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was no chance of getting rid of them permanently.
Not only were they sorcerers themselves, but they
gave instruction in sorcery in their schools. The
Hildesheim Jesuits especially were charged with teach-
ing their pupils the magic spells of the poison-mixers,
and other arts of sorcery. The Jesuits also, so it was
said, made use of certain magic means to hasten on the
progress of their pupils. In 1604 several pupils of the
Jesuits at Hildesheim were banished from the town as
sorcerers and mice-makers."'

Even towards the middle of the seventeenth century
we find the Frankfort preacher, Bernhard Waldschmidt,

* Neive Zeitung, &c., Urssel, 1579. Cf. Annalen des Vereins fiir nassau-
ische Alter lumskunde, vii. Heft i. 273.

- V. Wedel, 277. ^ ** Duhr, Slellung der Jesniten, 95.

^ See present work, vol. viii. 332.
•' Zeitschr. des Harzvereins, iii. 823.


inquiring into the reasons wliy ' so many young cliildren
also were gi\en up to works of sorcery and witchcraft ? '
and discovering one of these reasons to be ' the instruc-
tion imparted to children in the Jesuit schools/ * Even
among ns Lutherans/ he said, ' you will sometimes
find parents who send their children to the schools and
colleges of the Jesuits, and think that because they
have the reputation of being thorough and excellent
scholars, well- versed in all languages, arts, and sciences,
their children \\\\\ also be turned by them into highly
learned people. Such parents, however, are simply and
solely giving up their children to the devil, not only as
regards the false teaching and heresies with which they
will be misled, whereby they will be in danger of losing
their souls, but also on account of the sorcery and
witchcraft they will learn ; for even if all Jesuits are
not sorcerers, it cannot nevertheless be denied that
there are sorcerers among them/ Amongst these
sorcerers Waldschmidt included also St. Francis Xavier.
Father Coton had possessed an ' enchanted mirror,' by
means of w^hich he had been able to bring to light all
the secrets of all potentates. ' In 1608 a former Jesuit
had made known by their names the books out of
which sorcery was taught in the Society. In Strasburg
a boy was burnt as a sorcerer who had deposed that he
had learnt the black art from the Jesuits in Molsheim.'
' From this it is seen that parents w^ho send their
children to such schools are often the cause that their
offspring are easily lured aw^ay into the devil's guild
and company of sorcerers.' ^

Another preacher, Melchior Leonhard, who in 1599
warned his hearers against the Jesuits ' as avowed

1 Waldschmidt. 54-56.


supporters of sorcery and witchcraft/ gave especially
one reason from wliich it might be inferred that the
Jesuit vermin were pretty nearly in the same boat as
sorcerers and witches. This reason was that they had
no horror of Jewish doctors, for ' it was well known
from history and experience that their lord and idol
the Romish Antichrist, the Popes, had employed, and
still did employ Jewish doctors and sorcerers when
they were sick/ ' Of this there could be no doubt, that
all who called in the help of such doctors called in
the devil himself, for the Jews and their medical men
are no other than instruments of Satan/ ^

This opinion was widespread among the Protestant
theologians and preachers. Waldschmidt, who shared
in it, took his stand on the memorandum of the Witten-
berg and Strasburg theologians who in their turn appealed
for support to an utterance of Luther. Luther had
said : ' When you see or think of a Jew always say
to yourself : " Go to, the lips that I there behold have,
Saturday after Saturday, cursed, reviled and spat at
my dear Lord Jesus Christ, and shall I eat, drink and
talk in company with such a bedevilled mouth ? Why I
might then be eating or drinking myself full of devils,
for I should certainly be making myself one with all
the devils that dwell in the Jews." ' ' If these sagacious
words of Luther,' said the Strasburg theologians,
' were properly attended to by all Lutherans, there is
no doubt but that everybody would be carefully on their
guard not only against the medicine of the Jews but
also against their conversation and their company.'

' Zivei Prediglen iiber die Zauberin zu Endor (I Sanniol, cli. xxviii.)
(without locality, 1599). pp. 9-10. Those sermons formed in great measure
the basis of B. Waldschmidt's Pytlionissa Endorca.


