Volume > Issue > Letter to the Editor: July-August 2002

July-August 2002

The Scanlon Controversy

I’m amazed that Fr. Regis Scanlon can generate so much controversy (letters section, May) merely by being perfectly orthodox in his article on the physical presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament (Feb.).

Jane Collard stated that in Communion we do not eat hair, eyeballs, etc. But we must not think of Communion in terms of ordinary eating and drinking, which require killing or at least dividing and transforming what we consume. Christ’s resurrected Body cannot die or be changed in any way, yet He chose to come to us under the accidents of food and drink, which change. Communion does not change Christ — it instead changes us.

Philip Lehpamer makes the claim that the consecration does not affect the atoms and molecules of the bread and wine. But St. Thomas clearly states that, after the consecration, “there is no matter underlying the sacramental species, except that of Christ’s body…” (ST III q. 77 a. 5). This can only mean that the atoms and molecules of the bread and wine do not remain, and are simply annihilated. What does remain is the capacity of those atoms to affect our senses, sustained directly by God’s power instead of by the atoms, which have ceased to exist.

Richard Koenig dismisses Fr. Scanlon’s statement that “the appearance of the bread [after the consecration]…emanates from the mind of the priest and congregation and not at all from the Host upon the altar.” It is of course true that the Sacrament will look, taste, and feel like bread (and with exactly the same color, size, and shape) to any observer. Yet the appearance is certainly not coming from bread, for there is no bread there, and it is not coming from Christ’s Body, since It has accidents very different from those of bread. There is no subject there besides Christ (ST III q. 77 a. 1), and you could thus say that the appearance resides in the senses (“mind”) of the observer.

I am very grateful to Fr. Scanlon for his tireless devotion to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. May he cause many more such controversies, and force us all to go back to the marvelous treasure that we have in St. Thomas. Obviously, such a great mystery as the Eucharist cannot be fully fathomed by our finite minds, but that is no reason for abandoning the search for a deeper knowledge.

Eduardo Kortright

Center for Thomistic Studies

New Orleans, Louisiana

With reference to recent letters from Jane Collard and others (May) regarding Christ’s physical presence in the Eucharist, perhaps your readers might be interested in the Miracle of Lanciano, Italy, as presented by Joan Carroll Cruz in her book Eucharistic Miracles.

The book relates how, when a priest in A.D. 700 had just spoken the words of the consecration, the Host was suddenly changed into a circle of Flesh, and the Precious Blood into visible Blood. The Blood settled out into five clot pellets of unequal size and irregular shapes. On weighing them, it was found that one pellet weighed the same as all five together, two weighed the same as any three, and the smallest weighed as much as the largest.

In the year 1970, examination by two pathology professors at the University of Siena revealed that the Flesh contained striated muscle of the type present in the human heart while the Blood was found to be of AB blood type and contained chloride, phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium in amounts similar to those found in human blood, sodium in a lesser amount and calcium in a greater amount. The same examination showed blood proteins normally fractionated, with each fraction showing the same percentages as found in normal human blood.

The examiners felt that their findings conclusively excluded the possibility of a fraud perpetrated centuries ago.

The Flesh and Blood were not hermetically sealed and have been exposed to the influence of physical, atmospheric, and biological agents and yet were preserved over a period of over 1200 years. There was no evidence of any preservative.

Albert O'Halloran

Marist Community

Bainbridge Island, Washington

Emanating Appearances?

