Author Topic: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church  (Read 6029 times)

Offline SouthpawLink

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Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
« 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
"Is there no exception to the rule forbidding the administration of the Sacraments to baptized non-Catholics who are in good faith? In the case of those who are in good health, the prohibition is absolute; no dispute on this point is possible in view of the repeated explicit declarations of the Holy Office" (Rev. S. Woywod, A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, vol. I, sec. 625, p. 322ff.).

Contrast the above with the 1983 CIC, Can. 844 3 & 4: "Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church. . . .  If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church." The phrase "properly disposed" does not save the canon from error, because the context shows that no conversion is expected on the part of non-Catholics ("manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments" is the sole requirement).
 

Offline INPEFESS

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Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
« Reply #1 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!
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>))))))> "Wherefore, brethren, labour the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time" (II Peter 1:10). <((((((<

 

Offline INPEFESS

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Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2013, 05:59:03 PM »
By the way, if you haven't already, take a look at this thread.

One can get lost in all the material!
I  n
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P atris,
E t
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>))))))> "Wherefore, brethren, labour the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time" (II Peter 1:10). <((((((<

 

Offline SouthpawLink

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Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
« Reply #3 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
"Is there no exception to the rule forbidding the administration of the Sacraments to baptized non-Catholics who are in good faith? In the case of those who are in good health, the prohibition is absolute; no dispute on this point is possible in view of the repeated explicit declarations of the Holy Office" (Rev. S. Woywod, A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, vol. I, sec. 625, p. 322ff.).

Contrast the above with the 1983 CIC, Can. 844 3 & 4: "Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church. . . .  If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church." The phrase "properly disposed" does not save the canon from error, because the context shows that no conversion is expected on the part of non-Catholics ("manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments" is the sole requirement).
 

Offline INPEFESS

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Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
« Reply #4 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! ;)
I  n
N omine
P atris,
E t
F ilii,
E t
S piritus
S ancti

>))))))> "Wherefore, brethren, labour the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time" (II Peter 1:10). <((((((<

 

Offline Non Nobis

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Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
« Reply #5 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)
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 

Offline SouthpawLink

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Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
« Reply #6 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?
"Is there no exception to the rule forbidding the administration of the Sacraments to baptized non-Catholics who are in good faith? In the case of those who are in good health, the prohibition is absolute; no dispute on this point is possible in view of the repeated explicit declarations of the Holy Office" (Rev. S. Woywod, A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, vol. I, sec. 625, p. 322ff.).

Contrast the above with the 1983 CIC, Can. 844 3 & 4: "Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church. . . .  If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church." The phrase "properly disposed" does not save the canon from error, because the context shows that no conversion is expected on the part of non-Catholics ("manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments" is the sole requirement).
 

Offline Non Nobis

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Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
« Reply #7 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?
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 

Offline Bonaventure

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Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
« Reply #8 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.
 

Offline SouthpawLink

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Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
« Reply #9 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?
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 05:46:33 PM by SouthpawLink »
"Is there no exception to the rule forbidding the administration of the Sacraments to baptized non-Catholics who are in good faith? In the case of those who are in good health, the prohibition is absolute; no dispute on this point is possible in view of the repeated explicit declarations of the Holy Office" (Rev. S. Woywod, A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, vol. I, sec. 625, p. 322ff.).

Contrast the above with the 1983 CIC, Can. 844 3 & 4: "Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church. . . .  If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church." The phrase "properly disposed" does not save the canon from error, because the context shows that no conversion is expected on the part of non-Catholics ("manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments" is the sole requirement).
 

Offline Bonaventure

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Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
« Reply #10 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?
 

Offline SouthpawLink

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Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
« Reply #11 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
"Is there no exception to the rule forbidding the administration of the Sacraments to baptized non-Catholics who are in good faith? In the case of those who are in good health, the prohibition is absolute; no dispute on this point is possible in view of the repeated explicit declarations of the Holy Office" (Rev. S. Woywod, A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, vol. I, sec. 625, p. 322ff.).

Contrast the above with the 1983 CIC, Can. 844 3 & 4: "Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church. . . .  If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church." The phrase "properly disposed" does not save the canon from error, because the context shows that no conversion is expected on the part of non-Catholics ("manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments" is the sole requirement).
 

Offline SouthpawLink

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Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
« Reply #12 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
"Is there no exception to the rule forbidding the administration of the Sacraments to baptized non-Catholics who are in good faith? In the case of those who are in good health, the prohibition is absolute; no dispute on this point is possible in view of the repeated explicit declarations of the Holy Office" (Rev. S. Woywod, A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, vol. I, sec. 625, p. 322ff.).

Contrast the above with the 1983 CIC, Can. 844 3 & 4: "Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church. . . .  If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church." The phrase "properly disposed" does not save the canon from error, because the context shows that no conversion is expected on the part of non-Catholics ("manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments" is the sole requirement).
 

Offline Non Nobis

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Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
« Reply #13 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.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 07:20:52 PM by Non Nobis »
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 

Offline SouthpawLink

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Re: Occult Heresy and Membership in the Church
« Reply #14 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!
"Is there no exception to the rule forbidding the administration of the Sacraments to baptized non-Catholics who are in good faith? In the case of those who are in good health, the prohibition is absolute; no dispute on this point is possible in view of the repeated explicit declarations of the Holy Office" (Rev. S. Woywod, A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, vol. I, sec. 625, p. 322ff.).

Contrast the above with the 1983 CIC, Can. 844 3 & 4: "Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church. . . .  If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church." The phrase "properly disposed" does not save the canon from error, because the context shows that no conversion is expected on the part of non-Catholics ("manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments" is the sole requirement).