One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounthe secular arm
The legal authority of the civil power as invoked by the Church to punish offenders.‘she was convicted and turned over to the secular arm for execution’
- ‘They were equivalent to the Church Militant - or secular arm - of Joan of Arc's era which carried out her public burning in Rouen's market square.’
- ‘In Portugal the inquisition was still releasing heretics to be burnt by the secular arm as late as 1750.’
- ‘In Western Christendom the Church of Rome exercised spiritual domination and was not reluctant to use the secular arm - that is, the civil authorities and their armies - to ensure conformity in doctrine and practice.’
- ‘The so-called ultramontanes believed that the state should serve as the secular arm of the Church and enforce its monopoly of the truth against all rival ideologies.’
- ‘To protect their understanding of Christian freedom, these Lutherans refused to be compelled in matters of church usages when the secular arm of authority was forcing the issue.’
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