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Pope St. Felix III (5th Century)

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Pope St. Felix III (5th Century): "Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it, and, indeed, to neglect to confound evil men - when we can do it - is no less a sin than to encourage them."

James 4:17To him therefore who knoweth to do good, and doth it not, to him it is sin.”

Pope Leo XIII, Inimica Vis, 1892: “An error which is not resisted is approved; a truth which is not defended is suppressed… He who does not oppose an evident crime is open to the suspicion of secret complicity.”

All non-Catholic religious services are crimes against the true God, the Catholic God, in the highest degree possible!

      1. THE 1917 CODE OF CANON LAW

FOURTH OBJECTION: "The 1917 Code of Canon law teaches that one may attend the religious services of heretics or schismatics and receive the sacraments from them. Canon 2261.2-3, of the 1917 Code of Canon Law states: “… the faithful may for any just cause ask the sacraments or sacramentals of one who is excommunicated, especially if there is no one else to give them (c. 2261.2)… But from an excommunicated vitandus [to be shunned] or one against whom there is a declaratory or condemnatory sentence, the faithful may only in danger of death ask for sacramental absolution according to canons 882, 2252, and also for other sacraments and sacramentals in case there is no one else to administer them (c. 2261.3).”"

ANSWER TO THE FOURTH OBJECTION: First, let's note that the 1917 Code of Canon law does not speak about heretics or schismatics. It explicitly speaks about excommunicated people. This canon is obviously excluding heretics, schismatics and apostates since it’s the Divine Law that forbids them from receiving or consecrating a sacrament. But even if this canon were speaking about heretics and schismatics (which it isn't), it would still hold no weight against the infallible declarations made by the Catholic Church. The 1917 Code of Canon Law is also not infallible, as will be proved further down.

Pope Leo X, Fifth Lateran Council, Session 8, ex cathedra: "And since truth cannot contradict truth, we define that every statement contrary to the enlightened truth of the faith is totally false and we strictly forbid teaching otherwise to be permitted. We decree that all those who cling to erroneous statements of this kind, thus sowing heresies which are wholly condemned, should be avoided in every way and punished as detestable and odious heretics and infidels who are undermining the Catholic faith."

Second, also notice how (as usual) the very quotation that the heretics use to prove their position, refutes them:

Canon 2261.2-3, 1917 Code of Canon Law: “But from an excommunicated vitandus or one against whom there is a declaratory or condemnatory sentence, the faithful may ONLY IN DANGER OF DEATH ask for sacramental absolution according to canons 882, 2252, and also for other sacraments and sacramentals in case there is no one else to administer them (c. 2261.3).”

So even if this canon was referring to heretical priests (the vitandus or shunned), which it is not, it would still mean that they could only be approached in danger of death! But the heretics doesn’t teach that heretics may only be approached for the Eucharist or Confession in danger of death, for they teach that they may be approached every time as long as they are not notorious.

Third, one needs to understand that excommunication can be incurred for many things. Historically, excommunications were distinguished by the terms major and minor. Major excommunications were incurred for heresy and schism (sins against the faith) and certain other major sins. Those who received major excommunication for heresy were not members of the Church (as we have just proven at length). Minor excommunication, however, did not remove one from the Church, but forbade one to participate in the Church's sacramental life. Pope Benedict XIV made note of the distinction.

Pope Benedict XIV, Ex Quo Primum (# 23), March 1, 1756: "Moreover heretics and schismatics are subject to the censure of major excommunication by the law of Can. de Ligu. 23, quest. 5, and Can. Nulli, 5, dist. 19."

Minor excommunication, on the other hand, was incurred for things such as violating a secret of the Holy Office, falsifying relics (c. 2326), violating a cloister (c. 2342), etc. These are all ecclesiastical or Church penalties. Such actions, though gravely sinful, did not separate a person from the Church. And though the terms major and minor excommunication are no longer used, it remains a fact that a person could incur an excommunication (for something other than heresy) which would not separate him from the Church, and he could incur an excommunication for heresy which would separate him from the Church. Therefore, a Catholic who receives an excommunication for heresy is no longer a Catholic because heretics are outside the Catholic Church (de fide, Pope Eugene IV). But a Catholic who receives an excommunication for something else is still a Catholic, though in a state of grave sin. Thus, it is clear that the 1917 Code of Canon Law is speaking about sinners and disobedient Catholics of different kinds, and not about heretics.


