56 thoughts on “Gearing Up for Fortnight for Freedom

  1. Darryl – We in the Reformed and broader Protestant world can have our disagreements about 2K – and they are important – but Rome has always been about earthly power. Let us not forget that the Bishop of Rome is also a head of state – and acts like one.

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  2. “On behalf of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and by the authority of SS Peter and Paul his apostles, and by our own authority, acting on the general advice of our brethren, we utterly reject and condemn this settlement [the Magna Carta] and under threat of excommunication we order that the king should not dare to observe it and that the barons and their associates should not require it to be observed: the charter, with all undertakings and guarantees whether confirming it or resulting from it, we declare to be null, and void of all validity for ever. Wherefore, let no man deem it lawful to infringe this document of our annulment and prohibition, or presume to oppose it. If anyone should presume to do so, let him know that he will incur the anger of Almighty God and of SS Peter and Paul his apostles.”

    Yikes! Not a 2K kind of guy.

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  3. You raise a number of interesting points, DG.

    First, though, we should distinguish the first and final versions of the Magna Carta. Also, entirely non-R2k historical fact: Innocent III was the legitimate ruler of England – the English King was his vassal.

    The King had been at odds with both the clergy (Pope included) and the barons – building royal power. A resolution was reached with the clergy, but not with the barons. The barons banded together and made a number of demands of the King (e.g., right to declare war against him) based on their historical privileges.

    This would perhaps be like US corporations banding together and refusing to pay 21st century taxes based upon what tax rates had been pre-WWI. In both cases, the political system has evolved – but that doesn’t warrant rebellion (and indeed, the barons launched a war shortly afterward).

    What the barons ought to have done according to the political arrangements of the time was to petition the King’s vassal – Innocent III – for assistance. Perhaps Innocent III relied too much on the king’s version of the story (perhaps – Innocent states that the king initially agreed to it only “by force and by fear” – it could be the king simply wanted to avoid civil war); but the barons were, indeed, clearly rebellious.

    In any case, the Magna Carta was revised during subsequent discussions (radical content removed, e.g., that subjects have a right to declare war on the king, that England has free election of bishops) by the barons, King, Archbishop of Canterbury, and papal legate, and accepted by all parties in 1225. That is the version which has come down to us as final today.

    http://www.britannica.com/topic/Magna-Carta/Great-Charter-of-1215
    http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/3919/the_importance_of_the_magna_carta_800_years_on.aspx

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  4. As for your most interesting questions, a quote from Innocent III may prove useful:

    ‘If a Pope departs from the universal teaching and customs of the Church, “he need not be followed” in this regard.”

    It isn’t a universal custom of the Church that a pope be the leader of England. The Church today supports separation of state personnel from Church personnel. It takes informed, prudent reflection to determine the principles dictating what is universal and what isn’t.

    An example of a universal custom is the Church’s advice on just moral relations amongst men – including economic relations (although not generally on specific economic policy).

    DG: “So isn’t the notion of Roman Catholic social teaching a forerunner of what the bishops did at Vatican II” — I don’t understand that question. Can you clarify?

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  5. Kevin,

    I believe when Boniface VIII issued Unam Sanctam he based it on his Scriptural interpretation that Peter had carried two swords – one to rule over the church, one to rule over civil governments. So if he is to be obeyed, wouldn’t that be “universal custom”? Who overruled Boniface VIII?

    vhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unam_sanctam

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  6. Erik –

    Dante also put usurers and sodomites in the same circle of hell… bankers and wankers.

    I think Boniface’s statement was indeed traditional, and so would qualify as a universal teaching. (Of course, for what it’s worth, the one time I can recall Peter used his sword, he was chastised.)

    But I think Boniface’s point is fundamentally that values descend from God to us through embodied institutions, as with the Incarnation. We’re real flesh and blood, that’s how we experience the world and attain to higher things- we do not perceive invisible things. Therefore authorities of all types, when acting justly, are to be obeyed as acting on God’s plan, and when they aren’t, it is legitimately the role of the Church (specifically the papacy) to correct them.

