Tertullian writes of the gnostics:
“In the first place one does not know who is a catechumen, who is a believer, they meet with one another (in the house of assembly), listen to another and pray with one another. Even if pagans approach them they throw that which is holy to dogs, and pearls, though they be false, before swine. The wish the abandonment of discipline (disciplina) to be taken for simplicity, and our concern for it they call pandering. They maintain (ecclesiastical) harmony with all making no distinction. As a matter of fact it exists among them although they hold different doctrines as long as they wage common warfare against one thing, truth (i.e. orthodoxy). They are all puffed up, all promise ‘knowledge’. Their catechumens are already ‘perfected’ (perfecti) before they are taught. Even the heretical women–how barefaced they are! They make bold to teach, to dispute, to perform exorcisms, to promise cures, perhaps also to baptize. Their ordinations are carelessly administered, capricious and inconsistent. Sometimes they assign position to novices (neophytes), at another worldly men, at another recreants (apostates), that they bind them to themselves for the sake of reputation, since they cannot by truth. Nowhere is there easier advancement than in the camp of the rebels, where even to be there is a merit. In this way one man is bishop today, another tomorrow, today one is deacon, who tomorrow will be reader, today a priest (presbyter), who tomorrow will be a layman. Fro even to laymen they commit priestly duties” (216).
These meetings mentioned above are the egalitarian, happy-go-lucky house masses that supposedly existed in the early Church that the Novus Ordo Missae is supposed to represent. However, once again, we see that it was the gnostics after all. In this passage we also see
- Interreligious worship with pagans (like John Paul II’s Assisi prayer meetings).
- The eradication or relaxation of formal rules and discipline (like the Novus Ordo and, the 1983 Code of Canon Law, and Vatican II).
- The eradication of distinctions between lay and cleric.
- The dismissal of the idea need for catechesis beyond feeling and inspiration.
- The ad lib approach of the Novus Ordo sacraments.
There is no doubt that modernism and modernist worship is simply gnosticism rebooted. #throwbackthursday.