The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Sprenger

Possibly the world's most popular inclination, the impulse to export your suffering to another seems to be near-universal. Not confined to any race, sex, or age category, the impulse to cause pain appears to well up from deep inside human beings. This is mysterious, because no one seems to enjoy pain when it is inflicted on them. Go figure.

Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:07 am


Here followeth how Witches Injure Cattle in Various Ways.

When S. Paul said, Doth God care for oxen? [1] he meant that, though all things are subject to Divine providence, both man and beast each in its degree, as the Psalmist [2] says, yet the sons of men are especially in His governance and under the protection of His wings. I say, therefore, if men are injured by witches, with God’s permission, both the innocent and just as well as sinners, and if parents are bewitched in their children, as being part of their possessions, who can then presume to doubt that, with God’s permission, various injuries can be brought by witches upon cattle and the fruits of the earth, which are also part of men’s possessions? For so was Job stricken by the devil and lost all his cattle. So also there is not even the smallest farm where women do not injure each other’s cows, by drying up their milk, and very often killing them.

But first let us consider the smallest of these injuries, that of drying up the milk. If it is asked how they can do this, it can be answered that, according to Blessed Albert in his Book on Animals, milk is naturally menstrual in any animal; and, like another flux in women, when it is not stopped by some natural infirmity, it is due to witchcraft that it is stopped. Now the flow of milk is naturally stopped when the animal becomes pregnant; and it is stopped by an accidental infirmity when the animal eats some herb the nature of which is to dry up the milk and make the cow ill.

But they can cause this in various ways by witchcraft. For on the more holy nights according to the instructions of the devil and for the greater offence to the Divine Majesty of God, a witch will sit down in a corner of her house with a pail between her legs, stick a knife or some instrument in the wall or a post, and make as if to milk it with her hands. Then she summons her familiar who always works with her in everything, and tells him that she wishes to milk a certain cow from a certain house, which is healthy and abounding in milk. And suddenly the devil takes the milk from the udder of that cow, and brings it to where the witch is sitting, as if it were flowing from the knife.

But when this is publicly preached to the people they get no bad information by it; for however much anyone may invoke the devil, and think that by this alone he can do this thing, he deceives himself, because he is without the foundation of that perfidy, not having rendered homage to the devil or abjured the Faith. I have set this down because some have thought that several of the matter of which I have written ought not to be preacher to the people, on account of the danger of giving them evil knowledge; whereas it is impossible for anyone to learn from a preacher how to perform any of the things that have been mentioned. But they have been written rather to bring so great a crime into detestation, and should be preached from the pulpit, so that judges may be more eager to punish the horrible crime of the abnegation of the Faith. Yet they should not always be preached in this way; for the secular mind pays more attention to temporal losses, being more concerned with earthly than spiritual matters; therefore when witches can be accused of inflicting temporal loss, judges are more zealous to punish them. But who can fathom the cunning of the devil?

I know of some men in a certain city who wished to eat some May butter one May time. And as they were walking along they came to a meadow and say down by a stream; and one of them, who had formed some open or tacit pact with the devil, said: I will get you the best May butter. And at once he took off his clothes and went into the stream, not standing up but sitting with his back against the current; and while the others looked on, he uttered certain words, and moved the water with his hands behind his back; and in a short time he brought out a great quantity of butter of the sort that the country women sell in the market in May. And the others tasted it and declared that it was the very best butter.

From this we can deduce first the following fact concerning their practices. They are either true witches, by reason of an expressed pact formed with the devil, or they know by some tacit understanding that the devil will do what they ask. In the first case there is no need for any discussion, for such are true witches. But in the second case, then they owed the devil’s help to the fact that they were blasphemously offered to the devil by a midwife or by their own mothers.

But it may be objected that the devil perhaps brought the butter without any compact, expressed or tacit, and without any previous dedication to himself. It is answered that no one can ever use the devil’s help in such matters without invoking him; and that by that very act of seeking help from the devil he is an apostate from the Faith. This is the decision of S. Thomas in the Second Book of Sentences, dist. 8, on the question, Whether it is apostasy from the Faith to use the devil’s help. And although Blessed Albert the Great agrees with the other Doctors, yet he says more expressly that in such matters there is always apostasy either in word or in deed. For if invocations, conjurations, fumigations and adorations are used, then an open pact is formed with the devil, even if there has been no surrender of body and soul together with explicit abjuration of the Faith either wholly or in part. For by the mere invocation of the devil a man commits open verbal apostasy. But if there is no spoken invocation, but only a bare action from which follows something that could not be done without the devil’s help, then whether a man does it be beginning in the name of the devil, or with some other unknown words, or without any words but with that intention; then, says Blessed Albert, it is apostasy of deed, because that action is looked for from the devil. But since to expect or receive anything from the devil is always a disparagement of the Faith, it is also apostasy.

So it is concluded that, by whatever means that sorcerer procured the butter, it was done with either a tacit or an expressed pact with the devil; and since, if it had been with an expressed pact, he would have behaved after the usual manner of witches, it is probably that there was a tacit or secret pact, originating either from himself or from his mother or a midwife. And I say that it arose from himself, since he only went through certain motions, and expected the devil to produce the effect.

The second conclusion we can draw from this and similar practices is this. The devil cannot create new species of things; therefore when natural butter suddenly came out of the water, the devil did not do this by changing the water into milk, but by taking butter from some place where it was kept and bringing it to the man’s hand. Or else he took natural milk from a natural cow and suddenly churned it into natural butter; for while the art of women takes a little time to make butter, the devil could do it in the shortest space of time and bring it to the man.

It is in the same way that certain dealers in magic, when they find themselves in need of wine or some such necessity, merely go out in the night with a flask or vessel, and bring it back suddenly filled with wine. For then the devil takes natural wine from some vessel and fills their flasks for them.

And with regard to the manner whereby witches kill animals and cattle, it should be said that they act very much as they do in the case of men. They can bewitch them by a touch and a look, or by a look only; or by placing under the threshold of the stable door, or near the place where they go to water, some charm or periapt of witchcraft.

For in this way those witches who were burned at Ratisbon, of whom we shall say more later on, were always incited by the devil to bewitch the best horses and the fattest cattle. And when they were asked how they did so, one of them named Agnes said that they hid certain things under the threshold of the stable door. And, asked what sort of things, she said: The bones of different kinds of animals. She was further asked in whose name they did this, and answered, In the name of the devil and all the other devils. And there was another of them, named Anna, who had killed twenty-three horses in succession belonging to one of the citizens who was a carrier. This man at last, when he had bought his twenty-fourth horse and reduced to extreme poverty, stood in his stable and said to the witch, who was standing in the door of her house: “See, I have bought a horse, and I swear to God and His Holy Mother that if this horse dies I shall kill you with my own hands.” At that the witch was frightened, and left the horse alone. But when she was taken and asked how she had done these things, she answered that she had done nothing but dig a little hole, after which the devil had put in it certain things unknown to her. From this it is concluded that the witch co-operates sufficiently if it is only by a touch or a look; for the devil is permitted no power of injuring creatures without some co-operation on the part of the witch, as has been shown before. And this is for the great offence to the Divine Majesty.

For shepherds have often seen animals in the fields give three or four jumps into the air, and then suddenly fall to the ground and die; and this is caused by the power of witches at the instance of the devil.

In the diocese of Strasburg, between the town of Fiessen and Mount Ferrer, a certain very rich man affirmed that more than forty oxen and cows belonging to him and others had been bewitched in the Alps within the space of one year, and that there had been no natural plague or sickness to cause it. To prove this, he said that when cattle die from some change plague or disease, they do not do so all at once, but by degrees; but that this witchcraft had suddenly taken all the strength from them, and therefore everyone judged that they had been killed by witchcraft. I have said forty head of cattle, but I believe he put the number higher than that. However, it is very true that many cattle are said to have been bewitched in some districts, especially in the Alps; and it is known that this form of witchcraft if unhappily most widespread. We shall consider some similar cases later, in the chapter where we discuss the remedies for cattle that have been bewitched.



1. “Oxen.” “I. Corinthians,” ix. 9.

2. “Psalmist.” “Psalmists” xxxv, 7, 8.
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:08 am


How they Raise and Stir up Hailstorms and Tempests, and Cause Lightning to Blast both Men and Beasts.

That devils and their disciples can by witchcraft cause lightnings and hailstorms and tempests, and that the devils have power from God to do this, and their disciples do so with God’s permission, is proved by Holy Scripture in Job i and ii. For the devil received power from God, and immediately caused it to happen that the Sabeans took away from Job fifty yoke of oxen and five hundred asses, and then fire came from heaven and consumed seven thousand camels, and a great wind came and smote down this house, killing his seven sons and his three daughters, and all the young men, that is to say, the servants, except him who brought the news, were killed; and finally the devil smote the body of the holy man with the most terrible sores, and caused his wife and his three friends to vex him grievously.

S. Thomas in his commentary on Job says as follows: It must be confessed that, with God’s permission, the devils can disturb the air, raise up winds, and make the fire fall from heaven. For although, in the matter of taking various shapes, corporeal nature is not at the command of any Angel, either good or bad, but only at that of God the Creator, yet in the matter of local motion corporeal nature has to obey the spiritual nature. And this truth is clearly exemplified in man himself; for at the mere command of the will, which exists subjectively in the soul, the limbs are moved to perform that which they have been willed to do. Therefore whatever can be accomplished by mere local motion, this not only good but bad spirits can by their natural power accomplish, unless God should forbid it. But winds and rain and other similar disturbances of the air can be caused by the mere movement of vapours released from the earth or the water; therefore the natural power of devils is sufficient to cause such things. So says S. Thomas.

For God in His justice using the devils as his agents of punishment inflicts the evils which come to us who live in this world. Therefore, with reference to that in the Psalms: “He called a famine on the land, and wasted all their substance of bread.”; the gloss says: God allowed this evil to be caused by the bad Angels who are in charge of such matters; and by famine is meant the Angel in charge of famine.

We refer the reader also to what has been written above on the question as to whether witches must always have the devil’s help to aid them in their works, and concerning the three kinds of harm which the devils at times inflict without the agency of a witch. But the devils are more eager to injure men with the help of a witch, since in this way God is the more offended, and greater power is given to them to torment and punish.

And relevant to this subject is what the Doctors have written in the Second book of Sentences, dist. 6, on the question whether there is a special place assigned to the bad Angels in the clouds of the air. For in devils there are three things to be considered - their nature, their duty and their sin; and by nature they belong to the empyrean of heaven, through sin to the lower hell, but by reason of the duty assigned to them, as we have said, as ministers of punishment to the wicked and trial to the good, their place is in the clouds of the air. For they do not dwell here with us on the earth lest they should plague us too much; but in the air and around the fiery sphere they can so bring together the active and passive agents that, when God permits, they can bring down fire and lightning from heaven.

A story is told in the Formicarius [1] of a certain man who had been taken, and was asked by the judge how they went about to raise up hailstorms and tempests, and whether it was easy for them to do so. He answered: We can easily cause hailstorms, but we cannot do all the harm that we wish, because of the guardianship of good Angels. And he added: We can only injure those who are deprived of God’s help; but we cannot hurt those who make the sign of the Cross. And this is how we got to work: first we use certain words in the fields to implore the chief of the devils to send one of his servants to strike the man whom we name. Then, when the devil has come, we sacrifice to him a black cock at two cross-roads, [2] throwing it up into the air; and when the devil has received this, he performs our wish and stirs up the air, but not always in the places which we have named, and, according to the permission of the living God, sends down hailstorms and lightnings.

In the same work we hear of a certain leader or heresiarch of witches named Staufer, [3] who lived in Berne and the adjacent country, and used publicly to boast that, whenever he liked, he could change himself into a mouse in the sight of his rivals and slip through the hands of his deadly enemies; and that he had often escaped from the hands of his mortal foes in this manner. But when the Divine justice wished to put an end to his wickedness, some of his enemies lay in wait for him cautiously and saw him sitting in a basket near a window, and suddenly pierced him through with swords and spears, so that he miserably died for his crimes. Yet he left behind him a disciple, named Hoppo, who had also for his master that Stadlin whom we have mentioned before in the sixth chapter.

These two could, whenever they pleased, cause the third part of the manure or straw or corn to pass invisibly from a neighbour’s field to their own; they could raise the most violent hailstorms and destructive winds and lightning; could cast into the water in the sight of their parents children walking by the water-side, when there was no one else in sight; could cause barrenness in men and animals; could reveal hidden things to others; could in many ways injure men in their affairs or their bodies; could at times kill whom they would by lightning; and could cause many other plagues, when and where the justice of God permitted such things to be done.

It is better to add an instance which came within our own experience. For in the diocese of Constance, twenty-eight German miles from the town of Ratisbon in the direction of Salzburg, a violent hailstorm destroyed all the fruit, crops and vineyards in a belt one mile wide, so that the vines hardly bore fruit for three years. This was brought to the notice of the Inquisition, since the people clamoured for an inquiry to be held; many beside all the townsmen being of the opinion that it was caused by witchcraft. Accordingly it was agreed after fifteen days’ formal deliberation that it was a case of witchcraft for us to consider; and among a large number of suspects, we particularly examined two women, one named Agnes, a bath-woman, and the other Anna von Mindelheim. These two were taken and shut up separately in different prisons, neither of them knowing in the least what had happened to the other. On the following day the bath-woman was very gently questioned in the presence of a notary by the chief magistrate, a justice named Gelre very zealous for the Faith, and by the other magistrates with him; and although she was undoubtedly well provided with that evil gift of silence which is the constant bane of judges, and at the first trial affirmed that she was innocent of any crime against man or woman; yet, in the Divine mercy that so great a crime should not pass unpunished, suddenly, when she had been freed from her chains, although it was in the torture chamber, she fully laid bare all the crimes which she had committed. For when she was questioned by the Notary of the Inquisition upon the accusations which had been brought against her of harm done to men and cattle, by reason of which she had been gravely suspected of being a witch, although there had been no witness to prove that she had abjured the Faith or performed coitus with an Incubus devil (for she had been most secret); nevertheless, after she had confessed to the harm which she had caused to animals and men, she acknowledged also all that she was asked concerning the abjuration of the Faith, and copulation committed with an Incubus devil; saying that for more than eighteen years she had given her body to an Incubus devil, with a complete abnegation of the Faith.

After this she was asked whether she knew anything about the hailstorm which we have mentioned, and answered that she did. And, being asked how and in what way, she answered: “I was in my house, and at midday a familiar came to me and told me to go with a little water on to the field or plain of Kuppel (for so is it named). And when I asked what he wanted to do with the water, he said that he wanted to make it rain. So I went out at the town gate, and found the devil standing under a tree.” The judge asked her, under which tree; and she said, “Under that one opposite that tower,” pointing it out. Asked what she did under the tree, she said, “The devil told me to dig a hole and pour the water into it.” Asked whether they say down together, she said, “I sat down, but the devil stood up.” Then she was, with what words and in what manner she had stirred the water; and she answered, “I stirred it with my finger, and called on the name of the devil himself and all the other devils.” Again the judge asked what was done with the water, and she answered: “It disappeared, and the devil took it up into the air.” Then she was asked if she had any associate, and answered: “Under another tree opposite I had a companion (naming the other capture witch, Anna von Mindelheim), but I do not know what she did.” Finally, the bath-woman was asked how long it was between the taking up of the water the hailstorm; and she answered: “There was just sufficient interval of time to allow me to get back to my house.”

But (and this is remarkable) when on the next day the other witch had at first been exposed to the very gentlest questions, being suspended hardly clear of the ground by her thumbs, after she had been set quite free, she disclosed the whole matter without the slightest discrepancy from what the other had told; agreeing as to the place, that it was under such a tree and the other had been under another; as to the method, namely, of stirring water poured into a hole in the name of the devil and all the devils; and as to the interval of time, that the hailstorm had come after her devil had taken the water up into the air and she had returned home. Accordingly, on the third day they were burned. And the bath-woman was contrite and confessed, and commended herself to God, saying that she would die with a willing heart if she could escape the tortures of the devil, and held in her hand a cross which she kissed. But the other witch scorned her for doing so. And this one had consorted with an Incubus devil for more than twenty years with a complete abjuration of the Faith, and had done far more harm than the former witch to men, cattle and the fruits of the earth, as is shown in the preserved record of their trial.

These instances must serve, since indeed countless examples of this sort of mischief could be recounted. But very often men and beasts and storehouses are struck by lightning by the power of devils; and the cause of this seems to be more hidden and ambiguous, since it often appears to happen by Divine permission without the co-operation of any witch. However, it has been found that witches have freely confessed that they have done such things, and there are various instances of it, which could be mentioned, in addition to what has already been said. Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that, just as easily as they raise hailstorms, so can they cause lightning and storms at sea; and so no doubt at all remains on these points.



1. “Formicarius,” Chap. iii.

2. “Cross-Roads.” In the trial of Dame Alice Kyteler of Kilkenny, 1324, it was shown that she had sacrificed at the cross-roads live animals (Holinshed says nine red cocks) to her familiar, Robert Artisson, “qui se facit appellari Artis Filium.” In Greek tradition the , a poltergeist, haunted the cross-ways. Lemoine, VI, p. 109, tells us: “Celui qui veut devenir sorcier doit aller à un ‘quatre chemins’ avec une ‘poule noire,’ ou bien encore au ‘cimetière,’ sur une ‘tombe’ et toujours à ‘minuit.’ Il vient alors quelqu’un qui demande: ‘Qui venez-vous faire ici?’ ‘J’ai une poule à vendre,’ répond-on. Ce quelqu’un (est) le Méchant.”

3. “Staufer.” Staufus. “Formicarius,” Chap. iii. The edition Frankfort, 1588, Vol. I, p. 722, reads “Scavius” and in the margin “Schasius.” (Marginal note: “De Schasio in murem se conuertente.”)
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:08 am


Of Three Ways in which Mean and Women may be Discovered to be Addicted to Witchcraft: Divided into Three Heads: and First of the Witchcraft of Archers.

For our present purpose the last class of witchcraft is that which is practised in three forms by men; and first we must consider the seven deadly and horrible crimes which are committed by wizards who are archers. For first, on the Sacred Day of the Passion of Our Lord, that is to say, on Good Friday, as it is called, during the solemnization of the Mass of the Presanctified they shoot with arrows, as at a target, at the most sacred image of the Crucifix. Oh, the cruelty and injury to the Saviour! Secondly, though there is some doubt whether they have to utter a verbal form of apostasy to the devil in addition to that apostasy of deed, yet whether it be so or not, no greater injury to the Faith can be done by a Christian. For it is certain that, if such things were done by an infidel, they would be of no efficacy; for no such easy method of gratifying their hostility to the Faith is granted to them. Therefore these wretches ought to consider the truth and power of the Catholic Faith, for the confirmation of which God justly permits such crimes.

