example is a quote that TMAHICH has seen fit to exploit for the promotion of his Socialist and Statalist cause. The quote from St John Chrysostom runs thus:
” Not to share one's good with the poor is to rob them and deprive them of life. It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs”.
Again, everyone who stops one moment and reflects will come to the unavoidable conclusion that the phrase cannot be taken in any other way than as an emotional (far too emotional, I think; but I was born in an age more accustomed to precision) appeal to charity and fraternal help. It cannot mean in any way – and would be entirely wrong if it had been meant to be understood in any way – that the poor has a title to the goods of the rich, to the point that the rich is “robbing him” of the goods which the poor, not their owners, possess.
Common sense, you will say. Entirely obvious. Crystal clear to everyone who can read a quote cum grano salis. Not so for Pope Francis, though, and for those of his ilk. They will go around using this phrase to rape Christianity into a mixture of Communism and extreme Liberation Theology.
TMAHICH is certainly one of them. To him, the State – or a supranational entity, even – must appropriate resources and redistribute them. This appeal to the State as the Collective Expropriator is as far away from Catholicism as this can be conceived, and diametrically opposed to the Catholic principle of Subsidiarity. But Francis, who either does not know jack about Catholicism or does not care, is perfectly happy with taking St John Chrysostom as a hostage; because if he quoted Lenin, Catholics wouldn't be much impressed.
Truth is Truth. Saints don't make Truth. They merely reflect it more or less accurately, and again they can be taken out of context. The duty of a Catholic is to be well instructed concerning Truth, in order to accurately assess whatever he is told in the light of it, rather than uncritically accepting every possible strange theory – even the most absurd ones – because of a quote.
Everyone can quote a Saint, exactly as everyone – even the Devil – can quote the Bible. Instruct yourself properly about Catholic teaching and assess every statement in the light of it, not the other way round.