Friday, August 10, 2007

Belated Feast of St. Dominic link

Tom at League of Warm & Fuzzy Traditionalists
has posted in honor of St. Dominic:
Nothing says lovin like heretics in the oven

OK, that's a bit different...

this picture is captioned: Dominc presiding over an Auto de fe

It's a work of Pedro Berruguete ; it doesn't carry St. Dominic in the title, as do his other depictions of the saint. Although I'm not familiar with the work in particular, it was painted approximately 280 years after the saint's death. If I recall, I don't believe there is any historical or tradition of such a thing, and Wikipedia, that great source of reliable information, places this caption under the same painting:

Representation of an Auto de fe, (1475).
The painting is inaccurate: even though burning at the stake occurred in some cases, it never took place during this religious ritual.

The Catholic Encyclopedia has a much better article under Inquisition, which includes:

Officially it was not the Church that sentenced unrepenting heretics to death, more particularly to the stake. As legate of the Roman Church even Gregory IV never went further than the penal ordinances of Innocent III required, nor ever inflicted a punishment more severe than excommunication. Not until four years after the commencement of his pontificate did he admit the opinion, then prevalent among legists, that heresy should be punished with death, seeing that it was confessedly no less serious an offence than high treason. Nevertheless he continued to insist on the exclusive right of the Church to decide in authentic manner in matters of heresy; at the same time it was not her office to pronounce sentence of death. The Church, thenceforth, expelled from her bosom the impenitent heretic, whereupon the state took over the duty of his temporal punishment

the point being that the auto-da-fé is a historical artifact from sometime after St. Dominic's day.

It's interesting that the crime of heresy, admitted at one time to be worse than high treason, but now considered inconsequential, has been followed with a similar view of the crime of high treason. The "just-do-it" age of Nike has given way to... whatever.

1 comment:

  1. Not merely the auto-da-fe, but the Inquisition itself did not exist while St. Dominic lived.

    It's a bit odd to see people who claim to be Catholic traditionalists perpetuating the lies of English Protestants.