Thirdly, such an archer has to shoot three or four arrows in this way, and as a consequence he is able to kill on any day just the same number of men. Fourthly, they have the following assurance from the devil; that though they must first actually set eyes on the man they wish to kill, and must bend their whole will on killing him, yet it matter not where the man may shut himself up, for he cannot be protected, but the arrows which have been shot will be carried and struck into him by the devil.

Fifthly, they can shoot an arrow [1] with such precision as to shoot a penny from a person’s head without hurting his head, and they can continue to do this indefinitely. Sixthly, in order to gain this power they have to offer homage of body and soul to the devil. We shall give some instances of this sort of practice.

For a certain prince of the Rhineland, named Eberhard Longbeard because he let his beard grow, had, before he was sixty years old, acquired for himself some of the Imperial territory, and was besieging a certain castle named Lendenbrunnen because of the raids which were made by the men of the castle. And he had in his company a wizard of this sort, named Puncker, who so molested the men of the castle that he killed them all in succession with his arrows, except one. And this is how he proceeded. Whenever he had looked at a man, it did not matter where that man went to or hid himself, he had only to loose an arrow and that man was mortally wounded and killed; and he was able to shoot three such arrows every day because he had shot three arrows at the image of the Saviour. It is probable that the devil favours the number three more than any other, because it represents an effective denial of the Holy Trinity. But after he had shot those three arrows, he could only shoot with the same uncertainty as other men. At last one of the men of the castle called out to him mockingly, “Puncker, will you not at least spare the ring which hangs in the gate?” And he answered from outside in the night, “No; I shall take it away on the day that the castle is captured.” And he fulfilled his promise: for when, as has been said, all were killed except one, and the castle had been taken, he took that ring and hung it in his own house at Rorbach in the diocese of Worms, where it can be seen hanging to this day. But afterwards he was one night killed with their spades by some peasants whom he had injured, and he perished in his sins.

It is told also of this man, that a very eminent person wished to have proof of his skill, and for a test placed his little son before the target with a penny on his cap, and ordered him to shoot the penny away without removing the cap. The wizard said that he would do it, but with reluctance, not being sure whether the devil was seducing him to his death. But, yielding to the persuasions of the prince, he placed one arrow in readiness in the cord which was slung over his should, fitted another to his bow, and shot the penny from the cap without hurting the boy. Seeing this, the prince asked him why he had placed the arrow in that cord; and he answered: “If I had been deceived by the devil and had killed my son, since I should have had to die I would quickly have shot you with the other arrow to avenge my death.”

And though such wickedness is permitted by God for the proving and chastisement of the faithful, nevertheless more powerful miracles are performed by the Saviour’s mercy for the strengthening and glory of the Faith.

For in the diocese of Constance, near the castle of Hohenzorn and a convent of nuns, there is a newly-built church where may be seen an image of Our Saviour pierced with an arrow and bleeding. And the truth of this miracle is shown as follows. A miserable wretch who wished to be assured by the devil of having three or four arrows with which he could, in the manner we have told, kill whom he pleased, shot and pierced with an arrow (just as it is still seen) a certain Crucifix at a crossroad; and when it miraculously began to bleed, [2] the wretch was stuck motionless in his steps by Divine power. And when he was asked by a passer-by why he stood fixed there, he shook his head, and trembling in his arms and his hands, in which he held the bow, and all over his body, could answer nothing. So the other looked about him, and saw the Crucifix with the arrow and the blood, and said: “You villain, you have pierced the image of Our Lord!” And calling some others, he told them to see that he did not escape (although, as has been said, he could not move), and ran to the castle and told what had happened. And they came down and found the wretched man in the same place; and when they had questioned him, and he had confessed his crime, he was removed from that district by public justice, and suffered a miserable death in merited expiation of his deeds.

But, alas! how horrible it is to think that human perversity is not afraid to countenance such crimes. For it is said that in the halls of the great such men are maintained to glory in their crimes in open contempt of the Faith, to the heavy offence of the Divine Majesty, and in scorn of Our Redeemer; and are permitted to boast of their deeds.

Wherefore such protectors, defenders and patrons are to be judged not only heretics, but even apostates from the Faith, and are to be punished in the manner that will be told. And this is the seventh deadly sin of these wizards. For first they are by very law excommunicated; and if the patrons are clerics they are degraded and deprived of all office and benefit, nor can they be restored except by a special indulgence from the Apostolic See. Also, if after their proscription such protectors remain obstinate in their excommunication for the period of a year, they are to be condemned as heretics.

This is in accordance with the Canon Law; for, in Book VI, it touches on the question of direct or indirect interference with the proceedings of Diocesans and Inquisitors in the cause of the Faith, and mentions the aforesaid punishment to be inflicted after a year. For it say: We forbid any interference from Potentates, temporal Lords and Rulers, and their Officials, etc. Anyone may refer to the chapter.

And further, that witches and their protectors are by very law to be excommunicated is shown in the Canon of the suppressing of the heresy of witchcraft; especially where it says: We excommunicate and anathematize all heretics, Catharists, Sectaries . . . and others, by whatever names they are known, etc. And with these it includes all their sympathizers and protectors, and others; saying later on: Also we excommunicate all followers, protectors, defenders and patrons of such heretics.

The Canon Law prescribes various penalties which are incurred within the space of a year by such heretics, whether laymen or clerics, where it says: We place under the ban of excommunication all their protectors, patrons and defenders, so that when any such has been so sentenced and has scorned to recant his heresy, within a year from that time he shall be considered an outlaw, and shall not be admitted to any office or council, nor be able to vote in the election of such officers, nor be allowed free opportunity of giving evidence; he shall not succeed to any inheritance, and no one shall be held responsible for any business transaction with him. If he be a judge, his judgement shall not stand, nor shall any case be brought to his hearing. If he be an advocate, he shall not be allowed to plead. If he be a notary, no instrument drawn up by him shall have any weight, but is to be condemned together with its condemned author; and similar penalties are decreed for the holders of other offices. But if he be a cleric, he is to be degraded from all office and benefice; for, his guilt being the greater, it is more heavily avenged. And if any such, after they have been marked down by the Church, contemptuously try to ignore their punishment, the sentence of excommunication is to be rigorously applied to them to the extreme limits of vengeance. And the clergy shall not administer the Sacraments of the Church to such heretics, nor presume to give them Christian burial, nor accept their alms and oblations, on pain of being deprived of their office, to which they can in no way be restored without a special indulgence from the Apostolic See.

There are, finally, many other penalties incurred by such heretics even when they do not persist in their obstinacy for a year, and also by their children and grandchildren: for they can be degraded by a Bishop or by an Inquisitor, declared deprived of all titles, possessions, honours and ecclesiastical benefits, in fine of all public offices whatsoever. But this is only when they are persistently and obstinately impenitent. Also their sons to the second generation may be disqualified and unable to obtain either ecclesiastical preferment or public office; but this is to be understood only of the descendants on the father’s side, and not on the mother’s, and only of those who are impenitent. Also all their followers, protectors, fautors and patrons shall be denied all right of petition or appeal; and this is explained as meaning that, after a verdict has been returned that they are such heretics, then can they make no appeal before their sentence, however much they may have been in any respect ill-used or treated with undue severity. Much more could be adduced in support of our standpoint, but this is sufficient.

Now for the better understanding of what has been said, some few points are to be discussed. And first, if a prince or secular potentate employ such a wizard as we have described for the destruction of some castle in a just war, and with his help crushes the tyranny of wicked men; is his whole army to be considered as protectors and patrons of that wizard, and to be subjected to the penalties we have mentioned? The answer seems to be that the rigour of justice must be tempered on account of their numbers. For the leader, with his counsellors and advisers, must be considered to have aided and abetted such witchcraft, and they are by law implicated in the aforesaid penalties when, after being warned by their spiritual advisers, they have persisted in their bad course; and then they are to be judged protectors and patrons, and are to be punished. But the rest of the army, since they have no part in their leaders’ council, but are simply prepared to risk their lives in defence of their country, although they may view with approval the feats of the wizard, nevertheless escape the sentence of excommunication; but they must in their confession acknowledge the guilt of the wizard, and in their absolution by the confessor must receive a solemn warning to hold all such practices for ever in detestation, and as far as they are able drive from their land all such wizards.

It may be asked by whom such princes are to be absolved when they come to their senses, whether by their own spiritual advisers or by the Inquisitors? We answer that, if they repent, they may be absolved either by their spiritual advisers, or by the Inquisitors. This is provided in the Canon Law concerning the proceedings to be taken, in the fear of God and as a warning to men, against heretics, their followers, protectors, patrons and fautors, as also against those who are accused or suspected of heresy. But if any of the above, forswearing his former lapse into heresy, wish to return to the unity of the Church, he may receive the benefit of absolution provided by Holy Church.

A prince, or any other, may be said to have returned to his senses when he has delivered up the wizard to be punished for his offences against the Creator; when he has banished from his dominions all who have been found guilty of witchcraft or heresy; when he is truly penitent for the past; and when, as becomes a Catholic prince, he is firmly determined in his mind not to show any favour to any other such wizard.

But it may be asked to whom should such a man be surrendered, in what court he should be tried, and whether he is to be judged as one openly apprehended in heresy? The first difficulty is specially dealt with at the beginning of the Third part; namely, whether it is the business of a secular or of an ecclesiastical judge to punish such men. It is manifestly stated in the Canon Law that no temporal magistrate or judge is competent to try a case of heresy without a licence from the Bishops and Inquisitors, or at least under the hand of someone who has authority from them. But when it says that the secular courts have no jurisdiction in this matter because the crime of heresy is exclusively ecclesiastical, this does not seem to apply to the case of witches; for the crimes of witches are not exclusively ecclesiastical, but are also civil on account of the temporal damage which they do. Nevertheless, as will be shown later, although the ecclesiastical judge must try and judge the case, yet it is for the secular judge to carry out the sentence and inflict punishment, as is shown in the chapters of the Canon no the abolition of heresy, and on excommunication. Wherefore, even if he does surrender the witch to the Ordinary to be judged, the secular judge has still the power of punishing him after he has been delivered back by the Bishop; and with the consent of the Bishop, the secular judge can even perform both offices, that is, he can both sentence and punish.

And it is no valid objection to say that such wizards are rather apostates than heretics; for both these are offenders against the Faith; but whereas a heretic is only in some partial or total doubt with regard to the Faith, witchcraft in its very essence implies apostasy intent from the Faith. For it is a heavier sin to corrupt the Faith, which is the life of the soul, than to falsify money, which is a prop to the life of the body. And if counterfeiters of money, and other malefactors, are immediately sentenced to death, how much more just and equitable it is that such heretics and apostates should be immediately put to death when they are convicted.

Here was have also answered the second difficulty, namely, by what court and judge such men are to be punished. But this will be more fully considered in the Third Part of this work, where we treat of the methods of sentencing the offenders, and how one taken in open heresy is to be sentenced (see the eighth and twelfth methods), and of the question whether one who becomes penitent is still to be put to death.

For if a simple heretic constantly backslides as often as he repents, he is to be put to death according to the Canon Law; and this is reasonable according to S. Thomas, as being for the general good. For if relapsed heretics are often and often received back and allowed to live and keep their temporal goods, it might prejudice the salvation of others, both because they might infect others if they fell again, and because, if they were to escape without punishment, others would have less fear in being infected with heresy. And their very relapse argues that they are not constant in the Faith, and they are therefore justly to be put to death. And so we ought to say here that, if a mere suspicion of inconstancy is sufficient warrant for an ecclesiastical judge to hand over such a backslider to the secular court to be put to death, much more must he do so in the case of one who refuses to prove his penitence and change of heart by handing over to the secular court an apostate or any witch, but rather leaves free and unchecked one whom the secular judge wishes to put to death as a witch according to the law, on account of the temporal injuries of which he has been guilty. But if the witch is penitent, the ecclesiastical judge must first absolve him from the excommunication which he has incurred because of the heresy of witchcraft. Also when a heretic is penitent, he can be received back into the bosom of the Church for the salvation of his soul. This matter is further discussed in the First Question of the Third Part, and this is ample for the present. Only let all Rulers consider how strictly and minutely they will be called to account by that terrible Judge; for indeed there will be a severe judgement on those in authority who allow such wizards to live and work their injuries against the Creator.

The other two classes of wizards belong to the general category of those who can use incantations and sacrilegious charms so as to render certain weapons incapable of harming or wounding them; and these are divided into two kinds. For the first class resemble the archer-wizards of whom we have just spoken, in that they also mutilate the image of Christ crucified. For example, if they wish their head to be immune from any wound from a weapon or from any blow, they take off the head of the Crucifix; if they wish their neck to be invulnerable, they take off its neck; if their arm, they take off, or at least shorten, the arm, and so on. And sometimes they take away all above the waist, or below it. And in proof of this, hardly one in ten of the Crucifixes set up at cross-roads or in the fields can be found whole and intact. And some carry the limbs thus broken off about with them, and others procure their invulnerability by means of sacred or unknown words: therefore there is this difference between them. The first sort resemble the archer-wizards in their contempt of the Faith and their mutilation of the image of the Saviour, and are therefore to be considered as true apostates, and so much be judged when they do not approach them in wickedness. For they seem only to act for the protection of their own bodies, either above the waist or below it, or of the whole body. Therefore they are not to be judged as penitent heretics and not relapsed, when they have been convicted as wizards and have repented; and they are to be imposed a penance according to the eighth manner, with solemn adjuration and incarceration, as is shown in the Third Part of this work.

The second sort can magically enchant weapons so that they can walk on them with bare feet, and similar strange feats do they perform (for according to S. Isidore, Etym. VIII, enchanters are those who have some skill to perform wonders by means of words). And there is a distinction to be made between them; for some perform their incantations by means of sacred words, or charms written up over the sick, and these are lawful provided that seven conditions are observed, as will be shown later where we deal with the methods of curing those who are bewitched. But incantations made over weapons by certain secret words, or cases where the charms written for the sick have been taken down, are matters for the judge’s attention. For when they use words of which they do not themselves know the meaning, or characters and signs which are not the sign of the Cross, such practices are altogether to be repudiated, and good men should beware of the cruel arts of these warlocks. And if they will not desist from such deeds, they must be judges as suspects although lightly, and the manner of sentencing such after the second method will be shown later. For they are not untainted with the sin of heresy; for deeds of this kind can only be done with the help of the devil, and, as we have shown, he who uses such help is judged to be an apostate from the Faith. Yet on the plea of ignorance or of mending their ways they may be dealt with more leniently than the archer-wizards.

It is more commonly found that traders and merchants are in the habit of carrying about them such charms and runes; and since they partake of the nature of incantations, a complete riddance must be made of them, either by the father confessor in the box, or in open court by the ecclesiastical judge. For these unknown words and characters imply a tacit compact with the devil, who secretly uses such things for his own purpose, granting their wearers their wishes, that he may lure them on to worse things. Therefore in the court of law such men must be warned and sentenced after the second method. In the box, the confessor must examine the charm, and if he is unwilling to throw it away altogether, he must delete the unknown words and signs, but may keep any Gospel words or the sign of the Cross.

Now with regard to all these classes of wizards, and especially the archers, it must be noted, as has been declared above, whether they are to be judged as heretics openly taken in that sin; and we have touched on this matter even before in the First Question of the First Part. And there it is shown that S. Bernard says that there are three ways by which a man can be convicted of heresy: either by the evidence of the fact when in simply heresy he publicly preaches his errors, or by the credible evidence of witnesses, or by a man’s own confession. S. Bernard also explains the meaning of some of the words of the Canon Law in this connexion, as was shown in the First Question of the First Part of this work.

It is clear, therefore, that archer-wizards, and those mages who enchant other weapons, are to be considered as manifestly guilty of flagrant heresy, through some expressed pact with the devil, since it is obvious that their feats would not be possible without the devil’s help.

Secondly, it is equally clear that the patrons, protectors and defenders of such men are manifestly to be judged in the same way, and subjected to the prescribed punishments. For there is not in their case, as there may be in that of several others, any doubt as to whether they are to be regarded as lightly or strongly or gravely suspected; but they are always very grave sinners against the Faith, and are always visited by God with a miserable death.

For it is told that a certain prince used to keep such wizards in his favour, and by their help unduly oppressed a certain city in matters of commerce. And when one of his retainers remonstrated with him over this, he threw away all fear of God and exclaimed, “God grant that I may die in this place if I am oppressing them unjustly.” Divine vengeance quickly followed these words, and he was stricken down with sudden death. And this vengeance was not so much on account of his unjust oppression as because of his patronage of heresy.

Thirdly, it is clear that all Bishops and Rulers who do not essay their utmost to suppress crimes of this sort, with their authors and patrons, are themselves to be judged as evident abettors of the crime, and are manifestly to be punished in the prescribed manner.



1. “Shoot an Arrow.” This old tradition was made the subject of the celebrated opera “Der Freischutz,” the libretto of which is by Kind, the music by Weber. It was originally produced at Berlin in 1821, and on 22 July, 1824, first performed in England at the Lyceum Theatre, London, as “Der Freischutz; or, The Seventh Bullet.”

2. “Began to Bleed.” On 29 May, 1187, a number of mercenaries and bandits were playing with dice before the door of the church at Déols. One of these fellows, who had lost a throw, cursing and swearing, took up a stone, which he flung at the figure of Our Lady with the Child over the sacred portal. The arm of the Infant JESUS was snapped in twain. “ A stream of blood poured from the arm of the broken image and made a pool on the earth below. The wretch who flung the stone was seized with madness, and dropped down dead upon the spot.” The blood was carefully collected in a phial which was deposited in an Oratory dedicated to Our Lady. Numberless cures were effected, and a Confraternity which was founded in honour of the miracle flourished until the Revolution. It was reorganized in 1830, and on 31 May there is a solemn Commemoration of the Blood-shedding of Notre Dame de Déols.

After S. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775) had preached for the last time in the church of Piagaro, a Crucifix over one of the side-altars was seen to be oozing with blood. Hundreds witnessed the miracle, and later a chapel was built to enshrine the Miraculous Cross. In 1630 at Spoleto, drops of blood flowed from the head of a figure of Our Lord Crowned with Thorns. Even in this unbelieving age the Most Holy Crucifix of Limpias, El Santo Cristo de la Agonia, sweats blood, whilst tears have been observed in the eyes, which turn from side to side, and the head sometimes moves as in all the weariness of bitter pain. Very many other instances of similar miracles might be cited.
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:09 am



Introduction, wherein is Set Forth the Difficulty of this Question.

Is it lawful to remove witchcraft by means of further witchcraft, or by any other forbidden means?

