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 Material Heretics Might Not Be Members of the Church 
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New post Material Heretics Might Not Be Members of the Church
This video shows one instance in which John Paul II was a material heretic, yet the author of that video still considers him a valid pope because no other, valid pope has judged him a formal heretic.

Yet, according to Fraghi's excellent 1937 Angelicum dissertation, De Membris Ecclesiæ (p. 85 ff.), there is not a consensus among theologians whether material heretics are or are not members of the Church, although Fraghi thinks the opinion that they are not is more probable.


De Haereticis materialibus et notoriis
On material and notorious Heretics

Circa hos haereticos, notorie sed bona fide aberrantes, non una est sententia inter Theologos.
Regarding these notorious but bona fide aberrant heretics, there is not a consensus among Theologians.

Alii negant eos esse membra Ecclesiae;¹ alii e contra affirmant, inter quos est etiam Suarez, consequenter ad suum principium generale circa rationem membri Ecclesiae;² alii distinguunt, affirmantes eos in foro interno et iudicio Dei esse membra Ecclesiae, in foro tamen externo et iudicio Ecclesiae praesumi haereticos.³
Some deny they are members of the Church;¹ others, however, affirm they are, and Suarez is also among them, as a result of his general principle regarding the nature of a member of the Church;² others distinguish, affirming them to be members of the Church in the internal forum and by the judgment of God, but in the external forum and by the judgement of the Church they are presumed heretics.³

Nos ut probabiliorem primam sententiam tenemus.
We hold the first opinion as more probable.
  1. Cf. Aem. Dobsch, De Eccl. Chr., p. 495; Card. Billot, De Eccl. Chr., thes. XI, p. 292.
  2. Cf. De Fide, d. IX, s. 1, 13.
  3. Cf. Card. Franzelin, De Eccl. Chr., Thes. XXIII, II, 10.

Patres cum loquuntur de haereticis, generatim de formalibus et pertinacibus loqui intendunt; aliquando autem aliquis eorum videtur excusare eos qui bona fide extra Ecclesiam sunt. Ita S. Augustinus de istis loquens habet:¹
Quote:
Qui sententiam suam, quamvis falsam atque perversam, nulla pertinaci animositate defendunt, praesertim quam non audacia praesumptionis suae pepererunt, sed a seductis atque in errorem lapsis parentibus acceperunt, quaerunt autem cauta sollicitudine veritatem, corrigi parati cum invenerint, nequaquam sunt inter haereticos deputandi. Tales ergo vos nisi esse crederem, nullas fortasse vobis litteras mitterem.
When the Fathers speak of heretics, generally they intend to speak of formal and pertinacious heretics; sometimes, however, some of them are seen to excuse those who bona fide are outside the Church. St. Augustine has spoken of them thus:¹
Quote:
Those who maintain their own opinion, however false and perverted, without obstinate ill will, especially those who have not originated their own error by bold presumption, but have received it from parents who had been led astray and had lapsed, those who seek truth with careful industry, ready to be corrected when they have found it, are not to be rated among heretics. Therefore, if I did not believe you to be such, I would probably not send you any letters.

Istis verbis Sanctus Doctor intendit magnam distinctionem ponere inter haereticos formales et haereticos materiales: cum illis non licet communicare; cum istis, seductis et minime pertinacibus, caritatis causa licet. Unde illa expressio potius ad defensionem sui agendi modi tendit, et revera paulo post ipse scribit:²
Quote:
Haec praelocutus sum ne quis me existimet impudentius vobis quam prudentius scripta misisse et hoc modo vobiscum de negotio animae vestrae aliquid agere voluisse, quia nostrae communionis non estis.
Aliis verbis S. Augustinus distinguit inter haereticos qui «pertinaci animositate» errorem defendunt, et alios qui «sine animositate» in errore sunt: posteriores inter veros haereticos, id est, inter formales haereticos computandi non sunt, quamvis et isti non sint «nostrae communionis».
By these words the Holy Doctor intends to put a great distinction between formal and material heretics: it is not licit to communicate with the former; with the latter, being seduced and the least pertinacious, it is licit to be charitable. Hence that expression tends more for the defense of his conduct, and, in truth, a little after he writes:²
Quote:
I have made this introductory explanation to prevent anyone from thinking that I had written to you too freely or without due prudence, wishing to deal with you about the business of your soul, even though you are not of our communion.
In other words, St. Augustine distinguishes between heretics who defend error "pertinaciously with animosity," and the others who are in error "without animosity:" the latter are not among true heretics, i.e., they are not reputed among formal heretics, although they are not "of our communion."

