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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. What can you tell me about the "Febronianism" heresy?

A. 1. The heresy of "Febronianism" was an 18th century movement within the Roman Catholic Church of Germany. Its emphasis was on nationalizing the Catholic Church, restricting the power of the Pope in favour of that of the episcopate, and the reunion of the dissident churches. In short, it wanted to facilitate the reconciliation of the Protestant churches with the Catholic Church by reducing the power of the Holy See.

This heresy was similar to Erastianism that was founded by Thomas Erastus (September 7, 1524 December 31, 1583). He was a Swiss physician and theologian best known for a posthumously published work in which he argued that the sins of Christians should be punished by the state, and not by the church withholding the sacraments. A generalization of this idea, that the state is supreme in church matters, is known somewhat misleadingly as Erastianism.

The practice of Febronianism was condemned by pope Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors, pope Leo XIII's Encyclical Immortale Dei, and the first Vatican Council.

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