University Study:

Estimates of the Number Killed by the Papacy in the Middle Ages and later

David A. Plaisted

© 2006

 

www.cs.unc.edu/~plaisted/estimates.doc

 

Estimates of the Number Killed by the Papacy in the Middle Ages and later *

Chapter 0. Introduction *

Chapter 1. Examples of figures concerning the number killed *

Chapter 2. The plausibility of massive persecution *

CHAPTER 3. The 50 Million Figure *

Chapter 4. The Spanish Inquisition *

Chapter 5. Alethia’s estimate *

Chapter 6. An estimate based on population growth *

Chapter 7. Indirect evidence of persecution *

Chapter 8. Cloistered convents *

Chapter 9. Wars *

Chapter 10. Conclusion *

REFERENCES *

INDEX *

 

Chapter 0. Introduction

For two or three centuries, many Protestants have given figures concerning the total number of people killed directly or indirectly by the Papacy during the Middle Ages. The numbers given include 50 million, 68 million, 100 million, 120 million, and 150 million. Roman Catholics typically give much smaller numbers. Frequently the figures are stated without any information about where they came from or how they were computed. The purpose of this note is to describe where some of these figures come from and to comment on their reliability. Surely nearly all Roman Catholics as well as Protestants disapprove of past religious persecutions, so this discussion should not reflect negatively on current members of the Roman Catholic Church. However, events in Nazi Germany show how easily persecution can revive, so it is necessary to be on guard against it and maintain an awareness of its history. Of course, many other groups besides the Papacy have persecuted. And all of us, without Christ, have the roots of sin in ourselves. The reason the Papacy stands out is that it has ruled for such a long period of time over such a large area, exercised so much power, and claimed divine prerogatives for its persecutions. The magnitude of the persecutions is important for the following reason: One can excuse a few thousand cases as exceptional, but millions and millions of victims can only be the result of a systematic policy, thereby showing the harmful results of church-state unions.

 

In this study I have attempted, with some success, to penetrate the veil of obscurity that surrounds the Middle Ages in order to determine the true history of this period.

In order to consider this subject, it is necessary to recall many unpleasant events. The dreadful totals, computations, and examples that follow, one after another, are not for the faint hearted. These atrocities should convince us not so much of the evils of a particular religious system as of the depravity of the sinful human heart, and lead us to turn to Christ for repentance and salvation that we might have new hearts and be cleansed from sin.

 

Chapter 1. Examples of figures concerning the number killed

 

Here are some of the places where figures about religious persecutions are given. Dowling in his History of Romanism says

"From the birth of Popery in 606 to the present time, it is estimated by careful and credible historians, that more than fifty millions of the human family, have been slaughtered for the crime of heresy by popish persecutors, an average of more than forty thousand religious murders for every year of the existence of popery."

-- "History of Romanism," pp. 541, 542. New York: 1871.

Commenting on this quote, a fundamental Baptist web site says the following:

For example, it has been estimated by careful and reputed historians of the Catholic Inquisition that 50 million people were slaughtered for the crime of "heresy" by Roman persecutors between the A.D. 606 and the middle of the 19th century.

This is the number cited by John Dowling, who published the classic "History of Romanism" in 1847 (book VIII, chapter 1, footnote 1). Only seven years after its first printing, it could be said of Dowling’s book, "it has already obtained a circulation much more extensive than any other large volume ever published in America, upon the subject of which it treats; or perhaps in England, with the exception of Fox’s Book of Martyrs." Clark’s Martyrology counts the number of Waldensian martyrs during the first half of the 13th century in France alone at two million. From A.D. 1160-1560 the Waldensians which dwelt in the Italian Alps were visited with 36 different fierce persecutions that spared neither age nor sex (Thomas Armitage, A History of the Baptists, "Post-Apostolic Times - The Waldensians," 1890). They were almost completely destroyed as a people and most of their literary record was erased from the face of the earth. From the year 1540 to 1570 "it is proved by national authentic testimony, that nearly one million of Protestants were publicly put to death in various countries in Europe, besides all those who were privately destroyed, and of whom no human record exists" (J.P. Callender, Illustrations of Popery, 1838, p. 400). Catholic historian Vergerius admits gleefully that during the Pontificate of Pope Paul IV (1555-1559) "the Inquisition alone, by tortures, starvation, or the fire, murdered more than 150,000 Protestants." These are only small samples of the brutality which was poured out upon "dissident" Christians by the Roman Catholic Church during the Inquisition.

