When did executing heretics become immoral?


That was before the resurrection. Afterwards?

Sell your cloak and buy a sword. Anyway, it is not up to me or you to decide what Scripture says or doesn’t say; hence the need for the Tradition of the Church:

@MichaelP3 and @jcrichton

Exsurge Domine explicitly condemns as error the idea that burning heretics is against the will of the Spirit. While this does not command the burning of heretics (a position I never took nor even implied) it does allow for it. We cannot say that executing heretics is intrinsically evil, for the Church herself has spoken and declared it at least theoretically licit.

So the “Catholic position” is that burning heretics is at least theoretically licit. It comes down to prudence. Should this particular heretic be executed? Is this particular State threatened by this particular heresy or blasphemy? Is death the only available solution or the best available solution?

My position is simple: there is no right to blaspheme or spread error and there cannot be. Any state which allows for these under the guise of “liberty” is in terrible error.


So you mean every state in the world including the Vatican?


If the Vatican really does allow public displays of blasphemy and heresy, then things are even worse than I thought.


Not public, but you won’t be imprisoned for heresy even in the one state where the Church is sovereign. Clergy may be tried for heresy, true, but the penalties are strictly ecclesiastical in nature.


Well, I’m certainly glad that chunkmunks opinions have fallen out of favor.



I might be slow or the text does not offer the complete information but here’s what I gathered:

Exsurge Domine
Indeed immediately after the publication of this letter these works, wherever they may be, shall be sought out carefully by the ordinaries and others [ecclesiastics and regulars], and under each and every one of the above penalties shall be burned publicly and solemnly in the presence of the clerics and people.:[10] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exsurge_Domine)

Unless you are intimating that the Catholic Church Taught that heretics and atheists should be sought out and burned in the presence or clergy and townspeople, we must conclude as the excerpt state: (heretical) works are to be burned not people!

Maran atha!



It is not about the Vatican; it is about the people.

If Catholics were to apply your rules we would be no better than Islam with ‘kill the infidels’ tenets and their terror fellowships.

Which directly contradicts what Jesus Commanded:

How harmless is burning to death or incarcerating those who oppose the Way?

Maran atha!



Jesus Himself was afraid of death and he was God incarnate. Not buying this argument.


Because of the ones exhibiting “Invincible Ignorance”. You could put them in a time machine and send them back to witness it first hand, and they would still comeback defending the Church?


Neither do I. Maran Atha!


I think it is correction 30. Around there.


I’m wondering now seeming that you are still very adamant.

If this Godly Church you refer to say your mother, father, son or brother should be burned for their “blasphemy” would you sit back and think “well that’s therefore the will of God and I agree”?

I mean its very easy to make proclamations when we are not personally part of it. Burning people are kinda taboo today so chances of that is slim. But Hey people are still publicly beheaded today but that’s not for preaching against Christianity so according to you it doesn’t count.

Also why burning. At least some countries today try more painless and humane deaths. So why did the Holy spirit specifically affirm burning. That is a very sad way to kill someone.

So again. If your son is sitting on that stake taking the flames after he has been convicted a heretic by Gods Church, would you be in the front row thinking that is how it should be? There are only 2 answers. A humane one and a very sad one.


If my mother, father, brother, or sister felt the need to proselytize for Satan then I would pray for them, and if we magically transported back to the Middle Ages and the State condemned them to death I would weep and pray and regret their decision.

The Church does not, should not, and cannot execute people.

Your question also works for murders. If my loved one was a murderer and was sentenced to death I would be horrified and I would live the rest of my life in pain, but I would still support the death penalty for murderers.

Though, for the seventh or eighth time, I would not necessarily support executing heretics and blasphemers in today’s society.


So what changed for today referring to your last statement?

Oh and, Why would you say the Church cannot execute people? Or would not?


But also your first paragraph? So although the Church say its all fine and Gods will is not your point? It’s just because apparently it was all the STATE so you will just be sad and keep on saying it was right ?


Nothing changed today. If you read my posts in this thread I have not said I would support capital punishment for heresy or blasphemy a single time. I’ve been strawmanned by people who want me to be saying that, and who have ignored my multiple clarifications, but I myself have never said it.

The clergy cannot perform executions for a variety of reasons. I believe St. Thomas Aquinas talked about it. I’m not sure exactly what the argument was but it made sense and I accept it.

The Church can’t do it, but the State can. The Church has consistently supported the right of the State to execute certain criminals. I never said it was God’s will that it be done, just that it was declared an error to say it was against God’s will that it be done. If it was intrinsically evil to execute heretics and blasphemers than the Church would never have allowed for it. They did allow it, and they cannot err, so it is not intrinsically evil.


I am not sure why you are confused by the responses on here?

So let us say today that the USA (STATE not Church as seem to be an impirtant factor) decides to burn every person who can be found denying the trinity and saying it on facebook. Will it be fine if they be burned at the stake?

Taking your post, it would seem the answer is yes.

If you say no then something changed which bring us back to the previous post.


@J_Peterson - I think He was more afraid of being tortured, not of death


Can you quote me once saying that the State should burn Facebook heretics at the stake?


You are very specific?

I asked you if that would be the case? It is a yes or no QUESTION. Therefore it still requires an answer.

So… take that post from start to finish and reply to it. Very simple.

Side note : I do realise you dodge some questions. I am not trying any tricks, be assured. Take what I say at face value and just try to answer them.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.