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Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Ed Peters

I wonder whether part of it is that ancient heretics had decent grasp of philosophy, so they could construct, follow, and react to arguments. Today's typical nutty can't even think arightly.

Charles E Flynn

I always tell people who defend the idea that the Church can ordain women that they should they should go to Germany and try to convince Fr. Manfred Hauke that his Ph.D. was awarded in error. Needless to say, this is perhaps not a pastorally effective approach.

In my observations, people do not want 497 page explanations of anything that might interfere with their prejudices. What they want is to lead a utilitarian life based on principles that fit on bumper stickers, starting with the premise that the human genitals are toys.

Matt W.

Might I suggest that yesterday's theologically-minded heretic is today's devout Protestant or Evangelical? Today's heretic is unable to grasp the core of a theological argument, thus cannot engage the theological debate.

J Sloan

You make very valid points in your article, and it makes me think about a book I recently read called "The Judas Syndrome: Seven Ancient Heresies Return to Betray Christ Anew." The book was excellent and explains in great depth how ancient heresies are alive today in our modern culture. Thanks for your article.

Paul Rimmer

I am what certain Roman Catholics would call a heretic, though of course I don't think myself to be a heretic. I consider their position over-defined and restrained; there is much more diversity in belief that is allowed before one strays into heresy. The Roman institution is often obsessed with over-definition, a result, I think, of a loss of temporal power and a very human desire (abused even by all good earthly fathers at times) to over-control. I often picture Mother Church like the doting new mom trying to wrap her kids up in inflatable tubing before they attempt to "swim" (and so killing any real chance at developing the skill).

I have read some of the Church Fathers in Greek and Latin (especially St. Ambrose), the Summa of Thomas Aquinas, many of the works of the Protestant reformers, and many of the volumes from the Anglo-Catholic Library (and the tracts and writings of Cardinal Newman). I am admittedly not as well-read as even the most uneducated author published by the prestigious St. Ignatius press, but I'm not a total slouch.

There are still a few of us out there who read and think. We tend to be drowned out by the shouts of the mad few who are, admittedly, far more deserving of the name "heretic".


Rather than"heretics", today we really have "dissenters" who can't come up with anything better than it's just not fair or I don't like it.

Carl E. Olson

Just to be clear, I am using the formal, canonical definition of heresy: "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" (Canon #751, CCL). Which does not apply to those born Protestant, or to non-Catholics who disagree with the Catholic Church.


It does not necessarily apply to Catholics either. "Obstinate" being the key word.

Carl E. Olson

Kelly: I take that what you mean is that it only applies to Catholics who have "obstinate denial or obstinate doubt" when it comes to "some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith"? :-)

Gail F

"the Alpha Dog of Modern Celebrity Catholic Heretics, Hans Kung" -- best description I've read all day.

Carl, you are right. So many people pick a position and then develop an argument for it, and a shallow argument at that. At least when someone like Paul R. above makes a statement or an argument, there's something to TALK about. But "the Church hates women" isn't an argument, it's a diatribe.


Carl, understanding (to various degrees of extent) what or why the Church teaches something as true is different from believing it as true yourself. I'll leave it to canonists to determine obstinancy.



Is support of women priests considered heresy or dissent? is opposition of women priests to be "believed by divine or Catholic faith"?


Charles E Flynn

What a comment!

What great economy of language!

Gregory Williams

Charles Flynn has given me my next sig.

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