Archdiocese of Brundusium
Office of the Vicar General Office of the Chancellor
TO: Pastors, Administrators, Parochial Vicars
FROM: Auxiliary Bishop Marcus Fabius, Diocese of Brundusium
DATE: July 30, 303
SUBJECT: Religious Exemption from Worship of Caesar
We occasionally hear from Catholics who have a sincere moral objection to the public ceremonies adoring the Divine Emperor Diocletian due to their connection to idolatry. This concern is particularly acute among those who are strongly opposed to exposing infants and very loyal to the teaching of the Faith. It is a serious issue for people who often seek guidance and support from the Church. His Eminence the Archbishop has requested that clarity be provided to assist our priests in response to requests of this nature, which they are receiving.
Pope Dubius has made it very clear that it is morally acceptable to repeat any of the prayers to the Divine Emperor and said that we have a moral responsibility to adore Diocletian. Archbishop Timorus has said the same.
There is no basis for a priest to issue a religious exemption to the cult of the Divine Emperor. By doing so he is acting in contradiction to the directives of the pope and is participating in an act that could have serious consequences to others. Imagine a student receiving a religious exemption, angering the imperial authorities, and bringing their wrath down upon the entire school. Clearly, this would be an embarrassment to the archdiocese. Some even argue that it might impose personal liability on the priest.
Any individual is free to exercise discretion on worshiping the Divine Emperor based upon his or her own beliefs without seeking the inaccurate portrayal of Church instructions. Our priests should not be active participants to such claims.
No, the above letter isn’t real. But the document whose screenshot I embed below is all too real.
If bishops in the early Church had been giving orders like that one, Christianity would have vanished along with Mithraism and the Eleusinian Mysteries. Jews had a long-standing religious exemption in Rome (and had already been brutally expelled from their homeland). But members of every other religion in the Empire complied cheerfully with orders to worship the emperor. Only Christians distinguished themselves, and made themselves hated, by refusing.
Read the rest at The Stream.