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 Post subject: Re: When is it justified to call someone a heretic?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:01 pm 
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theJack wrote:
verumfidei wrote:
All joking aside...there have been Catholic priests who in sermons before Vatican II would say "the arch heretic Luther, or the arch heretic Arius". I don't see why the word heretic has to be considered offensive or not likable when it's simply stating the truth. Heresy is a denial of faith, so why can't we call out those who deny the truth publically?

You guys know that the church never had any issues with using the word heretic before Vatican II. Suddenly it became "offensive".

I believe the church has formally declared both Luther and Arius a heretic. With respect to them, you're just saying what the church has already said. If the context is your interaction with individuals, then you're far better saying something like, "The position you're espousing seems to me to be X-ism, a view the Church has deemed heretical. It holds so and so, which is, I believe, what you're saying now." That sort of commentary keeps the focus on the belief rather than on the person. If, then, they retort that they don't care if the church has deemed his position a heresy then you can proceed in any number of ways. At least you can proceed. But if you just label somebody a heretic, then as Obi said, you're ending the conversation right there, not starting one.


I agree with your take on it. Obi was correct about that ending a convo. I guess should we all be careful to label someone a heretic?


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 Post subject: Re: When is it justified to call someone a heretic?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:52 pm 
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Being careful is always a good thing. ;)

On a related aside, as an evangelical pastor (so feel free, verumfidei, and all other readers, to ignore all of this as heresy--I do recognize we're still in the Cath101 forum), I don't let people throw "the 'h' word" around in my church, and I never use it when referring to others (unless, as previously noted, I'm talking about historically established representatives of anti-biblical thought, i.e., Arius, the gnostics, Pelagius, etc). And that's all for the reasons we're discussing here. But more importantly, I know from experience that if I were to get really consistent and drill down on most people's theology, we'd have to say that we're all heretics. Take only the Trinity. I'm willing to bet you that pretty much everyone in my congregation is a closet modalist or tritheist. They don't mean to be so, and they verbally can say the correct formula (because I've drilled it into their heads). But when they start thinking about what that formula means, they fall back on analogies, and you know that analogies of the Trinity are just always going to get you in trouble. Not a one of them has any serious philosophical training, and so if pressed far enough, they're all eventually going to affirm some heresy, even if they don't realize it. And that's a big deal, right? How many people set out with the goal of becoming heretics? No one.That's one of the main historical arguments for the authority of the Catholic Church, that someone had to settle theological disputes and decide who was right, since the Arians and the Orthodox were on either side using the same Scriptures to prove their case and accusing the other side of heresy!

So, yeah, I figure, let's be careful about calling someone a heretic. Let's be charitable, because I've zero doubt that when I stand before Christ Himself, I'll realize there was far more heresy in me than I could have ever realized, even in my most humble moment. If not but for the grace of God by the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, I'm toast (pun intended!). And if I want that grace, I figure I ought to be quick to extend it to others. That's my half a two cents worth, anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: When is it justified to call someone a heretic?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:05 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: When is it justified to call someone a heretic?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:10 pm 
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Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. ~ Pope Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes 24.3


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 Post subject: Re: When is it justified to call someone a heretic?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:22 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: When is it justified to call someone a heretic?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:31 pm 
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verumfidei wrote:

I agree with your take on it. Obi was correct about that ending a convo. I guess should we all be careful to label someone a heretic?


Don't just 'be careful', literally don't do it, ever. Unless you're a professional theologian, you probably hold to some heretical ideas yourself, you don't do it intentionally, I'm sure, you're just too ignorant to know any better. But nevertheless, I'm sure you do.

Probably at least 9 out of 10 professed Christians, if asked to explain their beliefs on the Trinity would unwittingly endorse a Christological heresy, if you ask about the importance of good works to justification, the answer you get will probably be Peligian, if you ask about the Eucharist, you'll probably get heresy.

One belief I have noticed is really common among many Catholics is the belief that the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is a PHYSICAL presence. This is a false, heretical belief, but I've found it very difficult to explain this in a way that doesn't result in me being accused of being a heretic who denies Transubstantiation. I've gotten into many stupid arguments on Facebook over the issue and explained why it is wrong to say that Christ is physically present in the Eucharist until I'm blue in the face, and it makes absolutely no impact and always results in me being called the heretic for upholding the correct doctrine. I've decided that I am never going to argue this point ever again because even though I know I'm right, I'm pretty sure the total number of people I have convinced is 0.

