Dogma Heresy

The Poison Called Heresy

St. Paul prophesied about these false teachings in his letter to Timothy:

“The time is sure to come when people will not accept sound teaching, but their ears will be itching for anything new and they will collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes; and then they will shut their ears to the truth and will turn to myths.”
2 Timothy, 4:3-4 New Jerusalem Bible

St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, defines heresy as “a species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas”. Heresy is a formal denial or opposition to the accepted dogma and established doctrines of the Church.

Heresy is different from apostasy and schism. Apostasy is completely abandoning the Christian faith by embracing a new ideology or religion. Heretics never leave the faith in Christ. In short, they are still technically Christians in beliefs. Schism, on the other hand is a separation from the unity of the Church because of an unresolved internal issue. Throughout history, the division within the Church was commonly connected to the Papal authority. Schismatics, because of anger, pride or ambition, separate themselves from the communion of the Church. They are not necessarily heretics because they may believe in the established doctrines of the Church. They can be considered as rebels than heretics. To sum it up, heresy denies faith while schism opposes love.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses the differences: “Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and Catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him” (CCC 2089).

Who can commit heresy?

A person must be baptized and a member of the Church to commit heresy. A baptized person who refuses to be corrected even though he is aware of the teaching of the Church is a heretic. He who is fully aware of a dogma but has already chosen to violate and even commit contrary teaching is also a heretic. But if that person is open for correction and sincerely unaware of the Truth, he is not committing heresy.

Do we consider the Jews, Muslims or other Christian denomination heretics?

Jews, Muslims and other Christian sects are not heretics since they do not practice a valid baptism, they are just a separate religion.

How about the Protestants?

The proponents of the Protestant Reformation were Catholic priests that is why Protestantism is considered a heresy and the proponents like Martin Luther are heretics. They were baptized and was correctly taught the Catholic faith but instead rejected the Truth and propagated false doctrines known as The Five Solas. These false doctrines persist in some Catholics today.

How does the Church counter these heresies?

The Holy Church makes decisions through Councils and from time to time, ecumenical councils are assembled in order to counter these heresies. From these councils, doctrines are established to get rid of confusions and fortify the faith of the flock. An example of these councils is the Council of Trent, which was convened to counter the poison of the Protestant Reformation.

Heresies persist up to this age to confuse the faith of the flock. The Holy Trinity, the Divinity of Christ, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Perpetual Virginity of Mary and the Immaculate Conception are some of the doctrines that are being attacked every now and then. The heresy of Modernism has a great effect on the current state of the Church, most specially on the traditional rituals and process within the Church which were altered in order to adapt to the modern times. The heresy of the Prosperity Doctrine is a great poison that deceives a number of Catholics. This heresy promises entitlement to material and physical blessing as long as you believe in Him. This is false because God never promises a life of prosperity and comfort in this world, but by keeping our faith to Him, He promises our freedom from pain and poverty in the afterlife. By sincerely praying to Him, He will supply our needs, and that is not necessarily having an abundant life. We always pray for God’s will to be done – all the time.

St. Paul advised us through his message to Timothy:

“But you must keep steady all the time; put up with suffering; do the work of preaching the gospel; fulfill the service asked of you.”

2 Timothy, 4:5

Let us remain firm to our Catholic beliefs and always ask the Blessed Virgin Mary’s for guidance and redemption from these poisons.



More Readings:


The Doctors of the Catholic Church

Doctor was derived from the Latin word “docere” which means “to teach”. The doctors of the Church are some of the greatest teachers of the Catholic faith.

The Holy Church established a set of requirements for a saint in order to be included in the list. First, the saint displays a high degree of holiness, which set the saint apart even from the other Saints. Second, the saint has a very deep doctrinal insight. Finally, the saint has an extensive body of writings which the Catholic Church can highly recommend to the faithfuls. The process of conferring the title “Doctor” includes thorough and deep investigation of the saint’s writings by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. When the truth and greatness of the work is proven, the campaign is recommended to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The congregation will present the possible cases for the title of Doctor to the Pope. The Pope decides and then bestows the title “Doctor of the Church.”

In 1298, the first four doctors were officially declared by Pope Boniface VIII. They are St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and Pope St. Gregory the Great. As of 2015, there are 36 Doctors of the Church. Eight of the current 36 are “Church Fathers” – which is another topic we will discuss in detail in my future article. But basically, Church Fathers are influential theologians, bishops or scholars whose works gave meaning to the tenets of the Church. The main difference is not all of them were canonized as saints, which is a requirement in order to be included in the list of doctors. Four of Doctors/Fathers of the Church came from the Western Church(Latin) and the other half came from the East(Greek).

