1

What must faithful Christians do if the vast majority of the members of the Church here on earth, including those comprising the hierarchy or even the Pope, profess heresy (and are thus excommunicate)?


This question is seeking a Catholic answer, specifically, one from a sedevacantist perspective.

  • 1
    You should edit this to explicitly say that you're asking for the Catholic perspective. – curiousdannii Jun 8 '15 at 8:16
  • 1
    @curiousdannii is it not enough to have the catholicism tag on it? – Matt Gutting Jun 8 '15 at 13:14
  • @MattGutting Generally I think not. People often ignore tags, especially new users. And this question in particular doesn't sound Catholic at all - is it implying that the only faithful Christians are Catholic? Does "the Church" refer to the CC? What exactly is it asking - what should Catholics do when the other denominations teach heresy? What should they do when the CC itself does? What should "faithful Christians" do even if they're not Catholic themselves? – curiousdannii Jun 8 '15 at 13:15
  • While the tags are fine, in my opinion, what does "the Church" refer to? I suspect it's the Catholic Church, and I suspect it's asked from a sedevacantist viewpoint (We may need a tag for that). As being in communion with the Pope is the definition of a Catholic, by definition the Pope cannot profess heresy. That means a heretic Pope is in the Catholic Church, and everyone else is not. In that case, presumably one wouldn't worry about being excommunicate! – Andrew Leach Jun 8 '15 at 16:45
2

St. Vincent of Lerins, in his Commonitory lib. 1 cap. 2 n. 6-8, says to "follow universality, antiquity, consent."

“Also in the Catholic Church itself we take great care that we hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and properly Catholic, as the very force and meaning of the word shows, which comprehends everything almost universally. And we shall observe this rule if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one Faith to be true which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is plain that our ancestors and fathers proclaimed; consent if in antiquity itself we eagerly follow the definitions and beliefs of all, or certainly nearly all, priests and doctors alike.”

“What, then, will the Catholic Christian do if any part of the Church has cut itself off from the communion of the Universal Faith? What surely but prefer the soundness of the whole body to a pestilent and corrupt member?

“What if some novel contagion seeks to infect the whole Church, and not merely a small portion of it? Then he will take care to cling to antiquity, which cannot now be led astray by any novel deceit.

“What if in antiquity itself error be detected on the part of two or three men, or perhaps of a city, or even of a province? Then he will look to it that he prefer the decrees of an ancient General Council, if such there be, to the rashness and ignorance of a few.

“But what if some error spring up concerning which nothing of this kind is to be found? Then he must take pains to find out and compare the opinions of the ancients, provided, of course, that such remained in the communion and faith of the One Catholic Church, although they lived in different times and places, conspicuous and approved teachers; and whatever he shall find to have been held, written and taught, not by one or two only, but by all equally and with one consent, openly, frequently and persistently, that he must understand is to be believed by himself also without the slightest hesitation.“

0

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land ye dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 25:15. We have no control over what others choose...only the choices we make ourselves.

  • Though it was not clear at first, it is clear now that this question is seeking answers from a very specific kind of Catholic perspective. I think you will have to add some content to your answer to show that it is in line with that perspective. – fredsbend Jun 10 '15 at 9:47
-2

To start, considering the definition of heresy as defined (in part) on the King James Bible Page on av1611.com, specifically

  1. A fundamental error in religion, or an error of opinion respecting some fundamental doctrine of religion. But in countries where there is an established church, an opinion is deemed heresy, when it differs from that of the church. The Scriptures being the standard of faith, any opinion that is repugnant to its doctrines, is heresy; but as men differ in the interpretation of Scripture, an opinion deemed heretical by one body of Christians, may be deemed orthodox by another....

Further God's law, as set forth in Deuteronomy 19:15 provides

A single witness shall not prevail against a man for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed; only on the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, shall a charge be maintained.

Finally, the item in the Help center about questions not to ask, which provides, in part

insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references

Taking note that in his answer to his own question, the OP has provided a but single witness, but has provided no facts and references have been provided to support of the charge that "the vast majority vast majority of the members of the Church here on earth, including those comprising the hierarchy or even the Pope, profess heresy", the question as it stands is mere opinion, and unanswerable, except to take recourse to the teaching of Jesus Christ, in the parable of the sower (Mt. 13:34 ff). Jesus, the Sower of the church, holds the sole prerogative, to determine if there are heretics, and if so, who they are, and to separate them out at the harvest.

  • Though it was not clear at first, it is clear now that this question is seeking answers from a very specific kind of Catholic perspective. I think you will have to add some content to your answer to show that it is in line with that perspective. – fredsbend Jun 10 '15 at 9:47
  • As it happens, I hold a sedevacantist perspective, though it differs from the perspective of the OP. In my view, St. Peter's chair has been vacant since sometime between the Antipapacy of Hippolytus of Rome, and Alexander VI. That said, the question, and the answer provided by the OP seem to me to be more about trying to promote the opinion of the OP, and are highly based upon opinion, and not fact, since whether someone, or group of someones is a heretic is a judgement call in this case. – brasshat Jun 10 '15 at 10:03
  • If you add some content to this and maybe a source it would probably be a good answer. – fredsbend Jun 10 '15 at 15:36
  • Now I'm confused. Are you trying to answer the question or not? It's obvious to me that the premise of the question is a given, meaning, it doesn't have to be literally true that the majority of Christians (Catholic included) are heretics. – fredsbend Jun 10 '15 at 21:44
  • 1
    That's great and all, but that's not what the question asked for. "What should be done if you're a faithful Catholic but nearly everyone else is not?" It is a hypothetical premise. It doesn't need to be true and certainly not supported to answer from within that frame. Further, some do indeed believe that. Answers must match the viewpoint of the question. That's C.SE 101. Ref: What should we do about matching the viewpoints of askers and answerers? – fredsbend Jun 11 '15 at 3:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.