Monday, June 28, 2010

When Suppressing Heresy Became a Crusade

Part 1: Augustine as Conduit to the Inquisition
Part 2: How Confession became a Divinely Instituted Sacrament
Part 3: The Origins of Payment for Penance
Part 4: Crusading and Other Indulgences
Part 5: The Great Schism of the Fifth Century
Part 6: “Deliver us from the hands of the Romans”
Part 7: “Impetus for the Crusades”
Part 8: “Babies roasted on spits”
Part 9: The Insecurity of the Medieval Church

Continuing with Johnson:

Yet returned crusaders undoubtedly brought back heresy with them…

'Cathar' was first applied to heretics in northern Europe about 1160. They were also called Publicans, Paterines (in Italy), Bougres or Bulgars in France, or Arians, Manichaeans or Marcionites. Around Albi the Cathars were termed Albigensians. The confusion over names reveals a confusion over ideas. But basically all these heresies were the same. They aimed to substitute a perfect elite for the corrupt clergy.

Where they were numerous enough, as in southern France, they organized churches and bishoprics, and constituted an alternative Church. Very few of the sect were 'perfected' - perhaps 1,000 to 1,500 in the whole of Languedoc in c. 1200. The majority were 'believers', who married, led normal lives, and 'received the consolamentum' only on their deathbeds, thus dying 'in the hands of the Good Men'. The Cathars were well-organized and orderly people. They elected bishops, collected funds and distributed them; led admirable lives. Unlike most Charismatics, they could not be broken up by a sharp cavalry charge. They got on well with the local authorities. The only effective evangelizing against them came from equally poor groups, like the Poor of Lyons, founded by a former Lyonnais merchant, Waldo, around 1173-6. These men were strictly orthodox in their beliefs, but they took apostolic poverty literally and were outside the Church's organizational structure. The clergy thus regarded the Waldensians as a threat. As Walter Map put it, when he saw some in Rome in 1179: 'They go about two by two, barefoot, clad in woolen garments, owning nothing, holding all things in common like the Apostles ... if we admit them, we shall be driven out.' They were excommunicated three years later.

There was, indeed, no shortage of men prepared to defend orthodoxy. But they set standards which exposed the existing structures and personnel of the church, and thus formed a remedy more serious than the disease. Innocent in, despite his many limitations, did grasp the essence of this problem very clearly, and was the only pope to make a systematic attempt to solve it. His creation of the Franciscan and Dominican orders - the first to beat the heretics at their own game of apostolic poverty, the second to preach orthodox concepts in popular terms - sought to harness volcanic Christian forces to institutional objectives. But the dilemma could not be solved by a once-and-for-all operation. It was permanent; it was endemic in Christianity. If the Franciscans, for instance, were allowed to pursue their idealism, they got out of control; if they were controlled, they promptly lost their idealism and became corrupt. Within two generations, the whole friar experiment was a failure; within three it was a liability.

There remained the Augustinian solution: force. It was, in a way, a recapitulation of the fourth and fifth centuries. The Church was terrified by the rapid disintegration of Christianity in southern France. There was no question of peaceful coexistence of orthodoxy and heresy: orthodox bishops could not function and there was imminent danger that the collapse would soon be extended to other areas. It is notable that where there was strong, centralized royal power, to back up the organized Church, heresy was weak or even non-existent (as, for instance, in England at this time). Heresy took root in areas where the ultimate source of secular authority was obscure, and where secular power was divided or remote.

Thus the Church, in its fear, tended to appeal to secular power outside the infected area. Suppressing a heresy became a crusade, promising tangible benefits, and bringing into play differences of language and culture, the forces of racism and the spur of greed for land. The Albigensian crusades, organized from 1208 onwards, the precursors of many other 'internal' papal crusades, were preached by upper-class Cistercians, the great disciplinarians of peasants. Heretics were either rabble or, if not, forfeited their privileged class status. Conversely, a crusade was an opportunity to rise in the social scale, for younger sons, would-be knights, and any kind of professional soldier with genteel aspirations. These crusaders got a plenary indulgence for forty days service, plus a moratorium on their debts and any interest payable; if they had lands, they could tax both their vassals and clergy. The Church reserved to itself the right to redistribute among the more faithful crusaders the confiscated lands of the defeated heretics.

