THE QUESTION OF HERESY AND HERETICS, YESTERDAY AND TODAY
Any faithful firmly in faith, sensitive to the good of souls, well informed of the case, can pronounce, with caution and after careful consideration, the note of heresy against another faithful; can also report it, if you believe and if that can serve the good of the heretic and that of the faithful […]
A term delicate but important Christian language, use with caution, in appropriate circumstances and with knowledge of the facts, is to “heresy”, which consists in general in the choice (AIRESIS, heresy) a false proposition in doctrine of faith or in the suppression or denial or doubt volunteers of some truths of faith. Now, because faith is truth, heresy is a false proposition against the doctrine of the faith. The heretic does not welcome with true faith (fides through) everything (faith) The Church, at various levels of authority, gives us to believe as is contained in the deposit of Revelation, whose sources are Scripture and Tradition. Instead, he does a sorting arbitrary; that is, maybe considering themselves directly illuminated by God, subjectively choose between the contents of faith only those that please him or make him comfortable or is complying with its reason. Which shows the lack of a true faith, even if the subject accepts other content, because those who believe, welcomes with confidence all that the authority reveals. Vice versa, is precisely when it comes to unique data or homogeneous to reason, that reason has the right and duty to do a screen according to his principles and his method and take only what is in accordance with reason and can be intuited or proven by reason. Instead the truths of faith do not conflict with reason, but are however higher, as divine truths, so, if there can be harmony between reason and faith, given that the one and the other is based in God, such harmony does not allow the right to make themselves evident truths, who are most certain, but for her mysterious and transcendent.
This inconsistency intellect heretic with the truth and therefore its false notion, which also appears true to him, can be conscious and intentional, or it may be unconscious and involuntary. In the first case gives a grave offense, because it suppresses or falsifies the faith under the angle of that proposition. And since every truth of faith is necessary for salvation, heresy compromises salvation, even if it is a single proposition, as just one mortal sin to take away the grace. So likewise in an organism, any corruption or dysfunction of a vital organ, although others remain healthy, causes the death of the subject.
In the second case, the subject does not know to be in error, why not to blame. Assuming that he loves the truth, if it is lit, easily corrects. Instead the heretic volunteer, since it is attached to its error, although refuted, persists in restargli attacked as it prefers its judgment for that of the Church, that warns him of his heresy, that he continues to profess no love for the truth, but because it suits them or for pride or for other interests unrelated to love the truth.
The heretic is not simply those who deny a truth of faith or dogma, but it is the Catholic who betrays the faith through heresy. For this, those subjects, as for example the Protestants, born in a Protestant and receive an education Protestant, though in their doctrines are contained objectively heresies, can not properly be called “heretics”, but, according to the expression coined by St. John XXIII, and entered into use, they are “separated brethren“, They, as the Council teaches, belong to the Church, but without being in full communion, for which the Bond hopes that one day they enter the Catholic Church [see WHO].
Heresy is opposed to revealed truth or faith, it is the Word of God, either dogma or is the doctrine of the Church. It questions the true and the false suspect; exchanges the true with the false and the false with the true; the appearance with the truth and the truth with appearance; relativize the absolute and the relative absoluteness; makes changing the unchanging and unchangeable the changing; confuses what is distinct; opposes that which is joined; takes the part for the whole (“ideology”) and the whole for the part.
The New Testament, while considering inevitable heresies because of the weakness and human malice [The Cor 11,19], considers heresies as “doctrines of devils” [The Tm 4,1] and warns against the heretics [Tt 3,10]. The heretic 'refuses to turn to the truth to give heed to fables " [II Tm 4,4]. It is a “Antichrist” which separates from the Christian community [The Gv 2,19]. Heresy is a wisdom “earthly, fleshly, evil” [GC 3,15]. San Giovanni is severe against heretics: must stay away from them: "Who goes further and does not adhere to the doctrine of Christ, do not receive him into your house nor greet; because who greets him, participates in his evil deeds " [II Jn 11].
