For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), "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." [CCC 2089] According to Hilaire Belloc, "Heresy is the dislocation of some complete and self-supporting scheme by the introduction of a novel denial of some essential part therein...Heresy means, then, the warping of a system by 'Exception'..." [The Great Heresies (TAN Books, 1991) p. 2]. A heresy is not the total rejection of the Christian faith but a distortion of it. One essential truth is denied or exaggerated at the expense of another essential truth. For example, knowledge about the teachings of Christ is important, but the Gnostic heretics claimed that such knowledge was more important than faith. They taught that salvation came through knowledge and not by faith in Jesus Christ. Even though heresies are bad, we can better appreciate the true faith by knowing what to avoid.
Printed with permission from A Catholic Response, Inc.