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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

What is the difference between obstinate doubt and ordinary doubt?

Question:

The Catechism (2089) states, "Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same." What is "obstinate doubt" and how does it differ from ordinary doubt?

Answer:

Obstinate doubt is voluntary doubt—doubt may be defined as either voluntary or involuntary. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains,

Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated, doubt can lead to spiritual blindness. (CCC 2088)

Involuntary doubt is not, in itself, sinful and may be experienced by any sincere believer. Voluntary doubt, on the other hand, as a willful refusal to assent to God’s revelation, is a grave issue.

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