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Again, the difference in employing the terms "material heresy" and "formal heresy"

Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by BrianK, Aug 4, 2016.

  1. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    It's not sinful or wrong to point out material heresy, even if committed by a Churchman, even if that Churchman is the pope. A pope can commit heresy; this was confirmed by multiple excerpts in often infallible teaching by multiple popes.

    I have adequately defended my position here, using clear teachings from the Church.

    If someone wants to persist in this silliness, that simply using the words "material heresy" and "material heretic" means they have "abandoned the Holy Father and the Catholic Church" that is their right, to share their own opinion on the matter.

    But until they share Church teaching to back up their claims, it is only that, an unsubstantiated (and frankly erroneous) opinion. No matter how many times or how loudly they assert their opinion otherwise.

    Now if someone here was fool hearty enough to accuse this pope of "formal heresy," they might well have a point. Only the Church can accuse an individual of "formal heresy."

    But since the need to distinguish "material heresy" from " formal heresy" has been pointed out at some considerable length, lest the poorly catechized post VII Catholics misunderstand how its currently being (accurately and lucidly) employed, I'm not aware of ANY individual at MOG misapplying the label "formal heretic."

    If such an instance can be formally verified at MOG, I'd be the first one to offer my brethren filial correction.

    But to my knowledge, it cannot be verified, putting the lie to the scurrilous charge of "abandoning the Holy Father and the Catholic Church" or "attacking," "hating" or otherwise sinning against the pope or encouraging schism.

    (If someone utilized the equivocal standalone term "heresy" or "heretic" one must assume they are referring to "material heresy" as it would be grossly uncharitable to assume they have made the mistake of meaning "formal heresy" without first confirming their intent.)
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
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  2. Sorrowful Heart

    Sorrowful Heart Principalities

    You won't get facts to back up the accusations. You will only get rhetoric.
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  3. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    Yep. Unfortunately I think we'll be seeing a lot more of that in the days, weeks and months ahead.
    picadillo likes this.
  4. Sorrowful Heart

    Sorrowful Heart Principalities

  5. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    As I said before,

    It's a shame, but also hauntingly understandable, that the "spirit of VII" sought to eliminate the word "heresy" from the modern lexicon. Whereas the difference between "material heresy" and "formal heresy" was fully understood by a chatechized Catholic then, and the use of that term was common, now it's suddenly verboten.

    But not so strange, really.

    The "spirit of VII"s assault on the word "heresy" has achieved its desired effect, in this thread and in the world; heresies and heretics are yawned at, while those who correctly employ the word are "attackers," "haters," etc., condemned to eternal perdition.

    Kinda like "when good things will be called bad, and when bad things, good."

    And "They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God."

    All with a smile on their face, and a self assurance they are right, and right in assigning those who defend the Faith to perdition.
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  6. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    Of course, the pope uses the word "heretic," in this case demonstrably incorrectly, and without explaining the proper distinction of material versus formal heresy, but no one accuses the pope of "crossing a line" that cannot be crossed by Catholics, or "abandoning...the Catholic Church."

    Just a wee bit hypocritical, eh? (Folks better wake up quick. At some point soon, this hypocrisy will become damnable hypocrisy.)


    Pope Francis: ‘Rigid… this or nothing’ Catholics are ‘heretical’ and ‘not Catholic’

    John-Henry Westen


    June 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The stunning introduction to today’s official Vatican Radio report on Pope Francis’ morning homily reads: “Pope Francis warned on Thursday against an excessive rigidity, saying those within the Church who tell us ‘it’s this or nothing’ are heretics and not Catholics. His remarks came during the morning Mass on Thursday celebrated at the Santa Marta residence.”

    The specific section of the homily referred to in the opening is as follows:

    This (is the) healthy realism of the Catholic Church: the Church never teaches us ‘or this or that.’ That is not Catholic. The Church says to us: ‘this and that.’ ‘Strive for perfectionism: reconcile with your brother. Do not insult him. Love him. And if there is a problem, at the very least settle your differences so that war doesn’t break out.’ This (is) the healthy realism of Catholicism. It is not Catholic (to say) ‘or this or nothing:’ This is not Catholic, this is heretical.

    Jesus always knows how to accompany us, he gives us the ideal, he accompanies us towards the ideal, He frees us from the chains of the laws' rigidity and tells us: ‘But do that up to the point that you are capable.’ And he understands us very well. He is our Lord and this is what he teaches us.

