The Torture Of Faith

(Not too) recently, I read of Boko Haram, or ISIS, torturing 23 young children to death. I don’t know what menace six-year-olds can be, to bullies armed with AK-47s. If you feel the kids must die, at least do it quickly and cleanly. Afford them the dignity that you lack.

On the same day, a television station reran the movie, The DaVinci Code, in which a character slams down a copy of Malleus Maleficarum (Witches’ Hammer), a handbook The Inquisition used, to torture and burn thousands of innocents, most of them women.

Malleus Maleficarum

I had to read this thing, so I contacted my library. They didn’t have a copy, but obtained one for me on inter-library loan, from Toronto. The book was originally written in 1647, and I got a 40 year old paperback version, identical to the one in the movie, if more used and worn. It was composed about the same time as the King James Bible, full of ‘thee and thou’. It was a struggle to get through it in the 3-week loan period, but I managed.

The subtitle should have been, “How To Inflict Excruciating Pain For Fun And Profit.” The Church seized all property of those found guilty. Some Inquisitors skimmed a bit off for themselves, while others merely benefited through the enrichment of their organization.

I opened it up and started reading. Immediately, the lies, hypocrisy, mistaken assumptions and unprovable claims began. On page 1, clear as crystal, it said, “Magic exists. It was created by God in the beginning with all else, but He does not wish mankind to use it. Anyone who practices magic, allies with Satan.”

On page 3, just as clearly, it said, “Magic does not exist. It is merely apparent, only believed to exist by the faithful.” On page 5, the yo-yo now claimed that, “Magic does exist, but its effects are ephemeral and transient. If ignored, soon all will return to God’s intended state.”

I don’t know who the book was intended to convince, the writer, the commoners, from whom unfortunate victims were plucked, The Church/Pope, or the secular Royalty. Presumption of innocence just didn’t exist. “Hang ‘the witch’ by her thumbs for a day.” She’s already been convicted, but the ritual must be observed, so that ‘legal’ confiscation can proceed.

“If a Dark Witch do evil by Black Magic, find a White Witch to reverse the spell – then quickly burn them both to death.” “Have the Witch’s friends to tell her that if she confesses her sins, you will be merciful. If this does not avail, tell the Witch yourself that you will be merciful – holding in mind that you will be merciful unto The Church and the King, from whom you hold obedience and loyalty.” No lie was too big, or too devious.

The Catholic Church even had the temerity to declare, “No-one convicted of heresy by The Inquisition, was later found to be innocent.” largely because any friend or relative who protested, was subjected to the same torture and execution.

“Ask the witch why she does not cry for her sins. Watch carefully to see that she does not use spittle to wet her cheeks.” She did not cry for her sins, because she committed none, and modern science knows that a body under stress cannot cry.

You might think that a person in agony might choose quick death to end the prolonged torment, but even here, The Inquisition cheated. If you confessed, you had to swear to God that your confession was true. Anyone lying to God was sent to Hell, so Inquisitors were granted more time to play their sick games. An innocent person was believed protected from pain by faith in God. That worked so well in everyday life.

For anyone who wants to play the No True Scotsman game, and claim that these were not ‘real Christians’ or ‘Good Catholics’ – during the worst of the Inquisition, a Bishop went from city to city, marking down the ingenious ways the locals had of inflicting pain. The book was copied and sent back to the various areas, so that others could benefit. When this was done, the Bishop traveled to Rome, and the Pope blessed both him and his vile book.

A Scottish sea captain delivered a cargo to Madrid. While he was on the streets, looking for another cargo, he was snatched and imprisoned. He was held for three days without food or water. He was flogged, and stretched on the rack. Joints and bones in his hands and feet were broken. He was seared with red-hot irons, and cut with knives. Pieces of skin and flesh were torn off his body, and finally he was subjected to the medieval equivalent of water-boarding.

When he managed to survive all these indignities, he was thrown, naked and broken, back out onto the street. No questions were asked. No accusations were made. No confession was extracted. These Dominican Servants of God merely wanted the practice.

