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It is said that when the devil tried to destroy the infant Church from the outside through persecution and found it unsuccessful, he switched tactics and attacked the Church from within through the instrumentations of cockles, his followers within the Church. 

From the earliest times, the authors of heresy were priests and bishops. 

The first and most pervading heresy was Arianism introduced by a Catholic priest, Arius of Alexandria. The heresy was so bad that the followers of Arius put to death countless Catholic bishops to install their own heretical Arian bishops. 

The heretical bishops, in turn, exiled the Pope and held their councils at Arles, Milan and Rimini. They took over the entire Church of Constantinople. St. Jerome, thunderstruck by the heresy, commented that the whole world groaned to wake up and find itself suddenly Arian. 

St. Athanasius almost single-handedly fought this heresy. 

Like the Protestant movement in the 1500's, Arianism spread far and wide; it became the national religion of the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Burgundians, Suevi, Vandals and Lombards. 

The Arians held that Christ was inferior to the Father. If so, the Holy Spirit would also be inferior to the Father, says the Macedonianism heresy, a heresy started by 360 Arian bishops. This was followed by Apollinarianism, stating that Christ did not have a rational soul, started by the Bishop of Laodicea. 

In Spain, the heresy , Priscillianism, a form of Manichaeism, was introduced by the Bishop of Avila with the help of two other bishops. By the grace of God, this sect was reconciled to the Church. 

One need not wonder that with bishops like the above, the Church needed no external enemies. On the part of the evil one, it was a master stroke. 






(updated 03-11-02)


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