Respondeo dicendum quod circa haereticos duo sunt consideranda, unum quidem ex parte ipsorum; aliud ex parte Ecclesiae. Ex parte quidem ipsorum est peccatum per quod meruerunt non solum ab Ecclesia per excommunicationem separari, sed etiam per mortem a mundo excludi. Multo enim gravius est corrumpere fidem, per quam est animae vita, quam falsare pecuniam, per quam temporali vitae subvenitur. Unde si falsarii pecuniae, vel alii malefactores, statim per saeculares principes iuste morti traduntur; multo magis haeretici, statim cum de haeresi convincuntur, possent non solum excommunicari, sed et iuste occidi.
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.
Ex parte autem Ecclesiae est misericordia, ad errantium conversionem. Et ideo non statim condemnat, sed post primam et secundam correctionem, ut apostolus docet. Postmodum vero, si adhuc pertinax inveniatur, Ecclesia, de eius conversione non sperans, aliorum saluti providet, eum ab Ecclesia separando per excommunicationis sententiam; et ulterius relinquit eum iudicio saeculari a mundo exterminandum per mortem. Dicit enim Hieronymus, et habetur XXIV, qu. III, resecandae sunt putridae carnes, et scabiosa ovis a caulis repellenda, ne tota domus, massa, corpus et pecora, ardeat, corrumpatur, putrescat, intereat. Arius in Alexandria una scintilla fuit, sed quoniam non statim oppressus est, totum orbem eius flamma populata est.
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.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ad modestiam illam pertinet ut primo et secundo corripiatur. Quod si redire noluerit, iam pro subverso habetur, ut patet in auctoritate apostoli inducta.
Reply Obj. 1: This very modesty demands that the heretic should be admonished a first and second time: and if he be unwilling to retract, he must be reckoned as already subverted, as we may gather from the words of the Apostle quoted above.
Ad secundum dicendum quod utilitas quae ex haeresibus provenit est praeter haereticorum intentionem, dum scilicet constantia fidelium comprobatur, ut apostolus dicit; et ut excutiamus pigritiam, divinas Scripturas sollicitius intuentes, sicut Augustinus dicit. Sed ex intentione eorum est corrumpere fidem, quod est maximi nocumenti. Et ideo magis respiciendum est ad id quod est per se de eorum intentione, ut excludantur; quam ad hoc quod est praeter eorum intentionem, ut sustineantur.
Reply Obj. 2: The profit that ensues from heresy is beside the intention of heretics, for it consists in the constancy of the faithful being put to the test, and makes us shake off our sluggishness, and search the Scriptures more carefully, as Augustine states (De Gen. cont. Manich. i, 1). What they really intend is the corruption of the faith, which is to inflict very great harm indeed. Consequently we should consider what they directly intend, and expel them, rather than what is beside their intention, and so, tolerate them.
Ad tertium dicendum quod, sicut habetur in decretis, XXIV, qu. III, aliud est excommunicatio, et aliud eradicatio. Excommunicatur enim ad hoc aliquis, ut ait apostolus, ut spiritus eius salvus fiat in die Domini. Si tamen totaliter eradicentur per mortem haeretici, non est etiam contra mandatum domini, quod est in eo casu intelligendum quando non possunt extirpari zizania sine extirpatione tritici, ut supra dictum est, cum de infidelibus in communi ageretur.
Reply Obj. 3: According to Decret. (xxiv, qu. iii, can. Notandum), to be excommunicated is not to be uprooted. A man is excommunicated, as the Apostle says (1 Cor 5:5) that his spirit may be saved in the day of Our Lord. Yet if heretics be altogether uprooted by death, this is not contrary to Our Lord’s command, which is to be understood as referring to the case when the cockle cannot be plucked up without plucking up the wheat, as we explained above (Q. 10, A. 8, ad 1), when treating of unbelievers in general.
Utrum revertentes ab haeresi sint omnino ab ecclesia recipiendi
Whether the Church should receive those who return from heresy?
Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod revertentes ab haeresi sint omnino ab Ecclesia recipiendi. Dicitur enim Ierem. III, ex persona domini, fornicata es cum amatoribus multis, tamen revertere ad me, dicit dominus. Sed Ecclesiae iudicium est iudicium Dei, secundum illud Deut. I, ita parvum audietis ut magnum, neque accipietis cuiusquam personam, quia Dei iudicium est. Ergo si aliqui fornicati fuerint per infidelitatem, quae est spiritualis fornicatio, nihilominus sunt recipiendi.
