3 Comments

  1. rodneyathomasjr

    Wow,

    That quote by Aquninas ought to give us pause. Just amazing.

    Reply
  2. Ben

    Continue the Aquinas quote a bit further, and you’ll see that his opinion is a bit different:

    “Objection 3. Further, Augustine says (Tract. xxvi in Joan.) that “it is possible for a man to do other things against his will, but he cannot believe unless he is willing.” Therefore it seems that unbelievers ought not to be compelled to the faith.

    Objection 4. It is said in God’s person (Ezekiel 18:32 [Ezekiel 33:11]): “I desire not the death of the sinner [Vulgate: ‘of him that dieth’].” Now we ought to conform our will to the Divine will, as stated above (I-II, 19, A9,10). Therefore we should not even wish unbelievers to be put to death.

    On the contrary, It is written (Luke 14:23): “Go out into the highways and hedges; and compel them to come in.” Now men enter into the house of God, i.e. into Holy Church, by faith. Therefore some ought to be compelled to the faith.

    I answer that, Among unbelievers there are some who have never received the faith, such as the heathens and the Jews: and these are by no means to be compelled to the faith, in order that they may believe, because to believe depends on the will: nevertheless they should be compelled by the faithful, if it be possible to do so, so that they do not hinder the faith, by their blasphemies, or by their evil persuasions, or even by their open persecutions. It is for this reason that Christ’s faithful often wage war with unbelievers, not indeed for the purpose of forcing them to believe, because even if they were to conquer them, and take them prisoners, they should still leave them free to believe, if they will, but in order to prevent them from hindering the faith of Christ.

    On the other hand, there are unbelievers who at some time have accepted the faith, and professed it, such as heretics and all apostates: such should be submitted even to bodily compulsion, that they may fulfil what they have promised, and hold what they, at one time, received.”

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