Thursday, June 17, 2010

Killing, repressing and imprisoning heretics is always wrong

Believe it or not, there is a controversy in Christendom even in our time, and particularly in the circles of traditional Catholicism about killing, silencing and imprisoning heretics. After the Second Vatican Council issued the document Dignitatis humanae in 1965, which made this repression no longer officially politick, some traditional Catholics termed it a betrayal of the ways of the old Church or even of the Gospel.

Multitudes of people have left the Roman Catholic Church in past ages due to its facilitation of the imprisonment and execution of "heretics" by Catholic civil authorities. Less notorious is the fact that many Protestant churches, such as the Anglican, Lutheran and Presbyterian, are also guilty of similar crimes, including against Catholic dissenters. Other than Roman Catholic theologians, the strongest justification for the imprisonment and execution of "heretics," was offered by the Calvinist theologian Samuel Rutherford (also spelled "Rutherfurd"), Professor of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews, in his book of 410 pages, A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience (London, 1649).

Here below is a statement from a representative of a very old church, the Greek Orthodox Church. Be certain to ponder the last paragraph which quotes a truly Christ-like, truly ancient and truly inspiring truth, articulated by St. John Chrysostom.

"WE ALL WORSHIP THE SAME GOD" 
By Metropolitan Ephraim of Boston          

 This article was written some years ago for the benefit of people who belonged to various jurisdictions of "World Orthodoxy," whose bishops and clergy were active participants in Ecumenism and who were teaching their adherents that "we all worship the same God." With some slight editorial modifications, here is the text:    

 In discussing this issue with friends and acquaintances, the following "parable" might be useful in clarifying our thoughts.

There is, indeed, only one true God, as the Holy Scriptures and our Holy Orthodox Faith affirm, but not all men worship Him; nor is it simply a matter of different peoples calling Him by various names, as some suppose. In various passages of the Old and New Testaments, He has described Himself to us, as far as it is possible for us to comprehend; these descriptions exclude many of the attributes which, for example, Hindus and others ascribe to Him. In the holy Prophets of Israel, God has many witnesses who foretold His incarnation and His sojourn among us. He has become man for us in time and space, and given us teachings about His Person and His relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit (hence, we know that He is one God in Trinity). So, as we said, we know that there is only one true God and that He has certain identifiable attributes. 

Likewise, there is only one Father Neketas Palassis in the whole universe. He is unique, since, presumably, only he has his unique DNA and other unique characteristics. Now — paraphrasing Father Michael Azkoul's example* — suppose you wanted to meet Father Neketas and you asked me to describe him to you. If I were to tell you that he is seven feet tall, weighs 300 pounds, has a red beard, green eyes, and speaks only Swahili with a French accent, and lives in Lompoc, California, would you ever be able to locate him and make his acquaintance — if you accepted my description of him as true?** 

In like manner, if you accepted a wrong description of God as being true, would you be able to find and acknowledge Him? For example, if someone were to tell you that God highly esteems men who are suicide bombers who kill innocent men, women and children; or that He approves of the "honor killing" of women; or that He reincarnates people as cats, dogs, or fish (1); or that He is a Tibetan monk and He teaches that nothing has any meaning; or that He is the Great Pumpkin Who rises into the sky from the Sacred Pumpkin Patch on Halloween night — would you ever be able to find the real God? — if you believed any of these false descriptions of Him?      

In Church terminology, these false descriptions are called "heresies."        

Further, it is important to know that, in the teachings of its Saints, the Orthodox Church — unlike some denominations or sects -- does not condone the extermination, persecution, or condemnation to death of individuals who disagree with the Church's teachings. For example, St. John Chrysostom, one of the Church's foremost preachers, teaches us the following:

 I do not persecute the heretic bodily, but I wage war against him with words — and not even against the heretic, but only against his heresy: I do not disdain the man; it is the error I hate, and I seek to pull him out of it….I am accustomed to being persecuted, not to persecute others….Thus did Christ triumph; He did not crucify, but rather it was He that was crucified. He did not smite others, but was Himself smitten. [PG 50, 701]* (Emphasis supplied).

(End quote from Metropolitan Ephraim of Boston)

 (1) Footnote added by Hoffman: Orthodox Judaism believes in gilgul (reincarnation). Cf. Judaism Discovered.

***

17 comments:

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

Mr. Hoffman,

So then do you condemn the proceedings of the Spanish Inquisition?

