Outline of heresy in the Catholic Church

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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to heresies (as regarded by the Roman Catholic Church):

Heresy, in Catholicism, is defined as belief that conflicts with established Catholic dogma.

Early Christian heresies[edit]

  • Antinomianism – idea there is no obligation to obey the laws of ethics or morality as presented by religious authorities
  • Audianism – belief that God has human form (anthropomorphism) and that one ought to celebrate Jesus' death during the Jewish Passover (quartodecimanism).
  • Circumcellions – Circumcellions had come to regard martyrdom as the true Christian virtue.
  • Donatism – Donatists were rigorists, holding that the church must be a church of saints, not sinners, and that sacraments administered by traditores were invalid.
  • Ebionites – Jewish sect that insisted on the necessity of following Jewish religious law and rites, which they interpreted in light of Jesus' expounding of the Law. They regarded Jesus as the Messiah but not as divine.
  • Euchites or Messalians – belief that the essence (ousia) of the Trinity could be perceived by the carnal senses; that the Threefold God transformed himself into a single hypostasis (substance) in order to unite with the souls of the perfect; that God has taken different forms in order to reveal himself to the senses; only such sensible revelations of God confer perfection upon the Christian; and the state of perfection, freedom from the world and passion, is attained solely by prayer, not through the church or sacraments.
  • Luciferians – strongly anti-Arian sect in Sardinia
  • Marcionism – Early Christian dualist belief system. Marcion affirmed Jesus Christ as the savior sent by God and Paul as his chief apostle, but he rejected the Hebrew Bible and the Hebrew God. Marcionists believed that the wrathful Hebrew God was a separate and lower entity than the all-forgiving God of the New Testament.
  • Montanism – beliefs of Montanism contrasted with orthodox Christianity in the following ways: the belief that the prophecies of the Montanists superseded and fulfilled the doctrines proclaimed by the Apostles; the encouragement of ecstatic prophesying; the view that Christians who fell from grace could not be redeemed; a stronger emphasis on the avoidance of sin and church discipline, emphasizing chastity, including forbidding remarriage.
  • Pelagianism/Semipelagianism – belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without Divine aid.

Gnostic heresies[edit]

  • Manichaeism – major dualistic religion stating that good and evil are equally powerful, and that material things are evil.
  • Paulicianism – Gnostic and dualistic sect
  • Priscillianism – Gnostic and Manichaean sect
  • Naassenes – Gnostic sect from around 100 A.D.
  • Sethian – belief that the snake in the Garden of Eden was an agent of the true God and brought knowledge of truth to man via the fall of man
  • Ophites – belief that the serpent who tempted Adam and Eve was a hero, and that the God who forbade Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge is the enemy
  • Valentianism – Gnostic and dualistic sect

Christological heresies[edit]

  • Adoptionism – belief that Jesus was born merely human and that he became divine later in his life.
  • Apollinarism – belief that Jesus had a human body and lower soul (the seat of the emotions) but a divine mind. Apollinaris further taught that the souls of men were propagated by other souls, as well as their bodies.
  • Arianism – teachings adopted by the theologian Arius which state that Christ had been given every honor but divinity, which conflicts with the doctrine of the hypostatic union (Christ's nature was wholly divine and wholly human) which was held by the Church.
  • Docetism – belief that Jesus' physical body was an illusion, as was his crucifixion; that is, Jesus only seemed to have a physical body and to physically die, but in reality he was incorporeal, a pure spirit, and hence could not physically die
  • Macedonians (religious group) or pneumatomachians – belief that Holy Spirit was a creation of the Son, and a servant of the Father and the Son
  • Melchisedechians – considered Melchisedech an incarnation of the Logos (divine Word) and identified him with the Holy Ghost
  • Monarchianism – emphasized the indivisibility of God (the Father) at the expense of the other persons of the Trinity.
  • Monophysitism or Eutychianism – belief that Christ has only one nature (divine), as opposed to the Chalcedonian position which holds that Christ has two natures, one divine and one human or the Miaphysite position which holds that the divine and human natures of Christ were united as one divine human nature from the point of the Incarnation onwards.
  • Monothelitism – belief that Jesus Christ had two natures but only one will. This is contrary to the orthodox interpretation of Christology, which teaches that Jesus Christ has two wills (human and divine) corresponding to his two natures
  • Nestorianism – belief that Christ exists as two persons, the man Jesus and the divine Son of God, or Logos, rather than as two natures (True God and True Man) of one divine person.
  • Patripassianism – belief that the Father and Son are not two distinct persons, and thus God the Father suffered on the cross as Jesus.
  • Psilanthropism – belief that Jesus is "merely human": either that he never became divine, or that he never existed before his incarnation as a man.
  • Sabellianism – belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three aspects of one God, rather than three distinct persons in one God.