* Those who innko use of the blasphemous, sorcerous
Jews for the restoration of their lost health make
themselves partners in their sins. Rulers who allow
Jew doctors to practise,' said Waldschmidt, ' are
as it were giving over their subjects to the agents of
Satan.' '

IMelchior Leonhard did not think it ' in any way
surprising ' that ' Jesuits, Jews, sorcerers and witches all,
as it were, fished with one net ; for they were all equally
members and servants of the devil, as had already
been shown by the renowned Tiibingen provost and
chancellor, Jacob Andreae, in some of his sermons
about the papists and the Jews.' Leonhard had no
doubt in his mind one of a set of sermons which appeared
in 1589 in which Andreae had said that ' the unity of
the Catholic Church was no certain sign of its being the
true Church, for nowhere was there less disunity of
belief than among the Jews.' ' Must then the Jewish
faith for this reason be the right one ? No, not neces-
sarily. For why should the devil make the Jews
disunited in their religion ? They carry out his will
in everything. And why, too, should the devil make
the Catholics disunited, since they also, hke the Jews,
serve him in everything according to his will ? Thus
the Jews enjoy under him all possible protection and
patronage and live together in perfect peace.' ~

But Melchior Leonhard had another reason besides
their connexion with Jewish doctors for beheving
the ' Jesuit vermin ' to be in the same boat with sor-
cerers and witches. ' The Jesuits,' he said, ' are very
apt to interest themselves in witches and sorcerers

' Waldschmidt, 397-406. - Schenk, 33-34.


and to be full of mercy towards this devil's crew, for
no other reason than that they hope thereby to escape
falhng themselves into the hands of the torturer/ ^

Utterances of this sort redound to the honour of
the Jesuits and force on us the conclusion that the
Jesuits in Germany did not exactly show great zeal
in the persecution of witches.

The Jesuits, hke all beheving Catholics and Pro-
testants, were also firmly convinced of the possibility
of devilish influence over human beings ; in this respect
they were the children of their age.~

> Leonhard, 11-22.

2 Duhr, Die Stdlung der Jesuiten, p. 22 flf., says : ' It is quite inconceiv-
able that a religious society in Germany, living in the midst of the popular
superstition and the rage for execution, should not, like the great mass of
educated CathoUcs and Protestants, have been influenced by these same
ideas. We have no right to look for such a wonder among the Jesuits
either. The Jesuits are and were children of their age, and as such sus-
ceptible and subject to the errors prevalent around them. Nevertheless
a goodly number of them stood forth to combat these errors, and this in a
certain sense should be reckoned to the credit of the Society. Not that
the Order had enjoined on them this course, but that it was the members
of the Order who, in consistent application of the principles of the Evangel,
in which they had been trained. Christian love, mercy and justice, had
raised themselves to this standpoint. The Society as such never took
up any attitude of any sort towards witch -trials. Neither in the actual
constitution (in the stricter sense of the word), nor in the decrees of the
general congregations, nor in the ordinary directions of the generals do the
words " witch " or " sorcerer " ever occur. " Possession " or " exorcism"
are never once mentioned. With regard to the inquisition the Society
obtained special papal privileges exempting its members from appointment
to inquisitional posts : it regarded the office of the inquisition as opposed
to the spirit of its own statutes.' P. 96 : ' The opinion that tlie Society
of Jesus, as such, assimied a definite attitude towards the proceedings of
the witch-trials, is quite as incorrect as the assertion that the Jesuits as such
had universally encouraged these trials. The generals of the Society, at
a distance from the scene of the witch -burnings, received the most varying
reports about them and of the cruelty practised by both laity and clergy
against witches, and they found it therefore very difficult to make up their
minds whether there was really question of " injustice of the most flagrant


* EvoivnvIrmo,' wrote Peter Canisius on November 20,
1563, ' tliov are punishing the witches, who increase
aiul multiply in an extraordinary manner. Their
crimes are friglitful. They envy httle children the
grace of baptism and rob them of it. Child-murders
occur among them in great numbers. On their own
confession they have actually cut up the flesh of children.
Never before in Germany have people been seen to
be so entirely given up to the devil. Incredible is the
godlessness, the immorahty, the cruelty of which,
under the guidance of Satan, these abandoned women
have been guilty. In many places these deadly pests i
of the human race and arch-enemies of the Christian
name, are burned to death. They send a great many
people out of the world by their devil's arts, they raise
tempests, and bring down terrible evil on country people
and other Christians ; nothing seems safe against

