‘Every Revealed Truth, without Exception, Must Be Accepted’
In view of the recent scandalous action of Pope Francis who added 21 Coptic Schismatic “martyrs” into the Catholic Roman Martyrology, it seems opportune to point to the perennial Church teaching that instructs us that we cannot be in communion with anyone who does not adhere completely to the tenets of our Holy Faith.
In fact, Leo XIII in his Encyclical Satis cognitum declares that the Church must consider as “rebels” and expel from her ranks anyone who holds beliefs on any point of doctrine different form her own.
We add this excerpt to the numerous collection of documents from the Holy Magisteriumthat we have already posted demonstrating this truth (e.g. here, here, here, here, here and here).
The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavor than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the Faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own.
The Arians, the Montanists, the Novatians, the Quartodecimans, the Eutychians, did not certainly reject all Catholic doctrine: They abandoned only a small portion of it. Still, who does not know that they were declared heretics and banished from the bosom of the Church? In like manner were condemned all authors of heretical tenets who followed them in subsequent ages. "There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple Faith taught by Our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition." (Auctor Tract. de Fide Orthodoxa contra Arianos).
The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium.
Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodoret, drew up a long list of the heresies of their times. St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, and that should any one give his assent to a single one of them, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity: "No one who merely disbelieves in all these heresies [which he had just listed] can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours and, if any one holds to one single one of these, he is not a Catholic" (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88). …
Wherefore, as appears from what has been said, Christ instituted in the Church a living, authoritative and permanent Magisterium, which by His own power He strengthened, by the Spirit of truth He taught and by miracles confirmed. He willed and ordered, under the gravest penalties, that her teachings should be received as if they were His own. As often, therefore, as it is declared on the authority of this teaching that this or that tenet is contained in the deposit of Divine Revelation, then it must be believed by everyone as true.
If it could in any way be false, an evident contradiction follows; for then God Himself would be the author of error in man. "Lord, if we be in error, we are being deceived by Thee" (Ricardus de S. Victore, De Trinitate, lib. I., cap. 2).
In this wise, all cause for doubting being removed, can it be lawful for anyone to reject any one of those truths without by the very fact falling into heresy? without separating himself from the Church? without repudiating in one sweeping act the whole of Christian teaching? For such is the nature of Faith that nothing can be more absurd than to accept some things and reject others.
Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis cognitum of June 29, 1896
Posted on May 20, 2023
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