    I don’t think the document can be used to justify management of national governments, although actions of these governments may sometimes need to be condemned. The papal states contained a number of lovely, morally stable cities, but it isn’t a part of the Church’s fundamental role to build roads or adjudicate property disputes. I wouldn’t mind hearing a papal condemnation of the credit card interest rates which do such damage to college students and the unemployed.

    I had an earlier comment (pending moderation, I think) which was more historically fact-based and less interpretive – I’ve reached my limit on posts for a bit.

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  7. Kevin, you pick the good parts of papal teaching (Leo XIII) and ignore the inconvenient parts (Innocent III) and you adapt the church to modernity, a la Vatican 2.

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  8. Compared to that crowd, Henry VIII was a saint.

    Um, no, Dr. History. Henry murdered his wife, and the mother of his child Elizabeth. Papal debauchery pales.

    As for the annulment request, infertility isn’t grounds for it, then or now.

    As for why Pope Innocent annulled the Magna Carta, it’s a shame you don’t explain to your readers why. I fear they are worse off for having read this.

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  9. DG,
    Sincere thanks for the response. I’m still trying to learn how the conversational dynamics work here, don’t want to be obnoxious.

    I find nothing about Innocent III to be inconvenient!

    The key difference between Innocent III and Leo XIII was that Innocent III inherited real power, and wasn’t limited to writings and internal Church discipline. I think it is essential to keep in mind Innocent’s uncompromising commitment to marriage in (as he expresses it) its four forms: between man and woman, Christ and the Church, God and the just soul, the Word and human nature.

    He worked to get the political order out of choosing bishops, annulled politically convenient incestuous royal marriages (i.e., contrary to royal wishes), and faced down those in power who mistreated their people. Not the way to curry political favor.

    To summarize my earlier post, in England he invalidated a draft of the 1216 Magna Carta that would have given license to civil war (perhaps as if US states proposed an amendment permitting the calling out of militias to march on D.C. – not warranted even if explicitly to overturn Roe v. Wade). We don’t know whether he would have approved of the final, tamer 1225 Magna Carta, but he may well have, and more importantly, his successor did.

    The Albigensians were a menace politically and socially in southern France, too powerful for the French crown to deal with alone. I think it is plain they led souls away from Christ with their frankly bizarre religious rights and beliefs (e.g., spitting upon pregnant women for having used sexuality to bring new life into the world).

    He excommunicated the Crusaders who invaded and looted Constantinople (although it is good to note this unjust sack was partly a reprisal for a previous Greek massacre of Latin Christians living in Constantinople who’d lived there for generations and longer).

    He approved the plans of Dominic and Francis to found orders committed to preaching and living the Gospels – which resulted in Bible-centered preaching often outdoors, quasi-American revivalist style. This included associations of lay people (as was Francis himself) devoted to religious practice.

    There may be a narrative which seeks to recast these facts in a sinister light, but we know the man’s mind from his writings. I do not think his intent to be faithful is in doubt. Further, I’d judge his rule a great blessing for the people of Europe.

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  10. Interesting, Kevin. I learn so much about Catholicism at the blog. Not from this blog exactly, but as a result of it. 😉

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  11. Kevin in Newark, “He excommunicated the Crusaders who invaded and looted Constantinople.”

    Imagine that, a pope who disciplines.

    If you think Innocent was a blessing to Europe, you are in the minority among Roman Catholics. Will you be observing the Fortnight for Freedom.

    But Innocent III should be part of Roman Catholic teaching, no?

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  12. Kevin,

    Being rude IS part of the conversational dynamics here.

    Most here are not a fan of outdoor, quasi-revivalist style preachers. This is an Old Side, Old School site

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  13. I couldn’t care less about the Fortnight of Freedom. I’m more excited for the Semester of Sex, sponsored by the pornocrat himself: Pope Sergius III.