Before 1970, only men were designated Doctors until Pope Paul VI conferred the title on St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Therese of Avila. There are currently four women saints who are included in the list. The latest saint to be included in the rank was St. Gregory of Narek, conferred by Pope Francis in 2015.

Below is a list of all the Doctors of the Church in the order of when they were designated.


The Five Ways of St. Thomas Aquinas

 Quinque viæ, translated as Five Ways or Five Proofs, are five logical arguments regarding the existence of God can be found in St. Thomas’ Summa Theologica.

St. Thomas Aquinas is an Italian Dominican Priest and Doctor of the Church of the 13th Century. He is considered as the most important Catholic theologian in the history, the greatest medieval theologian-philosopher and is also known as Doctor Angelicus or Angelic Doctor because of his angelic virtues and writings on the angels, and Doctor Communis, which means Common Doctor, because his teachings is universal, for everyone and relevant in every situation. He was canonized by Pope John XXII in 1323. He was the patron Saint of academics, philosophers, students and lightning.

St. Thomas’ best-known work is the Summa Theologica (Summary of Theology), a collection of all of the main theological teachings of the Catholic Church, intended to be an instructional guide for theology students. Quinque viæ, translated as Five Ways or Five Proofs, are five logical arguments regarding the existence of God can be found in this book.

The First Way: Motion

St. Thomas’ first way involves the evidence of motion. There is motion all around us. Whatever is in motion now was at rest until moved by something else, and that by something else, and so on. If there were an infinite series of movers, all waiting to be moved by something else (this is called infinite regress), then actual motion could never have got started, and there could be no motion now. But there is motion now, so there must be a First Mover which is itself unmoved. We call the First Mover God.

The Second Way: Efficient Cause

The second way involves the notion of efficient cause. There are efficient causes in the world, that are, producing causes. Nothing can be the efficient cause of itself, for it would have to be prior to itself in order to cause itself. There cannot be an infinite regress of essentially related efficient causes, for unless there is a first cause of the series there would be no causality in the series. Therefore, there must be a first un-caused efficient cause of all efficient causality in the world. Everyone gives to this the name of God.

The Third Way: Possibility and Necessity

The third way notes that every existing being does not owe its existence to itself. There are beings that begin to exist and cease to exist, that is, possible, contingent beings. But not all beings can be possible beings, because what comes to exist does so only through what already exists; nothing cannot cause something. Therefore, there must be a Being whose existence is necessary, that is, one that never came into being and will never cease to be. There must be a first Being which is necessary in itself, and not dependent on another for its existence. We call this Being to be GOD.

The Fourth Way: Degrees of Perfection

The fourth way notes that there exist gradations in things that there are different degrees to perfections among beings, for some are more nearly perfect than others. But things cannot be more or less perfect unless there is a wholly perfect being. Whatever is perfect is the cause of the less than perfect (the higher is the cause of the lower). Therefore, there must be a perfect Being which is the cause of perfections of the less than perfect beings. This perfect being is God.

The Fifth Way: Design

The fifth way argues that the behavior of things in the world implies a Grand Designer or Architect. We see that things that lack knowledge, such as natural bodies, act for an end. They achieve their end not by chance, but by design. Now whatever lacks knowledge cannot move towards an end unless it be directed toward that end by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence, as the arrow is directed by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are ordered to their end. This being is referred to as God.

St. Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways defined God as The Prime Mover, The First Cause, The Necessary Being, The Perfect or Absolute Being and The Grand Designer. 

Dogma Philosophy

No Salvation Outside the Church

Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus.
This Latin phrase means “Outside the Church there is no salvation”.

It is a Catholic Dogma adapted from the writings of San Cypriano of Carthage, bishop of the third century. This doctrine is very vital to human salvation and is based largely on the Gospel of Mark 16: 15-16: “He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.” The 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church explained this as “all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is His Body.”

It has been strongly preached by the Church in the past but in modern times, this is no longer popular. This is often forgotten or not being discussed frequently like what the the saints, martyrs, and missionaries of past centuries did. The urgency to preach this dogma is somehow toned down to a level that this dogma was no longer valued by Catholic believers. This is probably due to the Church’s reconciliation with other religions through ecumenism.

This dogma calls everyone who needs to be baptized into Catholicism to receive salvation. Preaching the Gospel should emphasize the importance of the Church in salvation. The Sacraments are very important in order for a believer to enter heaven. 

Rejection of the Church is rejection of Christ because it was Christ who gave authority to the Church and declared: “If he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile or a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 18:17-18). Therefore, anyone who does not accept the Church and join another religion and proclaim that he is following Jesus is a making a great mistake or committing a great sin..

Let us remember that there is only one Lord, one Church, one Faith and one Baptism. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4, 4-5)

We cannot be totally forgiven if we do not go to confessions. We cannot receive blessing of the true Body of Christ if we do not go to the Eucharist. All these Sacraments are essential to the salvation of our souls and you will never experience them outside the Church.

