In my reading of documents pertaining to Church teaching I’m having trouble understanding the proper meaning of the sin of heresy.
In modern day, the conception of heresy I hear from those in the Church is that in order to be guilty of the sin of heresy, one has to know that the view is false/heretical and still persist in that belief knowing that it is false. But this seems bafflingly irrational to me. How can someone have belief in that which they know to be false? Does any person who preaches heresy believe they are preaching falsehood? Luther was sincere in his erroneous convictions was he not? And yet was he not guilty of the sin of heresy? Or does he get an “out” because he was following his conscience?
This is confusing to me because the impression I get from past treatment of heretics is that it didn’t matter if they sincerely believed they were preaching the truth, if the belief in question was deemed heretical, they were seen as guilty of the sin of heresy and treated accordingly.
And when it comes to the case of cafeteria Catholics, if they contradict the Church on certain doctrines, but do so believing they are speaking the truth, does this conscience factor negate guilt for the sin of heresy?