Whatever happened to well-read, theologically-knowledgeable heretics?

The modern heretic, all in all, is a different animal. If he has any interest in theology, it’s usually a negative interest; he wishes it would go away. It is an annoying fly in the ointment of his grand scheme to remake the Church in his likeness and image. He usually embraces heresy not because he makes a mistake while pondering theological nuances but because he has accepted the dominant cultural mores and social attitudes and is now intent on remolding Catholicism to fit them, rather than scrutinizing them in the light of Catholic teaching.

The ancient heretics eventually ran up against Church authority and, alas, made bad choices. Modern heretics make bad choices and then try to run over Church authority. “Minds no longer object to the Church,” wrote Abp. Fulton Sheen, “because of the way they think, but because of the way they live. They no longer have difficulty with the Creed, but with her Commandments … Briefly, the heresy of our day is not the heresy of thought; it is the heresy of action.”

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