The Church from the beginning, in the decrees of the Popes and Councils, after an appropriate warning heretic, if these are not corrected, was always careful to point out the heretics to the community and possibly punish them, so that the same caution and avoided their mistake. A disciplinary canon is excommunication, the so-called anathema, which has the task of clarifying that the heretic, because of his heresy, can not be considered as a member of that community, which is founded on the truth that he refuses. However the Church, even in the case of heretics, not always resorts to excommunication, but it also has other means and ways to stimulate and induce the sinner to repent and abandon his error.
However, while an excommunication can be removed, when the Church condemns heresy, as is demonstrated by the story itself [see WHO], not ever withdraws his judgment [see WHO, WHO], because it is considered that the Church is infallible in this type of judgments, touching, albeit sub contrario, the doctrine of the faith.
In canon law heresy is configured as a felony or misdemeanor, which can then be punished after due process, initiated following a complaint made to the competent judicial authority of the Church, from the Episcopal and Roman. Today the heresy trials are very rare. The pastors prefer interventions less formalized and more soft or ductile, as the case, promoting the good qualities of the heretic and aiming more than punishment, correction. This style more evangelical and more respectful of the person of the heretic and confident in the ability of self-defense of a people of God duly informed in those truths that are denied heretic, originates from the pastoral and canonical reform promoted by the Second Vatican Council, which, while condemning serious errors of the modern world, not ever pronounce the word “heresy” preferring equivalent expressions. Nor are the traditional canons against heretics.
Heresy in the strongest sense is the denial of a dogma solemnly and explicitly defined [doctrine ex cathedra]. But as the Magisterium of the Church teaches infallibly the truths of faith or related to the faith even at two levels or lower mode of authority, such was the case for the doctrines of Vatican II [see my previous article WHO], those who do not accept these doctrines of authority less, certainly not would sin against the divine faith and therefore could not be considered properly heretic; and yet his mistake could be qualified as “next heresy” (heresy neighbor), to heresy (heresy wise) or at least disobedient to the authentic Magisterium of the Church: offensive of the pious ears (pious ears relentless).
Any faithful firmly in faith, sensitive to the good of souls, well informed of the case, can pronounce, with caution and after careful consideration, the note of heresy against another faithful; can also report it, if you believe and if that can serve the good of the heretic and that of the faithful, to the Bishop or to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [see our previous article WHO]. It is therefore not necessary to consider heresy or heretics only those doctrines or those who have been explicitly condemned by the Church. Certain, of these heresies you can have absolute certainty and condemn our part can give great strength to our judgment. But nobody prevents us, indeed the’love Christi that No urgencywith, urges us to take note of the heresies that are in circulation, and several, to see what can be done to remedy it.
Undoubtedly the scrutiny and judgment of heresies is not easy. You must have a great love for the truth and be animated by a great charity: must be well prepared in Catholic doctrine and know how to interpret the sayings and writings of others. Efforts should be interpreted in good, unless the error is not obvious. It should, however, always, in principle, put in mind of being able to make mistakes in interpreting or judging: or too severe or too mild. A proposition that seems heretical to the letter, namely, according to the objective meaning, own and coherent words, may not be heretical in intentions and in that meaning, that did not express the goods or property of language, but meant another thing, on balance, is Orthodox.
The Church condemns always, when it does, heresy to the letter, that is, in the literal meaning, as objectively causes harm to the faithful and inspires followers, perhaps without the author's name, not to address the issue of sometimes thorny what he meant exactly the author, but the thing from a pastoral point of view does not interest. The important thing is that the faithful be preserved from error and know what the truth is the opposite.
The Church is the author's name, when it is a doctrine of his own or intends to censor the leading exponent or the initiator of a heretical movement or when the adherents of this movement may be crafty in decline or hide their responsibilities. Today, however, the Church often avoids to name, to prevent an exaggerated opposition to the heretic, that a failure to recognize the qualities, which can be also great and beneficial for other reasons.
Today, however, especially - See for example the case of Blessed Antonio Rosmini - the Church, making use of the most advanced methods and means of hermeneutics, as for example the method of contextualization, historicizing, or the variety of languages and ways of expression or the same psychology author, seeks to highlight any good intentions or good faith of the author, thus exonerating evidence least heresy “formal”, ie guilty and admit only a '”heresy material”, unconscious and involuntary, that saves the innocence of the author.
