Church Teaching, Discipline, Infalliable Teaching


I was wondering how to determine when you can disagree with a priest, bishop, cardinal, or pope. I was wondering how a person should call out evil in the Church. Sometimes it’s hard to know when your disbelief of a teaching is an error, the idea to learn more thru curiosity, or is a temptation by the devil seeking to separate your soul from God.

As a Catholic, we are supposed to strongly believe in the Eucharist. We are also supposed to believe in Holy Orders, Infallibility of the Pope on certain matters, contraception, avoiding premarital sex, immaculate conception of Mary, and sanctity of life among other faith tenants. We’re supposed to believe in the sanctity of marriage and thus to obtain an annulment when one marriage goes sour before getting another one; an annulment states that a marriage never existed and if the annulment is rejected that you’re not supposed to remarry or you’re committing adultery. But how can the Church be free from politics in the very arduous path of seeking an annulment and won’t what you say in the annulment make any difference in the church’s view (i.e. one person who says they were too immature for marriage and thus married outside the church - approved may be looked at differently from someone who says they were abused in the marriage - denied) even if it’s the exact same marriage? I had been thru the dispensation process to get married and am happily married but am troubled by those who aren’t happily married how a divorce that dissolves a marriage and pretending that one didn’t exist differs in any way.

What happens if we struggle with Holy Orders or Papal Infallibility or struggle with contraception? When does it become sinful? Is it the act itself or the mere belief that is sinful? So if you believe the church’s view on contraception is barbaric but still engage in NFP or don’t use contraception, is that in and of itself a sin? Is it a sin to call out your disagreement with the church? Is it a sin to be in error (i.e. to be wrong) in your disbelief of a church teaching? Does the mere calling out of a church teaching because of one’s mere mortal understanding cause others to sin and thus is inherently sinful too?

Thanks for your help in this regard.


That’s a very true statement in my opinion. It’s also why we are called to forgive instead of seeking wrath or harm upon a person.

How so? Please clarify. Is it a sin to admit error of truth or is that what we’re supposed to do? Are we committing sin if we say we struggle to believe a truth? Thanks so much!


Doubt, struggle is part of growing in the Faith. “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief”. is a wonderful prayer.

[2088] The first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it. There are various ways of sinning against faith:

Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness.

[2089] Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. " Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."11


Thanks. I agree.

[quote=“TheLittleLady, post:4, topic:503565”]
Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness.[/quote]

How can we discern what is deliberate doubt used to confuse or in rebellion vs doubt that is a true misunderstanding of a Catholic faith tenant? Can we be obedient to a church teaching but struggle to believe it without reservation? Or is that reservation a mortal sin because we are not accepting the faith tenant with 100% belief? Is the refusal to be 100% obedient or accept it without reservation an act of incredulity? Thanks so much for your time / feedback. Before I go on, I’m happily married but I have a friend who became Protestant because while she likely would have received an annulment, she didn’t want to admit her children were illegitimate (i.e. coming out of a marriage that never existed).

How do we avoid schism when we disagree with the beliefs of one Pope but not that of another or when we agree with some of a Pope’s beliefs but not all of them particularly when political (i.e. not political affiliation but political administration)? Would mere disagreement with contraception / the need for annulment be incredulity or schism or would you have to actually be going thru these to commit these sins and than not be repentant thereafter? For example, what if you chose to become Protestant because they recognize divorce because you either received a civil divorce and than didn’t seek an annulment or were rejected one but than decided to remarry? How do you know if that’s a deliberate rejection of Catholic teaching vs a struggle to adhere to it (i.e. putting the desire to have kids above the desire to respect your first marriage assuming said marriage existed)?


I agree that we are saved by his grace too. It’s hard for me to believe that someone who genuinely accepts the Lord’s forgiveness and acknowledges that they are a sinner are somehow condemned because they struggle to rid themselves of sin and even may live in sin despite a desire to get rid of it and repentance. I’m primarily a Catholic not a Protestant because of the Eucharist. I also appreciate confession and sanctity of life, especially in regards to abortion. I also appreciate intercessory prayer. Repentance is confusing to me because it says to sin no more but we as humans have a sin nature and cannot avoid sin but if we are repentant of our sin, we are forgiven. Can we assume that someone who continues to sin does not seek repentance for that sin (aka a homosexual couple or a serial killer or someone a slave to masturbation)? I don’t think so as it is God who judges that. But does the fruits of a person convey their desire to accept / reject teaching? Could someone even like Judas be forgiven and how can we tell the difference whether he was merely guilty or genuinely repentant? Was his taking of his own life a selfish act as only God should do this and thus he was condemned or was it actually because he couldn’t live with his act and sought to undo/not repeat the act and thus was actually a sign of his repentance? How do we know when one’s guilt is repentance or when it’s simply just being guilty (i.e. sorry you got caught but not for the actual act)?


Gotcha. Thanks. I’ll try to do that.


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