Many people critisize the catholic church because it would hand heretics over to the authorites for their false teachings. from there the authorities would often execute heretics by burning at the stake.
I believe that these actions, at the time, were justified because heresy is the cause for the damnation of souls and we execute people for murdering the body but heretics murder thousands of souls with their false teachings. Think about it, which is worse, for one person to die or for thousands to be led astray into hell because of false teachers and descievers. Even our lord himself said
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come!”
so here jesus says that it would be better for a person to be drowed (this was a form of execution) then for him to be allowed to lead others into sin. So when catholic governments would execute heretics, they were simply preserving the catholic faith and put down thoes who would interfere with the salvation of souls which is all that really matters in this world. And another thing that people need to realize is that when a person was tried for heresy, he was given many opertunities to confess. John Hus for instance was give countless opertunities to renounce his heresy, even when he was tied to the stake the clergyment pleaded with him to recant but when he refused they were left with no choice.
I think that there is a movement today to apologize for these kinds of events but I can’t help but feel that these actions were at least somewhat justified. Now today we have more humane ways with dealing with these problems but back then there may not have been as many options. Think about it, if the secular governments had dealt with luther the reformation might never have happened, think of all the problems and heesies we have had to deal with becuase of the reformation!
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