Michael Hoffman said...

Dear Bro. Anthony

Readers of Revisionist History Newsletter no. 52 know that in certain respects the "Spanish Inquisition" was itself operated by neo-Platonic and Kabbalistic infiltrators.

I will not repeat the documentation for that assertion here. If you are a serious student of this subject, you may wish to obtain issue no. 52.

Sincerely,
Michael Hoffman

Cruzada said...

The eminent Catholic historian Dr. William Thomas Walsh, defined Spain’s Holy Inquisition as a “declaration of independence against the domination of Jews and Moors.”

Michael Hoffman said...

To Cruzada

William Thomas Walsh was writing seventy years ago. Much has to come light since then concerning the Spanish inquisition. We mention these new discoveries in Revisionist History newsletter no. 52.

La Cruzada said...

Saint Thomas More, with his characteristic wit, has left us a lengthy confutation of William Tyndall, in whose false English translation of the New Testament the blessed confessor, Bishop Tunstal, noted no less than two thousand corruptions, and More five-thousand.

St. Thomas More named Tyndall “the father of all heresies, by virtue of his false translating” describing him as a “drowsy drudge” who “hath drunken so deep in the devils dregs,” whom the “devil hath stricken...stark blind, and set him in the corner with a chain...& made him his ape to sit there and serve him and to make him sport...” More continues :

" I shall show you first an example thereof in the first chapter of the Gospel of Saint John, which place Tyndall hath wrong translated also ; for what cause, the devil and he knoweth. For Tyndall is not ignorant of that article, neither the Greek nor the English, and maketh himself as though he translated the New Testament out of Greek. These words be the words of the Gospel in that place, after Tyndall’s translation.

"This is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and levites from Jerusalem to ask him what art thou, and he confessed and denied not & said plainely, ‘I am not Christ.’ And they asked him, ‘what then, art thou Helias?’ And he said, I am not.’ ‘Art thou a prophet?’ And he answered, ‘no.’

"I would not here note by the way, that Tyndall here translateth no for nay, for it is but a trifle and mistaking of the english word : saving that ye should see that he, which in two so plain english words, and so common as nay and no, can not tell when he should take the one, and when the other, is not, for translating into english, a man very meet. For the use of those two words in answering to a question is this. Nay answereth the question framed by the affirmative. As for example, if a man should ask Tyndall himself : ‘Is an heretic meet to translate holy scripture into english?’ Lo, to this question, if he will answer true english, he must answer nay and not no. But and if the question be asked him thus, lo : ‘Is not an heretic meet to translate holy scripture into english?’ To this question, lo, if he will answer true english, he must answer no & not nay. And a like difference is there between these two adverbs, ye and yes. For if the question be framed unto Tyndall by the affirmative in this fashion : ‘If an heretic falsely translate the New Testament into english, to make his false heresies seem the word of God, be his books worthy to be burned?’ To this question asked in this wise, if he will answer true english, he must answer ye and not yes. But now if the question be asked him thus, lo, by the negative : ‘If an heretic falsely translate the New Testament into english, to make his false heresies seem the word of God, be not his books well worthy to be burned?’ To this question in this fashion framed, if he will answer true english, he may not answer ye, but he must answer yes, and say, ‘Yes, may be they, both the translation and the translator, and all that will hold with them.’ And this thing, lo, though it be no great matter : yet I have thought it good to give Tyndall warning of, because I would have him write true one way or other, that though I can not make him by no mean to write true matter, I would have him yet at the least wise write true english."

HallnOates said...

(Possible?)HEADLINE:

Hoffman Silences Words of Church Father

John A said...

La Cruzada, the famous filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard once said that the best way to criticize a film is to make a better one. If there was a problem with the accuracy of Tyndale's translation, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church could have chosen to produce a superior translation rather than burn the inferior translator at the stake.

Let's not forget the purpose of Tyndale's translation. He cautioned his readers -- "to beware of allegories; for there is not a more handsome or apt thing to beguile withal than an allegory; nor a more subtle and pestilent thing in the world to persuade a matter than an allegory."

Perhaps Tyndale was an honest man who feared the tendency of an educated elite to interrupt the Bible as an occult book of Kabbalistic allegories and symbols. Or maybe he was a dangerous heretic.

This goes back to the original point of Mr Hoffman's post: the best way to settle the issue is through an exchange of words and not through the use of physical persecution.

La Cruzada said...

