Can We Judge that One Is Guilty of the Sin of Heresy?

I have amply demonstrated (see this page) that the public sin of manifest formal heresy per se separates the heretic from the Church.  This proposition must be believed with Divine and Catholic Faith.  Being separated from the Church, one is no longer a member.  Being no longer a member, he cannot hold any ecclesiastical office whatsoever, including the papacy.  To hold that one can still be pope despite being no longer a member of the Church is lunacy because that would mean that the office of the papacy can exist outside the Catholic Church.  To hold such a lunatic proposition is to oppose the divine constitution of the Catholic Church.

The next question becomes:  can we apply the doctrine that the public sin of manifest formal heresy per se separates the heretic from the Church to a concrete case as that would entail judging one to be guilty of the sin of heresy?  The answer is in affirmative.  The Baltimore Catechism of 1891 teaches us the following:

“Question:  What is rash judgement?
“Answer:  Rash judgment is believing a person guilty of sin without a sufficient cause.”

Fr. Dominic M. Prummer, O.P., in his Handbook of Moral Theology, No. 301, teaches us the following:

“Rash judgment is the firm assent of the mind (whether manifested externally or not) to the existence of sin in another without sufficient reason.”

Note that both the Baltimore Catechism and Fr. Prummer place a qualifier that makes one guilty of rash judgment, that is, without a sufficient cause or reason.  However, what if one does have a sufficient cause or reason?  Then he is not guilty of rash judgment.

Fr. Thomas Slater, S.J., in his A Manual of Moral Theology, Page 285, is more direct:

“It is no sin to think that another is wicked or has committed a sin if we know it to be a fact.”

Of course, we cannot know with absolute certitude that one is guilty of a sin before God.  However, we do not need absolute certitude.  Moral certitude suffices.  Fr. Aloysius Rother, S.J., in his Certitude:  A Study in Philosophy, Page17, defines moral certitude as such:

“…..assent to a proposition or statement on grounds which render its truth highly probable without excluding the possibility of the contrary.”

Fr. Rother later continues:

“This quasi-certitude is called ‘moral’ because actions performed with such mental assurance as it can give us, are justifiable before the tribunal of conscience.

“Certainty of this kind might not unsuitably be called ‘prudential’; since any measure taken in pursuance of it, must be regarded as prudent, that is to say, befitting a prudent man.”

Moral certitude is the standard that a canonical judge would use in rendering a decision in a marriage case (see here for reference).  It is similar to the secular legal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt”, which is used in some jurisdictions to determine whether an individual is guilty of a crime.  To make a judgment against that in which one has moral certitude is a sin.  If the matter is grave, then it is a mortal sin.

Now if I accept the doctrine that the public sin of manifest formal heresy per se separates the heretic from the Church and if I have moral certitude, based on sufficient evidence, that one has committed the public sin of manifest formal heresy , then I must, in good conscience, conclude that he is a public heretic and therefore separated from the Church.  If I deny this conclusion based on these conditions, then I am opposing my conscience and therefore committing a sin.  And in the case of a putative pope, I am committing an act of schism by adhering to a man as pope despite the fact that my conscience has concluded that he is not pope.

Judge wisely and act accordingly.

8 thoughts on “Can We Judge that One Is Guilty of the Sin of Heresy?”

  1. MATHEW CHAPTER 24

    3 And as he was sitting on Mount Olivet, the disciples came to him privately, saying: Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the consummation of the world?

    4 And Jesus answering, said to them: *Take heed that no man seduce you:

    5 For many will come in my name saying, I am Christ: and they will seduce many.

    6 And you shall hear of wars, and rumours of wars. See that ye be not troubled. For these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

    7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be pestilences, and famines, and earthquakes in places.

    8 Now all these are the beginnings of sorrows.

    9 *Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall put you to death: and you shall be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.

    10 And then shall many be scandalized, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

    11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall seduce many.

    12 And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold.

    13 But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.

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  2. Those waiting a legal judgement do not understand that ecclesiastical law is subordinate to natural and divine law. It is of natural law that popes must be Catholic. Are we to suppose natural law does not apply until someone with subordinate authority says so?

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    • It is of the Natural Law that we are obliged to use our reason. It is of the Divine Law that a pope must be Catholic. The legal judgment will come sooner and later, but we are foolish to wait for the legal judgment when the evidence makes it obvious.

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        • Since you are no speaking about religion in general, then I agree. Earlier you mentioned the pope, the head of the Church divinely established.

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  3. Saint Athanasius the Great reminds us-

    ”Even if CATHOLICS FAITHFUL to TRADITION are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the TRUE CHURCH of JESUS CHRIST.”

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  4. One more evil of continuing evils from anti pope, anti christ bergoglio’s ongoing desecration and ongoing attempts of destruction to the ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC, and APOSTOLIC CHURCH instituted by our LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST is his latest evil.

    HERETIC and APOSTATE bergoglio’s newly appointed Prefect of the “Doctrine of Faith”, Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández who published his book in 1995, Heal Me With Your Mouth. The Art of Kissing, which includes lascivious poetry and perverse writings…..

    The damage done by bergoglio is legion. ALL those who continue to promote the lie that bergoglio is now or has ever been the vicar of JESUS CHRIST on EARTH along with those leaders who have also seduced others are now accomplices as they aid and abet this evil counterfeit church. There remains no sophistry nor any excuses possible that can be used in order to deny the TRUTH that bergoglio neither is nor never has been the pope. NONE.

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