Historical insights – The Church of Rome’s law on the extermination of heretics


Lightning over the outskirts of Oradea, Romania, during the August 17, 2005 thunderstorm which went on to cause major flash floods over southern Romania. Wikipedia, Public Domain.

Luke 9

51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. 53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.


 The Church of Rome has two sources of authority, Tradition and Holy Scripture. While this might sound benign it has led to deadly error. The suppression of heresy by the punishment, banishment, and extermination of heretics is one of the errors springing from Rome’s refusal to come under the sole authority of God’s Word. (John 8:31Proverbs 30:6)

I first learned about the extermination of heretics from Protestant sources, such as, The History of the Waldenses by J. A. Wylie, but here is a primary source that demonstrates that this was Catholic policy codified in law about the time of Rome’s Crusade against the Albigenses of Southern France.

Medieval Sourcebook:
Twelfth Ecumenical Council:
Lateran IV 1215

Source: Fordham University

CANON 3

Text. We excommunicate and anathematize every heresy that raises against the holy, orthodox and Catholic faith which we have above explained; condemning all heretics under whatever names they may be known, for while they have different faces they are nevertheless bound to each other by their tails, since in all of them vanity is a common element. Those condemned, being handed over to the secular rulers of their bailiffs, let them be abandoned, to be punished with due justice, clerics being first degraded from their orders. As to the property of the condemned, if they are laymen, let it be confiscated; if clerics, let it be applied to the churches from which they received revenues. But those who are only suspected, due consideration being given to the nature of the suspicion and the character of the person, unless they prove their innocence by a proper defense, let them be anathematized and avoided by all 1-intil [until] they have made suitable satisfaction; but if they have been under excommunication for one year, then let them be condemned as heretics. Secular authorities, whatever office they may hold, shall be admonished and induced and if necessary compelled by ecclesiastical censure, that as they wish to be esteemed and numbered among the faithful, so for the defense of the faith they ought publicly to take an oath that they will strive in good faith and to the best of their ability to exterminate in the territories subject to their jurisdiction all heretics pointed out by the Church; so that whenever anyone shall have assumed authority, whether spiritual or temporal, let him be bound to confirm this decree by oath. But if a temporal ruler, after having been requested and admonished by the Church, should neglect to cleanse his territory of this heretical foulness, let him be excommunicated by the metropolitan and the other bishops of the province. If he refuses to make satisfaction within a year, let the matter be made known to the supreme pontiff, that he may declare the ruler’s vassals absolved from their allegiance and may offer the territory to be ruled lay Catholics, who on the extermination of the heretics may possess it without hindrance and preserve it in the purity of faith; the right, however, of the chief ruler is to be respected as long as he offers no obstacle in this matter and permits freedom of action. The same law is to be observed in regard to those who have no chief rulers (that is, are independent). Catholics who have girded themselves with the cross for the extermination of the heretics, shall enjoy the indulgences and privileges granted to those who go in defense of the Holy Land.

We decree that those who give credence to the teachings of the heretics, as well as those who receive, defend, and patronize them, are excommunicated; and we firmly declare that after any one of them has been branded with excommunication, if he has deliberately failed to make satisfaction within a year, let him incur ipso jure the stigma of infamy and let him not be admitted to public offices or deliberations, and let him not take part in the election of others to such offices or use his right to give testimony in a court of law. Let him also be intestable, that he may not have the free exercise of making a will, and let him be deprived of the right of inheritance. Let no one be urged to give an account to him in any matter, but let him be urged to give an account to others. If perchance he be a judge, let his decisions have no force, nor let any cause be brought to his attention. If he be an advocate, let his assistance by no means be sought. If a notary, let the instruments drawn up by him be considered worthless, for, the author being condemned, let them enjoy a similar fate. In all similar cases we command that the same be observed. If, however, he be a cleric, let him be deposed from every office and benefice, that the greater the fault the graver may be the punishment inflicted.

If any refuse to avoid such after they have been ostracized by the Church, let them be excommunicated till they have made suitable satisfaction. Clerics shall not give the sacraments of the Church to such pestilential people, nor shall they presume to give them Christian burial, or to receive their alms or offerings; otherwise they shall be deprived of their office, to which they may not be restored without a special indult of the Apostolic See. Similarly, all regulars, on whom also this punishment may be imposed, let their privileges be nullified in that diocese in which they have presumed to perpetrate such excesses.