It is argued that it is not; for it has already been shown that in the Second Book of Sentences, and the 8th Distinction, all the Doctors agree that it is unlawful to use the help of devils, since to do so involves apostasy from the Faith. And, it is argued, no witchcraft can be removed without the help of devils. For it is submitted that it must be cured either by human power, or by diabolic, or by Divine power. It cannot be by the first; for the lower power cannot counteract the higher, having no control over that which is outside its own natural capacity. Neither can it be by Divine power; for this would be a miracle, which God performs only at His own will, and not at the instance of men. For when His Mother besought Christ to perform a miracle to supply the need for wine, He answered: Woman, what have I to do with thee? And the Doctors explain this as meaning, “What association is there between you and me in the working of a miracle?” [1] Also it appears that it is very rarely that men are delivered from a bewitchment by calling on God’s help or the prayers of the Saints. Therefore it follows that they can only be delivered by the help of devils; and it is unlawful to seek such help.

Again it is pointed out that the common method in practice of taking off a bewitchment, although it is quite unlawful, is for the bewitched persons to resort to wise women, by whom they are very frequently cured, and not by priests or exorcists. So experience shows that such curses are effected by the help of devils, which it is unlawful to seek; therefore it cannot be lawful thus to cure a bewitchment, but it must patiently be borne.

It is further argued that S. Thomas and S. Bonaventura, in Book IV, dist. 34, have said that a bewitchment must be permanent because it can have no human remedy; for if there is a remedy, it is either unknown to men or unlawful. And these words are taken to mean that this infirmity is incurable and must be regarded as permanent; and they add that, even if God should provide a remedy by coercing the devil, and the devil should remove his plague from a man, and the man should be cured, that cure would not be a human one. Therefore, unless God should cure it, it is not lawful for a man to himself to try in any way to look for a cure.

In the same place these two Doctors add that it is unlawful even to seek a remedy by the superadding of another bewitchment. For they say that, granting this to be possible, and that the original spell be removed, yet the witchcraft is none the less to be considered permanent; for it is in no way lawful to invoke the devil’s help through witchcraft.

Further, it is submitted that the exorcisms of the Church are not always effective in the repression of devils [2] in the matter of bodily afflictions, since such are cured only at the discretion of God; but they are effective always against those molestations of devils against which they are chiefly instituted, as, for example, against men who are possessed, or in the matter of exorcising children.

Again, it does not follow that, because the devil has been given power over someone on account of his sins, that power must come to an end on the cessation of the sin. For very often a man may cease from sinning, but his sins still remain. So it seems from these sayings that the two Doctors we have cited were of the opinion that it is unlawful to remove a bewitchment, but that it must be suffered, just as it is permitted by the Lord God, Who can remove it when it seems good to Him.

Against this opinion it is argued that just as God and Nature do not abound in superfluities, so also they are not deficient in necessities; and it is a necessity that there should be given to the faithful against such devils’ work not only a means of protection (of which we treat in the beginning of this Second Part), but also curative remedies. For otherwise the faithful would not be sufficiently provided for by God, and the works of the devil would seem to be stronger than God’s work.

Also there is the gloss on that text in Job. There is no power on earth, etc. The gloss says that, although the devil has power over all things human, he is nevertheless subject to the merits of the Saints, and even to the merits of saintly men in this life.

Again, S. Augustine (De moribus Ecclesiae) [3] says: No Angel is more powerful than our mind, when we hold fast to God. For if power is a virtue in this world, then the mind that keeps close to God is more sublime than the whole world. Therefore such minds can undo the works of the devil.

Answer. Here are two weighty opinions which, it seems, are at complete variance with each other.

For there are certain Theologians and Canonists who agree that it is lawful to remove witchcraft even by superstitious and vain means. And of this opinion are Duns Scotus, [4] Henry of Segusio, and Godfrey, and all the Canonists. But it is the opinion of the other Theologians, especially the ancient ones, and of some of the modern ones, such as S. Thomas, S. Bonaventura, Blessed Albert, Peter a Palude, and many others, that in no case must evil be done that good may result, and that a man ought rather to die than consent to be cured by superstitious and vain means.

Let us now examine their opinions, with a view to bringing them as far as possible into agreement. Scotus, in his Fourth Book, dist. 34, on obstructions and impotence caused by witchcraft, says that it is foolish to maintain that it is unlawful to remove a bewitchment even by superstitious and vain means, and that to do so is in no way contrary to the Faith; for he who destroys the work of the devil is not an accessory to such works, but believes that the devil has the power and inclination to help in the infliction of an injury only so long as the outward token or sign of that injury endures. Therefore when that token is destroyed he puts an end to the injury. And he adds that it is meritorious to destroy the works of the devil. But, as he speaks of tokens, we will give an example.

There are women who discover a witch by the following token. When a cow’s supply of milk has been diminished by witchcraft, they hang a pail of milk over the fire, and uttering certain superstitious words, beat the pail with a stick. And though it is the pail that the women beat, yet the devil carries all those blows to the back of the witch; and in this way both the witch and the devil are made weary. But the devil does this in order that he may lead on the woman who beats the pail to worse practices. And so, if it were not for the risk which it entails, there would be no difficulty in accepting the opinion of this learned Doctor. Many other examples could be given.

Henry of Segusio, in his eloquent Summa on genital impotence caused by witchcraft, says that in such cases recourse must be had to the remedies of physicians; and although some of these remedies seem to be vain and superstitious cantrips and charms, yet everyone must be trusted in his own profession, and the Church may well tolerate the suppression of vanities by means of others vanities.

Ubertinus [5] also, in his Fourth Book, uses these words: A bewitchment can be removed either by prayer or by the same art by which it was inflicted.

Godfrey says in his Summa: A bewitchment cannot always be removed by him who caused it, either because he is dead, or because he does not know how to cure it, or because the necessary charm is lost. But if he knows how to effect relief, it is lawful for him to cure it. Our author is speaking against those who said that an obstruction of the carnal act could not be caused by witchcraft, and that it could never be permanent, and therefore did not annul a marriage already contracted.

Besides, those who maintained that no spell is permanent were moved by the following reasons: they thought that every bewitchment could be removed either by another magic spell, or by the exorcisms of the Church which are ordained for the suppression of the devil’s power, or by true penitence, since the devil has power only over sinners. So in the first respect they agree with the opinion of the others, namely, that a spell can be removed by superstitious means.

But S. Thomas is of the contrary opinion when he says: If a spell cannot be revoked except by some unlawful means, such as the devil’s help or anything of that sort, even if it is known that it can be revoked in that way, it is nevertheless to be considered permanent; for the remedy is not lawful.

Of the same opinion are S. Bonaventura, Peter a Palude, Blessed Albert, and all the Theologians. For, touching briefly on the question of invoking the help of the devil either tacitly or expressedly, they seem to hold that such spells may only be removed by lawful exorcism or true penitence (as is set down in the Canon Law concerning sortilege), being moved, as it seems, by the considerations mentioned in the beginning of this Question.

But it is expedient to bring these various opinions of the learned Doctors as far as possible into agreement, and this can be done in one respect. For this purpose it is to be noted that the methods by which a spell of witchcraft can be removed are as follows: - either by the agency of another witch and another spell; or without the agency of a witch, but by means of magic and unlawful ceremonies. And this last method may be divided into two; namely, the use of ceremonies which are both unlawful and vain, or the use of ceremonies which are vain but not unlawful.

The first remedy is altogether unlawful, in respect both of the agent and of the remedy itself. But it may be accomplished in two ways; either with some injury to him who worked the spell, or without an injury, but with magic and unlawful ceremonies. In the latter case it can be included with the second method, namely, that by which the spell is removed not by the agency of a witch, but by magic and unlawful ceremonies; and in this case it is still to be judged unlawful, though not to the same extent as the first method.

We may summarize the position as follows. There are three conditions by which a remedy is rendered unlawful. First, when a spell is removed through the agency of another witch, and by further witchcraft, that is, by the power of some devil. Secondly, when it is not removed by a witch, but by some honest person, in such a way, however, that the spell is by some magical remedy transferred from one person to another; and this again is unlawful. Thirdly, when the spell is removed without imposing it on another person, but some open or tacit invocation of devils is used; and then again it is unlawful.

And it is with reference to these methods that the Theologians say that it is better to die than to consent to them. But there are two other methods by which, according to the Canonists, it is lawful, or not idle and vain, to remove a spell; and that such methods may be used when all the remedies of the Church, such as exorcisms and the prayers of the Saints and true penitence, have been tried and have failed. But for a clearer understanding of these remedies we will recount some examples known to our experience.

In the time of Pope Nicolas there had come to Rome on some business a certain Bishop from Germany, whom it is charitable not to name although he had now paid the debt of all nature. There he fell in love with a girl, and sent her to his diocese in charge of two servants and certain other of his possessions, including some rich jewels, which were indeed very valuable, and began to think in her heart that, if only the Bishop were to die through some witchcraft, she would be able to take possession of the rings, the pendants and carcanets. The next night the Bishop suddenly fell ill, and the physicians and his servants gravely suspected that he had been poisoned; for there was such a fire in his breast that he had to take continual draughts of cold water to assuage it. On the third day, when there seemed no hope of his life, an old woman came and begged that she might see him. So they let her in, and she promised the Bishop that she could heal him if he would agree to her proposals. When the Bishop asked what it was to which he had to agree in order to regain his health, as he so greatly desired, the old woman answered: Your illness has been caused by a spell of witchcraft, and you can only be healed by another spell, which will transfer the illness from you to the witch who caused it, so that she will die. The Bishop was astounded; and seeing that he could be healed in no other way, and not wishing to come to a rash decision, decided to ask the advice of the Pope. Now the Holy Father loved him very dearly, and when he learned that he could only be healed by the death of the witch, he agreed to permit the lesser of two evils, and signed this permission with his seal. So the old woman was again approached and told that both he and the Pope had agreed to the death of the witch, on condition that he was restored to his former health; and the old woman went away, promising him that he would be healed on the following night. And behold! when about the middle of the night he felt himself cured and free from all illness, he sent a messenger to learn what had happened to the girl; and he came back and reported that she had suddenly been taken ill in the middle of the night while sleeping by her mother’s side.

It is to be understood that at the very same hour and moment the illness left the Bishop and afflicted the girl witch, through the agency of the old witch; and so the evil spirit, by ceasing to plague the Bishop, appeared to restore him to health by chance, whereas it was not he but God who permitted him to afflict him, and it was God Who properly speaking restored him; and the devil, by reason of his compact with the second witch, who envied the fortune of the girl, has to afflict the Bishop’s mistress. And it must be thought that those two evil spells were not worked by one devil serving two persons, but by two devils serving two separate witches. For the devils do not work against themselves, [6] but work as much as possible in agreement for the perdition of souls.

Finally, the Bishop went out of compassion to visit the girl; but when he entered the room, she received him with horrible execrations, crying out: May you and she who wrought your cure be damned for ever! And the Bishop tried to soften her mind to penitence, and told her that he forgave her all her wrongs; but she turned her face away and said: I have no hope of pardon, but commend my soul to all the devils in hell; and died miserably. But the Bishop returned home with joy and thankfulness.

Here it is to be noted that a privilege granted to one does not construe a precedent for all, and the dispensation of the Pope in this case does not argue that it is lawful in all cases.

Nider in his Formicarius refers to the same master, for he says: The following method is sometimes employed for removing or taking vengeance for a spell of witchcraft. Someone who has been bewitched either in himself or in his possessions comes to a witch desiring to know how has injured him. Then the witch pours molten lead into water until, by the work of the devil, some image is formed by the solidified lead. On this, the witch asks his enemy to be hurt, so that he may recognize him by that hurt. And when he has chosen, the witch immediately pierces or wounds with a knife the leaden image in the same part, and shows him the place by which he can recognize the guilty person. And it is found by experience that, just in the same way as the leaden image is hurt, so is the witch hurt who cast the spell.

But of this sort of remedy I say, and of others like it, that generally they are unlawful; although human weakness, in the hope of obtaining pardon from God, is very often ensnared in such practices, being more careful for the health of the body than for that of the soul.

The second kind of cure which is wrought by witches who remove a spell again requires an expressed pact with the devil, but is not accompanied by any injury to another person. And in what light such witches should be considered, and how they are to be recognized, will be shown later in the fifteenth method of sentencing witches, for they are always found at intervals of one or two German miles, and these seem to be able to cure any who have been bewitched by another witch in their own district. Some of them claim to be able to effect such cures at all times; some that they can only cure those bewitched in the neighbouring signiory; others that they can only perform their cures with the consent of the witch who cast the original spell.

And it is known that these women have entered into an open pact with the devil, because they reveal secret matters to those who come to them to be cured. For they suddenly disclose to such a person the cause of his calamity, telling him that he has been bewitched either in his own person or in his possessions because of some quarrel he has had with a neighbour or with some other woman or man; and at times, in order to keep their criminal practices secret, they enjoin upon their clients some pilgrimage or other pious work. But to approach such women in order to be cured is all the more pernicious because they seem to bring greater contempt upon the Faith than others who effect their cures by means of a merely tacit compact with the devil.

For they who resort to such witches are thinking more of their bodily health than of God, and besides that, God cuts short their lives to punish them for taking into their own hands the vengeance for their wrongs. For so the Divine vengeance overtook Saul, because he first cast out of the land all magicians and wizards, and afterwards consulted a witch; wherefore he was slain in battle with his sons, I. Samuel xxviii, and I. Paralipomenon x. And for the same reason the sick Ochozias [7] had to die, IV. Kings i (Ahaziah; II. Kings i. A.V.).

Also the who consult such witches are regarded as defamed, and cannot be allowed to bring an accusation, as will be shown in the Third Part; and they are by law to be sentenced to capital punishment, as was said in the First Question of this work.

But alas! O Lord God, Who art just in all Thy judgements, who shall deliver the poor who are bewitched and cry out in their ceaseless pains? For our sins are so great, and the enemy is so strong; and where are they who can undo the works of the devil by lawful exorcisms? This one remedy appears to be left; that judges should, by various penalties, keep such wickedness as far as possible in check by punishing the witches who are the cause of it; that so they may deprive the sick of the opportunity of consulting witches. But, alas! no one understands this in his heart; but they all seek for their own gain instead of that of JESUS Christ.

For so many people used to go to be freed from spells to that witch in Reichshofen, whom we have already mentioned, that the Count of the castle set up a toll-booth, and all who were bewitched in their own persons or in their possessions had to pay a penny before they could visit her house; and he boasted that he made a substantial profit by this means.

We know from experience that there are many such witches in the diocese of Constance: not that this diocese is more infected than others, since this form of infidelity is general in all dioceses; but this diocese has been more thoroughly sifted. It was found that daily resort was being made to a man named Hengst by a very large concourse of poor folk who had been bewitched, and with our own eyes we saw such crowds in the village of Eningen, that certainly the poor never flocked to any shrine of the Blessed Virgin, or to a Holy Well or a Hermitage, in such numbers as they went to that sorcerer. For in the very coldest winter weather, when all the highways and byways were snow-bound, they came to him from two or three miles round in spite of the greatest difficulties; and some were cured, but others not. For I suppose that all spells are not equally easy to remove, on account of various obstacles, as has been said before. And these witches remove spells by means of an open invocation of devils after the manner of the second kind of remedies, which are unlawful, but not to the same extent as the first kind.

The third kind of remedy is that which is wrought by means of certain superstitious ceremonies, but without any injury to anyone, and not by an overt witch. An example of this method is as follows:

A certain market merchant in the town of Spires deposed that the following experience had happened to him. I was staying, he said, in Swabia in a well-known nobleman’s castle, and one day after dinner I was strolling at my ease with two of the servants in the fields, when a woman met us. But while she was still a long way off my companions recognized her, and one of them said to me, “Cross yourself quickly,” and the other one urged me in like manner. I asked them what they feared, and they answered, “The most dangerous witch in the whole Province is coming to meet us, and she can cast a spell on men by only looking at them.” But I obstinately boasted that I had never been afraid of such; and hardly had I uttered the words before I felt myself grievously hurt in the left foot, so that I could not move it from the ground or take a step without the greatest pain. Whereupon they quickly sent to the castle for a horse for me, and thus led me back. But the pains went on increasing for three days.

The people of the castle, understanding that I had been bewitched, related what had happened to a certain peasant who lived about a mile away, whom they knew to have skill in removing spells. This man quickly came and, after examining my foot, said, “I will test whether these pains are due to a natural cause; and if I find that they are due to witchcraft, I will cure you with the help of God; but if they are not, you must have recourse to natural remedies.” Whereupon I made reply, “If I can be cured without any magic, and with the help of God, I will gladly agree; but I will have nothing to do with the devil, nor do I wish for his help.” And the peasant promised that he would use none except lawful means, and that he would cure me by the help of God, provided that he could make certain that my pains were due to witchcraft. So I consented to his proposals. Then he took molten lead (in the manner of another witch whom we have mentioned), and held it in an iron ladle over my foot, and poured it into a bowl of water; and immediately there appeared the shapes of various things, as if thorns and hairs and bones and such things had been put into the bowl. “Now,” he said, “I see that this infirmity is not natural, but certainly due to witchcraft.” And when I asked him how he could tell this from the molten lead, he answered, “There are seven metals belonging to the seven planets; and since Saturn is the Lord of lead, when lead is poured out over anyone who has been bewitched, it is his property to discover the witchcraft by his power. And so it has surely proved, and you will soon be cured; yet I must visit you for as many days as you have been under this spell.” And he asked me how many days had passed; and when I told him that was the third day, he came to see me on each of the next three days, and merely by examining and touching my foot and by saying over to himself certain words, he dissolved the charm and restored me to complete health.

In this case it is clear that the healer is not a witch, although his method is something superstitious. For in that he promised a cure by the help of God, and not by devils’ work, and that he alleged the influence of Saturn over lead, he was irreproachable and rather to be commended. But there remains some small doubt as to the power by which the witch’s spell was removed, and the figures caused in the lead. For no witchcraft can be removed by any natural power, although it may be assuaged, as will be proved later where we speak of the remedies for those who are possessed: therefore it seems that he performed this cure by means of at least some tacit pact with a devil. And we call such a pact tacit when the practitioner agrees tacitly, at any rate, to employ the devil’s aid. And in this way many superstitious works are done, but with a varying degree of offence to the Creator, since there may be far more offence to Him in one operation than in another.

Yet because this peasant was certain of effecting a cure, and because he had to visit the patient for as many days as he had been ill, and although he used no natural remedies, yet cured him according to the promise made; for these reasons, although he had entered into no open pact with the devil, he is to be judged not only as a suspect, but as one plainly guilty of heresy, and must be considered as convicted and subject at least to the penalties set out below in the second method of sentencing; but his punishment must be accompanied with a solemn adjuration, unless he is protected by other laws which seem to be of a contrary intention; and what the Ordinary should do in such a case will be shown later in the solution of the arguments.