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 Post subject: Re: When is it justified to call someone a heretic?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:35 pm 
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Doom wrote:
One belief I have noticed is really common among many Catholics is the belief that the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is a PHYSICAL presence. This is a false, heretical belief, but I've found it very difficult to explain this in a way that doesn't result in me being accused of being a heretic who denies Transubstantiation. I've gotten into many stupid arguments on Facebook over the issue and explained why it is wrong to say that Christ is physically present in the Eucharist until I'm blue in the face, and it makes absolutely no impact and always results in me being called the heretic for upholding the correct doctrine. I've decided that I am never going to argue this point ever again because even though I know I'm right, I'm pretty sure the total number of people I have convinced is 0.


I’m curious, how do you explain it?

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 Post subject: Re: When is it justified to call someone a heretic?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:40 pm 
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Peetem wrote:

I’m curious, how do you explain it?


If Christ was physically present, it would mean that if you put a consecrated Host under a microscope, it would not only look different from ordinary bread, but you would be able to 'see' Christ, any person looking at it under the microscope would have no choice but to conclude 'this is clearly human flesh', the molecules would be different. Christ is not physically present, he is sacramentally present, which is not the same thing.

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 Post subject: Re: When is it justified to call someone a heretic?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:47 pm 
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Peetem wrote:
Doom wrote:
One belief I have noticed is really common among many Catholics is the belief that the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is a PHYSICAL presence. This is a false, heretical belief, but I've found it very difficult to explain this in a way that doesn't result in me being accused of being a heretic who denies Transubstantiation. I've gotten into many stupid arguments on Facebook over the issue and explained why it is wrong to say that Christ is physically present in the Eucharist until I'm blue in the face, and it makes absolutely no impact and always results in me being called the heretic for upholding the correct doctrine. I've decided that I am never going to argue this point ever again because even though I know I'm right, I'm pretty sure the total number of people I have convinced is 0.


I’m curious, how do you explain it?


Okay. I honestly am not picking a fight here, Doom. I'm curious. What then do you make of the Eucharistic Miracles where a host becomes physical flesh?


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 Post subject: Re: When is it justified to call someone a heretic?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:54 pm 
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Why are you making me agree with Doom? :soap:

Setting aside Eucharistic Miracles, in the ordinary run of things, there is no meaningful sense in which Christ is physically present in a consecrated Host or in a chalice of Precious Blood (but I'll stick to referring to "Host" right now). When a Host is moved, the Body of Christ does not move. When a Host is divided, the Body of Christ is not divided but is present, whole in entire, in each piece. The Body Itself takes up no space. Etc.

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 Post subject: Re: When is it justified to call someone a heretic?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:59 pm 
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I think we need to be less careful about calling something a heresy than we do about calling someone a heretic.

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 Post subject: Re: When is it justified to call someone a heretic?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:07 pm 
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Sometimes, when persuading the heretic is futile, and the goal is to reach others, calling a spade a spade is good. I have no issue calling Hans Küng a deceitful, haughty, heretic. But never going to win over someone already influenced by him by rushing to those labels. But a friend not knowing who he is asks? Then such may be useful.

Note well that, at least those raised in heretical and schismatic sects are no longer presumed to be formally guilty of heresy or schism (they may be, but are no longer presumed to be). And "heretic" without qualification means "formal heretic"

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 Post subject: Re: When is it justified to call someone a heretic?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:19 pm 
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Peetem wrote:
Doom wrote:
One belief I have noticed is really common among many Catholics is the belief that the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is a PHYSICAL presence. This is a false, heretical belief, but I've found it very difficult to explain this in a way that doesn't result in me being accused of being a heretic who denies Transubstantiation. I've gotten into many stupid arguments on Facebook over the issue and explained why it is wrong to say that Christ is physically present in the Eucharist until I'm blue in the face, and it makes absolutely no impact and always results in me being called the heretic for upholding the correct doctrine. I've decided that I am never going to argue this point ever again because even though I know I'm right, I'm pretty sure the total number of people I have convinced is 0.


I’m curious, how do you explain it?

Bad memories here. I tried explaining "Christ does not shrink,become circular, change place" I tried explaining the force of sacramental and substantial. I ended up with students thinking Christ's presence was merely symbolic. Took a while to dig out of that one.

Sometimes it is best to stick to the precise formulations ("true God, true man" not "fully God, fully man" e.g), and admit that you don't always know why it is important (even if by now you do) but it is. And give a far easier example. "You learned to say X, why was that important"

what of the most needed lessons to learn is, no, theology is not pat answers, no you cannot just figure out whatever right now- there is an order that must be respected, like a student wanting to do multivariate analysis, who doesn't even know what a variable is-, and it is alright to not know. In fact you know little. Most people know very little. It is fine to say, I know X is true, but my knowledge is very limited.

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