Suscipe Domine Traditional Catholic Forum

The Shrine => The Bookstore => Topic started by: SouthpawLink on February 05, 2013, 05:11:38 PM

Title: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: SouthpawLink on February 05, 2013, 05:11:38 PM
Fr. Francis X. Lawlor, S.J., argues that, based on Mystici Corporis Christi, and opposed to the then-more common opinion, occult heretics are not members of the visible Church.

Note: Weston College, no date given (pp. 541-554).

http://www.ts.mu.edu/readers/content/pdf/10/10.4/10.4.3.pdf
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: INPEFESS on February 05, 2013, 05:57:17 PM
Welcome to the forum!

I was wondering when you were going to join . . .

Thanks for the resource, too! This looks fascinating!
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: INPEFESS on February 05, 2013, 05:59:03 PM
By the way, if you haven't already, take a look at this (http://www.suscipedomine.com/forum/index.php?topic=672.0) thread.

One can get lost in all the material!
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: SouthpawLink on February 06, 2013, 06:49:51 PM
Thank you, INP!  TraditionalistThomist told me about this forum, and that you were here as well!

Other documents which touch upon this question (one more directly than the other) are:

http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/fenton/The%20Status%20of%20St%20Robert%20Bellarmine's%20Teaching%20about%20Membership%20of%20Occult%20Heretics%20in%20the%20Church.pdf

http://www.alcazar.net/StRobertBellarmine_EENS.html
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: INPEFESS on February 07, 2013, 10:47:19 AM
Thank you, INP!  TraditionalistThomist told me about this forum, and that you were here as well!

Other documents which touch upon this question (one more directly than the other) are:

http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/fenton/The%20Status%20of%20St%20Robert%20Bellarmine's%20Teaching%20about%20Membership%20of%20Occult%20Heretics%20in%20the%20Church.pdf

http://www.alcazar.net/StRobertBellarmine_EENS.html

Ah, so he's the one who told on me! ;)
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: Non Nobis on February 09, 2013, 02:50:02 AM
Cool!  A thread with both INPEFESS and SouthpawLink - I'm watching!

P.S.  I was formerly known as Doce Me (and I still am, in FE)
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: SouthpawLink on February 09, 2013, 03:35:39 PM
Cool!  A thread with both INPEFESS and SouthpawLink - I'm watching!

P.S.  I was formerly known as Doce Me (and I still am, in FE)

;D  It's great that you've joined the thread as well, Doce Me!  I greatly enjoy your participation in the Philosophy/Theology section over at Fish Eaters. :D

Since the membership of occult heretics in the Church appears by all accounts open for debate, shall we have one?

I'm somewhat inclined to hold the stricter opinion, viz. occult heretics are not members of the Church.  If they commit formal heresy, even without joining a false sect (and thus breaking unity of government along with unity of faith), they would incur automatic (by the very fact) excommunication, no?  Fr. Lawlor makes a convincing argument that the jurisdical and pneumatic aspects of the Church cannot be completely separated (based upon Pius XII, and even earlier, Leo XIII).

"The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. . . .  In this wise, all cause for doubting being removed, can it be lawful for anyone to reject any one of those truths without by the very fact falling into heresy? without separating himself from the Church? - without repudiating in one sweeping act the whole of Christian teaching?" (Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, 9.2, 9.5).

What do the both of you think concerning this disputed teaching?
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: Non Nobis on February 09, 2013, 05:23:43 PM
If occult heretics are not Catholics, how could we know that anyone is Catholic?  For example, how could we be certain that
Pope Pius XII was a member of the Church?  Doesn't God grant us this certainty, based on manifest behaviour?
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: Bonaventure on February 09, 2013, 05:25:31 PM
Good question, non nobis.

I would think that based on St. Robert's ecclesiology, heresy is a crime that one can externally discern.
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: SouthpawLink on February 09, 2013, 05:44:07 PM
The case of Pope Pius XII is, in my estimation, a matter of dogmatic fact.  There's nothing to suggest that he defected from the Faith.

A question I have is this:  Does a man remain Catholic so long as he attends Mass every Sunday and recites the Creed, even though, from Monday to Saturday, nothing but heresy leaves his lips?  Must we wait for the bishop to send him a letter informing him that he's been excommunicated?  In other words, must his excommunication be declared?

"[A] heretic or a schismatic incurs automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication" (1983 CIC, Can. 1364).

