Jihad & Inquisition similar? Are Inquisitions practiced today?


#1

Hi,

I am debating my Muslim friend on the evil Islamic ideologies, namely Jihad. I am new in this debate and keep hearing about the inquisitions. Is the Catholic Church teaching on the Inquisition similar to Jihad and can the scripture below (or others?) be used to justify the inquisitions?

Are the Inquisitions practiced today?

Paul, too, exhorted right judgment of other Christians: "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. Drive out the wicked person from among you" (1 Cor. 5:12-13)

God Bless You!


#2

There's a pretty good tract on that:

catholic.com/tracts/the-inquisition


#3

[quote="sousley, post:2, topic:324779"]
There's a pretty good tract on that:

catholic.com/tracts/the-inquisition

[/quote]

I browsed it, but I don't think it answered my questions.

I brought up Surah 2:193 - Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] worship is [acknowledged to be] for Allah . But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors. - quran.com/2/193

Seems like what he says is similar to the inquisitions? What is the difference? I heard the inquisitions were held for those pretending to be Catholics for beneficial purpose, but not living out their faith (WHICH SEEMS TO BE THE CASE ALL OVER THE WORLD TODAY! NOT SURE OF THE DIFFERENCE BACK THEN). I need more education about these things.

My understanding is that Islam isn't a religion of peace and that they conquered by the sword and forced conversions of people, which is limited by most of today's laws. It seems to me that Muslims won't stop Jihad until all believe "there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger". The goal of Islam is to conquer the world and convert everyone... in my understanding by force, if we human beings allowed it to happen as it happened in the time of Mohammed when there were less laws and less military tactics.

Thank you for helping me to understand!

My Muslim friend posted:
Quranic Verse 2:193 talks about fighting "FITNAH". Do you know what it is??? It is used for HYPOCRITES who posed as Muslims by day & were actually Jews, Christians or Idol Worshippers by night & they created (or tried to) chaos among the Muslims.


#4

St. Paul's exhortation is not related to Jihad, not to violent forms of inquisition.

It is an exhortation to *excommunicate *those who claim to be Christian but refuse to be rebuked and repent of public, scandalous behaviour.

It is saying that we must not permit our politicians, our leaders to say they are catholic and then fight against the teachings of the church and personally and publicly do what is evil.

Read in the proper context of the whole New Testament we see an instruction to 1st challenge such a sinner privately. Then to do so with 1 or 2 others, and then finally to bring such a sinner before the elders. Only if they still refuse to listen to the truth and repent of their sinfull behaviour or false teachings should expelling them from the community be considered a suitable option.
And the excommunication from the Church is not a final punishment it is a tool used to express to the sinner how serious their actions are, and an invitation to repent and return.

The Islamic concept of Jihad is very different. it includes interpretations about forceful military conquest of non muslim peoples. This could not be more different than St Pauls instruction to police our own internal issues internally, and let the civil world outside police itself.


#5

Jihad means struggle generally and can mean war against non-Muslims. You are correct that Islam has a history of being spread by warfare.

Inquisition means questioning, as the name implies. The Church had an office called the Inquisition to question suspected heresy.

The obvious difference is that violent Jihad is directed against non-Muslims and the Inquisition was directed inward toward members of the Church.


#6

No! They are not the same thing. Because the Inquisition (Spanish) was a total misunderstanding by everyone. The Jihadists are political there is no religion present with them. Ask any Muslim who is not under Sheria Law and in a Jihad controlled country and they will tell you, they are not really Muslims. Jihadists are all about control, mind-warping and domination to force everyone to believe and live as they do...you know...kind of like atheists? If you look at the worst tyrants ever you will find that they were all atheists. So, to break it down, Jihad is more like atheism, because when you don't have the real, true and living God...you have no hope! Hope this was a help!:thumbsup:


#7

Another difference is that the inquisition was directed at individuals suspected of herasy. Only those found gulity after a trial were punished. Not all were punished with death (contrary to Hollywood). Many punishments were religious in nature such as fasting. Jihad is often directed at groups (eg Americans) and all members of the group are considered equally guilty There are no trials.