The 1917 Code was definitely not an ex cathedra (from the Chair of Peter) pronouncement because it does not bind the whole Church, but only the Latin Church (not the Eastern Rites), as stipulated in Canon 1 of the 1917 Code.

Canon 1, 1917 Code of Canon Law: “Although in the Code of canon law the discipline of the Oriental Church is frequently referenced, nevertheless, this [Code] applies only to the Latin Church and does not bind the Oriental, unless it treats of things that, by their nature, apply to the Oriental.”

A pope speaks infallibly from the Chair of Peter when his teaching on faith or morals binds the entire Church, which the 1917 Code doesn’t:

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, 1870, Session 4, Chap. 4: “…the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra [from the Chair of Peter], that is, when carrying out the duty of the pastor and teacher of all Christians in accord with his supreme apostolic authority he explains a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the universal Church... operates with that infallibility…

The 1917 Code is not infallible Church discipline either, as proven by the fact that it contains a law which directly contradicts the infallible discipline of the Church since the beginning on a point tied to the Faith. The actual Bull promulgating the 1917 Code, Providentissima Mater Ecclesia, was not signed by Benedict XV, but by Cardinal Gasparri and Cardinal De Azevedo. Cardinal Gasparri, the Secretary of State, was the main author and compiler of the canons. Some theologians would argue that only disciplines which bind the whole Church – unlike the 1917 Code – are protected by the infallibility of the governing authority of the Church, an argument which seems to be supported in the following teaching of Pope Pius XII.

Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi (# 66), June 29, 1943: “Certainly the loving Mother is spotless in the Sacraments, by which she gives birth to and nourishes her children; in the faith which she has always preserved inviolate; in her sacred laws imposed upon all; in the evangelical counsels which she recommends; in those heavenly gifts and extraordinary graces through which, with inexhaustible fecundity, she generates hosts of martyrs, virgins, and confessors.”

This would mean that a disciplinary law is not a law of the "Catholic" (i.e. universal) Church unless it binds the universal Church. It should also be remembered that it is of divine law that only the Popes are infallible when speaking ex cathedra (from the chair of Peter.) Thus, this proves that Pius XII was speaking about the infallible statements from the chair of Peter. Regardless, the 1917 Code doesn’t enjoy infallibility. This is further proven by the following canons.


The 1917 Code teaches in canon 1239, that unbaptized catechumens can be given Christian burial. This contradicts the entire Tradition of the Catholic Church for 1900 years on whether unbaptized persons can be given Christian burial.

Canon 1239, 1917 Code: “1. Those who die without baptism are not to be accorded ecclesiastical burial. 2. Catechumens who through no fault of their own die without baptism are to be reckoned as baptized.”

Since the time of Jesus Christ and throughout all of history, the Catholic Church universally refused ecclesiastical burial to catechumens who died without the Sacrament of Baptism, as The Catholic Encyclopedia admits:

The Catholic Encyclopedia, “Baptism,” Volume 2, 1907: “A certain statement in the funeral oration of St. Ambrose over the Emperor Valentinian II has been brought forward as a proof that the Church offered sacrifices and prayers for catechumens who died before baptism. There is not a vestige of such a custom to be found anywhereThe practice of the Church is more correctly shown in the canon (xvii) of the Second Council of Braga (572 AD): ‘Neither the commemoration of Sacrifice [oblationis] nor the service of chanting [psallendi] is to be employed for catechumens who have died without baptism.’”

