Do you agree with Aquinas?

I don’t follow St. Thomas Aquinas the way you see it.

St. Thomas compares a secular power’s capital punishment for forgery of the King’s money which only has temporal gain. To a heretic who is leading souls to hell, that is an eternal gain. St. Thomas is only voicing his opinion that a heretic is a more (eternal) serious crime than forgery which is a temporal crime, that a heretic carries more weight of a crime here, that is deserving of a capital punishment.

From my small insights to St. Thomas, I don’t find his comments or professional opinions reaching for a witch hunt here, as some may misread the Saint. But only revealing the eternal severity between a heretical crime compared to a temporal monetary gained crime.

He put’s the question? If a secular power exercises capital punishment on such a little temporal crime as forgery of the King’s money, how much more deserving is a capital punishment for those heretics who forges the Eternal KING’S revelations with their own heresy.

I view St. Thomas teaching here, to send the heretic to be judged by our Eternal King Jesus. I don’t view the Saint as going after unbelievers or unlearned Christians, but only to those who have tasted the Lord.

St. Thomas teaching reflects perfectly the correct definition of heretics who are re-crucifying Christ Hebrews 6:4,6,8

It’s not the same thing.

For one a Muslim is an unbeliever and can never be excommunicated or labeled a Christian heretic, same goes for Jews and all other unbelievers.

Unbelievers have NOTHING to fall from.

Islam mixes it’s faith with secular powers and carries with it many diverse laws of capital punishment for Muslims.

An excommunicated heretic from the Catholic Church, places himself outside the protection of the Church and is subject to the secular powers, which history proves secular powers banishing it’s citizens found to be heretics, setting them free, or exercising secular capital punishment upon it’s own (church excommunicated) heretical citizen.

Secondly, a lay person who self excommunicates him/herself from the Church does not carry the same weight as an excommunicated heretic holding a teaching office within the Church.

The biblical teaching reveals those who teach will be held more accountable for these little ones. The little ones are the lay persons not the heretical false shepherds.

St. Thomas’s teaching touches on many of these biblical revelations of TRUTH. Which are too numerous to list here, which the Saint’s writings are directly reflecting.

I agree with Aquinas because it relates directly to biblical principles and teachings. That it is IMPOSSIBLE for those excommunicated heretics to repent because they are “re-crucifying the Son of God for themselves and holding him up to contempt”.

The heretics themselves will be “burned” as ST. Thomas follows the scriptures of such a CAPITAL PUNISHMENT being pronounced which reveals such a heretic “is rejected; It will soon be cursed and finally burned”.

Hebrew 6:4 “For it is IMPOSSIBLE in the case of those who have once been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift and shared in the holy Spirit 5 and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to bring them to repentance again, since they are re-crucifying the Son of God for themselves and holding him up to contempt …8 But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is rejected; it will soon be cursed and finally burned.”

In St. Thomas time, burning an excommunicated heretic at the stake follows a biblical principle. So long as the heretic is found to be one who has tasted the Lord is good and is found to produce thorns and thistles (re-crucify Jesus) must be rejected. Once excommunicated from the Church. The heretic will soon (later) be cursed and finally burned.

I think you have a profound misunderstanding of Church history, biblical principles, and the Church’s teaching on both the just application of the death penalty and the possibility for heretics to convert. I don’t think the Church has ever said it is impossible for a heretic to repent, unless you admit exceptions. In fact, many heretics have repented, and some are saints.

Also, as far as I’m aware the Church has always urged governments not to execute heretics. Perhaps it has ALSO said that in certain circumstances they have a right to, but the encouragement, as far as I’m aware, has always been to show mercy.

“Leaders of heresy” are merely those speaking their beliefs. What is a grace to some is a very big burden on others. If someone denies the rules and laws of the Church, that means they don’t believe in them. It’s as simple as that.

First of all, I have not given the Church’s teaching on Capital punishment, for instance the Church herself never at any time possesses any powers to exercise any type of capital punishment ever. So let us lay Hollywoods interpretation of the Inquisition and burning heretics at the stake to rest here.

St. Thomas’s commentary never speaks for the Church, and he himself never has any powers to exercise any form of capital punishment.

The opinions of St. Thomas Aquinas have a mystical take which is supported by sacred scripture principles which Hebrews 6:4-8 reveals. I have not introduced the majority of Jesus Gospels teachings which reveal Hell and the fire of Gehenna.