description." Had they come to the conclusion that it was so, it would
naturally have been their duty to send different instructions to Germany.
As it was they contented themselves with maintaining a neutral position,
wliile at the same time repeatedly enjoining on their members to abstain
from interference in the trials, whether against or on behalf of the witches.
As regards individual Jesuits we find, in this respect, the greatest diversity
of opinions. Some were convinced of the injustices perpetrated, and
uttered warnings against them ; others thought so much violation of
justice was impossible and saw in the frequency of the death-sentences a
proof of the appalling spread of witchcraft, and therefore thought it right
to raise their voice in favour of its extermination. On this point author
stands opposed to author, preacher to preacher, printing Ucense to
printing license, and, indeed, almost at the same moment. The neutral
position of the generals and the very varying views of individual Jesuits
are enough to show how incorrect is the assertion that wtch -trials were
resorted to by Jesuits in general as a welcome means for the rooting-out
of heretics. Moreover, the facts, as regards the place and still more the
time of the witch-fires and the persons who fell victims to them, are
against such a conclusion.'
' ' Pestea exitiales.'


their horrible tricks and powers. The righteous God
allows all this on account of the grievous iniquities of
the people which have not been expiated by penance.' ^
The German Jesuit George Scherer distinctly egged
on the secular authorities to the persecution of witches.
In a sermon of 1583 in which he graphically describes one
of the most remarkable cases of casting out devils of
the sixteenth century,- he brings demoniacal possession
into close connexion with witchcraft. ' The grandmother
of the possessed girl/ he said, ' was a witch, who had had
the wickedness to unite her own flesh and blood, her
child's child, body and soul, with the devil.' ' But
that it had happened thus and in no other way is wit-
nessed to not only by this poor girl herself, but by the
old witch, who is now at Vienna in the prison of the
witches, and who confessed it herself, both when
questioned mildly and under torture.' In order to
silence all contradiction Scherer, at the conclusion of
his sermon, said again emphatically : ' But I am only
wasting words over a matter which is as clear as dayhght.
The culprit who bewitched the devil into the girl has
been examined in court both by the kindly and by the

• Canisius to Laynez : Augsburg, November 20, 1563. Cf. vol. vii.
40, n. 3, ** and espucially Duhr, 23 ff . Cf. also Paulus in the Kutholik, 1 900,
ii. 471, concerning Diefenbach. In the catechisms of P. Canisius (unlike
those of Luther) there is no mention of witchcraft, as Riezler also points
out (p. 129). Cf. the parallels between his catechisms and those of Luther
in Diefenbach. Der Zauberglaube des Idten Jahrh. p. 37 flf. ' It can be
shown that this catechism, in complete contrast to those of Luther, deserves
to be called a Christian catechism, because the devil-system of the re-
former is quite left out here ' (p. 37). On the Catholic side Riezler
mentions (not before 1700) a Bavarian ' Kuiderlehro ' (instruction for
childi-en, not printed) ' in which in addition to the explanation of the ten
Commandments, witchcraft is also explained and examples of it given '
(p. 271).

- See vol. xii. 336 ff. ** Cf. also Duhr, I.e. p. 25 ff.


harsher " quostioniiig " and has plainly said : " I have
done this and even much more horrible things." '

The statements of the ' witch ' at the so-called
' kindly questioning ' and on the rack were for Scherer
conclusive evidence of her guilt, and he dedicated his
sermon to the town magistrate of Vienna with the
words : ' That your Excellency, as secular magistrate,
may learn from this sermon how much cause there is
for inquiry concerning these highly dangerous sorcerers
and sorceresses, and for proceeding against them with
suitable punishment.' ^

The Jesuits, however, were not all of one mind
concerning Scherer's sermon. ' The Provincial of the
South German Province, Father Bader, wrote on
November 8, 1583, to the General Aquaviva : From
Austria there has been sent to a bookseller in Augsburg
a sermon by Father George Scherer about the expulsion
of 120,000 and more devils. At the same time a letter
came to us asking us to revise and improve it and
superintend its publication. Our members, who at
my behest have read the sermon, are of opinion that

' Scherer's Werlce, Miinchener Ausgabe, ii. 180. ** Of. also the analo-
gous passage quoted by Duhr (p. 28) from a Lent sermon of Scherer (Scherer's
Postilh der sonnldglichen Evangelien [3rd. ed. Munich, 1608] p. 430 ff.).
See also (p. 36 flf.) what Duhr says on Father Gregory of Valencia's em-
phatic statements concerning the duty of the authorities as regards the pun-
ishment of sorcery. ' The uncritical use of uncritical vouchers ' (especially
Binsfeld, the Malleus, Bodin and Spina) says Duhr (p. 38), ' further, a
theoretical method without a clear insight into practical conditions and
consequences, combined with the prevalent terror of witches, has led so
scholarly a thinker as Gregory to formulate doctrines which in their
practical application give fresh fuel to witch-burning, and are bound to
consign many an innocent victim first to the rack and then to the flames.'
Later on the court preacher of Maximilian I. of Bavaria, Father Jeremias
Drexel (f 1638), in his Gazophylacmm, first published at Munich in 1637,
exhorted the princes to persecute the witches. See Riezler, p. 190 flf . ;
Duhr, I.e. p. 69 flf.