This is the law of the Catholic Church since the beginning and throughout all of history. So, since this issue is tied to the Faith and not merely disciplinary, either the Catholic Church was wrong since the time of Christ for refusing ecclesiastical burial for catechumens who died without baptism or the 1917 Code is wrong for granting it to them. It is either one or the other, because the 1917 Code directly contradicts the Traditional and constant law of the Catholic Church for nineteen centuries on this point which is tied to the Faith. The answer is, obviously, that the 1917 Code is wrong and not infallible, and the Catholic Church’s law for all of history refusing ecclesiastical burial to catechumens is right. In fact, it is interesting to note that the Latin version of the 1917 Code contains many footnotes to traditional popes, councils, etc. to show from where certain canons were derived. Canon 1239.2 on giving ecclesiastical burial to unbaptized catechumens has no footnote, not to any pope, previous law or council, simply because there is nothing in Tradition which supports it!

The Catholic Encyclopedia (1907) quotes an interesting decree from Pope Innocent III wherein he commented on the traditional, universal and constant law of the Catholic Church from the beginning which refused ecclesiastical burial to all who died without the Sacrament of Baptism.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, “Baptism,” Volume 2, 1907: “The reason of this regulation [forbidding ecclesiastical burial to all unbaptized persons] is given by Pope Innocent III (Decr., III, XXVIII, xii): ‘It has been decreed by the sacred canons that we are to have no communion with those who are dead, if we have not communicated with them while alive.’”


Canon 731.2, 1917 Code: “It is forbidden that the Sacraments of the Church be ministered to heretics and schismatics, even if they ask for them and are in good faith, unless beforehand, rejecting their errors, they are reconciled with the Church.”

A heretic, by infallible definition, is of bad faith and brings down upon his head eternal punishment.

Pope St. Celestine I, Council of Ephesus, 431:"... all heretics corrupt the true expressions of the Holy Spirit with their own evil minds and they draw down on their own heads an inextinguishable flame."

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441, ex cathedra: “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives…”

Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio (# 2), May 27, 1832: “Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life.”

A person in good faith who is erring innocently about a dogma (loosely and improperly called a material heretic in theological discussions) is not a heretic, but a Catholic erring in good faith. So the statement in the 1917 Code about heretics and schismatics in good faith is definitely theologically erroneous and it proves that it was not protected by infallibility.

Objection: "A heretic can be in good faith about certain theological issues. A heretic may also be in good faith in some ways since, how else could a heretic turn from his errors and become a Catholic!"

Answer to the objection: No, a heretic cannot be of good Faith as long as he remains a heretic, and as long as he obstinately rejects God’s grace of conversion to the true Catholic Faith. The moment a heretic cease to be heretical, he is of good faith. Important to understand (for otherwise this might cause confusion) is that a heretic or a schismatic is a baptized person above the age of reason who have knowledge of and affirms a belief in the Trinity and the Incarnation, (the essential mysteries) but who rejects the full teaching of Christ and of His Church. A heretic is thus not a material heretic (a term used to describe a Catholic erring in good Faith), for a heretic is by definition a person who knowingly and obstinately rejects parts of the true Faith. A person can only reject what he have read, or heard about, and understood (unless we are speaking about the Trinity and the Incarnation and the natural law which all are bound to know explicitly without exception to be saved.) Thus, a heretic is by definition always of bad faith and will continue to be this as long as he remains in his heresy. That a heretic may desire the true faith is true, but that does not mean that he holds the true faith (until he actually has been converted).

This is further proven by an example. For if you were to say to an obstinate murderer and rapist: "You should cease to murder and rape people (remember that heresy murder souls)!" And the murderer would answer: "I am considering it since I see that it is wrong. I desire to change. Yet, I will continue to murder and rape for a bit more (he will continue to spread heresies and lies a bit more)." Would anyone be so mad as to say that he is in good faith even though he desires to cease doing evil? Of course not. Likewise, heretics are like murderers since they murder their own and other people’s souls eternally. In fact, they are worse than murderers and rapists. And as long as they are obstinate in their heresy, they are of bad faith and continue to murder souls.