A king of Sweden wished to marry a particular lady, but the court advisors were against his choice. Perhaps they felt her virtue was questionable, or maybe they knew that she would undermine their influence with the king. They claimed that she was a witch, who had ensorcelled his mind, and demanded that she be ‘Put To The Question.’ (Tortured)

This was usually enough to make someone back off, but she and the King persisted. The test was to grasp a red-hot iron bar in both hands, and walk three measured paces. It was reported that she took the three paces, stopped, took another three paces, and demanded, “Is there more you would have me do?”

Cynical me sees gold changing hands, the castle torturer being told that he might become a customer of his replacement, and the recording priest reminded that he could suffer a fatal accident. Or maybe they both just loved the king and his lady, and hated the devious courtiers. The lady became Queen Gertrude, and almost everyone lived happily ever after.

A hundred years later, Swedes were so taken by the story of the virtuous maid, protected from pain and evil by God, that it was declared a miracle, and she became Saint Gertrude. Oy! 😳

#486

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That’s Gratitude For You

Once upon a time, long, long ago, and far, far away, there was a great king, who ruled over a large kingdom.  He was a good king, who ruled fairly, and well, but there are always malcontents, and so there were in his kingdom.

There arose a plot to have him assassinated, and replaced by one of the Noblemen from the court.  This man wanted desperately to be King, and convinced three of the other Counts to abet him in his nefarious scheme, telling them he would make a better King.

He hatched a plan whereby the other three Counts would kill the King, while he was out of the country, so that no suspicion would fall on him, and the people would accept him as the new King.

The plan failed, however, and the three Counts were captured, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.  The King decided to give them one last chance though, and went to see them in prison.  “I know that you three are not the ones responsible for this plot.” he said, “So if you will tell me who the ringleader is, I will set you free if you swear never to try such a thing again.”

The nobles steadfastly refused to say a thing, so they were marched out to the headsman’s block.  One by one, they were placed on it, and each time they were asked for the ringleader’s name, they stonily remained silent.  Two of them met the blade without a word.  The third man was placed on the block.  Just as the axe descended, he shouted, “I’ll tell!  I’ll tell!” but it was too late, and the King never learned who was plotting against him.

The moral of this story is; Never hatchet your Counts before they chicken.

 

MY  MOM

St. Mary’s Home for the Aged

Kitchener, Ontario

February 30, 1967

 

Dear Gentlemen:

I want to thank you very much for the lovely gift of the table radio.  It’s just wonderful that absolute strangers such as yourselves remember people like us.

I am a lady, 86 years old, and have been here at the home for 25 years.  They treat us well, but the loneliness is sometimes difficult to bear.

My room-mate, Mrs. Finney, is a very nice person, but the lady is very stingy.  She has a table radio, but she won’t let me use it.  She even turns it off whenever I come into the room.  Now, thanks to you, I have my own radio.

My son and daughter-in-law are very nice, and they come to visit me once a month.  I do appreciate that, but I understand their sense of obligation.  This makes your gift all the more wonderful, since it was not given from a sense of pity, but from a feeling of compassion for a fellow human being.

Today, Mrs. Finney’s radio went out of order, and she asked me if she could share your wonderful gift, and listen to my radio.  I told her to go fuck herself.

Again, please accept my heartfelt thanks.

Sincerely yours,

Mrs. Smith

 

 

THE RULES

 

  1.  The Female always makes The Rules.
  2. The Rules are subject to change without notice.
  3. No Male can possibly know all The Rules.
  4. If a Female suspects that a Male knows all The Rules, she must immediately change some or all of The Rules.
  5. The Female is never wrong.
  6. If the Female is wrong, it is because of a flagrant misunderstanding, which was a direct result of something the Male said or did.
  7. If Rule 6 applies, the Male must apologise immediately for causing the misunderstanding.
  8. The Female can change her mind at any given point in time.
  9. The Male must never change his mind without specific written consent from the Female.
  10. The Female has every right to be angry or upset at any time.
  11. The Male must remain calm at all times, unless the Female wants him to be angry or upset.
  12. The Female must, under no circumstances, let the Male know whether or not she wants him to be angry or upset.
  13. Any attempt to document these rules could result in bodily harm.
  14. If the Female has PMS, all rules are null and void

Smiles everyone!  Smiles!