— Council of Vienne ♰♰♰

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

St. Anthony of Padua's sermon against fornication, homosexuality, adultery and incest


Saint Anthony of Padua, Confessor and Doctor of the Church

“From this dung four worms are generated, namely: simple fornication, adultery, incest, and sin against nature.

“All these are ‘the way trodden down by demons’, the ‘dung-hold of the ark’. In them the seed of the divine word perishes and is snatched away by the devil.

A sermon against the lustful: And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside 

6. But not everyone is faithful! Not everyone obeys the Gospel! That is why the parable continues:

And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. [Lk 8.5]

The bottom-most chamber of Noah’s ark, traditionally, is the bilge or ‘dung-hold’. The pathway

trodden under foot and this ‘dung-hold’ have the same meaning. They stand for those who

pursue the pleasures of lust. Solomon says:

Every woman that is a harlot shall be trodden like dung upon the path, [Ecclus 9.10]

and Isaiah has this rebuke for the lustful:

Thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as a way to them that went over. [Is 51.23]

This refers to the devils, who as they pass tread down the seed so that it does not germinate.

Isaiah says again:

The crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden under feet. [Is 28.31]

Ephraim means ‘fruitful’, and it stands for the abundance of temporal goods. The drunkards are

the pleasure-seekers who are inebriated with the gold chalice of Babylon, temporal abundance;

and the crown of pride on the head is the haughty thought of a corrupt mind. This will be trodden

by the feet of the demons when the impure thought issues in the besotted action of lust. Indeed,

the seed of the Lord cannot germinate in such accursed soil!

The demons are also referred to as ‘fowls of the air’, because of their pride and because they

are supposed to dwell in the air. They seize and devour the seed from the lustful hearts, lest it

bear fruit. Hosea says:

Strangers have devoured his strength, [Hos 7.9]

meaning that the demons have eaten the strength of the divine word. Notice also that the seed

is said to have fallen by, rather than in, the wayside, because the lustful man does not receive

the word within his heart’s ear, but as a mere sound that lightly passes by the ear of his body.

Such folk are the ‘dung-hold’, stinking like oxen in their dung. The Psalmist says of them:

They perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth. [Ps 82.11]

Endor means ‘the fire of generation’, that is, ‘the heat of lust’. From this dung four worms are

generated, namely: simple fornication, adultery, incest, and sin against nature. Simple

fornication is a mortal sin between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is called

‘fornication’ from formae necatio, the death of the soul made in the likeness of God. Adultery

(alterius torum) is the sin of approaching the marriage-bed of another. Incest is sin between

those closely related by blood or marriage. Sin against nature refers to any act whereby the

semen is ejaculated other than in the proper place for conception, the vagina of a woman. All

these are ‘the way trodden down by demons’, the ‘dung-hold of the ark’. In them the seed of the

divine word perishes and is snatched away by the devil.

St. Anthony of Padua: Hammer of Heretics

Sermon by St Anthony of Padua:
He who uses the name of God without its meaning, instead of respecting the meaning of the name, takes it in vain. And so they enter the sea, which is the bitterness of sin, in order to pass from this to the bitterness of torment. God made the firmament of Baptism in the midst of the waters, to divide the waters from the waters; but these sinners, as Isaiah says,

have transgressed the laws, they have changed the ordinance, they have broken the everlasting covenant.

Therefore shall a curse devour the earth; and the inhabitants thereof shall sin,

and therefore they that dwell therein shall grow mad. (Is 25,5-6)

The written law and the law of grace are transgressed, because they are not willing to keep the written law like slaves, or the law of grace like sons. They alter the natural law, which is: "Whatever you do not want done to you, do not do to others." They break the everlasting covenant which they made in Baptism. Therefore the curse of pride shall devour the earth (that is, earthly folk), and those who dwell in it shall sin with the sin of avarice, those to whom is said in the Apocalypse, Woe to you who dwell upon the earth;

and those who cultivate it shall grow mad with the sin of lust, which is weakness and derangement of mind.

 The Sin of Pride 

“It was Pride that changed angels into devils;   it is humility that makes men as angels.” 