    Interpreting what Pope Francis is saying in a precise way has always been difficult. However, there has been a consistent theme in his remarks against what he refers to as ‘rigid’ Catholics who hold steadfastly to the ideals proposed by Christ and to absolutes. “Fundamentalism is a sickness that we find in all religions,” said the Pope in November while flying home from Africa. “Among Catholics there are many, not a few, many, who believe to hold the absolute truth,” he added. “They go ahead by harming others with slander and defamation, and they do great harm… And it must be combated.”

    In his most recent Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis criticized the Church for often proposing, “a far too abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage.” He added that conscience can “recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal.”

    An accusation of rigidity or heresy by Pope Francis against those who would insist on the ideal of Christ’s teaching such as marriage, would fall heavily on Francis’ own predecessor, Pope St. John Paul II, whom Pope Francis himself declared a saint. In the encyclical Veritatis Splendor, John Paul taught: "It would be a very serious error to conclude... that the Church's teaching is essentially only an 'ideal' which must then be adapted, proportioned, graduated to the so-called concrete possibilities of man, according to a 'balancing of the goods in question'.”

    The same condemnation of heresy against “this or nothing” Catholics would seem to target the author of God or Nothing, Cardinal Robert Sarah, who Pope Francis appointed to head the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. In God or Nothing, Cardinal Sarah forcefully rejected the notion of watering down the teaching on the indissolubility of marriage with pastoral leniency. “The idea of putting magisterial teaching in a beautiful display case while separating it from pastoral practice, which then could evolve along with circumstances, fashions, and passions, is a sort of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology,” he wrote.

    Cardinal Sarah also issued a warning to prelates who would seek to alter doctrine by altering the practice of the Church regarding marriage. “Men who devise and elaborate strategies to kill God, to destroy the centuries-old doctrine and teaching of the Church, will themselves be swallowed up, carried off by their own earthly victory into the eternal fires of Gehenna,” he said.

    Pope Francis says that Christ “tells us: ‘But do that up to the point that you are capable.’” The Bible however, records our Lord’s words differently in the Gospel of Matthew concluding the 5th chapter where He teaches the hard truths about divorce and adultery. “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect,” said Jesus.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
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  7. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    Someone who gets it, who applies the word properly and is not "abandoning the Holy Father and the Catholic Church" or fomenting schism.

    Isn't it nice when holy and orthodox Churchmen utilize the word "heresy" in its proper context, but also illustrate that the use of the word "heresy" is not of itself improper or sinful or outdated in the modern milieu?

    In fact, it's rather refreshing to see it used in this context correctly by a respected and holy Churchman.
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  8. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    Show me in Church teaching where it says a pope cannot teach heresy, or that a lay person may not warn others of his material heresy. Illustrate where, by using the word "heresy," the Church says "you have gone past debate and entered total separation from the Church." (And while you're at it, please explain to us how Cardinal Sarah calling the pope's agenda "heresy" above somehow is not sinful, but we are.)

    If you cannot or will not back up your personal opinions here with actual Church teachings, you could very well be committing serious sin of calumny in repeatedly making these silly assertions. At a minimum you should cease and desist from your sin, which is also leading souls astray.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
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  9. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    Emphasis in the original:


    Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment: Why Sarah should be pope

    Not because he has recently given very strong advice about celebration versus Orientem or versus apsidem, urging that all we presbyters, Bishops, and Cardinals should spend four months or so catechising about it and then introduce it on November 27. (And so we should. I pray that brother priests are already drafting their catechetical addresses. I pray that they will not be subjected to pressures.)

    Not even because he has repeatedly spoken with praise and admiration about our (indeed admirable) Ordinariate Missal. Readers of this blog will not accuse me of inadequate concern for liturgical minutiae. But there are even more important matters before us.

    I do not even pray for a Sarah Pontificate because there appear to be some highly Augean Stables very close to the Domus Santa Marta.

    Here is my reason:

    Referring to the principle that the Sacraments must not be given to unrepentant adulterers who have been through a form of civil "marriage", Cardinal Sarah has said "Not even a pope can dispense from such divine law".

    Popes cannot dispense from divine law.

    This is a basic principle of Catholic Theology.

    Joseph Ratzinger memorably asserted "The Pope's authority is bound to the Tradition of Faith ... [it] is not unlimited; it is at the service of Sacred Tradition".

    This chimes with the teaching of Vatican I, that the Holy Spirit was not given to popes to proclaim new doctrine, but to defend and to put forth the Deposit of Faith, the Tradition received through the Apostles.

    Some of those who surround Bergoglio fail to give much evidence of grasping this fundamental truth.