Fr. Regis Scanlon’s article on Transubstantiation (Feb.) is a courageous attempt to defend the Church’s great teaching on the Most Holy Eucharist against those who would impugn it either out of ignorance or out of malice. Nonetheless, it needs to be said that Fr. Scanlon’s presentation of this doctrine contains a serious theological flaw. Fr. Scanlon correctly affirms, with the Council of Trent, that Transubstantiation consists in the miraculous conversion by God of the entire substance of bread into the substance of the Body of Christ and of the entire substance of wine into the substance of the Blood of Christ. However, Fr. Scanlon then goes on to discuss the way in which the appearances (technically called “accidents” — the color, odor, flavor, size, etc.) of the bread and wine exist both before and after Transubstantiation. Before Transubstantiation, he tells us, these appearances exist in the bread and wine themselves and these appearances in some way impress themselves or their likenesses on the senses of the observer. However, after Transubstantiation, Fr. Scanlon maintains that these appearances no longer exist outside of the human mind. Why, then, one might ask, does the very Body of Christ, which is really, truly, and substantially present upon the altar, appear to the senses no different from the bread that was present before Transubstantiation? Fr. Scanlon’s answer is that after Transubstantiation the appearances of bread are, as it were, “emanated” by the human mind onto the Body of Christ so as to seem to the human mind as though they still exist outside of the mind. In other words, Fr. Scanlon holds that the only reason why the senses perceive the appearances of bread after Transubstantiation is because the mind projects (or, in his words, “emanates”) these “appearances” onto the Body of Christ. Now the reason Fr. Scanlon holds to this “emanationist” position, as we might call it, is because he takes it to be an implication of Pope Paul VI’s teaching on the Holy Eucharist found in his Credo of 1968. There the Holy Father writes, “Any theological explanation intent on arriving at some understanding of this Mystery [i.e., the Mystery of Transubstantiation], must maintain, without ambiguity, that in the order of reality which exists independently of the human mind, the bread and wine cease to exist after the consecration.” Given this text, Fr. Scanlon argues as follows: “But, since Pope Paul VI also teaches that following the consecration the ‘bread and wine cease to exist’ ‘independently of the human mind,’ these ‘outward appearances of sensible things’ could only be emanating from the human mind.”

The problem with this “emanationist” position which Fr. Scanlon espouses is that it is incompatible with Catholic doctrine. One can see this to be the case from a brief examination of what the Catechism of the Council of Trent has to say on the “Three Mysteries of the Eucharist.” The three Mysteries referred to here are what the Catechism calls the Mysteries of the Real Presence, of Transubstantiation, and of the existence of the accidents without a subject. It is this Third Eucharistic Mystery with which I am here concerned. Regarding this Third Mystery, the Catechism reads as follows: “The third [Eucharistic Mystery], which may be deduced from the two preceding, although the words of consecration themselves clearly express it, is that the accidents which present themselves to the eyes or other senses exist in a wonderful and ineffable manner without a subject. All the accidents of bread and wine we can see, but they inhere in no substance, and exist independently of any; for the substance of the bread and wine is so changed into the body and blood of our Lord that they altogether cease to be the substance of bread and wine.” Here the Church is clearly teaching that after Transubstantiation the appearances of the bread and wine which “present themselves to the eyes or the other senses” objectively exist outside of the human mind and independently of any substance. As St. Thomas teaches, after Transubstantiation the accidents of bread and wine, which no longer inhere in a substance, are miraculously preserved in existence by God.

The extra-mental character (and, thus, the non-emanationist nature) of the appearances of bread and wine after Transubstantiation is further indicated by the following dogmatic canon of the Council of Trent: “If anyone saith that, in the sacred and holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of bread and wine remains conjointly with the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of wine into the Blood — the species only of the bread and wine remaining — which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls transubstantiation; let him be anathema.” The clear sense of this dogmatic canon (and it’s even clearer in Latin) is that the miraculous conversion called “Transubstantiation” does not entail a conversion of the species or appearances of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of the Incarnate God; rather, the appearances or accidents of bread and wine remain or abide outside of the mind. Indeed, this is why the Sacred Body and the Precious Blood of Christ do not appear to the external senses as different from the bread and wine that existed before the uttering of the words of consecration.

Given that the emanationist position of Fr. Scanlon is incompatible with Catholic doctrine, it is improper to read Pope Paul VI’s Credo as if it were espousing such an emanationist view. Clearly the Holy Father’s Credo can and should be read as consistent with what the Church teaches in the Catechism of the Council of Trent as well as in the Council of Trent itself. In fact, it should be said that to read the Credo in an emanationist manner, as Fr. Scanlon does, is to make a leap in logic. For in teaching that one must affirm “that in the order of reality which exists independently of the human mind, the bread and wine cease to exist after the consecration,” Pope Paul VI has only necessarily committed himself to saying that, after the consecration, the substances of bread and wine no longer exist. And this is entirely proper, for the Church has dogmatically defined that in Transubstantiation the entire substance of bread is converted into the substance of the Body of Christ and that the entire substance of wine is converted into the substance of the Blood of Christ. This is all that Pope Paul VI is saying, no more, no less. To read the Credo in an emanationist manner is finally to confuse the all-important philosophical distinction between substance and accidents.

