Such a proposition is not heretical, it is a propositio theologice erronea , that is, erroneous in theology. Tyrrell says in self-defence: "It is the irresistible facts concerning the origin and composition of the Old and New Testaments; concerning the origin of the Christian Church, of its hierarchy, its institutions, its dogmas ; concerning the gradual development of the papacy ; concerning the history of religion in general--that create a difficulty against which the synthesis of scholastic theology must be and is already shattered to pieces." "I am able to put my finger on the exact point or moment in my experience from which my 'immanentism' took its rise. A strong man in touch with his time, and supported by material force, may deform the existing religion and build up a new heretical sect.
Further, the opposition to an article of faith may not be strictly demonstrable, but only reach a certain degree of probability. Modernism fails to combine into a body separate from the Church because it lacks an acknowledged leader, because it appeals to only a small minority of contemporary minds, namely, to a small number who are dissatisfied with the Church as she now is, and because no secular power lends it support.
Heresy is opposed to faith; schism to charity; so that, although all heretics are schismatics because loss of faith involves separation from the Church, not all schismatics are necessarily heretics, since a man may, from anger, pride, ambition, or the like, sever himself from the communion of the Church and yet believe all the Church proposes for our belief (II-II, Q. Both matter and form of heresy admit of degrees which find expression in the following technical formula of theology and canon law. A study of the personal narratives in "Roads to Rome" and "Roads from Rome" leaves one with the impression that the heart of man is a sanctuary impenetrable to all but to God and, in a certain measure, to its owner.
Pertinacious adhesion to a doctrine contradictory to a point of faith clearly defined by the Church is heresy pure and simple, heresy in the first degree. completely ignoring the philosophy of the Schools and thus depriving themselves of the means of clearing away the confusion of their ideas and of meeting sophisms. If now we turn to the Modernist leaders for an account of their defections, we find none attributing it to pride or arrogance, but they are almost unanimous in allowing that curiosity--the desire to know how the old faith stands in relation to the new science --has been the motive power behind them. It is, therefore, advisable to leave individuals to themselves and to study the spread of heresy, or the origin of heretical societies.
The impelling motives are many: intellectual pride or exaggerated reliance on one's own insight; the illusions of religious zeal ; the allurements of political or ecclesiastical power; the ties of material interests and personal status; and perhaps others more dishonourable.
On the other hand the will may freely incline the intellect to adhere to tenets declared false by the Divine teaching authority of the Church.
And therefore the name of schismatics is given to those who will not submit to the supreme pontiff nor communicate with the members of the Church subject to him.
Now this head is Christ whose representative in the Church is the supreme pontiff.
In that case the doctrine is termed sententia de haeresi suspecta, haeresim sapiens ; that is, an opinion suspected, or savouring, of heresy (see THEOLOGICAL CENSURES). For the same reason, and proportionately, a thousand small sects have failed, whose names still encumber the pages of church history , but whose tenets interest only a few students, and whose adherents are nowhere.
Heresy is a sin because of its nature it is destructive of the virtue of Christian faith. If from moral causes we pass to the intellectual, the first and most powerful is ignorance. Such were, in the Apostolic Age, the Judeo-Christians, Judeo-Gnostics, Nicolaites, Docetae, Cerinthians, Ebionites, Nazarenes, followed, in the next two centuries, by a variety of Syrian and Alexandrian Gnostics, by Ophites, Marcionites, Encratites, Montanists, Manichæans, and others.
Pius X, scrutinizing the causes of Modernism, says: "The proximate cause is, without any doubt, an error of the mind. Curiosity, unless wisely held in bounds, is of itself sufficient to account for all errors. At once an internecine conflict began within the Arian pale, for heresy, lacking the internal cohesive element of authority, can only be held together by coercion either from friend or foe.
Sects sprang up rapidly: they are known as Eunomians, Anomoeans, Exucontians, Semi-Arians, Acacians.