Censure, Theological

views updated


A pejorative judgment that indicates that a proposition is in some way opposed or harmful to faith or morals. Theological censures were already used in the Middle Ages by John XXII against the errors of the fraticelli, and by the Council of Constance against the errors of Wycliff and Hus. One of the most extensive lists of such censures was put forth by Clement XI in his condemnation of many propositions of Franèois Quesnel (H. Denzinger, Enchiridion symbolorum, ed. A. Schönmetzer [32d ed. Freiburg 1963] 2502). All these censures seem reducible to three general categories: heretical, erroneous, and rash. A proposition is censured as heretical if it contradicts a truth of divine and Catholic faith; as erroneous in Catholic doctrine or in theology if it contradicts a truth that is Catholic doctrine or theologically certain; as rash if it contradicts a proposition that is not a strict theological conclusion but is well grounded and commonly held by theologians.

See Also: notes, theological.

Bibliography: Sacrae theologiae summa, ed. Fathers of the Society of Jesus, Professors of the Theological Faculties in Spain, 4 v. (Madrid), v. 1 (5th ed. 1962) 1.3:884913.

[e. j. fortman]