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Old 15th November 2009, 12:58 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default the sin of heresy

Heresy occurs when a person who is a baptised Christian obstinately denies or obstinately doubts any revealed truth that must be believed with the full assent of faith (also called theological assent, or a divine and catholic faith). The teachings that must be so believed are the infallible teachings of the Magisterium, whether taught under papal infallibility, or the infallibility of an Ecumenical Council, or the Universal Magisterium.

The non-infallible teachings of the Magisterium require the religious submission of will and intellect (also called religious assent). The obstinate denial or obstinate doubt of a non-infallible teaching is not heresy, but may be a lesser sin. Since non-infallible teachings admit a limited possibility of error, denial or doubt of such a teaching is not necessarily contrary to the virtue of faith.

Canon 751: “Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith”

Canon 1364 §1: “an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae [automatic] excommunication.”

Mere material heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt of an infallible teaching without the knowledge that the teaching is infallible, or that the idea is in fact a teaching. Mere material heresy does not excommunicate.

Formal heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt by a knowing choice. All acts of formal heresy inherently automatically excommunicate the offender. By the very nature of the sin itself, apostasy, heresy, and schism excommuniate, i.e. these sins cut the person off from the Church. But only when the sin is both formal heresy and to the extent of a mortal sin. The term 'obstinate' in the definition of formal heresy indicates that the choice is free and full, and that the knowledge of the sinfulness of the act is also full. So the type of heresy that automatically excommunicates is formal heresy to the extent of an actual mortal sin.

Many Catholics in the Church today are in a state of at least material heresy. And they do not seem to mind at all.

Generally speaking, Protestants are in a state of material heresy; Protestantism is a type of heresy. Many Protestants are in a state of formal heresy.

Orthodox Christians are in a state of formal schism. However, schism is often accompanied by heresy, and in fact Orthodox Christians generally reject, formally, a number of infallible teachings of the Magisterium.

Apostasy, heresy, and schism are particularly serious sins, because each inherently separates the Christian from the teachings of the Church, which are our guide to eternal life.

Not only is it a serious sin to commit apostasy, heresy, or schism, but it is also a serious sin to lead someone else into these sins. Many persons are guilty of using the internet, websites, and discussion groups, to commit the objective sin of attempting to lead people into apostasy, heresy, or schism (especially heresy).
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Old 15th November 2009, 02:30 PM
sammy sammy is offline
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This was really helpful. I am surrounded by many non-catholic christians and fallen away Catholics. I often wonder and am amazed by their choices to reject the Catholic faith for a lesser one.
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Old 15th November 2009, 06:43 PM
St. Thomas More St. Thomas More is offline
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Default Protestant Heretics

I'm confused by this. I thought you had to be baptized Catholic to be a heretic. I don't see how Protestants (unless they converted) can be heretics. I always thought they would be schismatics.

Can those born into Protestant and Orthodox religions be heretics?
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Old 15th November 2009, 07:14 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by St. Thomas More View Post
I'm confused by this. I thought you had to be baptized Catholic to be a heretic. I don't see how Protestants (unless they converted) can be heretics. I always thought they would be schismatics.

Can those born into Protestant and Orthodox religions be heretics?
Protestant and Orthodox Christians are material heretics. What they believe is contrary to the infallible teachings of the Magisterium, and so they are committing the objective mortal sin of heresy.

Many of them are not committing the actual mortal sin of heresy because they have reduced culpability; they do not realize that they are committing the sin of heresy. When someone commits a sin, even an objective mortal sin, with substantially less than full knowledge that the act is a serious sin, then the sin is reduced in culpability to either a venial sin, or merely an objective sin (due to invincible ignorance).

Of course, young children would not be considered guilty of even material heresy, since they cannot be expected to have sufficient understanding to know what to believe and what not to believe.

The Orthodox and the Protestants are schismatics as well as heretics.

Notice the wording of the definition in Canon Law:
Canon 751: “Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”

The sin of heresy can occur 'after the reception of baptism'. Protestants and Orthodox receive Baptism. Notice also that apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith, not merely the Catholic Christian Faith. So Protestants and the Orthodox are not apostates, but heretics. They have baptism, they have not totally repudiated the Christian faith. They obstinately reject infallible teachings.

This particular Canon is a direct expression of the doctrine of the Church, and so it is not per se of Canon Law, but of the Magisterium.

Pope Leo XIII: "It must consequently be acknowledged that the Church has deserved exceedingly well of all nations by her ever watchful care in guarding the sanctity and the indissolubility of marriage. Again, no small amount of gratitude is owing to her for having, during the last hundred years, openly denounced the wicked laws which have grievously offended on this particular subject; as well as for her having branded with anathema the baneful heresy obtaining among Protestants touching divorce and separation;" (Arcanum, On Christian Marriage)

Protestant errors, which contradict the infallible teachings of the Magisterium, are heresies. Therefore, Protestants generally have committed at least material heresy.
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Old 16th November 2009, 05:02 AM
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Sacredcello Sacredcello is offline
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Speaking of heresy, there is an Episcopal bishop by the name of Jack Spong who is leading many people astray:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SF6I5VSZVqc

Today I was invited to play a concert at a Lutheran church in February as part of a lecture series with Bishop Spong as the guest speaker. I said that I would think about it, but I already know that I will have to refuse this offer. I have no problem playing for Protestant services, but when someone is so blatantly anti-Catholic, I think it would create a scandal if I went along. Now, I'll have to pray for the grace to communicate my answer tactfully and respectfully to the pianist who belongs to this church and who thinks very highly of Bishop Spong.

Last edited by Sacredcello : 16th November 2009 at 05:10 AM.
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Old 16th November 2009, 12:21 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Heretics always retain something substantial of the true faith, and always reject something substantial of the true faith. But apostates reject the Faith entirely.

In my view, there are two types of apostasy, explicit and implicit. The explicit apostate leaves the Christian Faith entirely; he does not believe or practice any form of Christianity, not even Protestantism.

The implicit apostate is much more dangerous. He does not explicitly renounce the Christian Faith. He continues to present himself as a believer, and to practice much of the exterior aspects of the Faith. But he has abandoned or severely distorted so many fundamental teachings of Christianity, that there is truly nothing substantial left of the Faith that has not been rejected or severely corrupted.

John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal bishop from Newark, N.J., is an implicit apostate. He does not believe that the Bible is anything more than a merely human book. He does not believe in Heaven or Hell. He does not believe that humanity needs to be saved by God through the Church. He thinks that the Church (including all the Protestant Churches) is merely trying to control people. He preaches a type of humanism, where people merely develop their own inner goodness. Even his definition of God is contrary to the Jewish and Christian belief. There is nothing substantial left of true Christianity in his belief system.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XL8LvaJ9Rc

Implicit apostates who teach and lead and have authority are very dangerous, since they are actively trying to lead people entirely away from the Christian Faith.
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