In closing it should be noted that Fr. Scanlon’s article has, probably unwittingly, revived a theological position that was maintained by Cartesian theologians in the 17th and 18th centuries. Like Fr. Scanlon, these theologians denied the objective or extra-mental character of the sacramental appearances after Transubstantiation. Ludwig Ott, in his Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, takes up this discussion. Ott importantly notes that this Cartesian position is incompatible with the teaching of the Council of Trent, with the whole teaching of Tradition (on this see especially St. Thomas’s Summa Theologiae, III.75.5. and St. Augustine’s Sermon 272), and with the nature of Sacrament. I leave the full discussion of this matter to Ott.

David Arias Jr.

Houston, Texas

Zero Tolerance Across-the-Board

I favor zero tolerance, a one-strike policy as regards pedophiles and homosexuals in the seminaries and priesthood. I suggest that the same policy be established for doctrinal dissenters and for those who water down Catholic educational standards. Perhaps liturgical abusers should also be included. It is unfortunate that we didn’t have a zero tolerance policy when Humanae Vitae was published. Fr. Curran, et al. would not have caused so much damage.

Charles J. Flathers

Danvers, Massachusetts

Our Censored "Free Press"

NOR readers: Please notice that the mass media don’t use the word “homosexual” to describe the pedophile acts committed by Catholic priests. And notice that the media don’t mention that the North American Man-Boy Love Association actively participates in homosexual events, parades, and such, and can be found as a link on homosexual Internet websites.

D. Davis

South Bend, Indiana

Less Is More

It seems that some of our bishops and priests have bought into serious sexual sin, including pornography, masturbation, fornication, and pedophilia, but primarily active homosexuality. (And many who are not actively involved are accepting of it.) These men, either unwilling or unable to turn from these sins, have opted not to repent or be intellectually honest and leave the Church, but to stay in the Church and seek to change her God-given faith and morals. If successful, they believe they will feel better about themselves (“I’m OK, you’re OK”). I was at a Mass presided over by a bishop of another diocese in which he told us that nobody really goes to Hell. When questioned later he said that he knows a lot more than St. Augustine or St. Aquinas about the topic. Is pride the basic sin here?

The Lord’s Church will prevail. I pray that these men will repent, but, one way or another, the acceptance of sexual sin must be cleaned out of the Church. Better a smaller, purer Church than a larger Church accepting immorality.

David Dougherty

Akron, Ohio

A New Doctrine?

You are probably aware of the item titled “Hitler in Heaven?” in Msgr. M. Francis Mannion’s Q&A column in Our Sunday Visitor (April 14). I had written to Mannion with a question, and the following is the excerpt the Visitor printed: “In a recent column, you wrote that you would be happy to think that no one has ever gone to hell. Were you serious? Are you looking forward to spending leisure time in heaven with the likes of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, who butchered millions of people?”

I have read and reread Mannion’s answer, and I absolutely cannot make sense out of most of it. For example, he said, “Hitler and Stalin could only be in heaven if they were embraced there by their earthly victims. This is almost completely beyond human conception, but not beyond God’s almighty power.” I was not aware that being embraced by one’s earthly victims — with or without God’s power — determines if a person goes to Heaven. How many earthly victims would voluntarily embrace Hitler or Stalin?

I could pose more questions to Mannion, but I imagine that his answers would leave me even more confused.

Ralph Piaskowski

Sun City, Arizona


Your instincts are right: The Catholic Church does not teach what Msgr. Mannion teaches. He has invented a new doctrine, and a bizarre one at that.

We must say that Mannion, had he been a victim of (say) Hitler, could have no idea if he would “embrace” Hitler, for Mannion has not walked in the shoes of a victim of Hitler. Even if Mannion swears on a stack of Bibles that, had he been a victim, he would embrace Hitler, it’s highly unlikely that all other victims would do so too. But what if “God’s almighty power” forced them to? Logically, God would force all victims of every murderer and adulterer and scumbag in history to do likewise, for there’s no reason why God would favor just Hitler and Stalin. If every victim on earth is forced to embrace his victimizer(s), then there is ultimately no free will, and we wind up, even if circuitously, with predestination and universal salvation — everyone is predestined to Heaven. But the Church does not teach that.

Of course, Mannion said in his answer that he only “hopes” that no one goes to Hell. But that hope is vain, unless one really believes that no one ever has or ever will die in a state of mortal sin. Presumably even Mannion realizes that that’s extremely unlikely, hence his strange doctrine of Embrace.