Thus the crusade attracted the most disreputable elements in northern France, and the result was horror. In 1209, Arnold Aimery exulted to the Pope that the capture of Beziers had been 'miraculous'; and that the crusaders had killed 15,000, 'showing mercy neither to order, nor age nor sex'. Prisoners were mutilated, blinded, dragged at the hooves of horses and used for target practice. Such outrages provoked despairing resistance and so prolonged the conflict. It was a watershed in Christian history. Of course it aroused much criticism even at the time. Peter Cantor asked: 'How doth the church presume to examine by this foreign judgment the hearts of men? Or how is it that the Cathari are given no legitimate respite for deliberation but are burned immediately?

... Certain honest matrons, refusing to consent to the lust of priests ... were written in the book of death and accused as Cathari ... while certain rich Cathari had their purses squeezed and were let go. One man alone, because he was poor and pale, and confessed the faith of Christ faithfully on all points, and put that forward as his hope, was burned, since he said to the assembled bishops that he would refuse to submit to the ordeal of hot iron unless they could first prove to him that he could do this without tempting the Lord and committing mortal sin.'

A few years later, Innocent III abolished the ordeal on precisely these grounds. More generally, it was the type of criticism voiced by Cantor which led to the organization of a regular inquisition system, which would be effective yet less open to the abuses developed under the haphazard methods hitherto employed.

Paul Johnson, History of Christianity, © 1976 Athenium, pgs. 251-253.

24 comments:

mikeb said...

I take it your not a fan of "God's Battalions" by Rodney Stark?

John Bugay said...

MikeB: maybe not.

Alexander said...

Since when has this blog become a book review/copyright infringement snorefest? Apparently, since Paul Blart decided completely take over.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

You're a guest here, Alexander. Why don't you demonstrate some maturity and act like it?

John Bugay said...

I would only be concerned about it if Paul Johnson's lawyers were to contact us and ask us to take down the texts. As it is, we are not using it for commercial purposes, and there is "fair use" etc. I've published maybe 20 of the 500 pages, and that for educational purposes.

At any rate, the entire text of the work is freely available online, in the form of the .pdf that I found, and possibly at other sources. So we are the least of their concerns.

Turretinfan said...

You shouldn't really take Alexander's comments seriously.

John Bugay said...

I don't. But just in case anyone else is watching, I wanted to respond on the copyright thing.

James Swan said...

As a test, perhaps Alexander could launch a lawsuit against Google Books.

Alexander said...

By all means don't take me seriously. I don't take any of you seriously. I've stopped doing that when I became aware several years that none of you take truth very seriously.

Matthew Shultz: Being a guest here is as welcoming as a Jew would feel in Hitler's Nazi Germany. Maybe as a guest I would react differently if my host wasn't so bent on slandering my family.

Ron Burgundy: The "book review/copyright infringement snorefest" was clearly meant to be facetious. I have to admit though that even my facetious comments are answered by you for the most part.

Turretinfan: Shouldn't you be busy posting a response on how Turretinfan and good ol' Pastor King don't let Augustine be Augustine?

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=21597890&postID=1105783959792418280

James Swan: It has already been done. Google settled.

See: The Authors Guild, Inc., et al. v. Google Inc., Case No. 05 CV 8136 (S.D.N.Y.)

John Lollard said...

Alexander, I can't understand why you think it is so important to include a mocking reference to John's mustache every single time you post. I'll give you credit that you're being very original in thinking up a new mockery every time, but I'm not so sure that cleverness in inventing insulting titles for people is one of the fruits of the Spirit, or really anything that people pretending to be Christians should glory themselves in.