Sed et Patres multoties docent etiam haereticos materiales versari extra Ecclesiam. Dicunt enim expressis ver-
But also the Fathers often teach that even material heretics are turned outside the Church. For they explicitly say
  1. Ad Glorium, epist. 43, 1; ML 33, 160. [translation: Augustine, and Wilfrid Parsons. Letters Volume 1. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2008. http://site.ebrary.com/id/10382777. p. 151.]
  2. ibid., n. 2. [translation: ibid. p. 183-4.]

bis omnes haereticos, etiam illos qui seducti ab haeresiarchis in eorum congregatiunculas ingressi sint, non pertinere ad corpus Christi mysticum, nullam distinctionem ponentes inter eos qui voluntarie et eos qui bona fide eorum errorum participes sint.
that all heretics, even those seduced by heresiarchs who entered into their bad congregations, do not pertain to the mystical body of Christ, putting no distinction between them who voluntarily and them who bona fide participate in their errors.

Ita S. Ireneus narrat Sanctum Polycarpum convertisse «in Ecclesiam Dei multos ex his quos praediximus haereticos»;¹ qui «haeretici» erant illi qui bona fide in errorem inducti fuerant: nam in praefatione de istis haereticis Ireneus dicit eos «inexpertiores» et «subdole» ab haeresiarchis in errorem ductos fuisse;² et deinceps affirmat opus suum perfecisse «ne forte et cum nostro delicto abripiantur quidam quasi oves a lupis».³ Quapropter si Polycarpus multos ex iis «convertit in Ecclesiam Dei», hoc significat eosdem antea in Ecclesia non fuisse.
St. Ireneus thus tells us that Saint Polycarp converted "into the Church of God many whom we previously called heretics;"¹ "heretics" were those who bona fide were induced into error: for in the preface on these heretics Ireneus says they were "inexperienced" and "cunningly" conducted into error by the heresiarchs;² and thereafter he maintains that his work is done "lest and with our displeasure some are snatched like sheep by wolves."³ Therefore, if Polycarp «converts into the Church of God» many from the heresiarchs, this means that they were previously not in the Church.




Praxis Ecclesiae conformis est huic sententiae. Cum haeretici accedere volunt ad Ecclesiam, omnes eodem modo recipiuntur, nullo discrimine facto inter haereticos formales et haereticos materiales.
The practice of the Church conforms to this opinion. When heretics want to enter the Church, all are received in the same way, no distinction being made between formal and material heretics.

Ita Cornelius Papa, anno 251, recepit in communionem Ecclesiae Maximum, Urbanum, Sidonium aliosque qui hanc professionem fidei fecerunt:⁴
Quote:
…nos errorem nostrum confitemur…; imposturam passi sumus; circumventi sumus perfidia et loquacitate captiosa; nam tametsi videbamur quasi quandam communicationem cum schismatico et haeretico homine habuisse, cor tamen no-
Thus Pope Cornelius, in the year 251, received Maximus, Urban, and Sidonius into the communion of the Church, plus others who have mad this profession of faith:⁴
Quote:
…we confess our error…; we have suffered imposture; we have been deceived by treachery and captious loquacity; for although we seemed to have held, as it were, a certain communication
with a schismatical and heretical man, nevertheless our heart

  1. Contra Haeres., III, c. 3, n. 4; MG 7, 582. 853.
  2. Ibid., I, 1; MG 7, 438.
  3. ibid., I, n. 2; MG 7, 442.
  4. Cf. ML 3, 721; Denzinger-Bannwart 44.

Quote:
strum semper in Ecclesia fuit…
Ut apparet ex ipsa formula, hi omnes erant haeretici materiales, et tamen eis necesse fait haec professio fidei ut in Ecclesiam a Summo Pontifice reciperentur.
Quote:
has always been in the Church…
As is apparent from the formula itself, they all were material heretics, and yet it is necessary for them to make a profession of faith so that they may be received into the Church by the Supreme Pontiff.

Non valet obiectio quam ponunt aliqui dicentes: pueri baptizati in secta haeretica certe membra Ecclesiae sunt, ergo adulti qui bona fide sunt non amittunt hanc qualitatem veri membri, nisi forte per peccatum mortale.²
The objection does not hold of those who say: "Children baptized in a heretical sect are certainly members of the Church, thus adults who bona fide do not lose this quality of true members except, perhaps, by mortal sin."¹

Filii acatholicorum utique sunt membra Ecclesiae quia per baptismum inserti sunt in corpus Christi mysticum et membra manent donec obicem contra unitatem Ecclesiae non ponant. Nec necesse es infantes communicent vitae sociali Ecclesiae; etenim nec filii catholicorum realiter communicant, quia incapaces sunt.
Children of non-Catholics are certainly members of the Church because they are grafted into the mystical body of Christ by baptism, and they remain members while they do not place an obstacle against the unity of the Church. Nor is it necessary that infants participate in the social life of the Church; for neither do children of Catholics really communicate, because they are incapable.

