Material heresy

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In Catholic theology, the term material heresy refers to an opinion objectively contradictory to the teachings of the Church, which as such is heretical, but which is uttered by a person without the subjective knowledge of its being so. A person who holds a material heresy may therefore not be a "heretic" in the strict sense. Material heresy is distinguished from "formal heresy", i.e. a heretic opinion proposed deliberately by a person who is aware of its being against the doctrine of the Church.


  • Oderberg, David S. (2011). "Heresies". In Kurian, George T (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. 1. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 1119.