Thursday 3 September 2015

February 24, 303 Revisited V

Diocletian re-introduced the draft, or conscription. The Persians had attacked the empire, but were successfully defeated. However, Diocletian, being an uber-organizer, seized the anxiety of the time to build up the military.

The other thing he did was to divide the army into two parts, the limitanei, which were the legions on the borders, or the frontier troops, and the comitantenses, the inland troops, which could be moved quickly to parts of the empire. One can see this in America with the militarization of the police in some areas, and the use of drones.

Diocletian built up an army of half-a-million troops. He also changed the system of taxation, as he was faced with inflation and the burden of the military. All this information can be found in any history of the time.

His organizational skills and his strong religious ideology proved to be forces against which the
Catholics could not stand.

The steps to persecution were incremental. First, all Catholic churches and scrolls were to be destroyed. This was part of the February 24th edict. Note that the Church buildings, some obvious, large and prominent, were targeted by the state. Without gathering places of worship, the people could be weakened.

Then, shortly after this date, other edicts followed. The Catholic clergy were to be rounded up and
thrown into prison and only released if they honored the gods of Rome.

Finally, all Catholics were ordered to honor the gods of Rome or be executed.

Clergy first, laity second. This is the way it happened in England under Henry. Carthusians first...and so on...

When the shepherds are taken, the lambs and sheep are scattered.

How will this happen? Same sex marriage is a strong possibility for the line in the sand...the fining of
the priests who refuse, the imprisonment if fines are not paid, the confiscation of property as fines are
not paid, the imprisonment of the laity when fines are not paid, the taking away of Catholic lay
properties if fines are not paid and so on.

Imprisonment will be incremental.

So, how did the Catholics in 303 respond? How did they continue? How did they pass on the Faith?

How did they survive? How will we survive?

To be continued.....

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