I have come across the claim that The Bull “Summis desiderantes affectibus” by Pope Innocent VIII, promoted the hunting of witches by the os force and that The Church declared this and also that they used an “Witch-Hunt” book called MALLEUS MALEFICARUM which included a set of instructions on how to identify and interrogate witches.
I have tried to find the Bull in engligh without luck, does anyone knows where it can be found?
Also here is the actual message I came across:
Use against heretics the spiritual sword of excommunication, and if this does not prove effective, use the material sword.
– Pope Innocent III, reiterating the death sentence which the Christian Church had meted out to all heretics and unbelievers for many centuries and which would continue to be endorsed by Christian denominations for centuries to come, even in the twentieth century by Pope Leo XIII (attributed: source unknown)
If it shall be necessary, through sentences of excommunication against their persons and of interdict against their lands, all backsliding being put an end to, they compel them to fulfil their vows.
– Pope Innocent III, explaining where much of the land that formerly belonged to our philosophical forebears went to: land was confiscated from any person suspected of heresy, “Bullariulii Romanum, editio Taurinensis,” the Bull summoning the Crusades (December 14, 1215)
We believe that the Greeks have been punished through [the Crusades] by the just judgement of God: these Greeks who have striven to rend the Seamless Robe of Jesus Christ … Those who would not join Noah in his ark perished justly in the deluge; and these have justly suffered famine and hunger who would not receive as their shepherd the blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles.
– Pope Innocent III, to the Greek (Byzantine) Emperor, after sending a group of crusaders to Constantinople in 1204 in humble obedience to the edict of Christ in Luke 19:27: “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me” (the chronicler Geoffrey Villehardouin said that never since the creation of the world had so much booty been taken from a city), in G. G. Coulton, Inquisition and Liberty (1969), p. 164-5, quoted from Helen Ellerbe, The Dark Side of Christian History
Pope Innocent signed in legistature on the Catholic Church that unleashed violence across Europe…until his Bull against witchcraft in 1484, (“Summis desiderantes affectibus” )it was considered heresy to believe in witches. By the time Pope Innocent III was done, it became heresy to not believe in them…and the practice of killing them upon “discovery”. Pope Innocent publicly backed the “Malleus Maleficarum”, a “hunter’s manual” for witch-slayers to use to justify the murders of innocent people. He also contributed directly to the corruption of the church by creating new offices and granting them to the highest bidders–and then turned right around and commanded the execution of people who did the same thing.
How accurate are these claims?
Thanks in advance.