Concerning the figure of two million killed, Bourne writes

Bertrand, the Papal Legate, wrote a letter to Pope Honorius, desiring to be recalled from the croisade against the primitive witnesses and contenders for the faith. In that authentic document, he stated, that within fifteen years, 300,000 of those crossed soldiers had become victims to their own fanatical and blind fury. Their unrelenting and insatiable thirst for Christian and human blood spared none within the reach of their impetuous despotism and unrestricted usurpations. On the river Garonne, a conflict occurred between the croisaders, with their ecclesiastical leaders, the Prelates of Thoulouse and Comminges; who solemnly promised to all their vassals the full pardon of sin, and the possession of heaven immediately, if they were slain in the battle. The Spanish monarch and his confederates acknowledged that they must have lost 400,000 men, in that tremendous conflict, and immediately after it-but the Papists boasted, that including the women and children, they had massacred more than two millions of the human family, in that solitary croisade against the southwest part of France.

-- Bourne, George, The American Textbook of Popery, Griffith & Simon, Philadelphia, 1846, pp. 402-403.

In only one crusade, two million Albigenses were killed. How many must there have been altogether, and how many millions more must have been killed during the entire Middle Ages! Another source writes

The Catholic crusade against the Albigenses in Southern France (from 1209-1229), under Popes Innocent III., Honorius III. and Gregory IX., was one of the bloodiest tragedies in human history. … The number of Albigenses that perished in the twenty years’ war is estimated at from one to two millions.

-- Cushing B. Hassell, History of the Church of God, Chapter XIV.

W. E. H. Lecky says:


"That the Church of Rome has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that has ever existed among mankind, will be questioned by no Protestant who has a competent knowledge of history. The memorials, indeed, of many of her persecutions are now so scanty, that it is impossible to form a complete conception of the multitude of her victims, and it is quite certain that no power of imagination can adequately realize their sufferings." -- "History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe," Vol. II, p. 32. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1910.

The following quotation is from The Glorious Reformation by S. S. SCHMUCKER, D. D., Discourse in Commemoration of the Glorious Reformation of the Sixteenth Century; delivered before the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of West Pennsylvania, by the Rev. S. S. Schmucker, D.D., Professor of Theology in the Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. Published by Gould and Newman. 1838.

Need I speak to you of the thirty years’ war in Germany, which was mainly instigated by the Jesuits, in order to deprive the Protestants of the right of free religious worship, secured to them by the treaty of Augsburg? Or of the Irish rebellion, of the inhuman butchery of about fifteen millions of Indians in South America, Mexico and Cuba, by the Spanish papists? In short, it is calculated by authentic historians, that papal Rome has shed the blood of sixty-eight millions of the human race in order to establish her unfounded claims to religious dominion (citing Dr. Brownlee’s "Popery an enemy to civil liberty", p. 105).

Estimates range up to 7 to 12 million for the number who died in the thirty years’ war, and higher:

This was the century of the last religious wars in "Christendom," the Thirty Years’ War in Germany, fomented by the Jesuits, reducing the people to cannibalism, and the population of Bohemia from 4,000,000 to 780,000, and of Germany from 20,000,000 to 7,000,000, and making Southern Germany almost a desert, ...

-- Cushing B. Hassell, History of the Church of God, Chapter XVII.

Concerning the Irish rebellion, John Temple's True Impartial History of the Irish Rebellion of 1641, written in 1644, puts the number of victims at 300,000, but other estimates are much smaller. Some estimates are larger:

In addition to the Jesuit or Catholic atrocities of this century already enumerated with some particulars, they massacred 400 Protestants at Grossoto, in Lombardy, July 19th, 1620; are said to have destroyed 400,000 Protestants in Ireland, in 1641, by outright murder, and cold, and hunger, and drowning; …

-- Cushing B. Hassell, History of the Church of God, Chapter XVII.

