Heresy

I understand that the Catechism defines heresy as “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.”

I have several questions about this: what “must be believed with divine and catholic faith”? What’s the difference between doctrine, dogma, ex cathedra, infallibility, apparitions? Must we believe the opinions of any bishop united with the Pope? (For example, it it a mortal sin to disagree with a USCCB press release?)

I am trying to do my best to follow the Church’s teachings. Please help me to understand.

No, it’s only heresy to deny dogma(like purgatory, the immaculate conception, transubstanation-that’s what it’s called right?, things like that which are required to be Catholic.
No, you don’t have to agree with the opinions of the pope and bishops, though you should respect them.

It would make no sence to HAVE to believe everything the Pope or Bishop does, because John Paul II believed in Limbo(which is acceptable it’s not dogma and never will be, but it doesn’t contradict the faith) while His Holiness Bemnedict XVI doesnt , I’m sure many Bishops have the same disagreement.

Those things which you know to be doctrine. If you don’t know about it, or are not aware that it is doctrine, you are not required to believe it. For example, you might be unaware that Papal Infallibility is doctrine - and that’s fine (but sad).

The Church does not distinguish between dogma and doctrine (though some theologians reserve the term “dogma” for infallible teachings). The Church teaches infallibly in two ways: An Ecumenical Council, or directly by the Pope in an ex Cathedra (“from the Chair”) pronouncement. Such events are very rare. There are not degrees of infallibility, so neither is “more” or “less” infallible than the other.

The word “apparitions” doesn’t belong anywhere near the other words. They are private messages which cannot be regarded as doctrine. Some are approved by the Church, but Catholics are free to reject them. I neither accept nor reject them (I simply have no interest in them).

No.

Apparitions are not dogma.We have a choice to believe or not believe.Even when the Church declares an apparition authentic.

I have been studying the early Church history for all of my adult life and have tqaught it in both Protestant and Catholic seminaries.
Paint Zoom

Apparitions are not required belief by the Church. It doesn’t mean they are not real however.

Doctrines, dogmas, and infallibility of the Catholic Church are required beliefs

Your biggest help in checking out whether you must believe what someone says (Pope,bishop,priest, theologian, …) is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If you wonder about something someone says, go to the Catechism and see whether it agrees with what is recorded there.

If there is NOTHING at all in the Catechism about it, it probably means it is still an area open to discussion.

Thank you for all your answers! :thumbsup:

I am currently reading the Catechism (on page 148 and not anywhere near being done). I understand that the Catechism, the various Papal encyclicals, the Ecumenical Councils, Sacred Scripture, and Sacred Tradition must be believed or heresy is committed.

My questions now are these:

  1. If a bishop makes a statement, lending, for example, support to the Wisconsin union protests or regarding a bill in Congress, (and assuming what the bishop is saying is not heresy itself) is he exercising the binding and loosing power of the magisterium? Would disagreeing with him be heresy?

  2. Many of the SSPX Catholics say that Vatican II was not an infallible council (I’m not sure why) and that disagreeing with it is not heretical. Is this true?

  3. Is disagreeing with a discipline of the church (days of fasting, priestly celibacy in the Latin Rite) heresy?

Again, thank you all for your time and your answers.

It is my understanding that Bishops do not have the binding/loosing power on their own. They only exercise it when they are in agreement with the Pope. So we are free to disagree with our Bishops on many things - respectfully.

  1. Many of the SSPX Catholics say that Vatican II was not an infallible council (I’m not sure why) and that disagreeing with it is not heretical. Is this true?

Since Vatican II did not change any doctrines or dogmas the point seems moot. All it changed was the way we express/witness to the doctrines or dogmas (Mass in the vernacular, etc.)

  1. Is disagreeing with a discipline of the church (days of fasting, priestly celibacy in the Latin Rite) heresy?

I would say you aren’t a heretic - but it is still a sin. The binding/loosing authority carries over to the disciplines, so deliberately missing Mass or not fasting would be still be a mortal sin.

Having looked it up just now, the teachings of the united Bishops together with the Pope is infallible and requires Full Assent of Faith, while the teachings of the Bishops alone are not infallible, but require Religious submission of the mind and the will.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this would seem to indicate that whenever a bishop is speaking on a matter of faith or morals, we cannot disagree under pain of mortal sin.

With the caveat that he is in agreement with the magisterium’s teachings on that topic, I would agree.

=Boo0295;7800821]I understand that the Catechism defines heresy as “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.”

I have several questions about this: what “must be believed with divine and catholic faith”? What’s the difference between doctrine, dogma, ex cathedra, infallibility, apparitions? Must we believe the opinions of any bishop united with the Pope? (For example, it it a mortal sin to disagree with a USCCB press release?)

I am trying to do my best to follow the Church’s teachings. Please help me to understand.

***I hope this clarifies it for you; FROM THE CURRENT CANON LAW

THE TEACHING FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH LIBER III. DE ECCLESIAE MUNERE DOCENDI***

Can. 747 §1. The Church, to which Christ the Lord has entrusted the deposit of faith so that with the assistance of the Holy Spirit it might protect the revealed truth reverently, examine it more closely, and proclaim and expound it faithfully, has the duty and innate right, independent of any human power whatsoever, to preach the gospel to all peoples, also using the means of social communication proper to it.

§2. It belongs to the Church always and everywhere to announce moral principles, even about the social order, and to render judgment concerning any human affairs insofar as the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls requires it.

Can. 748 §1. All persons are bound to seek the truth in those things which regard God and his Church and by virtue of divine law are bound by the obligation and possess the right of embracing and observing the truth which they have come to know.

