THE
MALLEUS MALEFICARUM


GENERAL & INTRODUCTORY CONTINUED

        But the second sort are called heretical diviners, whose art involves some worship of or subjection to devils, and who essay by divination to predict the future of something of that nature, which manifestly savours of heresy; and such are, like other heretics, liable to the Inquisitorial Court.
        And that this is the meaning of the Canon they prove from commentaries of the Canonists on the word “savour.” For Giovanni d’Andrea, writing on this Canon accusatus, and the word “saviour,” says: They savour of heresy in this way, that they utter nefarious prayers and offer sacrifices at the altars of idols, and they consult with devils and receive answers from them; or they meet together to practise heretical sortes, that they may have an answer, re-baptize a child, and practise other such matters.
        Many others also they quote in support of their opinion, including John Modestus; S. Raymund, and William de Laudun, O.P. And they refer to the decision of the Church at the Council of Aquitaine, c. 26, q. 5, Episcopi, where such superstitious women are called infidels, saying, Would that these had perished alone in their perfidy. And perfidy in a Christian is called heresy; therefore they are subject to the Court of the Inquisitors of heresy.
        They quote also the Theologians, especially S. Thomas, the Second Book of Sentences, dist. 7, where he considers whether it is a sin to use the help of devils. For speaking of that passage in Esaias viii: Should not a people seek unto their God? he says among other things: In everything the fulfilment of which is looked for from the power of the devil, because of a pact entered into with him, there is apostasy from the faith, either in word, if there is some invocation, or in deed, even if there be no sacrifice offered.
        To the same effect they quote Albertus, and Peter of Tarentaise, and Giovanni Bonaventura, who has lately been canonized, not under the name of Giovanni, although that was his true name. Also they quote Alexander of Hales and Guido the Carmelite. All these say that those who invoke devils are apostates, and consequently heretics, and therefore subject to the Court of the Inquisitors of heretics.
        But the said Inquisitors of Spain have not, by the above or any other arguments, made out a sufficient case to prove that such soothsayers etc. may not be tried by the Ordinary or the Bishops without the Inquisitors; and that the Inquisitors may not be relieved from the duty of trying such diviners and necromancers, and even witches: not that the Inquisitors are not rather to be praised than blamed when they do try such cases, when the Bishops fail to do so. And this is the reason that they have not proved their case. The Inquisitors need only concern themselves with matters of heresy, and the heresy must be manifest; as is shown by the frequently quoted Canon accusatus, § sane.
        This being the case, it follows that however serious and grave may be the sin which a person commits, if it does not necessarily imply heresy, then he must not be judged as a heretic, although he is to be punished. Consequently an Inquisitor need not interfere in the case of a man who is to be punished as a malefactor, but not as a heretic, but may leave him to be tried by the Judges of his own Province.
        It follows again that all the crimes of invoking devils and sacrificing to them, of which the Commentators and Canonists and Theologians speak, are no concern of the Inquisitors, but can be left to the secular or episcopal Courts, unless they also imply heresy. This being so, and it being the case that the crimes we are considering are very often committed without any heresy, those who are guilty of such crimes are not to be judged or condemned as heretics, as is proved by the following authorities and arguments.
        For a person rightly to be adjudged a heretic he must fulfil five conditions. First, there must be an error in his reasoning. Secondly, that error must be in matters concerning the faith, either being contrary to the teaching of the Church as to the true faith, or against sound morality and therefore not leading to the attainment of eternal life. Thirdly, the error must lie in one who has professed the Catholic faith, for otherwise he would be a Jew or a Pagan, not a heretic. Fourthly, the error must be of such a nature that he who holds it must confess some of the truth of Christ as touching either His Godhead or His Manhood; for is a man wholly denies the faith, he is an apostate. Fifthly, he must pertinaciously and obstinately hold to and follow that error. And that this is the sense of heretics is proved as follows (not by way of refuting, but of substantiating the gloss of the Canonists).
        For it is well known to all through common practice that the first essential of a heretic is an error in the understanding; but two conditions are necessary before a man can be called a heretic; the first material, that is, an error in reasoning, and the second formal, that is, an obstinate mind. S. Augustine shows this when he says: A heretic is one who either initiates or follows new and false opinions. It can also be proved by the following reasoning: heresy is a form of infidelity, and infidelity exists subjectively in the intellect, in such a way that a man believes something which is quite contrary to the true faith.
        This being so, whatever crime a man commits, if he acts without an error in his understanding he is not a heretic. For example, if a man commits fornication or adultery, although he is disobeying the command Thou shalt not commit adultery, yet he is not a heretic unless he holds the opinion that it is lawful to commit adultery. The point can be argued in this way: When the nature of a thing is such that two constituent parts are necessary to its existence, if one of those two parts is wanting the thing itself cannot exist; for if it could, then it would not be true that that part is necessary to its existence. For in the constitution of a house it is necessary that there should be a foundation, walls, and a roof; and if one of these is missing, there is no house. Similarly, since an error in the understanding is a necessary condition of heresy, no action which is done entirely without any such error can make a man a heretic.