Yes, Christians should forgive those who trespass against them, but that has no bearing on how Christ will judge the trespassers. Likewise, Christians should forgive Osama bin Laden, but that doesn’t invalidate their resolve to see him brought to justice. Even if all of Osama’s victims forgive him and wish to embrace him, that does not get him a free ticket to Heaven. However compassionate his victims may feel toward him, they don’t decide Osama’s eternal destiny. Osama’s choices in life basically determine his eternal outcome, and Christ will make the “definitive judgment” as to his eternal destiny (Catechism, #679).

Pantheism Revisited

Given that Fr. Ron Rolheiser takes his inspiration from Teilhard de Chardin (“Archbishop Levada: Call Your Office!” New Oxford Notes, March), it is no wonder his system contradicts the Catholic Faith, for there is not the slightest doubt that Teilhard’s system is a form of evolutionary pantheism. Teilhard himself admitted it. In 1954 he wrote to a friend: “I do not admit the ‘anti-pantheist’ position which you attribute to me. I am, on the contrary, essentially pantheist in my thinking and by temperament; and my whole life has been spent in proclaiming that there is a true ‘pantheism of union’ (Deus omnia in omnibus) (a pan-Christism, as Blondel used to say) in opposition to the (orientabppseudo-pantheism of dissolution — Deus omnia.” Then, a few weeks later, he wrote: “I am well aware that it is not on account of any verbal infelicities that my essays have constantly been set aside (as redolens pantheismum). It is because my censors have felt — and rightly — that for me the whole Universe, including the relations between the Divine and the Created, between the Natural and the Supernatural, is organically all of a piece….”

It was his evolutionary pantheism that led him to reject the doctrine of Original Sin — a denial which in 1926 cost him his post as a teacher at the Institut Catholique and led to his transfer to China, with an order not to publish any material on theological or philosophical subjects, but to confine his writing to scientific subjects.

But he left behind him in France groups of disciples, to whom he sent material containing an account of new developments in his philosophical system. Since these were not published but were private communications, they required no nihil obstat from a censor nor any imprimatur from a bishop or religious superior. But they were widely circulated among his disciples and eventually came to the notice of the Holy Office and in 1950 led to promulgation by Pope Pius XII of the encyclical Humani Generis. The Pope did not mention Teilhard by name, but it was obvious to anyone who knew anything of Teilhard’s thought that this was one of the main targets and that it was being categorically rejected as contrary to the Faith.

Before he died in 1955, Teilhard consulted a confrère about his voluminous manuscripts and was told he was free to dispose of them as he wished. He bequeathed them to a group of disciples in France and they began to publish them in a series of books. These came to the notice of the Holy Office and prompted the monitum of June 30, 1962, in which Teilhard’s books were described as abounding in grave theological and philosophical errors. They were not to be admitted into seminary libraries or other Catholic educational establishments.

Whatever the doctrinal or juridical force of this monitum, it is plain that it would be very foolish for any Catholic intellectual to ignore it.

G.H. Duggan

Silverstream, New Zealand

What, Me Lovable?

I’ve been called every name in the book. But of all the low-down, loathsome, dirty, despicable, vicious names I’ve been called, never in my life have I ever been labeled “that lovable pussycat” (“‘Rembert the Reconciler,'” New Oxford Notes, May). But what the hell, I’m man enough to take it.

Keep up the good work, and keep the trigger down.

William A. Donohue

Catholic League

New York, New York

Carstens's Standard Public-School Version

In his passionate pro-Lincoln, anti-South tirade against “revisionist historians” who show that the Civil War wasn’t fought to end slavery, letter-writer Larry A. Carstens (March) violates his own standards by “tending to present some, but not all, of the facts.”

Carstens’s view, of course, represents the standard public-school version engrained in pupils for decades, but, if he did his homework, he’d find ample scholarship undermining his version. American history, especially of slavery and the Civil War, involves many sides, and only thorough, objective research allows honest appraisal, which Carstens obviously has avoided doing.