The fourth class of remedies, concerning which the Canonists are in partial agreement with some of the Theologians, is said to be no worse than idle and vain; since it is superstitious only, and there is no pact either open or tacit with the devil as regards the intention or purpose of the practitioner. And I say that the Canonists and some Theologians are only partially agreed that this sort of remedy is to be tolerated; for their agreement or non-agreement depends upon whether or not they class this sort of remedies together with the third sort. But this sort of vain remedy is exemplified above in the case of the women who beat the pail hung over the fire in order that the witch may be beaten who has caused a cow to be drained of milk; although this may be done either in the name of the devil or without any reference to him.

We may adduce other examples of the same kind. For sometimes when a cow has been injured in this way, and they wish to discover who has bewitched it, they drive it out into the fields with a man’s trousers, or some unclean thing, upon its head or back. And this they do chiefly on Feast Days and Holy Days, and possibly with some sort of invocation of the devil; and they beat the cow with a stick and drive it away. Then the cow runs straight to the house of the witch, and beats vehemently upon the door with its horns, lowing loudly all the while; and the devil causes the cow to go on doing this until it is pacified by some other witchcraft.

Actually, and according to the aforesaid Doctors, such remedies can be tolerated, but they are not meritorious, as some try to maintain. For S. Paul says that everything which we do, in word or deed, must be done in the name of Our Lord JESUS Christ. Now in this sort of remedy there may be no direct invocation of the devil, and yet the devil’s name may be mentioned: and again there may be no intention to do such things by means of any open or tacit pact with the devil, yet a man may say, “I wish to do this, whether the devil has any part in it or not”; and that very temerity, by putting aside the fear of God, offends God, Who therefore grants the devil power to accomplish such cures. Therefore they who use such practices must be led into the way of penitence, and urged to leave such things and turn rather to the remedies of which we shall speak later, though we have touched upon them before, namely, the use of Holy Water and Blessed Salt and exorcisms, etc.

In the same light should be regarded those who use the following method. When an animal has been killed by witchcraft, and they wish to find out the witch, or to make certain whether its death was natural or due to witchcraft, they go to the place where dead animals are skinned, and drag the intestines along the ground up to their house; not into the house through the main door, but over the threshold of the back entrance into the kitchen; and then they make a fire and put the intestines over it on a hurdle. Then, according to what we have very often been told, just as the intestines get hot and burn, so are the intestines of the witch afflicted with burning pains. [8] But when they perform this experiment they take great care that the door is securely locked; because the witch is compelled by her pains to try to enter the house, and if she can take a coal from the fire, all her pains will disappear. And we have often been told that, when she is unable to enter the house, she surrounds it inside and out with the densest fog, with such horrible shrieks and commotions that at last all those in the house think the roof is verily going to fall down and crush them unless they open the door.

Certain other experiments are of the same nature. For sometimes people pick out the witches from a number of women in church by causing the witches to be unable to leave the church without their permission, even after the service is finished. And they do it in this way. On a Sunday they smear the shoes of the young men with grease, lard or pigs’ fat, as is their wont when they wish to repair and renew the freshness of the leather, and thus the juvenals enter the church, whence it is impossible for any witches who are present to make their way out or depart until those who are anxious to espy them either go away themselves or give them express leave to make their way to their homes. [9]

It is the same with certain words, which it is not expedient to mention lest anyone should be seduced by the devil to use them. For judges and magistrates should not attach too much weight to the evidence of those who pretend to discover witches by this means, for fear lest the devil, that wily enemy, should induce them under this pretext to defame innocent women. Therefore such persons must be enjoined to seek the remedy of penitence. However, practices of this kind are on occasion to be tolerated and allowed.

In this way we have answered the arguments that no spell of witchcraft must be removed. For the first two remedies are altogether unlawful. The third remedy is tolerated by the law, but needs very careful examination on the part of the ecclesiastical judge. And what the civil law tolerates is shown in the chapter on witches, where it is said that those who have skill to prevent men’s labours from being vitiated by tempests and hailstorms are worthy, not of punishment, but of reward. S. Antoninus also, in his Summa, points out this discrepancy between the Canon Law and civil law. Therefore it seems that the civil law concedes the legality of such practices for the preservation of crops and cattle, and that in any event certain men who use such arts are not only to be tolerated but even rewarded. Wherefore the ecclesiastical judge must take particular note whether the methods used in counteraction of hailstorms and tempests are within the spirit of the law, or whether they are in any way superstitious; and then, if no scandal to the Faith is involved, they can be tolerated. But actually this does not belong to the third method, but to the fourth, and also to the fifth, of which we shall speak later in the following chapters, where we deal with the ecclesiastical and lawful remedies, with which are sometimes included certain superstitious practices belonging to the fourth method.



1. “Miracle.” The sense is completely mistaken here. It should rather be, “Lady, what is it to Me and to Thee” if these people lack wine? Our Lord marvels at the supreme charity of Our Lady. The first miracle was wrought at the request of MARY. Quod Deus imperio tu prece, Virgo, potes. It may be argued that all miracles are performed at the request of Our Lady, since, as S. Bernard says, God wishes us to obtain everything through Her. Totum now uoluit habere per MARIAM.

2. “Devils.” If the exorcism is not effective it is owing to lack of faith.

3. “De Moribus.” “De Moribus ecclesiae catholicae et de moribus Manichaeorum” was written 388-89.

4. “Duns Scotus.” John Duns Scotus, Doctor Subtilis, the famous Franciscan scholastic, died 8 November, 1308. He lived and taught at Oxford, and for a time at Paris. His complete work with commentaries appeared at Paris, 1891-95, in twenty-six volumes, quarto, being a reprint of the twelve folio volumes which were issued by Luke Wadding in 1639 at Lyons.

5. “Ubertinus.” Ubertino of Casale, leader of the Spiritual Franciscans, who expressed extreme views regarding evangelical poverty. He was born in 1259, and died about 1330. Owing to his warm advocacy of the strictest ideas he was severely condemned by the authorities, and his history is a matter of considerable difficulty. His chief work is generally considered to be “Arbor uitae crucifixae JESU Christi.”

6. “Against themselves.” “S. Matthew” xii, 26: “Et si Satanas Satanam eiicit, aduersus se diuisus est: quomodo ergo regnum eius?”

7. “Ochozias,” who when sick “sent messengers, saying to them: Go, consult Beelzebub, the god of Hecaron, whether I shall recover of this my illness. And an angel of the Lord spoke to Elias the Thesbite, saying: Arise, and go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them: Is there not a God in Israel, that he go to consult Beelzebub, the god of Hecaron? Wherefore thus saith the Lord: From the bed on which thou art gone up thou shalt not come down, but thou shalt surely die.”

8. “Burning pains.” The following quotation is from an article “Witchcraft, Past and Present,” by Lady Peirse, that appeared in “Word-Lord,” Vol. I, No. 3 (pp. 122-28), May-June, 1926. The district to which reference is made is “a south-country village in England.” “A local farmer, whose cows and sheep ailed mysteriously, and showed all the usual signs of being ‘overlooked’ or bewitched, whilst things in general went wrong with him, consulted the witch doctor, and was told to repeat a certain charm last thing at night, to nail a sheep's heart to his front door, and on no account to open the door till morning, no matter what happened.

“This the farmer did, and when his family had repaired to bed, he commenced his lonely vigil by the kitchen fire. After a while there came a thunderous knocking on the door, and a voice crying ‘Open and let me in.’ The voice was very urgent, but the farmer, though he trembled exceedingly, kept firm grip of himself and never moved from his chair. Then came the knocking a second time and a deplorable voice begging to be allowed in, but the farmer remained obdurate. Lastly came a feeble knocking and moaning. The farmer, who was greatly alarmed, remained at his post till the sun was up next morning. When he opened his door a neighbour lay stretched across his threshold dead.

“The doctor, so my friend was told, believed it to be a case of heart failure. We can only imagine that the farmer and his family remained silent about the voice and the knocking at the door; perhaps no one but the farmer had heard. To the doctor, a simple though regrettable episode; to the farmer, an awesome case of retribution. To the world at large, a story that may be interpreted in many different ways; but with a lesson for all who run to read, namely, that it does not pay to practise withcraft or the indulgence of personal spite if there happens to be a witch doctor in the neighbourhood, since it is apparently quite an easy thing, with a little occult knowledge, to do the witch to death! Throughout many centuries witches in the long run always seem to come off second best. Faith and fear in their victims seem to lend them strength, just as faith and love help righteousness.”

Not very many years ago a farmer and his wife who lived in the country just outside Milan came to the conclusion that their daughter, who had long been suffering from a mysterious ailment, which the best doctors in Milan seemed unable to diagnose and cure, was bewitched by an old woman dwelling in their village, a wretch of notoriously bad reputation, whom the girl had unwittingly offended in some small way. Accordingly they resorted to a “wise man,” who lived in a small town a good many miles distant. He gave them a bundle of herbs, telling them to boil these in water and at the same times to recite a certain rune or rhyme which he taught them. He told them that if their daughter was indeed plagued by the malice of some individual, as the water boiled the witch who had cast the spell would be so tormented that she would hasten to their house and betray herself be begging them to take the cauldron from the fire. They could then refuse to do so unless she at once relived the girl from her sickness. They precisely obeyed the directions which had been given, and hardly had the water begun to bubble with the heat than there came running the hag whom they had suspected, imploring them with every symptom of intense agony to throw away the contents of the pot. This they would not do unless the charm was broken. In her despair the old woman promised to restore their daughter to health, and from that time the child rapidly began to mend until she was as stout and sturdy as any lass in the whole country-side.

9. The text of this passage seems corrupt and varies considerably in the later editions. The earliest edition of the “Malleus” in the British museum reads: “Nam die dnico sotularia iuuenu fungia seu pinguedie proci vt moris e p restauratoe fieri pungut et sic vbi ecclesia intrat tadiu malefice exire eccias non poterut quo adusq: exploratores aut exeunt aut illis licentia sub expssione ut sup exeundi peedat.” “Die dnico” was almost immediately altered to “die dominica.” The usual reading is “die Dominica Sotularia, iuuenum fungia . . .” Venice, 1576, introduces a fresh error: “die dominica Solutaria iuuenum fungia. . . .” The Lyons text of 1669 has an excellent emendation, which is, no doubt, correct: “die Dominica Sotularia iuuenum axungia. . . .”
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:10 am


The Remedies prescribed by the Holy Church against Incubus and Succubus Devils.

In the foregoing chapters on the First Question we have treated of the methods of bewitching men, animals and the fruits of the earth, and especially of the behaviour of witches in their own persons; how they seduce young girls in order to increase their numbers; what is their method of profession and of offering homage; how they offer to devils their own children and the children of others; and how they are transported from place to place. Now I say that there is no remedy for such practises, unless witches be entirely eradicated by the judges, or at least punished as an example to all who may wish to imitate them; but we are not immediately treating of this point, which will be dealt with in the last Part of this work, where we set forth the twenty ways of proceeding against and sentencing witches.

For the present we are concerned only with the remedies against the injuries which they inflict; and first how men who are bewitched can be cured; secondly, beasts, and thirdly, how the fruits of the earth may be secured from blight or phylloxera.

With regard to the bewitchment of human beings by means of Incubus and Succubus devils, it is to be noted that this can happen in three ways. First, when women voluntarily prostitute themselves to Incubus devils. Secondly, when men have connexion with Succubus devils; yet it does not appear that men thus devilishly fornicate with the same full degree of culpability; for men, being by nature intellectually stronger than women, are more apt to abhor such practises.

There is in the town of Coblenz a poor man who is bewitched in this way. In the presence of his wife he is in the habit of acting after the manner of men with women, that is to say, of practising coition, as it were, and he continues to do this repeatedly, nor have the cries and urgent appeals of his wife any effect in making him desist. And after he has fornicated thus two or three times, he bawls out, “We are going to start all over again”; when actually there is no person visible to mortal sight lying with him. And after an incredible number of such bouts, the poor man at last sinks to the floor utterly exhausted. When he has recovered his strength a little and is asked how this happened to him, and whether he has had any women with him, he answers that he saw nothing, but his mind is in some way possessed so that he can by no means refrain from such priapism. And indeed he harbours a great suspicion that a certain woman bewitched him in this way, because he had offended her, and she had cursed him with threatening words, telling him what she would like to happen to him.

But there are no laws or ministers of justice which can proceed to the avenging of so great a crime with no other warrant than a vague charge or a grave suspicion; for it is held that no one ought to be condemned unless he has been convicted by his own confession, or by the evidence of three trustworthy witnesses, since the mere fact of the crime coupled with even the gravest suspicions against some person is not sufficient to warrant the punishment of that person. But this matter will be dealt with later.

As for instances where young maidens are molested by Incubus devils in this way, it would take too long to mention even those that have been known to happen in our own time, for there are very many well-attested stories of such bewitchments. But the great difficulty of finding a remedy for such afflictions can be illustrated from a story told by Thomas of Brabant in his Book on Bees.

I saw, he writes, and heard the confession of a virgin in a religious habit, who said at first that she had never been a consenting party to fornication, but at the same time have been known in this way. This I could not believe, but narrowly charged and exhorted her, with the most solemn adjurations, to speak the truth on peril of her very soul. At last, weeping bitterly, she acknowledged that she had been corrupted rather in mind than in body; and that though she had afterwards grieved almost to death, and had daily confessed with tears, yet by no device or study or art could she be delivered from an Incubus [1] devil, nor yet by the sign of the Cross, nor by Holy Water, which are specially ordained for the expulsion of devils, nor even by the Sacrament of the Body of Our Lord, which even the Angels fear. But at last after many years of prayer and fasting she was delivered.

It may be believed (saving a better judgement) that, after she repented and confessed her sin, the Incubus devil should be regarded rather in the light of a punishment for sin than as a sin in itself.

A devout nun, named Christina, in the Low Country of the Duchy of Brabant, told me the following concerning this same woman. On the vigil of one Pentacost the woman came to her complaining that she dared not take the Sacrament because of the importunate molestation of a devil. Christina, pitying her, said: “Go, and rest assured that you will receive the Body of Our Lord to-morrow; for I will take your punishment upon myself.” So she went away joyfully, and after praying the night slept in peace, and rose up in the morning and communicated in all tranquility of the soul. But Christina, not thinking of the punishment she had taken upon herself, went to her rest in the evening, and as she lay in bed hear, as it were, a violent attack being made upon her; and, seizing whatever it was by the throat, tried to throw it off. She lay down again, but was again molested, and rose up in terror; and this happened many times, whilst all the straw of her bed was turned over and thrown about everywhere, so at length she perceived that she was being persecuted by the malice of a devil. Thereupon she left her pallet, and passed a sleepless night; and when she wished to pray, she was so tormented by the devil that she said she had never suffered so much before. In the morning, therefore, saying to the other woman, “I renounce your punishment, and I am hardly alive to renounce it,” she escaped from the violence of that wicked tempter. From this it can be seen how difficult it is to cure this sort of evil, whether or not it is due to witchcraft.

However, there are still some means by which these devils may be driven away, of which Nider writes in his Formicarius. He says that there are five ways by which girls or men can be delivered: first, by Sacramental Confession; second, by the Sacred Sign of the Cross, or by the recital of the Angelic Salutation; third, by the use of exorcisms; fourth, by moving to another place; and fifth, by means of excommunication prudently employed by holy men. It is evident from what has been said that the first two methods did not avail the nun; but they are not on that account to be neglected, for that which cures one person does not necessarily cure another, and conversely. And it is a recorded fact that Incubus devils have often been driven away by the Lord’s Prayer, or by the sprinkling of Holy Water, and also especially by the Angelic Salutation.

For S. Caesarius [2] tells in his Dialogue that, after a certain priest had hanged himself, his concubine entered a convent, where she was carnally solicited by an Incubus. She drove him away by crossing herself and using Holy Water, yet he immediately returned. But when she recited the Angelic Salutation, he vanished like an arrow shot from a bow; still he came back, although he did not dare to come near her, because of the Ave MARIA.

S. Caesarius also refers to the remedy of Sacramental Confession. For he says that the aforesaid concubine was entirely abandoned by the Incubus after she was clean confessed. He tells also of a man in Leyden who was plagued by a Succubus, and was entirely delivered after Sacramental Confession.

He adds yet another example, of an enclosed nun, a contemplative, whom an Incubus would not leave in spite of prayers and confession and other religious exercises. For he persisted in forcing his way to her bed. But when, acting on the advice of a certain religious man, she uttered the word Benedicite, the devil at once left her.

Of the fourth method, that of moving to another place, he says that a certain priest’s daughter had been defiled by an Incubus and driven frantic with grief; but when she went away across the Rhine, she was left in peace by the Incubus. Her father, however, because he had sent her away, was so afflicted by the devil that he died within three days.

He also maintains a woman who was often molested by an Incubus in her own bed, and asked a devout friend of hers to come and sleep with her. She did so, and was troubled all night with the utmost uneasiness and disquiet, and then the first woman was left in peace. William of Paris notes also that Incubus seem chiefly to molest women and girls with beautiful hair; either because they devote themselves too much to the care and adornment of their hair, or because they are boastfully vain about it, or because God in His goodness permits this so that women may be afraid to entice men by the very means by which the devils wish them to entice men.

The fifth method, that of excommunication, which is perhaps the same as exorcism, is exemplified in a history of S. Bernard. In Aquitaine a woman had for six years been molested by an Incubus with incredible carnal abuse and lechery; and she heard the Incubus threaten her that she must not go near the holy man, who was coming that way, saying: “It will avail you nothing: for when he was gone away, I, who have till now been your lover, will become the cruellest of tyrants to you.” None the less she went to S. Bernard, and he said to her: “Take my staff and set it in your bed, and may the devil do what he can.” When she had done this, the devil did not dare to enter the woman’s room, but threatened her terribly from outside, saying that he would persecute her when S. Bernard had gone away. When S. Bernard heard this from the woman, he called the people together, bidding them carry lighted candles in their hands, and, with the whole assembly which was gathered, excommunicated the devil, forbidding him evermore to approach that woman or any other. And so she was delivered from that punishment.

Here it is to be noted that the power of the Keys granted to S. Peter and his successors, which resounds on the earth, is really a power of healing granted to the Church on behalf of travellers who are subject to the jurisdiction of the Papal power; therefore is seems wonderful that even the Powers of the air can be warded off by this virtue. But it must be remembered that persons who are molested by devils are under the jurisdiction of the Pope and his Keys; and therefore it is not surprising if such Powers are indirectly kept at bay by the virtue of the Keys, just as by the same virtue the souls in purgatory can indirectly by delivered from the pains of fire; insasmuch as this Power availeth upon the earth, ay, and to the relief of souls that are under the earth.

But it is not seemly to discuss the Power of the Keys granted to the Head of the Church as Christ’s Vicar; since it is know that, for the use of the Church, Christ granted to the Church and His Vicar as much power as it is possible for God to grant to mere man.