The heretics are also not able to be in good faith about some parts of the faith, since the faith must be taken as a whole, or rejected as a whole, as Pope Leo XIII teaches:

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 9), June 29, 1896: “… can it be lawful for anyone to reject any one of those truths without by the very fact falling into heresy? – without separating himself from the Church? – without repudiating in one sweeping act the whole of Christian teaching? For such is the nature of faith that nothing can be more absurd than to accept some things and reject others… But he who dissents even in one point from divinely revealed truth absolutely rejects all faith, since he thereby refuses to honor God as the supreme truth and the formal motive of faith.

The Catholic Encyclopedia has the following points to say about heresy:

The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. "Heresy", the gravity of the sin (1910): “Heresy is a sin because of its nature it is destructive of the virtue of Christian faith. Its malice is to be measured therefore by the excellence of the good gift of which it deprives the soul. Now faith is the most precious possession of man, the root of his supernatural life, the pledge of his eternal salvation. Privation of faith is therefore the greatest evil, and deliberate rejection of faith is the greatest sin. St. Thomas (II-II, Q. x, a. 3) arrives at the same conclusion thus: "All sin is an aversion from God. A sin, therefore, is the greater the more it separates man from God. But infidelity does this more than any other sin, for the infidel (unbeliever) is without the true knowledge of God: his false knowledge does not bring him help, for what he opines is not God: manifestly, then, the sin of unbelief (infidelitas) is the greatest sin in the whole range of perversity." And he adds: "Although the Gentiles err in more things than the Jews, and although the Jews are farther removed from true faith than heretics, yet the unbelief of the Jews is a more grievous sin than that of the Gentiles, because they corrupt the Gospel itself after having adopted and professed the same. . . . It is a more serious sin not to perform what one has promised than not to perform what one has not promised." It cannot be pleaded in attenuation of the guilt of heresy that heretics do not deny the faith which to them appears necessary to salvation, but only such articles as they consider not to belong to the original deposit. In answer it suffices to remark that two of the most evident truths of the depositum fidei [deposit of faith] are the unity of the Church and the institution of a teaching authority [The Popes] to maintain that unity. That unity exists in the Catholic Church, and is preserved by the function of her teaching body: these are two facts which anyone can verify for himself. In the constitution of the Church there is no room for private judgment sorting essentials from non-essentials: any such selection disturbs the unity, and challenges the Divine authority, of the Church; it strikes at the very source of faith. The guilt of heresy is measured not so much by its subject-matter as by its formal principle, which is the same in all heresies: revolt against a Divinely constituted authority.”


Canon 1258, 1917 Code: “1. It is not licit for the faithful by any manner to assist actively or to have a part in the sacred [rites] of non-Catholics. 2. Passive or merely material presence can be tolerated for the sake of honor or civil office, for grave reason approved by the Bishop in case of doubt, at the funerals, weddings, and similar solemnities of non-Catholics, provided danger of scandal is absent.”

Note: this canon is talking about non-Catholic or non-Christian (false) worship and rites. This is outrageous! This canon allows one to travel to and attend a Jewish Synagogue or a Hindu Temple or a Lutheran Service, etc., etc., etc. for the wedding or funeral of infidels or heretics – just as long as one doesn’t actively participate! This is ridiculous, for to go out of his way to be present at such non-Catholic services where false worship is conducted (for the sake of honoring or pleasing the person involved in it) is a scandal in itself. It is to honor a person who is sinning against the First Commandment. To go to the funeral of a non-Catholic is to imply that there was some hope for him for salvation outside the Church; and to attend the wedding of a non-Catholic is to imply that God condones his or her marriage outside the Church. A Catholic can neither take part actively in false worship nor go out of one’s way to travel to the false worship or the non-Catholic ceremony to honor it with his “passive” presence. To have a passive presence at non-Catholic services, is actually to honor the devil and the demons, since Psalms 95:5 says that “all the gods of the Gentiles are devils.” To show to others that you are attending their religious houses, is to show formal consent to their religion and it is mortally sinful, and completely inexcusable. And as always, heretics must either state that the Church can contradict itself on a matter that is tied to the faith or be totally illogical. Here is the true infallible faith again:

Pope Leo X, Fifth Lateran Council, Session 8, ex cathedra: "And since truth cannot contradict truth, we define that every statement contrary to the enlightened truth of the faith is totally false and we strictly forbid teaching otherwise to be permitted. We decree that all those who cling to erroneous statements of this kind, thus sowing heresies which are wholly condemned, should be avoided in every way and punished as detestable and odious heretics and infidels who are undermining the Catholic faith."

