Saturday, 31 August 2013

Yoking with the secular state

Much of what is known about the early historic Waldensians, in three Alpine valleys of Piedmont, comes from reports from Reinerius Saccho (who died in 1259). He was a former Cathar, who converted to Catholicism. He wrote two reports for the Inquisition, one being Summa de Catharis et Pauperibus de Lugduno-- "On the Cathars and the Poor of Lyons" (1254)

He became a persecutor of the Waldensians, but, in fact, he had lived with them. In 1250, he was ordered by the Pope to make a list of their so-called theological errors.  The original Latin of his catalogue of errors can be found in Remarks upon the Churches of the Piedmont by Allix. See also link under References.

Below is a summary of what Reinerius Saccho said the 13th century Waldensians believed. This list indicates that their beliefs were similar to those of the subsequent Reformation - but some three hundred years earlier. Some suggest that the pure Apostolic gospel, dating from the earliest centuries after Christ, survived in northern Italy and Piedmont, in these areas. 

According to Reinerius Saccho, the 13th century Waldensians

1. rejected the Roman Church. 
2. claimed that Rome erred in yoking with the secular government in the days of Constantine. 
3. rejected the Mass and claimed that the bread is only symbolic. 
4. rejected infant baptism because babies cannot believe. 
5. rejected Catholic priests and bishops. 
6. rejected extreme unction, saying it is a curse rather than a sacrament. 
7. rejected purgatory, believing that the dead go either to heaven or hell. 
8. rejected prayers to the dead. 
9. did not believe in the prayers of the saints. 
10. rejected confession of sins to a priest, believing that sins should be confessed only to God.

Point 2 above seems particularly relevant today. It acts to remind the contemporary churches that the true church has its own unique spiritual mission, given to it by Christ. This mission is quite different to that of secular values and humanistic agendas which relate only to transitory things. The Gospel relates to eternal and unseen things. 

Compromising with secular states can put some churches in a situation in which they persecute the faithful - effectively becoming the enemies of Christ - still using His name.

References 
Medioeval Source Book: 

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