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Supposed Heresies of the Contemporary Church


The original form of the following list was brought to my attention by an Anglican friend, who found it disturbing. It originates on a WebSite belonging to a fairly "way-out" putatively traditionalist (sedivacantist) sect. I have renumbered its "101 heresies" in themes.

In trawling through them I found that quite a number of the "quotes" are distortions and that others seem to be nothing more than inventions. I have not checked more than a small minority, after finding so much distortion I didn't think it worth pursuing the matter more rigorously. The reader is warned. Moreover some of the sources (e.g. [LOR], the L'Observatore Romano Newspaper!) are of little authority. Other sources are recognizibly partizan and antagonistic to the Contemporary Church - like me! The "heresies" were all supposed to be those of John Paul II. In fact many of them are (mis)quotes from documents of the Second Vatican Council.

A bibliography is appended. I have found a number of errors in it and have corrected them. I doubt that it is even now accurate. I have refrained from editing down the list of "heresies" so as to avoid the accusation that I wanted to evade answering some of the points. I am sorry that this unavoidably makes this text tedious. Somewhere along the way, I have lost a few "heresies". This is partly intentional, partly an accident.

Just because a Pope or Council positively teaches something, even solemnly, does not mean that it is orthodox or helpful. There are countless examples to the contrary. Many statements have to be taken in their historical context in order for their intended import to be understood. Others are simply inaccurate or premature attempts to articulate imperfectly understood doctrine. Negative, anathematised, teaching is a different matter: this is presumably definitive and its content "de Fide".

The main value in this exercise has been to allow me to express my own views by implication and in contrast. My comments are in bold face. On those occasions where I largely agree with the compiler of the original list, my comments are in bold red. It has also made me more aware of the extreme danger involved in taking short phrases and "proof texts" out of context. Lastly, it has confirmed me in my view that Sacred Tradition is a dynamic process, not a static monolith.

Those readers who like this sort of thing may care to peruse my brief treatment of Pius IXth's landmark encyclical Quanta Cura.

Ecclesiology and Ecumenism

  1. The Catholic Church Lacks Unity.  [UUS : 7-10]
  2. The Catholic Church has sinned against unity. [UUS : 34, 05/25/1995]
  3. Christian unity is possible if we say the Catholic Church failed. [UUS : 34, 05/25/1995]
  4. Christ's Body is not only the Catholic Church. [LOR, 07/08/1980]
  5. Christian unity subsists in the Catholic Church. [CCC : 820, 10/11/1992]
  6. The Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church. [CCC : 816, 10/11/1992]
  7. The Catholic Church is present in all its elements in 'heretical sects'. [CN, 05/28/1992]
  8. The Catholic Church and the eastern schismatic churches are one in faith. [UUS : 59, 62]
  9. John Paul II did not profess the filioque with eastern schismatics. [UUS : 24, 12/06/1987]
  10. Heretical sects have an apostolic mission.  [LOR, 06/10/1980]
  11. The Holy Spirit uses sects as means of salvation. [CT : 32, 10/16/1979]
  12. Salvation is not only for those who are explicitly in the Church. [Rmi : 10, 12/07/1990]
  13. The sphere of salvation includes those not in the Church. [CH : 140, 1994]
  14. Outside the Church there is remission of sins. [LOR, 11/20/1989]
  15. Outside the Church there is no salvation is not Catholic exclusively. [CH : 141, 1994]
  16. 'Heretical sects' can have the life of the Church. [CT : 32, 10/16/1979]
  17. Sanctification and truth can be found in 'heretical sects'. [CCC : 819, 10/11/1992]
  18. The Catholic Church is joined to 'heretics'. [CCC : 838, 10/11/1992]
  19. 'Heretics' are Christians.  [LOR, 12/23/1982]
  20. 'Heretics' have the Apostolic Faith. [US : 62, 05/25/1995]
  21. 'Heretics' are our brothers in Christ. [LOR, 09/16/1980]
  22. God's Church is build up when heretics receive the Eucharist. [UUS : 12, 05/25/1995]
  23. The faith of 'heretics' praises and thanks God. [UUS : 74, 05/25/1995]
  24. A communion of faith exists between 'heretics' and Catholics. [UUS : 75, 05/25/1995]
  25. 'Heretics' honour Holy Scripture with a true religious zeal. [UUS : 12, 05/25/1995]
  26. The Holy Spirit gives "sanctifying power" to heretics. [UUS : 12, 05/25/1995]
  27. Today's 'heretics' are not to be blamed for their heresy. [CCC : 817, 10/11/1992]
  28. 'Heretics' are not our enemies, but our brothers. [UUS : 42, 05/25/1995]
  29. The Catholic Church rejoices when heretics preach. [CH : 141, 1994]
  30. 'Heretics' can be Christian martyrs outside the Church. [UUS : 84, 05/25/1995]
  31. Catholics must rejoice when 'heretics' shed their blood. [UUS : 47, 05/25/1995]
  32. God inspires heretics to shed their blood for Him. [UUS : 12, 05/25/1995]
  33. 'Heretics' legally can receive the sacraments from us. [UUS : 46, 05/25/1995]
  34. We must pray with 'heretics' for unity.  [UUS : 21, 05/25/1995]
  35. Catholics can legally receive the Sacraments from heretics. [UUS : 46, 05/25/1995]
  36. Love is when we join in prayer with 'heretics'. [UUS : 21, 05/25/1995]
  37. Worship in common with heretics is good. [UR : 8, 1965]
  38. John Paul II prayed with Anglicans in 1982. [UUS : 24, 05/25/1995]
  39. In 1991, John Paul II prayed with Lutherans for "unity." [UUS : 25 05/25/1995]
  40. John Paul II gave a blessing to Lutherans in 1991. [UUS : 73, 05/25/1995]
  41. "Dialogue" is required to bring unity to the Church. [CCC : 821, 10/11/1992]
  42. Dialogue meetings can bring Christian unity. [UUS : 31, 32, 05/25/1995]
  43. Luther had a profound religious spirit. [PM : 105]
  44. God loves heretics, pagans, etc.  [PA : 48, 1978]
  45. One can be saved outside the Church by a moral life. [VS : 3, 08/06/1993]
  46. Infidels can be saved for : "May Ghandi live forever!" [SME : 9]
  47. Infants can be saved without baptism.  [EV : 99, 3/25/1995]
  48. There is hope for infants who die without baptism. [CCC : 1261, 10/11/1992]
  49. Unbaptized catechumens are members of the Church. [LG : 14, 11/21/1964]
  50. All men are saved. [LOR, 05/06/1980]

