One of the biggest problems with theological debates online is that many people fail to understand the concept of the “hierarchy of truths.”
Sometimes it’s a matter of treating everything the Church teaches as equally important. When this is the case, well-meaning Christians will call other Christians heretics because they don’t fast on Fridays or because they have a problem with the Church’s teaching on contraception. While both of these teachings are important, neither of them are dogmatic in nature, meaning that disobedience of either does not result in excommunication or heresy.
Far more commonly seen, unfortunately, is the confusion of the hierarchy, elevating a non-authoritative teaching over dogmatic principles. This is seen when people quote the theological writings of a pope, saint, or prominent theologian as proof of something, forcing people to obey. Maybe it’s even a line from an ecumenical council many years ago. Just because a pope, saint, or theologian writes something, doesn’t mean that it is a binding teaching for all the faithful. We must have an understanding of the difference between private opinions and the ordinary magisterial teaching of the Church, and then within that ordinary teaching, where it all fits together.
Hence, this week’s video. It is by no means a comprehensive work and will need a few more followup videos to even cover all of the basics, but it’s a start: what is the hierarchy of truths? What must a Catholic obey?