In fact, the population of Ireland is estimated to have decreased from 2 million in 1640 to 1.7 million in 1672, according to R.F. Foster, Modern Ireland 1600-1972 (1988). However, this could have resulted from British reprisals to some extent and from emigration, forced or voluntary. The population should have increased by about 200,000 during this period, assuming a 30 percent growth rate per century. This implies that 500,000 people in excess of normal either died or left Ireland during this time, and is consistent with 300,000 or more Protestants being killed in 1641.

The figure of 68 million appeared in Schmucker’s talk in 1838, in Brownlee’s book of 1836, and also in a book "Plea for the West" by Lyman Beecher (Cincinnati, Truman and Smith, 1835), pp. 130-131:

And let me ask again, whether the Catholic religion, in its union with the state, has proved itself so unambitious, meek, and unaspiring so feeble, and easy to be entreated, as to justify-a proud, contempt of its avowed purpose and systematic movements to secure an ascendancy in this nation? It is accidental that in alliance with despotic governments, it has swayed a sceptre of iron, for ten centuries over nearly one-third of; the population of, the globe, and by a death of violence is estimated to have swept from 'the' earth about sixty-eight millions of its inhabitants, and holds now in darkness and bondage nearly half the civilized world?

The exact quote of Brownlee referenced above is as follows:

In one word, the church of Rome has spent immense treasures and shed, in murder, the blood of sixty eight millions and five hundred thousand of the human race, to establish before the astonished and disgusted world, her fixed determination to annihilate every claim set up by the human family to liberty, and the right of unbounded freedom of conscience.

-- Popery an enemy to civil liberty, 1836, pp. 104-105.

Also, in another work Brownlee states

Papal Rome has shed the blood of fifty millions of Christians in Europe!

-- The Roman Catholic Religion viewed in the light of Prophecy and History, New York, Charles K. Moore, 1843, page 60.

And later in the same work,

The best writers enumerate fifty millions of Christians destroyed by fire, and the sword, and the inquisition; and fifteen millions of natives of the American continent and islands; and three millions of Moors in Europe, and one million and a half of Jews. Now, here are sixty-nine millions and five hundred thousands of human beings, murdered by "the woman of the Roman hills, who was drunk with the blood of the saints." And this horrid list does not include those of her own subjects, who fell in the crusades in Asia, and in her wars against European Christians, and in South America!

-- page 97.

These quotations make it clear that the figure of 50 million refers only to Christians in Europe, and does not include Christians killed elsewhere. It is also clear that Brownlee is taking these figures not from just one person, but from at least two, "the best writers," and ignoring others that he feels are less qualified. Many others must have been convinced of the reputation of these individuals as well, judging from the frequency with which the figure of 50 million is quoted.

Brownlee further comments on the number killed by the Papacy in another work as follows:

When Laguedoc was invaded by these monsters, one hundred thousand Albigensees fell in one day! See Bruys vol. iii. 139.

-- page 346

There perished under pope Julian 200,000 Christians: and by the French massacre, on a moderate calculation, in 3 months, 100,000. Of the Waldenses there perished 150,000; of the Albigenses, 150,000. There perished by the Jesuits in 30 years only 900,000. The Duke of Alva destroyed by the common hangman alone, 36,000 persons; the amount murdered by him is set down by Grotius at 100,000! There perished by the fire, and tortures of the Inquisition in Spain, Italy, and France 150,000. … In the Irish massacres there perished 150,000 Protestants!

To sum up the whole, the Roman Catholic church has caused the ruin, and destruction of a million and a half of Moors in Spain; nearly two millions of Jews South America in Europe. In Mexico, and , including the islands of Cuba and St. Domingo, fifteen millions of Indians, in 40 years, fell victims to popery. And in Europe, and the East Indies, and in America, 50 millions of Protestants, at least, have been murdered by it!

Thus the church of Rome stands before the world, "the woman in scarlet, on the scarlet colored Beast." A church claiming to be Christian, drenched in the blood of sixty-eight millions, and five hundred thousand human beings!

-- W. C. Brownlee, Letters in the Roman Catholic controversy, 1834, pp. 347-348.