Here follows St. Thomas Aquinas' opinion on what should be done with heretics :

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[11] A[3] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, With regard to heretics two points must be observed: one, on their own side; the other, on the side of the Church. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. For it is a much graver matter to corrupt the faith which quickens the soul, than to forge money, which supports temporal life. Wherefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[11] A[3] Body Para. 2/2

On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy which looks to the conversion of the wanderer, wherefore she condemns not at once, but "after the first and second admonition," as the Apostle directs: after that, if he is yet stubborn, the Church no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others, by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church, and furthermore delivers him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated thereby from the world by death. For Jerome commenting on Gal. 5:9, "A little leaven," says: "Cut off the decayed flesh, expel the mangy sheep from the fold, lest the whole house, the whole paste, the whole body, the whole flock, burn, perish, rot, die. Arius was but one spark in Alexandria, but as that spark was not at once put out, the whole earth was laid waste by its flame."

La Cruzada said...

John A,

The Roman Catholic Church did produce a superior version. In fact it is superior to every English version published since : The Rhemes-Douai of 1582/1609-10. Interestingly enough, the authorities of the Church weakened by the seven-headed hydra of Judaism, Occult Neo-Platonism, Protestantism, Freemasonry, Liberalism, Modernism, and finally Conciliarism, have been instrumental in suppressing this "most faithful English text of Holy Scripture as translated from the sole authoritative source - the Latin Vulgate." For Post-Reformation History, as Joseph De Maistre once wrote, has become a permanent conspiracy against the Truth.

As to Tyndale, I suggest reading Doctrine in Tyndale's New Testament : Translation as a Tendentious Art by Stanley R. Maveety. The author writes :

"As we have seen, Luther (and Tyndale after him) avoided old, traditionally established words, particularly where such words supported doctrine to which he was hostile. His technique was to substitute synonyms or near synonyms at critical points of the text, and though he used the method first, Tyndale carried it further.

"In modern discussions of sixteenth-century Bible translations, either German or English, we generally hear of what the translators did for the language-from a “literary” point of view. Well and good. But we should notice also-from a theological point of view-what they did with the language. To relate this study to a truism of the Reformation I should like to remind the reader that the Bible as the infallible book was the chief weapon of the Reformers. As Professor John Dillenberger has written “Scripture Alone” serves as a slogan for the Reformation, and “means that the sole source of authority for the Christian and for the Church is derived from the Scripture.” Luther & Tyndale encouraged their readers to test the established Church and its institutions including the opinions of the Church fathers by the Bible ; but as I believe I have shown, we should say, the Bible as first interpreted and then translated by those who were hostile to certain aspects of the Church. That interpretation preceded translation might seem reasonable were it not that the vernacular Bible was sometimes described as the opening at long last of the barred door to impartial Truth. Beyond doubt, that was the view of the Reformation translators ; but, as we have seen, before unlocking the door they took pains to arrange the exhibit."

One might surmise that Protestant Scriptural translation is more akin to the Masorete interpretation, whereby a system of points allow the Talmudists to shade & corrupt the Word of God to their own absurd notions. As Dr. Gregory Martin, the translator of the Rhemes, has amply shown : “the Protestants…by their false translations, have instead of Gods Law and Testament, and for Christ’s written will and word, given them their own wicked writing and phantasies...corrupting both the letter and sense by false translation, adding, detracting, altering, transposing, pointing, and all other guileful means : specially where it serveth for the advantage of their private opinions.” For just as the Jews “cannot find Christ in the Scriptures,” so neither can the readers of the heretical versions discover in them the Church or her doctrines. As Thomas Ward once wrote :

“I am sure, {O Protestant} for your part, you discover as little love and affection to this mystical body and most beautiful spouse of Christ, as the reprobated Jews did to Christ himself. The Jews bruised, wounded and mangled his most innocent and sacred body with cruel stripes, and crowned his tender head with sharp and piercing thorns, leaving not any sound part in him from head to foot, and even deprived him of life by nailing his sacred hands and feet to the cross. You, Sir, imitating them, bend all your endeavors to wound, bruise, ulcerate, corrupt, deform, mangle, rend in pieces, and utterly destroy, if you could, his mystical body the holy catholic church.”

John A said...

