Tuesday, September 18, 2007

UPDATE: Ware And Church History

In an earlier post about Ware's discourse on church history, I made a huge gaff. I omitted a section of substantial importance to sustain my proposition that corruption and illicit practices do not negate the legitimacy of Catholic bishops any more than of Orthodox bishops.

On page 105 (2nd Ed.), Ware discusses the 15th Century treatment of heretics:

"Joseph [St., Abbot of Volokalamsk] upheld the view all but universal in Christendom at this time: if heretics are recalcitrant, the Church must call in the civil arm and resort to prison, torture and if necessary fire."

I raise the matter primarily because I've heard from some considering Orthodoxy that they could not consider becoming Roman Catholic, as that church has tortured and killed people to convince them into the Church. It seems the shoe is on the other foot as well.


Gil Garza said...

An interesting feature of medieval Byzantium was the practice of enforcing savage canonical penalties.
The revision of Byzantine law in the 8th century known as the Ecloga (a snip is found here: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/ecloga1.html ) called for penalties such as: chopping off noses, cutting out tongues, amputating hands and fingers, gouging out eyes, and burning off hair. These penalties were widely enforced for a host of crimes, ecclesiastical and civil. These penalties were unknown in Roman imperial law. Similar penalties existed (and still do) in Islamic courts. Perhaps, the exposure to Islamic law in Byzantium caused this shift.

As in Western societies, governments regularly enforced the rulings of ecclesiastical courts.

Thos said...


Amazing to think about. This reminds me how difficult it is for me to remove myself from a 21st Century American world-view. Amazing how different a world it is that we live in.

I am indebted for your contribution.