A matter of Conscience


#1

I am curious: If someone follows his conscience and sincerely believes he is doing the right thing. Can he be held guilt-free from heresy if he denies (let’s say) that the Catholic Church is the true Church but firmly believes this in his mind – is he cupable or not cupable?

I read that in order for a man to be guilty of sin (or heresy) he must be aware in his mind that he is sinning.

But what if someone were to show another that Christ is God and yet the Jew or Muslim rejects this because it appears to him this is not the case that Christ is God – is he still saved even though he has been told the truth, and, let us suppose on more than one occasion?

Yours,

BobbyBaptist


#2

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that the individual could profess heretical ideas and remain inculpable for those actions. So, yes, one who espouses heretical beliefs is not necessarily sinful. He is, however, necessarily wrong.


#3

Oh and as to your second question:

If a person has been given the truth and has rejected it, that person will not be saved. However, only God can judge at what point inculpable ignorance becomes culpable.


#4

I’m not really sure I understand the latter part of your question, but…

From the Code of Canon Law:
Can. 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.


#5

[quote=BobbyBaptist]I am curious: If someone follows his conscience and sincerely believes he is doing the right thing. Can he be held guilt-free from heresy if he denies (let’s say) that the Catholic Church is the true Church but firmly believes this in his mind – is he cupable or not cupable?

I read that in order for a man to be guilty of sin (or heresy) he must be aware in his mind that he is sinning.

But what if someone were to show another that Christ is God and yet the Jew or Muslim rejects this because it appears to him this is not the case that Christ is God – is he still saved even though he has been told the truth, and, let us suppose on more than one occasion?

Yours,

BobbyBaptist

[/quote]

“Without faith it is impossible to please God”.

Deception is not a substitute for faith. Ultimately God is the final judge, but if a person is so deceived that he firmly believe error, I cannot see how he can be saved.

Heresy is a sin against the first commandment, but let’s use an example of a sin against the 5th commandment (the way the Catholic Church numbers the commandments):

Let’s say someone firmly believes God wants him to kill as many people as he can. If he went on a killing spree, would anyone truly think it would be alright, since he was deceived? that God would not punish him for his actions? I doubt it.

Anyone who rejects the truth does not have faith. If they had faith they would believe the truth. Therefore, a deceived person who rejects the truth, will not be saved because they do not have faith, and “without faith it is impossible to please God”.


#6

I do not think this would remove all culpability but it may mitigate the severity of the sin.

A sin is always a sin. Now depending on certain things a mortal sin may only be a venial sin.

Other than that, this question appears to be trying to find a way out. This question sort of implies that you know what you is claimed to not be known. How could someone frame this question without knowing?


#7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.