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http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/au...haw-review

The Catholic Church tried to exterminate cats in the Middle Ages? Is this just another black legend defaming Holy Mother the Church, or is there something to it?
(01-12-2014, 07:57 PM)anamchara Wrote: [ -> ]http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/au...haw-review

The Catholic Church tried to exterminate cats in the Middle Ages? Is this just another black legend defaming Holy Mother the Church, or is there something to it?

There is no doctrine in the Catholic Church about cats somehow being evil, or any command for their extermination.  Sounds like an accusation where they see that some crazy priest said something and everyone says, "THE CATHOLIC CHURCH CHANGED IT'S TEACHINGS!!!!"
There was probably a time when there were too many stray cats.
*shrugs*

Not the Church per se, but I wouldn't be surprised if certain people within the Church did, probably because of the association of cats and witchcraft.

Man, people just say ANYTHING about the Church and get away with it. UNREAL!  And not one single commenter called the writer to task on that "factoid" -- something he probably got out of some witchy-crystal--herby-spell book written in the 70s by some womyn type who just totally made that up (or, at best, decided to call "the Catholic Church" some weirdo prelate somewhere who hated cats or something).

Really, it just gets so old dealing with the outrageousness. No other religion in the world gets treated like this.

i wish our town had a bounty on feral cat communities. id make a killing.  afraidsmiley
My best guess is if it was because of the association of witches and cats, it was the Protestants exterminating them. That's the guys which hunted witches and burned or dunked them.

tim
Not the Church, certainly, but cats have from time to time met with unfortunate ends due to superstition or European folk tradition. This is not exclusive to Catholic countries, and it persisted in the United States into living memory, brought from the British Isles and lingering in places like the mountainous parts of the old backcountry: Appalachia, the Ozarks, etc.

From David Hackett Fischer's praised work on American cultural history, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America.
Quote:The people of the backcountry brought with them the magic that existed on the borders of North Britain in the early and middle decades of the eighteenth century. These beliefs included an interest in witchcraft, wizardry, and other forms of diabolical magic---but not the same sort of witchcraft obsession that had flourished among the Puritans a century earlier...

The folk culture of the backcountry ran strongly to another category of magic [than that of the coastal plain of Virginia], which might be called experimental sorcery or secular superstition. It consisted mainly in the pragmatic use of conjuring, sorcery, charms, omens, spells, potions, incantations, and popular astrology to change the course of events, or to predict them.

This magic contained a vast repertory of practices for any imaginable occasion---for troubles with animals, crops, neighbors, children, weather, illness. It recommended actions for the control of any possible emotion, and for the execution of any imaginable purpose in the world. In the early twentieth century, one group of folklorists collected nearly 10,000 of these prescriptions in North Carolina...

Many charms and potions showed a spirit of extreme brutality:

   Against epilepsy wear a bit of human cranium.

   A piece of rope by which a person has been hanged will cure epilepsy by its touch.

   For fever, cut a black chicken open while alive, and bind to the bottom of the foot. This will draw the fever.

   The blood of a bat will cure baldness.

   Eating the brain of a screech owl is the only dependable remedy for headache.

   For rheumatism, apply split frogs to the feet.

   To reduce a swollen leg, split a live cat and apply while still warm.

   Bit the head off the first butterfly you see, and you will get a new dress.

   Open the cow's mouth and throw a live toad-frog down her throat. This will cure her of hollow horn.

These good-luck charms, whatever they may have done for their human users, brought very bad luck to large numbers of backcountry cats, bats, frogs, owls, snakes, chicks and puppy dogs. Samuel Kercheval remembered that the first glassblowers in the backcountry "drove the witches out of their furnaces by throwing live puppies in them." He also recalled that there was "scarcely a black cat to be seen, whose ears and tail had not been frequently cropped off for a contribution of blood."

There is a database of scholarly sources on American folk medicine online (containing some European and other sources as well), courtesy of the University of California at Los Angeles: http://www.folkmed.ucla.edu/ Searching for "cat" or "cats" on advanced search, it is amazing just how many results one receives. For example, a wart cure collected from Dallas, Texas in the 1960s goes, "Place a dead cat's eye, which has been rubbed in stump water, on your wart. Repeat several times and the wart will fall off."

Cruelty, or at least a sort of callous attitude to animals, was once a fixture of European folk life, and in Spain, it was formerly common for local religious festivals honoring the patron saints of the villages and towns to include animals in the festivities. To some degree, this persists today (e.g. the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona), but the more creative sorts of festivities strike the modern conscience as particularly grievous. For example, before a ban in 2002, the village of Manganeses de la Polvorosa celebrated the feast of San Vicente de Martir by throwing a live goat from the bell tower of the village church.
[Image: st_vincent_goat_throwing.jpg]
(01-13-2014, 07:38 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: [ -> ]Man, people just say ANYTHING about the Church and get away with it. UNREAL!  And not one single commenter called the writer to task on that "factoid" -- something he probably got out of some witchy-crystal--herby-spell book written in the 70s by some womyn type who just totally made that up (or, at best, decided to call "the Catholic Church" some weirdo prelate somewhere who hated cats or something).

Really, it just gets so old dealing with the outrageousness. No other religion in the world gets treated like this.

The writer matter-of-factly drops the line in his column, as if it's common knowledge the Church took measures to exterminate cats. That's what makes these kinds of black legends so hard to combat. The casual reader is just going to assume it's true.
this is where they get i t from, of course the authenticity of the bull is questioned.

Quote:It is claimed in popular books and websites that Gregory's condemnation of heretics worshipping Satan in the form of a black cat in his bull Vox in Rama led to a massacre of cats across Europe. It is also claimed that this supposed "cat massacre" worsened the Black Death a century after Gregory's time, because the plague was spread by rats who were unchecked in Europe due to the decline of cat numbers. The Black Death began in central Asia and spread west, devastating large swathes of central Asia, Asia Minor and the Middle East before hitting Europe.[13] However, there is no credible evidence that such an edict was ever issued by Gregory IX, though claiming that black cats were used in Devil worshiping rituals may have lead some people to exterminate cats in their environment.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vox_in_Rama


what i get is the PEOPLE thought cats were satanic and killed them, not that priests and bishops were out wringing cat necks between mass.
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