Pope Francis asks for prayers for interreligious dialogue



Disciple Now more than ever I consider that to know who should be considered a Catholic one must know who should be counted among the heretics, and therefore I wish to examine some points concerning heretics. But lest I be deceived through equivocation, say first if the word heretic has one meaning or several.

Master Several meanings of this word heretic are assigned. In one way every excommunicate is called a heretic. Thus in 4, q. 1, c. 2 [col. 537], Pope Nicholas says: "'And we call heretics', they say, ' both those who have formerly been expelled by the Church, and also those who after this have been anathematized by us'". And in the same chapter the gloss comments: "Note that every excommunicate is called a heretic". And the gloss notes the same on 24, q. 1, para. Quia vero.

In a second way a pervertor of the sacraments is called a heretic. And thus a simoniac is called a heretic. Thus Gregory (as we read in 1, q. 1, c. Quisquis) says: "Anyone who is ordained through money is promoted to this, that he may become a heretic".

In a third way, whoever doubts or thinks that the Christian faith is false or an invention is called a heretic. And in this way all Jews, Saracens and pagans should be considered heretics. Hence the gloss says, 24, q. 3, para. Quia vero[col. 1427], "Sometimes anyone who does not hold the articles of faith is, in a broad sense, called a heretic". And according to this the Jew and the Gentile are heretics, and according to this not every heretic is excommunicate. In this way also those doubtful in faith are heretics, because they are unbelievers, as we read in Extra, De haeretics, c. 1. Thus also those who are at first Catholics and afterwards think that the Christian faith is false are heretics, and thus those who apostatize from the faith by mouth and mind are to be considered heretics. (But if anyone apostatized only by mouth, he would not be a heretic before God, though the Church would have to regard him as a heretic unless it were certain that he apostatized from fear of death.)

In a fourth way, every Christian, or one who thinks or thought himself to be a Christian, who errs pertinaciously against Catholic truth is said to be a heretic.

Disciple Why is it said "who thinks or thought himself" to have been a Christian?

Master It is said on account of those who are baptized outside the Church's form, who are not Christians but thought or think themselves Christians; and yet they are heretics otherwise than Jews or pagans are, and should be punished in another way.

Disciple Say if this word heretic has other meanings.

Master In a fifth way everyone who adheres pertinaciously to an error which smacks of heretical wickedness is called a heretic.