La Cruzada, thank you for your thoughtful response. I wish I could engage you on a higher level, but, to be honest, whether I'm one of the "rude and rustic people" in Thomas More's Utopia or one of the "simple and savage people" in Francis Bacon's New Atlantis makes no difference to me. However, I'm strongly opposed to either King Utopus or Solamona killing those they deem heretics.

La Cruzada said...

St Thomas More wrote his own epitaph, saying that he “was a source of trouble to thieves, murderers and heretics.” When writing to Erasmus of Rotterdam about the epitaph, he said he had written it “with deep feeling. I find that breed of men [heretics] absolutely loathsome, so much so that, unless they regain their senses, I want to be as hateful to them as anyone can possibly be.”

Michael Hoffman said...

What a horrible perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ to associate it with hating people denominated as heretics.

Furthermore, Erasmus was a key supporter of the rabbinic agent Johann Reuchlin, who was a staunch opponent of the courageous movement, led by the Judaic convert to Catholicism Johannes Pfefferkorn, to expose the the extent of the encroachment of Talmud and Kabbalah in the Church.

Thomas More, like John Fisher, was deeply implicated in neo-Platonic heresy and supported the rabbinic infiltration of the Catholic Church through the subversive movement misnamed "Christian Kabbalah."

It is dangerous to applaud hating people, as La Cruzada seems to do, particularly when, in view of his own misbegotten beliefs, More would, by his own logic, have been compelled to hate himself.

La Cruzada said...

Mr. Hoffman,

I am neither applauding nor condemning but providing historical evidence that Saints of the Church promoted the uprooting of heretics by death. Do you believe St. Thomas Aquinas' teaching is a "horrible perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ." ?

Catholics, like the Hebrews of old, are told to love their neighbors. But we are not encouraged to confuse charity for fellow men with a sentimental and suicidal toleration for false ideas. "Moses, acting under divine inspiration, never hesitated to shed blood rather than let his Chosen People become like the Egyptians, with their corrupting Astarte, or those Phoenicians who sacrificed innocent babies to their idol Molech."

In better times Reuchlin would have been burned and the world would have been better off!

Michael Hoffman said...

Matthew 5:43-48.

La Cruzada said...

In the Rhemes New Testament of 1582 the following note is appended to the words of our Lord—Luke ix., 55—when he rebuked two of his disciples for their desire to destroy those who refused to receive him: 


“Not justice, nor all rigorous punishment of sinners, is here forbidden ; nor Elias's fact reprehended; nor the Church, nor Christian princes, blamed for putting heretics to death; but that none of these should be done for desire of our particular revenge, or without discretion, and in regard of their amendment and example to others. Therefore, St. Peter used his power upon Ananias and Sapphira, when he struck them both down to death for defrauding the Church.”

Hebrews x., 29, is, in like manner, applied to the corporal punishment of Heretics. The Verse is followed by the Notation in the margin :

"A man making the law of Moses frustrate : without any mercy dieth under two or three witnesses. how much more think you, doth he deserve worse punishments which hath trodden the son of God under foot, and esteemed the blood of the testament polluted, wherein he is sanctified, and hath done contumely to the spirit of grace?"

The note reads :

"Heresy and Apostasy from the Catholic faith, punishable by death."

WLindsayWheeler said...

I would like to add that the Natural Law also backs up Cruzada
s quote of St. Thomas Aquinas.

The Natural Law is that "One bad apple destroys the bushel". Once the farm dog has the taste of blood, he can't be changed back, he must be taken out.

If a man keeps his error to his self, there is no problem. Once a heretic begins to announce and propagate his error, he becomes evil. The Catholic Church uses all means beforehand, it listens, it holds a trial, or a council to consider the matter and if the man is in error refutes his arguments. If the man persists, then, capital punishment must be used.

Plato in the Laws, has the same method. If an atheist is found, the man is given five years of counseling and education in order to turn him back to faith. After such time that he remains steadfast in his atheism, he is then is condemned to death.

Plato, who was a philodorian, carrying on Spartan philosophy, rightly saw, just as the Spartans, that Atheism was dangerous to the body politic and if allowed, would have destroyed the city. Atheists weren't allowed in Sparta.

The Natural Law backs up St. Thomas Aquinas's teaching. "Bad apples" have to be removed.

Malleus hereticorum said...

"My inspiration is Jesus Christ who was, far from being a heresy-hunter, executed as a heretic." - Michael Hoffman

Methinks Mr. Hoffman you're a heretic.

St. Anthony of Padua, Hammer of Heretics. Ora pro nobis.