- St. Augustine

Saint Anthony Padua:
First, a sermon against the proud: I saw a ram with horns, and on the arrangement of horns in animals, and their meaning.) 13. When a strong man armed keepeth his court. The strong man armed is the spirit of pride, armed with uplifted horns to brandish and to fight the whole world. As we read in Daniel: I saw a ram pushing with his horns against the west and against the north and against the south; and no beasts could withstand him nor be delivered out of his hands; and he did according to his own will and became great. [Dan 8.4] This ram represents the spirit of pride, which butts against west and north and south with uplifted horns. The west denotes poor and lesser folk, who lack the heat of strength and power. The north denotes equals (in Isaiah, the devil says: I will place my seat in the north, and I will be like, (that is, equal to) the Most High [cf. Is 14.13-14]). The south denotes greater folk, ablaze with the heat of dignity and power. The horned ram, the spirit of rampant pride, ramps against the west, treading down the poor and humble; against the north, despising his equals; and against the south, mocking and deriding his betters. And no beasts could withstand him, nor be delivered out of his hands. O horned pride, who can be delivered from your hands? You even raised up Lucifer- the seal of resemblance, whose covering was every precious stone [Ezek 28.12-13]- to the very pinnacle of pride. You were born in heaven, and so you usually live in heavenly minds, hiding beneath sack-cloth and ashes!
From the horns of this beast, David the prophet prayed to be saved, saying:
Save me from the lion’s mouth: and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns. [Ps 21.22]
The unicorn represents the singularity of pride, because the proud man wants to be alone in preeminence. "Power will suffer no partner."3 David detested pride, saying: O Lord my God, If I
have done this thing! [Ps 7.4]. See how, to indicate the greatness of his detestation, he would
not even call it by its own name! God hates pride above all things, and so Peter says:
God resisteth the proud, but to the humble he giveth grace. [1Pt 5.5]
Job says of the unicorn:
Shall the rhinoceros (or: monoceros, ‘unicorn’) be willing to serve thee, or will it stay at thy crib?
[Job 39.9]
as if to say, "Not thine!" The proud man cannot consider the Lord’s crib, that he was placed in a
crib for us.
14. Some animals have backward-curving horns. This is an image of the pride which, in some
people, is broken down by their lust. They think themselves high and mighty, but are brought low
by the lust of the flesh. As Hosea says,
The pride of Israel shall answer in his face. [Hos 5.5]
It often happens that someone, who will not recognize his hidden pride, is brought to shame
when it is revealed through the vice of lust.
There are also animals with forward-pointing horns, like unicorns. This represents the pride of
the hypocrite, who cloaks his pride under an appearance of religious observance. As
Ecclesiasticus says,
There is one that humbleth himself wickedly, and his interior is full of deceit.[Ecclus 19.23]
St Gregory4 says: "Humility is such a precious thing, that pride would like to be clothed in it, lest
its own vileness be seen."
Some animals have horns which turn towards each other, like the wild cow, representing a pride
in some which is broken in itself. Isaiah says:
The Lord of hosts shall break the earthen vessel with terror,
and the tall of stature shall be cut down, and the lofty shall be humbled. [Is 10.33]
The earthen vessel is the mind of a proud sinner, made of clay and breakable, filled with the
water of conceit. The Lord breaks it by striking the terror of the Last Judgement into the mind of
that proud man. In that judgement, the ‘tall of stature’, who now seem to stand so securely, will
be cut down by the sentence;
Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire; [cf. Mt 25.41]
and the ‘lofty’ who now go about with stretched out necks and wanton glances, and move with a
set pace [cf. Is 3.16], will be humbled to hell, and to the deepest pit [cf. Is 14.15], in which is no
refreshing water.
Again, some animals have horns that go straight up, like the deer. This represents that pride
which, in some, arises from religion alone. This is the most dangerous sort, and Isaiah says of it
to religious (whom it most benefits to be outstanding in humility), speaking under the figure of
‘the valley of vision’:
What aileth thee also, that thou too art wholly gone up to the housetops? [Is 22.1]
as if to say, It is tolerable if worldly folk seek the highest places; but what does it look like if you
religious, that see so much, go looking for promotion?

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction: and the spirit is lifted up before a fall.



James teaches us what we must do to become humble:

  • Submit yourselves to God (James 4:7).
  • Draw near to the Lord (James 4:8).
  • Pursue Holiness (James 4:8 purify your hearts, sanctify your hearts). "Remove sin from your life. Focus your mind on God.
  • Repent (James 4:9). Contrite heart means "to be completely penitent, feeling remorse and affected by guilt, deeply regretful and wishing to atone for sin."
  • Go to confession: James 5:16
  • Resist Temptation. Flee from the occasions of sin (James 4:7)

James 4:8
Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind.

James 4:7
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Resist Temptation: 
James 1:12

Trial and Temptation
Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:21
 Wherefore casting away all uncleanness, and abundance of naughtiness, with meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Avoid bad company

Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 

1 Corinthians 15:33
Saint Anthony of Padua also teaches us that we must flee from bad company:
Abraham represents reason, and Lot sensuality. The herdsmen of the flocks are the affections and movements of each, between which there is daily strife. But Abraham said, Let there be no quarrel, I beseech thee, between me and thee. Thus does reason chastise sensuality, wanting to pacify it. It says, we are brethren, do not fight against me, do not pick a quarrel. Behold, the whole land is before thee, that you may live according to your need, not for the sake of pleasure. 
Use what is lawful; live discreetly, because the Lord has given the earth to the children of men [Ps 113.16], not to the offspring of beasts. But because I see that your imagination and thought are prone to evil from your youth [cf. Gen 8.21], therefore I pray you to depart from me, because two opposites cannot live together. What fellowship hath light with darkness? What part hath the faithful with the unbeliever? [2Cor 6.14,15]. Depart from me, then, I pray; because if you do not depart, I am afraid your company will shape my behaviour. "One grape can develop mould at the sight of another"; and, "A bad companion will pass on his scabs and sores to his innocent and simple friend," says the Philosopher2. Depart from me, then, I pray: If thou wilt go to the left  hand, etc. 

Separate yourself, I pray you, from me: if you will take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

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