You can not admit instead that the Church is wrong interpreting the thought of an author, so as to convict him wrongly for heresy. The goddess then certain false ecumenists, according to which the Council of Trent would not understand Luther is absolutely false and the attempt to present it as a Catholic is not understood well because absolutely lost, after five centuries of studies most learned and numerous interventions of the Magisterium concerning him.
Ecumenism desired by the Council is certainly a blessing and a gift of the Holy Spirit, as agreement between Catholics and Protestants in the truths that were common; but let's not make the Trojan horse to let the heresies of Luther in the Church, this would no longer be the Holy Spirit, Demon ma. And we already have evidence of the confusion created by the modernists, which, as already observed in the St. Pius X Pascendi Dominici Gregis, students are Protestants [see our previous articles WHO, WHO]. If anything, are these false ecumenists, who have not understood neither Luther nor the Council of Trent. But they are causing a serious damage, as they prevent the authority that today we remember the heresies of Luther. But if circulate as circulating heresies Lutheran, in disguise, without the authority intervenes, the fact remains that they continue heresies; However, it is conceivable that in certain cases the inaction of authority is motivated by valid reasons, such an opportunity or avoid a greater evil and therefore also less noble reasons, such as negligence or human respect.
Considering the content heretical or supposed such or para-heretical, necessary to determine the amount or extent or the weight of the error, to what degree of authority of the Church opposes it, than you away from the truth, the damage it causes, those that traditionally are called “theological notes”. The alleged error is opposed to a dogma or only to a doctrine of the Church or only a theological opinion? When satisfied that the magnitude of the error, must first groped to persuade the heretic face to face, as required by the Gospel. The public denunciation of error should be done only if the heretic refuses correction and if his heresy seduces many. For a small blaze may suffice two buckets of water. But for a fire, you have to call the fire department. This is why Christ says, if your brother does not listen in private conversation or in dealing with the thing between two or three, be given to the Church [cf. LC 17, 1-4; Mt 18, 15-17].
Heresy is not just a contrary opinion that does not affect the unity of the faith, but instead it corrupts the faith. Woe to treated as a heretic who simply has a contrary or different! But woe to let it go heresies that send perishing souls under the pretext of freedom of thought or theological pluralism! Theological certainty and assurance of faith are two different things. Today we tend to reduce everything to opinion, the certitudes of faith: for this, if someone falls into heresy, you think that simply has a different opinion. You do not give weight to the fact that a certain modernism and a certain reactionary traditionalism are heresies. Or the opposite occurs: those who think differently from me is a heretic. Must recover the objective criteria for evaluations and not get carried away with prejudices, by emotion and partisanship. Otherwise, that Catholics, that “Universal” we are, if everyone wants to pull the sacred name of a Catholic on his side?
Necessary to distinguish the error in the theological or exegetical heresy. The theologian and exegete deal some of the doctrine of faith or the Church, but by their science, which certainly is founded on principles of faith and dogma; but theology and exegesis build their knowledge by putting in place and using methods and cognitive methods elaborated by reason.
This involves the fact that the reason, being fallible, can not go wrong in two ways: or within his own proceed, and then we have the error; or as the reason interprets the truth of faith, the biblical data or dogmatic, and then we have the heresy. If for example an exegete is wrong nell'ubicare a city or in interpreting the nature of a musical instrument of the Old Testament, without this explicit about the Doctrine of the Faith, this is a simple mistake exegetical. If were to say that the Angerli in Scripture are merely symbolic characters and fantastic, it is clear that would fall into heresy.
And so, if a theologian prefer to divide the body into finite and infinite being rather than in the body for essence and entity for participation, this does not compromise the Doctrine of the Faith. But if it were to resolve the human person in the relationship, would endanger the dogma of the Holy Trinity, for which only the divine person is subsisting relationship. And if it falls into heresy formally and directly, falls indirectly and consequently (next proposition heresy).
Heresy is properly a thesis rebellious to the doctrine of the Church infallible interpreter of the Word of God. But there is an error against faith even more serious, the maximum degree of the error: blasphemy, which is the verbal insult to the same Word of God, ie to God, to Christ and his teaching, with the attribution to God or Christ of derogatory epithets or attributes, offensive and insulting. Blasphemy, in practice, especially liturgical and sacramental, corresponds sacrilege or impiety.
