Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What Stage Are You At?

Pat Archbold posted The Seven Stages of Heresy at National Catholic Register.  Here is his list:
Stage 1.
Immoral practice is clearly condemned and anathematized.  The eternal salvation of souls is at stake.  Some people still do it, but they are understood to be sinners and sometimes socially ostracized.
Stage 2.
Immoral practice is still clearly condemned but nobody really talks about it.  More people do it, but not considered ideal.
Stage 3.
Immoral practice is formally condemned, but such condemnation is rarely taught.  Many more people do it, it is just the way life is sometimes.
Stage 4.
Immoral practice is still formally condemned, but most clergy look the other way and some even encourage it.  Most people do it, what is the big deal?
Stage 5.
Immoral practice is still formally condemned, but we must find a way to act pastorally toward all those who engage in practice.  Church is seen to be unnecessarily hurting those with its outdated intolerance.  To be more pastoral, we encourage more of the immoral practice because our growth has taught us that people’s feelings are more important than their souls.
Stage 6.
Immoral practice is still immoral, but those charged with the care of souls and safeguarding the truth say things like “that ship has sailed” or “not that important” or “not relevant” or “we are not obsessed with such matters” or “we need to encounter people where they are” or ultimately “the sensus fidelium has spoken.”  Those who don’t do it are considered obsessed wild-eyed intolerant freaks who are ultimately harming the Church’s outreach.
Stage 7.
Immoral practice is still immoral and Church still formally condemns it, but the ubiquitous immoral practice has spawned worse ones, so we now have bigger fish to fry.  Congratulations!  You have a full-blown heresy!!
This is rather accurate.  So ask yourselves: where is my local assembly on the list for such-and-such topic?  Do your spiritual leaders agree with that assessment?  Heresy is like cancer in growing more and more serious as people treat symptoms until the disease has grown to the point of needing drastic measures, if any at all.  Some groups are already dead.  They just have not stopped moving around yet.

My wish is that all were at Stage 1, but I know better.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

National Catholic Register?

Have they examined the heresy in the Roman Catholic Church?!?

Steve Bricker said...

The irony did not escape me as I was reading the piece.

Jon Gleason said...

Thank you for this, it really is quite astute.

Of course, there are two kinds of heresy, that driven by immorality and that driven by unbelief / doctrinal error. This is referring to the first kind.

Both are rampant in Catholicism.