Are Latins Heretics?

According to the dogmatic statements of the Catholic Church, The Pope is infallible when proclaiming a dogma ex cathedra. Furthermore, he has universal jurisdiction over the entire church. Church councils also state that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son, and that Purgatory is a reality. That being said, we believe that to deny these teaching is mortal sin. One is declared anathema, if they reject them. So, I have heard many Eastern Catholics on this forum reject these teachings. Do you believe that we in the west are heretics?

Materially or formally?:smiley:
(Sorry, folks-- this was just to easy.)

Many reject the non-dogmatic descriptions of purgatory.

Many catholics reject the infallibility doctrine, and many more apply it to items it doesn’t apply to.

The councils also make it clear that the holy spirit proceeds differently from the father and the son, in one case procession of causation, in the other, procession of “control” or “transmission”.

Many Catholics are heretics. The Latin Church as a whole is not, however.

The use of the Filioque is in fact not required, has never been requisite, and in some languages, is heresy.

In the Latin, and in English, it isn’t, but including it in churches which use the slavic and greek, where in those languages, it is heretical, is inappropriate.

Are Latins Heretics?

Some are! :wink:

-] [sign]NO[/sign]/-]

Those united to the Holy Father and his Magisterium are not heretics if they believe what is taught by the Church. Catholics who deny the dogma of Infallability are guilty of heresy and many left the Church after Vatican I over this issue.

The Eastern Catholics who deny official dogmas of the Church are guilty of heresy. They are not guilty if they simply have a different understanding due to different schools of theology. For example, they may have a different understanding of purgatory; they still believe in purgatory but they have different ideas of the nature of purgatory etc.

The Filioque is no longer a big issue because the Orthodox understand the meaning; there is not a dual procession but rather the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son. The Filioque was added to the creed in order to combat a strain of Arianism in Spain. It needed to be added to clarify doctrine. That being said, the filioque clause does not have to be added to the Creed; in fact, when meeting with Eastern Orthodox Christians and Oriental Catholics, Pope John Paul II often said the Creed without the Filioque.

It is impossible for the Latin Church to be heretical because the Holy Spirit guides and protects the Holy Father and the Magisterium. Jesus said that he would be with us until the end of the age. He will never allow his Church to teach heresy in a formal and official manner.

The reason I ask is that many Eastern Catholics outright reject Catholic dogma that comes from the councils after the first seven. That being the case, it would seem that those Eastern Catholics would see Latin Catholics as heretics.



I belive it to be the case that this is more a vocal minority. In my experience, the vast majority of the faithful are of the pious babba variety who are not giving it much thought, and are not spending an inordinate amount of time (like yours truly) online talking about it.

Come to think of it, take a random sample of 100 Eastern Christians - Catholic or Orthodox - and quiz them on the names and topics of the ecumenical councils and I bet we would generally find it to be the case that most are not terribly familiar with them, and most don’t spend a great deal of time reading the texts or histories…

Agreed. When I asked our Melkite Bishop for the U.S. about this issue he was rather shocked at the notion that the Latins could be heretics based on the teachings of the later Councils. He was clear that most of those teachings dealt with issues peculiar to the Latin tradition, and did so using Latin theological approaches, but absolutely denied that they could be considered heretical.

Keep in mind that the Bishop in question was one of the leading proponents of the Zoghby Initiative, and was actually Sayedna Zoghby’s co-worker in the Commission to find common ground and make a formal reunification with the Antiochian Eastern Orthodox.

What can’t be expected is for non-Latin Catholics to automatically understand the premises of dogmas that were defined in a purely Latin context. For example they pray for the dead all the time (seriously, it almost gets a little overwhelming :stuck_out_tongue: ) but they have no formal teaching or tradition on Purgatory. People who are dead and who are not Saints need our prayers and we offer up Liturgies on their behalf, while on the other hand we ask the Saints for prayers rather than pray for them. That’s all that is understood, and really all that is needed to be understood. Anyone who lives in both an Eastern and Latin context for a year or more will intuituvely understand that there is not a seperation between the Latins and non-Latins on this issue, though you won’t hear the matter discussed by the non-Latins, and you certainly won’t here it discussed in Latin terms.

It can be very disconcerting for non-Latins to be hammered with questions that are uniquely Latin in character when such premises have no place in their tradition, and this can often lead to strong reactions against Latins especially when the non-Latins in question are accused of being heretics. :rolleyes:

Peace and God bless!