    A Sarah Pontificate would give us a Holy Father who truly humbled himself before his Master.

    A Sarah Pontificate would re-affirm the sometimes mislaid Catholic principle that the Roman Pontiff is subject to the Word of God.
    That is why the Church needs a Sarah Pontificate.
  10. fallen saint

    fallen saint Baby steps :)

    So in your opinion this is the Holy Father

    As to “material” heresy, this happens every day, even among the most
    devout. Here a person misunderstands or misstates a key Catholic teaching, thereby unknowingly advancing a serious theological error. This happens when a person has a partial, distorted, or unbalanced understanding of the faith.

    Ok...Brian That means your understanding of the faith, the church of brian, is veritas. And our Holy Father does not understand theological truths of the Roman Catholic Church.

    You are insinuating formal heresy...eventhough the church is the only person that can declare that.

    Brian you use this platform to lead people away from the Holy Mother Church. Your posts are not to warn or critique but to cause schism. I am sorry...but i personnaly think you over do it. But that is what a forum is for...so people can share their beliefs. You continue your journey and i will continue mine. I left the first time because all this nonsense was affecting my spiritual life. I come back and its the same thing. Like i said before...if you talk the talk, walk the walk. Material Heresy is based on lack of knowledge. That is not our Holy Father...what you are insinuating is Formal Heresy with knowledge and intent.

    Brother al
  11. fallen saint

    fallen saint Baby steps :)

    Not my words but interesting

    Heresy is not merely a matter of prudential judgment. Heresy is the rejection of an infallible teaching of the Magisterium. Material heresy, committed without knowledge that an idea is contrary to definitive teaching, nevertheless harms souls. Or do you think that knowing the truth on faith and morals has no effect on our path of salvation? Formal heresy is a grave sin. Teaching heresy harms many souls. Prudential judgment refers to the temporal authority of the Church over discipline. Heresy pertains to infallible magisterial teachings, which must be believed with divine and catholic faith. Any Catholic who commits the sin of formal heresy is automatically excommunicated.

    Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.

    Schism is not merely a matter of prudential judgment. Schism is the refusal to submit to the authority of the Pope. Whosoever commits formal schism is automatically excommunicated. If anyone promotes the sin of schism among the faithful, we must warn the faithful about this danger.

    Recently, three Cardinals — Burke, Sarah, Pell — each publicly stated that they would reject any teaching of the Pope contrary to their own understanding, and would reject any decision on discipline, which in their opinion implied a contradiction with Church teaching. If such a situation arises, and these Cardinals act as they say, they would then be in a state of formal schism and automatically excommunicated. Moreover, a theological argument can be made that such a public assertion constitutes, in principle, a schismatic act, since it is a public repudiation of the authority of the Pope over both doctrine and discipline.
  12. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    You have conveniently avoided every point raised in this thread. Instead of providing Church teachings to substantiate your ad hominem attacks, you have simply deflected by engaging in further ad hominem attacks.

    When it has been amply illustatrated that the pope is guilty of material heresy, that the Church repeatedly teaches that a pope can be guilty of heresy, that Catholics do not sin in warning the faithful about such heresy, and good and holy Churchmen properly employ the word heresy, you simply change the subject, falsely claiming we have accused the pope of formal heresy, a charge that is demonstrably false and a deliberate lie..

    You have not supported you numerous assertions of "attack" and " hatred" and you have continued ad hominem attack in place of substantiating your previous false assertions.

    When your assertions have been proven incorrect, you simply make up further baseless false assertions.

    Calumny is serious sin; clear cut dishonestly is below anyone here, even in the service of what seems right and important at the time.
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  13. fallen saint

    fallen saint Baby steps :)

    You are stating material heresy...not possible.

    So, its either formal heresy or it is not heresy. It cannot be material heresy by its very definition.

    No false assertions.

    b a
  14. fallen saint

    fallen saint Baby steps :)

    Nope...look below

    ad hominem
    adjective ad ho·mi·nem \(ˈ)ad-ˈhä-mə-ˌnem, -nəm\
    Popularity: Top 20% of words
    Definition of ad hominem
    1. 1: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect

    2. 2: marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made
  15. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    On the contrary, if one fully understands the distinctions between material and formal heresy, one understands that a lay person who grasps the difference between the two cannot and will not accuse the pope of formal heresy. Only Churchmen can do that. We're obviously not Churchmen so the idea that we really mean "formal heresy" when we say "material heresy" is, well, just silly. Because then we'd have to secretly think we are Churchmen, which we obviously do not.

