Early church fathers in schism


#1

Both tertullian and Origen were either excommunicated or in schism and considered heritics. Why do we still consider them doctors of the church? Why are they often cited in apologetics?


#2

Both tertullian and Origen were either excommunicated or in schism and considered heritics. Why do we still consider them doctors of the church? Why are they often cited in apologetics?Reply With Quote

Here’s the information that I have: Tertullian spent a long time as a practicing Catholic before he went awry. So of course we should use the stuff he wrote while orthodox. Even much of his later writings are very valuable historical sources

Origen is a much different story. He was a passionate believer and scholar some of whose writings were later condemned as wrong. However, the basic rule of thumb about orthodoxy/ heresy is that you can speculate until a matter is settled. Many, if not most, of the early church fathers held views that were slightly wrong about the trinity, for example. Which was fine until the matter was settled , after which time in order to belong to the church you had to agree.

Anyone else have better information?

God bless, Anne


#3

Neither Tertullian nor Origen are canonised saints (at least not in the Latin Rite) nor are they Doctors of the Church (which is an official title, bestowed only upon 33 individuals throughout the Church’s history). We never have considered them to be either of those things.

True, their writings are used in apologetics, so are those of many other theologians, some of whom were orthodox throughout their whole teachings, some of whom weren’t, but are still useful and in accord with orthodoxy on certain points.

Even non-Christians sometimes get a look in - the Jewish historian Josephus and other pagan Roman historians are used, for example, in verifying the historical reality of Jesus (which some people dispute to this day), since they testify that he actually existed.

And we know that St Augustine, for example, was heavily influenced by Plato and St Thomas Aquinas by Aristotle. So even the ideas of those two pagan philosophers have been incorporated, in part, into Church teaching. The doctrine of transubstantiation, for example, is based in part on Aristotle’s distinction between ‘substance’ and ‘accidents’.


#4

Great response!


#5

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