And it is piously to be believed that, when infirmities inflicted by witches through the power of devils, together with the witches and devils themselves, are excommunicated, those who were afflicted will no longer be tormented; and that they will be delivered all the sooner by the use of other lawful exorcisms in addition.

There is a common report current in the districts of the river Etsch, as also in other places, that by the permission of God a swarm of locusts came and devoured all the vines, green leaves and crops; and that they were suddenly put to flight and dispersed by means of this kind of excommunication and cursing. Now it any wish that this should ascribed to some holy man, and not to the virtue of the Keys, let ie be so, in the name of the Lord; but of one thing we are certain, that both the power to perform miracles and the power of the Keys necessarily presuppose a condition of grace in him who performs that act of grace, since both these powers proceed from grace granted to men who are in a state of grace.

Again, it is to be noted that, if none of the aforesaid remedies are of any avail, then recourse must be had to the usual exorcisms, of which we shall treat later. And if even these are not sufficient to banish the iniquity of the devil, then that affliction must be considered to be an expiatory punishment for sin, which should be borne in all meekness, as are other ills of this sort which oppress us that they may, as it were, drive us to seek God.

But it must also be remarked that sometimes persons only think they are molested by an Incubus when they are not so actually; and this is more apt to be the case with women than with men, for they are more timid and liable to imagine extraordinary things.

In this connexion William of Paris is often quoted. He says: Many phantastical apparitions occur to person suffering fro a melancholy disease, especially to women, as is shown by their dreams and visions. And the reason for this, as physicians know, is that women’s souls are by nature far more easily and lightly impressionable than men’s souls. And he adds: I know that I have seen a woman who thought that a devil copulated with her from inside, and said she was physically conscious of such incredible things.

At time also women think they have been made pregnant by an Incubus, and their bellies grow to an enormous size; but when the time of parturition comes, their swelling is relieved by no more than the expulsion of a great quantity of wind. For by taking ants’ eggs in drink, or the seeds of spurge or of the black pine, an incredible amount of wind and flatulence is generated in the human stomach. And it is very easy for the devil to cause these and even greater disorders in the stomach. This has been set down in order that too easy credence should not be given to women, but only to those whom experience has shown to be trustworthy, and to those who, by sleeping in their beds or near them, know for a fact that such things as we have spoken of are true.



1. “Incubus.” Sinistrari tells of a case which came under his own notice when a deacon, a monk of the Certosa at Pavia, was sorely vexed by an Incubus. Exorcisms seemed unavailing; the Incubus himself in the shape of Father Prior blessed the place with Holy Water. However, the demon was at last banished. See my translation, “Demoniality,” pp. 57-59, and passim.

2. “Caesarius.” A learned monk of the Cistercian monastery of Heisterback near Bonn, born about 1170 at Cologne, died about 1240 as Prior of Heisterbach. Abbot Henry requested Caesarius to draw up an abstract of his teaching, and this resulted in the famous “Dialogue magnus uisionum atque miraculorum, Libri XII,” which it is no exaggeration to say was probably the most popular book in Germany of its period. More than fifty MSS. are extant, and seven printed editions are known. The latest, two volumes, was edited by Strange, Cologne, 1851; an index to this followed, Cologne, 1857.
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:10 am


Remedies prescribed for Those who are Bewitched by the Limitation of the Generative Power.

Although far more women are witches than men, as was shown in the First Part of the work, yet men are more often bewitched than women. And the reason for this lies in the fact that God allows the devil more power over the venereal act, by which the original sin is handed down, than over other human actions. In the same way He allows more witchcraft to be performed by means of serpents, which are more subject to incantations than other animals, because that was the first instrument of the devil. And the venereal act can be more readily and easily bewitched in a man than in a woman, as has been clearly shown. For there are five ways in which the devil can impede the act of generation, and they are more easily operated against men.

As far as possible we shall set out the remedies which can be applies in each separate kind of obstruction; and let him who is bewitched in this faculty take note to which class of obstruction he belongs. For there are five classes, according to Peter a Palude in his Fourth Book, dist. 34, of the trial of this sort of bewitchment.

For the devil, being a spirit, has by his very nature power, with God’s permission, over a bodily creature, especially to promote or to prevent local motion. So by this power they can prevent the bodies of men and women from approaching each other; and this either directly or indirectly. Directly, when they remove one to a distance from another, and do not allow him to approach the other. Indirectly, when they cause some obstruction, or when they interpose themselves in an assumed body. So it happened that a young Pagan who had married an idol, but none the less contracted a marriage with a girl; but because of this he was unable to copulate with her, as has been shown above.

Secondly, the devil can inflame a man towards one woman and render him impotent towards another; and this he can secretly cause by the application of certain herbs or other matters of which he well knows the virtue for this purpose.

Thirdly, he can disturb the apperception of a man or a woman, so that he makes one appear hideous to the other; for, as has been shown, he can influence the imagination.

Fourthly, he can suppress the vigour of that member which is necessary for procreation; just as he can deprive any organ of the power of local motion.

Fifthly, he can prevent the flow of the semen to the members in which is the motive power, by as it were closing the seminal duct so that it does not descend to the genital vessels, or does not ascend again from them, or cannot come forth, or is spent vainly.

But if a man should say: I do not know by which of these different methods I have been bewitched; all I know is that I cannot do anything with my wife: he should be answered in this way. If he is active and able with regard to other women, but not with his wife, then he is bewitched in the second way; for he can be certified as to the first way, that he is being deluded by Succubus or Incubus devils. Moreover, if he does not find his wife repellent, and yet cannot know her, but can know other women, then again it is the second way; but if he finds her repellent and cannot copulate with her, then it is the second and the third way. If he does not find her repellent and wishes to have connexion with her, but has no power in his member, then it is the fourth way. But if he has power in his member, yet cannot emit his semen, then it is the fifth way. The method of curing these will be shown where we consider whether those who live in grace and those who do not are equally liable to be bewitched in these manners; and we answer that they are not, with the exception of the fourth manner, and even then very rarely. For such an affliction can happen to a man living in grace and righteousness; but the reader must understand that in this case we speak of the conjugal act between married people; for in any other case they are all liable to bewitchment; for every venereal act outside wedlock is a mortal sin, and is only committed by those who are not in a state of grace.

We have, indeed, the authority of the whole of Scriptural teaching that God allows the devil to afflict sinners more than the just. For although that most just man, Job, was stricken, yet he was not so particularly or directly in respect of the procreant function. And it may be said that, when a married couple are afflicted in this way, either both the parties or one of them is not living in a state of grace; and this opinion is substantiated in the Scriptures both by authority and by reason. For the Angel said to Tobias: [1] The devil receives power against those who are given over to lust: and he proved it in the slaying of the seven husbands of the virgin Sara.

Cassian, in his Collation of the Fathers, quotes S. Antony as saying that the devil can in no way enter our mind or body unless he has first deprived it of all holy thoughts and made it empty and bare of spiritual contemplation. These words should not be applies to an evil affliction over the whole of the body, for when Job was so afflicted he was not denuded of Divine grace; but they have particular reference to a particular infirmity inflicted upon the body for some sin. And the infirmity we are considering can only be due to the sin of incontinence. For, as we have said, God allows the devil more power over that act than over other human acts, because of its natural nastiness, and because by it the first sin was handed down to posterity. Therefore when people joined in matrimony have for some sin been deprived of Divine help, God allows them to be bewitched chiefly in their procreant functions.

But if it is asked of what sort are those sins, it can be said, according to S. Jerome, that even in a state of matrimony it is possible to commit the sin of incontinence in various ways. See the text: He who loves his wife to excess is an adulterer. And they who love in this way are more liable to be bewitched after the manner we have said.

The remedies of the Church, then, are twofold: one applicable in the public court, the other in the tribunal of the confessional. As for the first, when it has been publicly found that the impotence is due to witchcraft, then it must be distinguished whether it is temporary or permanent. If it is only temporary, it does not annul the marriage. And it is assumed to be temporary if, within the space of three years, by using every possible expedient of the Sacraments of the Church and other remedies, a cure can be caused. But if, after that time, they cannot be cured by any remedy, then it is assumed to be permanent.

Now the disability either precedes both the contract and the consummation of marriage; and in this case it impedes the contract: or it follows the contract but precedes the consummation; and in this case it annuls the contract. For men are very often bewitched in this way because they have cast off their former mistresses, who, hoping that they were to be married and being disappointed, so bewitch the men that they cannot copulate with another woman. And in such a case, according to the opinion of many, the marriage already contracted is annulled, unless, like Our Blessed Lady and S. Joseph they are willing to live together in holy continence. This opinion is supported by the Canon where it says (23, q. I) that a marriage is confirmed by the carnal act. And a little later it says that impotence before such confirmation dissolves the ties of marriage.

Or else the disability follows the consummation of a marriage, and then it does not dissolve the bonds of matrimony. Much more to this effect is noted by the Doctors, where in various writings they treat of the obstruction due to witchcraft; but since it is not precisely relevant to the present inquiry, it is here omitted.

But some may find it difficult to understand how this function can be obstructed in respect of one woman but not of another. S. Bonaventura answers that this may be because some witch has persuaded the devil to effect this only with respect to one woman, or because God will not allow the obstruction to apply save to some particular woman. The judgement of God in this matter is a mystery, as in the case of the wife of Tobias. But how the devil procures this disability is plainly shown by what has already been said. And S. Bonaventura says that he obstructs the procreant function, not intrinsically by harming the organ, but extrinsically by impeding its use; and it is an artificial, not a natural impediment; and so he an cause it to apply to one woman and not to another. Or else he takes away all desire for one or another woman; and this he does by his own power, or else by means of some herb or stone or some occult creature. And in this he is in substantial agreement with Peter a Palude.

The ecclesiastical remedy in the tribunal of God is set forth in the Canon where it says: If with the permission of the just and secret judgement of God, through the arts of sorceresses and witches and the preparation of the devil, men are bewitched in their procreant function, they are to be urged to make clean confession to God and His priest of all their sins with a contrite heart and a humble spirit; and to make satisfaction to God with many tears and large offerings and prayers and fasting.

From these words it is clear that such afflictions are only on account of sin, and occur only to those who do not live in a state of grace. It proceeds to tell how the ministers of the Church can effect a cure by means of exorcisms and the other protections and cures provided by the Church. In this way, with the help of God, Abraham cured by his prayers Abimelech [2] and his house.

In conclusion we may say that there are five remedies which may lawfully be applied to those who are bewitched in this way: namely, a pilgrimage to some holy and venerable shrine; true confession of their sins with contrition; the plentiful use of the sign of the Cross and devout prayer; lawful exorcism by solemn words, the nature of which will be explained later; and lastly, a remedy can be effected by prudently approaching the witch, as was shown in the case of the Count who for three years was unable to cohabit carnally with a virgin whom he had married.



1. “Tobias.” “Tobias” vi, 16 and 17: Then the angel Raphael said to him: Hear me, and I will show thee who they are, over whom the devil can prevail. For they who in such manner receive matrimony as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power.

2. ”Abimelech.” “Genesis” xx.
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:11 am


Remedies prescribed for those who are Bewitched by being Inflamed with Inordinate Love or Extraordinary Hatred.

Just as the generative faculty can be bewitched, so can inordinate love or hatred be caused in the human mind. First we shall consider the cause of this, and then, as far as possible, the remedies.

Philocaption, or inordinate love of one person for another, can be caused in three ways. Sometimes it is due merely to a lack of control over the eyes; sometimes to the temptation of devils; sometimes to the spells of necromancers and witches, with the help of devils.

The first is spoken of in S. James i. 14, 15: Every man is tempted by his own concupiscence, being drawn away and allured. Then when concupiscence hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: but sin, when it is completed, begetteth death. And so, when Shecham saw Dinah going out to see the daughters of the land, he loved her, and ravished her, and lay with her, and his soul clave unto her (Genesis xxxiv). And here the gloss says that this happened to an infirm spirit because she left her own concerns to inquire into those of other people; and such a soul is seduced by bad habits, and is led to consent to unlawful practices.

The second cause arises from the temptation of devils. In this way Amnon loved his beautiful sister Tamar, and was so vexed that he fell sick for love of her (II. Samuel xiii). For he could not have been so totally corrupt in his mind as to fall into so great a crime of incest unless he had been grievously tempted by the devil. The book of the Holy Fathers refers to this kind of love, where it says that even in their hermitages they were exposed to every temptation, including that of carnal desires; for some of them were at times tempted with the love of women more than it is possible to believe. S. Paul also says, in II. Corinthians xii: There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me: and the gloss explains this as referring to the temptation of lust.

But it is said that when a man does not give way to temptation he does not sin, but it is an exercise for his virtue; but this is to be understood of the temptation of the devil, not of that of the flesh; for this is a venial sin even if a man does not yield to it. Many examples of this are to be read.

As for the third cause, by which inordinate love proceeds from devils’ and witches’ works, the possibility of this sort of witchcraft has been exhaustively considered in the Questions of the First Part as to whether devils through the agency of witches can turn the minds of men to inordinate love or hatred, and it was proved by examples which had fallen within our own experience. Indeed this is the best known and most general form of witchcraft.

But the following question may be asked: Peter has been seized with an inordinate love of this description, but he does not know whether it is due to the first or the second or the third cause. It must be answered that it can be by the work of the devil that hatred is stirred up between married people so as to cause the crime of adultery. But when a man is so bound in the meshes of carnal lust and desire that he can be made to desist from it by no shame, words, blows or action; and when a man often puts away his beautiful wife to cleave to the most hideous of women, and when he cannot rest in the night, but is so demented that he must go by devious ways to his mistress; and when it is found that those of noblest birth, Governors, and other rich men, are the most miserably involved in this sin (for this age is dominated by women, and was foretold by S. Hildegard, [1] as Vincent of Beauvais records in the Mirror of History, although he said it would note endure for as long as it already has); and when the world is now full of adultery, especially among the most highly born; when all this is considered, I say, of what use is it to speak of remedies to those who desire no remedy? Nevertheless, for the satisfaction of the pious reader, we will set down briefly some of the remedies for Philocaption when it is not due to witchcraft.

Avicenna mentions seven remedies which may be used when a man is made physically ill by this sort of love; but they are hardly relevant to our inquiry except in so far as they may be of service to the sickness of the soul. For he says, in Book III, that the root of the sickness may be discovered by feeling the pulse and uttering the name of the object of the patient’s love; and then, if the law permits, he may be cured by yielding to nature. Or certain medicines may be applied, concerning which he gives instructions. Or the sick man may be turned from his love by lawful remedies which will cause him to direct his love to a more worthy object. Or he may avoid her presence, and so distract his mind from her. Or, if he is open to correction, he may be admonished and expostulated with, to the effect that such love is the greatest misery. Or he may be directed to someone who, as far as he may with God’s truth, will vilify the body and disposition of his love, and so blacken her character that she may appear to him altogether base and deformed. Or, finally, he is to be set to arduous duties which may distract his thoughts.

Indeed, just as the animal nature of man may be cured by such remedies, so may they all be of use in reforming his inner spirit. Let a man obey the law of his intellect rather than that of nature, let him turn his love to safe pleasures, let him remember how momentary is the fruition of lust and how eternal the punishment, let him seek his pleasure in that life where joys begin never to end, and let him consider that if he cleaves to this earthly love, that will be his sole reward, but he will lose the bliss of Heaven, and be condemned to eternal fire: behold! the three irrevocable losses which proceed from inordinate lust.

With regard to Philocaption caused by witchcraft, the remedies detailed in the preceding chapter may not inconveniently be applied here also; especially the exorcisms by sacred words which the bewitched person can himself use. Let him daily invoke the Guardian Angel deputed to him by God, let him use confession and frequent the shrines of the Saints, especially of the Blessed Virgin, and without doubt he will be delivered.

But how abject are those strong men who, discarding their natural gifts and the armour of virtue, cease to defend themselves; whereas the girls themselves in their invincible frailty use those very rejected weapons to repel this kind of witchcraft. We give one out of many examples in their praise.

There was in a country village near Lindau in the diocese of Constance a grown maid fair to see and of even more elegant behaviour, at sight of whom a certain man of loose principles, a cleric in sooth, but not a priest, was smitten with violent pangs of love. And being unable to conceal the wound in his heart any longer, he went to the place where the girl was working, and with fair words showed that he was in the net of the devil, beginning by venturing in words only to persuade the girl to grant him her love. She, perceiving by Divine instinct his meaning, and being chaste in mind and body, bravely answered him: Master, do not come to my house with such words, for modesty itself forbids. To this he replied: Although you will not be persuaded by gentle words to love me, yet I promise you that soon you will be compelled by my deeds to love me. Now that man was a suspected enchanter and wizard. The maiden considered his words as but empty air, and until then felt in herself no spark of carnal love for him; but after a short time she began to have amorous thoughts. Perceiving this, and being inspired by God, she sought the protection of the Mother of Mercy, and devoutly implored Her to intercede with Her Son to help her. Anxious, moreover, she went on a pilgrimage to a hermitage, [2] where there was a church miraculously consecrated in that diocese to the Mother of God. There she confessed her sins, so that no evil spirit could enter her, and after her prayers to the Mother of Pity all the devil’s machinations against her ceased, so that these evil crafts thenceforth never afflicted her.

None the less there are still some strong men cruelly enticed by witches to this sort of love, so that it would seem that they could never restrain themselves from their inordinate lust for them, yet these often most manfully resist the temptation of lewd and filthy enticements, and by the aforesaid defences overcome all the wiles of the devil.

A rich young man in the town of Innsbruck provides us with a notable pattern of this sort of struggle. He was so importuned by witches that it is hardly possible for pen to describe his strivings, but he always kept a brave heart, and escaped by means of the remedies we have mentioned. Therefore it may justly be concluded that these remedies are infallible against this disease, and that they who use such weapons will most surely be delivered.

And it must be understood that what we have said concerning inordinate love applies also to inordinate hatred, since the same discipline is of benefit for the two opposite extremes. But though the degree of witchcraft is equal in each, yet there is this difference in the case of hatred; the person who is hated must seek another remedy. For the man who hates his wife and puts her out of his heart will not easily, if he is an adulterer, be turned back again to his wife, even though he go on many a pilgrimage.

Now it has been learned from witches that they cause this spell of hatred by means of serpents; for the serpent was the first instrument of the devil, and by reason of its curse inherits a hatred of women; therefore they cause such spells by placing the skin or head of a serpent under the threshold of a room or house. For this reason all the nooks and corners of the house where such a woman lives are to be closely examined and reconstructed as far as possible; or else she must be lodged in the houses of others.

And when it is said the bewitched men can exorcise themselves, it is to be understood that they can wear the sacred words or benedictions of incantations round their necks, if they are unable to read or pronounce the benedictions; but it will be shown later in what way this should be done.



