Meaning of Heresy

What is Heresy:

It is understood by heresy to the opposition to a group or set of ideas that are held in relation to those beliefs that have been considered irrevocable and immutable by a group of people at a certain time or epoch.

There is generally a religious ideal that is based on the imposition of a doctrine, a philosophy, a dogma, a faith, which must be respected without any observation by its believers. Whoever reveals himself, stands up, or whoever contradicts these ideals is said to be practicing heresy.

The heresy is given by a contrast, because a disagreement arises in relation to the way in which two or more groups understand the truth of the human being, understanding this truth as an aspect of philosophy, since some will go more for reason and science, and others by science and experience.

That is why it is said that heresy is a tendency, theory or belief that, despite being innovative, only seeks to contradict the dogma or faith of the believers of a specific religion or sect.

Heresies appeared throughout the history of the Church due to the denial or voluntary refusal of one or more affirmations of Faith. Due to their theological and political significance, heresies relating to the nature and mission of Christ, to freedom of man and the action of grace, for the function and constitution of the Church, among other points.

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In relation to the above, from the 4th century the ecumenical councils became the main ecclesiastical instrument for the condemnation of heresies, and from the 16th century doctrinal surveillance was exercised by the Sacred Congregation of the Inquisition, called the Holy Office from the year 1908, and Doctrine of Faith from 1965.

On the other hand, the word heretic identifies that person who professes a heresy, that is, who raises certain questions, some philosophical thesis, or religious belief through a completely controversial and innovative concept.

The heretic is the person who reveals himself against the principles or dogmas of a certain religion, culture or sect, which makes him or qualifies him as a heretic person, due to his opposition to others.

etymologicallyThe word heresy is of Greek origin “hairesis” which means “option”.

heresy in the bible

Heresy, as previously stated, is a doctrine that is directly opposed to the dogmas of the Church. The term heresy is observed in the Bible, in some verses such as:

  • “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will covertly introduce destructive heresies, and even deny the Lord who bought them, bringing upon themselves sudden destruction.” (Peter 2:1)
  • “For there must be differences among you (“haireseis”), so that those who are approved may be made manifest among you.” (Corinthians 11:19).

Christological heresies

Christological heresies They are ideas or doctrines regarding Jesus Christ that are against the teachings of the Catholic Church. Some of these doctrines are: Docetism, Adoptionism, Ebionism, Arianism, Apollinarianism, Monothelismo, Monophysitism, Nestorianism, among others.

Heresy in the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, during the Inquisition, Catholicism began to feel that its bases and principles were being affected and threatened by those who criticized its teachings and ideals, as well as the questioning of the Holy Scriptures, that is when a war and persecution began against of those suspected of heresy, said movement was led by Pope Gregory IX in the 13th century establishing the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition.

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At the time, the religious court was created, which was closely linked to the Power of the State, for which reason illegitimacy was also fought by virtue of the alliance that existed between the State and the Catholic Church.

Suspects were severely punished, tortured into confessing to their “impure acts” and then hanged or burned alive to “drive out the demons” that had possessed their bodies to perform such acts of heresy.

The Bull Gratia Divina in 1656 defines heresy as “the belief, teaching, or defense of opinions, dogmas, proposals, or ideas contrary to the teachings of the Holy Bible, the Holy Gospels, tradition, and the magisterium.”

Whoever commits acts of heresy, it can be affirmed, that they also committed or could commit insult and/or blasphemy, since they could verbally offend or with their actions everything that is venerated or idolized by a religion, that dogma, that theory, that faith it can be affected by said actions of the heretic since his words or actions could offend the divine majesty which was a public crime against God.

The end of said persecution begins its hard process after the French Revolution after blasphemy was abolished when they managed to develop freedom of religion and worship as well as freedom of the press.