Adulti vero debent communicare huic vitae sociali Ecclesiae, praesertim per professionem eiusdem fidei a magisterio ecclesiastico propositae; secus non haberetur
Adults, however, must participate in this social life of the Church, especially by professing the same faith proposed by the ecclesiastical magisterium; otherwise, he would not have
  1. Cf. Ios. Guibert, De Eccl. Christi (1928) n. 187.

unio intellectuum in eundem finem et sic unitas Ecclesiae periret.
unity of the intellect in the same end, and so the unity of the Church would perish.

Unde in casu proposito, haereticus adultus, etsi inculpabiliter, revera ponit obicem contra unitatem fidei, et proinde extra Ecclesiam est.
Hence, in such a case, an adult heretic, although inculpably, truly places an obstacle against the unity of the faith, and therefore he is outside the Church.

Neque valet quod a quibusdam asseritur: haeretici materiales in foro externo ab Ecclesia praesumuntur et habentur ut haeretici, sed in foro interno et coram Deo manent membra Ecclesiae.¹ Bene notat Ludovicus De San:²
Quote:
Hoc dici non potest…; cum enim in iudicio Dei, quod est infallibile, haeretici et schismatici materiales non possint actu esse nisi id quod vere sunt, si ipsi in iudicio Dei essent membra Ecclesiae, sequeretur eos esse vera Ecclesiae membra, quod falsissimum patet esse…
Nor does what some assert hold: "In the external forum, material heretics are presumed and held as heretics by the Church, but in the internal forum before God they remain members of the Church.¹ Ludovicus De San notes well:
Quote:
This cannot be said…; for in the judgement of God, which is infallible, material heretics and schismatics cannot in actuality be but what they truly are; if they in the judgement of God be members of the Church, it follows they are true members of the Church, which appears to be most false…

Non negamus etiam haereticum materialem gratiam, quam in baptismo recepit, servare posse, et etiam amissam reparare actu contritionis perfectae, et sic ad salutem pervenire. Haec est alia quaestio: ad salutem—ut diximus—aliquis pervenire potest etiam voto pertinendi ad veram Ecclesiam, quod adest in haeretico materiali. Affirmamus vero talem haereticum non habere condiciones veri membri et proinde etiam inculpabiliter non pertinere actu ad Ecclesiam Christi.
We also do not deny a material heretic grace, which he receives in baptism, can keep, and even repair what is lost by an act of perfect contrition, and so to attain salvation. This is another question: someone can attain salvation—as we said—even by the desire of belonging to the true Church, who is in material heresy. We in fact affirm that such a heretic does not have the conditions of a true member and therefore also inculpably does not belong in actuality to the Church of Christ.
  1. Cf. Card. Franzelin, De Eccl. Chr., Thes. XXIII, II, 10.
  2. De Eccl. et Romano Pontif., n. 359.

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Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:21 am
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New post Re: Material Heretics Might Not Be Members of the Church
Material heretics are definitely not members of the Church. Suarez is confusing on this, as your author points out, because his concept of "membership" differs from the classical one defended and explained by Bellarmine. In a word, Suarez and those who follow him confuse the internal and external bonds of unity in the Church. Membership is exclusively concerned with the external bonds, the visible bonds of faith and charity. Cardinal Franzelin was the last real authority to defend the Suarezian approach, and indeed I think Franzelin was really resurrecting something which had nearly disappeared from theology by that time.

The discussion above is excellent and shows why the doctrine of Bellarmine triumphed. It is traditional, logical, and leads to no real problems. In order to understand it, however, one must ensure that the term "material heretics" is understood. This author is using it in the sense that Billot and all of the best theologians use it.

Quote:
Heretics are divided into formal and material. Formal heretics are those to whom the authority of the Church is sufficiently known; while material heretics are those who, being in invincible ignorance of the Church herself, in good faith choose some other guiding rule. So the heresy of material heretics is not imputable as sin and indeed it is not necessarily incompatible with that supernatural faith which is the beginning and root of all justification. For they may explicitly believe the principal articles, and believe the others, though not explicitly, yet implicitly, through their disposition of mind and good will to adhere to whatever is sufficiently proposed to them as having been revealed by God. In fact they can still belong to the body of the Church by desire and fulfil the other conditions necessary for salvation. Nonetheless, as to their actual incorporation in the visible Church of Christ, which is our present subject, our thesis makes no distinction between formal and material heretics, understanding everything in accordance with the notion of material heresy just given, which indeed is the only true and genuine one. For, if you understand by the expression material heretic one who, while professing subjection to the Church's Magisterium in matters of faith, nevertheless still denies something defined by the Church because he did not know it was defined, or, by the same token, holds an opinion opposed to Catholic doctrine because he falsely thinks that the Church teaches it, it would be quite absurd to place material heretics outside the body of the true Church; but on this understanding the legitimate use of the expression would be entirely perverted. For a material sin is said to exist only when what belongs to the nature of the sin takes place materially, but without advertence or deliberate will. But the nature of heresy consists in withdrawal from the rule of the ecclesiastical Magisterium and this does not take place in the case mentioned [of someone who is resolved to believe all that the Church teaches but makes a mistake as to what her teaching consists in], since this is a simple error of fact concerning what the rule dictates. And therefore there is no scope for heresy, even materially.