Inter-Faith Dialogue

  1. John Paul II prayed with Jews: "our dearest brothers." [LOR, 04/13/1986]
  2. Jews are our elder brothers in the faith.  [CH : 99, 1994]
  3. The Old Law is alive and working to God's call. [CCC : 839, 10/11/1992]
  4. Jews worship the One True God. [PM : 135, 04/13/1986]
  5. Jews and Christians have "a common heritage." [PM : 135, 04/13/1986]
  6. The Catholic Church has a bond with false religions. [CCC : 842, 10/11/1992]
  7. 'False religions' seek the One True God Who saves. [CCC : 843, 10/11/1992]
  8. Goodness and truth are found in 'false religions'. [CCC : 842, 10/11/1992]
  9. The Church rejects nothing holy and true in 'false religions'. [CH : 80, 1994]
  10. The Holy Spirit works effectively a common root in all religions. [CH : 81, 1994]
  11. Animist religions prepare many to be Christians. [CH : 82, 1994]
  12. At Assisi, 150 religions "prayed with one voice to the Lord." [UUS : 76, 05/25/1995]
  13. John Paul II prayed with sorcerers, calling out the "spirits." [LOR, 08/11/1985]
  14. John Paul II prayed with animists and was amazed at it. [LC, 08/23/1985]
  15. Praying with false religions can bring peace. [CH : 81, 1994]
  16. Muslims worship the One True God.  [CH : 141, 1994]
  17. The plan of salvation includes the Muslims. [CCC : 841, 10/11/1992]
  18. The Catholic Church respects the Islamic spiritual tradition. [PP : 2443, 08/19/1985]
  19. The religious experience of Islam deserves respect. [CH : 93, 1994]
  20. In Hinduism men take refuge in God with love and trust. [CH : 80, 1994]
  21. Buddhism is a religion of salvation. [CH : 84-85, 1994]
  22. Buddhists by higher help reach liberty and supreme illumination. [CH : 80, 1994]
  23. Buddhism is a great religion. [PM : 147, 06/17/1984]
  24. Masons are sons of God the Father. [LOR, 05/22/1984]

Human Dignity, Freedom of Conscience and Religion

  1. Liberty of conscience is a right of man.  [LOR, 09/01/1980]
  2. All men have the right of religious liberty. [CCC : 2106, 10/11/1992]
  3. The State cannot forbid non-Catholic religions. [FCR : 2-4, 09/01/1980]
  4. Anti-Christs have the human right of religious liberty. [FCR : 2, 09/01/1980]
  5. All men have a human dignity of equal rights. [PP : 478, 09/01/1980]
  6. All men are brothers with a human dignity. [PP : 826, 09/05/1983]
  7. Man's dignity is: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. [ALL, 04/1980]


  1. Each man is united with Christ.  [RH : 13.3, 1979]
  2. All men belong to the Catholic Church. [CCC : 836, 10/11/1992]
  3. Every human being is the way of the Church. [DM : 3, 11/13/1993]
  4. With God, man creates his personal salvation. [CH : 195, 1994]
  5. All deceased men "are standing before" God as saints. [LOR, 11/01/1993]
  6. The New World Order is holy unity.  [PA : 39, 1987]
  7. All nations form but one community. [CCC : 842, 10/11/1992]
  8. The UN is the supreme forum of peace and justice. [PP : 112, 10/02/1979]