    It's not just a matter of culpable ignorance versus being aware one holds erroneous positions in contradiction of Church teaching. Formal heresy, in this case involving a pope, would indicate not only that he holds erroneous beliefs, and knows they oppose Church teaching and publicly utters them, but that they involve opposition to defined doctrine and publishes these erroneous beliefs regarding matters of Faith and/or Morals, in a binding magisterial text.

    Since we know only too well that the errors have only been made in off-the-cuff comments, and non binding non magisterial published opinions, we know by definition that the errors have not been formally declared in binding Church documents, and therefore cannot and do not constitute "formal heresy" by Church law and definition.

    To state that "what we really mean when we say heresy is 'formal heresy'" is false on its face because we understand the distinction between material and formal heresy in Church law and practice, and wouldn't use or "mean" the latter term, because it would be incorrect and easily disproven.

    Your obvious failure to grasp the distinctions between the two forms of heresy is unfortunate, but it does not reflect error or sin on our part, or that when we say material heresy we really mean formal heresy when we obviously understand the distinction and take pains to avoid errors in its use.

    It just indicates that your understanding of the terms is, unfortunately, wrong, and therefore your assertions based on this misunderstanding are simply false.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
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  16. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    Actually, they perfectly illustatrate ad hominem, because a basis for their claim in Church teaching has not and cannot be made. And as such, they simply represent an erroneous personal opinion, and an attack on the opponent's character to undermine their points in the debate. It's text book ad hominem to any objective third party viewer, and undermines the credibility of the person making the false assertion.
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  17. Sorrowful Heart

    Sorrowful Heart Principalities

  18. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member


    First it was, "just be quiet and start praying for the pope instead of criticizing him." We had to explain one can do both, and we do in fact do both, possibly more so than our accusers (because they don't or won't recognize the grave danger we face) and it is error and possibly arrogance on their part to assume otherwise.

    Then it was "attacking the pope" and "hatred." We easily proved that simply defending the Faith constitutes neither. (And therefore is not sinful or hateful and does not condemn a Catholic to perdition or cause automatic excommunication.)

    Then we had to explain the (we thought obvious) difference between material and formal heresy so as not to scandalize the poorly catechized who might erroneously think it's wrong to use such a "bad word" when talking about a pope.

    Then it was "a Catholic cannot accuse a pope of heresy because a pope cannot be a heretic." We easily proved from Church teaching and statements of popees and saints that, unfortunately, a pope can teach heresy.

    In illustrating this, we proved that a Catholic can indeed use the term "heresy" in regards to a pope, and in fact has a duty to do so to warn unsuspecting souls, and that silence is not an option, since eternal souls could be lost by this silence. And no " line" has been crossed, and no one is "abandoning the pope and the Church" nor "encouraging or causing schism" by pointing out material heresy.

    Now, since all their other arguments have been proven incorrect, they resort to juvenile and obvious ad hominem attack, while failing to back up their personal opinions with actual Church teachings, claiming absurdly that when we say "material heresy" we actually mean "formal heresy."

    This is patently false, when we obviously know that only Churchmen can make such charges, based on teaching error against doctrine made in magisterial documents, and we've copiously illustatrated that no, these errors have only been documented in off-the-cuff comments and non-binding opinions.

    And they will stomp off, thinking they are "shaking the dust from their feet" in avoiding such sinners who "attack" and "hate" the pope, committing the grave sin and crime of accusing him of "formal heresy" when every word he utters is crystal clear and wholly orthodox to them, and these accusations are "groundless," "based on media spin" and "bad translations" and the "opinions of rad trad bloggers."

    At some point one has to conclude there is pride and ego involved in their personal opinions, and obstinate personal error based on clear Church teaching that they will not correct.

    Unfortunately the objective observer might also conclude they are guilty of serious dishonesty and the sin of calumny in asserting disproven assertions, repeatedly and loudly.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
  19. fallen saint

    fallen saint Baby steps :)

    You cannot claim material heresy on the pope by its very definition. You are stating lack of knowledge.

    It is impossible by its very definition.


    Now you are talking about Our Holy Fathers off the cuff remarks. That has nothing to do with material heresy.

    You are talking about Amoris...that cannot have material heresy.
  20. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    This has been easily disproven by posting numerous statements of popes, Saints, and teachings of the Church.

    The material heresy of AL has been copiously documented elsewhere.

    Repeating a lie does not make it become fact, no matter how many times or how boldly the lie is asserted.

    Post Church teachings that back up your silly assertions, or stop making them.
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