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The Seven Stages Of Heresy

Common Heresies don't just happen. They are grown.

02/28/2014 Comments (47)

Stage 1.

Immoral practice is clearly condemned and anathematized. The eternal salvation of souls is at stake. Some people still do it, but they are understood to be sinners and sometimes socially ostracized.

Stage 2.

Immoral practice is still clearly condemned but nobody really talks about it. More people do it, but not considered ideal.

Stage 3.

Immoral practice is formally condemned, but such condemnation is rarely taught. Many more people do it, it is just the way life is sometimes.

Stage 4.

Immoral practice is still formally condemned, but most clergy look the other way and some even encourage it. Most people do it, what is the big deal?

Stage 5.

Immoral practice is still formally condemned, but we must find a way to act pastorally toward all those who engage in practice. Church is seen to be unnecessarily hurting those with its outdated intolerance. To be more pastoral, we encourage more of the immoral practice because our growth has taught us that people's feelings are more important than their souls.

Stage 6.

Immoral practice is still immoral, but those charged with the care of souls and safeguarding the truth say things like "that ship has sailed" or "not that important" or "not relevant" or "we are not obsessed with such matters" or "we need to encounter people where they are" or ultimately "the sensus fidelium has spoken." Those who don't do it are considered obsessed wild-eyed intolerant freaks who are ultimately harming the Church's outreach.

Stage 7.

Immoral practice is still immoral and Church still formally condemns it, but the ubiquitous immoral practice has spawned worse ones, so we now have bigger fish to fry. Congratulations! You have a full-blown heresy!!

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About Pat Archbold

Pat Archbold
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Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company. Patrick, his wife Terri, and their five children reside in Long Island, N.Y.