Dialogue or Disassociation: What to Do with Heretics and Public Sinners in the Church

Dialogue or Disassociation: What to Do with Heretics and Public Sinners in the Church

The watchword of the day is “dialogue.” Invoked by Church leaders like an Eastern mystical mantra, dialogue is the solution to every problem. Pro-abortion politicians claiming to be good Catholics? We need dialogue. Priests promoting same-sex relationships? We need dialogue. Millions of Catholics leaving the Church in droves? We need dialogue. No matter the issue, dialogue will make the world sing in perfect harmony.

But dialogue is not always the answer. Sometimes, in fact, the Church has embraced the opposite of dialogue – disassociation – as the proper means to address certain issues. Consider the problem of heretics and public sinners within the Church. What should we do when someone claims to be Catholic (or even is a priest or bishop) and yet acts in a manner fundamentally at odds with the Faith? Should we dialogue with him or disassociate from him?

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