it can scarcely be allowed to bear the name of our
Society. I have, therefore, out of deference for their
opinion, given directions that the sermon shall be
returned to the bookseller, and that, without indeed
forbidding the latter to print it, he shall not be pressed
to do so. For I really don't know what to think about
the pubhcation of such immature productions.' ^

It is very noteworthy also that Scherer's exhortation
to the persecution of witches did not meet with approval
from the General of the Society,^ Claudius Aqua viva.
On March 16, 1589, the latter issued an injunction to
the provinces of the Society to the following effect :
* Even if it is allowable to give the princes general advice
as to the adoption of remedial measures against poison-
mixing, which in that district is said to be very widespread,
and also to admonish witches, when opportunity occurs,
that they are in duty bound when judicially interrogated
to name their accomplices, nevertheless the Fathers
must not mix themselves in the witch-trials, and must
not insist on the punishment of witches ; also they
must have nothing to do w4th exorcising them, in order
to prevent their recanting their statements ; for these
things do not concern us.' -

' ** Duhr, p. 28.

- The injunction runs as follows : ' Liceat quidem Principi consulcro in
generali, ut rcmedium adhibeat iatis veneficiis, quae multa esse aiunt in
ista regione, et praetcrea quando occurrit monere etiam sagas istas, quod
in conscientia tencntur, cum iuridice intcrrogantur, complices manifestarc.
Do caetero vero non se immisceant in foro cxterno nee urgmnt, ut aliqui
puniantur, ncc eas exorcizcnt ad eum finem, nc retractent quod iam con-
fessae sunt : haec cnim nobis non convcniunt. Romae, 16 Mart. 1589.'
Archives of the German Province of tlic Society, Ser. 13, vol. B. p. 27.
Contributed by the Jesuit Father B. Dulir. ** See Duhr's pamphlet on
Die Slellung der Jesuiten, p. 32 ff. Riezler says of tliis injunction of the
general of the Society (p. 190): ' Here we sec the intention to j)i('servo to
the Society its distinctive position, and to ward off from its members the


111 the annual reports of tlie Jesuits there is often
mention of trials of witches, sorcerers, and of the spiritual
consolation which the Fathers administered to the poor
victims ; frequent instances are cited of how they led
back into the right way women or men who, under
demoniacal influence, had committed dreadful crimes ;
but there is not a single instance of their ever having
brought an unhappy creature before the court, or given
any encouragement to witch-burning. Not seldom,
however, are cases mentioned in which the intercession
of the Jesuits procured the release of persons already
condemned or their removal to an infirmary.^

Frederick von Spee complained bitterly that in
territories where the ruling princes had Jesuits for their
confessors, the judges themselves debarred the Jesuits
from access to the imprisoned witches, ' for some of
the judges fear nothing more than that something might
possibly come out whereby the innocence of the impris-
oned witches would be estabhshed. At the tables of

odium incurred by interference against particular individuals.' But
already in 1563, at a time when the epidemic of witch-trials was not so
extensive, Canisius had \ratten to Laynez about the wonderful increase of
witches against whom penal measures ought everywhere to be instituted (see
above, p. 243 f .). ' The Jesuits,' Riezler further opines, ' could, in obedience
to the command of their Order, abstain from mixing in particular trials,
while at the same time, as the most distinguished theological authorities,
they might, in general, be stirring up persecution in the most dangerous
manner.' This suspicion in its entirety, in so far as it is directed against
the Society as such, and not confined to individuals, is quite unfounded ;
of a double-faced game, such as Riezler has in his mind, there can be no
question whatever.