  1. Ecumenical Councils do not need to defend the truth. [CH : 162, 1994]
  2. Dogmas and doctrines grow and evolve. [EDA, 1987]
  3. The understanding of dogmas grow by man's experience. [CCC : 94, 10/11/1992]
  4. Christ's miracles do not prove His messianic dignity. [LOR, 11/11/1983]
  5. Modernism renews and unites the Church of Christ. [CH : 76, 1994]
  6. Evolution is more than just an hypothesis. [LOR, 10/23/1996]
  7. All inter-religious marriages are good. [FC, 11/22/1981]
  8. Vernacular languages should be used for Mass. [SC : 36, 12/04/1963]
  9. The rite of Mass should be simplified. [SC : 34, 50, 1965]
  10. It is unevangelical to condemn heretics. [UUS : 15, 05/25/1995]

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Source: Name, Author, Publisher, Date, etc.
AAS Acta Apostolicae Sedis. Commentarium officiale, Rome, 1909 (Tomus I) ff.
ACA Ad Catholicos Angliae, Pope Paul IV
ALL Allocution (a private audience with the Roman Curia)
C. Canon number cited from 1917 Code of Lanon Law of Pope Benedict XV
CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church, issued by John Paul II 1992, Liguori Publications
CCT Catechism of the Council of Trent, Pope St. Pius V, TAN Books, Rockford, IL
CH Crossing the Threshold of Hope, by John Paul II, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1994
CN Communionis Noito, Letter to Bishops on "Communion," May 28, 1992
CT Catechesi Tradendae, Exhortation of John Paul II, Oct. 16, 1979, Pauline Books
D. Enchiridion Symbolorum, "The Sources of Catholic Dogma," 
edited by Fr. Henry Densinger, B. Herder Book Co., Imprimatur, 1955
DJP De Jejun. Pent., sermon 129, II:3, of Pope St. Leo the Great
DM Dives in misericordia, Encyclical of John Paul II, Nov. 30, 1993, Pauline Books
EIC Epistle to the Corinthians of Pope St. Clement I
EDA Ecclesia Dei Afflicta, motu proprio of John Paul II, Jly 2, 1988, Pauline Books
ENL Exima Nos Laetitia, Decree of Pope Leo XIII
EP5 Exposition on Psalm V Poenit., tom. 3 of Pope St. Gregory the Great
ETC Epistle to the Cledonius, of Pope St. Gregory the Great
ETN Epistle to the Count of Nevers, 1208 AD, of Pope Innocent III
EV Evangelium Vitae, Encyclical of John Paul II, March 25, 1995, Pauline Books
GOH Gate of Heaven, Sister Catherine Clarke, MICM, Boston: Ravengate Press, 1952
FC Familiaris Consortio, Encyclical of John Paul II, Nov. 22, 1981, Pauline Books
FCR The Freedom of Conscience and Religion, letter of John Paul II
to those heads of state who signed the Helsinki Final Act., 
Sept. 1, 1980, Pauline Books
LC La Croix, a French Periodical
LFH Letter to the French Hierarchy of Pope St. Pius X in 1910, C.M.R.I. Center
LG Lumen Gentium: A Vatican II Council Decree, Nov. 21, 1964
LOR L'Osservatore Romano, Vatican City, Italy, English edition
MA Mortalium Animos, Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI on Fostering True Religious Unity, 
Jan. 6, 1928, AAS 20 (1928), 5ff. Angelus Press
MC Mystici Corporis, Encyclical of Pius XII, June 29, 1943, AAS 35 (1943), 202ff.
P Pascendi, the Encyclical of Pope St. Pius X, Sept. 8, 1907, AAS 40 (1907), 593ff.
PA The Pope Comes to America, Publications International, Ltd. Stokie, IL, 1987
PM Peter Lovest Thou Me?  Abbe Daniel Le Roux, Angelus Press
PP Path to Peace: A Contribution.  Liturgical Publications Inc., Brookfield, WI, 1987
QA Quod Aliquantulum, of Pope Pius VI
RCH Readings in Church History, Fr. Barry, Westminster, MD, Newman Press, 1965
RH Redemptor Hominis, Encyclical of John Paul II, March 4, 1979, Pauline Books
Rmi Redemptoris Missio, Encyclical of John Paul II, Dec. 7, 1990, Pauline Books
SC Sacrosanctum Concilium, Vatican II Council Decree, Dec. 4, 1963
SCG Satis Cognitum, Encyclical of Leo XIII, June 29, 1896, AAS 28 (1896/96), 711 ff.
SCN Sacrorum Conciliorium, Archbishop John Mansi, Thomas Florentiae: 1759
SJS Summo Jugiter Studio, Encyclical of Pope Gregory XVI, May 27, 1832
SQSQ Singulari Quidem and Singulari Quandem, Encyclical of Pope Pius IX
SME Syllabus of Modern Errors: Papal Series, 1996, Michael Malone. 
Sacred Heart Press, 1419 Springcrest, Mesquite, TX 75149
UR Unitatis Redintegratio, Vatican II Council Decree, Nov 21, 1964
UUS Ut Unum Sint, Encyclical of John Paul II, May 25, 1995, Pauline Books
VS Veritatis Splendor, Encyclical of John Paul II, Aug. 1993, Pauline Books

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