#8

I'll let you form your own opinion on Jihad vs Inquisition, but the Roman Inquisition (started in 1542, after the model of the Spanish Inquisition) was renamed in 1908 and 1965, and is currently known as "the Congregation For the Doctrine of the Faith."

At an earlier point of time, it was charged with punishing heresy, leading to the execution of Domenico Scandella [Menocchio] in 1599 and the execution of Giordano Bruno in 1600. Perhaps its most famous trial and punishment was the 1633 verdict of Galileo Galilei that he had advocated beliefs that the earth orbited the sun. Galileo was punished under house arrest until his death in 1642.

Estimates are that the Roman Inquisition executed around 1,250 people.

In 1858, the Roman Inquisition held a trial in Bologna resulting in the forced removal of a six year old boy, Edgardo Mortara, from a Jewish family, because the nanny supposedly had given him an emergency baptism. The public outrage from this even super-charged the already powerful Italian nationalist movement, and led directly to the Second Italian War of Independence in the following year, and ultimately to the capture of Rome in 1870 (which is why we have the country of Italy instead of the Papal States.)

With Rome no longer under papal rule, the Roman Inquisition focused more on theological matters, and no longer had the ability to imprison, kidnap, torture, or execute. A more typical punishment today is excommunication.

Here are some good books on the Roman Inquisition:

[LIST]
*] The Roman Inquisition: A Papal Bureaucracy and Its Laws in the Age of Galileo
[/LIST]

[LIST]
*] The Italian Inquisition
[/LIST]

[LIST]
*] The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara
[/LIST]

[LIST]
*] The Trial of Galileo 1612-1633
[/LIST]


#9

In the U.S. there are a number of secular dogmas the state attempts to force religious institutions to affirm under threat of penalty.


#10

Hi Godheals,

perhaps this helps.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition

whatswrongwithatheism.wordpress.com/about/the-materialist-myth-of-science-opposing-christianity-and-vice-versa/myth-spanish-inquisition/

whatswrongwithatheism.wordpress.com/about/the-materialist-myth-of-science-opposing-christianity-and-vice-versa/galileo/


#11

[quote="anruari, post:4, topic:324779"]

And the excommunication from the Church is not a final punishment it is a tool used to express to the sinner how serious their actions are, and an invitation to repent and return.

The Islamic concept of Jihad is very different. it includes interpretations about forceful military conquest of non muslim peoples. This could not be more different than St Pauls instruction to police our own internal issues internally, and let the civil world outside police itself.

[/quote]

With all due respect, it for much of Church history it was a final punishment, since the excommunicated were turned over to secular authorities. See Aquinas:

*With regard to heretics two points must be observed: one, on their own side; the other, on the side of the Church. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. For it is a much graver matter to corrupt the faith which quickens the soul, than to forge money, which supports temporal life. Wherefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death. *

And again, on the acceptability of waging war against unbelievers:

*Among unbelievers there are some who have never received the faith, such as the heathens and the Jews: and these are by no means to be compelled to the faith, in order that they may believe, because to believe depends on the will: nevertheless they should be compelled by the faithful, if it be possible to do so, so that they do not hinder the faith, by their blasphemies, or by their evil persuasions, or even by their open persecutions. It is for this reason that Christ's faithful often wage war with unbelievers, not indeed for the purpose of forcing them to believe, because even if they were to conquer them, and take them prisoners, they should still leave them free to believe, if they will, but in order to prevent them from hindering the faith of Christ. *

So, it is apparently not acceptable to force unbelievers to become Christians by the sword, but you can still attack them primarily because they are unbelievers. Oh, but it is not always wrong to use force to compel unbelievers back into the faith - if they were Catholics once and broke away, it is completely acceptable to Aquinas to use war and torture to make them come back - before, again, turning them over to secular authorities to be killed.