Brownlee apparently revised the 69 million figure downwards to 68 million. So the figure of 68 million has several sources in the early 1800’s. The source for some of Brownlee’s figures appears in the following quotation:

These forced baptisms, and the consequent claims which the pope set up over "his slaves," caused the death of one million five hundred thousand Moors, and on the most moderate calculation, that of two millions of Jews! See Dr. M. Geddes’s Tracts on Popery, vol. i.

-- W. C. Brownlee, Popery the Enemy of Civil and Religious Liberty, J. S. Taylor, New York, 1836, p. 88.

The work of Michael Geddes referred to may have been Miscellaneous Tracts …, 3rd ed., London, 1730, 3 volumes. In 1678 Geddes went to Lisbon, and returned to England in 1688. During his stay in Lisbon, he collected many documents concerning Spanish and Portuguese history, and in 1714 published his "Tracts on Divers Subjects" in three volumes, a translation of the most interesting documents he obtained. In 1715 a posthumous volume of tracts against the Roman Catholic Church appeared. In addition to those killed, many were exiled:

It has been calculated that, from the time of the conquest of Granada until 1609, three millions of Arabs were exiled from Spanish soil; and never have the plains of Valencia, Murcia and Granada recovered the flourishing aspect that they wore when cultivated by their former masters. The decree of 1609 was as fatal to Spain as the revocation of the Edict of Nantes was to France nearly a hundred years later.

-- Williams, Henry Smith, The Historian’s History of the World, vol. 8, p. 259.

In 1492, persecution was begun against the Jews, of whom 500,000 were expelled from Spain and their wealth confiscated. In seventy years the population of Spain was reduced from 10,000,000 to 6,000,000 by the banishment of Jews, Moors and Morescoes ("Christianized" Moors), the most wealthy and intelligent of the inhabitants of that country.

-- Cushing B. Hassell, History of the Church of God, Chapter XV.

In fact, the population of Spain had at one time been twenty million higher:

It is estimated that the total population in the middle of the tenth century was about thirty millions: a phenomenal increase of population, betokening of itself a very high degree of civilization. A population normally, with fair sanitation and hygienic conditions, doubles in a quarter of a century. It will tell you in a word what the Moors had done, and what the Spaniards afterwards undid, if you reflect that this Spanish population, which was thirty millions in the tenth century, is now only twenty- two millions. The figure of thirty millions in the tenth century is an extraordinary tribute to the science and wisdom of the Moors. England, for instance, had then a population of about two or three million people.

-- Joseph McCabe, The Story of Religious Controversy, Chapter XXV.

This suggests that the Christian reconquest of Spain cost this country alone over 20 million lives. This loss could not have resulted from the Plague, because the loss from the Plague was recovered by 1500.

The figure of 68 million appears again in a later work:

Alexander Campbell, well known religions leader of the nineteenth century, stated in debate with John B. Purcell, Bishop of Cincinnati, in 1837 that the records of historians and martyrologists show that it may be reasonable to estimate that from fifty to sixty-eight millions of human beings died, suffered torture, lost their possessions, or were otherwise devoured by the Roman Catholic Church during the awful years of the Inquisition. Bishop Purcell made little effort to refute these figures. (Citing A Debate on the Roman Catholic Religion, Christian Publishing Co., 1837, p. 327.)

Walter M. Montano, a former Catholic priest, asserts in his book, Behind the Purple Curtain that it has been estimated that fifty million people died for their faith during the twelve hundred years of the Dark Ages. (Citing Walter M. Montano, Behind the Purple Curtain, Cowman Publications, 1950, page 91.)

-- The Shadow of Rome, by John B. Wilder; Zondervan Publishing Co., 1960, page 87.

Campbell may be referring to the martyrology of Samuel Clarke, written in 1651. Perhaps this figure of 68 million came from Brownlee or somewhere else, possibly the writings of Llorente or Clark’s Martyrology, cited above.

