Hard for us to imagine that there was a time when witchcraft brought no income, and suffering and martyrdom. Then the witch hunt was a national sport in many countries of Western Europe, and the sorcerers and hundreds burned at the stake for the glory of the Roman Catholic Church…
A typical view of the witch
For centuries the world lived by superstition. Only with the advent of the eighteenth century, it was proclaimed the freedom of the soul from these prejudices as collateral any other human freedom.
It is the purification from belief in evil spirits, witches, warlocks and other supernatural forces contemporaries of Voltaire considered the main sign of Enlightenment. And all that was left abroad this notorious Education: impregnated fire and blood of the Champions of faith the middle ages, did not arouse anything but disgust and implacable hatred.
But what once seemed gone forever, likely to return. The story goes in a circle. And now a new generation, destined to replace the enlightenment, Goethe’s mouth with a sigh said, “Superstition is the poetry of life.” Light sadness on the gone romance eventually turned into hysterical wailing souls, and the twentieth century began a new era of mysticism.
Someone arranged a séance, someone by absinthe talked with the spirit of Louis XIV, who were looking for Shambhala and gone from reality, and someone started another career mystic-charlatan prototype of the infamous count Cagliostro.
But where this whole story began? Of course, with the emergence of heresy and its antipode — the Inquisition.
At the end of XII century, the Catholic Church was an absolute monarchy. To support his position, she was in need of centralization of power. The primacy of the Roman chair had been undeniable, the bishops were entirely subservient to the will of the vicar of St. Peter. Humble Ministers of the Church were only a blind instrument of the implementation of papal decrees and directives of the bishops, the smallest cogs in the press.
Nevertheless, the existence of the Church was threatened by a terrible danger. It was evident in all aspects of Church life: the moral decay of the clergy, the numerous levies in favor of the Church, the disorder that prevails in small churches and a complete disregard of God’s law.
The fact that the Church took into its ranks any person interested in his origin and social status, allowed a man, even from the lower strata of society to succeed in life. Pope Alexander V was from a poor family, Gregory VII was the son of a carpenter, Benedict XII — the son of a Baker, Nicholas V poor doctor that Sixtus IV, peasant, urban IV and John XXII were sons of cobblers, and Benedict XI, and Pope Sixtus V — the sons of the shepherds.
But, at the same time, the origin of the considerably facilitated access to senior posts. Spiritual career promised many worldly benefits that were attracted to the Church people, but often have goals that are completely unrelated to the spiritual world. For every shepherd wants to shear as many sheep as possible.
A member was deprived of many rights, including last parting words on his deathbed if he didn’t have to pay the priest. For each Ordinance have been charged. And the sale of indulgences promised along with the salvation of the soul a good income.
It is not surprising that among the clergy increasingly flourished a variety of vices. In 1064 the one priest of orange was caught in adultery with the wife of his father. Another priest in 1066 — in the incestuous ties. But Pope Alexander II laid a penance from him and shifted responsibility for his fate at the local bishops.
All this negatively affected the attitude of parishioners to the clergy. In the eyes of the people the priest was a stronghold of Vice, sin, and impunity, though he almost never carried anyone of responsibility, but God.
For a person, more or less educated were an obvious contrast between the Church’s teachings and actions. Inquisitive people explored the contradictions, and the further progress the study, the more dangerous it became for the Church. Roman chair struggling tried to resist, but the science as a human source attracted the minds of more and more.
Already in the tenth century Pope Sylvester II, known under the name of Herbert d Aurillac, became famous as a magician just because he studied forbidden science. In the twelfth century, Robert Retinsky studied astronomy, geometry, and also engaged in the translation of the Quran. Have been translated many works of ancient philosophers. Some scholars — bringer of tours, Abelard, Gilbert de La Pore, Peter Lombard, Dr. Volkmar von Triefenstein — theories, at odds with the prevailing doctrine.
Of course, they were single and was quickly suppressed by the Church. But how would Rome nor prevented the natural thirst of the mind to the knowledge of the crowd oppressed people reached out after the distributors of forbidden ideas. Forbidden fruit is sweet. So there are the heretics.
The basis of all the heresies was a partial or complete denial of the Catholic religion and rituals. It was believed that sacraments administered by sinful hands have no power. The priests, living in sin, is not perceived as a spiritual entity, and therefore, according to popular opinion, they had no right to preach nor perform any rituals.
The Church tried to correct the situation, but when it come to some of the quirky apostate, clever in debates, as people’s faith in the Church immediately melted. Heresy, like a virus, spread through Europe. And the first heretics were servants of the devil. They’re not even rejected, Christ. They rejected the Catholic Church, tithing, rituals and numerous levies. His life heretics lived in complete asceticism, sometimes reaching fanaticism.
The desire to return to the religion of Apostolic purity gave heresy force. Various sects spread throughout Europe, for example:
The Manichaeans. They are often criticized Christianity, but rather the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is not considered a true Savior.
The true Christ, from their point of view, was not the son of God, and the pure deity. He only used the human form to preach to the people. The salvation that was given people to Christ, was carried out by means of true knowledge (gnosis). A true messenger of Christ was made by Mani, who was the enlightened and Comforter of the people;
Katara’s. The basis of the religion of the Cathars was a dualism, and a belief in the sinfulness of the flesh and that the “pure soul” owned by God, is in prison Horny and dirty bodies.
The Cathars denied the virgin birth and the fact Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, believing it is only a symbolic fiction. They denied the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross, the resurrection, communion, the existence of purgatory and the efficacy of prayers and icons. The cross as a symbol of faith, the Cathars also denied, considering it a symbol of torment.
In addition, rejected all seven sacraments. Recognized Katara’s only solace, and the people who received it was called perfect. Committed continually sought to the purity of the soul, engaged in preaching and healing, they were obliged to abstain from meat, poultry, eggs and keep chastity.
Ordinary believers received comfort just on the threshold of death. When Katara died, their lips could touch only the water, but women were not allowed to touch them;
Patareni. Participants Patrie (the name of the film market in Milan), the popular movement in the Italian cities during the 2nd half of the XI century, the center of which was Milan. Movement began with the expulsion of the bishops appointed by the Emperor, and was suppressed by the 80th years of the XI century;
Albigensians (named after the town of Albi in the Department Cardscom). Common in the South of France, the Church, learned the principles of religion of Cathars and their later followers — Waldenses.