Augustine, Aquinas, and Southwell

 PROMPT: This week’s readings feature 2 pre-Early Modern theologians (Augustine is considered Classical; Aquinas Medieval), and one Catholic amidst Protestants. By the end of the sixteenth century in England, Protestantism had taken hold and it was the Catholics who were persecuted. That said, Catholicism was not eradicated in England – quite the contrary. Catholicism was the traditional religion, and despite legislation dictating their actions, many people’s beliefs were not so easily swayed. Catholicism and its traditions were over a millennium old by the time Protestantism came around, so it was no easy task changing the hearts and minds of an entire people. And yet, many people were utterly dedicated to changing the minds of others. Consider Robert Southwell. Southwell risked his very life to return to his home country and minister to its people, with the hopes of keeping them on the Catholic path. And he paid a very high price for that desire. When you read the works of Augustine, Aquinas, and Southwell, do you feel their religious views or religious experiences are so very different from the reformed thinkers? What are the differences? What are the similarities? Why do you think wars were fought and people were tried and executed over these differences? How does violence become part of that picture? And how does violence fit in with the Christian religion in any form? (You may need to address outside sources if you choose to tackle this last question.) 

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