Such figures sometimes appear in recent books, such as Wilder’s, but in general, all the figures about the number killed by the Papacy go back many years and have reputable sources. It is interesting that Campbell implies that the figure of 68 million includes many who were not killed, but just persecuted, while the three earlier references, including Brownlee, state that this number were killed. Campbell may have taken the earlier figure and misread it as including those who were persecuted but not killed. Here are more quotations about the number killed by the Papacy:

For professing faith contrary to the teachings of the Church of Rome, history records the martyrdom of more then one hundred million people. A million Waldenses and Albigenses [Swiss and French Protestants] perished during a crusade proclaimed by Pope Innocent III in 1208. Beginning from the establishment of the Jesuits in 1540 to 1580, nine hundred thousand were destroyed. One hundred and fifty thousand perished by the Inquisition in thirty years. Within the space of thirty-eight years after the edict of Charles V against the Protestants, fifty thousand persons were hanged, beheaded, or burned alive for heresy. Eighteen thousand more perished during the administration of the Duke of Alva in five and a half years.

-- Brief Bible Readings, p. 16.

This great antichristian power robbed the church of its gospel light and plunged the world into the Dark Ages. It put to death and thus took away the lives of from fifty to one hundred millions of the saints of the Most High.

-- Bunch, Taylor, The Book of Daniel, 1950, p. 170.

One thousand years covers the crest of the persecutions when from 50,000,000 to 150,000,000 martyrs died of the sword, at the stake, in dungeons, and of starvation because of the confiscation of their earthly possessions.

-- Bunch, Taylor, The Book of Daniel, 1950, p. 185.

In like manner the blood of a hundred million martyrs cries for justice to the One who says, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay saith the Lord." Rom 12:19.

-- Bunch, Taylor, Studies in the Revelation, 1933?, p. 105.

Let us keep a sense of proportion. The record of Christianity from the days when it first obtained the power to persecute is one of the most ghastly in history. The total number of Manichaeans, Arians, Priscillianists, Paulicians, Bogomiles, Cathari, Waldensians, Albigensians, witches, Lollards, Hussites, Jews and Protestants killed because of their rebellion against Rome clearly runs to many millions; and beyond these actual executions or massacres is the enormously larger number of those who were tortured, imprisoned, or beggared. I am concerned rather with the positive historical aspect of this. In almost every century a large part of the race has endeavored to reject the Christian religion, and, if in those centuries there had been the same freedom as we enjoy, Roman Catholicism would, in spite of the universal ignorance, have shrunk long ago into a sect. The religious history of Europe has never yet been written.

-- The Story Of Religious Controversy Chapter XXIII by Joseph McCabe (an atheist) who lived from 1867 to 1955.

'The church,' says [Martin] Luther, has never burned a heretic.' . . I reply that this argument proves not the opinion, but the ignorance or impudence of Luther. Since almost infinite" numbers were either burned or otherwise killed,' Luther either did not know it, and was therefore ignorant, or if he was not ignorant, he is convicted of impudence and falsehood, —for that heretics were often burned by the [Catholic] Church may be proved from many examples.

-- Robert Bellarmine, Disputationes de Controversiis, Tom. ii, Lib. III, cap. XXII, "Objections Answered," 1682 edition. (Bellarmine was a Roman Catholic.)

 

Some have computed, that, from the year 1518 to1548, fifteen million of Protestants have perished by war and the Inquisition. This may be overcharged, but certainly the number of them in these thirty years, as well as since is almost incredible. To these we may add innumerable martyrs, in ancient, middle, and late ages, in Bohemia, Germany, Holland, France, England, Ireland, and many other parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia.

(from the commentary on the book of Revelation in Wesley’s "Explanatory Notes on the New Testament," fifth edition, 1788), in which the comments on the book of Revelation are translated from the work of the German scholar John Bengel, and Wesley stated that he did not necessarily defend all of Bengel’s statements.)

Writing about the Jesuits, Lord states

They are accused of securing the revocation of the Edict of Nantes,-- one of the greatest crimes in the history of modern times, which led to the expulsion of four hundred thousand Protestants from France, and the execution of four hundred thousand more.

-- John Lord, Beacon Lights of History, volume VI, p. 325.

Some estimate that a million or even two million Huguenots fled France as a result, and a million and half converted, willingly or otherwise, to Catholicism. In fact, even before the Edict of Nantes, the Huguenot wars took place in France, and many perished as well:

Some two millions of lives had perished since the breaking out of the civil wars.

-- James A. Wylie, The History of Protestantism, Vol. 2, Book 17, Chapter 19.

