What should I say to someone who insists that

…a Christian who stops practicing Catholicism in favor of a Protestant denomination is a full-blown apostate instead of a mere heretic?

I don’t really know. I mean what should I say to someone who really cares enough about the difference between the two to insist on being called a heretic instead of an apostate? :confused:

Is there something here I’m missing? Because man. Something here’s sorta missing me.



What Trident said.

You can present them with the following definitions.

Apostasy: “Apostasy from the Faith is the act by which a baptized person, after possessing the true Christian faith, totally rejects it. The complete abandonment of the practice of the Faith is NOT apostasy, or even presumption of Apostasy. A person is an apostate whether he joins a non-Christian religion, as Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, or falls into unbelief, atheism, materialism, agnosticism, rationalism, indifferentism, or “free-thought”. Apostates from the Faith incur excommunication ipso facto, and other penalties” (Catholic Essentials)

Heresy: In the Roman Catholic Church, heresy has a very specific meaning. Anyone who, after receiving baptism, while remaining nominally a Christian, pertinaciously denies or doubts any of the truths that must be believed with divine and Catholic faith is considered a heretic. Accordingly four elements must be verified to constitute formal heresy; previous valid baptism, which need not have been in the Catholic Church; external profession of still being a Christian, otherwise a person becomes an apostate; outright denial or positive doubt regarding a truth that the Catholic Church has actually proposed as revealed by God; and the disbelief must be morally culpable, where a nominal Christian refuses to accept what he knows is a doctrinal imperative. (Modern Catholic Dictionary)

I would say to them, why is it any of your business as to if they are a heretic, or an apostate, or fallen away Catholic. Why do you insist on putting them into a nicely defined little bucket of your own definition? I mean at least they are Christian, believe in God, etc.

I would just call them a fallen away Catholic. And if someone wants to make more of it, just keep calling them a fallen away Catholic.

Stick with the notion that if the person actually understood what the Church teaches, then there is no way they would fall away.

I would say, either way, he needs your prayers.

Does the person who is arguing with you appreciate what it takes from the Church to nurture a rounded Catholic life in someone?

You can challenge them to clarify as to whether their categories in which they wish to place the third person are any practical use either to you or to the third person (even if you persuade them to get their facts correct as per above). When this has been done enough, try to change the subject or go away.

If the person picking the argument isn’t in an important position over you, leave them in their own space irritated and discontented over others, if it comes to it.

I am delighted the third person has the good imagination to continue attaching him/herself to Christ meanwhile. Perhaps the Good Lord will supply him/her with some missing ingredients through the other e. c. like He has done me! He’s resourceful like that!

Defining the person by apostate or heretic is not the way to go.

If they are open to discussion (do pray for them!) then you can remind them of the Eucharist and all it means to you.

This exodus can stop if we all focus on becoming a holier people, loving God first, and our neighbor as ourself.

Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom…pray for us!

Here is the definition of those terms 2089

Protestantism is heresy and schism.
**the **[FONT=&quot]Great Heresies[/FONT]

Well now I’m worried. I certainly fell into heresy for a period in my life. I even shared some of my heretical views on a forum kind of like this one. (For example, I rejected the idea of scripture being inerrant, although I was confused about the Church’s stance on this issue. I also rejected Church teaching on contraception at the time.) I clearly identified myself as a former Catholic at this time. Since then, I have been to Confession and the Eucharist even got married in the Church, not realizing I might be subject to a penalty of excommunication. I even did a general confession once in which I am sure I mentioned that I had stated heretical beliefs, but the priest didn’t tell me that I needed to take further steps to have the excommunication (to which I did not know I was subject) lifted. Did I need to go to a bishop to have the excommunication lifted, and if so should I be worried about the validity of my marriage?

It’s my understanding that all bishops have given their priests the permission to forgive those sins. So if you went to confession before you received the Eucharist, then you’re okay.

If you didn’t do things in that order, you might want to pay another visit to the confessional just to be clear about things

It’s my understanding that all bishops have given their priests the permission to forgive those sins. So if you went to confession before you received the Eucharist, then you’re okay.

If you didn’t do things in that order, confession being first, you might want to pay another visit to the confessional just to be clear about things

FWIW, if you had somehow incurred an automatic excommunication which was not lifted by the time of your marriage, it does not affect its validity. An excommunication is a judicial act, not a doctrinal act. You would not ordinarily be welcome to receive the Sacraments while excommunicate, but if you were unaware of the excommunication then the Sacraments you received are valid and efficacious.

As Steve said, many (most? all?) Bishops have delegated authority to their priests to lift excommunications reserved to the Ordinary. My brother is a priest (Diocese of Savannah, GA) and his Bishop has delegated this authority to all his priests.

According to “Canon Law Made Easy,” I would not have been subject to excommunication since I was unaware such a penalty would be attached to that action. However, what I read in the actual canon law doesn’t seem to say exactly that.

It says that “a person who without negligence was ignorant that he or she violated a law or precept; inadvertence and error are equivalent to ignorance” is “not subject to a penalty when they have violated a law or precept.” (c. 1323) It doesn’t say the person had to know that a penalty was attached, just that they had to know they were violating the law. It does say, however, that those “who without negligence did not know that a penalty was attached to a law or precept” are “not exempt from a penalty, but the penalty established by law or precept must be tempered or a penance employed in its place if the delict was committed.”(c. 1324)

Honestly, I can’t remember everything I wrote at the time, and I don’t know if I was aware that the Church would have considered it heretical. I certainly didn’t know much of anything about canon law. I knew the Church wouldn’t agree with what I’d written. Obviously, I didn’t think it was heretical myself or I wouldn’t have said it, and surprisingly, no Catholics challenged what I had written.

In any event, I guess if I was excommunicated (but it sounds like I probably wasn’t) the priest to whom I confessed either had been granted the authority to lift the penalty or determined that a penance could be “employed in its place.”

Exactly. Trust that your priest knew the ins and outs of whether you were excommunicated and whether anything else needed to be done on his part or yours with respect to any excommunication.

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