[quote=Catholic Dude] 2)He is not a saint because he wrote anti-C stuff, so why is he still quoted from by Catholics? Or does the anti-C stuff not make a difference?
Because he still had brilliant ideas which influenced later generations of Catholics, and because many of his writings were produced before he left the Church. St. Cyprian, who wrote a few decades later, regarded Tertullian as his “master.”
[quote=Catholic Dude] 3)What was the big deal with the cult he joined? I read a little about it, but I dont see how he fell for it and made such a fuss over it.
The Montanists denied the authority of the Church hierarchy and claimed to have prophets who gave them continuing revelation. They believed in direct illumination by the Holy Spirit and put very little stock in tradition. They also had female leaders, which at the time was considered shocking. They were moral rigorists and (like other schismatic groups in the early Church) believed that serious sins were unforgivable after baptism. They were accused of identifying their founder Montanus with the Holy Spirit, but this may have been a misunderstanding. Tertullian’s Montanist writings give no evidence of heresy of that magnitude–simply of a very harsh rigorism and a contempt for the mainstream Church, which he regarded as carnal and lax. He seems to have been drawn to the Montanists largely because of their strict morals and their spiritual fervor. Tertullian believed very strongly that the Church should be radically different from the world, and he seems to have seen the Church of his day (early 2nd cent.) as falling away from that ideal.
[quote=Catholic Dude] 4)Was he directly excommunicated, or was he guilty by association?
We don’t know a whole lot about the details–and bear in mind that these things were not as clear-cut or as centralized as they are in Catholicism today. But as far as I know he was pretty clear in his rejection of the Church.
[quote=Catholic Dude] 5)Was he reconciled back into the Church before he died?
Not that I know of.
Tertullian is indeed a sober warning. I suppose I find his story less disturbing than I ought because, while I admire his writings, I can’t warm up to him very much. (His “Apology” is magnificent, though, and he writes thunderingly great Latin.) He was a hardliner through and through–he has one horrible passage in which he describes the sacred flame guarded by the Vestal Virgins as a symbol of the flames of hell in which they will burn forever. Among non-canonized Church Fathers of dubious orthodoxy, give me Origen any day. (Whatever you say about Origen, he wasn’t a schismatic.) But Tertullian is well worth reading.