That Aquinas wrote this has often made me consider throwing away his book and never looking on his work again. I have refrained from this, since there is too much in him that forms the intellectual basis of the church. But if anyone thinks Christians never waged the equivalent of jihad, they are naive.


#12

[quote="Kevin12, post:11, topic:324779"]
With all due respect, it for much of Church history it was a final punishment, since the excommunicated were turned over to secular authorities. See Aquinas:

[two quotes from Aquinas are omitted because Catholic Answers only wants me to post 6000 characters]]

That Aquinas wrote this has often made me consider throwing away his book and never looking on his work again. I have refrained from this, since there is too much in him that forms the intellectual basis of the church. But if anyone thinks Christians never waged the equivalent of jihad, they are naive.

[/quote]

I don't think either of the examples you gave were the equivalent of jihad. Both of them, in fact, are taken out of context, though that's probably not your fault, because the Summa is written in such a way that it often explains the principles involved in a given teaching in such a way that it gives them one at a time without giving the coherent whole. Now you quoted two of Thomas' observations: the destruction of heretics by the State can be justified, and warfare against unbelievers can be permissible. Both of those are still taught by the Church, when properly understood. But they should be understood within the context of the rest of the Church's doctrines on religious toleration, just war, and capital punishment, and unfortunately, Thomas Aquinas doesn't always put related things in the same context, due to the nature of the kind of book he was writing.

BTW I'm not saying that Thomas Aquinas was perfect in his social doctrine. He misunderstood some of the principles that are part of the Church's teaching, but the elements of it can all be found in him if you are willing to cut him some slack now and then due to the social standards of his time.

Now take his statements about executing heretics. What he says there is that they "deserve" death and that there is "reason" to kill them -- more than there is to kill money forgers. That is true. But just because someone has done something deserving of death does not mean we should give it to them. We aren't the ones in charge of life and death, God is. We can recognize that mortal sins are deserving of death without that implying that "we" may kill mortal sinners.

Because of this and other reasons, there has always been a principle in the Church's social doctrine that says that the death penalty can only be applied when the criminal involved is so violent, pillage-prone, and unstoppable that there is no other option than to kill him. If such a person can be thrown into jail instead, then you have to do that, unless he could still cause harm from there, or if you couldn't contain him -- only in such extreme cases is the death penalty permissible. Heretics ordinarily aren't like that, and the Church has always promoted the principle of religious toleration for heretical sects, except in cases when they start destroying the people around them or pillaging property or whatever else. Violence may only be done to a heretic when he himself is violent, and only for that reason -- that is something the Church has always recognized, and St. Thomas' comments about the destruction of heretics needs to be read in that context.

A similar thing needs to be taken into account when reading his comments on war. What he says there is that the Church does NOT make war against unbelievers in order to bring them to the faith, and that even if we conquered them, we should leave them free to believe in accordance with their free will. That's actually a very important principle in the Church's doctrine of religious toleration (which, again has always been a part of the Church's social doctrine). Yes, Thomas says that we can war against them in order that the faith may not be hindered, but that has to be taken in the context of his doctrine on just war. Thomas knew that war is only justified as a defensive measure and as a last resort when diplomacy fails. When you take that into account, you can begin to see that his comments about going to war in defense of the faith is only permissible if the infidels are invading our lands (or our allies' lands) and suppressing our faith. It needs to be stressed that warfare, according to the just war doctrine, is only permissible as a defensive measure, and that shows up in Thomas, before Thomas, and after Thomas -- it's been our constant teaching.

Anyway, I hope that helps show that St. Thomas shouldn't be thrown away because of his comments on executing heretics and making war against infidels. In the Church's social doctrine, the principle of just war, and our doctrine on capital punishment, and our belief in religious toleration, all come together to forbid any kind of militant jihad, and that's something the Church has always recognized. God bless!