But since some, under “the appearance of godliness, but denying the power thereof,” as the Apostle says (II Tim. 3: 5), arrogate to themselves the authority to preach, as the same Apostle says: “How shall they preach unless they be sent?” (Rom. 10:15), all those prohibited or not sent, who, without the authority of the Apostolic See or of the Catholic bishop of the locality, shall presume to usurp the office of preaching either publicly or privately, shall be excommunicated and unless they amend, and the sooner the better, they shall be visited with a further suitable penalty. We add, moreover, that every archbishop or bishop should himself or through his archdeacon or some other suitable persons, twice or at least once a year make the rounds of his diocese in which report has it that heretics dwell, and there compel three or more men of good character or, if it should be deemed advisable, the entire neighborhood, to swear that if anyone know of the presence there of heretics or others holding secret assemblies, or differing from the common way of the faithful in faith and morals, they will make them known to the bishop. The latter shall then call together before him those accused, who, if they do not purge themselves of the matter of which they are accused, or if after the rejection of their error they lapse into their former wickedness, shall be canonically punished. But if any of them by damnable obstinacy should disapprove of the oath and should perchance be unwilling to swear, from this very fact let them be regarded as heretics.

We wish, therefore, and in virtue of obedience strictly command, that to carry out these instructions effectively the bishops exercise throughout their dioceses a scrupulous vigilance if they wish to escape canonical punishment. If from sufficient evidence it is apparent that a bishop is negligent or remiss in cleansing his diocese of the ferment of heretical wickedness, let him be deposed from the episcopal office and let another, who will and can confound heretical depravity, be substituted.


Any understanding of “extermination” as to send beyond the boundaries of, in other words, as to banish, denies the facts of history: the burnings of Savonarola, John Huss, Jerome of Prague, William Tyndale, and Archbishop Cranmer; the Albigensian Crusade; frequent wars of extermination against the peaceful Waldensian Christians; the massacre of French Reformed Christians (Huguenots) on St. Bartholomew’s feast day and the days following; and certainly, the Inquisition. These things happened because the Church of Rome instituted, and her people followed, the tradition of the temporal authority of the pope leading to the policy of extermination. This policy contradicts the clear teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ recorded in Luke 8.

I hope and pray that you will see that Tradition + Scripture = madness. Go back and reread the passage from Luke 8, please! If you wish to confront me with Protestant sins, I understand this and confess them.

Revelation 18

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 


 


 

Itinerary for Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. – things to consider

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Next week the Pope plans to visit Cuba and the U.S.  Below is the itinerary for his time here.

Franciscus_kotel

from UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS:

Schedule: 2015 Apostolic Journey Of Pope Francis To The United States Of America

Here is the schedule for Pope Francis’ September 2015 Apostolic Journey to the United States of America as released by the Vatican on June 30, 2015.  All times listed are Eastern Daylight Time.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 (WASHINGTON, DC)

  • 4:00 p.m.    Arrival from Cuba at Joint Base Andrews

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 (WASHINGTON, DC)

  • 9:15  a.m.  Welcome ceremony and meeting with President Obama at the White House
  • 11:00 a.m.  Papal Parade along the Ellipse and the National Mall (time approximate)
  • 11:30 a.m. Midday Prayer with the bishops of the United States, St. Matthew’s Cathedral
  • 4:15  p.m.  Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 (WASHINGTON, DC, NEW YORK CITY)

  • 9:20  a.mAddress to Joint Meeting of the United States Congress (emphasis added)
  • 11:15 a.m. Visit to St. Patrick in the City and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington
  • 4:00 p.m.   Depart from Joint Base Andrews
  • 5:00 p.m.   Arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • 6:45 p.m.   Evening Prayer (Vespers) at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 (NEW YORK CITY)

  • 8:30  a.m. Visit to the United Nations and Address to the United Nations General Assembly
  • 11:30 a.m. Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center
  • 4:00  p.m.  Visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School, East Harlem
  • 5:00  p.m.   Procession through Central Park (time approximate)
  • 6:00  p.m.  Mass at Madison Square Garden

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 (NEW YORK CITY, PHILADELPHIA)

  • 8:40  a.m.  Departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • 9:30  a.m.  Arrival at Atlantic Aviation, Philadelphia
  • 10:30 a.m. Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia
  • 4:45  p.m.  Visit to Independence Mall
  • 7:30  p.m.  Visit to the Festival of Families Benjamin Franklin Parkway

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 (PHILADELPHIA)

  • 9:15   a.m.  Meeting with bishops at St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
  • 11:00  a.m. Visit to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
  • 4:00  p.m.   Mass for the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families, Benjamin Franklin Parkway
  • 7:00   p.m.  Visit with organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families, Atlantic Aviation
  • 8:00   p.m.  Departure

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In light of these things, I ask you to consider the following images and facts. 