1. “S. Hildegard.” Born at Böckelheim on the Nahe, 1098; died on the Rupertsberg near Bingen, 1179. This great Benedictine seeress and prophetess has been called the Sibyl of the Rhine. From her earliest years she was favoured with visions, and when she was aged about forty she received a Divine command to publish to the world what she had seen and heard. After much hesitation owing to her humility she obeyed, and in 1141 she commenced her profound treatise “Scivias” (“scire uias Domini”), which occupied her for ten years. It is ecstatic and prophetic throughout, and demands profoundest study. Herwegen, “Kirchl. Handlexikon” (1908), remarks that in order fully to appreciate this marvellous writer a new and critical edition of her writings must be prepared, a task entailing immense labour and research. No formal canonization of S. Hildegard has taken place, but many miracles were wrought at her intercession, and her name is in the Roman Martyrology. The feast is celebrated on 17 September in the dioceses of Speyer, Mainz, Trier and Limburg, and by the Solesmes monks on 18 September with a proper Office. The Relics of the Saint are at Eibingen, of which town she is patron. The convent of S. Hildegard there was formally constituted on 17 September, 1904.

2. “Hermitage.” The famous shrine of Our Lady of the Hermit, at the Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln, in the Canton of Schwyz, Switzerland. S. Meinrad, who was assassinated by bandits in 861, had embraced the solitary life and established his hermitage on the slopes of Mount Etzel, when he built a small oratory for the wonder-working statue of Our Lady which had been given him by Abbess Hildegard of Zurich. Several anchorites succeeded him, and one of these, by name Eberhard, erected a monastery and church there. This fane was miraculously consecrated in 948 by Christ Himself, assisted by the Four Evangelists, S. Peter and S. Gregory the Great. Even the rationalistic Father Thurston, S.J., will be unable to impugn this holy marvel, as it was investigated and confirmed by Pope Leo VIII, and subsequently ratified by many a Pontiff, the last being Pius VI, who in 1793 confirmed the acts of all his predecessors. The miraculous statue is enthroned in a little chapel which stands within the great abbey church in much the same way as the Holy House at Loreto, encased in marbles and elaborate wood-work, the goal of ten thousand pilgrimages. The two chief days are the fourteenth of September and the thirteenth of October, the first being the anniversary of the Divine consecration of Eberhard's basilica, the second that of the translation of the Relics of S. Meinrad from Reichenau to Einsiedeln in 1039.
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:11 am


Remedies prescribed for those who by Prestidigitative Art have lost their Virile Members or have seemingly been Transformed into the Shapes of Beasts.

In what has already been written it has clearly enough been shown the remedies which are available for the relief of those who are deluded by a glamour, and think that they have lost their virile member, or have been metamorphosed into animals. For since such men are entirely destitute of Divine grace, according to the essential condition of those who are so bewitched, it is not possible to apply a healing salve while the weapon still remains in the wound. Therefore before all things they must be reconciled to God by a good confession. Again, as was shown in the seventh chapter of the First Question of the Second Part, such members are never actually taken away from the body, but are only hidden by a glamour from the senses of sight and touch. It is clear, too, that those who live in grace are not so easily deluded in this way, either actively or passively, in such a manner, that is, that they seem to lose their members, or that those of others should appear to them to be missing. Therefore the remedy as well as the disease is explained in that chapter, namely, that they should as far as possible come to an amicable agreement with the witch herself.

As to those who think that they have been changed into beasts, it must be known that this kind of witchcraft is more practised in Easter countries than in the West; that is to say, in the East witches more often bewitch other people in this way, but it appears that the witches so transform themselves more frequently in our part of the world; namely, when they change themselves, in full sight, into the shapes of animals, as was told in the eighth chapter. Therefore in their case the remedies to be used are those set out in the Third Part of this work, where we deal with the extermination of witches by the secular arm of the law.

But in the East the following remedy is used for such delusions. For we have learned much of this matter from the Knights of the Order of S. John of Jerusalem in Rhodes; and especially this case which happened in the city of Salamis in the kingdom of Cyprus. For that is a seaport, and once when a vessel was being laden with merchandise suitable for a ship which is sailing into foreign parts, and all her company were providing themselves with victuals, one of them, a strong young man, went to the house of a woman standing outside the city on the seashore, and asked her if she had any eggs to sell. The woman, seeing that he was a strong young man, and a merchant far away from his own country, thought that on that account the people of the city would feel less suspicion if he were to be lost, and said to him: “Wait a little, and I will get you all that you want.” And when she went in and shut the door and kept him waiting, the young man outside began to call out to her to hurry, lest he should miss the ship. Then the woman brought some eggs and gave them to the young man, and told him to hurry back tot he ship in case he should miss it. So he hastened back to the ship, which was anchored by the shore, and before going on board, since the full company of his companions was not yet returned, he decided to eat the eggs there and refresh himself. And behold! an hour later he was made dumb as if he had no power of speech; and, as he afterwards said, he wondered what could have happened to him, but was unable to find out. Yet when he wished to go on board, he was driven off with sticks by those who yet remained ashore, and who all cried out: “Look what this ass is doing! Curse the beast, you are not coming on board.” The young man being thus driven away, and understanding from their words that they thought he was an ass, reflected and began to suspect that he had been bewitched by the woman, especially since he could utter no word, although he understood all that was said. And when, on again trying to board the ship, he was driven off with heavier blows, he was in bitterness of heart compelled to remain and watch the ship sail away. And so, as he ran here and there, since everybody thought he was an ass, he was necessarily treated as such. At last, under compulsion, he went back to the woman’s house, and to keep himself alive served her at her pleasure for three years, doing no work but to bring to the house such necessities as wood and corn, and to carry away what had to be carried away like a beast of burden: the only consolation that was left to him being that although everyone else took him for an ass, the witches themselves, severally and in company, who frequented the house, recognized him as a man, and he could talk and behave with them as a man should.

Now if it is asked how burdens were placed upon him as if he were a beast, we must say that this case is analogous to that of which S. Augustine speaks in his De Ciuitate Dei, Book XVIII, chapter 17, where he tells of the tavern women who changed their guests into beasts of burden; and to that of the father Praestantius, who thought he was a pack-horse and carried corn with other animals. For the delusion caused by this glamour was threefold.

First in its effect on the men who saw the young man not as a man but as an ass; and it is shown above in Chapter VIII how devils can easily cause this. Secondly, those burdens were no illusion; abut when they were beyond the strength of the young man, the devil invisible carried them. Thirdly, that when he was consorting with others, the young man himself considered in his imagination and perceptive faculties at least, which are faculties belonging to the bodily organs, that he was an ass; but not in his reason: for he as not so bound but that he knew himself to be a man, although he was magically deluded into imagining himself a beast. Nabuchodonosor provides an example of the same delusion.

After three years had passed in this way, in the fourth year it happened that the young man went one morning into the city, with the woman following a long way behind; and he passed by a church where Holy Mass was being celebrated, and heard the sacred-bell ring at the elevation of the Host (for in that kingdom the Mass is celebrated according to the Latin, and not according to the Greek rite). And he turned towards the church, and, not daring to enter for fear of being driven off with blows, knelt down outside by bending the knees of his hind legs, and lifted his forelegs, that is, his hands, joined together over his ass’s head, as it was thought to be, and looked upon the elevation of the Sacrament. [1] And when some Genoese merchants saw this prodigy, they followed the ass in astonishment, discussing this marvel among themselves; and behold! the witch came and belaboured the ass with her stick. And because, as we have said, this sort of witchcraft is better known in those parts, at the instance of the merchants the ass and the witch were taken before the judge; where, being questioned and tortured, she confessed her crime and promised to restore the young man to his true shape if she might be allowed to return to her house. So she was dismissed and went back to her house, where the young man was restored to his former shape; and being again arrested, she paid the debt which her crimes merited. And the young man returned joyfully to his own country.



1. “Sacrament.” One of the most famous of the miracles of S. Antony of Padua, wrought for the conversion of heretics, was that of a mule, belonging to one Bovidilla, a blasphemer of the Sacrament. The animal, although it had been, as agreed, kept fasting for three days, refused to turn to a sieve of oats held out by its master, but fell down upon its knees and adored the Host which the Saint was carrying in the ostensory. Some narratives of the fourteenth century say this happened at Toulouse, and some name Bruges, but the actual place Rimini. In the basilica Il Santo, at Padua, this miracle is depicted more than once. There is a bronze bas-relief by Donatello in the Chapel of the Sacrament, and a fresco by Campagnola. The same subject was painted by Van Dyck for the Recollects at Malines.

Animals have been known to distinguish Our Lord’s Body in the Host, a fact which, when one considers their sense and intelligence, is not at all surprising.

At the trial of the Satanist Louis Gaufridi it was proved that upon one occasion during their accursed rites a dog was led in to devour the consecrated Species, but he stretched out his paws in adoration before the Body of Christ and bowed down his head, nor could kicks nor blows compel him to stir. Several of the devotees broke down into tears and began loudly to bewail their sins, after which it was decreed in future that the Host should be defiled, but that no animals must be admitted. See my “Geography of Witchcraft,” pp. 410-411.

S. Optatus tells us that certain Donatists once threw the Host to some hungry dogs, who suddenly turned on the heretics and tore them to pieces.
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:12 am


Prescribed Remedies for those who are Obsessed owing to some Spell.

We have shown in Chapter X of the preceding Question that sometimes devils, through witchcraft, substantially inhabit certain men, and why they do this: namely, that it may be for some grave crime of the man himself, and for his own ultimate benefit; or sometimes for the slight fault of another man; sometimes for a man’s own venial sin; and sometimes for another man’s grave sin. For any of these reasons a man may in varying degrees be possessed by a devil. Nider in his Formicarius states that there is no cause for wonder if devils, at the instance of witches and with God’s permission, substantially take possession of men.

It is clear also from the details given in that chapter what are the remedies by which such men can be liberated; namely, by the exorcisms of the Church; and by true contrition and confession, when a man is possessed for some mortal sin. An example is the manner in which that Bohemian priest was set free. But there are three other remedies besides, which are of virtue; namely, the Holy Communion of the Eucharist, the visitation of shrines and the prayers of holy men, and by lifting the sentence of excommunication. Of these we shall speak, although they are plainly set out in the discourses of the Doctors, since all have not easy access to the necessary treatises.

Cassian, in his Collation of the Abbots, speaks in these words of the Eucharist: We do not remember that our elders ever forbade the administration of the Holy Communion to those possessed by evil spirits; it should even be given to them every day if possible. [1] For it must be believed that It is of great virtue in the purgation and protection of both soul and body; and that when a man receives It, the evil spirit which afflicts his members or lurks hidden in them is driven away as if it were burned with fire. And lately we saw the Abbot Andronicus healed in this way; and the devil will rage with mad fury when he feels himself shut out by the heavenly medicine, and he will try the harder and the oftener to inflict his tortures, as he feels himself driven farther off by this spiritual remedy. So says S. John Cassian.

And again he adds: Two things must be steadfastly believed. First, that without the permission of God no one is altogether possessed by these spirits. Second, that everything which God permits to happen to us, whether it seem to be sorrow or gladness, is sent for out good as from a pitying Father and merciful Physician. For the devils are, as it were, schoolmasters of humility, so that they who descend from this world may either be purged for the eternal life or be sentenced to the pain of their punishment; and such, according to S. Paul, are in the present life delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But here there arises a doubt. For S. Paul says: Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the Bread: then how can a man who is possessed communicate, since he has not the use of his reason? S. Thomas answers this in his Third Part, Question 80, saying that there are distinct degrees in madness. For to say that a man has not the use of his reason may mean two things. In one case he has some feeble power of reason; as a man is said to be blind when he can nevertheless see imperfectly. And since such men can to some extent join in the devotion of this Sacrament, it is not to be denied to them.

But others are said to be mad because they have been so from birth; and such may not partake of the Sacrament, since they are in no way able to engage in devout preparation for it.

Or perhaps they have not always been without the use of their reason; and then, if when they were sane they appeared to appreciate the devotion due to the Sacrament, It should be administered to them when they are at the point of death, unless it is feared that they may vomit or spew It out.

The following decision is recorded by the Council of Carthage (26, q. 6). [2] When a sick man wishes to confess, and if on the arrival of the priest he is rendered dumb by his infirmity, or falls into a frenzy, those who have heard him speak must give their testimony. And if he is thought to be at the point of death, let him be reconciled with God by the laying on of hands and the placing of the Sacrament in his mouth. S. Thomas also says that the same procedure may be used with baptized people who are bodily tormented by unclean spirits, and with other mentally distracted persons. And he adds, in Book IV, dist. 9, that the Communion must not be denied to demoniacs unless it is certain that they are being tortured by the devil for some crime. To this Peter of Palude adds: In this case they are to be considered as persons to be excommunicated and delivered up to Satan.

From this it is clear that, even if a man be possessed by a devil for his own crimes, yet if he has lucid intervals and, while he has the use of his reason, is contrite and confesses his sins, since he is absolved in the sight of God, he must in no way be deprived of the Communion of the Divine Sacrament of the Eucharist.

How those who are possessed may be delivered by the intercessions and prayers of the Saints is found in the Legends of the Saints. For by the merits of Saints, Martyrs, Confessors and Virgins the unclean spirits are subdued by their prayers in the land where they live, just as the Saints in their earthly journey subdued them.

Likewise we read that the devout prayers of wayfarers have often obtained the deliverance of those possessed. And Cassian urges them to pray for them, saying: If we hold the opinion or rather faith of which I have written above, that everything is sent by the Lord for the good of our souls and the betterment of the universe, we shall in no way despise those who are possessed; but we shall incessantly pray for them as for our own selves, and pity them with our whole heart.

As for the last method, that of releasing the sufferer from excommunication, it must be known that this is rare, and only lawfully practised by such as have authority and are informed by revelation that the man has become possessed on account of the excommunication of the Church: such was the case of the Corinthian fornicator (I. Corinthians v) who was excommunicated by S. Paul and the Church, and delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit might be saved in the day of our Lord JESUS Christ; that is, as the gloss says, either for the illumination of grace by contrition or for judgement.

And he delivered to Satan false teachers who had lost the faith, such as Hymenaeus and Alexander, that they might learn not to blaspheme (I. Timothy i). For so great was the power and the grace of S. Paul, says the gloss, that by the mere words of his mouth he could deliver to Satan those who fell away from the faith.

S. Thomas (IV. 18) teaches concerning the three effects of excommunication as follows. If a man, he says, is deprived of the prayers of the Church, he suffers a threefold loss corresponding with the benefits which accrue to one who is in communion with the Church. For those who are excommunicated are bereft of the source from which flows an increase of grace to those who have it, and a mean to obtain grace for those who have it not; and, being deprived of grace, they lose also the power of preserving their uprightness; although it must not be thought that they are altogether shut out from God’s providence, but only from that special providence which watches over the sons of the Church; and they lose also a strong source of protection against the Enemy, for greater power is granted to the devil to injure such men, both bodily and spiritually.

For in the primitive Church, when men had to be drawn into the faith by signs, just as the Holy Spirit was made manifest by a visible sign, so also a bodily affliction by the devil was the visible sign of a man who was excommunicated. And it is not unfitting that a man whose case is not quite desperate should be delivered to Satan; for he is not given to the devil as one to be damned, but to be corrected, since it is in the power of the Church, when she pleases, to deliver him again from the hands of the devil. So says S. Thomas. Therefore the lifting of the ban of excommunication, when prudently used by a discreet exorcist, is a fitting remedy for those who are possessed.

But Nider adds that the exorcist must particularly beware of making too presumptive a use of his powers, or of mingling any ribaldry or jesting with the serious work of God, or adding to it anything that smacks of superstition or witchcraft; for otherwise he will hardly escape punishment, as he shows by an example.

For Blessed Gregory, in his First Dialogue, tells of a certain woman who, against her conscience, yielded to her husband’s persuasions to take pare in the ceremonies at the vigil of the dedication of the Church of S. Sebastian. And because she joined in the Church’s procession against her conscience, she became possessed and raged publicly. When the priest of that church saw this, he took the cloth from the altar and covered her with it; and the devil suddenly entered into the priest. And because he had presumed beyond his strength, he was constrained by his torments to reveal who he was. So says S. Gregory.

And to show that no spirit of ribaldry [3] must be allowed to enter into the holy office of exorcism, Nider tells that he saw in a monastery at Cologne a brother who was given to speaking jestingly, but was a very famous expeller of devils. This man was casting a devil out of a man possessed in the monastery, and the devil asked him to give him some place to which he could go. This pleased the Brother, and he jokingly said, “Go to my privy.” So the devil went out; and when in the night the Brother wished to go and purge his belly, the devil attacked him so savagely in the privy that he with difficulty escaped with his life.

But especial care is to be taken that those who are obsessed through witchcraft should not be induced to go to witches to be healed. For S. Gregory goes on to say of the woman we have just mentioned: Her kindred and those who loved her in the flesh took her to some witches to be healed, by whom she was taken to a river and dipped in the water with many incantation; and upon this she was violently shaken, and instead of one devil being cast out, a legion entered into her, and she began to cry out in their several voices. Therefore her kindred confessed what they had done, and in great grief brought her to the holy Bishop Fortunatus, [4] who by daily prayers and fasting [5] entirely restored her to health.

But since it has been said that exorcists must beware lest they make use of anything savouring of superstition or witchcraft, some exorcist may doubt whether it is lawful to use certain unconsecrated herbs and stones. In answer we say that it is so much the better if the herbs are consecrated; but that if they are not, then it is not superstitious to use a certain herb called Demonifuge, [6] or even the natural properties of stones. But he must not think that he is casting out devils by the power of these; for then he would fall into the error of believing that he could use other herbs and incantations in the same way; and this is the error of necromancers, who think that they can perform this kind of work through the natural and unknown virtues of such objects.

Therefore S. Thomas says, Book IV. dist. 7, art. the last: It must not be any corporeal powers; and therefore they are not to be influenced by invocations or any acts of sorcery, except in so far as they have entered into a pact with a witch. Of this Esaias (xxviii) speaks: We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement. And he thus explains the passage in Job xli: Canst thou draw out Leviathan with an hook? and the following words. For he says: If one rightly considers all that has been said before, it will seem that it belongs to the heretical presumption of necromancers when anyone tries to make an agreement with devils, or to subject them in any way to his own will.

Having, then, shown that man cannot of his own power overcome the devil, he concludes by saying: Place your hand upon him; but understand that, if you have any power, it is yet by Divine virtue that he is overcome. And he adds: Remember the battle which I wage against him; that is to say, the present being put for the future, I shall fight against him on the Cross, where Leviathan will be taken with an hook, that is, by the divinity hidden under the bait of humanity, since he will think our Saviour to be only a man. And afterwards it says: There is no power on earth to be compared with him: by which it is meant that no bodily power can equal the power of the devil, which is a purely spiritual power. So says S. Thomas.

