Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

APOSTASY IN FAITH

The complete abandonment of the Christian religion and not merely a denial of some article of the creed. Since apostolic times, it was classified among the major crimes, along with murder and adultery, whose remission in the sacrament of penance carried severe censures and, among certain rigorists, even remission of the sin was denied. St. Cyprian (d. 258), Bishop of Carthage, defended the Church's right to remit apostasy before the hour of death, and the practice was supported by Pope Cornelius (d. 253). Under the Christian Roman Empire, apostates were punished by deprivation of civil rights, including the power to bequeath or inherit property. During the late Middle Ages, Christian who apostatized were subject to trial and punishment by the Inquisition.

The code of canon law of 1918 declared that apostates from the faith (as also heretics and schismatics) incur ipso facto excommunication, are deprived, after warning, of any benefice, dignity, pension, office, or any position they may have in the Church, and are declared under infamy. After a second warning, clerics are to be deposed, and members of a religious community automatically dismissed.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Saved by ordination 3 hours ago
Reparative therapy on the run 3 hours ago
Mandatory spacing of children: could it happen here? 7 hours ago
Reading The Diary of a Country Priest: Spiritual riches and poverty 21 hours ago
Vibrant Catholicism, 1: Lamenting the entire 20th century May 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days