Medieval heresies[edit]

  • Bogomils – Gnostic dualistic sect that was both Adoptionist and Manichaean.
  • Catharism – Catharism had its roots in the Paulician movement in Armenia and the Bogomils of Bulgaria, with a strong dualist influence against the physical world, regarded as evil, thus denied that Jesus could become incarnate and still be the son of God.
  • Conciliarism – claims that the council (and laity) is always above the ordinary (and extraordinary) magisterium.
  • Free Spirit – mixed mystical beliefs with Christianity. Its practitioners believed that it was possible to reach perfection on earth through a life of austerity and spiritualism. They believed that they could communicate directly with God and did not need the Christian church for intercession.
  • Iconoclasm – idea that icons and images must be destroyed, as they have no place in the worship of God
  • Fraticelli (Spiritual Franciscans) – extreme proponents of the rule of Saint Francis of Assisi, especially with regard to poverty, and regarded the wealth of the Church as scandalous, and that of individual churchmen as invalidating their status.
  • Henricians – rejection of the doctrinal and disciplinary authority of the church; recognition of the Gospel freely interpreted as the sole rule of faith; refusal to recognize any form of worship or liturgy; and condemnation of the baptism of infants, the Eucharist, the sacrifice of the mass, the communion of saints, and prayers for the dead.
  • Waldensians (Waldenses or Vaudois) – spiritual movement of the later Middle Ages, headed by Peter Waldo

Renaissance[edit]

  • Hussites – program of the Hussites is contained in the four articles of Prague, which were agreed upon in July 1420. These are often summarized as: Freedom to preach the Word of God, celebration of the Lord's Supper in both kinds (bread and wine to priests and laity alike), no secular power for the clergy, punishment for the mortal sins.
  • Lollardy – practice of the followers of Wycliffe
  • Girolamo Savonarola – Savonarola called for simplicity in church interior and rigorous moral stances

Reformation[edit]

The Catholic Church believes that all of the following are heretical. Of course, other Christian faiths differ in their opinions.

  • Protestantism – Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged during the Protestant Reformation and summarize the Reformers' basic theological beliefs in opposition to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church of the day.
    • Solus Christus – belief in Christ alone.
    • Sola scriptura – belief in Scripture alone, where only teachings found in the Protestant bible are binding, rejecting the traditions of the Church
    • Sola fide – belief in Faith alone, rejecting the value of good works or prayers towards salvation.
    • Sola gratia – belief in Grace alone. Human initiative has no part in salvation.
    • Soli Deo gloria – Glory to God alone. Devotion to Mary and the Saints strongly discouraged.
  • Calvinism – belief that God chooses to save certain people, not because of any foreseen merit or good in themselves, but totally by his sovereign choice. Calvinism has been summed up in five points, known as TULIP.
    • Total depravity – idea that all humanity are totally depraved, and outside of God's intervention, incapable of doing good works
    • Unconditional election – God chooses those he wants to save regardless of merit by predestination.
    • Limited atonement – Jesus died only for the chosen elect.
    • Irresistible grace – God's saving grace cannot be resisted.
    • Perseverance – or "Eternal Security". Once saved, one cannot lose salvation. However, the only way to tell if someone has been saved is if they persevere.
  • Consubstantiation – during the sacrament, the fundamental "substance" of the body and blood of Christ are present alongside the substance of the bread and wine, which remain present.
  • Impanation – the assertion that "God is made bread" in the Eucharist. High medieval theory of the Real Presence of the body of Jesus Christ in the consecrated bread of the Eucharist that does not imply a change in the substance of either the bread or the body.
  • Memorialism – belief held by some Protestant denominations that the elements of bread and wine (or juice) in the Eucharist (more often referred to as The Lord's Supper by memorialists) are purely symbolic representations of the body and blood of Jesus, the feast being established only or primarily as a commemorative ceremony.

Modern[edit]

  • Reincarnationism – belief that certain people are or can be reincarnations of biblical figures, such as Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]