Objection 1: It would seem that the Church ought in all cases to receive those who return from heresy. For it is written (Jer 3:1) in the person of the Lord: Thou hast prostituted thyself to many lovers; nevertheless return to Me saith the Lord. Now the sentence of the Church is God’s sentence, according to Deut. 1:17: You shall hear the little as well as the great: neither shall you respect any man’s person, because it is the judgment of God. Therefore even those who are guilty of the prostitution of unbelief which is spiritual prostitution, should be received all the same.
Praeterea, Dominus, Matth. XVIII, Petro mandat ut fratri peccanti dimittat non solum septies, sed usque septuagies septies, per quod intelligitur, secundum expositionem Hieronymi, quod quotiescumque aliquis peccaverit, est ei dimittendum. Ergo quotiescumque aliquis peccaverit in haeresim relapsus, erit ab Ecclesia suscipiendus.
Obj. 2: Further, Our Lord commanded Peter (Matt 18:22) to forgive his offending brother not only seven times, but till seventy times seven times, which Jerome expounds as meaning that a man should be forgiven as often as he has sinned. Therefore he ought to be received by the Church as often as he has sinned by falling back into heresy.
Praeterea, haeresis est quaedam infidelitas. Sed alii infideles volentes converti ab Ecclesia recipiuntur. Ergo etiam haeretici sunt recipiendi.
Obj. 3: Further, heresy is a kind of unbelief. Now other unbelievers who wish to be converted are received by the Church. Therefore heretics also should be received.
Sed contra est quod decretalis dicit, quod si aliqui, post abiurationem erroris, deprehensi fuerint in abiuratam haeresim recidisse, saeculari iudicio sunt relinquendi. Non ergo ab Ecclesia sunt recipiendi.
On the contrary, The Decretal Ad abolendam (De Haereticis, cap. ix) says that those who are found to have relapsed into the error which they had already abjured, must be left to the secular tribunal. Therefore they should not be received by the Church.
Respondeo dicendum quod Ecclesia, secundum domini institutionem, caritatem suam extendit ad omnes, non solum amicos, verum etiam inimicos et persequentes, secundum illud Matth. V, diligite inimicos vestros, benefacite his qui oderunt vos. Pertinet autem ad caritatem ut aliquis bonum proximi et velit et operetur. Est autem duplex bonum. Unum quidem spirituale, scilicet salus animae, quod principaliter respicit caritas, hoc enim quilibet ex caritate debet alii velle. Unde quantum ad hoc, haeretici revertentes, quotiescumque relapsi fuerint, ab Ecclesia recipiuntur ad poenitentiam, per quam impenditur eis via salutis.
I answer that, In obedience to Our Lord’s institution, the Church extends her charity to all, not only to friends, but also to foes who persecute her, according to Matt. 5:44: Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you. Now it is part of charity that we should both wish and work our neighbor’s good. Again, good is twofold: one is spiritual, namely the health of the soul, which good is chiefly the object of charity, since it is this chiefly that we should wish for one another. Consequently, from this point of view, heretics who return after falling no matter how often, are admitted by the Church to Penance whereby the way of salvation is opened to them.
Aliud autem est bonum quod secundario respicit caritas, scilicet bonum temporale, sicuti est vita corporalis, possessio mundana, bona fama, et dignitas ecclesiastica sive saecularis. Hoc enim non tenemur ex caritate aliis velle nisi in ordine ad salutem aeternam et eorum et aliorum. Unde si aliquid de huiusmodi bonis existens in uno impedire possit aeternam salutem in multis, non oportet quod ex caritate huiusmodi bonum ei velimus, sed potius quod velimus eum illo carere, tum quia salus aeterna praeferenda est bono temporali; tum quia bonum multorum praefertur bono unius. Si autem haeretici revertentes semper reciperentur ut conservarentur in vita et aliis temporalibus bonis, posset in praeiudicium salutis aliorum hoc esse, tum quia, si relaberentur alios inficerent; tum etiam quia, si sine poena evaderent, alii securius in haeresim relaberentur; dicitur enim Eccle. VIII, ex eo quod non cito profertur contra malos sententia, absque timore ullo filii hominum perpetrant mala.
