PART II., QUESTION I.
CHAPTER III CONTINUED
And since the public report of this sort of transvection is continually
being spread even among the common people, it is unnecessary to add further
proof of it here. But we hope that this will suffice to refute those who
either deny altogether that there are such transvections, or try to maintain
that they are only imaginary or phantastical. And, indeed, it would be a
matter of small importance if such men were left in their error, were it not
that this error tends to the damage of the Faith. For notice that, not
content with that error, they do not fear to maintain and publish others
also, to the increase of witches and the detriment of the Faith. For they
assert that all the witchcraft which is truly and actually ascribed to
witches as instruments of the devil is only so ascribed in imagination and
illusion, as if they were really harmless, just as their transvection is
only phantastic. And for this reason many witches remain unpunished, to the
great dispraise of the Creator, and to their own most heavy increase.
The arguments on which they base their fallacy cannot be conceded. For first
they advance the chapter of the Canon (Episcopi, 26, q. 5), where it
is said that witches are only transported in imagination; but who is so
foolish as to conclude from this that they cannot also be bodily transported?
Similarly at the end of that chapter it is set down that whoever believes
that a man can be changed for the better or the worse, or can be transformed
into another shape, is to be thought worse than an infidel or a pagan; but
who could conclude from this that men cannot be transformed into beasts by a
glamour, or that they cannot be changed from health to sickness and from
better to worse? They who so scratch at the surface of the words of the
Canon hold an opinion which is contrary to that of all the holy Doctors, and,
indeed, against the teaching of the Holy Scripture.
For the contrary opinion is abundantly proved by what has been written in
various places in the First Part of this treatise; and it is necessary to
study the inner meaning of the words of the Canon. And this was examined in
the First Question of the First Part of the treatise, in refuting the second
of three errors which are there condemned, and where it is said that four
things are to be preached to the people. For they are transported both
bodily and phantastically, as is proved by their own confessions, not only
of those who have been burned, but also of others who have returned to
penitence and the Faith.
Among such there was the woman in the town of Breisach whom we asked whether
they could be transported only in imagination, or actually in the body; and
she answered that it was possible in both ways. For if they do not wish to
be bodily transferred, but want to know all that is being done in a meeting
of their companions, then they observe the following procedure. In the name
of all the devils they lie down to sleep on their left side, and then a sort
of bluish vapour comes from their mouth, through which they can clearly see
what is happening. But if they wish to be bodily transported, they must
observe the method which has been told.
Besides, even if that Canon be understood in its bare meaning without any
explanation, who is so dense as to maintain on that account that all their
witchcraft and injuries are phantastic and imaginary, when the contrary is
evident to the senses of everybody? Especially since there are many species
of superstition, namely, fourteen; among which the species of witches holds
the highest degree in spells and injuries, and the species of Pythoness, to
which they can be reduced, which is only able to be transported in
imagination, holds the lowest degree.
And we do not concede that their error can be substantiated by the Legends
of S. Germain and certain others. For it was
possible for the devils to lie down themselves by the side of the sleeping
husbands, during the time when a watch was being kept on the wives, just as
if they were sleeping with their husbands. And we do not say that this was
done for any reverence felt for the Saint; but the case is put that the
opposite of what is set down in the Legend may not be believed to be
In the same way all other objections can be answered: that it is found that
some witches are transported only in imagination, but that it is also found
in the writings of the Doctors that many have been bodily transported.
Whoever wishes may refer to Thomas of Brabant in his book about Bees,
and he will find many wonderful things concerning both the imaginary and the
bodily transvection of men.
Page 2 of 2
Question I, Chapter IV
This chapter was transcribed by Wicasta Lovelace.
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