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  14. Sergius according to Time:

    The truth about Sergius III has been lost in the mists of time — he lived more than one millennium ago. But he is believed to have the dubious distinction of being the only Pope to order another Pope’s death: in 904, Antipope Christopher is believed to have been strangled to death on the order of Sergius III — who took control of the papacy that same year. His shady doings didn’t end there. Sergius III is rumored to have dallied with Marozia — the daughter of Theophylactus, a powerful count who helped the Pope expand into more territory — and to have fathered her son. That son, incidentally, went on to become Pope John XI.

    Can’t be true according to the (Roman) Catholic Encyclopedia:

    Date of birth unknown; consecrated 29 Jan., 904; d. 14 April, 911. He was a Roman of noble birth and the son of Benedict. He became a strong upholder of the party opposed to Pope Formosus; as this party was not ultimately successful, the writings of its supporters, if they ever existed, have perished. Hence, unfortunately, most of our knowledge of Sergius is derived from his opponents. Thus it is by an enemy that we are told that Sergius was made Bishop of Caere by Formosus in order that he might never become Bishop of Rome. However, he seems to have ceased to act as a bishop after the death of Formosus, and was put forward as a candidate for the papacy in 898. Failing to secure election, he retired, apparently to Alberic, Count of Spoleto. Disgusted at the violent usurpation of the papal throne by Christopher, the Romans threw him into prison, and invited Sergius to take his place. Sergius at once declared the ordinations conferred by Formosus null; but that he put his two predecessors to death, and by illicit relations with Marozia had a son, who was afterwards John XI, must be regarded as highly doubtful. These assertions are only made by bitter or ill-informed adversaries, and are inconsistent with what is said of him by respectable contemporaries. He protected Archbishop John of Ravenna against the Count of Istria, and confirmed the establishment of a number of new sees in England. Because he opposed the errors of the Greeks, they struck his name from the diptychs, but he showed his good sense in declaring valid the fourth marriage of the Greek emperor, Leo VI. Sergius completely restored the Lateran Basilica, but he was buried in St. Peter’s.

    Is vd, t still taking notes?

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  15. DG, Seth,

    Innocent III is a part of Catholic teaching – his example of maintaining a correct sense of what God asks of all sectors of society, and unflagging devotion to implementing it. One might argue this is what the US bishops are trying to do with the Fortnight for Freedom. If so, then it seems to me they should reflect more on what goals have been articulated by great bishops of the past – we only get so much time and energy in life.

    Usually around the 4th I sit around a lovely lake in North Carolina with my in-laws singing American folk songs. Perhaps this year I’ll be too busy celebrating St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, both of whom would be chagrined to hear they died for ‘religious liberty’ (an unclear concept, but not I think a primary value in any of its meanings). Did the Apostles die for religious liberty?

    Sergius III is a great example of why we shouldn’t exaggerate the role of the papacy – an extremely pervasive error today. He didn’t, however, to my knowledge teach anything contrary to Christianity.

    Will you be celebrating the Fortnight, DG? How do you think we ought to understand ‘religious liberty’?

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  16. He didn’t, however, to my knowledge teach anything contrary to Christianity.

    Besides, ya know, that whole murder business.

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  17. Kevin,

    I’m with you about More. Sixteenth century Prots and RCs, Calvin and More, knew nothing of what we call religious liberty. It was a great contribution of the American form of government, but it had antecedents in the Anabaptists and Roger Williams.