The other good is that which charity considers secondarily, viz. temporal good, such as life of the body, worldly possessions, good repute, ecclesiastical or secular dignity, for we are not bound by charity to wish others this good, except in relation to the eternal salvation of them and of others. Hence if the presence of one of these goods in one individual might be an obstacle to eternal salvation in many, we are not bound out of charity to wish such a good to that person, rather should we desire him to be without it, both because eternal salvation takes precedence of temporal good, and because the good of the many is to be preferred to the good of one. Now if heretics were always received on their return, in order to save their lives and other temporal goods, this might be prejudicial to the salvation of others, both because they would infect others if they relapsed again, and because, if they escaped without punishment, others would feel more assured in lapsing into heresy. For it is written (Eccl 8:11): For because sentence is not speedily pronounced against the evil, the children of men commit evils without any fear.
Et ideo Ecclesia quidem primo revertentes ab haeresi non solum recipit ad poenitentiam, sed etiam conservat eos in vita; et interdum restituit eos dispensative ad ecclesiasticas dignitates quas prius habebant, si videantur vere conversi. Et hoc pro bono pacis frequenter legitur esse factum. Sed quando recepti iterum relabuntur, videtur esse signum inconstantiae eorum circa fidem. Et ideo ulterius redeuntes recipiuntur quidem ad poenitentiam, non tamen ut liberentur a sententia mortis.
For this reason the Church not only admits to Penance those who return from heresy for the first time, but also safeguards their lives, and sometimes by dispensation, restores them to the ecclesiastical dignities which they may have had before, should their conversion appear to be sincere: we read of this as having frequently been done for the good of peace. But when they fall again, after having been received, this seems to prove them to be inconstant in faith, wherefore when they return again, they are admitted to Penance, but are not delivered from the pain of death.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod in iudicio Dei semper recipiuntur redeuntes, quia Deus scrutator est cordium, et vere redeuntes cognoscit. Sed hoc Ecclesia imitari non potest. Praesumit autem eos non vere reverti qui, cum recepti fuissent, iterum sunt relapsi. Et ideo eis viam salutis non denegat, sed a periculo mortis eos non tuetur.
Reply Obj. 1: In God’s tribunal, those who return are always received, because God is a searcher of hearts, and knows those who return in sincerity. But the Church cannot imitate God in this, for she presumes that those who relapse after being once received, are not sincere in their return; hence she does not debar them from the way of salvation, but neither does she protect them from the sentence of death.
Ad secundum dicendum quod dominus loquitur Petro de peccato in eum commisso, quod est semper dimittendum, ut fratri redeunti parcatur. Non autem intelligitur de peccato in proximum vel in Deum commisso, quod non est nostri arbitrii dimittere, ut Hieronymus dicit; sed in hoc est lege modus statutus, secundum quod congruit honori Dei et utilitati proximorum.
Reply Obj. 2: Our Lord was speaking to Peter of sins committed against oneself, for one should always forgive such offenses and spare our brother when he repents. These words are not to be applied to sins committed against one’s neighbor or against God, for it is not left to our discretion to forgive such offenses, as Jerome says on Matt. 18:15, If thy brother shall offend against thee. Yet even in this matter the law prescribes limits according as God’s honor or our neighbor’s good demands.
Ad tertium dicendum quod alii infideles, qui nunquam fidem acceperant, conversi ad fidem nondum ostendunt aliquod signum inconstantiae circa fidem, sicut haeretici relapsi. Et ideo non est similis ratio de utrisque.
Reply Obj. 3: When other unbelievers, who have never received the faith are converted, they do not as yet show signs of inconstancy in faith, as relapsed heretics do; hence the comparison fails.
Deinde considerandum est de apostasia. Et circa hoc quaeruntur duo.
We must now consider apostasy: about which there are two points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum apostasia ad infidelitatem pertineat.
(1) Whether apostasy pertains to unbelief?
Secundo, utrum propter apostasiam a fide subditi absolvantur a dominio praesidentium apostatarum.
(2) Whether, on account of apostasy from the faith, subjects are absolved from allegiance to an apostate prince?
Utrum apostasia pertineat ad infidelitatem
Whether apostasy pertains to unbelief?
Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod apostasia non pertineat ad infidelitatem. Illud enim quod est omnis peccati principium non videtur ad infidelitatem pertinere, quia multa peccata sine infidelitate existunt. Sed apostasia videtur esse omnis peccati principium, dicitur enim Eccli. X, initium superbiae hominis apostatare a Deo; et postea subditur, initium omnis peccati superbia. Ergo apostasia non pertinet ad infidelitatem.
Objection 1: It would seem that apostasy does not pertain to unbelief. For that which is the origin of all sins, does not, seemingly, pertain to unbelief, since there are many sins without unbelief. Now apostasy seems to be the origin of every sin, for it is written (Sir 10:14): The beginning of the pride of man is apostasy from God, and further on, (Sir 10:15): Pride is the beginning of all sin. Therefore apostasy does not pertain to unbelief.