For instance, singling out individuals who were focused on ending slavery doesn’t lead to valid conclusions on the overall driving causes of the war, so Carstens’s convenient speculations in this regard are irrelevant. His inept contrast of “immoral” Southern slavery with its more “humane” Roman or other ancient counterparts is an insult to reason. His apparent ignorance of general Northern support for slavery in the 1840s and other factors such as African involvement tend to discredit his entire argument. And he simply hasn’t read enough about Honest Abe, apparently preferring the sentimental Carl Sandburg version, which is not scholarship.

Anyone interested in getting up to date on this issue might start with the following books:

– Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel.

– Lincoln: The Road to War by Frank van der Linden.

– When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession by Charles Adams.

– The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War by Thomas J. DeLorenzo.

– Destruction Reconstruction by Richard Taylor.

– The writings of M.E. Bradford.

In view of Americans’ confusion about most of their heritage, the proven inadequacy of the public schools, the blatant demagogy being practiced by the Democratic Party and the procrastination of its Republican counterpart, and the blinkered left-wing bias of an autocratic Fourth Estate with its all-powerful entertainment industry — all tolerated docilely by a lost, subservient people — this debate will probably go on indefinitely. But at least let’s keep it within the bounds of truth and excellence.

W. Edward Chynoweth

Sanger, California

They Didn't Exactly "Disappear"

Leon Podles mentions (“The Winepress,” May) that the California Mission Indians “disappeared” when the Anglos came.

They did not exactly disappear. According to an official dispatch from the British Consul in San Francisco to the Queen in 1851, the 49ers “hunted the Indians like deer.”

After the Mexican government drove the Franciscans from California in 1834, the Missions survived under the leadership of native lay catechists. There were over 30,000 Mission Indians in the 1830s. The “Western disease” that killed most of them was what we surgeons might call acute penetrating lead poisoning. They were murdered by the Anglo settlers who lacked the Catholic understanding of universal human personhood.

Robin Bernhoft, M.D.

Everett, Washington

Airy-Fairy Theology

As for your “Fire Alarms in the Night” (New Oxford Notes, Apribpcritiquing Stratford Caldecott’s strange article proposing a Catholic-New Age dialogue, which he originally delivered at a conference at Marquette University in Milwaukee: You might like to know that that conference was sponsored not only by Marquette’s Theology Department, but also by none other than Our Sunday Visitor (which has banned your signature ads).

And as for your “Episcopal Fundamentalism in the Catholic Church” (New Oxford Notes, also Apribpcritiquing that peculiar anti-papal article in Communio, which struck many of the same themes as Caldecott’s article: You might find it interesting that the two organizers of that Marquette conference are part of the “Communio Circle” at Marquette. And Caldecott is on the Editorial Board of Communio.

The proponents of that particular brand of airy-fairy theology on display in your two New Oxford Notes seem to form an intimate circle.

I must say I was shocked when I learned that one of the speakers at that Marquette conference was Huston Smith, who recently authored Cleansing the Doors of Perception: The Religious Significance of Entheogenic Plants & Chemicals, which contends that people can draw nearer to God by using drugs.

(Name Withheld)

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The Baby Bust

Walter Stock suggests that “runaway population growth” is the problem that Mother Nature punishes with a big stick (letters, March). He is at least a decade late with that concern, which really never made sense.

Nature loves large families, now as before, and large families are the boon of nations. I grew up in a happy family of 10 children, loved by nature. Those were the years when the population of the U.S. increased faster than that of Africa does today. That and more discredits Stock’s out-of-bounds concern.

I live in Japan where the government wrings its hands about a baby bust. The days of rapid population growth feeding a thriving economy are gone. During her post-war population boom, Japan managed to edge past world competitors to become the second greatest economic power. But the subsequent and prolonged baby bust has gutted her strength. The stock market experienced a free fall for 15 years, shrinking from an index of 36,000 yen to 11,000 today. As a nation’s population ages, its economy loses steam.

The U.N. is increasingly breaking away from its formerly tightly held monolithic dogma that overpopulation is a menace. Now, diehards notwithstanding, a lack of babies is a concern. Anna Diamantopoulou, Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs of the European Commission, addressed the Second World Assembly on Aging on April 8 urging an end to low birth rates. The solution is simple, suggests Diamantopoulou: Have more children.

Nature has norms that are wise and wholesome. This is so because God made nature to be kind to us. There is joy in homes with father and mother living in a stable marriage as nature teaches. Children in school study undisturbed and remain healthy when they save sex for marriage. Nature is not influenced by media rhetoric, nor by Pill peddlers. If we ignore her, we pay.