    Christian liberty is this:

    1. The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curse of the moral law; and, in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin; from the evil of afflictions, the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation; as also, in their free access to God, and their yielding obedience unto him, not out of slavish fear, but a childlike love and willing mind. All which were common also to believers under the law. But, under the new testament, the liberty of Christians is further enlarged, in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish church was subjected; and in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of. (Confession of Faith, ch. 20)

    The role of the magistrate in protecting religious expression is this:

    3. Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven; or, in the least, interfere in matters of faith. Yet, as nursing fathers, it is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the church of our common Lord, without giving the preference to any denomination of Christians above the rest, in such a manner that all ecclesiastical persons whatever shall enjoy the full, free, and unquestioned liberty of discharging every part of their sacred functions, without violence or danger. And, as Jesus Christ hath appointed a regular government and discipline in his church, no law of any commonwealth should interfere with, let, or hinder, the due exercise thereof, among the voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according to their own profession and belief. It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered, either upon pretense of religion or of infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever: and to take order, that all religious and ecclesiastical assemblies be held without molestation or disturbance. (Confession of Faith ch 23)

    You do think the U.S. bishops are several steps removed from Innocent, right?

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  18. And regarding annulments- the man and woman are the primary ministers of the sacrament of matrimony (in the presence of God, of course), and ecclesiastical courts can’t annul a valid marriage. They merely determine whether a marriage was valid.

    A properly married couple who receives an annulment is still married. An ecclesiastical court who issues an improper verdict is culpable (perhaps most usually through failure to do due diligence). Both the couple and the courts will be answering for these grave errors before God upon death.

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  19. Newark Kevin,

    Sounds like a great July 4th. My brothers and I will be enjoying a similar time to you and yours. Accordion, mandolin, and banjo get together for a nice evening BBQ with Michigan beer and, perhaps, a visit from Lady Nicotine. Cheers.

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  20. In other news:

    It’s the 600th anniversary of Jan Hus’ death. The Pope was kind enough to invite the Czech brethren for a sit-down. I do find it a little odd, though, that there’s no mention of how Jan Hus actually died. Francis calls Hus and his work “a matter of controversy”. Uh, right. No doubt that’s exactly what the executioners were saying as they set Hus’ pyre alight and watched him burn to death – “If only this guy hadn’t been so controversial…”

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  21. Kevin’s going to have to become way less grounded and reasonable if he’s going to run with most of the Catholic apologists around here.

    Kevin – report immediately to apologist training camp on the planet Lovetron.

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  22. DG –

    I very much like the Ch. 20 paragraph – marvelously clear and forthright. I am interested to read the full document, perhaps this weekend.

    Regarding Ch. 23 – Doesn’t “protecting the church of our common Lord” (in whatever sense you want to define “church”) stand in clear contradiction with “without giving… preference” -? Protection requires appropriate discrimination.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses were banned from spreading their foolishness in Spain until the 1970s – I think this is a good thing, since it was under the guidance of the Church- a good example of cooperation between Church in State (but maintaining a clear separation of roles, Church advising and State carrying out).

    Shouldn’t we be alarmed when people abandon the Nicene creed for non-trinitarian or non-Christian religions? Shouldn’t we want to protect ill-informed Christians who are weak in the faith?

    I think the public / private distinction is useful here. If JWs want to practice in private, fine. But they should not be permitted to spread their errors in the public forum, which includes the press and going door-to-door. They do set a good example for public standards of dress, though (as does the Nation of Islam).

    Hungary’s constitution of 2013 declares it a Christian nation. I wish an overwhelming majority of the American populous were clamoring for a similar declaration (Constitutional amendment) from our legislators. Since this doesn’t seem likely any time soon, onward we go without it.

    In what sense do you think the contemporary US bishops removed from Innocent? I think it is with respect to prioritization of values and choosing prudently the projects involved in carrying out one’s responsibilities. I’m not convinced this qualifies as a contradiction of principles between them (although perhaps I could be).

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  23. Kevin, here’s one big difference between bishops then and now — capital punishment.

    Also, would Innocent support Fortnight for Freedom?

    JWs may be a problem. The verdict of history, though, seems to be that Innocent was a bigger problem. So you allow liberty for all. That’s what the Fortnight is all about, or are you telling me that some Roman Catholics are still suspicious of John Courtney Murray?

