Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bishop Francisco Banegas y Galván on Mt 26:52-53

"'Were I only to lift my finger I could have twenty-five thousand of [the Indians] sweep into this city and, even with their bare hands, kill every persecutor in it.  And I am but one of the bishops who not only could do that but who knows that he could do it.  Our enemies are living by the unfailing toleration of Christ.  They know as well as we that the finger will not be lifted, no matter how they make us suffer.'"

[Francisco Banegas y Galván], Bishop of Querétaro (, in the 1920s, as quoted by Robert Royal in his The Catholic martyrs of the twentieth century: a comprehensive world history (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2000), 17, as quoted by Francis Clement Kelley in his Blood-drenched altars:  Mexican study and comment, with documentation and notes by Eber Cole Byam (Milwaulkee, WI:  Bruce, 1935), 342-343.  Kelley was the Bishop of Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hurtado contra Vetus Testamentum

"In general, it is not permitted to provoke the persecutor."  Indeed, Hurtado's comment on "the famous canon of the Council of Elvira" (c. 306) is that "where Christians have been put to death for having destroyed the idols or temples of pagans, these latter should be presumed to have acted legitimately on the basis of the right to self-defence, and not out of a hatred of the faith [(par légitimate défense et non par haine de la foi)]."

R. Hedde, "Martyre," Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 10.1 (1928), col. 230, italics mine.  The reference is to Thomas Hurtado (1589-1659), Resolutiones orthodoxo-morales, scholasticæ, historicæ de vero, unico et proprio martyrio fidei sanguine sanctorum violenter effuso rubricato . . . (Cologne, 1655).  The canon referred to is no. 60:
If someone has broken idols and on that account was put to death, inasmuch as this is not written in the Gospel nor is it found ever to have been done in the time of the apostles, he shall not be included in the ranks of the martyrs.
Trans. Samuel Laeuchli:  "Appendix:  The canons," Power and sexuality:  the emergence of canon law at the Synod of Elvira (Philadelphia:  Temple University Press, 1972), 133, a better translation than  Latin is
Si quis idola fregerit, & ibidem fuerit occisus quatenus in evangelio scriptum non est, neque invenitur sub apostolis unquam factum, placuit in numero eum non recipi martyrum.
Mansi 2 (1759), col. 15, here:,_Mansi_JD,_Sacrorum_Conciliorum_Nova_Amplissima_Collectio_Vol_002,_LT.pdf.  This differs slightly from, but the true critical edition is La coleccion canonica Hispana, ed. Martinez Diez & Rodriguez, vol. 4 (1984), pp. 233-268.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Vatican II on those "others who bear witness to Christ, even at times to the shedding of their blood"

"Catholics must gladly acknowledge and esteem the truly christian endowments which derive from our common heritage and which are to be found among our separated brothers and sisters.  It is right and salutary to recognize the riches of Christ and the virtuous deeds in the lives of others who bear witness to Christ, even at times to the shedding of their blood.  For God is always wonderful and his works too deserve our wonder."

Unitatis redintegratio 1.4; Decrees, ed. Tanner, vol. 2, p. 912.  Cf. "Indeed there is a true bond in the holy Spirit, since it is he who is also at work in these persons with his sanctifying power through gifts and graces, and he has strengthened some of them to the point of the shedding of their blood" (Lumen gentium 2.25; Decrees, ed. Tanner, vol. 2, p. 861).  P.-Th. Camelot sees this as "progress . . . by relation to the theologians and the canonists who hesitated to give the title and the merit of martyr to heretics or schismatics" (Catholicisme: hier, aujourd'hui, demain, s.v. Martyr (vol. 8, col. 775)), referring to DTC 10, col. 233 (1928), where R. Hedde, speaking of the heretic who dies for [2] a point of doctrine held in common ("provided that he be habitually disposed to believe all that would be proposed to him by the legitimate authority"), invokes the "Benedictine" distinction between his status coram Deo and his status coram Ecclesia.  Coram Deo he may well be a true martyr; coram Ecclesia (which has no access to the heart) he is not.  Yet Hedde questions even this:  once it is admitted that a heretic invincibiliter may be a martyr coram Deo, won't it be necessary to grant this same status to the heretic who dies "with the same sincerity in order to defend an erroneous assertion that he believes to belong to the Christian Credo" (in order, in other words, to defend [1] what, from the Catholic point of view, is heresy in fact)?