Forget the apocalyptic “overpopulation” scare and join hands with smiling nature. Pope Pius XII spoke for her when he praised large families as national treasures: “You are and represent large families, those most blessed by God and specially loved and prized by the Church as its most precious treasures. For those families offer particularly clear testimony to three things that serve to assure the world of the truth of the Church’s doctrine and the soundness of its practice, and that redound, through good example, to the great benefit of all other families and of civil society itself. Wherever you find large families in great numbers, they point to: the physical and moral health of a Christian people; a living faith in God and trust in His Providence; the fruitful and joyful holiness of Catholic marriage” (Jan. 20, 1958).

The article by Mario Derksen (Apribpon the Sacrifice of the Mass, unbloody and bloody, is magnificent. But two observations: (1) Though he writes that Christ instituted the Mass on Good Friday, we should say more fully that He initiated the Mass on Holy Thursday, ratified it on Good Friday, and completed it on Ascension Thursday. (2) Derksen says that “The priest transubstantiates the bread and wine into Christ’s Body and Blood.” But Transubstantiation is a miracle that requires creative power. Only God has creative power; no man, no angel has that power. Better: Christ transubstantiates the bread and wine into His Body and Blood when the priest pronounces the words of the consecration.

Fr. Anthony Zimmerman

Nagoya, Japan

Ideological Totalitarianism Parading as Islam

On the eternal Palestinian issue: In response to Albert Doyle’s letter (Aprib| I am not a “Christian Zionist.” I do not believe that the historic land of Israel must be reconstituted before the Second Coming of Christ. However, if I did I would be proud to proclaim it. It is a noble concept.

The Editor gently chastised James F. O’Callaghan (Feb.) for writing in a letter that some of the responses to David Stolinsky’s article (Oct. 2001) smacked of anti-Semitism. It is true that opposition to Israeli policies in the West Bank, wrongly equated with anti-Semitism, should never be used to shut off debate on the Palestinian issue. But it is equally true to say that the extreme Left and Right find trashing Israel a convenient cover for the same old traditional visceral anti-Jewish hatred which has plagued Europe for centuries — and obviously continues unabated. Supporting totalitarian and racist Islamic movements, or making excuses for them, is one obvious way to vent those prejudices.

As for Walter Perry’s letter (May), what can one say? Mossad agents calmly let hundreds of their co-religionists die in the WTC in order to — to do what? Or we could believe a story accepted by many Arabs — that the Jews were all warned ahead of time and so none came to work that day. And I thought only Arabs were victims of the conspiratorial view of history!

In the final analysis, the trend in the Middle East that should concern all of us is the exodus of Christians from the land of their birth because of an increasingly intolerant Islamic society. I find it a symptom of our effete brand of Christianity that we put our soldiers in harm’s way to protect Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo but make excuses for the tyranny faced by Christians throughout most of the Islamic world. Can you imagine the outrage in “world opinion” had some wacko walked into a mosque in Detroit and slaughtered a bunch of people? It happened in a church recently in Pakistan and it was worth one day’s news. Ask a Maronite or a Copt what he thinks of the current state of Christians in the Middle East.

I lived with the Arabs for eight years and have studied them for 33, and they are among the most generous, hospitable, friendly people on earth. As individuals I found them to be charming and highly intelligent. But they must break free from the bonds of ideological totalitarianism parading as Islam, and quit blaming everyone but themselves for the abysmal state of their political and economic environment.

Norvell B. DeAtkine

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Utterly Morally Degraded

The book Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church — A 2,000-Year History by H.W. Crocker III (reviewed in your May issue), together with other similar books, share a most remarkable oversight.

Considering the great reverence and homage paid to Mary, there is a near total silence about the most infamous action by the Church against women.

The issue involves the notorious “Witches Bull” of 1484 by Pope Innocent VIII, which led to the burning at the stake of tens of thousands of women charged with witchcraft. On many occasions it was charged that Satan had had intercourse with the women, as incubi or succubi.

In the county of Bormio or Wormserbad (Bavaria), in the year 1485 alone, 41 women were burned at the stake (Sigmund von Riesler, Geschichte du Hexen Prozess in Bayern, 1896, pp. 42-43).

The horribly painful murder of innocent women attests to the utter moral degradation of Church officials, from the pope down.

Louis J. Mihalyi

Newland, North Carolina

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