Aquinas on Religious (non)liberty

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by BayouHuguenot, Nov 17, 2017.

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  1. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I found this in Aquinas and thought it worth sharing. It's important to see his views on religious liberty within the commonwealth. Many converts to Roman Catholicism, who aren't hyper "trad Caths," would not like to compare Aquinas (or Pope Pius X) with, say, Pope Francis. He writes in the Summa theo. And while it is easy to make fun of Roman Catholicism on this point, this isn't that different from Turretin or Althusius. Turretin said arch-blasphemers like Servetus should be executed.

    Should we compel unbelievers? If an unbeliever has never received the faith, then we can’t compel him to the faith. We can negatively compel them, though. Aquinas writes: “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 (II-II Q. 10, Art. 8).

    Regarding pagan magistrates, Aquinas makes a careful two-fold distinction. In the early days, in a land where the faith has not yet been established, unbelievers may rule over believers. This can’t be helped. An example is the Roman Empire. Nevertheless, if a land has already received the faith, unbelievers may not rule over believers (Art. 10).

    Aquinas allows for Jewish rites to be practiced in the commonwealth, but no other non-Christian rite may be practiced (art. 11).
     
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