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Excerpt from the Papal Encyclical MIRARI VOS

Encyclical of Pope Gregory XVI (on Liberalism and Religious Indifferentism)
August 15, 1832

This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it.

Here We must include that harmful and never sufficiently denounced freedom to publish any writings whatever and disseminate them to the people, which some dare to demand and promote with so great a clamor.

"We must fight valiantly", Clement XIII says in an encyclical letter about the banning of bad books, "as much as the matter itself demands and must exterminate the deadly poison of so many books; for never will the material for error be withdrawn, unless the criminal sources of depravity perish in flames"

Nor can We predict happier times for religion and government from the plans of those who desire vehemently to separate the Church from the state, and to break the mutual concord between temporal authority and the priesthood. It is certain that that concord which always was favorable and beneficial for the sacred and the civil order is feared by the shameless lovers of liberty.


Excerpt from the Bull Ad Extirpanda (Latin)
May 15, 1252
Pope Innocent IV

.... Teneantur praeterea potestas, seu rector, omnes haereticos quos captos habuerit, cogere, citra membri diminutionem et mortis periculum, .... errores suos expresse fateri, et accusare alios haereticos quos sciunt [....]


Excerpt from
Adversus haereticam

.... nos illas [leges Federici II.] volentes ad robur fidei, ac salutem fidelium observari, universitati vestrae per Apostolica scripta mandamus, quatenus eas, quorum tenores vobis mittimus insertos praesentibus, faciatis singuli in vestris capitularibus annotari, contra haereticos sectae cujuslibet secundum eas exacta diligentia processuri.


On the Cathari

In terris vero temporali nostre iurisdictioni subiectis bona eorum [fautorum, receptatorum, defensorum et credentium] statuimus publicari []. Nec ad eos bona ipsorum ulterius revertantur, nisi eis ad cor redeuntibus et abnegantibus hereticorum consortium aliquis voluit misereri: ut temporalis saltem pena corripiat, quem spiritualis non corrigit disciplina. Cum enim secundum legitimas sanctiones reis lese maiestatis punitis capite bona confiscentur ipsorum, eorum filiis vita solummodo ex misericordia conservata: quanto magis, qui aberrantes in fide Deum Dei filium Iesum Chistum offendunt, a capite nostro, quod est Christus, ecclesiastica debent districtione precidi et bonis temporalibus spoliari.

Othmar Hageneder, Register Innozenz III, Bd. 2 (1979), No. 1.


On the Arian Controversy

Si vero ex laicis extiterit, et honore solutus et loco, omni rerum erit possessione nudatus, ita ut omnis transgressor sanctionis huius aut eterno exilio mancipatus intereat, aut divina miseratione respectus a prevaricatione convertatur et vivat

Liber Iudicorum XII, 2 (MGH LL Sectio I, 1)


On Manichaeism

Manichaeos [...] vel donatistas meritissima severitate persequimur. huic itaque hominum generi nihil ex moribus, nihil ex legibus sit commune cum ceteris. Ac primum quidem volumus esse publicum crimen [...] quos bonorum etiam publicatione persequimur. [...] Ipsos quoque volumus amoveri ab omni liberalitate et successione quolibet titulo veniente. Praeterea non donandi, non emendi, non vendendi, non postremo contrahendi cuiquam convicto relinquimus facultatem. In mortem quoque inquisitio tendatur. nam si in criminibus maiestatis licet memoriam accusare defuncti, non immerito et hic debet subire iudicium [...]

Codex Iustinianus 1,5,4


Canon Law vs. secular Common law:

In England the provisions of Magna Carta (which had been denounced by the Catholic Church) had been interpreted as representing torture to be abhorrent to the principle of English freedom, and the Common Law did not permit its use . When two Inquisitors were sent to England in 1310 to extract confessions from Knights Templars, they insisted on using torture . The king allowed some torture to be applied "according to ecclesiastical law", but apparently not enough to satisfy the Inquisitors. The Pope wrote to the King:

"We hear that you forbid torture as contrary to the laws of your land; but no state can override Cannon Law, Our Law; therefore I command you at once to submit these men to torture...Withdraw your prohibition and we grant you remission of sins..."

-Letter from Pope Clement V to King Edward II of England.
Regestum Clementis Papae V, nunc primum editum cura et studio Monachorum Ordinis S. Benedicti, (Rome, 1885-92) year 5, no. 6670, pp 84-6.
The English translation is quoted from G. G. Coulton, Medieval Panorama, (CUP, 1947) p 380.

Clement was asking for the Templars to be taken to Ponthieu, in Edward's French territories, where the Inquisitors could work normally. It seems likely that the Inquisitors could not get the results they wanted in England because the civil authorities were insisting that the rules be followed, and that the tortures applied should not cause permanent injury or violent effusion of blood. These rules were routinely ignored in France, and nearly all French Templars either died under torture or else confessed to charges put to them. For a full account see Barber, The Trial of the Templars, especially pp 197-199.


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