The Orthodox Christians consider Catholics heretics. But what is the opposite case?

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    We prefer questions which show you have done some preliminary research. A reliable source verifying that the Orthodox do in fact consider Catholics to be heretics would greatly improve the question. Also consider the fact that the term Orthodox may refer to several distinct groups which are not in communion.
    – Bit Chaser
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 20:51
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    It is called The Great Schism for a reason. We must keep in mind that certain dogmas like the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption of Virgin Mary, Body and Soul into Heaven and the Infallibility of the Pope were defined after the Great Schism and are binding on Catholics only, not the Orthodox.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 12:24
  • Are you aware of the term "schismatics" ... We prefer questions which show you have done some preliminary research Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 3:01

2 Answers 2


No. Perhaps the best statement of the current Roman Catholic position on the schism can be found in Unitatis Redintegratio from Vatican II. Essentially, the Roman Catholic Church holds that the doctrinal issues that exist are minor if not meaningless, and often result as different ways of expressing or experiencing the same understanding of God rather than from a fundamentally different understanding of God in the first place; from the Catholic perspective, the split is primarily over matters of church organization and not theology.

For an example, consider the filioque: from the Catholic perspective, the difference between the single and double procession is a matter of choice of emphasis rather than of basically different belief. Tellingly, the Roman church does not require Eastern-Rite Catholic churches to use it.

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    Don't they deny the dogma of the faith of pope's supremacy among bishops, or infallibility? Original sin? The immaculate conception? Among other dogmas? That's the definition of heretic. The first heresy mentioned also makes them schismatics. Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 22:26
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    In the Catholic view, with the exception of papal supremacy (the rejection of which is explicitly defined in canon law as schism and not heresy, so no issue there) the Orthodox don't actually reject them. Again, the Eastern Catholic example is instructive: Greek-rite Catholics are able to maintain basically Orthodox formulations of positions on these very questions you bring up precisely because the Catholic position is that they aren't fundamentally different, but rather superficial products of divergent theological approaches (Patristic vs. Scholastic) to accessing the same truth.
    – Kurt Weber
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 23:09
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    You might disagree with the Catholic Church's position, you may think that these are pretty substantial differences--on many of these points I happen to think so as well. And, of course, the Orthodox tend to think they're pretty significant differences too. But the answer to the question hinges on what the Roman Catholic Church thinks, not on whether that thinking is right or wrong.
    – Kurt Weber
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 23:10
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    Where in any Catholic document does it say "the Roman Catholic Church holds that the doctrinal issues that exist are minor if not meaningless"? I could quote myriads of counterexamples.
    – Geremia
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 17:52
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    Denial of the filioque is a Trinitarian heresy; to deny the Holy Ghost proceeds from both the Father and the Son is false understanding of the Trinity. Eastern Rite Catholic Churches do not and cannot deny it even if they don't explicitly mention it in their liturgies' creed.
    – Geremia
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 17:53

Yes, the schismatic Orthodox are heretics because they deny (among other things) the Catholic dogma on the papacy as defined in the First Vatican Council's Pastor Æternus ch. 3:

Hence we teach and declare [the dogma] that by the appointment of our Lord the Roman Church possesses a superiority of ordinary power over all other churches, and that this power of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate; to which all, of whatever rite and dignity, both pastors and faithful, both individually and collectively, are bound, by their duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, to submit not only in matters which belong to faith and morals, but also in those that appertain to the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world, so that the Church of Christ may be one flock under one supreme pastor through the preservation of unity both of communion and of profession of the same faith with the Roman Pontiff. This is the teaching of Catholic truth, from which no one can deviate without loss of faith and of salvation.

  • Ecumenism would somehow not inclined to use the word schismatics, as it will treat those outside or even our separated brothers looking at Vatican II Church Teaching as "subsist", the have some element of Divine Revelation but not in Fullness. They are still in the process of knowing fully or accepting fully the richness and fullness of the Catholic Faith. Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 22:21
  • @marianagustin They don't have a partial Catholic Faith (such a thing doesn't exist); they do not have the Catholic Faith at all. See Leo XIII's encyclical on the unity of the Church, Satis Cognitum.
    – Geremia
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 22:45
  • they have a valid sacraments and Mariology is embraced too.those differences are not a barrier to Ecumenism. I embraced Vatican II teaching on Ecumenism as Pope Leo XII encyclical is addressed in his time and does not bind future inspiration of the Holy Spirit to the Church.Godbless Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 22:51
  • @marianagustin Catholic dogma cannot contradict itself. If you think it does, you adhere to the heresy of Modernism, which believes dogmas are not immutable truths.
    – Geremia
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 23:14
  • Wrong judgment. Jesus have not given you authority to bind & loose. Pope & Church had a God given Authority to Bind & Loose, the present Church can exercise it's powers and has the Gift of Prudence & Discernment to determine if a Teaching contradicted a dogma or past doctrines, as CDF for example will examined closely all the Teaching if is sound & acceptable.Vatican II Council is guided by the Light of the Holy Spirit as Pope BXVI stated in his letter in 2013. file:///C:/Users/Acer/Downloads/vatican%20II%20reflections%20of%20Pope%20BXVI%20very%20good.html Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 0:57

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