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  24. DG –

    The verdict of history can and often has changed. John Courtney Murray is a great example – I do not think he will be looked on as a positive influence on American (or world, or Catholic) society in the long run.

    I think Innocent would tell the USCCB to spend its time catechizing Catholics, more or less along the lines of your Ch. 20 above. Either that, or he would dissolve the USCCB – national councils of bishops have little to no grounding in canon law or tradition.

    The Church doesn’t teach that capital punishment is in principle immoral or outside the province of the state, merely that given our societies’ great wealth, it is open to question whether capital punishment is the best course of action:

    “Allowing for the fact that Catholic teaching has accepted the principle that the state has the right to take the life of a person guilty of an extremely serious crime, … the question and judgment and decision today is whether capital punishment is justifiable under present circumstances.” -USCCB

    “The primary purpose of the punishment which society inflicts is ‘To redress the disorder caused by the offense’”… “Today, however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are rare, if not practically non-existent” -JPII

    http://www.cfnews.org/page88/files/2dae3ef17dcb4b190fd036556985a85e-357.html

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  25. TVD – “As for why Pope Innocent annulled the Magna Carta, it’s a shame you don’t explain to your readers why. I fear they are worse off for having read this.”

    The objection is that Innocent (irony alert) did not have the standing to annul Magna Carta whatever his reasons. Any discussion of his rationale misses the point entirely.

    “Papal debauchery pales.” While I’d prefer neither, I’d take a run of the mill lustful monarch to a bishop that appoints a Johann Tetzel to bilk peasants out of their money on the false promise of releasing loved ones from some imagined purgatory. And while we’re at it, I’m not a huge fan of a bishop who would appoint the Rev. Robert Geisinger as his chief sex crimes prosecutor when Geisinger was already a part of the cover-up. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/pope-francis-sex-crimes-prosecutor-helped-hide-abuse-article-1.2021350

    “As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from purgatory springs”

    Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to just stick to the form of church government ordained by God in His Word that to try and emulate the princes of this world?

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  26. Seth – “accordion, mandolin, and banjo” – wow, beautiful. Do you play, or just get to enjoy it?

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  27. Kevin, my brothers play mandolin and banjo, I play accordion. We do our best at three-part harmony. It’s great fun.

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  28. Seth –

    Where does this take place, Michigan? You must get a rich sound with those three instruments together. Bluegrass, old time country?

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  29. Kevin from Newark,

    Omar was the gay man, but Brother Mouzone was definitely the sharper dresser of the two.

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  30. Wow, somehow I’m now unblocked, after months (a year?) of being unable to comment at OL! (Goodbye productivity…)

    On behalf of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and by the authority of SS Peter and Paul his apostles, and by our own authority, acting on the general advice of our brethren, we utterly reject and condemn this settlement [the Magna Carta]… we declare to be null, and void of all validity for ever. Wherefore, let no man deem it lawful to infringe this document of our annulment and prohibition, or presume to oppose it. If anyone should presume to do so, let him know that he will incur the anger of Almighty God and of SS Peter and Paul his apostles.

    Wow, that strong language sure sounds like it meets the criteria for papal infallibility…

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  31. Erik –

    I am amused but uncomprehending. (quick google search). Oh, I see, a reference to the Wire. I’ve been wanting to watch that for years. Some day.

    Novelist David Foster Wallace (suicide, RIP) called the Wire the ‘best novel in America’ or something similar. He also went twice through RCIA without becoming a Catholic, alas.

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  32. Kevin, yep, Michigan. Not far, actually, from our venerable host’s place of residence.

    We play mostly classic bluegrass and country standards, with a smattering of folk and Django Reinhardt-inspired tunes. We’ve also been known to translate contemporary Top 100 pop songs to bluegrass for kicks and giggles. For instance, we played a rendition of Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” at my wedding reception. (For the record, the wife loved it)

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  33. Publius
    Posted June 18, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink
    TVD – “As for why Pope Innocent annulled the Magna Carta, it’s a shame you don’t explain to your readers why. I fear they are worse off for having read this.”

