PROOF THAT PERTINACITY IS REQUIRED
Master If I were to expound to you how they try to prove that element, you would perhaps better understand their replies to the above.
Student Expound it.
Master They try to prove in many ways that pertinacity is necessary both in someone who doubts and in someone who errs, if he is to be judged a heretic. Firstly, on the basis of the text of Augustine placed in 24, q. 3, c. Dixit apostolus [col.998]; he says, "Those who without any pertinacious vehemence defend their opinion, even if it is false and evil, especially if they have not conceived it with the boldness of their own presumption but have accepted it from their parents who have been led astray and fallen into error and if, moreover, they seek the truth with careful diligence, ready to be corrected when they find it, should not be counted among the heretics." We clearly gather from these words, they say, that someone can hold a false and evil opinion and not be counted among the heretics.
Student It seems to me clearly proved that not everyone who doubts or errs against the faith should be regarded as a heretic. But it has not been proved that every heretic doubts or errs against the faith pertinaciously. And therefore they can not prove the last element of the aforesaid definition by the above words of Augustine because every element of any description or definition suitably given should be predicated of the thing described taken universally. It is quite clear, however, that they do not prove from the words of blessed Augustine that every heretic doubts or errs against the faith pertinaciously. For according to blessed Augustine four things are required if someone holding a false and evil opinion is not to be regarded as a heretic: firstly, that he not defend his false and evil opinion with pertinacious ill will; secondly, that he has not discovered such an opinion from the boldness of his own presumption but has received it from his parents led astray and fallen into error; thirdly, that he seek the truth with careful diligence; fourthly, that he be ready to be corrected if he finds it. Anyone in whom any of those four is lacking, therefore, should be counted among the heretics. Therefore, even if someone is not pertinacious, nevertheless if he has discovered some false and evil opinion from the boldness of his own presumption or does not seek the truth with careful diligence or is not ready to be corrected when he finds it, he should, according to Augustine's opinion, be counted among the heretics.
Master That objection is easily replied to. To make it clear they say that it should be known that we find a difference between doubting and erring pertinaciously and defending an error pertinaciously, because there are many heretics who doubt or err pertinaciously, in that internally in their own mind they persist pertinaciously in their doubt or error, yet who do not defend their error or doubt pertinaciously or in any other way; indeed sometimes out of fear, ambition, greed or for some other reason they deny outwardly what they hold irrevocably in their mind. On the other hand many people defend or can defend outwardly and and with pertinacious ill will a false and evil opinion to which nevertheless they do not cling in their heart either pertinaciously or in any other way. For it is possible sometimes knowingly to defend a falsity, just as false and wicked advocates drawn by greed often knowingly defend false and unjust causes with the most pertinacious ill will. And so not everyone doubting or erring pertinaciously defends a false opinion with pertinacious ill will, nor vice versa.
Student I think that what you have now made clear is probable, and so would you apply it to the present case. Let us give up speaking about doubting, however, speaking only about erring, because perhaps they say that those things that are said about erring should also be understood about doubting because of the fact that those doubting the faith, like those erring against the faith, are counted among the heretics or are not excluded from the number of the heretics.
Master Just as you please, I will mention only someone who errs, and I will make clear how those describing heresy in the oft-mentioned way reply to your objection by means of the notable point just made which you seem to approve. And so they say that blessed Augustine enumerates four conditions that are required so that someone holding a false and evil opinion against catholic truth is not to be counted by the church as among the heretics, meaning that anyone who fails to meet one of the aforesaid conditions should be judged by the church as a heretic and also as pertinacious, although not all of them should be regarded as a "pertinacious defender" of heretical wickedness. The first is that someone erring in such a way does not defend his error with pertinacious ill will. For if he were to defend his error with pertinacious ill will, catholics, who judge from externals not from interior motions of the soul, ought to count him among the heretics at least with a violent presumption against which no proof to the contrary should be admitted. For granted that someone might knowingly and pertinaciously defend a heresy against his conscience and so in truth of fact might not be a heretic in the eyes of God, even if he were to commit the most mortal sin, yet he could not prove this and therefore the church would have to count him among the heretics.
Student I understand more and more the difference between a pertinacious heretic and someone defending a heresy with pertinacious ill will [see above]. Whence it seems that someone can even defend some heresy with pertinacious ill will although catholics should not regard him as a heretic, as for example if someone were forced by unbelievers through fear of death to defend with pertinacious ill will their errors against believers he should not be judged a heretic, just as blessed Marcellinus who committed a heretical act from fear of death was not judged a heretic.
Master They say that you do not understand well who should be regarded as defending an error with pertinacious ill will, because only he who defends an error willingly and voluntarily without fear of death defends it with pertinacious ill will. And therefore as long as he whom you cite as an example does not defend an error except from fear of death, he does not defend an error with pertinacious ill will.