But a man possessed by a devil can indirectly be relieved by the power of music, as was Saul by David’s harp, or of a herb, or of any other bodily matter in which there lies some natural virtue. Therefore such remedies may be used, as can be argued both from authority and by reason. For S. Thomas, XXVI. 7, says that stones and herbs may be used for the relief of a man possessed by a devil. And there are the words of S. Jerome.

And as for the passage in Tobias, where the Angel says: Touching the heart and the liver (which you took from the fish), if a devil or an evil spirit trouble any, we must make a smoke thereof before the man or the woman, and the party shall be no more vexed; S. Thomas says: We ought not to marvel at this, for the smoke of a certain tree when it is burned seems to have the same virtue, as if it has in it some spiritual sense, or power of spiritual prayer for the future.

Of the same opinion are Blessed Albert, in his commentary on S. Luke ix, and Nicolas of Lyra and Paul of Burgos, [7] on I. Samuel xvi. The last-named homilist comes to this conclusion: that it must be allowed that those possessed by a devil can not only be relieved, but even entirely delivered by means of material things, understanding that in the latter case they are not very fiercely molested. And he proves this by reasoning as follows: Devils cannot alter corporeal matter just at their will, but only by bringing together complementary active and passive agents, as Nicolas says. In the same way some material object can cause in the human body a disposition which makes it susceptible to the operations of the devil. For example, according to physicians, mania very much predisposes a man to dementia, and consequently to demoniac obsession: therefore if, in such a case, the predisposing passive agent be remove, it will follow that the active affliction of the devil will be cured.

In this light we may consider the fish’s liver; and the music of David, by which Saul was at first relieved and then entirely delivered of the evil spirit; for it says: And the evil spirit departed from him. But it is not consonant with the meaning of the Scripture to say that this was done by the merits or prayers of David; for the Scripture says nothing of any such matter, whereas it would have spoken notably in his praise if this had been so. This reasoning we take fro Paul of Burgos. There is also the reason which we gave in Question V of the First Part: that Saul was liberated because by the harp was prefigured the virtue of the Cross on which were stretched the Sacred Limbs of Christ’s Body. And more is written there which may be considered together with the present inquiry. But we shall only conclude by saying that the use of material things in lawful exorcisms is not superstitious. And now it is expedient that we should speak about the exorcisms themselves.



1. “Every day.” Since the Sacrament is “medicina animae”. In “En Route,” Chap. V, the Abbé Gévresin says: “Je comprends très bien le système du père Milleriot qui forçait à communier des gens qu’il appréhendait de voir retomber dans leus péchés, aprè. Pour toute pénitence, il les obligeait à recommunier encore et il finissait par les épurer avec les Saintes Espèces prises à de hautes doses. C’est une doctrine tout à la fois réaliste et surélevée.” Pére Milleriot, S.J., was largely concerned in the conversion (1879-80) if Paul-Maximilien-Emile Littré, who died at Paris, 2 June, 1881.

2. “Carthage.” The earliest Council of Carthage of which we know was held about A.D. 198, when seventy bishops, presided over by the Bishop of Carthage, Agrippinus, were present. After this date more than twenty Councils were held at Carthage, of which the most important were those under S. Cyprian, relative to the “lapsi,” Novatianism, and the re-baptism of heretics, and the synods of 412, 416 and 418 which condemned the doctrines of Pelagius.

3. “Ribaldry.” A rubric of the “De exorcizandis Obsessis a Daemonio” prescribes: “Necessarie uero interrogationes sunt, ut de tempore quo ingressi sunt, de cause, et aliis huiusmodi. Ceteras autem daemoniis nugas, risus, et ineptias Exorcista cohibeat, aut contemnat, et circumstantes, qui pauci esse debent, admoneat, ne haec curent, neque ipsi interrogent obsessum: sed potius humiliter et enixe Deum pro eo precantur.”

4. “Fortunatus.” Bishop of Naples, who was apointed to that see by S. Gregory the Great in 593 upon the deposition of Demetrius.

5. “Fasting.” “S. Matthew” xvii, 20: Hoc autem genus non eiicitur nisi per orationem et ieiunium.

6. “Demonifuge.” See Sinistrari, “De Daemonialitate,” LXVIII, in my translation “Demoniality,” pp. 52-53.

7. “Paul of Burgos.” Paul de Santa Maria, a Spanish Archbishop, Lord Chancellor, and exegete, born at Burgos about 1351; died 29 August, 1435. The most wealthy and influential Jew of Burgos (Jewish name Solomon-Ha-Levi), and a scholar of the firs rank in Talmudic and Rabbinical literature, a Rabbi of the Hebraic community, he was converted to Christianity by the irrefutable logic of the “Summa” of S. Thomas. He received baptism 21 July, 1390. His reputation as a Biblical writer chiefly rests upon his “Additiones” to the “Postilla” of Nicolas of Lyra, Nuremberg, 1481; Venice, 1481; and many other editions.
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:13 am


Prescribed Remedies; to wit, the Lawful Exorcisms of the Church, for all Sorts of Infirmities and Ills due to Witchcraft; and the Method of Exorcising those who are Bewitched.

It has already been stated that witches can afflict men with every kind of physical infirmity; therefore it can be taken as a general rule that the various verbal or practical remedies which can be applied in the case of those infirmities which we have just been discussing are equally applicable to all other infirmities, such as epilepsy or leprosy, for example. And as lawful exorcisms are reckoned among the verbal remedies and have been most often considered by us, they may be taken as a general type of such remedies; and there are three matters to be considered regarding them.

First, we must judge whether a person who has not been ordained as an exorcist, such as a layman or a secular cleric, may lawfully exorcise devils and their works. Bound up with this question are three others: namely; first, what constitutes the legality of this practice; secondly, the seven conditions which must be observed when one wishes to make private use of charms and benedictions; and thirdly, in what way the disease is to be exorcised and the devil conjured.

Secondly, we must consider what is to be done when no healing grace results from the exorcism.

Thirdly, we must consider practical and not verbal remedies; together with the solution of certain arguments.

For the first, we have the opinion of S. Thomas in Book IV, dist. 23. He says: When a man is ordained as an exorcist, or into any of the other minor Orders, he has conferred upon him the power of exorcism in his official capacity; and this power may even lawfully be used by those who belong to no Order, but such do not exercise it in their official capacity. Similarly the Mass can be said in an unconsecrated house, although the very purpose of consecrating a church is that the Mass may be said there; but this is more on account of the grace which is in the righteous than of the grace of the Sacrament.

From these words we may conclude that, although it is good that in the liberation of a bewitched person recourse should be had to an exorcist having authority to exorcise such bewitchments, yet at times other devout persons may, either with or without any exorcism, cast out this sort of diseases.

For we hear of a certain poor and very devout virgin, one of whose friends has been grievously bewitched in his foot, so that it was clear to the physicians that he could be cured by no medicines. But it happened that the virgin went to visit the sick man, and he at once begged her to apply some benediction to his foot. She consented, and did no more than silently say the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed, at the same time making use of the sign of the life-giving Cross. The sick man then felt himself at once cured, and, that he might have a remedy for the future, asked the virgin what charms she had used. But she answered: You are of little faith and do not hold to the holy and lawful practices of the Church, and you often apply forbidden charms and remedies for your infirmities; therefore you are rarely healthy in your body, because you are always sick in your soul. But if you would put your trust in prayer and in the efficacy of lawful symbols, you will often be very easily cured. For I did nothing but repeat the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed, and you are now cured.

This example gives rise to the question, whether there is not any efficacy in other benedictions and charms, and even conjurations by way of exorcism; for they seem to be condemned in this story. We answer that the virgin condemned only unlawful charms and unlawful conjurations and exorcisms.

To understand these last we must consider how they originated, and how they came to be abused. For they were in their origin entirely sacred; but just as by the means of devils and wicked men all things can be defiled, so also were these sacred words. For it is said in the last chapter of S. Mark, of the Apostles and holy men: In My Name shall they cast out devils; and they visited the sick, and prayed over them with sacred words; and in after times priests devoutly used similar rites; and therefore there are to be found to-day in ancient Churches devout prayers and holy exorcisms which men can use or undergo, when they are applied by pious men as they used to be, without any superstition; even as there are now to be found learned men and Doctors of holy Theology who visit the sick and use such words for the healing not only of demoniacs, but of other diseases as well.

But, alas! superstitious men have, on the pattern of these, found for themselves many vain and unlawful remedies which they employ these days for sick men and animals; and the clergy have become too slothful to use any more the lawful words when they visit the sick. On this account Gulielmus Durandus, [1] the commentator on S. Raymond, says that such lawful exorcisms may be used by a religious and discreet priest, or by a layman, or even by a woman of good life and proved discretion; by the offering of lawful prayers over the sick: not over fruits or animals, but over the sick. For the Gospel says: They shall place their hands upon the sick, etc. And such persons are not to be prevented from practising in this way; unless perhaps it is feared that, following their example, other indiscreet and superstitious persons should make improper use of incantations. It is these superstitious diviners whom that virgin we have mentioned condemned, when she said that they who consulted with such had weak, that is to say bad, faith.

Now for the elucidation of this matter it is asked how it is possible to know whether the words of such charms and benedictions are lawful or superstitious, and how they ought to be used; and whether the devil can be conjured and diseases exorcised.

In the first place, that is said to be lawful in the Christian religion which is not superstitious; and that is said to be superstitious which is over and above the prescribed form of religion. See Colossians ii: which things indeed have a show of wisdom in superstition: on which the gloss says: Superstition is undisciplined religion, that is, religion observed with defective methods in evil circumstance.

Anything, also, is superstition which human tradition without higher authority has caused to usurp the name of religion; such is the interpolation of hymns at Holy Mass, the alteration of the Preface for Requiems, the abbreviation of the Creed which it to be sung at Mass, the reliance upon an organ rather than upon the choir for the music, neglect to have a Server on the Altar, and such practices. But to return to our point, when a work is done by virtue of the Christian religion, as when someone wishes to heal the sick by means of prayer and benediction and sacred words, which is the matter we are considering), such a person must observe seven conditions by which such benedictions are rendered lawful. And even if he uses adjurations, through the virtue of the Divine Name, and by the virtue of the works of Christ, His Birth, Passion and Precious Death, by which the devil was conquered and cast out; such benedictions and charms and exorcisms shall be called lawful, and they who practise them are exorcists or lawful enchanters. See S. Isidore, Etym. VIII, Enchanters are they whose art and skill lies in the use of words.

And the first of these conditions, as we learn from S. Thomas, is that there must be nothing in the words which hints at any expressed or tacit invocation of devils. If such were expressed, it would be obviously unlawful. If it were tacit, it might be considered in the light of intention, or in that of fact: in that of intention, when the operator has no care whether it is God or the devil who is helping him, so long as he attains his desired result; in that of fact, when a person has no natural aptitude for such work, but creates some artificial means. And of such not only must physicians and astronomers be the judges, but especially Theologians. For in this way do necromancers work, making images and rings and stones by artificial means; which have no natural virtue to effect the results which they very often expect: therefore the devil must be concerned in their works.

Secondly, the benedictions or charms must contain no unknown names; for according to S. John Chrysostom such are to be regarded with fear, lest they should conceal some matter of superstition.

Thirdly, there must be nothing in the words that is untrue; for if there is, the effect of them cannot be from God, Who is not a witness to a lie. But some old women in their incantations use some such jingling doggerel as the following:

Blessed MARY went a-walking
Over Jordan river.
Stephen met her, and fell a-talking, etc.

Fourthly, there must be no vanities, or written characters beyond the sign of the Cross. Therefore the charms which soldiers are wont to carry are condemned.

Fifthly, no faith must be placed in the method of writing or reading or binding the charm about a person, or in any such vanity, which has nothing to do with the reverence of God, without which a charm is altogether superstitious.

Sixthly, in the citing and uttering of Divine words and of Holy Scripture attention must only be paid to the sacred words themselves and their meaning, and to the reverence of God; whether the effect be looked for from the Divine virtue, or from the relics of Saints, which are a secondary power, since their virtue springs originally from God.

Seventhly, the looked-for effect must be left tot he Divine Will; for He knows whether it is best for a man to be healed or to be plagued, or to die. This condition was set down by S. Thomas.

So we may conclude that if none of these conditions be broken, the incantation will be lawful. And S. Thomas writes in this connexion on the last chapter of S. Mark: And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall take up serpents. From this it is clear that, provided the above conditions are observed, it is lawful by means of sacred words to keep serpents away.

S. Thomas says further: The words of God are not less holy than the Relics of the Saints. As S. Augustine says: The word of God is not less than the Body of Christ. But all are agreed that it is lawful to carry reverently about the person the Relics of the Saints: therefore let us by all means invoke the name of God by duly using the Lord’s Prayer and the Angelic Salutation, by His Birth and Passion, by His Five Wounds, and by the Seven Words which He spoke on the Cross, by the Triumphant Inscription, by the three nails, and by the other weapons of Christ’s army against the devil and his works. By all these means it is lawful to work, and our trust may be placed in them, leaving the issue to God’s will.

And what has been said about the keeping off of serpents applies also to other animals, provided that the attention is fixed only on the sacred words and the Divine virtue. But great care is to be used in incantations of this nature. For S. Thomas says: Such diviners often use unlawful observances, and obtain magic effects by means of devils, especially in the case of serpents; for the serpent was the devil’s first instrument by which he deceived mankind.

For in the town of Salzburg there was a certain mage who one day, in open view of all, wanted to charm all the snakes into a particular pit, and kill them all within an area of a mile. So he gathered all the snakes together, and was himself standing over the pit, when last of all there came a huge and horrible serpent which would not go into the pit. This serpent kept making signs to the man to let it go away and crawl where it would; but he would not cease from his incantation, but insisted that, as all the other snakes had entered the pit and there died, so also must this horrible serpent. But it stood on the opposite side to the warlock, and suddenly leapt over the pit and fell upon the man, wrapping itself round his belly, and dragged him with itself into the pit, where they both died. From this it may be seen that only for a useful purpose, such as driving them away from men’s houses, are such incantations to be practised, and they are to be done by the Divine virtue, and in the fear of God, and with reverence.

In the second place we have to consider how exorcisms or charms of this kind ought to be used, and whether they should be worn round the neck or sewn into the clothing. It may seem that such practices are unlawful; for S. Augustine says, in the Second Book on the Christian Doctrine: There are a thousand magic devices and amulets and charms which are all superstitious, and the School of Medicine utterly condemns them all, whether they are incantations, or certain marks which are called characters, or engraved charms to be hung round the neck.

Also S. John Chrysostom, commenting on S. Matthew, says: Some persons wear round their neck some written portion of the Gospel; but is not the Gospel every day read in the church and heard by all? How then shall a man be helped by wearing the Gospel round his neck, when he has reaped no benefit from hearing it with his ears? For in what does the virtue of the Gospel consist; in the characters of its letters, or in the meaning of its words? If in the characters, you do well to hang it round your neck; but if in the meaning, surely it is of more benefit when planted in the heart than when worn round the neck.

But, on the other hand, the Doctors answer as follows, especially S. Thomas where he asks whether it is unlawful to hang sacred words round the neck. Their opinion is that, in all charms and writings so worn, there are two things to be avoided.

First, in whatever is written there must be nothing that savours of an invocation of devils; for then it is manifestly superstitious and unlawful, and must be judged as an apostasy from the faith, as has often been said before.

Similarly, in accordance with the above seven conditions, it must not contain any unknown names. But if these two snares be avoided, it is lawful both to place such charms on the lips of the sick, and for the sick to carry them with them. But the Doctors condemn their use in one respect, that is, when a man pays greater attention to and has more reliance upon the mere signs of the written letters than upon their meaning.

It may be said that a layman who does not understand the words cannot pay any attention to their meaning. But it is enough if such a man fixes his thoughts on the Divine virtue, and leaves it to the Divine will to do what seems good to His mercy.

In the third place we have to consider whether the devil is to be conjured and the disease exorcised at the same time, or whether a different order should be observed, or whether one of these operations can take place without the other. Here there are several points to be considered. First, whether the devil is always present when the sick man is afflicted. Second, what sort of things are capable of being exorcised or remedied. Third, the method of exorcising.

For the first point, it would seem, following that pronouncement of S. John Damascene that where the devil operates there he is, that the devil is always present in the sick man when he afflicts him. Also in the history of S. Bartholomew it seems that a man is only delivered from the devil when he is cured of his sickness.

But this can be answered as follows. When it is said that the devil is present in a sick man, this can be understood in two ways: either that he is personally present, or that he is present in the effect which he has caused. In the first sense he is present when he first causes the sickness; in the second sense he is said to be present not personally but in the effect. In this way, when the Doctors ask whether the devil substantially inhabits a man who commits mortal sin, they say that he is not personally present, but only in effect; just as a master is said to dwell in his servants in respect of his mastership. But the case is quite otherwise with men who are possessed by a devil.

For the second point, as to what sort of things can be exorcised, the opinion of S. Thomas, Book IV, dist. 6, should be noted, where he says that on account of man’s sin the devil receives power over a man and over everything which a man uses, to hurt him with them; and since there can be no compromise of Christ with Belial, therefore whenever anything is to be sanctified for Divine worship, it is first exorcised that it may be consecrated to God freed from the power of the devil, by which it might be turned to the hurt of men. This is shown in the blessing of water, the consecration of a church, and in all matters of this sort. Therefore, since the first act of reconciliation by which a man is consecrated to God is in baptism, it is necessary that man should be exorcised before he is baptized; indeed in this it is more imperative than in any other circumstance. For in man himself lies the cause by reason of which the devil receives his power in other matters which are brought about by man, namely, sin, either original or actual. This then is the significance of the words that are used in exorcism, as when it is said, “Depart, O Satan, from him”; and likewise of the things that are then done.

To return, then, to the actual point. When it is asked whether the disease is to be exorcised and the devil abjured, and which of these should be done first; it is answered that not the disease, but the sick and bewitched man himself is exorcised: just as in the case of a child, it is not the infection of the fomes which is exorcised, but the child itself. Also, just as the child is first exorcised, and then the devil is abjured to depart; so also is the bewitched person first exorcised, and afterwards the devil and his works are bidden to depart. Again, just as salt and water are exorcised, so are all things which can be used by the sick man, so that it is expedient to exorcise and bless chiefly his food and drink. In the case of baptism the following ceremony of exorcism is observed: the exsufflation towards the West and the renunciation of the devil; secondly, the raising of the hands with a solemn confession of the faith of the Christian religion; thirdly, prayer, benediction, and the laying on of hands; fourthly, the stripping and anointing with Holy Oil; and after baptism, the communion and the putting on of the chrisom, he is to remain bound naked to a Holy Candle of the length of Christ’s body or of the Cross. And then may be said the following:

I exorcise thee, Peter, or thee, Barbara, being weak but reborn in Holy Baptism, by the living God, by the true God, by God Who redeemed thee with His Precious Blood, that thou mayest be exorcised, that all the illusions and wickedness of the devil’s deceits may depart and flee from thee together with every unclean spirit, adjured by Him Who will come to judge both the quick and the dead, and who will purge the earth with fire. Amen.