Therefore, is given four degrees of authority in the Doctrine of the Faith and for consideration of rebellion to the truth of faith: the maximum degree is the Word of God, which opposes the blasphemy. Below the Word of God, that comes out of the same mouth of Christ, Then there are the teachings of the Church: the highest level is the dogma definit (ex cathedra), object of the Extraordinary Magisterium (Pope and Council) and solemn definition (faith belief).
Under the doctrine is the doctrine close to the faith, object of the simple and ordinary Magisterium (the Pope with bishops around the world); contains the truth logically connected, inferred or assumed, the dogma (Faith held). At this degree opposes the doctrine next heresy. At the lowest level we have the simple authentic Magisterium, which is always faith, but what the Church deduced or derived from his own doctrine. And so too is infallible, However, it was responsible for the religious submission of will. The opposite error is disobedience to the Magisterium of the Church.
Who today is concerned or interested in heresies, those who try to locate them and correct them, those who express opinions on them, those allegations formula, reliefs or notes of heresy; the only limit to talk seriously about heresies than those of the first centuries, is often frowned upon especially in environments modernists. We see immediately in him with some irony or discomfort the witch hunter, Cerberus inexorable, the aggressor windmills, a pathetic remnant of the past, the eager pursuer of ghosts, the surplus of the Inquisition, the mind incapable rigid elasticity or ductility, the narrow mind of those who see the enemy in different, the traditionalist retrograde, the arrogant and intolerant without mercy, closed in their outdated ideas, envious of those who succeed, the pedant who seeks nit, the Pharisee who pretends to judge others, he who seeks to dominate consciences, the aspiring bishop shearer's flock.
In the name of a misunderstood ecumenism, of a false religious freedom, and a comprehensive dialogue, we have lost the awareness of the universality of the objective truth as well vital common. We are still sensitive, thank God, the sophistication of the food, the danger of epidemics, counterfeiting of currency, rightly together we seek to remedy these evils, aware of their objectivity. But when it comes to ideas, doctrines, intelligible content, truth of reason or faith, here appear the monster nice subjectivism and relativism and thus the indifference to the dangers our and other.
How much awareness instead had the medieval Christendom of the damage done to all heresy. Not for nothing was spoken of “over heretics”. And St. Thomas did not hesitate to compare precisely the falsification of the faith for the counterfeiting of currency. What sense of the weight of spiritual realities in better or worse! Which vivid perception of the importance of faith in our lives! What consciousness of faith as a common good! There is much talk of truth and faith. And this certainly goes well. But there is little talk or do not know how to speak in due heresy. We have not yet released by the ghosts of the past, that weigh on this fateful word. Some may wish to remove it from the vocabulary; but it is wrong. The Church still uses it and will always use. It is to learn or relearn to use it. Indeed, it is most desirable that the Church organizes research centers, data collection, and care of heresies, as well as in the medical field, there are powerful organizations and structures that study and solve problems as a team and scientifically health.
Why would we notice the most flattering advances, with the presence of highly specialized personnel, in the care of the physical health, for which there are many structures, such seriousness and competence, while in the field of spiritual life and in particular the problems concerning the truth and its counterfeits seems to reign indifference, amateurism, backwardness and carelessness? Not only to the Holy See and in large academic institutions, but in every diocese, in every parish, in every religious institute, cultural center in every Catholic layman should exist offices and services well supplied, to help the faithful to discern and defend themselves or to defend others from the poison of heresy. The time has come to speak of heresy seriously, with serenity, objectively, responsibly, with pastoralità, in a climate of fraternal charity and service, without ironies, without anxiety and without hysteria, a powder’ as the doctor speaks of influenza or measles vaccine.
Sure heresy is a serious matter, but precisely because this, should be incorporated to talk seriously, calm and informed basis, without leaving it in the hands of seven or extremists, that disqualify and distort the meaning, use it to devour each other and to affirm a petty domination on the conscience of others. Operate against heresy for the victory of truth and then for the salvation of souls, is not a trivial matter.
We need a strong equipment not only cultural, but also spiritual, because, in addition to having to fight against ignorance, the malice and stupidity human, it is also to meet the dangers of the father of lies; from that back very advisable, if not necessary, recourse to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, winner of all heresies.
Varazze, 6 March 2015