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Who Are the Infidels & the Heretics?
The great French Benedictine Abbot Dom Propsper Guéranger provides us a simple definition of infidel and heretic, words sadly missing from our Catholic vocabulary today, and often misunderstood. The infidel is the man who does not know the Catholic Faith. The heretic is one who deviates, even in the slightest matter, from the teaching of the Magisterium.

It seems to us very important to know and understnad that both are placed outside the Catholic Church and salvation, even should they be in the highest cubicles of the Church.

Dom Prosper Guéranger

O holy Word of God! O holy Revelation! Through thee are we admitted into divine Mysteries, which human Reason could never reach. We love thee, and are resolved to be submissive to thee. It is thou that givest rise to the grand virtue, without which it is impossible to please God (Heb 6: 6); the virtue which commences the work of man's salvation, and without which this work could neither be continued nor finished. This virtue is Faith.

It makes our reason bow down to the Word of God. There comes from its divine obscurity a light far more glorious than are all the conclusions of reason, how great soever may be their evidence. This virtue is to be the bond of union in the new society, which Our Lord is now organising. To become a member of this society, man must begin by believing; that he may continue to be a member. He must never, not even for one moment, waver in his faith.

We shall soon be hearing Our Lord saying these words: He that believeth and is baptised, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be condemned. (Mk 16:16) The more clearly to express the necessity of Faith, the members of the Church are to be called by the beautiful name of the Faithful: they who do not believe, are to be called Infidels.

Faith, then, being the first link of the supernatural union between man and God, it follows that this union ceases when Faith is broken, that is, denied; and that he, who after having once been thus united to God breaks the link by rejecting the word of God, and substituting error in its place, commits one of the greatest of crimes. Such a one will be called a Heretic, that is, one who separates himself; and the Faithful will tremble at his apostacy.

Even were his rebellion to the Revealed Word to fall upon only one article, still he commits enormous blasphemy; for he either separates himself from God as being a deceiver, or he implies that his own created, weak, and limited reason is superior to eternal and infinite Truth.

As time goes on, Heresies will rise up, each attacking some dogma or other; so that scarcely one truth will be left unassailed... and that time is our own…


Blason de Charlemagne
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Dom Gueranger, The Liturgical Year, Vol 8,
Paschal Time, Book II, Monday of the Fourth Week.

Posted on April 27, 2024

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