“As Saint Quodvultdeus writes, ‘You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart’ (Sermo 2 de Symbolo: PL 40, 655).”
In other words, “Don’t be evil.”
Since I’m sure you’re dying to know, St. Quodvultdeus (“WhatGodWants”), who is commemorated on October 26 in the Roman calendar, was a contemporary of St. Augustine in Carthage, where he ultimately served as bishop. He and most of his priests were captured and exiled by the Vandals under Genseric, whereupon an Arian bishop was installed in Carthage for the next fifteen years. The fuller context of his above quotation reads:
You are not restrained by the love of weeping mothers and fathers mourning the deaths of their sons, nor by the cries and sobs of the children. You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart. You imagine that if you accomplish your desire you can prolong you own life, though you are seeking to kill Life himself.
The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The Christ child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to himself. But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the child, you are already paying him homage, and do not know it.
Good stuff! Let’s hope that Pope Francis invokes these kind of words even more forthrightly to the faces of dissenting teachers and leaders.