Thursday, October 19, 2006

What is Apostasy?

And how do you know when you have apostasized? A commenter challenged me that Rod Dreher didn't exactly apostasize and that led me to the question of what is apostasy exactly. In this article by Fr. Tom Euteneuer, president of Human Life International this definition is given:

The Catholic Catechism defines apostasy as “the total repudiation of the Christian faith” and with it heresy as “the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith” (n. 2089).

The whole article is really excellent and names Hollywood Elites and Conservative commentators who have rejected their Faith by their actions and their words and according to Fr. Euteneuer have satisfied the requirements to be called apostates. Further. Fr. says that his father always pointed out these so-called Catholics to him and explained why they were not Catholic. Excellent advice for any parent.

Finally, though it may seem harsh to say that someone has apostasized by converting to the Orthodox religion let me ask you- Is it Christian to permit abortion, birth control and divorce and remarriage? I think the acceptance of those horrors puts one firmly outside of the Christian faith.

Thanks to Jeff for asking the question.


Somerset '76 said...

No, I disagree. The heretic rejects or changes one or more doctrines of genuine Christian faith but yet still professes loyalty to the Person of Jesus Christ as Lord and Redeemer and still professes the necessity of submission to Him for eternal salvation, as doubtlessly Mr. Dreher still does.

(As an aside, the reason the Orthodox are called "schismatic" when in fact they have accepted heresies lies in the fact that none of their deviances destroy the validity of the Sacrament of Holy Orders: they still have the Apostolic Succession and thus the episcopate and priesthood.)

An apostate, on the other hand, is someone who, like Tom Cruise and similar ilk, goes beyond heresy and directly disavows Christ as Lord and Savior, denying His absolute necessity for human salvation. The term is better used for someone who goes for a non-Christian (in the improper or wide sense of that term) religion or no religion at all.

HSarsfield said...

somerset'76 said:

"The term is better used for someone who goes for a non-Christian (in the improper or wide sense of that term) religion or no religion at all."

And I believe that is what the Church teaches as well. Not adhering to one or two, or even more, articles of the Faith does not make one an apostate, but it does make them a heretic. You would be hard pressed to show where the Church teaches otherwise.
Thank you for a very well written explanation, somerset.

M. Alexander said...

Thank you, I've made the correction.