"This canon is saying that once a person willingly repudiates Christ, embraces a heresy, knowing it to be contrary to divine and Catholic faith, or refuses submission to the Roman Pontiff (or communion with the members of the Church subject to him), by virtue of the law itself they are automatically excommunicated.  No ecclesiastical act is necessary and no public notice" (Fr. Donovan, EWTN).

http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/heresy_schism_apostasy.htm (Sorry for the EWTN citation... :D )

So, am I to understand that occult heretics must only hold their error(s) materially, but not formally?  Formal heresy automatically makes one a public (and this not occult) heretic?
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: Bonaventure on February 09, 2013, 05:45:58 PM
If the heretic is speaking heresy but still going to a Mass, isn't that heresy public?

Occult is more of privately doubting, no?
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: SouthpawLink on February 09, 2013, 05:51:53 PM
Here's why I ask consider this passage from Tanquerey's A Manual of Dogmatic Theology:

"Are occult heretics also excluded, who by an internal act only are separated from the Catholic faith, or who by external acts manifest their heresy, but not by a public profession?  The more common opinion holds that occult heretics are always in the Church's bosom because they preserve an external union with the body social through a profession of faith and through obedience to their legitimate Pastors" (vol. I, sec. 271, p. 160.).

You can also find this passage here: http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/index.php?topic=3433073.55;wap2
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: SouthpawLink on February 09, 2013, 06:05:08 PM
Now consider Fr. Hardon's definition of occult:

"That which is hidden from most people but known to certain initiates.  Also applied in ecclesiastical law to those facts or human acts that are not publicly known but only in private or in the forum of conscience.  Such would be hidden impediments to marriage or sacred orders. Canon law makes special provisions for such cases.  (Etym. Latin occultus, hidden, concealed, secret; from occulere, to cover over, conceal.)" (Modern Catholic Dictionary).

http://www.therealpresence.org/cgi-bin/getdefinition.pl
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: Non Nobis on February 09, 2013, 07:13:04 PM
The case of Pope Pius XII is, in my estimation, a matter of dogmatic fact.  There's nothing to suggest that he defected from the Faith.

A question I have is this:  Does a man remain Catholic so long as he attends Mass every Sunday and recites the Creed, even though, from Monday to Saturday, nothing but heresy leaves his lips?  Must we wait for the bishop to send him a letter informing him that he's been excommunicated?  In other words, must his excommunication be declared?

Maybe I'm not understanding what manifest heresy is, as opposed to occult heresy.  If nothing but heresy leaves someone's lips, I would have called that manifest heresy (which wouldn't require a letter from a bishop to identify), that could harm others and needs to be detectable by them.  But if some one only internally believes heretical teaching, he would lose his faith internally, but would retain an external connection to the Church (and would still be a member, at least that is the argument).

If there WERE something to show that Pope Pius XII defected from the Faith, then he would have been a manifest heretic.  In a thread on FE INPEFESS said, about identifying a man as Pope, that "If one of these conditions is absent (say, the inviolable public profession of the Catholic Faith, whether by word, deed, or omission), then it is not a dogmatic fact".  This same rule seems to apply to Pope Pius XII, except that he meets the conditions, which are detectable by us. 

The first time I ever heard of an "occult heretic" I did think he would no longer be a member of the Church.  But the various arguments online, based on certain theologians such as St. Robert Bellarmine and Msgr Fenton, have made me less sure of myself.  You and INPEFESS are better scholars than I am so  I am interested in hearing what you have to say.
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: SouthpawLink on February 09, 2013, 10:07:49 PM
Non Nobis,
I think I myself became confused when it seemed that Tanquerey was stating that occult heretics' heresy could be externally manifest (and they'd still be members).  Perhaps I've misread the passage.

As far as internally manifest heretics are concerned, Fr. Lawlor seems to claim that the pneumatic aspect (internal) of the Church cannot be divided from the juridical aspect (external); a loss of the internal implies or necessitates a loss of the external.  The other side (St. Bellarmine, Msgr. Fenton) seems to claim that the external bond can be kept but barely, or at least not perfectly (I think...) even if the internal bond has essentially been broken, because this is necessary to uphold the Church's visibility (reasoning that we cannot externally detect internal virtue).  I will pick this up again tomorrow (I'd like to read the articles again and take notes).

Good night and God bless!
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: INPEFESS on February 10, 2013, 08:40:30 PM
I'm somewhat inclined to hold the stricter opinion, viz. occult heretics are not members of the Church.  If they commit formal heresy, even without joining a false sect (and thus breaking unity of government along with unity of faith), they would incur automatic (by the very fact) excommunication, no?  Fr. Lawlor makes a convincing argument that the jurisdical and pneumatic aspects of the Church cannot be completely separated (based upon Pius XII, and even earlier, Leo XIII).