I'm not so sure who your family is, but it can't be those who do God's will who are your mothers, sisters and brothers.

Or if denigrating certain facial hair styles is God's will... then I have no idea what god you serve. It is my hope that you will turn to serve the true God, who bore insults from the Jewish councils and who gives His people a new heart that enables them to love and seek the truth... not just make childish jabs at people they disagree with.

Love in Christ,
John Lollard

Alexander said...

John Lollard

I haven't seen you correct Constantine for his name-calling against Matthew Bellisario.

Does "inventing insulting titles for people is one of the fruits of the Spirit" apply to protestants as well? Or do corrections only extend to Catholics?

Since you pretend to be the moral police, I have not seen anyone of you correct Constantine, or any one of the other protestant bloggers. Would you like to go through Triablogue?

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=19795707&postID=1994236754020000996

Besides, if White Goodman has a problem with it, why hasn't he said anything? Trying to turn this into such a big deal is a bit immature.

How about this. Once you start showing some consistency in your outrage by taking on your fellow protestants when they engage in more serious name-calling and mockery, then maybe I will consider not further engaging in the little fun with Randy Johnson's stache.

James Swan said...

How about this. Once you start showing some consistency in your outrage by taking on your fellow protestants when they engage in more serious name-calling and mockery, then maybe I will consider not further engaging in the little fun with Randy Johnson's stache.

How about this: knock it off, or you'll be banned from this blog. The choice is yours.

Alexander said...

I don't have any problem with knocking it off. However, will Constantine or anyone else who mocks or engages in name calling against Catholics also be banned James?

John Lollard said...

"Once you start showing some consistency in your outrage by taking on your fellow protestants when they engage in more serious name-calling and mockery, then maybe I will consider not further engaging in the little fun with Randy Johnson's stache."

I don't recall being outraged. I recall pointing that your actions do not commend yourself to Christian behavior.

I will gladly correct Protestants for engaging in mockery, and you can ask TF if you don't believe I've done it.

I hope you will understand that I do have a slight bias which makes me less able to discern mocking comments to Catholics.

I don't follow Triablogue and I have no idea who Constantine is, unless you mean the Roman Emperor. If it seems like I've made this a "big deal", then I must have misrepresented myself, as it's not a big deal, just a very telling deal.

Love in Christ,
JL

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Alexander writes:

Matthew Shultz: Being a guest here is as welcoming as a Jew would feel in Hitler's Nazi Germany. Maybe as a guest I would react differently if my host wasn't so bent on slandering my family.

That comparison does not do justice to the suffering the Jews endured under the Nazi regime. It suffers from some significant disconnects, one of which is why you would stay if this comparison is valid.

Lollard is right to ask about fruits of the Holy Spirit. That you resort to such rhetoric shows you haven't worked the implications of the Gospel of grace into your life. A child of God understands that his Father needs no defending (even if it is right to do in some contexts), and having the Lord slandered produces sorrow and mercy for those who do it (because you want those mockers to come to salvation), rather than the extended mockery, exaggerated rhetoric and condescending tone you've issued (which suggests you don't care to extend to them the same grace you claim to have received).

When you dismiss us as meaningless and worthless with your words and attitude you show us the natural outworking of a gospel of works-righteousness. You think your relationship to your denomination makes you superior to those who are not part of it, and especially to those who reject it or criticize it. You've done the right work to be in a state of grace, while the rest of us haven't and actively work against it. But if this relationship was truly based on unmerited grace understood in light of a deep and pervasive sinfulness, your attitude would be one of mercy and grace as well (Luke 7:47).

Alexander said...

Very telling concerning what exactly? John do you consider what I've done (substituted famous mustaches for Bugay's name) to be worse than some of the name calling Luther engaged in, or that of the Church Fathers? Especially since the person to whom it has been directed at hasn't expressed any thoughts about it at all? For all we know, Bugay might be indifferent, humored or angered by it.