These biblical realities reveal and support St. Thomas’s commentary of how he offers his opinion to those UNREPENTED HERETICS are eternally judged, whereby a temporal judgment, by secular powers to kill the flesh does not compare.

The historical fact that heretics have been excommunicated by Church councils proves St. Thomas’s commentary who makes the comparison between a temporal corporal death and an eternal death.

St. Thomas commentary from the OP does not deal directly with confessed penitent’s, which you falsely misjudge what I have presented here as a misunderstanding.

I assure you, St. Thomas and my agreement with his commentary does not conflict with Church teaching, Church history and biblical principles and practices by the Church.

If St. Thomas’s commentary here presented does contradict Church history, Church teaching or teachings on biblical principles. The Church would of never dubbed Thomas Aquinas a Saint.

Thus, those who misunderstand this great mind of St. Thomas appear to remain carnal minded and miss the mystical aspects of this great Saint which follows the teachings of Jesus Christ.

St. Thomas deals with un-repented excommunicated heretics. You introduce another subject of heretics in need of repenting, which the commentary by the OP does not address.

I would be happy to entertain you on subjects of Mercy for heretics proclaimed by the Church. In retrospect the Church has never moved from her position of being opposed to torture and capital punishment.
Peace be with you

This is the problem of too much head, not enough heart.

St. Thomas’ logic might have been impeccable, but the end result sounds harsh and heartless to many of us now - it certainly does to me. Whatever the case may have been back then, the way he saw it in his time, I think we can deal with such issues in a more civilized way now. Thank God!

Leaders of heresy (arch-heretics) are not merely speaking their beliefs. There is a difference between saying what you believe and inducing others to believe in what you say. I can say that I deny that the Holy Ghost is God to my friend and I would just be a heretic, but if I hand out pamphlets and have speeches to make others also deny the divinity of the Holy Ghost, then I would be an arch-heretic.

Baptism should not be looked upon as a burden since it is a grace to receive such a beneficial Sacrament. Some people may view it as a burden, but that is a misconstrued view of the Sacrament.

On a less serious note, I think you would be a Macedonian, whose archheretic was Macedonius. You’d be a bit late to the arch-heretic party, I think, and would simply be a late follower, not an arch-heretic.

I think that I would still be classified as an arch-heretic despite the fact that my heresy has its origins in another arch-heretic. As far as I know, it’s the spreading of the heresy that classifies a leader of heresy, not the origin of the heresy. This is assuming, of course, that I am not merely a material heretic.

Aquinas wasn’t right about everything, which is why the Church doesn’t accept each and every one of his teachings.

The Church doesn’t disagree with St. Thomas.

This legislation [penal laws against heretics by Christian rulers] remained in force and with even greater severity in the kingdom formed by the victorious barbarian invaders on the ruins of the Roman Empire in the West. The burning of heretics was first decreed in the eleventh century. The Synod of Verona (1184) imposed on bishops the duty to search out the heretics in their dioceses and to hand them over to the secular power. Other synods, and the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) under Pope Innocent III, repeated and enforced this decree, especially the Synod of Toulouse (1229), which established inquisitors in every parish (one priest and two laymen). Everyone was bound to denounce heretics, the names of the witnesses were kept secret; after 1243, when Innocent IV sanctioned the laws of Emperor Frederick II and of Louis IX against heretics, torture was applied in trials; the guilty persons were delivered up to the civil authorities and actually burnt at the stake. Paul III (1542) established, and Sixtus V organized, the Roman Congregation of the Inquisition, or Holy Office, a regular court of justice for dealing with heresy and heretics…

The Church’s legislation on heresy and heretics is often reproached with cruelty and intolerance. Intolerant it is: in fact its raison d’être is intolerance of doctrines subversive of the faith. But such intolerance is essential to all that is, or moves, or lives, for tolerance of destructive elements within the organism amounts to suicide. Heretical sects are subject to the same law: they live or die in the measure they apply or neglect it. The charge of cruelty is also easy to meet. All repressive measures cause suffering or inconvenience of some sort: it is their nature. But they are not therefore cruel. The father who chastises his guilty son is just and may be tender-hearted. Cruelty only comes in where the punishment exceeds the requirements of the case. Opponents say: Precisely; the rigours of the Inquisition violated all humane feelings. We answer: they offend the feelings of later ages in which there is less regard for the purity of faith; but they did not antagonize the feelings of their own time, when heresy was looked on as more malignant than treason. In proof of which it suffices to remark that the inquisitors only renounced on the guilt of the accused and then handed him over to the secular power to be dealt with according to the laws framed by emperors and kings. Medieval people found no fault with the system, in fact heretics had been burned by the populace centuries before the Inquisition became a regular institution. And whenever heretics gained the upper hand, they were never slow in applying the same laws: so the Huguenots in France, the Hussites in Bohemia, the Calvinists in Geneva, the Elizabethan statesmen and the Puritans in England. Toleration came in only when faith went out; lenient measures were resorted to only where the power to apply more severe measures was wanting. Catholic Encyclopedia

Are you sure? As far as I know the Church does not endorse burning heretics at the stake. I certainly haven’t found it in the catechism.

