Today, the word
"heresy" is used so vaguely and diversely...sadly in an age that
demands precision in almost everything. The only thing that lacks precision
these days is definition of ideas.
And so, there seems to
be a lack of interest in "heresies" because it is an idea with no
clear explanation. And yet whole histories of nations, like Europe, cannot
be understood outside the concept of "heresy." The nations of
Europe are nations who in different degrees went heretical from the Church
Heresy may be
described as the removal of an essential structural support by the
introduction of something novel. This "something" might either be
something or nothing. What is heretical is the removal of an essential part.
Whether the void is filled up with something novel or left void is
All heresies in the
Catholic Church have been a removal of an essential doctrine of Christ,
usually those which go so contrary to man's fallen nature and those which
man cannot understand.
The denial of the
whole Catholic religion is not heresy and does not have the destructive
power of a heresy. It is of the nature of heresy that it attacks only a
small portion of the teachings of Christ but leaving the major part intact.
It is what is left intact that continues to give it appeal, "Heresies
survive by the truths they retain."
Heresy is like a
parasite that invades the Church and begins to live a new life of its own
within its host, virtually affecting the society it attacks. When saints
combat heresies it is because they perceive that the heresy, as it gains
ground, will produce a way of living and a social life that can mortally
wound the former way of life of the Church.
For example, the
Catholic Church has many doctrines, one of which is the immortality of the
soul. If a heretic denies the immortality of the soul, even if he accepts
the rest of the Catholic doctrine, his way of life will be totally
different from the Catholic way of life.
affect the individual, they also affect society. When the Scandinavians
rejected a doctrine of their Catholic Church, their way of life totally
changed. And so battles against heresies had been more decisive than
Following the above
reasoning, Communism would be considered as a heresy. Because it embraces
many of Christ's teachings, like community life, but rejects a small part
of Catholicism. Divorce is a heresy because it accepts many Catholic
doctrines but rejects the indissolubility of marriage.
Today, we live in a
regime of countless heresies with only this difference, that the heretical
spirit is so prevalent, it has become the general norm of behavior. While
the truth, which is rare, has become the abnormal behavior. For lack of a
better name, we can call this heresy..."Modernism."