Letter | Published:

Pope Innocent VIII. and Witchcraft

Nature volume 101, page 164 (02 May 1918) | Download Citation



IN the issue of NATURE for April 11, p. 113, is an erratum which corrects a statement made in NATURE for April 4, p. 82, regarding Pope Innocent VII. and witchcraft. It is stated that Pope Innocent VIII. in 1484 “gave the sanction of the Church to the popular beliefs concerning witches.” In the cause of historical truth it must be stated that Pope Innocent VIII., by his Bull “Summis desiderantes affectibus” (1484), must be considered to affirm the reality of the alleged phenomena of witchcraft. But the Bull pronounces no dogmatic decision, and the Pope does not wish anyone to believe more about the reality of witchcraft than is involved in the utterances of Holy Scripture. The immediate effects of the Bull have been greatly exaggerated. The expression, “gave the sanction of the Church,” is, therefore, inexact, and, being inexact, is unscientific; it needs much qualification.

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  1. Stonyhurst College, April 18.

    • A. L. CORTIE


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