Important Definitions Related to Dissent

There are many important definitions that are related to the topic of dissent. The full definitions, as obtained courtesy of the Catholic Encyclopedia, are linked within the individual definitions. The summary of these definitions are:

  1. Dissent - An act of will to deny, refute or knowingly disobey the teachings of the Church. A person who dissents is called a dissenter. Dissent is the general term applied for refusing to accept (e.g. assent to) God's revealed religion with the person's will. Dissent has several forms and can result in loss of Faith as shown below.
  2. Heresy - Practically speaking, this is false teaching against the dogma and doctrine of the Church. A person who obstinately follows false teaching is called a heretic. Canon Law #751 says "Heresy is the obstinate denial or doubt, after baptism, of a truth which must be believed by divine and catholic faith." One notable heretic was Martin Luther, the founder of the Protestantism. As St. Thomas Aquinas writes, "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." A more commonly used term today in this regard might be "cafeteria Catholic."
  3. Schism - Refusal to obey the rightful authority of Divinely constituted hierarchy of the Church. A person who knowingly and obstinately disobeys the hierarchy is called a schismatic. Canon Law #751 says "Schism is the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him."
  4. Apostasy - Abandoning of the Catholic Faith. One who abandons their Catholic Faith is called an apostate. Canon Law #751 says "Apostasy is the total repudiation of the christian faith."
  5. Anathema - A condemnation. Although not in popular use today, the Church would condemn via Canons specific false beliefs as promoted by heretics. Vatican II departed from the traditional method of Canons by using a prose style for its documents. One example from the fifth session of the Council of Trent is "5. If anyone denies that by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted, or says that the whole of that which belongs to the essence of sin is not taken away, but says that it is only canceled or not imputed, let him be anathema."
  6. Modernism - Essentially, modernism is a belief system whereby truth is relative rather than absolute; where truth "evolves" over time and needs to be "best understood" relative to the current "modern age" in which one lives. Simply put, "newer is better." This is a general term which can be understood under many other practical, more focused names, such as "moral relativism" or "situation ethics." A person who follows modernism beliefs is called a modernist. Pope St. Pius X aptly called Modernism the "synthesis of all heresies." See the definitive Church proclamation regarding Modernism in the Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis (On the Doctrine of the Modernists), written by Pope St. Pius X.
  7. Liberalism - Liberalism is a common form of Modernism today. Its most fundamental principle asserts an absolute and unrestrained freedom of thought, religion, conscience, creed, speech, press, and politics. The necessary consequences of this are, on the one hand, the abolition of the Divine right and of every kind of authority derived from God; the relegation of religion from the public life into the private domain of one's individual conscience; the absolute ignoring of Christianity and the Church as public, legal, and social institutions; on the other hand, the putting into practice of the absolute autonomy of every man and citizen, along all lines of human activity, and the concentration of all public authority in one "sovereignty of the people". Liberalism is the root of heresy, the tree of evil in whose branches all the harpies of infidelity find ample shelter; it is today the evil of all evils and is therefore the radical and universal denial of all divine truth and Christian dogma, the primal type of all heresy, and the supreme rebellion against the authority of God and His Church. As with Lucifer, its maxim is, 'I will not serve. whereby it is the dogmatic affirmation of the absolute independence of the individual and of the social reason. Liberalism and Modernism are sinful, as well shown by Fr. Felix Sarda y Salvany, a priest of Barcelona, sometime ago.
  8. (Radical) Feminism - A female focused version of Liberalism which intends to create its own religion based on "feminist theology" which purports to free itself from an "oppressive patriarchy." When analyzed, one will clearly find a new age pagan influence in their "new morality and spirituality" featuring, in many cases, "sacred prayer circles," "feminine deities" and "God as Mother." These traits are common with Wicca, a form of witchcraft.
  9. Sedevacantism - Belief that the Catholic Church has had the Chair of Peter empty for many years, and claiming that the true Pope of today, John Paul II, is a false and heretical pope. One who believes this is called a sedevacantist. Sedevacantists are always schismatics since they refuse to assent to the Pope's teachings because of their belief of current Papal falsehood. Sedevacantists usually say that Pope Pius XII was the last true Pope, this being driven by their position that Vatican Council II was false. Therefore, they conclude that the Popes who started and finished the Vatican II Council, John XXIII and Paul VI respectively, were also false Popes (as was John Paul I who was Pope for only 33 days). Of course, sedevacantists also then claim - and try to prove - that the teachings of Vatican Council II were different than past Church teachings and are therefore heresy. Some of these sedevacantists even claim they have elected a new "Pope Pius XIII" on October 24, 1998. What the sedevacantists fail to understand is that the problems in the Church are not because of the Vatican II Council, but rather the modernists and liberalists who largely began infecting the Church with their heretical poison during and after the Council. Instead of fighting the true Church, they would be best back in the Church to fight the modernist dissenters.

These definitions are inter-related. Dissent begins with an act of will and is the root of heresy, schism and apostasy. Specific types of dissent include Modernism and Liberalism. Such dissent results ultimately in a person following false teaching (heresy) and subsequently refusing to obey the Pope (schism), both of which lead to loss of faith (apostasy). Before Vatican II, false beliefs would be addressed specifically by Canons which had anathema's applied, whereby anthems were written in a simple yes/no very explicit type of definition. Modernism and Liberalism, with their female focused branch of radical Feminism, happen to be the popular heresies which afflict the Catholic Church particularly today, although they have been common throughout the entire 20th century and date back even to the late 19th century. One could categorize this entire set of dissenting ideas the "liberal left" side of the Church.

Unfortunately, although the liberal left causes the majority of the problems in the Church today, there is the "ultra-traditionalist right" as well. This set of dissenting ideas is essentially covered in the sedevacantist belief, which is primarily only schismatic. Many sedevacantists cling strongly to the true devotions and know their Faith well, generally much better then the average Catholic and most definitely far and away better than your liberal left dissenter. Sadly, their efforts are not expended on helping the true Church to fight heresy and apostasy.

Very simply, there is only one set of Truths in the Catholic Church, that taught by the Pope and Magisterium. One can fall off the rails of the Churches teachings either to the right or to the left.

Why are these definitions important? Because various people claim that dissent is not only alright, but actually is required! The truth is that these dissenters are simply another form of either modernist, heretic, schismatic, or apostate, who are following the father of lies. As will be shown throughout this website, the Catholic Church, even in Vatican II, never promotes dissent, which is contrary to the claim of many dissenters today.

It is possible to be a heretic, schismatic, and apostate all at the same time. Typically one observes that the modernist or radical feminist matches all these definitions while the traditionalist is primarily only schismatic (this is only an observation, not a requirement or a given).

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