Monday, December 16, 2013

Fun with St. Thomas

This from a Thomistic scholar acquaintance:
Anticipating her fiery demise at the stake, [N] has offered objections to the idea of roasting marshmallows at the immolation of heretics (and enemies of the state).


A "Question"

"Whether it is fitting to roast marshmallows at the pyre of a burning heretic."

Objection 1. It seems that it is not fitting to roast marshmallows at the pyre of a burning heretic. For the "stench" of heresy, being repugnant to the taste of faithful Christians, might ruin the delicate savour of the marshmallows. Therefore...

Objection 2. Further, the "savour" of heresy, adding a delicate nuance to the flavour of the s'mores, would seem to approach to cannibalism. But cannibalism is contrary not only to natural law, but also to Divine Law. Therefore...

Objection 3. Further, the Lord rejoiceth not in the death of a sinner. Neither, therefore, should Christians rejoice in the death of a sinner. But s'mores being a delight to the senses, are proper to rejoicing. Therefore...

Theology nerds...



Fr Paul of Niagara said...

But "the smoke of their torment shall rise up forever and ever" unto the nostrils of the Judge, and shall rejoice the citizens of the celestial Jerusalem. Friends, as St. Thomas notes in his Literal Exposition of the Book of Job, like the same things.

Answer to objection 1: the purifying fire precisely destroys the stench.

Answer to objection 2: see above. The flavour added to the s'mores would be that of the wood.

Answer to objection 3: it is not precisely the death of the sinner in which one is rejoicing, but that the danger to Church and State has been removed. Also given that, to paraphrase Dr. Johnson, "There is nothing like being burned at the stake, to concentrate the mind wonderfully" one actually hopes for the conversion and eternal salvation of the heretic, in which salvation one can surely rejoice.

Felix said...

Obj 4

Though the due punishment of the wicked gives joy to the blessed, it should serve as a warning to and provoke fear in wayfarers.

But feasting on marshmallows pertains to joy and thus is not appropriate for wayfarers while beholding the punishments accorded to notorious sinners.

Felix said...

Obj 5

On the other hand, it is more appropriate in such circumstances to roast chestnuts than to toast marshmallows.

For seconary actions should be consonant with the primary action. But to roast chestnuts is more consonant with the burning of heretics, for chestnuts are inedible save that they be roasted, whereas marshmallows may be consumed even if they be not toasted.

Further, the hardness of the chestnut is comparable to the obduracy of heretics but indeed the contrary is applicable to marshmallows.