One estimate (Mariejol) is as high as four million. In 1660 there were about 1,200,000 Huguenots (Protestants) in France, according to one source. In 1562, 10 to 20 percent of France’s population of 16 million were Huguenots. At one point, the (Catholic) Cardinal of Sainte-croix estimated that more than half of the French population were Huguenots. It is estimated that more than one million Huguenots were slain trying to escape or became slaves in the galleys of the King of France.

A final figure:

Mede has calculated from good authorities "that in the war with the Albigenses and Waldenses there perished of these people, in France alone, 1,000,000."

-- Christ and Antichrist, by Samuel J. Cassels, 1846, page 257.

And many similar figures could be given.

 

Chapter 2. The plausibility of massive persecution

The following quotation shows the attitude of the Papacy towards heretics, which lends ample credibility to a large figure for the number persecuted and killed in the Middle Ages:

Treason. The following paragraph from the "Review of the principles and history of Popery" contains an accurate summary of Romanism, as it involves the interest and safety of Protestant governments and nations. "Refractory princes who have not been disposed to glut Rome’s insatiable thirst with enough of Christian blood, or who have not assented to all the Papistical usurpations and arrogant claims, have experienced no mercy. The right of succession has been denied and subverted, for the smallest personal taint of Anti-Romanism, or for the toleration of it in others; and indescribable difficulties always were interposed against the rebellious ruler's restoration to power, even after he had made every possible renunciation, and degraded himself to the most humiliating penances, and received the amplest pontifical absolutions. For suspected and actual heresy, sentence of excommunication and deposition was fulminated against governors, more than for any other causes. Treasonable plots, conspiracies, insurrections, and rebellions, were formed, promoted, executed, and by pretended pleas of religion were justified, delighted in, and eulogized. Those infernal proceedings were blasphemously ascribed to the inspiration of God, and when any success attended the scheme, it was imputed to the divine approval, and unquestionable miraculous interposition. To execute those traitorous machinations, or to die in the attempt, was pronounced to be infallible proof of the most exalted piety, and the certain path to eternal felicity; entitling the actor to the honour of saintship, and the glorious crown of martyrdom. On the contrary, obedience and loyalty on the part of Papists to Protestant governments, are declared damnable sins, for which there is no pardon either in this world, or in eternity. To convince the bigoted adherents of the Papacy, that all such treasons are works of pre-eminent piety, pretended prayers, discourses, sacraments, ecclesiastical censures, absolutions, oaths, and covenants, with all that is apparently sacred and imposing in religion, have been prostituted; and all that is exciting and fascinating in superstition has been effectually employed among the votaries of the Romish Priesthood, who are divested of every sentiment of religion, virtue, or humanity. The absolute duty of assassinating Protestant rulers, especially after sentence has been pronounced against them by the Pope, is constantly taught and vehemently proclaimed; with the most deliberate resolution, and after the most solemn preparations, that nefarious criminality has frequently been perpetrated; although it has more often been unsuccessfully attempted: but in all cases the remorseless murderers have been exalted in Popish estimation to the very highest honours: and some of them were worshipped with the same adoration which is performed to the Romish canonized saints."

-- Bourne, George, The American Textbook of Popery, Griffith & Simon, Philadelphia, 1846, pp. 410-412.

The following statement concerning England in about the year 1400 gives more insight into the extent of the persecutions.

By this it was enacted that any one whom an ecclesiastical court should have declared to be guilty, or strongly suspected, of heresy, should, on being made over to the sheriff with a certificate to that effect, be publicly burnt.

[footnote, page 298] It is remarked that England was the only country where such a statute was needed, as elsewhere the secular powers at once carried out the sentence.

-- James C. Robertson, History of the Christian Church, The Young Churchman Co., 1904, p. 297.

These persecutions were not necessarily directed by the hierarchy of the church, but for the most part probably originated at a much lower level, from the "ecclesiastical feudalism" of the Middle Ages, as described by Williams:

Abbes and bishops in consequence became suzerains, temporal lords, having numerous vassals ready to take up arms for their cause, counts of justice – in fact all the prerogatives exercised by the great landlords. … This ecclesiastical feudalism was so extensive, so powerful, that in France and England it possessed during the Middle Ages more than a fifth of all the land; in Germany nearly a third.

