Friday, May 14, 2010

On Heresy

XGH posted something regarding which Jews are considered 'heretics'. One of the things that I started to wonder as I read his post is whether you can still call people heretics if 90 percent of Jews are non-Orthodox. In some ways it's like the saying 'if everyone around you is crazy, and you're sane, perhaps it's the other way around'.

Interestingly, I stumbled upon this excerpt from the current Pope, formerly Cardinal Ratzinger, which in some ways addresses the same issue (emphasis mine!):

“Cardinal” Joseph Ratzinger, The Meaning of Christian Brotherhood, pp. 87-88: “The difficulty in the way of giving an answer is a profound one. Ultimately it is due to the fact that there is no appropriate category in Catholic thought for the phenomenon of Protestantism today (one could say the same of the relationship to the separated churches of the East). It is obvious that the old category of ‘heresy’ is no longer of any value. Heresy, for Scripture and the early Church, includes the idea of a personal decision against the unity of the Church, and heresy’s characteristic is pertinacia, the obstinacy of him who persists in his own private way. This, however, cannot be regarded as an appropriate description of the spiritual situation of the Protestant Christian. In the course of a now centuries-old history, Protestantism has made an important contribution to the realization of Christian faith, fulfilling a positive function in the development of the Christian message and, above all, often giving rise to a sincere and profound faith in the individual non-Catholic Christian, whose separation from the Catholic affirmation has nothing to do with the pertinacia characteristic of heresy. Perhaps we may here invert a saying of St. Augustine’s: that an old schism becomes a heresy. The very passage of time alters the character of a division, so that an old division is something essentially different from a new one. Something that was once rightly condemned as heresy cannot later simply become true, but it can gradually develop its own positive ecclesial nature, with which the individual is presented as his church and in which he lives as a believer, not as a heretic. This organization of one group, however, ultimately has an effect on the whole. The conclusion is inescapable, then: Protestantism today is something different from heresy in the traditional sense, a phenomenon whose true theological place has not yet been determined.”


Blogger Ibrahimblogs said...

The post is detailed and thorough. It was a good read.
Keep blogging!!

This is Ibrahim from Israeli Uncensored News

May 16, 2010 9:55 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

I'm not sure your comparison is apt; the article compares Catholics to Protestants, both of which are believing communities who simply disagree about doctrine. The comparison between religious and non-religious Jews is not the same, since the non-religious don't neccessarily claim to be believers, nor do they try to justify their lack of faith as something with positive ecclesiastical effects. Were you referring perhaps to Conservative or Reform Jews? That comparison might be more apt....

May 26, 2010 1:53 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

>Were you referring perhaps to Conservative or Reform Jews?


May 26, 2010 6:22 AM  

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