Saint Clement of Alexandria…

…judges Francis’ idea on reforming the Church

  • The shameful vices of the “gods” of paganism

Hercules, the son of Zeus […] in one night deflowered the fifty daughters of Thestius, and thus was at once the debaucher and the bridegroom of so many virgins. It is not, then, without reason that the poets call him a cruel wretch and a nefarious scoundrel. It were tedious to recount his adulteries of all sorts, and debauching of boys. For your gods did not even abstain from boys, one having loved Hylas, another Hyacinthus, another Pelops, another Chrysippus, and another Ganymede. Let such gods as these be worshipped by your wives, and let them pray that their husbands be such as these – so temperate; that, emulating them in the same practices, they may be like the gods. Such gods let your boys be trained to worship, that they may grow up to be men with the accursed likeness of fornication on them received from the gods. (Saint Clement of Alexandria. Protepticus)

…judges Francis’ idea on sects forming part of the Church

  • They strive to cut asunder the one Church into many sects

In the nature of the One, then, is associated in a joint heritage the one Church, which they strive to cut asunder into many sects. Therefore in substance and idea, in origin, in pre-eminence, we say that the ancient and Catholic Church is alone, collecting as it does into the unity of the one faith — which results from the peculiar Testaments, or rather the one Testament in different times by the will of the one God, through one Lord — those already ordained, whom God predestinated, knowing before the foundation of the world that they would be righteous. But the pre-eminence of the Church, as the principle of union, is, in its oneness, in this surpassing all things else, and having nothing like or equal to itself. (Saint Clement of Alexandria. Stromata Book VII, Ch. 17)

…judges Francis’ idea on the flesh of Christ and poverty as a theological category

  • The abundance of necessary things keeps the soul free, capable of making good use of what is at hand

The same holds good also in the case of poverty. For it compels the soul to desist from necessary things, I mean contemplation and from pure sinlessness, forcing him, who has not wholly dedicated himself to God in love, to occupy himself about provisions; as, again, health and abundance of necessaries keep the soul free and unimpeded, and capable of making a good use of what is at hand. (Saint Clement of Alexandria. Book IV, Ch. 5)

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