Praeterea, infidelitas in intellectu consistit. Sed apostasia magis videtur consistere in exteriori opere vel sermone, aut etiam in interiori voluntate, dicitur enim Prov. VI, homo apostata vir inutilis, gradiens ore perverso, annuit oculis, terit pede, digito loquitur, pravo corde machinatur malum, et in omni tempore iurgia seminat. Si quis etiam se circumcideret, vel sepulcrum Mahumeti adoraret, apostata reputaretur. Ergo apostasia non pertinet directe ad infidelitatem.
Obj. 2: Further, unbelief is an act of the understanding: whereas apostasy seems rather to consist in some outward deed or utterance, or even in some inward act of the will, for it is written (Prov 6:12–14): A man that is an apostate, an unprofitable man walketh with a perverse mouth. He winketh with the eyes, presseth with the foot, speaketh with the finger. With a wicked heart he deviseth evil, and at all times he soweth discord. Moreover if anyone were to have himself circumcised, or to worship at the tomb of Mahomet, he would be deemed an apostate. Therefore apostasy does not pertain to unbelief.
Praeterea, haeresis, quia ad infidelitatem pertinet, est quaedam determinata species infidelitatis. Si ergo apostasia ad infidelitatem pertineret, sequeretur quod esset quaedam determinata species infidelitatis. Quod non videtur, secundum praedicta. Non ergo apostasia ad infidelitatem pertinet.
Obj. 3: Further, heresy, since it pertains to unbelief, is a determinate species of unbelief. If then, apostasy pertained to unbelief, it would follow that it is a determinate species of unbelief, which does not seem to agree with what has been said (Q. 10, A. 5). Therefore apostasy does not pertain to unbelief.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Ioan. VI, multi ex discipulis eius abierunt retro, quod est apostatare, de quibus supra dixerat Dominus: sunt quidam ex vobis qui non credunt. Ergo apostasia pertinet ad infidelitatem.
On the contrary, It is written (John 6:67): Many of his disciples went back, i.e., apostatized, of whom Our Lord had said previously (John 6:65): There are some of you that believe not. Therefore apostasy pertains to unbelief.
Respondeo dicendum quod apostasia importat retrocessionem quandam a Deo. Quae quidem diversimode fit, secundum diversos modos quibus homo Deo coniungitur. Primo namque coniungitur homo Deo per fidem; secundo, per debitam et subiectam voluntatem ad obediendum praeceptis eius; tertio, per aliqua specialia ad supererogationem pertinentia, sicut per religionem et clericaturam vel sacrum ordinem. Remoto autem posteriori remanet prius, sed non convertitur. Contingit ergo aliquem apostatare a Deo retrocedendo a religione quam professus est, vel ab ordine quem suscepit, et haec dicitur apostasia religionis seu ordinis. Contingit etiam aliquem apostatare a Deo per mentem repugnantem divinis mandatis. Quibus duabus apostasiis existentibus, adhuc potest remanere homo Deo coniunctus per fidem.
I answer that, Apostasy denotes a backsliding from God. This may happen in various ways according to the different kinds of union between man and God. For, in the first place, man is united to God by faith; second, by having his will duly submissive in obeying His commandments; third, by certain special things pertaining to supererogation such as the religious life, the clerical state, or Holy Orders. Now if that which follows be removed, that which precedes, remains, but the converse does not hold. Accordingly a man may apostatize from God, by withdrawing from the religious life to which he was bound by profession, or from the Holy Order which he had received: and this is called apostasy from religious life or Orders. A man may also apostatize from God, by rebelling in his mind against the Divine commandments: and though man may apostatize in both the above ways, he may still remain united to God by faith.
Sed si a fide discedat, tunc omnino a Deo retrocedere videtur. Et ideo simpliciter et absolute est apostasia per quam aliquis discedit a fide, quae vocatur apostasia perfidiae. Et per hunc modum apostasia simpliciter dicta ad infidelitatem pertinet.
But if he give up the faith, then he seems to turn away from God altogether: and consequently, apostasy simply and absolutely is that whereby a man withdraws from the faith, and is called apostasy of perfidy. In this way apostasy, simply so called, pertains to unbelief.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod obiectio illa procedit de secunda apostasia, quae importat voluntatem a mandatis Dei resilientem, quae invenitur in omni peccato mortali.
