Decyzje średniowiecznych soborów powszechnych w sprawie innowierców
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Decisions of Medieval General Councils Concerning the Infidels The states of medieval Europe were inhabited by the followers of various religions: Judaism, Islam and paganism, hence it became necessary to establish the principles of mutual co-existence between the Christians and the infidels. This goal was to be achieved by means of suitable legislation introduced by individual lay rulers as well as by the church legislation contained in the canonical law, which included the decisions of general councils (particularly the councils which were held between the 12–15th centuries). The Council decrees directed against the infidels referred to the current social and political situation, and hence they had a practical and not a dogmatic character. Among the restrictions, there emerge: the order to wear distinctive clothes (Lateran IV, Basle), the ban on appearing in public during the Easter period (Lateran IV, Basle), a ban on summoning to prayer from the mosques and a ban on organizing pilgrimages to the tombs of Marabuts (Vienna) as well as the obligation to move to specially designated city quarters (Basle). The remaining decisions in reality concerned the Christians who were banned from performing certain functions: e.g. going into service of the infidels or admitting them into service as babysitters (Lateran III, Basle), contacting them except in matters of utmost importance (Basle), appointing them to positions in public offices or else punitive institutions (Lateran IV, Basle). The bishops were obliged to teach the truths of faith to the infidels who inhabited their dioceses (Basle). Since the 14th century, attention was being paid to a suitable conduct with respect to the followers of other religions, by showing them due respect and love (Vienna, Basle). One should note that the goal of Council decrees was not the total elimination of different religions and beliefs. However, the councils did aim at gradual but consistent limitation of the infidels’ rights with respect to the Christians, which on the one hand was to protect the faithful against potential apostasy, and on the other, it was to discourage the non-Christians from persevering in their faith.
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