    The objection is that Innocent (irony alert) did not have the standing to annul Magna Carta whatever his reasons. Any discussion of his rationale misses the point entirely.

    Um, no. The ignorance continues, and multiplies. The Magna Carta was signed at knifepoint; anything signed under duress and coercion is not a true oath. Further, the understanding of Romans 13 was far more absolute at that time. It took Calvinist Resistance Theory to get to “Resistance to Tyrants is obedience to God.”

    “Papal debauchery pales.” While I’d prefer neither, I’d take a run of the mill lustful monarch to a bishop that appoints a Johann Tetzel to bilk peasants out of their money on the false promise of releasing loved ones from some imagined purgatory.

    “As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from purgatory springs”

    The subject was debauchery. Launching into the well-rehearsed laundry list of the Catholic Church’s admitted sins is demagoguery, not argument.

    Um, no. Henry was a murderer, of his wife and mother of his children. If you want to scrap, respond to what is written and do not rewrite it.

    Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to just stick to the form of church government ordained by God in His Word that to try and emulate the princes of this world?

    Actually, the Protestant form of government[s] have resulted in schism after schism, institutionalized heresy after heresy, even by your own judgments, since most Protestant churches are in your eyes heretical.

    No, you haven’t made your case that the Catholic Church’s faults are the result of its political structure as opposed to the failing and flaws of any institution that has human beings in it. The Presbyterian Church is so fractured and heretical [ordaining lesbian couples] that “Presbyterian” has no meaning you’d even want to be associated with, except with an unbearably lengthy explanation how you’re the real Presbyterian Church and they’re not.

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  34. vd, t says Um, no. The ignorance continues, and multiplies. The Magna Carta was signed at knifepoint; anything signed under duress and coercion is not a true oath.

    Tell that to your Spanish Inquisition.

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  35. Ruberad:

    Wow, that strong language sure sounds like it meets the criteria for papal infallibility…

    Had a Roman Catholic tell me once that the pope is not infallible every time he thinks he’s infallible. Talk about giving up all possibility for rational discussion as to when the criteria apply. But who am I to judge?

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  36. Seth
    Posted June 18, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink
    vd, t says Um, no. The ignorance c/ontinues, and multiplies. The Magna Carta was signed at knifepoint; anything signed under duress and coercion is not a true oath.

    Tell that to your Spanish Inquisition.

    The Inquisition! The Inquisition! The handy Old Life monkey wrench to destroy any actual discussion.

    BTW, here. Learn something. With no governing ecclesiastical authority, Protestant Germany of the 1500s burned more people as witches than the Inquisition killed in 500 years.

    Despite popular myth, the Inquisition did not burn heretics. It was the secular authorities that held heresy to be a capital offense, not the Church. The simple fact is that the medieval Inquisition saved uncounted thousands of innocent (and even not-so-innocent) people who would otherwise have been roasted by secular lords or mob rule.

    During the 13th century the Inquisition became much more formalized in its methods and practices. Highly trained Dominicans answerable to the Pope took over the institution, creating courts that represented the best legal practices in Europe. As royal authority grew during the 14th century and beyond, control over the Inquisition slipped out of papal hands and into those of kings. Instead of one Inquisition there were now many. Despite the prospect of abuse, monarchs like those in Spain and France generally did their best to make certain that their inquisitions remained both efficient and merciful. During the 16th century, when the witch craze swept Europe, it was those areas with the best-developed inquisitions that stopped the hysteria in its tracks. In Spain and Italy, trained inquisitors investigated charges of witches’ sabbaths and baby roasting and found them to be baseless. Elsewhere, particularly in Germany, secular or religious courts burned witches by the thousands.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1155995/posts

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  37. Kevin – I am amused but uncomprehending. (quick google search). Oh, I see, a reference to the Wire. I’ve been wanting to watch that for years. Some day.

