When did executing heretics become immoral?


Where was this? Were these the secular authorities in the papal state who were under the sovereign direct rule of the Pope?


The burning of heretics was immoral from the very first match. It should be said that these people were burning each other. I would also remind you and others that the secular authorities were the ones driving terror on both sides.


Not true. At least one poster has argued that it is objectively good to execute heretics and to do so today would be moral. I’m not naming names. Take another read through the thread.


“Not true. At least one poster has argued that it is objectively good to
execute heretics and to do so today would be moral. I’m not naming names.
Take another read through the thread.”

If someone said that, they either misrepresented what they meant or are
simply wrong. Because I don’t think anyone here would say that the Church
would agreed that it would have been just to sentence someone to death for
believing the heresy that teaches that Mary is not the Mother of God.

The heresies that the secular govt sentenced people to death over were
heresies that featured insurrection, public harm, public mass hysteria or
other general major civil unrest, and/or mob violence.

I might be wrong, but I think that poster was trying to make the point that
it wasn’t unreasonable (back in those times) to treat heresies that
featured insurrection and/or that kind of public backlash as a capital

NOTE: I’m not saying I agree or disagree with that poster.

God Bless


OK, I think this where we differ. It’s the definition of “The Church.” When Catholics use the word Church, we might be talking about several different things (each individually or more than one at the same time), all using one word - like the different meanings you see in the dictionary.

Sometimes the word is used in syntax that means:

    • the clergy and laity
    • they physical buildings
    • the mystical Body of Christ
    • he Bride of Christ
    • the magisterial teaching authority of the Church
    • some of the above
    • or all of the above

Confusing - yes, I know.

When we say “the Church” was not complicit in the execution of heretics, we are NOT denying that clergy and laity were involved. We totally acknowledge that. We are saying that the execution of heretics was not taught by the magisterial teaching authority of the Church, nor is a dogmatic or doctrinal teaching of the Church.

It was something that happen because humans in the Church buildings allowed it to happen, not because “The Church,” aka the Mystical Body of Christ told them to do so.
Such actions were not officially taught by the Magisterium of the Church.

When Catholics say “the Church” we don’t see an “earthy institution” lead by saints. We see a divine institution filled with sinners and flawed people.

Finally, in regards to political power… when most of the famous (not all, but most) heresy prosecutions were taking place, the Pope was beginning to loose political power. The Protestant reformation was already underway (or close to starting), and there were corrupt kings, dukes, princes, bishops, priests etc who controlled & filtered information from the Popes. We do not deny there was corrupt clergy and laity. There totally was, but they were acting against the teachings of The Church. They were representing their own interests, not the interests of the Christ and His Church.

And in hindsight, the lack of separation of Church and State was not good… But, it’s important to remember, that Christendom inherited the idea of Church and State closely intertwined from both the Jews and the Roman Empire. The intermingling of “Church and State” was as old as history itself. It really wasn’t until the United States was created, that a clear division was drawn.

In closing, the Catholic Church is not a Museum of Saints, it’s a hospital for sinners.

Am I making any sense at all? I pray that I am.

God Bless


According to the papal encyclical Vehementer Nos of Pope Pius X:
“That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error. “
And according to the Encyclical: Libertas of Pope Leo XIII: The need of separation between Church and state is a fatal theory.


I can agree with the first statement. There’s no reason why the Church MUST be completely divorced from the State… and in fact it almost never happens. Some Muslim countries today (most perhaps?) are quasi-theocratic from one degree to another and in a PC liberal world we are not allowed to criticize their cherished values.
Many European countries, despite being liberal, largely secular, etc still have formal, legal ties to a historic Church (UK comes to mind). When Catholics were persecuted in the U.K. this was a clear abuse… but today, I don’t see what harm the CofE does to those of other faiths.
Regardless, those two papal statements aren’t necessarily binding on Catholics today. Dogma can’t change, but the prudential teaching of Popes can and does. 20th/21st century Popes have accepted the democratic experiment.


The collapse of the Western Roman Empire was in no small part due to the first wave of invaders from the Asian Steppe (the Huns), not to mention Rome’s increasing reliance on its German “allies”, which ended up with Romulus Augustulus being confined to a villa and never being seen again.

And you’re really taking a few instances and blowing them entirely out of proportion. There was a great deal of Classical learning that the Church preserved. They weren’t the only ones, of course, Arab and Byzantine scholars also did their part, but certainly the Church played its part.

Yes, the church committed its share of misdeeds, but if you actually look at history fairly, on the balance, events like the Carolingian Renaissance happened precisely because the Church had retained some semblance of Romanic civilization and learning.


Any legitimate government has the right to exercise capital punishment.

We would be spared much pain if the modern day blasphemers, atheists, and heretics were punished by the State.


Wow. Truly think about what you just wrote. Do you know anything about history? You cannot be serious and I thank God that will never happen.


I know exactly what I wrote. To be perfectly honest, I find this modern “tolerance” to be more disgusting and cruel than you could possibly feel about my beliefs so the argument from faux-outrage isn’t really gonna work on me.


So tell me then, how should we punish all those atheists and those crazy blasphemers? :roll_eyes:


Public displays of blasphemy should be punished with prison and/or corporal punishment depending on the nature of the offence.

Though I wouldn’t be too outraged if death sentences were handed out for some, that wouldn’t really be my preference.


Yeah that crazy 1st Amendment! You’re sounding like a truly insane fundamentalist you know that?


Did God write the First Ammendement?

Really? Because here I waa thinking I sounded like the vast majority of orthodox Catholics throughout history.

Like I said, there is no level of disgust you could ever express for my opinions that would come even close to how I feel about yours.


Most references on this subject say Bruno was handed over to the secular authorities.

In this source as well

definition of secular power within that link?

you will also see this link explaining "secular power"


ChunkMonk has to be a poe surely? I’ll be an incredibly sad panda if not. Can’t have a theist stealing my crown as baby-eating supervillan.


The problem being that in Rome, the Church effectively was the secular authority. You do understand that the Papal States were pretty much the personal domain of the Papacy, and that its higher-ranking officials were Church officials.


Believe, me there’s nothing faux about my outrage. Even the Church has turned its back on practices of the past that it was party to. And of course, you can say this easily because you imagine that this state you imagine will naturally follow your beliefs, but what if said state decided YOU were the enemy. Do you still feel it has some sort of natural authority to light you on fire, behead you or crucify you because you would be, in the state’s view, a blasphemer or heretic?


It’s your responsibility to provide firm documentation of an accusation. It is not the responsibility of others to prove your accusation false. You haven’t done that, you merely provided a list.

Please give some references.

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