Tuesday, December 06, 2016
On this date in 1484, Pope Innocent VIII's notorious "Witches Bull" (Bull Summis desiderantes) was issued, officially commencing the witch hunts. Historians estimate that victims put to death as a result ranged from 600,000 to more than 9 million, over the 250 years of the witch hunts.
"[m]any persons of both sexes, unmindful of their own salvation and straying from the Catholic Faith, have abandoned themselves to devils, incubi and succubi, and by their incantations, spells, conjurations, and other accursed charms and crafts, enormities and horrid offences, have slain infants yet in the mother's womb, as also the offspring of cattle, have blasted the produce of the earth, the grapes of the vine, the fruits of the trees, nay, men and women, beasts of burthen, herd-beasts, as well as animals of other kinds, vineyards, orchards, meadows, pasture-land, corn, wheat, and all other cereals; these wretches furthermore afflict and torment men and women, beasts of burthen, herd-beasts, as well as animals of other kinds, with terrible and piteous pains and sore diseases, both internal and external; they hinder men from performing the sexual act and women from conceiving, ...they blasphemously renounce that Faith which is theirs by the Sacrament of Baptism, and at the instigation of the Enemy of Mankind they do not shrink from committing and perpetrating the foulest abominations and filthiest excesses to the deadly peril of their own souls, (...) the abominations and enormities in question remain unpunished not without open danger to the souls of many and peril of eternal damnation."
My own rule is never to trust anyone who says they know what's going to happen in the future but have no evidence to support it. This is particularly relevant for us in the light of Brexit and the US election result but I reserve a special distrust for those who claim to know what's going to happen to us after we die, like Mr Innocent here, never works out well.
Posted by Steve Borthwick at 1:59 pm