§2. No one is ever permitted to coerce persons to embrace the Catholic faith against their conscience.

Can. 749 §1. By virtue of his office, the Supreme Pontiff possesses infallibility in teaching when as the supreme pastor and teacher of all the Christian faithful, who strengthens his brothers and sisters in the faith, he proclaims by definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held.

§2. The college of bishops also possesses infallibility in teaching when the bishops gathered together in an ecumenical council exercise the magisterium as teachers and judges of faith and morals who declare for the universal Church that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held definitively; or when dispersed throughout the world but preserving the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter and teaching authentically together with the Roman Pontiff matters of faith or morals, they agree that a particular proposition is to be held definitively.

**§3. **No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident.

Can. 750 §1. A person must believe with divine and Catholic faith all those things contained in the word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium; therefore all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them.

§2. Each and every thing which is proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church concerning the doctrine of faith and morals, that is, each and every thing which is required to safeguard reverently and to expound faithfully the same deposit of faith, is also to be firm-ly embraced and retained; therefore, one who rejects those propositions which are to be held definitively is opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

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.

**Can. 752 **Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it.

**Can. 753 **Although the bishops who are in communion with the head and members of the college, whether individually or joined together in conferences of bishops or in particular councils, do not possess infallibility in teaching, they are authentic teachers and instructors of the faith for the Christian faithful entrusted to their care; the Christian faithful are bound to adhere with religious submission of mind to the authentic magisterium of their bishops.

Can. 754 All the Christian faithful are obliged to observe the constitutions and decrees which the legitimate authority of the Church issues in order to propose doctrine and to proscribe erroneous opinions, particularly those which the Roman Pontiff or the college of bishops puts forth.

:thumbsup:

Now, Cardinal Ratzinger said this in 2004:

Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

I’m confused. If we are to submit to and believe whatever a bishop has to say on a matter of faith or morals as has been suggested on this thread, than how is what Cardinal Ratzinger said theologically correct, considering that JPII disapproved of the Iraq War (defiantly an ethical/moral issue) and that I’ve never once heard an American bishop who approves of the way the death penalty is instituted in this county (note, the Catechism allows the death penalty in restricted circumstances, however, the Bishops claim that the circumstances allowing the death penalty in the Catechism do not exist in the U.S. today)?

Finally, why is supporting abortion heresy but supporting the death penalty not?

Because the Church has always taught, as a unilateral matter of doctrine, that killing the innocent is a grave sin. The Church has never taught, as a unilateral matter of doctrine, that killing the guilty is a grave sin.

The 2 are not equal. The intentinal Killing of a innocent unborn child is in no way, under any cercumstances justified. it is an intrinsic evil. were as war and the peath penalty though can be use for evil are not evil in and of themself.

So we only have to believe what is considered infallible by the Church? (the deposit of faith, papal ex cathedra statements, and ecumenical councils)

Then how can we explain Can. 753?

Although the bishops who are in communion with the head and members of the college, whether individually or joined together in conferences of bishops or in particular councils, do not possess infallibility in teaching, they are authentic teachers and instructors of the faith for the Christian faithful entrusted to their care; the Christian faithful are bound to adhere with religious submission of mind to the authentic magisterium of their bishops.

Being willfull disobient to your Bishop, Though may not be heresy, is a sin. Although you may disagree we are still called to submit and obey.

=Paxvobis;7870033]Now, Cardinal Ratzinger said this in 2004:

I’m confused. If we are to submit to and believe whatever a bishop has to say on a matter of faith or morals as has been suggested on this thread, than how is what Cardinal Ratzinger said theologically correct, considering that JPII disapproved of the Iraq War (defiantly an ethical/moral issue) and that I’ve never once heard an American bishop who approves of the way the death penalty is instituted in this county (note, the Catechism allows the death penalty in restricted circumstances, however, the Bishops claim that the circumstances allowing the death penalty in the Catechism do not exist in the U.S. today)?

Finally, why is supporting abortion heresy but supporting the death penalty not?

My friend you seem pretty weel informed! GREAT job…

Their are sevral factors here:

  1. The catchism say’s the death penalty is possible when no other couse of action that will PROTECT others is available. THAT IS HARDLY A RESONDING APPROVAL OF THE DEATH PENALTY:)

  2. Abortion is what the Church terms “an intrinsic evil.” Meaning always and everytime it is done it is a MORTAL SIN of grave proportions.

  3. The differece here can be best understood that KILLING of a meditated murder can in no-way be as seen as “equal” killing of the “holy-inocent” that have done NO WRONG.

IN FACT THE HOLY INNOCENT IS PAYING FOR THE ERRORS OF THE PARENTS; NOT FOR ANYTHING THEY THEMSELVES HAVE DONE.

  1. In the case of execution there has been a trial by jury. In the case of abortion as often as NOT; it’s merely a matter of convience.

  2. The Church does permit “government” to provide for the safety of it’s citizens. While NOT approving of Capitol Punishment; the Church nevertheless recogonizes their authority to make such a decision. THIS IN NOT COMPLICITY. It’s more along the thoughts of Jesus: “Give to Ceasar what is Ceasars and to God what is God’s”.

It is very common for Bishop[s] to contact the Govenor and plead for mercy of the condemened.

As to your war comments: The Church has always recogonized the Rights of self-protection or protection of others under the “Just-War” Doctrine. The Church and governemts do not always agree on what is “Just.”

God Bless,
Pat

Thanks for the compliment. :slight_smile:

I fully understand that the death penalty in the United States and abortion are not morally equal, but I don’t understand why denial of one is heresy and the other not heresy if we have to have religious submission of the intellect to the bishops and if the bishops disapprove of both.

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