reading heresy for class
#1
what would you do in the situation of being assigned writings formally deemed heretical by the Church. As in their author was actually burned at the stake? am I under any obligation to read such things? what about classics of protestant spirituality and other heretical religious writings. This is a theology class at a secular university. Do I just say I didn't prepare today and have a better cleaner conscience or do I read the filth to be able to better refute it etc. What are we to do in a situation like this? any official teaching on the matter?
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#2
If you actually believe it would harm your faith, you shouldn't read it--but given what you've said above, it doesn't seem like it will.  You chose to take a theology class at a secular University, so I assume you knew going in it wasn't going to be all edifying Catholic theology.  In classes like this there is usually an opportunity for an essay or paper critiquing some of the ideas presented, and you can't do that without knowing what those ideas are.  Those are my thoughts anyway.
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#3
Even in the days of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, it was  easy for a scholar to get a dispensation to read prohibited books, and I think, from what you describe, you would qualify.
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#4
If you have scruples about it, ask your confessor, but I think in the context of your studies, it is fine; as jovan66102 said, scholars were permitted to read forbidden books in order to refute them. There is no longer an Index AND you are reading them in the context of study at the direction of a teacher - I would think you're fine.
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#5
The danger is in those who were not burn at the stake. One goes to class and read some Foucault and Lacan (or even some supposedly Catholic theologian) and don't give a second thought about the faith, or simply swallow whatever the person with the microphone (what is called “the professor”, with that Napoleonic disdain for titles) says.
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#6
(10-13-2015, 03:59 PM)aquinas138 Wrote: If you have scruples about it, ask your confessor, but I think in the context of your studies, it is fine; as jovan66102 said, scholars were permitted to read forbidden books in order to refute them. There is no longer an Index AND you are reading them in the context of study at the direction of a teacher - I would think you're fine.

Agreed, with this caveat
(Acta Apostolicae Sedis 58 (1966), p. 445) Wrote:Haec S. Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, facto verbo cum Beatissimo Patre, nuntiat Indicem suum vigorem moralem servare, quatenus Christifidelium conscientiam docet, ut ab illis scriptis, ipso iure naturali exigente, caveant, quae fidem ac bonos mores in discrimen adducere possint; eundem tamen non amplius vim legis ecclesiasticae habere cum adiectis censuris.

And:

Quote:In a letter of 31 January 1985 to Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, regarding the book Poem of the Man God, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (then Prefect of the Congregation, who later became Pope Benedict XVI), referred to the 1966 notification of the Congregation as follows: "After the dissolution of the Index, when some people thought the printing and distribution of the work was permitted, people were reminded again in L'Osservatore Romano (15 June 1966) that, as was published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (1966), the Index retains its moral force despite its dissolution. A decision against distributing and recommending a work, which has not been condemned lightly, may be reversed, but only after profound changes that neutralize the harm which such a publication could bring forth among the ordinary faithful."
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#7
(10-13-2015, 09:32 AM)rasbat Wrote: what would you do in the situation of being assigned writings formally deemed heretical by the Church. As in their author was actually burned at the stake? am I under any obligation to read such things? what about classics of protestant spirituality and other heretical religious writings. This is a theology class at a secular university. Do I just say I didn't prepare today and have a better cleaner conscience or do I read the filth to be able to better refute it etc. What are we to do in a situation like this? any official teaching on the matter?
This is exactly why you should study your catechism. Learn what the Catholic Church actually teaches and then when you have to read writings by Protestants and other non-Catholics you will be able to discern truth from nonsense.   
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#8
I know your situation. As a political science major almost everything I read is garbage enlightenment Freemason doo doo. You just have to be able to know when your reading garbage. I don't know about you but I have a pretty decent bullshit alarm that goes off when I read that stuff.

However since you are taking a theology class I can understand if that may be a little more dangerous. I would go ahead and read, but be skeptical and if anything confuses you or puts you in a mindset that you don't seem okay with just come back to your fellow fishes and run it by us. There are some wonderfully knowledgable people on this forum who have deep understanding of the faith. 


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#9
They may require you to read just about anything and then you can repeat the heresy when responding as to what the author writes about when there is a test. However you are under no obligation to endorse anything that is heretical.
In being able to explain what it is it could be able to make you a better Catholic.
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