Theophilus of Antioch…

…judges Francis’ attitude towards public sinners, changing Vatican protocol

  • ‘Go in peace’ means ‘Do all things which lead you to the peace of God’

But after having forgiven her sins, He stops not at the forgiveness of sins, but adds good works, as it follows, Go in peace, i.e. in righteousness, for righteousness is the reconciliation of man to God, as sin is the enmity between God and man; as if He said, Do all things which lead you to the peace of God. (Theophilus, quoted by Saint Thomas Aquinas. Catena Aurea on Lk 7:36-50)

  • They merit salvation who repent and walk in the opposite path to their former perverseness

The Lord said to him, Make haste and come down, that is, ‘you have ascended by penitence to a place too high for you, come down by humility, lest your exaltation cause you to sky. I must abide in the house of a humble man. We have two kinds of goods in us, bodily, and spiritual; the just man gives up all his bodily goods to the poor, but he forsakes not his spiritual goods, but if he has extorted anything from any one, he restores to him fourfold; signifying thereby that if a man by repentance walks in the Opposite path to his former perverseness, he by the manifold practice of virtue heals all his old offenses, and so merits salvation, and is called the son of Abraham, because he went out from his own kindred, that is, from his ancient wickedness. (Theophilus quoted by Saint Thomas Aquinas. Catena Aurea on Lk 19:1-10)

  • God is angry with those who act wickedly, but He is merciful to those who love and fear Him

‘Is God angry?’ Yes; He is angry with those who act wickedly, but He is good, and kind, and merciful, to those who love and fear Him; for He is a chastener of the godly, and father of the righteous; but he is a judge and punisher of the impious. (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book I, Ch. III)

…judges Francis’ idea that Christ was stained by sin

  • The serpent of Moses’ staff had the appearance of the beast, but not its poison: in the same way Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh, being free from sin

See then the aptness of the figure. The figure of the serpent has the appearance of the beast, but not its poison: in the same way Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh, being free from sin. By Christ’s being lifted up, understand His being suspended on high, by which suspension He sanctified the air, even as He had sanctified the earth by walking upon it. Herein too is typified the glory of Christ: for the height of the cross was made His glory for in that He submitted to be judged, He judged the prince of this world; for Adam died justly, because he sinned; our Lord unjustly, because He did no sin. So He overcame him, who delivered Him over to death, and thus delivered Adam from death. And in this the devil found himself vanquished, that he could not upon the cross torment our Lord into hating His murderers: but only made Him love and pray for them the more. In this way the cross of Christ was made His lifting up, and glory. (Theophylus of Antioch quoted by Saint Thomas Aquinas. Catena Aurea on Jn 3:14–15)

…judges Francis’ idea that Jesus is only mercy

  • God is angry with those who act wickedly

‘Is God angry?’ Yes; He is angry with those who act wickedly, but He is good, and kind, and merciful, to those who love and fear Him; for He is a chastener of the godly, and father of the righteous; but he is a judge and punisher of the impious. (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book I, Ch. III)

…judges Francis’ idea on human suffering

  • God is angry with those who act wickedly

‘Is God angry?’ Yes; He is angry with those who act wickedly, but He is good, and kind, and merciful, to those who love and fear Him; for He is a chastener of the godly, and father of the righteous; but he is a judge and punisher of the impious. (Theolphilus of Antioch. Theophilus to Autolycus, Book I, Ch. III)