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The heretical tenets may be ignorance of the true creed, erroneous judgment, imperfect apprehension and comprehension of dogmas : in none of these does the will play an appreciable part, wherefore one of the necessary conditions of sinfulness--free choice--is wanting and such heresy is merely objective , or material . The believer accepts the whole deposit as proposed by the Church ; the heretic accepts only such parts of it as commend themselves to his own approval. "The right Christian faith consists in giving one's voluntary assent to Christ in all that truly belongs to His teaching.
Christ, the Apostles, and the Fathers on heresy VII. Church legislation on heresy: ancient, medieval, present-day legislation IX. There are, therefore, two ways of deviating from Christianity : the one by refusing to believe in Christ Himself, which is the way of infidelity, common to Pagans and Jews ; the other by restricting belief to certain points of Christ's doctrine selected and fashioned at pleasure, which is the way of heretics.
But if the doctrine in question has not been expressly "defined" or is not clearly proposed as an article of faith in the ordinary, authorized teaching of the Church, an opinion opposed to it is styled sententia haeresi proxima , that is, an opinion approaching heresy. Their system, replete with so many errors, had its origin in the wedding of false philosophy with faith " (Encycl. In the last instance, they appeal to the sacred voice of their individual conscience which forbids them outwardly to profess what inwardly they honestly hold to be untrue. (b) Spread of Heresy The growth of heresy, like the growth of plants, depends on surrounding influences, even more than on its vital force.
Next, a doctrinal proposition, without directly contradicting a received dogma, may yet involve logical consequences at variance with revealed truth. Loisy, to whose case the Decree "Lamentabili" applies, tells his readers that he was brought to his present position "by his studies chiefly devoted to the history of the Bible , of Christian origins and of comparative religion ". Philosophies, religious ideals and aspirations, social and economic conditions, are brought into contact with revealed truth, and from the impact result both new affirmations and new negations of the traditional doctrine.
Pertinacity, that is, obstinate adhesion to a particular tenet is required to make heresy formal .
For as long as one remains willing to submit to the Church's decision he remains a Catholic Christian at heart and his wrong beliefs are only transient errors and fleeting opinions.