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A formal heretic is someone who is already a Catholic, knows what the Church teaches as dogma, and goes beyond simply questioning, and denies the dogmatic teachings of the Church. All of us from time to time have doubts and questions, that is normal. Sometimes we don’t know what the Church teaches, and we have been duped by people who tell us something that is false about the Church, presenting it as Catholic teachings, leading people astray.
A good example of this is Ron, who used to come and bash here. He is the follower of an Anti-Catholic “minister” who’s entire focus is attacking the Catholic Church. He has published on his web-page many things that he says the Catholic Church teaches which it does not. Some Catholics who are not well schooled in the Faith believe what he says and have left the Church because of false information. While they have left communion with the Church and joined one or another Protestant sect, it is not because they denied what the Church teaches, but rather through their own ignorance have been misled about what the Church teaches.
The late Archbishop Sheen used to say, “In the United States there are a handful of people who hate what the Catholic Church teaches, and millions who hate what they think it teaches.”