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The Church’s Rigor against Heresies

In today’s general atmosphere of ecumenism, it seems quite opportune to recall the third canon of the Fourth Lateran Council that rigorously excommunicates the crimes of heresy and suspicion of heresy. It magnificently reminds us of the militancy of the Catholic Church, which has been fraudulently concealed after Vatican II. This canon is like a stroke of lightning in the sky that purifies the atmosphere and allows us to see in the dark storm.

Fourth Lateran Council (1215)

We excommunicate and anathematize every heresy that raises itself up against this holy, orthodox and Catholic Faith that we have just expounded. We condemn all heretics under any name whatsoever they may use. For, if their faces are different, their tails are all tied together by their pride. Once condemned, let them be handed over to the secular powers to receive their due punishment; or if they are members of the clergy, let them first be degraded from their orders. The goods of the lay heretics are to be confiscated, and that of clerics to be given to the churches from which they received their stipends.

Those who are only found suspect of heresy are to be excommunicated, unless they prove their innocence by an appropriate penance … and if they persist in this state for one year, they are to be condemned as heretics.

Let the secular authorities be warned and, if necessary, compelled by ecclesiastical censure, to publicly swear that they will expel from their lands all heretics designated by the Church. If a temporal lord, once admonished, neglects to purge his lands of them, he will be excommunicated by the Metropolitan and other co-provincials. If he refuses to give satisfaction within one year, the Sovereign Pontiff will be warned of this so that he can release his vassals of their oath of fidelity and offer his lands to be conquered by Catholics so that they, after expelling the heretics, may possess and preserve them in the purity of the Faith, preserving the right of the overlord [suzerain of the punished one] provided that he raises no obstacles to the execution of this decree. The same law is to be observed regarding those who do not have an overlord.

Catholics who take the cross for the expulsion of heretics shall enjoy the same indulgence as is granted to those who go to the fight in the Holy Land.

(Apud Rohrbacher,
Histoire Universelle de l’Eglise Catholique,
1885, vol. 7.1.71, p. 385)

Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted June 28, 2008

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