Let us pray.

O God of mercy and pity, Who according to Thy tender lovingkindness chastenest those whom Thou dost cherish, and dost gently compel those whom Thou receivest to turn their hearts, we invoke Thee, O Lord, that Thou wilt vouchsafe to bestow Thy grace upon Thy servant who suffereth from a weakness in the limbs of his body, that whatever is corrupt by earthly frailty, whatever is made violate by the deceit of the devil, may find redemption in the unity of the body of the Church. Have mercy, O Lord, on his groaning, have mercy upon his tears; and as he putteth his trust only in Thy mercy, receive him in the sacrament of Thy reconciliation, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Therefore, accursed devil, hear thy doom, and give honour to the true and living God, give honour to the Lord Jesus Christ, that thou depart with thy works from this servant whom our Lord Jesus Christ hath redeemed with His Precious Blood.

Then let him exorcise him a second and yet a third time, with the prayers as above.

Let us pray.

God, Who dost ever mercifully govern all things that Thou hast made, incline Thine ear to our prayers, and look in mercy upon Thy servant labouring under the sickness of the body; visit him, and grant him Thy salvation and the healing virtue of Thy heavenly grace, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Therefore, accursed devil, etc.

The prayer for the third exorcism.

O God, the only protection of human frailty, show forth the mighty power of Thy strong aid upon our sick brother (or sister), that being holpen by Thy mercy he (she) may be worthy to enter Thy Holy Church in safety, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

And let the exorcist continually sprinkle him with Holy Water. And note that this method is recommended, not because it must be rigidly observed, or that other exorcisms are not of greater efficacy, but that there should be some regular system of exorcism and adjuration. For in the old histories and books of the Church there are sometimes found more devout and powerful exorcisms; but since before all things the reverence of God is necessary, let each proceed in this matter as he finds it best.

In conclusion, and for the sake of clearness, we may recommend this form of exorcism for a person who is bewitched. Let him first make a good confession (according to the often-quoted Canon: If by sortilege, etc.). Then let a diligent search be made in all corners and in the beds and mattresses and under the threshold of the door, in case some instrument of witchcraft may be found. The bodies of animals bewitched to death are at once to be burned. And it is expedient that all bed-clothes and garments should be renewed, and even that he should change his house and dwelling. But in case nothing is found, then he who is to be exorcised should if possible go into the church in the morning, especially on the Holier Days, such as the Feast of Our Lady, or on some Vigil; and the better if the priest also has confessed and is in a state of grace, for then the stronger will he be. And let him who is to be exorcised hold in his hand a Holy Candle as well as he can, either sitting or kneeling; and let those who are present offer up devout prayers for his deliverance. And let him begin the Litany at “Our help is in the Name of the Lord,” and let one be appointed to make the responses: let him sprinkle him with Holy Water, and place a stole round his neck, and recite the Psalm “Haste thee, O God, to deliver me”; and let him continue the Litany for the Sick, saying at the Invocation of the Saints, “Pray for him and be favourable; deliver him, O Lord,” continuing thus to the end. But where the prayers are to be said, then in the place of the prayers let him begin the exorcism, and continue in the way we have declared, or in any other better way, as seems good to him. And this sort of exorcism may be continued at least three times a week, that so through many intercessions the grace of health may be obtained.

Finally, he must receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist; although some think that this should be done before the exorcism. And at his confession the confessor must inquire whether he is under any bond of excommunication, and if he is, whether he has rashly omitted to obtain absolution from his Judge; for then, although he may at his discretion absolve him, yet when he has regained his health, he must seek absolution also from the Judge who excommunicated him.

It should further be noted that, when the exorcist is not ordained to the Order of Exorcist, then he may proceed with prayers; and if he can read the Scriptures, let him read the beginnings of the four Gospels of the Evangelists, and the Gospel beginning, “There was an Angel sent”; and the Passion of our Lord; all of which have great power to expel the works of the devil. Also let the Gospel of S. John, “In the beginning was the Word,” be written and hung round the sick man’s neck, and so let the grace of healing be looked for from God.

But if anyone asks what is the difference between the aspersion of Holy Water and exorcism, since both are ordained against the plagues of the devil, the answer is supplied by S. Thomas, who says: The devil attacks us from without and from within. Therefore Holy Water is ordained against his attacks from without; but exorcism against those from within. For this reason those for whom exorcism is necessary are called Energoumenoi, from En, meaning In, and Ergon, meaning Work, since they labour within themselves. But in exorcising a bewitched person both methods are to be used, because he is tormented both within and without.

Our second main consideration is what is to be done when no healing grace results from exorcisms. Now this may happen for six reasons; and there is a seventh about which we suspend any definite judgement. For when a person is not healed, it is due either to want of faith in the bystanders or in those who present the sick man, or to the sins of them who suffer from the bewitchment, or to a neglect of the due and fitting remedies, or to some flaw in the faith of the exorcist, or to the lack of a greater trust in the powers of another exorcist, or to the need of purgation and for the increased merit of the bewitched person.

Concerning the first four of these the Gospel teaches us in the incident of the only son of his father, who was a lunatic, and of the disciples of Christ being there present (S. Matthew xvii. And S. Mark ix.). For in the first place He said that the multitude were without faith; whereupon the father prayed Him, saying: Lord, I believe: help Thou mine unbelief. And JESUS said to the multitude: O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?

Secondly, with regard to him who endured the devil, JESUS rebuked him, that is, the son; for, as Saint Jerome says, he had been tormented by the devil because of his sins.

Thirdly, this illustrates the neglect of the rightful remedies, because good and perfect men were not at first present. For S. John Chrysostom says: The pillars of faith, namely, Peter and James and John, were not present, for they were at the Transfiguration of Christ: neither were there prayer and fasting, without which Christ said that this sort of devil goeth not out. Therefore Origen, writing on this passage, says: If at any time a man be not cured after prayer, let us not wonder or ask questions or speak, as if the unclean spirit were listening to us; but let us cast out our evil spirits by prayer and fasting. And the gloss says: This sort of devil, that is, the variability of carnal desires induced by that spirit, is not conquered except by strengthening the soul with prayer, and subduing the flesh with fasting.

Fourthly, the flaw in the faith of the exorcist is exemplified in the disciples of Christ who were present. For when they afterwards asked Him privately the cause of their failure, He answered: Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence, [2] etc. And S. Hilary says: The Apostles believed indeed, but they were not yet perfect in faith: for while the Lord was away in the mountain with the other three, and they remained with the multitude, their faith became lukewarm.

The fifth reason is illustrated in the Lives of the Fathers, where we read that certain possessed persons could not be delivered by S. Antony, but were delivered by his disciple, Paul.

The sixth reason has already been made clear; for not always when a man is freed from sin is he also freed from punishment, but sometimes the penalty remains as a punishment and atonement for the previous sin.

There is yet another remedy by which many have been said to be delivered, namely, the re-baptizing of those who are bewitched; but this is a matter on which, as we have said, we can make no definite pronouncement. Nevertheless it is most true that when a person has not been duly exorcised before baptism, the devil, with God’s permission, has always more power against such a person. And it is clearly shown without any doubt in what has just been written, that much negligence is committed by improperly instructed priests (in which case it pertains to the fourth of the above-noted impediments, namely, a flaw in the exorcist), or else by old women who do not observe the proper method of baptism at the necessary time.

However, God forbid that I should maintain that the Sacraments cannot be administered by wicked men, or that when baptism is performed by a wicked man it is not valid, provided that he observes the proper forms and words. Similarly in the exorcism let him proceed with due care, not timidly and not rashly. And let no one meddle with such sacred offices by any accidental or habitual omission of any necessary forms or words; for there are four matters to be observed in the right performance of exorcism, namely, the matter, the form, the intention and the order, as we have set them out above; and when one of these is lacking it cannot be complete.

And it is not valid to object that in the primitive Church persons were baptized without exorcism, and that even now a person is truly baptized without any exorcism; for in that case S. Gregory would have instituted exorcism in vain, and the Church would be in error in its ceremonies. [3] Therefore I have not dared altogether to condemn the re-baptism under certain conditions of bewitched persons, that they may recover that which was at first omitted.

It is said, also, of those who walk in their sleep during the night over high buildings without any harm, that it is the work of evil spirits who thus lead them; and many affirm that when such people are re-baptized they are much benefited. And it is wonderful that, when they are called by their own names, they suddenly fall back to earth, as if that name had not been given to them in proper form at their baptism.

Let the reader pay attention to those six impediments mentioned above, although they refer to Energoumenoi, or men possessed, rather than to men bewitched; for though equal virtue is required in both cases, yet it may be said that it is more difficult to cure a bewitched person than one possessed. Therefore those impediments apply even more pertinently to the case of those who are bewitched; as is proved by the following reasoning.

It was shown in Chapter X of the First Question of the Second Part that some men are at times possessed for no sin of their own, but for the venial sin of another man, and for various other causes. But in witchcraft, when adults are bewitched, it generally happens to them that the devil grievously possesses them from within for the destruction of their souls. Therefore the labour required in the case of the bewitched is twofold, whereas it is only single in the case of the possessed. Of this most grievous possession John Cassian speaks in his Collation of the Abbot Serenus: They are truly to be judged unhappy and miserable who, although they pollute themselves with every crime and wickedness, yet show no outward sign of being filled with the devil, nor does there seem to be any temptation commensurate with their deeds, nor any punishment sufficient to restrain them. For they do not deserve even the healing medicine of purgatory, who in their hardness of heart and impenitence are beyond the reach of any earthly correction, and lay up to themselves anger and vengeance in that day of wrath and revelation of the Just Judgement, when their worm shall not die.

And a little earlier, comparing the possession of the body with the binding of the soul in sin, he says: Far more grievous and violent is the torment of those who show no sign of being bodily possessed by devils, but are most terribly possessed in their souls, being fast bound by their sins and vices. For according to the Apostle, a man becomes the slave of him by whom he is conquered. And in this respect their case is the most desperate, since they are the servants of devils, and can neither resist nor tolerate that domination. It is clear then that, not they who are possessed by the devil from without, but they who are bewitched in their bodies and possessed from within to the perdition of their souls, are, by reason of many impediments, the more difficult to heal.

Our third main consideration is that of curative charms, and it is to be noted that these are of two sorts. They are either quite lawful and free from suspicion, or they are to be suspected and are not altogether lawful. We have dealt with the first sort in Chapter V, towards the end, where we disposed of a doubt as to the legality of using herbs and stones to drive away a bewitchment.

Now we must treat the second sort which are under suspicion of not being altogether lawful; and we must draw attention to what was said in the Introduction to the Second Question of the Second Part of this work as to the four remedies, of which three are judged to be unlawful, and the fourth not altogether so, but vain, being that of which the Canonists say that it is lawful to oppose vanity to vanity. But we Inquisitors are of the same opinion as the Holy Doctors, that when, owing to the six or seven impediments which we have detailed, the remedies of sacred words and lawful exorcism are not sufficient, then those who are so bewitched are to be exhorted to bear with patient spirit the devils of this present life for the purgation of their crimes, and not to seek further in any way for superstitious and vain remedies. Therefore, if anyone is not content with the aforesaid lawful exorcisms, and wishes to have recourse to remedies which are, at least, vain, of which we have spoken before, let him know that he does not do this with our consent or permission. But the reason why we have so carefully explained and detailed such remedies is that we might bring into some sort of agreement the opinions of such Doctors as Duns Scotus and Henry of Segusio on the one hand, and those of the other Theologians on the other hand. Yet we are in agreement with S. Augustine in his Sermon against Fortune-tellers and Diviners, which is called the Sermon on Auguries, [4] where he says: Brethren, you know that I have often entreated you that you should not follow the customs of Pagans and sorcerers, but this has had little effect on some of you. Yet, if I do not speak out to you, I shall be answerable for you in the Day of Judgement, and both you and I must suffer eternal damnation. Therefore I absolve myself before God, that again and again I admonish and adjure you, that none of you seek out diviners or fortune-tellers, and that you consult with them for no cause or infirmity; for whosoever commits this sin, the sacrament of baptism is immediately lost in him, and he at once becomes a sacrilegious and a Pagan, and unless he repents will perish in eternity.

And afterwards he adds: Let no one observe days for going out and coming back; for God hath made all things well, and He Who ordained one day ordained also another. But as often as you have to do anything or to go out, cross yourselves in the name of Christ, and saying faithfully the Creed or the Lord’s Prayer you may go about your business secure in the help of God.

But certain superstitious sons of our times, not content with the above securities and accumulating error upon error, and going beyond the meaning or intention of Scotus and the Canonists, try to justify themselves with the following arguments. That natural objects have certain hidden virtues the cause of which cannot be explained by men; as a lodestone attracts iron, and many other such things which are enumerated by S. Augustine in the City of God, xxi. Therefore, they say, to seek the recovery of one’s health by the virtue of such things, when exorcisms and natural medicines have failed, will not be unlawful, although it may seem to be vain. This would be the case if a man tried to procure his own or another’s health by means of images, not necromantic but astrological, or by rings and such devices. They argue also that, just as natural matter is subject to the influence of the stars, so also are artificial objects such as images, which receive some hidden virtue from the stars by which they can cause certain effects: therefore it is not unlawful to make use of such things.

Besides, the devils can in very many ways change bodies, as S. Augustine says, de Trinitate, 3, and as is evident in the case of those who are bewitched: therefore it is lawful to use the virtues of such bodies for the removing of witchcraft.

But actually all the Holy Doctors are of an entirely contrary opinion to this, as has been shown here and there in the course of this work.

Therefore we can answer their first argument in this way: that if natural objects are used in a simple way to produce certain effects for which they are thought to have some natural virtue, this is not unlawful. But if there are joined to this certain characters and unknown signs and vain observations, which manifestly cannot have any natural efficacy, then it is superstitious and unlawful. Wherefore S. Thomas, II, q. 96, art. 2, speaking of this matter, says that when any object is used for the purpose of causing some bodily effect, such as curing the sick, notice must be taken whether such objects appear to have any natural quality which could cause such an effect; and if so, then it is not unlawful, since it is lawful to apply natural causes to their effects. But if it does not appear that they can naturally cause such effects, it follows that they are not applied as causes of those effects, but as signs or symbols; and so they pertain to some pact symbolically formed with devils. Also S. Augustine says, in the City of God, xxi: The devils ensnare us by means of creatures formed not by themselves, but by God, and with various delights consonant with their own versatility; not as animals with food, but as spirits with signs, by various kinds of stones and herbs and trees, animals and charms and ceremonies.

Secondly, S. Thomas, says: The natural virtues of natural objects follow their material forms which they obtain from the influence of the stars, and from the same influence they derive certain active virtues. But the forms of artificial objects proceed from the conception of the craftsman; and since, as Aristotle says in his Physics, I, they are nothing but an artificial composition, they can have no natural virtue to cause any effect. It follows then that the virtue received from the influence of the stars can only reside in natural and not in artificial objects. Therefore, as S. Augustine says in the City of God, x, Porphyry was in error when he thought that from herbs and stones and animals, and from certain sounds and voices and figures, and from certain configurations in the revolutions of the stars and their motions, men fabricated on earth certain Powers corresponding to the various effects of the stars; as if the effects of magicians proceeded from the virtue of the stars. But, as S. Augustine adds, all such matters belong to the devils, the deceivers of souls which are subject to them. So also are those images which are called astronomical the work of devils, the sign of which is that they have inscribed upon them certain characters which can have no natural power to effect anything; for a figure or sign is no cause of natural action. But there is this difference between the images of astronomers and those of necromancers; that in the case of the latter there is an open invocation, and therefore an open and expressed pact with devils; whereas the signs and characters on astronomical images imply only a tacit pact.

Thirdly, there is no power given to men over devils, whereby a man may lawfully use them for his own purposes; but there is war declared between man and the devils, therefore by no means may he use the help of devils, by either a tacit or an expressed pact with them. So says S. Thomas.

To return to the point: he says, “By no means”; therefore not even by the means of any vain things in which the devil may in any way be involved. But if they are merely vain, and man in his frailty has recourse to them for the recovery of his health, let him repent for the past and take care for the future, and let him pray that his sins may be forgiven and that he be no more led into temptation; as S. Augustine says at the end of his Rule.



1. “Durandus.” William Duranti, canonist and one of the most important mediaeval liturgical writers, born about 1237 at Puimisson, Provence; died at Rome 1 November, 1296. His career was most noble and distinguished. A long epitaph upon his monument in Santa Maria sopra Minerva tells the story of his life and gives a list of his works. The most important of these is the “Rationale diuinorum officiorum,” the first edition of which by Fust and Schoeffer as issued at Mainz in 1459. It has been frequently reprinted, the last complete edition being Naples, 1839. The “Speculum Iudiciale” and the “Commentarius in canones Concilii Lugdunensis II” are valuable treatises upon the canons and canonical processes.

2. “Remove hence.” The miracle of the removal of a mountain was actually performed by S. Gregory Thaumaturgus, Bishop of Neocaesarea (d. circa 270-275), as the Venerable Bede tells us in his Commentary upon “S. Mark” xi: “Hoc quoque fieri potuisset, ut mons ablatus de terra mitteretur in mare, si necessitas id fieri poscisset. Quomodo legimus factum precibus beati patris Gregorii Neocaesareae Ponti Antistitis, uiri mentis et virtutibus eximii, ut mons in terra tantum loco cederet, quantum incolae ciuitatis opus habebant. Cum enim uolens aedificare ecclesiam in loco apto, uident eum angustiorem esse quam res exigebat, eo quod ex una parte rupe maris, ex alia monte proximo coarctaretur; uenit nocte ad locum, et genibus flexis admonuit Dominum promissionis suae, ut montem longius iuxta fidem petentis ageret. Et mane facto reuersus inuenit montem tantum spatii reliquisse structoribus ecclesiae, quantum opus habuerant.”

3. “Ceremonies.” Actually baptismal exorcism is earlier than S. Gregory. From the very first catechumens were exorcised as a preparation for the Sacrament of Baptism. In this connexion exorcism is a symbolical anticipation of one of the chief effects of the Sacrament of Regeneration, and since it was used in the case of children who had no personal sins, S. Augustine, writing against the Pelagians, appeals to it as clearly implying the doctrine of original sin. S. Cyril of Jerusalem in his “Catecheses,” A.D. 347, gives a detailed description of baptismal exorcism, by which it appears that anointing with exorcised oil formed a part of this function in the East. The earliest Western witness which explicitly treads unction as part of the baptismal exorcism is that of the Arabic Canons of Hippolytus.

4. “Auguries.” The “De Auguriis,” which is often ascribed to another writer, may be found in the Migne S. Augustine, Ap. V, 2268.
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