The authors of the Gunpowder plot would have seen themselves as tyranicides, seeing King James as both a usurper and an oppressor. Though most Catholic theologians were of the grin and bear it school as far as tyrants are concerned, the Council of Constance (1415) had taught:
"Any vassal or subject can lawfully and meritoriously kill, and ought to kill, any tyrant. He may even, for this purpose, avail himself of ambushes, and wily expressions of affection or of adulation, notwithstanding any oath or pact imposed upon him by the tyrant, and without waiting for the sentence or order of any judge." (Session XV)At a time when so many Catholics throughout Europe were oppressed or even outlawed the perennial Catholic question, "how far can you go?" had come to the fore. A small number of Jesuits at the time of the plot, like Juan Mariana defended, though with many restrictions and precautions, the disposition and killing of a tyrant. In 1610, five years after the Gunpowder Plot, the Jesuit General forbade any teaching or counsel in private or public, that tyranicide was acceptable.
Today the same question, how far can you go? is to the fore again, perhaps influenced by South American Liberation Theologians. It is not the assassination of a tyrant but questions as to whether it legitimate to destroy an offensive work of art or to disrupt a theatre performance.
Stupid me! thanks to those who made comments, what I put forward as the teaching of Constance, was actually condemned by it!!!