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With this clear demarcation of the Reformer's private judgment from the Catholic's authority, it hardly serves our purpose to estimate the relative violence of Catholic and Protestant Governments during the times of the Reformation.And yet it is well to remember that the methods of the maligned Inquisition in Spain and Italy were far less destructive of life than the religious wars of France and Germany.And in more recent times agnosticism has harassed the Church in the various states of America and Europe.But most deplorable of all persecutions have been those that Catholicism has suffered from other Christians.A modern Protestant is not in the same category with the Albigenses or Wyclifites.These were held to be personally responsible for their apostasy ; and the Church enforced her authority over them: It is true that in many cases the heretics were rebels against the State also; but the Church's claim to exercise coercion is not confined to such cases of social disorder.



Her own children are not punished by fines, imprisonment, or other temporal punishments, but by spiritual pains and penalties, and heretics are treated as she treated pagans : "Fides suadenda est, non imponenda" (Faith is a matter of persuasion, not of compulsion) — a sentiment that roes back to St.The Reformers were not less, but, If anything, more, intolerant (see INQUISITION).If the intolerance of Churchmen is blamable, then that of the Reformers is doubly so. First, they were in revolt against the established authority of the Church, and secondly they could hardly use force to compel the unwilling to conform to their own principle of private judgment.In point of fact it is only within recent years, when toleration is supposed to have become a dogma, that the other "champions of Revelation" have abandoned their similar claims.

That they should abandon their right to command allegiance is a natural consequence of Protestantism ; whereas it is the Church's claim to be the accredited and infallible ambassador of God which justifies her apparent inconsistency.

Persecution may be defined in general as the unlawful coercion of another's liberty or his unlawful punishment, for not every kind of punishment can be regarded as persecution.