Here are pictures of bas-relief sculptures which have been given a place of honor on the walls of the U.S. House of Representatives chamber:

Pope Innocent III House Chamber

In the Middle Ages, Pope Innocent III ordered the Crusade against the Albigenses, Christians who lived in the south of France. They were falsely labeled heretics, ‘Manicheans’, a kind of Gnostic. This slander continues to this day. (See Richard Bennett’s Berean Beacon about this.)

Gregory_IX_bas-relief_in_the_U.S._House_of_Representatives_chamber

Gregory IX founded the Inquisition which terrorized the West for more than six centuries, wearing out the saints and murdering millions.

Here is an explanation of why these icons, and others, appear in the House Chamber, from:

ARCHITECT OF THE CAPITOL

EXPLORE CAPITOL HILL:

INNOCENT III

The 23 marble relief portraits over the gallery doors of the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol depict historical figures noted for their work in establishing the principles that underlie American law. They were installed when the chamber was remodeled in 1949-1950.

Created in bas relief of white Vermont marble by seven different sculptors, the plaques each measure 28 inches in diameter. The eleven profiles in the eastern half of the chamber face left and the eleven in the western half face right, so that all look towards the full-face relief of Moses in the center of the north wall.

The subjects of the reliefs were chosen by scholars from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia Historical Society of Washington, D.C., in consultation with authoritative staff members of the Library of Congress. The selection was approved by a special committee of five Members of the House of Representatives and the Architect of the Capitol.

The plaster models for these reliefs are on display on the walls in the Rayburn House Office Building subway terminal.

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Here is just a little about the remarkable life of Innocent III from Catholicism.org:

Pope Innocent III and The Marks of a Great Papacy

“The Fourth Lateran Council”.

“In 1215, Innocent summoned the Twelfth Ecumenical Council of the Church known as the Fourth Lateran. The objective was to reaffirm contested truths of the Faith, condemn the heresies, especially the Albigensians, establish procedures for dealing with the Jews, define and establish the degrees of hierarchical authority, and establish an inquiry procedure (that would eventually become “The Inquisition”). It laid down new rules for the reform and education of the clergy, and called for a new crusade to win back the Holy Land. Finally, the Fourth Lateran Council gave us the first of three infallible definitions that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church. Never again could anyone doubt that it is absolutely necessary to be member of the Catholic Church in order to save one’s soul. In the definition directed against the Albigensians and other heretics, the council declared, “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one at all can be saved.””

Here is something Innocent said (from the same page at Catholicism.org):

Who am I and of what lineage that I should take my place above kings? For to me it is said in the prophets, ‘I have this day set thee over nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build and to plant.’ To me it is said in the apostles, ‘I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ The successor of St. Peter is the Vicar of Christ; he has been established as mediator between God and man, below God but beyond man; less than God but more than man; who shall judge all and be judged by no one.

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Here is a little about the remarkable life of Gregory IX from Britannica online:

Gregory IX, original name Ugo, or Ugolino, Di Segni (born before 1170—died Aug. 22, 1241, Rome), one of the most vigorous of the 13th-century popes (reigned 1227–41), a canon lawyer, theologian, defender of papal prerogatives, and founder of the papal Inquisition. Gregory promulgated the Decretals in 1234, a code of canon law that remained the fundamental source of ecclesiastical law for the Catholic Church until after World War I.”

Here are quotes from Gregory, words of love and words of hatred:

“How wondrously considerate of us is God’s pity! How priceless a love of charity which would sacrifice a son to redeem a slave!”

– Pope Gregory IX

“When you hear any layman speak ill of the Christian faith, defend it not with words but with the sword, which you should thrust into their belly as far as it will go”.

Pope Gregory IX (1227-1241) instructions to his clergy; Chronicles of the Crusade, G. de Villehardouin, p. 148.

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James 3:8,9

8 but the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

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Remembering all this seems harsh and uncharitable in light of who Francis seems to be, a soft-spoken man who has washed the feet of the poor and who encourages justice, tolerance, and mercy. But truth is definite: it limits how we can think about things and still remain honest. He allows himself to be addressed as “Holy Father.”

The visit is coming and the facts are there. Is it wise to despise the testimony of martyrs both before and after the Reformation, and especially the “more sure word of prophecy”

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