    Erik – No, you need to watch it now. It’s a course prerequisite.

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  38. Seth – For instance, we played a rendition of Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” at my wedding reception. (For the record, the wife loved it)

    Erik – You admit that here?

    Turn in your man card immediately.

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  39. For the 25th Anniversary I’m considering learning to play The Dan’s “Haitian Divorce”:

    It’s as close as they get to a love song.

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  40. vd, t,

    #umno. Nice try on the patronizing attitude, but it helps if you actually know what you’re talking about. Sure, there were big witch trials in Germany, but (if you were a historian you would know this) there is no such thing as “Protestant” Germany, and never has been. Germany has always been a mix of RCs and Protestants/ That term is particularly idiotic when you understand that Germany wasn’t really Germany until 1871. And, yes, Protestants burned witches, but (and this feels a bit like tallying the dead, but, hey, you started it) you’ll find that RCs burned more men and women at the stake as witches than Protestants by a fair amount. For instance, as paraphrased on Project Gutenberg from H. C. E. Midelfort’s book: One theory for the number of early modern witchcraft trials connects the counter-reformation to witchcraft.

    In south-western Germany between 1561 and 1670 there were 480 witch trials. Of the 480 trials that took place in southwestern Germany, 317 occurred in Catholic areas, while Protestant territories accounted for 163 of them.[84] During the period from 1561 to 1670, at least 3,229 persons were executed for witchcraft in the German Southwest. Of this number 702 were tried and executed in Protestant territories, while 2,527 were tried and executed in Catholic territories.

    Also, please look up the Trier witch trials, the Basque witch trials, the Fulda witch trials, the Bamberg witch trials, etc. etc. etc. These were the most prominent witch trials of that era. And guess who the perps are? RC clergy.

    So, pinning all this on “Protestant Germany” is ridiculous. Try the Counter-Reformation.

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  41. Erik, help me out. Is this point where a real man would get offended and vow to never come back here again? (I kid, I kid)

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  42. TVD –

    The objection is that Innocent (irony alert) did not have the standing to annul Magna Carta whatever his reasons. Any discussion of his rationale misses the point entirely.

    Um, no. The ignorance continues, and multiplies. The Magna Carta was signed at knifepoint; anything signed under duress and coercion is not a true oath. Further, the understanding of Romans 13 was far more absolute at that time.

    The issue at hand is not the circumstances under which Magna Carta was signed. The issue is that the BoR did not have the standing to annul the political acts of a sovereign nation and that in purporting to do so he misused and undermined the legitimate authority of the Christ’s Church.

    And here’s a favorite poem that relates to the general subject:

    At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
    What say the reeds at Runnymede?
    The lissom reeds that give and take,
    That bend so far, but never break,
    They keep the sleepy Thames awake
    With tales of John at Runnymede.
    At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
    Oh, hear the reeds at Runnymede:
    ‘You musn’t sell, delay, deny,
    A freeman’s right or liberty.
    It wakes the stubborn Englishry,
    We saw ’em roused at Runnymede!

    When through our ranks the Barons came,
    With little thought of praise or blame,
    But resolute to play the game,
    They lumbered up to Runnymede;
    And there they launched in solid line
    The first attack on Right Divine,
    The curt uncompromising “Sign!’
    They settled John at Runnymede.

    At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
    Your rights were won at Runnymede!
    No freeman shall be fined or bound,
    Or dispossessed of freehold ground,
    Except by lawful judgment found
    And passed upon him by his peers.
    Forget not, after all these years,
    The Charter signed at Runnymede.’

    And still when mob or Monarch lays
    Too rude a hand on English ways,
    The whisper wakes, the shudder plays,
    Across the reeds at Runnymede.
    And Thames, that knows the moods of kings,
    And crowds and priests and suchlike things,
    Rolls deep and dreadful as he brings
    Their warning down from Runnymede!

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