"The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. . . .  In this wise, all cause for doubting being removed, can it be lawful for anyone to reject any one of those truths without by the very fact falling into heresy? without separating himself from the Church? - without repudiating in one sweeping act the whole of Christian teaching?" (Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, 9.2, 9.5).

What do the both of you think concerning this disputed teaching?

I am in no way a theologian, but, if it means anything, I am of the same opinion.

The Church's divine mark of unity is such that it can not admit of a single exception: we can not admit on the one hand that the spotless Bride of Christ is truly "one" in Faith and, on the other, admit the possibility that one may pertinaciously doubt or deny any article of Faith (even if privately) and remain united to this Church without sullying her claim of inviolability.

While I acknowledge that, in the absence of certain knowledge to the contrary, an occult heretic may be legally treated as a Catholic in the external forum, I do not see how it can be admitted that such an occult heretic (at least as it pertains to a formal heretic) is truly united to the Church without violating the Church's divine mark of unity.

It seems to me that it would make more sense to claim that an external Catholic could be, in reality, not internally part of the Church than to claim that an internal non-Catholic could be internally part of the Church.
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: Patriarch on February 10, 2013, 09:14:59 PM
Glad to have to great posters here (i.e. INPEFESS and Southpawlink)!  :toth:
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: INPEFESS on February 11, 2013, 07:24:58 AM

Glad to have to great posters here (i.e. INPEFESS and Southpawlink)!  :toth:

Why, thank you, sir!

 :toth:
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: Non Nobis on February 11, 2013, 06:53:03 PM
I'm somewhat inclined to hold the stricter opinion, viz. occult heretics are not members of the Church.  If they commit formal heresy, even without joining a false sect (and thus breaking unity of government along with unity of faith), they would incur automatic (by the very fact) excommunication, no?  Fr. Lawlor makes a convincing argument that the jurisdical and pneumatic aspects of the Church cannot be completely separated (based upon Pius XII, and even earlier, Leo XIII).

"The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. . . .  In this wise, all cause for doubting being removed, can it be lawful for anyone to reject any one of those truths without by the very fact falling into heresy? without separating himself from the Church? - without repudiating in one sweeping act the whole of Christian teaching?" (Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, 9.2, 9.5).

What do the both of you think concerning this disputed teaching?

I am in no way a theologian, but, if it means anything, I am of the same opinion.

The Church's divine mark of unity is such that it can not admit of a single exception: we can not admit on the one hand that the spotless Bride of Christ is truly "one" in Faith and, on the other, admit the possibility that one may pertinaciously doubt or deny any article of Faith (even if privately) and remain united to this Church without sullying her claim of inviolability.

While I acknowledge that, in the absence of certain knowledge to the contrary, an occult heretic may be legally treated as a Catholic in the external forum, I do not see how it can be admitted that such an occult heretic (at least as it pertains to a formal heretic) is truly united to the Church without violating the Church's divine mark of unity.

It seems to me that it would make more sense to claim that an external Catholic could be, in reality, not internally part of the Church than to claim that an internal non-Catholic could be internally part of the Church.

I understand and have always been inclined to agree with this.  But I am still puzzled as to how the papacy of Pope Pius XII could be a dogmatic fact when it is possible (however remotely) that he was an occult heretic and thereby (by the theory being defended) not a Catholic.  It doesn't matter what external facts (or missing facts) there are, since occult heresy can go with all the external facts pointing in the opposite direction.

You say "in the absence of certain knowledge to the contrary, an occult heretic may be legally treated as a Catholic in the external forum"  What does this mean for a Pope?  Does it mean a man, although he must be treated in every external way as a Pope, and must be assumed to be Pope (there are no contrary external facts), may in fact not be a Catholic?  And how many Popes in the past may really have been non-Catholic occult heretics?

On the theory that an occult heretic is still a Catholic by external ties, any Pope without external facts showing heresy is  assuredly a Catholic and true Pope and his subjects can safely know this as a dogmatic fact. 

I am not addressing your reasoning, just presenting a difficulty.

Pray for the Church
Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: ExiteDeIlla on July 01, 2018, 02:17:25 PM
I'm somewhat inclined to hold the stricter opinion, viz. occult heretics are not members of the Church.  If they commit formal heresy, even without joining a false sect (and thus breaking unity of government along with unity of faith), they would incur automatic (by the very fact) excommunication, no?  Fr. Lawlor makes a convincing argument that the jurisdical and pneumatic aspects of the Church cannot be completely separated (based upon Pius XII, and even earlier, Leo XIII).