"Should be avoided in every way," is just not "clear" enough for the heretics. Hence, this canon also proves that this code is not infallible.


Again, a pope speaks infallibly from the Chair of Peter when his teaching on faith or morals binds the entire Church, which the 1917 Code doesn’t; thus, the 1917 Code’s proposition in canon 737 that Baptism is necessary “at least in desire” for salvation is not binding on the universal Church or protected by infallibility. The 1917 Code contradicts the immemorial Tradition of the Church on ecclesiastical burial for catechumens (unbaptized persons) and it holds no weight for a moment against the infallible declaration of the Chair of St. Peter (binding the entire Church) that no one can enter heaven without the Sacrament of Baptism.

Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Can. 5 on the Sacrament of Baptism, ex cathedra: “If anyone says that baptism [the sacrament] is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation (cf. Jn. 3:5): let him be anathema.”

Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Can. 2 on the Sacrament of Baptism, Sess. 7, 1547, ex cathedra: "If anyone shall say that real and natural water is not necessary for baptism, and on that account those words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit" [John 3:5], are distorted into some sort of metaphor: let him be anathema."

For numerous other objections and arguments (not covered in this article) commonly used by the heretics in favour of receiving sacraments from heretical ministers, please see our latest article: THE AMAZING LIES, HERESIES AND CONTRADICTIONS OF PETER DIMOND CAUGHT ON TAPE EXPOSED


The declaratory sentence which follows an automatic excommunication is merely a legal recognition of something which already exists. If this were not true, the automatic excommunication would be meaningless. Canon 2314, of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, although not infallible, is perfectly in line with Catholic teaching: “All apostates from the Christian faith and each and every heretic or schismatic: 1) Incur ipso facto [by that very fact] excommunication…”

Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi (# 23), June 29, 1943: “For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy.

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 9), June 29, 1896: “The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, AND ALIEN TO THE CHURCH, WHOEVER WOULD RECEDE IN THE LEAST DEGREE FROM ANY POINT OF DOCTRINE PROPOSED BY HER AUTHORITATIVE MAGISTERIUM.”

Pope Pius VI, Auctorem fidei, Aug. 28, 1794: 47. Likewise, the proposition which teaches that it is necessary, according to the natural and divine laws, for either excommunication or for suspension, that a personal examination should precede, and that, therefore, sentences called ‘ipso facto’ have no other force than that of a serious threat without any actual effect” – false, rash, pernicious, injurious to the power of the Church, erroneous.”

The heretical person is already severed from the Church. Most heretics are known to be heretics without a trial or declaratory sentence, and must be denounced as such. As we see here, the Catholic Church teaches that formal processes and judgments are not necessary for ipso facto (by that very fact) excommunications to take effect. They are very often, as in the case of the heretic Martin Luther, formal recognitions of the ipso facto excommunication that has already occurred. This should be obvious to a Catholic.

Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi (# 22): “As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith. And therefore if a man refuse to hear the Church let him be considered – so the Lord commands – as a heathen and a publican. It follows that those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit.”

St. Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, II, 30: “… for men are not bound, or able to read hearts; BUT WHEN THEY SEE THAT SOMEONE IS A HERETIC BY HIS EXTERNAL WORKS, THEY JUDGE HIM TO BE A HERETIC PURE AND SIMPLE, AND CONDEMN HIM AS A HERETIC. For, in the first place, it is proven with arguments from authority and from reason that the manifest heretic is ipso facto deposed. The argument from authority is based on St. Paul (Titus 3:10), who orders that the heretic be avoided after two warnings, that is, after showing himself to be manifestly obstinate which means before any excommunication or judicial sentence. And this is what St. Jerome writes, adding that the other sinners are excluded from the Church by sentence of excommunication, but the heretics exile themselves and separate themselves by their own act from the body of Christ.”

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