Saints and their opinions


Perhaps some of you can offer your opinions here. I’m doing some research for an essay of mine and some of that addresses Hagiography, the study of the lives of holy exemplars of their respective faiths

It’s come to my notice however that while some Catholic saints while they undoubtedly did some great things, miraculous if you believe in episodes like the Marian apparitions some of them say some really, if I’m quite honest about how it reads to me bone chilling statements .

Taking St. Thomas Aquinas as a first, the writer of the Summa Theologica, a triumph of Catholic Doctrine and Aristotelian Philosophy. His word was undoubtedly enlightening, but within it we also find suggestions such as this…

Therefore if a man be dangerous and infectious to the community, on account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and healthful that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good, since "a little leaven corrupteth the whole lump

A good plan to ensure adherence to authority im sure, but isn’t this rather macarbe? How do you personally judge it? Is he held to the standard of the time, or an an absolute standard? (I promise I’m not looking to poke fun or attack Catholic faith here, I really just have no clue how things like this are understood by believers today).

Another one that struck me as unusual, so much so I had to check to make sure it wasn’t just a claim from anti Catholics; Catherine of Siena…

***“Even if the Pope were Satan incarnate, we ought not to raise up our heads against him, but calmly lie down to rest on his bosom. He who rebels against our Father is condemned to death, for that which we do to him we do to Christ: we honor Christ if we honor the Pope; we dishonor Christ if we dishonor the Pope. I know very well that many defend themselves by boasting: “They are so corrupt, and work all manner of evil!” But God has commanded that, even if the priests, the pastors, and Christ-on-earth were incarnate devils, we be obedient and subject to them, not for their sakes, but for the sake of God, and out of obedience to Him.”***.

Now I may not have anything resembling the Papal Charism, but when I read about exemplars of a faith calling for ideological cleansing via the sword and potential reverence to the diabolic I can’t help but feel a little bit unnerved. I find similar thoughts in the writings of more modern saints as well like Escriva in “This Way”

"“Blessed be pain. Loved be pain. Sanctified be pain,Glorified be pain!” (In advocating daily self mortification)

Any and all responses are appreciated, thank you :slight_smile:

Important to understand a saint in the context of their era and culture.

Also, to realize, as I think Chesterton says, that a saint exaggerates what is missing in that era.

And last, to remember that even though they are saints, they are also human and therefore imperfect.

Catherine is citing several Biblical passage here:

1 Timothy 2:
“1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior…”

Read more:

First and foremost, the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2 commands us to pray for our governing leaders. In fact, just about every possible word for pray was used to communicate this truth. Further, we are not to pray for their demise. We are told that we pray in order that “we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” What does this mean? We pray for our leaders so we will will live in stable society that allows us to focus on worshiping God.

and from Heb 13: 17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.

1 Samuel 15:22-23
22 But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.”

You may want to read Jeremiah, where Jeremiah tells the king of Israel he had to submit to the conquering king ( I think Nebuchadnezzer, anyway, I forgot who) in order to live. The king does not, disobeys God, and Israel is is punished and so is the king.

St. Thomas was speaking in regard to capital punishment. Contrary to popular misconception, the Catholic Church does not categorically object to capital punishment. These words from St. Thomas are perfectly compatible with Catholic teaching today, though the teaching has been updated to reflect the effectiveness of imprisonment in the modern industrialized world (a world that St. Thomas did not inhabit):

Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.” [CCC 2267]

Another one that struck me as unusual, so much so I had to check to make sure it wasn’t just a claim from anti Catholics; Catherine of Siena…

St. Catherine is (properly) making a point about obedience. We have had a number of evil Popes, who might be regarded as “satan incarnate” (Alexander-6, for example). What we have not had is a Pope who has attempted to promote his personal evil as Catholic doctrine. Those who lived during the reign of Alexander-6 were well-advised to obey what he said (but to avoid what he did). This reflects the protection of the Holy Spirit, as was guaranteed to St. Peter. It would have been a grave error for righteous Catholics to overthrow Alexander-6 on account of his sinful conduct. The Church survived his reign, sins and all, without stain or blemish.

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