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Is it not the same spirit of grace that has been poured out upon us? Wherefore, divide and separate the members of Christ, be at war with our own body, be so foolish as to forget that we are members of one another? He is the first author in whom we find episcopal unity clearly outlined, and he beseeches the faithful to range themselves about the "presbyters" and the deacons and especially through them and with them about the bishop : "It is fitting that you be of one mind with the bishop, as you are, because your venerable presbyterium is attached to the bishop as the strings to the lyre" ( Ephesians 6:1 ); "you must not take advantage of the age of your bishop, but, being mindful of the power of God the Father, you should show him every manner of respect, as do the holy priests " (Magn., iii, 1).
The bishop is the centre and pivot of the Church : "Where he is there should the community be" (Smyrn., xi, 1).
Thus understood, schism is a genus which embraces two distinct species : heretical or mixed schism and schism pure and simple. In its other aspect and as being purely schism it is contrary to charity and obedience; to the former, because it severs the ties of fraternal charity, to the latter, because the schismatic rebels against the Divinely constituted hierarchy.
The first has its source in heresy or joined with it, the second, which most theologians designate absolutely as schism, is the rupture of the bond of subordination without an accompanying persistent error, directly opposed to a definite dogma. However, not every disobedience is a schism; in order to possess this character it must include besides the transgression of the commands of superiors, denial of their Divine right to command.
It was they who established the " episcopi and deacons " (xlii, 4) and decided that others should succeed them in their ministry (xliv, 2).
He thus explains the gravity of the sin and the severity of the reproaches addressed to the fomenters of the troubles .
They must be always submissive to the bishop, the presbyterium, and the deacons ("Eph.", ii, 2; v, 3; xx, 2; "Magn.", ii; iii, 1; vi, 1, 2; xiii, 2; "Tra Il.", ii, 1, 2; xiii, 2; "Philad.", vii, 1; "Smyrn.", viii, 1; "Polyc.", vi, 1).
Those who violate the laws of unity shall become strangers to Christ and his spiritual family : "And if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican " ( Matthew ). Paul often refers to the unity of the Church, describing it as one edifice, one body, a body between whose members exists the same solidarity as between the members of the human body ( 1 Corinthians 12 ; Ephesians 4 ). and in one Spirit we have all been made to drink" (I Cor xii, 13); "For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread" (ibid., x, 17). one Lord, one faith, one baptism " ( Ephesians 4:4-5 ). The fundamental reason of all this is the Divinely instituted hierarchical order.
He enumerates its various aspects and sources: "For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, . He sums it up in the following formula: "One body and one Spirit; . Finally he arrives at the logical conclusion when he anathematizes doctrinal novelties and the authors of them ( Galatians 1:9 ), likewise when he writes to Titus: "A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid" (Tit., iii, 10); and again when he so energetically condemns the dissensions of the community of Corinth : "There are contentions among you. The work of Christ is in fact continued by the Apostles, who are sent by Christ as He was sent by God (xlii, 1, 2).
From this point of view it is impossible to understand the attitude of Protestants who claim to hold the Church they abandoned responsible for their separation.
It is proved by all the historical monuments and especially by the writings of Luther and Calvin that, prior to the anathema pronounced against them at the Council of Trent, the leaders of the Reformation had proclaimed and repeated that the Roman Church was "the Babylon of the Apocalypse, the synagogue of Satan, the society of Antichrist "; that they must therefore depart from it and that they did so in order to re-enter the way of salvation. Thus the schism was well consummated by them before it was solemnly established by the authority which they rejected and transformed by that authority into a just penal sanction.