The prayers of heretics are abominations

“This is the glory, the joy, and assurance of a Catholic man, that Jesus Christ is in him the chief agent, the which for his reverence is heard of God in him: and this is the true firmament of the Catholics, more firm than heaven itself. It is not so in heretical [sects] that which of heretics is accursed and [an] abomination before God: their faith, their preaching, their prayers, their fasting, their alms, all acts of Religion coming from them are nothing else, but cursed sacrilege and pollution. If they should raise up the dead, if they should be more wise than Angels, if they should have their faith as great as to move mountains, if they should distribute all their goods to the cherishing of the poor, if they should keep heroically continual virginity, if they should sing with an Angelical holiness, all this serveth them for nothing, being divided from the body of the Church: All this would not anything appease of the rigour of the eternal ire of God upon them.”

“Core, Dathan, and Abiron did sacrifice to the same God that Moses did, yea to the only true and almighty God, but for it was done in division from the body of the Church, the earth did open and swallow them up alive…”

from The Firme Foundation of the Catholic Religion by Jean de Caumont

Not true.

The just can pray, and sinners also. The opinion of Quesnel that the prayer of the sinned adds to his sin was condemned by Clement XI (Denzinger, 10 ed., n. 1409). Though there is no supernatural merit in the sinner’s prayer, it may be heard, and indeed he is obliged to make it just as before he sinned. No matter how hardened he may become in sin, he needs and is bound to pray to be delivered from it and from the temptations which beset him. His prayer could offend God only if it were hypocritical, or presumptuous, as if he should ask God to suffer him to continue in his evil course.


I don’t see a contradiction between your post and the OP’s. The OP’s post is almost the Council of Florence’s Cantate Domino verbatim. What you quoted deals with something different - the viewpoint that a sinner adds to his sins by praying and should thus not pray which is not what the first post is stating. Heresy is one of the three sins which sever you from the Body of Christ; the other two being schism and apostasy. We know that w/o faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6) - and the official prayers and actions of the heretical sects are without faith by their very nature; as heretics protest those things which Christ left us which they disagree with - you cannot say you have faith yet deny something that Christ taught - otherwise, what do you have faith in? Certainly not Christ. Of course the sinner is bound to pray to be delivered from his sin, which your quote shows, but it also says that it lacks supernatural merit - which it does (even for Catholics who are in mortal sin). This appears to be the point of the first post.

The protestant worship services are truly abominations before God as they often mock the true gift of Christ’s very Body and Blood in a sacrilegious cookie and grape juice rendition of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The same for their preaching which contradicts Christ’s teachings. They all lack supernatural merit.

It’s good to remember that being wrong and being a heretic are not the same thing. Heresy requires a spirit of obstinance.

As St. Augustine said: “Those are by no means to be accounted heretics who do not defend their false and perverse opinions with pertinacious animosity, especially when their error is not the fruit of audacious presumption but has been communicated to them by seduced and lapsed parents, and when they are seeking the truth with cautious solicitude and ready to be corrected.”

A true heretic who obstinately denies a truth revealed by God has no faith since it is by faith that, solely on the basis of His authority, we believe what God has revealed. A heretic going through the acts of religion is no different than Pharisees who were white-washed sepulchres.

It is also true that our good works are only meritous when done in grace, united to Christ.

That being said, the prayers of one who is in error, but in good faith, would not be presumptuous or hypocritical as those of an obstinate heretic are. In fact, according to St. Alphonsus Liguori, God gives the grace of prayer to everyone so that they may pray for the other means of salvation which they need. In fact, before becoming a member of the Church, one must pray to acquire the faith.

hmmm… out of time … but…

if they pray… they will begin to see the light… wont they??

nobody said otherwise.

The keyword there is invincible. The Baptist or the fallen away Catholic may very well be totally ignorant of true Catholic teaching, but can we honestly say that they are invincibly so? While it is true that only God can make that judgment, I’m of the opinion that with such easy and ready access to the teachings of the Catholic Church (via internet, Catechism, etc.) that they cannot claim their ignorance is invincible.

Just hearing or seeing an explanation does not mean that the person will be convinced of it, even if they are listening in good faith. In the case of heretics, this would presumably center on questions of authority (since if they don’t recognize the CC as an authority, it isn’t likely to matter to them what it says about other issues.)

Even if something is completely true, there are times when people through no ill will cannot believe it to be so, because they cannot follow the reasoning, or their experience has been such that they cannot believe it.

Whenever the Gospel is preached, God’s grace flows to the listener. It is up to the listener to accept and then act upon that grace which God has given.

Like I said earlier, they may remain ignorant; they may even remain reasonably ignorant (as you noted); but, I don’t believe they can claim in such a situation to be invincibly ignorant.

They may not be “reasonably ignorant” or “invincibly” ignorant but been taught to be afraid of the Catholic church because they’ve been taught that we worship statues, that we crucify Christ at every Mass and therefore say that Christ’s redemptive work on the cross was not good enough and had to be repeated, they may have been taught lies such as, “we really don’t know what happened to the early church and it’s people except for what’s listed in the Bible itself”, the list could go on. In other words they have information but no truth. Wouldn’t that make them ignorant either way or am I being too simplistic?
Thanks, Jane11

If anyone can break it down into terms that I can explain to my youngest son (15) I would appreciate it. There are some people in the family that are literally protestant missionaries in another country and we sure could use some succinct help in defending the Church. My son has said, “but God does bless those people and answer their prayers.” My response was, “maybe God is using the answered prayers to keep drawing them closer to the Church because God wants them to know He is really there,” and, “Satan can counterfit things, too.” Help me out guys! Thanks, Jane11

Invincible ignorance is a term used in explaining Baptism of Desire. But, most Protestants have valid sacramental Baptism and so this really doesn’t apply. Their Baptism brings them into the Church, however imperfect their membership may be. Whether they are reasonably ignorant or such in regard to the fullness of Catholic truth, may or may not be mitigating for their not being in full communion with the Catholic Church – that is for God to judge. But, as we are in possession of the fullness of truth it is all the more our responsibility to instruct the ignorant (a Spiritual Work of Mercy). To who more has been given more will be expected.

There is a good article in The Rock on this topic, by Jimmy Aiken.

Thanks to all for the information :thumbsup:

There many reasons one may be culpably ignorant: a general neglect of truth, a surrender to the passions, pride, convenience, desire for the respect of men, etc., etc. Honestly, at least outwardly, it seems there is a general neglect of truth in so many people I come across–they just don’t care. It’s very distressing…

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