#13

I'm sorry, but this wasn't "principle in the Church's social doctrine that says that the death penalty can only be applied when the criminal involved is so violent". If you look at this list, I think you'll find few of them were violent.

Also, again from Aquinas:

*In obedience to Our Lord's institution, the Church extends her charity to all, not only to friends, but also to foes who persecute her, according to Matthew 5:44: "Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you." Now it is part of charity that we should both wish and work our neighbor's good. Again, good is twofold: one is spiritual, namely the health of the soul, which good is chiefly the object of charity, since it is this chiefly that we should wish for one another. Consequently, from this point of view, heretics who return after falling no matter how often, are admitted by the Church to Penance whereby the way of salvation is opened to them.

The other good is that which charity considers secondarily, viz. temporal good, such as life of the body, worldly possessions, good repute, ecclesiastical or secular dignity, for we are not bound by charity to wish others this good, except in relation to the eternal salvation of them and of others. Hence if the presence of one of these goods in one individual might be an obstacle to eternal salvation in many, we are not bound out of charity to wish such a good to that person, rather should we desire him to be without it, both because eternal salvation takes precedence of temporal good, and because the good of the many is to be preferred to the good of one. Now if heretics were always received on their return, in order to save their lives and other temporal goods, this might be prejudicial to the salvation of others, both because they would infect others if they relapsed again, and because, if they escaped without punishment, others would feel more assured in lapsing into heresy. For it is written (Ecclesiastes 8:11): "For because sentence is not speedily pronounced against the evil, the children of men commit evils without any fear."

For this reason the Church not only admits to Penance those who return from heresy for the first time, but also safeguards their lives, and sometimes by dispensation, restores them to the ecclesiastical dignities which they may have had before, should their conversion appear to be sincere: we read of this as having frequently been done for the good of peace. But when they fall again, after having been received, this seems to prove them to be inconstant in faith, wherefore when they return again, they are admitted to Penance, but are not delivered from the pain of death. *

Aquinas didn't make this stuff up - he was justifying the regular practice of the Church as it existed in his time. Now, it is true that Mohammad lead many military campaigns during his life, and that war is more inherent to that religion. But unlike Islam, Christians have waged our share of Holy Wars* in spite of* what is contained in the teachings of Christ - so I think we have a lot more to answer for, since we should have known better.


#14

[quote="MarcoPolo, post:9, topic:324779"]
In the U.S. there are a number of secular dogmas the state attempts to force religious institutions to affirm under threat of penalty.

[/quote]

Hello Friend!

I browsed through that article below awhile back, and seems Moss' is on the liberal side of things, but seems to try to make the point the Catholic Church should have less influence in government and let Catholic people make their own decisions.

I don't agree with her points, but am wondering if there is a difference between the Catholic Church being legally against "homosexual marriage" and legally against forcing companies to charge people to pay for and provide contraceptives, verses being against homosexual sex and against contraceptives, but not making either of them illegal by law. Does that make sense? Where does that Catholic Church stand verses the government? I don't agree with separation of Church and state as it some seem it to suggest, because I believe out country is founded on Judeo-Christian principles, but we also are no a theocracy, such as is the Vatican.

I think we shouldn't be forced to pay for contraception for ourselves or others, or forced to contribute to any kind of access to them. In contrary to Moss' view below, the government shouldn't "control how I spend my salary". If she wants to work for a Catholic university, she should expect Catholic moral teaching to be a part of her decision to work there, or at least she could accept that others could look elsewhere to get the contraceptive insurance coverage they so desire, but not through Notre Dame. I think health insurance is a benefit, not a requirement. I think this is more evident these days as a lot of companies seem to be lacking with such benefits, or it just might be me thinking they are lacking.

Any thoughts?

"Moss pointed to the new U.S. health care law's requirement that insurance companies cover contraception as an example of a law that inadvertently targeted Christians but was interpreted as a direct attack on the faith." ......