"The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. . . .  In this wise, all cause for doubting being removed, can it be lawful for anyone to reject any one of those truths without by the very fact falling into heresy? without separating himself from the Church? - without repudiating in one sweeping act the whole of Christian teaching?" (Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, 9.2, 9.5).

What do the both of you think concerning this disputed teaching?

I am in no way a theologian, but, if it means anything, I am of the same opinion.

The Church's divine mark of unity is such that it can not admit of a single exception: we can not admit on the one hand that the spotless Bride of Christ is truly "one" in Faith and, on the other, admit the possibility that one may pertinaciously doubt or deny any article of Faith (even if privately) and remain united to this Church without sullying her claim of inviolability.

While I acknowledge that, in the absence of certain knowledge to the contrary, an occult heretic may be legally treated as a Catholic in the external forum, I do not see how it can be admitted that such an occult heretic (at least as it pertains to a formal heretic) is truly united to the Church without violating the Church's divine mark of unity.

It seems to me that it would make more sense to claim that an external Catholic could be, in reality, not internally part of the Church than to claim that an internal non-Catholic could be internally part of the Church.

Inpefess,

I haven't posted to the forum in awhile, and have only stopped by to read sporadically. But in researching this question in light of our current, ah, difficulties regarding the papacy, this link came up. Glad it did.

This issue has implications for the idea that a true pope could not teach error in his teaching office when teaching to the whole church. Obviously, a "true pope," to be a legitimate, true pope, must have certain traits, the one germane here is possession of the Catholic faith.

Suppose an occult heretic bent on destroying the Church - and by "destroying" I do not mean extinguishing or completely wiping out, but by making the Church into something other, substantially changing it so that it is no longer the same substance or entity that it was, the prior substance or entity gone (essentially or substantially destroyed), while the new entity retained the name and the externals, the appearance, of the prior entity (Bishop Sanborn has a good series of sermons on Vatican II addressing this) - were elected pope, and then went about doing (or trying to do) what he intended, i.e. destroying the Church. He would do so by introducing heresies that substantially changed its belief, its worship and its rule. How could one "destroy" the church (i.e., substantially change it) except by heresy?

If one were not a true pope, i.e. did not possess the Catholic faith and lacked that spiritual union with Christ to go with the bodily, exterior and juridical and apparent union (through baptism and apparent sharing of the same faith and sacraments and subjection to the pope), how could the charism and protection from teaching error to the whole church be bestowed by the Holy Ghost when the necessary foundational, internal and spiritual union (faith) with Christ was lacking?

Thus, we would have the situation of an apparently duly elected pontiff teaching error to the whole church without the problem of a contradiction with the promised protection (indefectibility) of Christ via the Holy Ghost.

The perpetuity issue of the successors to Peter is a separate issue that is not my concern here.

It is an allowable opinion - held by Suarez, Franzelin, Journet, Billuart and others - that a formal occult heretic is outside the Church and not a member of Her.

Thus, if Roncalli and Montini, for example, were formal occult heretics prior to elevation, they would have ceased to be members of the Church when elevated, and we could prescind from the difficult question of whether their heresy was public, manifest or notorious prior to election as not necessary. 

I think a good case could be made that Roncalli and Montini were occult heretics bent on destroying the Church (in the sense of destroying used above), and this would explain the subsequent public and manifest and notorious heresies regarding religious liberty, ecumenism, the New Mass, etc. without creating a problem regarding the promises of Christ that a true man with the Catholic faith elevated to the papacy would be protected in his teaching office and prevented from doing so.

I think this important to because it addresses the problem of indefectibility considered in conjunction with the never-failing faith of a truly elected pope (is not the pope and his office the source of indefectibilty of the Church) without having to deal with the difficult issue of whether the "heresies" of Montini for example were public, manifest or notorious prior to election.

Obviously, I hope to hear your (and anyone's) thoughts.



Title: Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
Post by: Jayne on July 01, 2018, 02:48:22 PM
INPEFESS was last active on this forum in April, so this is not a good place to post comments for a response from him.

ExiteDeIlla has, however, posted a copy of the same message to another forum that INPEFESS reads regularly, so it should all work out.

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Q-8Uf1eHMK0/TL5UK-CA2HI/AAAAAAAAAT4/sFpMfWuJZkQ/s1600/Humor_I_Love_Happy_Endings_Brown_Shirt.jpg)