[See Significant Variants, para. 11.] Student That does not seem to be well said. For he is said to be pertinacious who is, as it were, shamelessly tenacious and too persistent in his opinion. But he who defends an error from fear of death is shamelessly tenacious and too persistent in his opinion. For otherwise he would not sin mortally in defending an error against his conscience. Such a person is a pertinacious defender of error, therefore, although he should not be judged a heretic on account of such a pertinacious defence if believers are certain that he is defending the error only in order to avoid death.
Master You make a strong argument against them, and so perhaps they would say that such a person should be regarded as pertinacious. But it should nevertheless not be said that he was defending the error with pertinacious ill will because "ill will" seems to signify a free will not forced by fear. And so such a person would be a pertinacious defender of heresy, but yet he would not be a heretic nor, on account of the fear of death that has been introduced, would he also be defending a heresy with pertinacious ill will. In another way they would say that, like ill will, pertinacity too implies a free will unforced by any fear of death. And therefore such a person should not, also, be considered pertinacious.
Student Would you now tell me what they think about the second point that Augustine puts.
Master They say that according to Augustine those who discover a false opinion against the faith from the audacity of their own presumption should be judged as pertinacious and heretical, even if sometimes they do not defend such an opinion with pertinacious ill will. However, if they did not discover some heresy out of the audacity of their own presumption but out of simplicity or ignorance, and nothing else were to make their deed worse and they could not be convicted of anything else, they should not be judged pertinacious or heretical. It can not briefly be explained, however, how it can become known that someone has discovered or devised an error not out of the audacity of his presumption but out of simplicity or ignorance.
Student Later I will inquire into this carefully. Now, however, they seem to deviate from Augustine's intention. For in that clause Augustine joins two things together to exclude some errants from the number of the heretics, namely that they have not devised their false opinion out of the audacity of their own presumption and that they have received it from parents led astray and fallen into error. Therefore whoever has not received his evil opinion from parents led astray and fallen into error should be judged a heretic, just as whoever has devised an evil opinion from the audacity of his own presumption should be regarded as a heretic according to them. This conclusion is confirmed because anyone who does not receive his evil opinion from another discovers it out of the audacity of his own presumption, because he has it either from himself or from another. But according to them whoever discovered a heresy out of the audacity of his own presumption should be considered a heretic. Everyone erring against the faith, therefore, who has not received his error from someone else should be counted among the heretics. And so it seems that Augustine proposes five [conditions] to exclude some errants from the number of the heretics.
Master They say that Augustine joins those two things together not in the sense that the second of them, namely that they have received their evil opinion from parents led astray and fallen into error, is necessarily required for errants not to be considered among the number of the heretics; but he proposes that second point because he wants to convey by means of it one way of proving that some people did not devise their false opinion out of the audacity of their own presumption because, if they received their false opinion from their parents or from any one else at all, it is certain that they did not devise it out of the audacity of their own presumption. He also adds that second point because he wants to imply that those errants who have received their faith from their parents can excuse themselves in more ways than others can. And so Augustine does not propose five points there but four, through any one of which someone can be proved and convicted as a heretic; and [he proposes] that the four points opposed to them are required for anyone erring not to be counted among the heretics. When you say, however, that everyone who does not receive his evil opinion from someone else devises and discovers it out of the audacity of his own presumption, they reply that this does not contain the truth. For some people discover errors by themselves out of ignorance alone without the audacity of presumption; nevertheless because they are not pertinacious, they are not numbered among the heretics.
Student Explain how they make clear the third point that Augustine proposes.
Master According to them Augustine means that for someone erring against the faith not to be a heretic he is required to seek the truth with diligent care. It should not be understood [as meaning], however, that it is necessary for someone erring to seek the truth all the time with careful diligence; but if he wants to be excluded from the number of the heretics, it is necessary for him to seek the truth with careful diligence at that time when it is announced to him under appropriate circumstances by catholics that he is erring against catholic truth and when there is no legitimate hindrance because of which he can not and ought not at that time seek the truth. Otherwise a violent presumption would be held against him that he was adhering to his error not out of simplicity or ignorance but out of pertinacity.
Student Tell me about [Augustine's] fourth [point].
Master The fourth, which also suffices for an errant not to be added to the number of the heretics, is that he be ready to be corrected when he discovers the truth. For he who is not ready to be corrected when he discovers the truth should be considered pertinacious and, consequently, a heretic.
Student That fourth clause alone renders an errant pertinacious and heretical. Therefore the other preceding ones seem superfluous.
Master Although according to them that last clause, and not the others, renders an errant pertinacious, yet from those others we have a violent presumption that an errant is adhering pertinaciously to his error, because from them we have a presumption, the opposite of which can not be proved, that such an errant is not ready to be corrected and, consequently, should be held to be among the pertinacious and the heretical.