Alexander said...

Matthew, comparing me calling Bugay "Stossel" to what Our Lord suffered proves to me that you lack the intellectual capacity necessary for a discussion.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Matthew, comparing me calling Bugay "Stossel" to what Our Lord suffered proves to me that you lack the intellectual capacity necessary for a discussion.

Alexander,

That wasn't the comparison nor the purpose of my comments. It was responses on your part like the one right here I was driving at. There's no grace, only condescension and dismissal. It's habitual on your part. What does all this reveal about your heart and its commitments?

John Lollard said...

I am afraid that I know very, very little about Luther. For whatever reason, and maybe this is to my detriment, I am very uninterested in Luther's life or writings. I am willing to acknowledge the possibility of him being nasty and hateful towards others. If I were sucked backwards in time and found myself in Luther's study room as he wrote a vitriolic treatise, then I'd probably have him read 2 Timothy 2:22-26. But I don't know if he has said anything vitriolic.

I hope John Bugay think it's funny. Maybe he does. All the same, my point wasn't to stop insulting him, it was that insulting him is indicative to me that you've not received the Spirit and that you should receive the Spirit. If you have received the Spirit, then you should obey it and extend grace even to those who do not deserve it (as you did not deserve it). Even if they write long articles in disagreement with your religious beliefs (as you were once in rebellion to God's "religious beliefs").

I am sorry if I have been inconsistent in calling for living to the standard of conduct declared in God's word, but if the Holy Spirit lives in you, you should jump to obey God's word even if no one else does.

Or maybe I am blowing all of this out of proportion? I hope I don't sound as severe as I think I sound. Golly.

Love in Christ,
JL

John Bugay said...

Alexander, I don't think you're funny or humorous in any way. More to be pitied.

Alexander said...

A grown man who gets upset because he is refered to as Tom Selleck, or some other famous person due to the mere common variable of having a mustache pities me when he freely chooses to wear a mustache as a form of self-expression??? I really don't get it.

So I guess I'm also very rude for calling Patrick Madrid "Mustache Madrid." And I shouldn't call Steve Ray "Safari Hat" either?

Seriously, for the life of me I can't figure out why this is so insulting. I think it might have been different if the famous people I named shared another common variable other than a mustache. As far as I know, mustaches don't carry any social stigmas that say baldness or a mullet would. It's just me being silly. I've been criticized as being viciously rude, an evil spirit or spiritually inferior, and now worth being pitied for essentially calling you Mr. Mustache. Not something I would find to be a big deal or particularly rude. I'm just making good-natured light of it, not even a value judgment. Certainly, saying something like "What's with the aviator glasses Goose?" would probably be rude, and I don't think I've ever crossed that line.

Since you have expressed your disaproval (and James Swan already expressed his) then I won't make anymore references to your mustache here. I'm sorry. I didn't think it was a big deal.

John Bugay said...

Alexander, you need and deserve no explanation for anything I do.

You are to be pitied insofar as (a) your desire to call names is a very clear admission of your inability to interact otherwise with the material provided, and (b) you think this is a reason for beating your own chest.

At any rate, do not make the mistake of thinking that you concern me. You are a bully, and not a very bright one at that. You are to be pitied.

Alexander said...

John, don't make the mistake of puffing yourself up by confusing an inability with a lack of desire on my part.

As far as not being bright, I have transcripts and honors to prove otherwise. That being said, reality isn't really all that important to you when it goes against the narrative you have fabricated, hence we are back to you confusing an inability on my part with simply a lack of desire. I’m sure your personal attack fits in with the double standard which makes up the protestant ethic. Again, I’m sorry to have failed to recognize your sensitivity to references to your mustache.

Alexander said...

Alexander, you need and deserve no explanation for anything I do.

Ditto.