Zasada tolerancji religijnej w nauczaniu Pawła Włodkowica

Tadeusz Jasudowicz


The paper initiates a series of studies which perhaps will constitute a larger whole entitled "Following the Steps of Ehrlich: the Importance of Paweł Włodkowic’s Teaching". It is at the same time a partial fruit of studies conducted within the framework of the Scientific Research Group "Human Rights in the Changing Europe" which I have initiated. This group has become a part of the second stage of research on the positive legal legacy of the Polish Republic, which serves to prove that we are "entering Europe" at the moment not as a "spiritual tramp" but as a time-honored and recognized co-creator of the legacy and European identity.

The introductory part of the paper is an outline of the current binding international standard as regards religious tolerance, along with an attempt to prove its abuses and countering them, since they impair the fundamental freedom of conscience and religion. Then we have an explanation of Włodkowic’s vision of God’s man-child as the source and basis of religious tolerance expedience. To demonstrate that we mean not only the level of faith but also the dimension of legal duty, the study presents further an outline of Włodkowic’s vision of legal order. Then the paper deals with the question of papal authority over the nonbeliever and its limits in the context of the problem of tolerance. Here we find the vision of "the pastor of love" followed by a description of the ways in which the Christians’ freedom of action was inhibited (including Christian sovereigns) in relation to the nonbeliever, emphasizing the duty of love and damnation, in consequence assumptions and practice of the Teutonic Order. A further part of the paper is devoted to particular guidelines which follow from the duty of love and tolerance, when it comes to the means of methods of converting the nonbelievers. Then the paper outlines the duties of the nonbelievers themselves. If they fail to fulfil them, which would prove that they want in tolerance towards Christians, this would release Christians from a strict abidance by the expedience of tolerance towards them.

The paper ends with some considerations on the character and meaning of Paweł Włodkowic’s teaching against the background of the then European thought, who was a precursor of the value of this teaching, his undeserved obscurity. There is an urgent need to bring Włodkowic back to favour in the treasure of European legacy.

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