I am not asking if Roman Catholics find a biblical basis for burning an heretic; that question has been asked here. This question has to do with infallible statements by a Pope regarding how the faithful must think about the burning of heretics.
In the Papal Encyclical Exsurge Domine (1520) given by Pope Leo X we find, among other things, the following:
With the advice and consent of these our venerable brothers, with mature deliberation on each and every one of the above theses, and by the authority of almighty God, the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own authority, we condemn, reprobate, and reject completely each of these theses or errors as either heretical, scandalous, false, offensive to pious ears or seductive of simple minds, and against Catholic truth. By listing them, we decree and declare that all the faithful of both sexes must regard them as condemned, reprobated, and rejected . . . We restrain all in the virtue of holy obedience and under the penalty of an automatic major excommunication….
One of the theses listed within the encyclical (which I understand to have been given ex cathedra and therefore to be infallible) which is under condemnation is the thesis that "the burning of heretics is against the Holy Spirit":
- That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.
Here is a link to a scholarly paper describing how Exsurge Domina meets all five of the criteria for papal infallibility. This paper also describes how the development of the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, dogmatically defined in 1868, was always intended to incorporate the "thousands and thousands" of infallible definitions already issued by the Roman see over the history of the Church:
In other words, (Bishop) Gasser was able to assert “in passing”--that is, as something which did not need arguing and would be taken for granted by his audience-- that there had already been “thousands and thousands” of infallible definitions issued by the Roman see! Even if he did not intend to be taken quite literally and meant only to make the point that “a great many” such definitions were “Ex-Cathedra,” it is obvious that he was not only referring to solemn definitions of revealed truth, such as Pius IX’s definition of the Immaculate Conception a few years previously. There have in fact been only a few such definitions. So Gasser obviously meant to include the many Papal definitions of secondary truths, including censures less than heresy, as genuine “Ex-Cathedra,” infallible definitions.
According to Pope Leo X it is infallibly declared that "We restrain in all the virtue of holy obedience and under the penalty of an automatic major excommunication that all the faithful of both sexes must regard as condemned, reprobated, and rejected the idea that the burning of an heretic is against the will of the Holy Spirit".
If the burning of heretics is not against the will of the Holy Spirit then God must either favor the action or be indifferent towards it. There is nothing within this encyclical indicating which of these two options is correct but it is clear that one cannot be both a faithful Catholic and believe that burning heretics is against the will of God.
Also in this encyclical, there is a command to gather and publicly burn any and all works containing or promulgating any of these theses:
Moreover, because the preceding errors and many others are contained in the books or writings of Martin Luther, we likewise condemn, reprobate, and reject completely the books and all the writings and sermons of the said Martin, whether in Latin or any other language, containing the said errors or any one of them; and we wish them to be regarded as utterly condemned, reprobated, and rejected. We forbid each and every one of the faithful of either sex, in virtue of holy obedience and under the above penalties to be incurred automatically, to read, assert, preach, praise, print, publish, or defend them. They will incur these penalties if they presume to uphold them in any way, personally or through another or others, directly or indirectly, tacitly or explicitly, publicly or occultly, either in their own homes or in other public or private places. Indeed immediately after the publication of this letter these works, wherever they may be, shall be sought out carefully by the ordinaries and others [ecclesiastics and regulars], and under each and every one of the above penalties shall be burned publicly and solemnly in the presence of the clerics and people.
So it appears that every Roman Catholic is specifically commanded not to believe "that heretics should be burned is against the will of the Spirit" and disobedience incurs automatic major excommunication.
Are Roman Catholics in general taught, and do they understand, that they are infallibly commanded, under penalty of automatic major excommunication, to believe that; 1) God favors (or is at least indifferent to) the burning of heretics and, 2) that Roman Catholic Bishops and regular clergy should be regularly collecting and publicly burning anything promulgating Martin Luther's ideas ... or has something occurred which has rendered this injunction fallible?