Does this mean that when you are a Catholic you are saved already? Does this also mean that if you are not a Catholic you will not be saved? How about the people who lived before the Church was established?

The Lord Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin” (John 15:22; see also John 9:41). People who are truly unaware of the Truth of Christ and His Church may have the possibility of being saved if they live according to his goodness. “Forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing” is what the Jesus said on the cross. We, as Catholics, cannot claim salvation by being a member of the Church because as long as we sinned, we are not worthy of Heaven. However, being a member of His Church is the first step to attain salvation. In order to enter Heaven and be included in the “Church Triumphant”, we must first become a member of the “Church Militant”. Our duty is to help in saving souls. We can start with by praying for our families and friends who are not in the Church, that they will accept the faith established by Christ through His Church and propagated by His Apostles. We must always remember that we are not the judges of salvation. Only God is the sole and final judge. We do not know who is truly “ignorant” and who is not. Therefore, we must continue spreading the Gospel as the Catechism commands us and leave the judgment to God.

We preach the Gospel because we want many souls to enter the ark. We preach the Word of God because there is no salvation outside the Church.

Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus. Est Quod Est.

Feast Day Tradition

The Significance of February 2

“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

Forty days after Christmas, the Catholic Church holds the blessing of Candles, which is one of the three principal blessings observed by the Church annually; the other two are those of the Ashes and of the Palms, which falls on during the Holy Week. The feast of February 2 has different names in the Church. It has been called the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and, more familiarly, Candlemas or Candelaria. Each name highlights a different aspect of the feast that the Church celebrates, although is refers to the events that happened during Jesus’ fortieth day.

In Leviticus 12:2-8, in accordance to the Mosaic law, a woman who had given birth to a son should not approach the Tabernacle for the term of forty days; after which time she was to offer a sacrifice for her purification. Our Savior was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and His blessed Mother remained an immaculate virgin, which means that she was under no obligation to follow the law of purification. The Virgin Mary, being a humble and a faithful Jew, followed the law and did what was required of her and approached the priest with the proper offering to be declared “clean.” This is the highlight of the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

By another Jewish tradition, every first-born son was to be considered as belonging to God, and was to be redeemed by a small sum of money. The Virgin Mary and St. Joseph took the now 40 day old baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to present him to God, in accordance with Jewish law. They offered a sacrifice prescribed for the poor: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. Virgin Mary understood that Jesus had to be brought to the Temple, not to be redeemed like other first-born children, but to be offered to God as a true sacrifice. This is where the Feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus came from. We also meditate this event in the fourth joyful mystery of the Holy Rosary.

In the Gospel of St. Luke, the Holy Family encountered a pious old man named Simeon while at the Temple and his declaration became the basis for the feast of Candlemas. He declared “Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace, just as you promised; because my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all the nations to see, a light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel”. This proclamation was a testament of Christ as the Messiah, our Lord and Savior. He is the “light” who came into this world to dispel sin and darkness. The Church developed a tradition of lighting and blessing candles on this day which we call the Candlemas or Candelaria.

Simeon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, spoke of a prophecy to the Virgin Mary: “You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected-and a sword will pierce your own soul too-so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare”. This was very significant as it referred to the sufferings her Son would have to undergo and to the sword of sorrow that would pierce her soul. The Virgin Mary’s destiny is closely connected with that of Jesus which became the basis for the Church to give the Blessed Virgin the title of Co-redemptrix.

Then Simeon blessed them and said to His mother Mary: “Behold, this Child is appointed to cause the rise and fall of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your soul as well.”  

Luke 2:33-35

Let’s us commemorate this day by having our candles blessed by the priest and by meditating the words of Jesus: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Feast Day Tradition

The Feast of Epiphany

“Epiphany” comes from Greek roots which means “to show, to display” (phainein) and “on, to” (epi-). An epiphany therefore is a time when something is shown, displayed, or manifested to an audience. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Saviour of the world.

The Book of Matthew told us the brief story of the Wise Men who were looking for the newly born King of the Jews. They stopped at Herod’s palace on their way to Bethlehem, and the king, being jealous of the new “king”, asked them to let him know where this newborn was, so that “I may also go and pay him homage.” But the magi were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and so they left for their own country by another road” and were never heard from again (Matthew 2:12).

According to tradition, the Three Wise Men were members of an order of Persian priestly-astrologers known as Magi, that would study and interpret the stars. They were also believed to be kings of their lands.

The star guided the Persian Kings, Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar, to Bethlehem where they discovered the child in the house the star stood over. The men offered the child their gifts: gold, incense and myrrh. This event is known as the Adoration of the Magi.

