13 May 2012

Three Classes of Men Blessed by God

The Malleus Maleficarum by Kramer and Sprenger, 1489, Excerpts

There are three classes of men blessed by God, whom that detestable race cannot injure with their witchcraft. And the first are those who administer public justice against them, or prosecute them in any public official capacity. The second are those who, according to the traditional and holy rites of the Church, make lawful use of the power and virtue which the Church by her exorcisms furnishes in the aspersion of Holy Water, the taking of consecrated salt, the carrying of blessed candles on the Day of the Purification of Our Lady, of palm leaves upon Palm Sunday, and men who thus fortify themselves are acting so that the powers of devils are diminished; and of these we shall speak later. The third class are those who, in various and infinite ways, are blessed by the Holy Angels. With the exception, therefore, of these three classes of men, no one is secure from witches.

All others are liable to be bewitched, or to be tempted and incited by some witchery, in the eighteen ways that are now to be considered. First, we show the various methods of initiation of witches, and how they entice innocent girls to swell the numbers of their perfidious company. Second, how witches profess their sacrilege, and the oath of allegiance to the devil which they take. Third, how they are transported from place to place, either bodily or in the spirit. Fourth, how they subject themselves to Incubi, who are devils. Fifth, their general method of practising witchcraft through the Sacraments of the Church, and in particular how, with the permission of God, they can afflict all creatures except the Celestial Bodies. Sixth, their method of obstructing the generative function. Seventh, how they can take off the virile member by some art of illusion. Eighth, how they change men into the shapes of beasts. Ninth, how devils can enter the mind without hurting it, when they work some glamour or illusion. Tenth, how devils, through the operation of witches, sometimes substantially inhabit men. Eleventh, how they cause every sort of infirmity, and this in general. Twelfth, of certain infirmities in particular. Thirteenth, how witch midwives cause the greatest damage, either killing children or sacrilegiously offering them to devils. Fourteenth, how they cause various plagues to afflict animals. Fifteenth, how they raise hailstorms and tempests, and thunder and lightning, to fall upon men and animals. Sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth, the three ways in which men only, and not women, are addicted to witchcraft.

Pope Innocent VII

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