Some in the religious community framed the contraceptive mandate as a deliberate persecution of Christians, rather than as bad policy, Moss says, in a way that’s made it difficult for them to negotiate.

“Labeling it persecution is saying, ‘We’re under attack, we’re persecuted. The other side has no reason to do this and we have to fight. We shouldn’t have to negotiate or compromise,” she said.

Moss says she is personally against her university’s decision to sue over the mandate.

“I think that the University of Notre Dame does not control how I spend my salary, therefore controlling what kinds of health care people have access to is maybe something we should not be trying to do,” she said. “I think Catholic institutions should trust their employees not to use contraception.”

Moss said the early Christian “persecution complex” influences the present-day political debate in America. The cable news hobbyhorse that there’s a deliberate “War on Christmas” in America is one example of a modern day martyrdom myth, she said.”

news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/notre-dame-professor-tackles-myth-christian-martyrdom-151620492.html


#15

[quote="Kevin12, post:13, topic:324779"]
I'm sorry, but this wasn't "principle in the Church's social doctrine that says that the death penalty can only be applied when the criminal involved is so violent". If you look at this list, I think you'll find few of them were violent.

[/quote]

Our social doctrine wasn't different in the thirteenth century than it is now. The doctrine is (and has always been) that religious freedom is to be respected, and the death penalty is only to be used as a last resort against people whose violence can't be contained. Now you are correct that this hasn't always been put into practice by our bishops, and some of them executed heretics who were not murderers and who were quite containable. But these were abuses. Before, during, and after these times, the principles that guard against this remained part of the Church's teaching. We as Catholics don't believe that our bishops always understand Catholic doctrine perfectly and we don't claim that they always put it into practice. Abuses have always been committed, or St. Joan of Arc would never have been executed. But to use that list of executions as a proof that the Church's social doctrine allowed liberal application of the death penalty is like using a list of predator priests as proof that the Church's social doctrine permits child molestation. It doesn't follow, and there is an abundance of evidence against it from that time and before.

Also, again from Aquinas:

*In obedience to Our Lord's institution, the Church extends her charity to all, not only to friends, but also to foes who persecute her...[and therefore] heretics who return after falling no matter how often, are admitted by the Church to Penance whereby the way of salvation is opened to them. ... [But] we are not bound by charity to wish others [to live], except in relation to the eternal salvation of them and of others. Hence if the [life of] one individual might be an obstacle to eternal salvation in many, we are not bound out of charity to wish [life] to that person, rather should we desire him to be without it, both because eternal salvation takes precedence of temporal good, and because the good of the many is to be preferred to the good of one. ...wherefore [heretics,] when they return again, they are admitted to Penance, but are not delivered from the pain of death. *

Aquinas didn't make this stuff up - he was justifying the regular practice of the Church as it existed in his time.

I acknowledge that this quote sounds very unsettling on its surface, but it also needs to be taken in the context of Aquinas' doctrine of the death penalty, which according to St. Thomas and the Church can only be used as a last resort. He doesn't state that in this passage, because his style is to deal with things separately (which is annoying in situations like this), but he is the one who used the classic analogy that the death penalty is like amputation: it should only be used as a last resort, and when you do it while alternative solutions remain, then it becomes a sin. (Summa Theologiae II-II, Article 64, Question 2) That limits the force of this passage considerably: it makes it more clear that he thought heresy could only be violently suppressed if there is no other way to neutralize it. (In reality, they shouldn't be violently suppressed even then, unless they themselves are violent and there's no other way to stop them, because then it's simply a matter of self-defense, which is just.)

It should also be remembered that the heretics of his day were the Albigensians, whose religious practices included violence against Catholics and the pillaging of Catholic towns. That's why in the paragraph you quoted he identifies heretics as "foes who persecute [us]." Persecutors really can be legitimately suppressed, and must be. But when you keep that in mind, it is easier to see that when he says we may use the sword to suppress heresy, he is saying that we may use violence to defend the Church against violence itself, and that's not altogether different from the principle of self-defense.