Gold symbolizes love, frankincense is used for prayers and myrrh represents the suffering of Christ. Like what the three wise men gave, the best gifts we can offer to the Baby Jesus are Love, Prayers and Sacrifice.

Dogma Feast Day Mariology

The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

The honoring of Mary as the Mother of God can be traced back to the Council of Ephesus in 431. By the 7th century, January 1st was observed as a celebration of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the 13th century, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ had come to replace the feast honoring Mary; however in 1751, after a push in Portugal for an official feast day celebrating Mary’s divine maternity, Pope Benedict XIV allowed Portugal’s churches to devote a feast to Mary on the first Sunday in May. Eventually, the feast extended to other countries, and in 1914 began to be observed on October 11. In 1931, Pope Pius XI extended the feast to the entire church, and in 1974, Pope Paul VI removed the feast of the Circumcision of Christ from the liturgical calendar and replaced it with the feast of the “Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God”, bringing Mary’s feast day back to the first day of the year.

The “Mother of God”, our Lady’s greatest title, goes back to the third or fourth century. The Greek term Theotokos (“The God-bearer”) was officially consecrated as Catholic doctrine at the Council of Ephesus in 431, thus becoming the first Marian dogma. At the end of the Council of Ephesus, crowds of people marched through the streets shouting: “Praised be the Theotokos!”

This Catholic doctrine is based on the doctrine of Incarnation, as expressed by St. Paul: “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4).

“Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church’s Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary. Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the “Seat of Wisdom.” — Catechism of the Catholic Church 721

A plenary indulgence may be gained by reciting or singing the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus on the first day of the year. This hymn is traditionally sung for beginnings of things, calling on the Holy Spirit before endeavoring something new.

Dogma Mariology

The Perpetual Virginity of Mary

That Mary was a virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus, a perpetual virgin, is a Marian dogma. 

The expression perpetual virginity, ever-virgin, or simply “Mary the Virgin” refers primarily to the conception and birth of Jesus. From the first formulations of faith, especially in baptismal formulas or professions of faith, the Church professed that Jesus Christ was conceived without human seed by the power of the Holy Spirit only. Here lies the decisive meaning of expressions such as “conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary,” “Mary’s virginal conception,” or “virgin birth.” The early baptismal formula (since the 3rd century) state Mary’s virginity without further explaining it, but there is no doubt about its physical meaning. Later statements are more explicit. Mary conceived “without any detriment to her virginity, which remained inviolate even after his birth” (Council of the Lateran, 649).

Although never explicated in detail, the Catholic Church holds as dogma that Mary was and is Virgin before, in and after Christ’s birth. It stresses thus the radical novelty of the Incarnation and Mary’s no less radical and exclusive dedication to her mission as mother of her Son, Jesus Christ. Vatican II reiterated the teaching about Mary, the Ever-Virgin, by stating that Christ’s birth did not diminish Mary’s virginal integrity but sanctified it . The Catechism of the Catholic Church ponders the deeper meaning of the virgin bride and perpetual virginity (499-507). It also maintains that Jesus Christ was Mary’s only child. The so-called “brothers and sisters” are cousins or close relations.

Dogma Feast Day Mariology

The Immaculate Conception

The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception states that the Virgin Mary was conceived without original sin. Her conception was similar when she conceived Our Lord Jesus, by the Holy Spirit and free from sin.

The 8th of December is a Catholic feast celebrating The Blessed Virgin Mary’s conception without sin. Even though this feast day occurs in the liturgical season of Advent, which prepares for the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Mary in the womb of her mother, St. Anne.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception was first officially stated by Pope Pius IX on Dec. 8, 1854. “We declare, pronounce and define,” he wrote, in an encyclical titled “Ineffabilis Deus” (“Ineffable God”), “that the most blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, by the singular grace and privilege of the omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the saviour of mankind, and that this doctrine was revealed by God and therefore must be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”  

Just a little over three years after the pope had proclaimed the Immaculate Conception a dogma, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a 14-year-old girl from Lourdes, France.  From February 11 to July 16 of 1858, St. Bernadette Soubirous reported 18 apparitions of “a Lady”, who was wearing a white veil and a blue girdle, had a golden rose on each foot and held a rosary of pearls. On the day of the sixteenth apparition, March 25,  St. Bernadette asked the “Lady” her name. the Virgin Mary responded in the local dialect: “Que soy era Immaculada Counceptiou”, which means “I am the Immaculate Conception”.

The apparition in Lourdes has fortified the dogma further.

The Sanhedrin was the forum for the pharisees, who believed in the resurrection and in angels, and the saducees, who are akin to new theories and philosophies. All beliefs and philosophies concerning God and His creation are allowed to be expressed here.


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