        Therefore we Inquisitors of Germany are in agreement with Blessed Antoninus where he treats of this matter in the second part of his Summa; saying that to baptize things, to worship devils, to sacrifice to them, to tread underfoot the Body of Christ, and all such terrible crimes, do not make a man a heretic unless there is an error in his understanding. Therefore a man is not a heretic who, for example, baptizes an image, not holding any erroneous belief about the Sacrament of Baptism or its effect, nor thinking that the baptism of the image can have any effect of its own virtue; but does this in order that he may more easily obtain some desire from the devil whom he seeks to please by this means, acting with either an implied or an expressed pact that the devil will fulfil the desires either of himself or of someone else. In this way men who, with either a tacit or an expressed pact, invoke devils with characters and figures in accordance with magic practice to perform their desires are not necessarily heretics. But they must not ask from the devil anything which is beyond the power or the knowledge of the devil, having a wrong understanding of his power and knowledge. Such would be the case with any who believed that the devil could coerce a man's free will; or that, by reason of their pact with him, the devil could do anything which they desired, however much it were forbidden by God; or that the devil can know the whole of the future; or that he can effect anything which only God can do. For there is no doubt that men with such beliefs have an error in their understanding, holding a wrong opinion of the power of the devil; and therefore, granting the other conditions necessary for heresy, they would be heretics, and would be subject at once to the Ordinary and to the Inquisitorial Court.
        But if they act for the reasons we have said, not out of any wrong belief concerning baptism or the other matters we have mentioned, as they very commonly do; for since witches and necromancers know that the devil is the enemy of the faith and the adversary of salvation, it must follow that they are compelled to believe in their hearts that there is great might in the faith and that there is no false doctrine of which the father of lies is not known to be the origin; then, although they sin most grievously, yet they are not heretics. And the reason is that they have no wrong belief concerning the sacrament, although they use it wrongly and sacrilegiously. Therefore they are rather sorcerers than heretics, and are to be classed with those whom the above Canon accusatus declares are not properly subject to the Inquisitorial Court, since they do not manifestly savour of heresy; their heresy being hidden, if indeed it exists at all.
        It is the same with those who worship and sacrifice to the devil. For if they do this in the belief that there is any divinity in devils, or that they ought to be worshipped and that, by reason of such worship, that can obtain from the devil what they desire in spite of the prohibition or permission of God, then they are heretics. But if they act in such a way not out of any such belief concerning the devil, but so that they may the more easily obtain their desires because of some pact formed with the devil, then they are not necessarily heretics, although they sin most grievously.
        For greater clearness, some objections are to be disposed of and refuted. For it appears to be against our argument that, according to the laws, a simonist is not a heretic (1, q. 1: “Whoever by means of money, but not having an error of the understanding”). For a simonist is not in the narrow and exact sense of the word a heretic; but broadly speaking and by comparison he is so, according to S. Thomas, when he buys or sells holy things in the belief that the gift of grace can be had for money. But if, as is often the case, he does not act in this belief, he is not a heretic. Yet he truly would be if he did believe that the gift of grace could be had for money.
        Again we are apparently in opposition to what is said of heretics in the Canon; namely, that he who reveres a heretic is himself a heretic, but he who worships the devil sins more heavily than he who reveres a heretic, therefore, etc.
        Also, a man must be obviously a heretic in order that he may be judged as such. For the Church is competent to judge only of those things which are obvious, God alone having knowledge and being the Judge of that which is hidden (dist. 33, erubescant). But the inner understanding can only be made apparent by intrinsic actions, either seen or proved; therefore a man who commits such actions as we are considering is to be judged a heretic.
        Also, it seems impossible that anyone should commit such an action as the treading underfoot of the Body of Christ unless he held a wrong opinion concerning the Body of Christ; for it is impossible for evil to exist in the will unless there is error in the understanding. For according to Aristotle every wicked man is either ignorant or in error. Therefore, since they who do such things have evil in their wills, they must have an error in their understandings.
        To these three objections we answer as follows; and the first and third may be considered together. There are two kinds of judgement, that of God and that of men. God judges the inner man; whereas man can only judge of the inner thoughts as they are reflected by outer actions, as is admitted in the third of these arguments. Now he who is a heretic in the judgement of God is truly and actually a heretic; for God judges no one as a heretic unless he has some wrong belief concerning the faith in his understanding. But when a man is a heretic in the judgement of men, he need not necessarily be actually a heretic; but because his deeds give an appearance of a wrong understanding of the faith he is, by legal presumption, considered to be a heretic.
        And if it be asked whether the Church should stigmatize at once as heretics those who worship devils or baptize imagines, note these answers. First, it belongs rather to the Canonists than to the Theologians to discriminate in this matter. The Canonists will say that they are by legal presumption to be considered as heretics, and to be punished as such. A Theologian will say that it is in the first instance a matter for the Apostolic See to judge whether a heresy actually exists or is only to be presumed in law. And this may be because whenever an effect can proceed from a twofold cause, no precise judgement can be formed of he actual nature of the cause merely on the basis of the effect.
        Therefore, since such effects as the worship of the devil or asking his help in the working of witchcraft, by baptizing an image, or offering to him a living child, or killing an infant, and other matters of this sort, can proceed from two separate causes, namely, a belief that it is right to worship the devil and sacrifice to him, and that images can receive sacraments; or because a man has formed some pact with the devil, so that he may obtain the more easily from the devil that which he desires in those matters which are not beyond the capacity of the devil, as we have explained above; it follows that no one ought hastily to form a definite judgement merely on the basis of the effect as to what is its cause, that is, whether a man does such things out of a wrong opinion concerning the faith. So when there is no doubt about the effect, still it is necessary to inquire farther into the cause; and if it be found that a man has acted out of a perverse and erroneous opinion concerning the faith, then he is to be judged a heretic and will be subject to trial by the Inquisitors together with the Ordinary. But if he has not acted for these reasons, he is to be considered a sorcerer, and a very vile sinner.

Page 2 of 4

General & Introductory Continued . . . .


Part III, “General & Introductory”
was transcribed by Wicasta Lovelace.

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