Now I agree with you that St. Thomas doesn't always understood these matters perfectly, and that has to be taken into account. But when we read this passage as referring to the Albigensian heresy, and take it in the context of the rest of his doctrine on the death penalty, one sees that this passage is much closer to the authentic Catholic doctrine than it seems to be on a surface-level reading.


#16

[quote="dmar198, post:15, topic:324779"]
Our social doctrine wasn't different in the thirteenth century than it is now. The doctrine is (and has always been) that religious freedom is to be respected, and the death penalty is only to be used as a last resort against people whose violence can't be contained. Now you are correct that this hasn't always been put into practice by our bishops, and some of them executed heretics who were not murderers and who were quite containable. But these were abuses. Before, during, and after these times, the principles that guard against this remained part of the Church's teaching. We as Catholics don't believe that our bishops always understand Catholic doctrine perfectly and we don't claim that they always put it into practice. Abuses have always been committed, or St. Joan of Arc would never have been executed. But to use that list of executions as a proof that the Church's social doctrine allowed liberal application of the death penalty is like using a list of predator priests as proof that the Church's social doctrine permits child molestation. It doesn't follow, and there is an abundance of evidence against it from that time and before. I acknowledge that this quote sounds very unsettling on its surface, but it also needs to be taken in the context of Aquinas' doctrine of the death penalty, which according to St. Thomas and the Church can only be used as a last resort. He doesn't state that in *this* passage, because his style is to deal with things separately (which is annoying in situations like this), but he is the one who used the classic analogy that the death penalty is like amputation: it should only be used as a last resort, and when you do it while alternative solutions remain, then it becomes a sin. (Summa Theologiae II-II, Article 64, Question 2) That limits the force of this passage considerably: it makes it more clear that he thought heresy could only be violently suppressed if there is no other way to neutralize it. (In reality, they shouldn't be violently suppressed even then, unless they themselves are violent and there's no other way to stop them, because then it's simply a matter of self-defense, which is just.)

It should also be remembered that the heretics of his day were the Albigensians, whose religious practices included violence against Catholics and the pillaging of Catholic towns. That's why in the paragraph you quoted he identifies heretics as "foes who persecute [us]." Persecutors really can be legitimately suppressed, and must be. But when you keep that in mind, it is easier to see that when he says we may use the sword to suppress heresy, he is saying that we may use violence to defend the Church against violence itself, and that's not altogether different from the principle of self-defense.

Now I agree with you that St. Thomas doesn't always understood these matters perfectly, and that has to be taken into account. But when we read this passage as referring to the Albigensian heresy, and take it in the context of the rest of his doctrine on the death penalty, one sees that this passage is much closer to the authentic Catholic doctrine than it seems to be on a surface-level reading.

[/quote]

The Albigensian heresy was not the only heresy of the era or the eras after it. True enough that Aquinas doesn't advocate holy war like jihad, but he absolutely does believe than unrepentant heretics, violent or not, should be executed by the state.

It was regular and approved practice to hand over any kind of heretics, violent and non-violent, to be killed by secular authorities - you can't call something an abuse if it is the norm rather than the exception. Giordano Bruno was not a violent heretic. I feel no need to defend Aquinas or the Church on the matter, since it was not a doctrine that heretics should be handed over to secular authorities to be executed, just the conventional, some might even say traditional practice. Perhaps those who are so obsessed with preserving non-Doctrinal Church traditions ought to keep this in mind.


#17

If you want to call it a non-doctrinal tradition that was in error, that’s fine by me – I don’t think we disagree in substance about that and we may just be talking past each other. To me, the term “abuse” is appropriate for sinful practices done by Church clerics, and being the norm has nothing to do with it – at least in my opinion. That may be just a conflict over words, which I don’t think either of us wants to get into.

