The Truce of God is a temporary suspension of hostilities, as distinct from the Peace of God which is perpetual. The jurisdiction of the Peace of God is narrower than that of the Truce. Under the Peace of God are included only:
The Truce of God dates only from the eleventh century. It arose amid the anarchy of feudalism as a remedy for the powerlessness of lay authorities to enforce respect for the public peace. There was then an epidemic of private wars, which made Europe a battlefield bristling with fortified castles and overrun by armed bands who respected nothing, not even sanctuaries, clergy, or consecrated days. A Council of Elne in 1027, in a canon concerning the sanctification of Sunday, forbade hostilities from Saturday night until Monday morning. Here may be seen the germ of the Truce of God. This prohibition was subsequently extended to the days of the week consecrated by the great mysteries of Christianity, viz., Thursday, in memory of the Ascension, Friday, the day of the Passion, and Saturday, the day of the Resurrection (council 1041). Still another step included Advent and Lent in the Truce. Efforts were made in this way to limit the scourge of private war without suppressing it outright. The penalty was excommunication. The Truce soon spread from France to Italy and Germany ; the oecumenical council of 1179 extended the institution to the whole Church by Canon xxi, "De treugis servandis", which was inserted in the collection of canon law (Decretal of Gregory IX, I, tit., "De treuga et pace"). The problem of the public peace which was the great desideratum of the Middle Ages was not solved at one stroke, but at least the impetus was given. Gradually the public authorities, royalty, the leagues between nobles (Landfrieden), and the communes followed the impulse and finally restricted war to international conflicts.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online