(Cardinal Louis Billot S.J., De Ecclesia Christi, 4th edition, pp.289-290. Translated by John S. Daly.)


Bergoglio is not a material heretic. He is either a Catholic who is mistaken about what the Church teaches, ernestly desiring to hold fast to whatever it is that she teaches, or he is a formal heretic. This is a judgement that is made purely upon data in the external forum. In Bergoglio's case, it is data which is notorious, not merely public or external. The question is, does this man - externally at least - submit to the magisterium of the Church? The obvious answer, No! He displays no real submission to the Church's doctrinal authority. He does not reject Modernism as he must in order to be a Catholic. He does this manifestly, openly, without possibility of defence. If he is taught by the Church then he keeps it a secret. That is, there isn't any serious evidence in the external forum that he submits to the magisterium. He's not a believer, he's a heretic.

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Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:07 am
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New post Re: Material Heretics Might Not Be Members of the Church
John Lane wrote:
Suarez is confusing on this, as your author points out, because his concept of "membership" differs from the classical one defended and explained by Bellarmine. In a word, Suarez and those who follow him confuse the internal and external bonds of unity in the Church. Membership is exclusively concerned with the external bonds.
Do these quotes illustrate the differences between St. Robert's and Suarez's views?:
St. Robert, De Ecclesia Milit., III, c 4 (Fraghi p. 66) wrote:
Praeterea character non proprie unit hominem cum capite, sed est signum potestatis et unionis cuiusdam, et ideo in inferno illo signo cognoscentur qui fuerunt membra Christi. Quod autem non uniat patet: nam non unit exterius cum sit res invisibilis: nec interius cum non sit actus nec habitus operativus. Divus Thomas primam unionem internam ponit in fide.

Moreover, the [baptismal] character does not itself unit a man with the head, but it is a sign of a certain power and union, and so in hell by that sign they who were members of Christ may be known. But what may not unite is clear: for it [the baptismal character] does not unite externally since it is an invisible thing: nor internally since it is not an action or operative habit. Saint Thomas places the first union [to the Body of Christ] in faith.
(This also seems to be a good quote against the Feeneyites, who seem to think the baptismal character is necessary for salvation.)
Suarez, De Fide, disp. 9, Sect. 1, n. 5. (Fraghi p. 60) wrote:
Omnes qui fidem habent, Ecclesiae membra sunt, omnes vero qui illa carent, extra Ecclesiam constituuntur.

All who have the faith are members of the Church, but those who lack [the faith] are placed outside the Church.
Also, does it matter St. Robert says "members of Christ" and Suarez says "members of the Church"?

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e-Book: bit.ly/1iDkMAw

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blog: sententiaedeo.blogspot. com
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Sat Aug 02, 2014 1:58 am
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New post Re: Material Heretics Might Not Be Members of the Church
Alan Aversa wrote:
Do these quotes illustrate the differences between St. Robert's and Suarez's views?


Yes, Alan. The problem with the Suarez position is that he is coming at the problem from the wrong principles. The true approach is to start with the visible unity of the Church and define the members as the "parts" of the Church - the cells of which it is composed. Once we do this, all that follows is inferred from the Church's visible unity, so that material heretics (i.e. those who belong to sects but have not sinned in doing so) are not Catholics, whereas those without true faith but who have not yet externalised it remain members of the Church.

The logical dependence of the question of membership upon the visible unity of the Church is pointed out here, in your text: "Adults, however, must participate in this social life of the Church, especially by professing the same faith proposed by the ecclesiastical magisterium; otherwise, he would not have unity of the intellect in the same end, and so the unity of the Church would perish."

There's no difference between "members of Christ" and "members of the Church" although Suarez's use of the more "mystical" term might be an illustration of his weakness in this area - it's a social and juridical question, not really related to the question of supernatural faith as such, or the state of grace, or salvation.

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Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:18 pm
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