Vatican 2’s Declaration on Religious Freedom indicates that it is a sin to execute heretics merely for their heresy, and Catholics should use the Church’s tradition to demonstrate that this has always been part of the Church’s teaching, even if it has not always been perfectly understood. When it comes to St. Thomas Aquinas I don’t deny that he misunderstood some of these principles, and he may have been trying to justify abuses (or erroneous non-doctrinal traditions), in good faith thinking that they were okay because they were practiced by holy people who misunderstood the principle of religious freedom. But the principle of religious toleration and the avoidance of capital punishment and the doctrine of just war also show up, and in my opinion we ought to give him the benefit of the doubt if there are passages where he appears to deny something the Church teaches today and if those passages can be interpreted in a more generous way.

I hope it becomes clear from that that I’m not in denial of St. Thomas’ imperfections re: social doctrines, but I am trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and interpret him in a more generous way than some of his statements suggest on the surface. And that is the way the Summa works. It is not always clear and it does not always use modern language. We shouldn’t expect him to say in so many words, “Don’t turn over someone to secular authorities to be killed if they repent after having relapsed into heresy unless they are violent.” There are so many levels in that that we should expect them to be dealt with separately. We should expect a treatment of the death penalty in general and we should expect to find there that it is only to be used as a last resort. We do find that. When he talks about when killing heretics is justifiable, we should expect a confinement of his subject to heretics who engage in violence and pillaging. He does mention that that’s what he’s talking about. In other passages he says that the State may legitimately permit each sect to exist. That would not be true if he thought heretics should always be exterminated. For all these reasons, and perhaps others that I’m not thinking of at the moment, I think we should be generous in our interpretation of St. Thomas Aquinas and search the Summa for important developments in our doctrine on religious toleration – and that’s what I try to do.


#18

[quote="dmar198, post:17, topic:324779"]
If you want to call it a non-doctrinal tradition that was in error, that's fine by me -- I don't think we disagree in substance about that and we may just be talking past each other. To me, the term "abuse" is appropriate for sinful practices done by Church clerics, and being the norm has nothing to do with it -- at least in my opinion. That may be just a conflict over words, which I don't think either of us wants to get into.

Vatican 2's Declaration on Religious Freedom indicates that it is a sin to execute heretics merely for their heresy, and Catholics should use the Church's tradition to demonstrate that this has always been part of the Church's teaching, even if it has not always been perfectly understood. When it comes to St. Thomas Aquinas I don't deny that he misunderstood some of these principles, and he may have been trying to justify abuses (or erroneous non-doctrinal traditions), in good faith thinking that they were okay because they were practiced by holy people who misunderstood the principle of religious freedom. But the principle of religious toleration and the avoidance of capital punishment and the doctrine of just war also show up, and in my opinion we ought to give him the benefit of the doubt if there are passages where he appears to deny something the Church teaches today and if those passages can be interpreted in a more generous way.

I hope it becomes clear from that that I'm not in denial of St. Thomas' imperfections re: social doctrines, but I am trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and interpret him in a more generous way than some of his statements suggest on the surface. And that is the way the Summa works. It is not always clear and it does not always use modern language. We shouldn't expect him to say in so many words, "Don't turn over someone to secular authorities to be killed if they repent after having relapsed into heresy unless they are violent." There are so many levels in that that we should expect them to be dealt with separately. We should expect a treatment of the death penalty in general and we should expect to find there that it is only to be used as a last resort. We do find that. When he talks about when killing heretics is justifiable, we should expect a confinement of his subject to heretics who engage in violence and pillaging. He does mention that that's what he's talking about. In other passages he says that the State may legitimately permit each sect to exist. That would not be true if he thought heretics should always be exterminated. For all these reasons, and perhaps others that I'm not thinking of at the moment, I think we should be generous in our interpretation of St. Thomas Aquinas and search the Summa for important developments in our doctrine on religious toleration -- and that's what I try to do.

[/quote]

I originally misread your original post, so I tried to edit it to reflect that I realized this. I think at this point, though we may just have to agree to disagree.


#19

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