Reply Obj. 1: This objection refers to the second kind of apostasy, which denotes an act of the will in rebellion against God’s commandments, an act that is to be found in every mortal sin.
Ad secundum dicendum quod ad fidem pertinet non solum credulitas cordis, sed etiam protestatio interioris fidei per exteriora verba et facta, nam confessio est actus fidei. Et per hunc etiam modum quaedam exteriora verba vel opera ad infidelitatem pertinent, inquantum sunt infidelitatis signa, per modum quo signum sanitatis sanum dicitur. Auctoritas autem inducta, etsi possit intelligi de omni apostasia, verissime tamen convenit in apostasia a fide. Quia enim fides est primum fundamentum sperandarum rerum, et sine fide impossibile est placere Deo; sublata fide, nihil remanet in homine quod possit esse utile ad salutem aeternam; et propter hoc primo dicitur, homo apostata vir inutilis. Fides etiam est vita animae, secundum illud Rom. I, iustus ex fide vivit. Sicut ergo, sublata vita corporali, omnia membra et partes hominis a debita dispositione recedunt; ita, sublata vita iustitiae, quae est per fidem, apparet inordinatio in omnibus membris. Et primo quidem in ore, per quod maxime manifestatur cor; secundo, in oculis; tertio, in instrumentis motus; quarto, in voluntate, quae ad malum tendit. Et ex his sequitur quod iurgia seminet, alios intendens separare a fide, sicut et ipse recessit.
Reply Obj. 2: It belongs to faith not only that the heart should believe, but also that external words and deeds should bear witness to the inward faith, for confession is an act of faith. In this way too, certain external words or deeds pertain to unbelief, insofar as they are signs of unbelief, even as a sign of health is said itself to be healthy. Now although the authority quoted may be understood as referring to every kind of apostate, yet it applies most truly to an apostate from the faith. For since faith is the first foundation of things to be hoped for, and since, without faith it is impossible to please God; when once faith is removed, man retains nothing that may be useful for the obtaining of eternal salvation, for which reason it is written (Prov 6:12): A man that is an apostate, an unprofitable man: because faith is the life of the soul, according to Rom. 1:17: The just man liveth by faith. Therefore, just as when the life of the body is taken away, man’s every member and part loses its due disposition, so when the life of justice, which is by faith, is done away, disorder appears in all his members. First, in his mouth, whereby chiefly his mind stands revealed; second, in his eyes; third, in the instrument of movement; fourth, in his will, which tends to evil. The result is that he sows discord, endeavoring to sever others from the faith even as he severed himself.
Ad tertium dicendum quod species alicuius qualitatis vel formae non diversificatur per hoc quod est terminus motus a quo vel ad quem, sed potius e converso secundum terminos motuum species attenduntur. Apostasia autem respicit infidelitatem ut terminum ad quem est motus recedentis a fide. Unde apostasia non importat determinatam speciem infidelitatis, sed quandam circumstantiam aggravantem, secundum illud II Pet. II, melius erat eis veritatem non cognoscere quam post agnitam retroire.
Reply Obj. 3: The species of a quality or form are not diversified by the fact of its being the term wherefrom or whereto of movement: on the contrary, it is the movement that takes its species from the terms. Now apostasy regards unbelief as the term whereto of the movement of withdrawal from the faith; wherefore apostasy does not imply a special kind of unbelief, but an aggravating circumstance thereof, according to 2 Pet. 2:21: It had been better for them not to know the truth, than after they had known it, to turn back.
Utrum princeps propter apostasiam a fide amittat dominium in subditos, quin ei obedire non teneantur
Whether a prince forfeits his dominion over his subjects because of apostasy from the faith, so that they no longer owe him allegiance?
Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod princeps propter apostasiam a fide non amittat dominium in subditos, quin ei teneantur obedire. Dicit enim Ambrosius quod Iulianus imperator, quamvis esset apostata, habuit tamen sub se Christianos milites, quibus cum dicebat, producite aciem pro defensione reipublicae, obediebant ei. Ergo propter apostasiam principis subditi non absolvuntur ab eius dominio.
Objection 1: It would seem that a prince does not so forfeit his dominion over his subjects, on account of apostasy from the faith, that they no longer owe him allegiance. For Ambrose says that the Emperor Julian, though an apostate, nevertheless had under him Christian soldiers, who when he said to them, “Fall into line for the defense of the republic,” were bound to obey. Therefore subjects are not absolved from their allegiance to their prince on account of his apostasy.