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The Roman heresy

by
15 November 2013

14 November 1913

WE DO not enjoy heresy hunting. . . . We make one of our rare references to the errors that have attached themselves to the venerated name of Rome. Much that Rome claims can be granted without demur. This is unquestionably ecclesia principalis unde exorta est unitas sacerdotalis. This Church has a potentior principalitas. There is no difficulty, except one of purely historical character, in tracing this principality back to the presence and martyrdom of St Peter; though the traditions of the Roman Church itself point rather to an origin derived equally from the conjoint apostolate of St Peter and St Paul. All this may pass without question; the Roman heresy begins when from these facts are educed false theories.

The Roman heresy contains two doctrines. The first is the assertion that the Catholic Church consists exclusively of those who are in communion with the Church of Rome. That corresponds exactly to the assertion of the Donatists that the Catholic Church consisted exclusively of those who were in communion with the Church of Africa. . . The second doctrine of the Roman heresy is the denial of the supreme authority of the united episcopate. . . It is not our business to condemn those who acquiesce in these doctrines as formally heretics. We doubt whether it should be done even by those whose business it might be. There should be great patience in dealing with all such matters. But it is necessary from time to time to insist that the doctrines themselves are heretical.

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