THE
MALLEUS MALEFICARUM


PART II., QUESTION II.
CHAPTER VI CONTINUED

        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, 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. 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, 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.

Page 3 of 3

Question II, Chapter VII


Part II, Question II, Chapter VI
was transcribed by Christie Rice.

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