Seven Heresies For Seven Errors

As many are already aware, in December Rev. Roger Haight, S.J. was notified by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that his book Jesus: Symbol of God contained errors contrary to the faith. The notification contained seven propositions concerning which Fr. Haight’s book was judged to be in error. These errors, however, were not original with Haight, nor should the Vatican’s reaction be surprising. All are in contradiction with Ecumenical Councils and other infallible teachings of the Church. Below are found the systems to which these propositions belong, and the infallible teaching which refutes them. Citations are given by the Denzinger Enchiridion Symbolorum as edited by Rev. Karl Rahner, S.J. Full discussion of these matters, and quotes with complete citations to the individual documents can be found here.

  1. Theological Method: Modernism. Proposition condemned at I Vatican in 1870 (DR 1811, 1813)
  2. Pre-existence of the Word: Arianism. Proposition condemned at I Nicea in 325 (DR 54)
  3. Divinity of Jesus: Nestorianism. Proposition condemned at Ephesus in 431 (DR 111a, 114)
  4. The Holy Trinity: Sabellianism. Proposition condemned at I Constantinople in 381 (DR 85); explicitly condemned at Florence in 1442 (DR 705)
  5. The salvific death of Christ: Pelagianism (and others). Proposition condemned officially at the Synod of Orange in 529 (DR 194; not an ecumenical council, but usually considered infallible) and at IV Lateran in 1215 (DR 429)
  6. The unity and unicity of the saving mediation of Jesus Christ and His Church: Religious Pluralism. Proposition condemned at IV Lateran in 1215 (DR 430)
  7. The resurrection of Christ: Rationalism. Proposition condemned at I Nicea in 325 (DR 54)

Comments 5

  1. Funky Dung wrote:


    The spirit of this plan of reform may be summarized under the following heads:

    * A spirit of complete emancipation, tending to weaken ecclesiastical authority; the emancipation of science, which must traverse every field of investigation without fear of conflict with the Church; the emancipation of the State, which should never be hampered by religious authority; the emancipation of the private conscience whose inspirations must not be overridden by papal definitions or anathemas; the emancipation of the universal conscience, with which the Church should be ever in agreement; [i.e., the idea that Catholics should not be told what to do by the Church]

    * A spirit of movement and change, with an inclination to a sweeping form of evolution such as abhors anything fixed and stationary; [i.e. progress for progresses sake]

    * A spirit of reconciliation among all men through the feelings of the heart. Many and varied also are the modernist dreams of an understanding between the different Christian religions, nay, even between religion and a species of atheism, and all on a basis of agreement that must be superior to mere doctrinal differences. [i.e. universalism and the rejection of the unique salvific quality of Christ’s atonement]

    We make a selection of the following propositions from the Encyclical for discussion:

    * the Christ of faith is not the Christ of history. Faith portrays Christ according to the religious needs of the faithful; history represents Him as He really was, that is, in so far as His appearance on earth was a concrete phenomenon. In this way it is easy to understand how a believer may, without contradiction, attribute certain things to Christ, and at the same time deny them in the quality of historian. In the “Hibbert Journal” for Jan., 1909, the Rev. Mr. Robert wished to call the Christ of history “Jesus” and reserve “Christ” for the same person as idealized by faith;

    * Christ’s work in founding the Church and instituting the sacraments was mediate, not immediate. The main point is to find supports for the faith. Now, as religious experience succeeds so well in creating useful dogmas, why may it not do likewise in the matter of institutions suited to the age?

    * The sacraments act as eloquent formulae which touch the soul and carry it away. Precisely; for if dogmas exist only in so far as they preserve religious sentiment, what other service can one expect of the sacraments?

    * The Sacred Books are in every religion a collection of religious experiences of an extraordinary nature. For if there is no external revelation, the only substitute possible is the subjective religious experience of men of particular gifts, experiences such as are worthy of being preserved for the community.

    Posted 01 Mar 2005 at 3:43 am
  2. Funky Dung wrote:

    How the heck do democracy and industrialization affect Christology?

    Posted 01 Mar 2005 at 3:35 am
  3. Funky Dung wrote:

    I added links to each of the heresies, which point to articles in the Catholic Encyclopedia. A couple didn’t have articles of their own, so I picked articles that at least mention and described them.

    Posted 27 Feb 2005 at 9:01 pm
  4. John wrote:

    Modernism = belief in seperation of church and state, progress and tolerance?

    Such a dreadful heresy?

    And the teachings taught a thousand years ago do often lose relevance.
    If nothing else, the advent of democracy and industrialization bring up fundamental moral questions which did not exist a thousand years ago.

    Posted 01 Mar 2005 at 2:06 am
  5. John wrote:

    That list would be more useful if you explained what the heresies are a bit more.

    Posted 27 Feb 2005 at 2:20 am

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 1

  1. From Ales Rarus - A Rare Bird, A Strange Duck, One Funky Blog » Theological Triage on 22 May 2006 at 3:44 pm

    […] The recent Vatican censure of US Jesuit theologian Roger Haight for his attempt to reformulate doctrines about Christ for a postmodern world highlights a disturbing theme of John Paul II’s pontificate. Instead of the ban on teaching, however, a more imaginative response might have been to convene a summit on Christology. A lively debate over Haight’s work already existed, and many of the reactions in serious theological journals were negative. […]

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