When a faithful minister, who has the misfortune to be a steward of the Lord at such an ill-fated time and amid such a mass of evils, sees the one and only bride of Christ smitten not in one place only but on all sides within and without, and wounded with a mortal wound, with what pain is he not wrung, with what anxieties torn, knowing not, meanwhile, what he ought to do? For if he speaks as love of the bride and the bitterness of a mother’s pain suggest, he has to fear wranglings and strife, nay the savage bites of hatred and contumely, and to expose himself to these not from one or the other party, but from both.
But if he prefer to follow the advice of the prophet Amos who saith, “Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time” [Amos 5:13], and, as the vision of Ezekiel has it, to mourn and groan over all the abominations that are done; or, with the royal prophet, to keep quiet in the wilderness while there is contention in the city; the truth of the Gospel stands in his way: “The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, … and fleeth” [John 10:11, 12].
Since, therefore, we are of those ministers whose lot has fallen upon these dangerous times, and we see the evils constantly increasing, and the peace disturbed, and offences multiplied in the fold of the Lord, with the introduction of new errors not less dangerous than the earlier ones, and meanwhile the peace, that we have long been waiting for with great longings, cometh not, but confusion, we are forced to act by “the zeal of the house of God” [Ps. 69:9; John 2:17], in one part of which at least there is a watchful guardian.
Led by zeal for the faith which at baptism we swore to defend, by zeal against the present schism under which our holy Mother Church is suffering so severely, we have determined to shut our eyes and delay no longer, but to toil in season and out of season, to preserve as far as possible the unity handed down by the Lord through his Apostles to us their successors, and to gather into the Church the wandering and erring sheep which, by factious perversity and heretical tampering with the faith, certain persons are separating from our mother.