Bishop Gracida, before giving the closing benediction, recounted the story of the Arian heresy that nearly ripped the Church apart in the 4th century. It was a widespread heresy, he pointed out, that denied the divinity of Jesus Christ and was ultimately beaten back by an unrelenting pope and a strong bishop, St. Athanasius, who could not have done it without the unwavering support of the faithful.
Bishop Gracida drew a parallel between the Arian heresy and the current era, when we are facing a similar heresy, although instead of denying Christ’s divinity, we are denying man’s humanity because we don’t respect human life. He said we have a strong pope in John Paul II and an unwavering cardinal in Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, both of whom have written unequivocally about the need to protect human life. He warned that it will once again require an extraordinary effort from the laity to defeat this heresy, and added that many bishops and priests do not have the fortitude to confront the errors of our time so it’s up to the people to light a fire under them.