Hi East and West,

I think you may be confused between Eastern Catholics and Orthodox.

I think the Orthodox do consider the Latins (and Eastern Catholics) to be heretics. But Eastern Catholics are in full communion with the Pope - I understand that the Pope has supreme authority over the Eastern Catholic churches too.

Huh? Purgatory is a dogma. What are the non dogmatic descriptions - Toll houses?

That purgatory is a specific place, rather than possibly a state of being, that’s one of the Latin ones.

Toll Houses are Eastern Orthodox; again, they fill the role of Purgatory, even though the EO reject Purgatory; to an EC, the toll houses can be seen as a way of expressing purgatory.

The “Truly Eastern” thinking is that Theosis does not end at death, but is an eternal process, and that at some point one is good enough for heaven. Therefore, Purgatory is a state of theosis; one is dead, yet not christ-like enough to enter heaven. Prayers for one aid one in the process.

Many easterns reject entirely Purgatory as a place of punishment. But that’s a latin theologumen, not a doctrine.

That some form of purgation of the imperfections occurs is agreed; how, and in what appearance, that is not.

Heck, the understanding of original sin is different, too.

Who decides what “Truly Eastern” thinking is?

The people who talk like this almost never back up their assertions with specifics. How about a couple of patristic citations?

I believe in its strictests sense it is a state. This is from the CCC;
1472…every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory.

I don’t think most faithful differentiate between a state and a physical place though. They just know its where souls we must pray for are.

Toll Houses are Eastern Orthodox; again, they fill the role of Purgatory, even though the EO reject Purgatory; to an EC, the toll houses can be seen as a way of expressing purgatory.

Yes I can see that too. Except for the most radical aspects of the 21 stations and temptings by demons to steal our salvation as supported by visions of some.

Many easterns reject entirely Purgatory as a place of punishment. But that’s a latin theologumen, not a doctrine


I don’t think it is either a place of punishment or a theologumen. It is a dogma that its an instance of expiation/purgation of sin in Gods Mercy after our death. Not a punishment at all.

That some form of purgation of the imperfections occurs is agreed; how, and in what appearance, that is not.

Yes, the how and what remains a mystery. The best we know is that scripture mentions fire but speaks of it alegorically. Any trial can be considered a fire of sorts. I like to think in Gods “time” the expiation and the prayers offered on that behalf are as an instantaneous thing for us in the next realm as compared to this one. Such as mentioned in the Apocalypse describing the angels purifying Abraham in an instant by touching coals to his lips.


The theologumen is that of purgatory as a punishment for sins.

There is so much debate within the Orthodox tradition concerning some areas of doctrine because they have no one who can infallably define dogma, since they have cut themselves off from the true Church.

The Latin West has throughout the centuries, came to a greater understanding of many doctrines and we have, when needed, infallably defined them. This is the working of the Holy Spirit; he has never abandoned the Church and is there to teach and instruct. The Catholic Church will always come to a greater, more deeper understanding of things because of divine guidance. The Orthodox, however, have not come to a greater understanding because they have seperated themeselves from the teaching authority of God.

The Catholic Church has not said what Purgatory will be like; some have stipulated that it is an actual place and others have said that it could be a sort of state of mind. The specific details of what Purgatory is does not matter. What matters is that we acknowledge the existence of an experience after death that purifies a person from the last vestiges of sin.

Also, people should realise that Eastern Catholics believe exactly what the Pope and his Magisterium teaches. They have the fullness of the faith in the same way that we Latins do. However, the Eastern Catholics may express doctrine in a different way due to different schools of theology within the East. They may not use the word “Purgatory” but they will still believe in its existence.

Sure the pope is a heretic, that’s what the Sedevacantists and the Orthodox say.

Get real, no pope has ever taught heresy.

<<Huh? Purgatory is a dogma. What are the non dogmatic descriptions - Toll houses?>>

Purgatory and Toll houses both say the same thing under different images: that the souls of the faithful departed are aided by prayers, alms, and good works offered for them, and especially the Eucharistic sacrifice.

To me, the problem comes when one tries to dogmatize the details of either image, whether it be the number of days or years in purgatory, or the exact number of the toll houses.

I think it was St. Catherine of Sienna who said that the principal suffering of purgatory is the yearning to be united with Jesus.

May I also suggest that we do our dead-level best to avoid throwing around the words heretic and schismatic?

In the Holy Church we trully have an embarassment of spiritual riches. Let us rejoice in them.

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