From the long history of it in the Church along with many papal and even conciliar endorsements along with the Angelic Doctor’s statement, I doubt it is condemned by the Church. Just because it is not found in the Catechism doesn’t mean the Church condemns the practice.

Do you believe that burning heretics at the stake-or just executing them for that matter-is consistent with Catholic teachings today? Do you believe that Jesus would endorse the practice? If not neither would the Church do so in any capacity today. The light of the gospel eventually penetrates, even if only little at a time.

Only one arch-heretic has ever came to resipiscence out of all of them, they pretty much never convert. If the Church allows the death penalty for carnal murder, I don’t see why the death penalty for spiritual murder (much, much more grievous) would be condemned. I believe Our Lord would endorse it, after the “two admonitions” that He instructs the Church to give prior to considering the person as a heathen.

Personally, I don’t think Jesus would ever endorse it. He, Himself, died for all humanity, such was His love. And He didn’t resist the injustice perpetrated upon Him. God doesn’t force justice upon us, or He would’ve wiped us all out long ago. Either way, why doesn’t the Church push for the death penalty for spiritual murder now? And, BTW, the Church has, in the last few decades, been seriously questioning the righteousness of the death penalty in any circumstance.

Since Our Lord died for our sins, I am sure He is very much against those who poison the faith of others and drag them into Hell along with themselves through heresy. The execution of heretics was both just and merciful for it preserved the faith of others from being tainted. Our Lord may have allowed evils to be done to Himself, but He certainly wasn’t very supportive of those who commit evil which can be seen with Him in the synagogue where He used a whip and overturned the tables and tossed the money on the floor.

The Church doesn’t push for it because no government will execute heretics anymore, such as the Catholic Encyclopedia says, “Toleration came in only when faith went out; lenient measures were resorted to only where the power to apply more severe measures was wanting”.

The death penalty is a legitimate action of the state to uphold the common good, which can simply be to set an example to other citizens. The Church has always taught that the state has been granted this right by God to participate in His justice in this way. The Church may currently be advocating against it, but the teachings remain the same and it is allowed to advocate for the death penalty in good conscience. Two priests have confirmed this and one used the following quotes to support it:

Pope Innocent I “It must be remembered that power was granted by God [to the magistrates], and to avenge crime by the sword was permitted. He who carries out this vengeance is God’s minister (Rm 13:1-4). Why should we condemn a practice that all hold to be permitted by God? We uphold, therefore, what has been observed until now, in order not to alter the discipline and so that we may not appear to act contrary to God’s authority.”

Pope Pius XII " Even in the case of the death penalty the State does not dispose of the individual’s right to life. Rather public authority limits itself to depriving the offender of the good of life in expiation for his guilt, after he, through his crime, deprived himself of his own right to life."

Roman Catechism "The power of life and death is permitted to certain civil magistrates because theirs is the responsibility under law to punish the guilty and protect the innocent. Far from being guilty of breaking this commandment [Thy shall not kill], such an execution of justice is precisely an act of obedience to it. For the purpose of the law is to protect and foster human life. This purpose is fulfilled when the legitimate authority of the State is exercised by taking the guilty lives of those who have taken innocent lives.

In the Psalms we find a vindication of this right: “Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all evildoers from the city of the Lord” (Ps. 101:8)."

Nope, just can’t see Jesus burning anyone at the stake. And the Church is only becoming more staunchly prolife for that reason. IMO. Maybe wrong, but don’t think so.

Our Lord punishes people quite severely both in this life and the next. In my catechism, there are a plentitude of stories of people bursting asunder or being eaten alive on account of their sin, along with all of the chastisements in the Old Testament. I think that Our Lord is actually being merciful to us by allowing the execution of heretics because it prevents more people from falling into heresy and thereby losing their souls. It is better to have one man burnt at the stake than to see hundreds or even thousands of people fall into Hell on account of that one man’s heretical preaching.

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