' See for instance for Spires, Treves, Coblentz, Aix-la-Chapelle, Wiirz-
burg and so forth the Litterae annuae, 1586-1587, p. 267 ; 1590-1591,
p. 341; 1596, p. 283; 1597, p. 123; 1598, p. 380; 1601, p. 635; 1607, p. 709.
Cf. also Reifenberg, 349. ** Cf. the cases cited by Duhr in Die Stellung
der Jesuiten, p. 73.


great men they actually dared to demand the banishment
of the Jesuits as promoters of injustice/ ^

On the landed properties and in the villages and lord-
ships, where the Jesuits in virtue of the right of possession
exercised jurisdiction, there were never any witch-

Nothing, however, is more illustrative of the
thoroughly honourable attitude of the Jesuits towards
witch-persecution than the teaching of the two most
important Jesuit theologians of that period. Fathers
Paul Laymann and Adam Tanner. -

Apart from the influence which their learning alone
had gained for these precursors of Frederick von Spee
among the Jesuits, they exercised for nearly a whole
generation the influence of renowned teachers on their
fellow-members of the Society. Laymann, since 1604
active as professor in Ingolstadt, Munich and Dillingen,
known through his ' Theologia Moralis ' as one of the
most important moral theologians,'^ devoted special

' ' . . . Nihil enim quidam aeque formidant quam ne quo modo tale
quippiam se forte prodat, quo captarum innocentia in lucem prosiliat.
Itaque cuiusmodi generis viris non modo orl)is terrarum iuventutem, sed et
ipsi principes conscientiam suam fidiuit, hos quidem eorumdem principum
inquisitores eo habent loco ut non modo a conscientia rcorum, quantumvis
expetiti sint, eos removeant, sed ct iactitare ad nobilium mensas nuper ausi
sint a patria merito exigendos esse tanquam iustitiae turbatores.' Cautio
criminalis (Francofurti, 1632) p. 444 sq.

• See present work, vol. xiv. 356, 365, 376.

•'' Cf. Hurter, Nomenclaior, i. 678-679. Concerning the different editions
of the Theologia Moralis, fuller details are given in de Backer, ii. 673-675.
** In Riezler, p. 230 ff. Laymann comes off badly as the supposed author
of the Processus iuridicus contra sagas et veneficos (Colon. 1629). ' In
Tanner's own Order,' he says, ' it was found necessary to oppose a treatise
to the Theologia scholastica, in order to weaken the effects of its criticism
and to avert the danger that Tanner's work might produce too great
modifications in the proceedings at the witch-trials. The author calls
himself on title-page the (Munich) Jesuit Father Paul Laymann. Next to

n h2


attention to the wltcli ((iiostiou botli in his lectures

Taiinor l\o was at tl\a( time the most important of the Bavarian tlicologians
of the Order. That in 1G29 ho should not yet have known of tlie great
work of liis famous colleague, the printing of which had been completed two
years before, is quite out of the question. His silence therefore on the
matter is very significant.' Hence, just because in the pamphlet there
is no trace of a reference to Tanner's book, Laymann's work must forsooth
be called a counterblast against Tanner, written in the spirit and by order
of the Society! 'Laymann's Theologia Moralis' (Riezler moreover
speaks only of the 1st edition of the Theologia Moralis) 'breathes the same
spirit as his tract.' Riezler also thinks to upset Jaassen in his quotations
from Laymann by saying (p. 263 note) that his, Janssen's, quotations are
from a later edition (1723) and not from the original work. Again:
' Father Laymann would turn in his grave if he knew that nowada3^s, even
from the Catholic side, he was praised as an opponent of the witch-craze,
which praise he would regard as the most monstroiis blame.' At p. 264
he is again called ' the fanatic Laymann ' who ' as advocate of the practice
. . . (namely through the Processus iuridicus) has driven the milder
Tanner completely out of the field.' Finally, at p. 265 Riezler discusses
the 3rd edition of the Theologia Moralis of 1630, and expends much trouble
in wresting it to his ideas. ' The downward breeze had since [since the
appearance of Tanner's work] become somewhat milder and even the uncom-
promising Laymann was obliged to change his coat accordingly. . . . The
Jesuitic moral theologian, in these utterances of 1630, is nowhere in direct
contradiction to those which he gave forth in 1625 and 1629. Yet they
breathe a new spirit — a spirit which is not Laymann's.' [Laymann's spiiit,
therefore, must not be sought in his o^^•n works, but in a piece of wilting of
which he was not the author !] ' Could we see behind the scenes and spy out
all the inner doings that were enacted at that time in the Order, we should
doubtless possess the key to the ridrlle.' On the other hand Father Bernhard
Duhr has show^n (' Paul Laymarm und die Hexenprozesse ' in the Zeitschr.
fiir kalhol. Theol. 1899, pp. 733-743), by internal and external evidence that

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