-- Williams, Henry Smith, The Historian’s History of the World, vol. 8, p. 487.

Probably the greatest number of those who perished by the Papacy in Europe did so at the hands of these local authorities, on the grounds of suspected heresy or opposition to the church, and not necessarily at the direction of the Pope, preceded by a trial, nor mentioned in records. Who would there have been to interfere with the actions of the local abbes and bishops? The constant elimination of a few heretics here and there, in many locations, continued for many years, could easily have added up to a total of millions without making much of an impression on recorded history. Throughout the Middle Ages as the possessions of the church increased, so would the number and power of these officials have increased, together with the number of their victims. During the Crusades, their attention may have been externally directed, but with these ending in about 1272, the number of martyrs within Europe could have greatly increased.

The persecutions were not at all limited to the Inquisition, but took many forms. Many of the victims were killed secretly and never brought to trial or sentenced. These deaths would never have appeared in the official records of the Inquisition. Such persecutions even continued until very recent times, as illustrated by the following quotation from W. C. Brownlee, Popery the Enemy of Civil and Religious Liberty, J. S. Taylor, New York, 1836, page 124:

I beg to direct you to the history of Spain, which, at length, is beginning to raise her head from the dust; and of Austria, Italy, and Naples. There everything is exclusive and sanguinary. Utter a word against the priest, or his senseless mummery, or refuse to fall down before the wafer god, and the dagger is plunged into your heart!

Note that it was common knowledge in Brownlee's day that such executions of dissenters from Catholicism took place. Another quotation from Brownlee, p. 115 gives further support to this fact:

Listen, I beseech you, to your fellow-citizens, who have returned from their travels in Italy, Austria, and Naples, or South America. In these lands the drawn sword of papal myrmidons is put to the throats of every public speaker, and editor, and author! One unpopish idea,--one single charge against despotism,--one word in praise of liberty,-one innuendo against priestcraft, even although you say no more than that you have seen them in their priestly robes, at the cockpit; and deeply engaged, publicly, in gambling, with their mistresses, and licentious companions: one appeal, even though feebly uttered, for a free press,-for pure Christianity, and the rights of human conscience, will cost a man his liberty, or life, in one brief hour! Men may be as wicked as any of the ghostly leaders of the fashion that way; men may blaspheme God, and set heaven and hell at defiance, providing they do it with all due courtesy to the priests: they may, be consummate profligates, but it must be according to canonical rule. Crimes and vices contravene no law, providing the church be respected, and her dues be paid! But woe to the patriot who shall whisper an insinuation, or print an effusion of a noble spirit, bursting with holy indignation against the hypocrisy, the priestly espionage, and despotism of popery! This is the only unpardonable sin at Rome. It can never be forgiven him, either in this world, or in purgatory! The dungeon cells, placed by papal care, at the bishop's service, in each cathedral; and the cells of the inquisition, and the agonies, and moanings, and shrieks of the oppressed, breathed only on the ear of heaven -these-these are the overwhelming proofs of popery's deadly hostility to the freedom of speech, and the press!

This description of persecution derives from the testimony of many travelers to Catholic countries at that time. If such persecution took place in the early nineteenth century, how much more must it have occurred in the Middle Ages when the Papacy was at the height of its power! For example, M’Crie relates (The Reformation in Spain, pp. 181-188) how a Spaniard in the year 1546 converted to Protestantism and was in consequence killed by his brother, who never was punished for his deed. There must have been many such assassinations in the Middle Ages by loyal Catholics who were jealous for the reputation of the Virgin Mary. In fact, threats and persecution even took place in the United States, according to Brownlee, pp. 210-211:

Who have their dungeon cells under their cathedrals, in which they claim, as inquisitors of their own diocese, to imprison free men in our republic? Foreign popish bishops! And the facts respecting a man being so confined and scourged, in the cells at Baltimore, until he recanted, have been published, and not to this day contradicted! ... Who are in the habit of uttering ferocious threats "to assassinate and burn up" those Protestants who successfully oppose Romanism? The foreign papists! I have in my possession the evidence of no less than six such inhuman threatenings against myself.

Persecution also took the form of murders by corrupt authorities, as described in the following passage from Peter’s Tomb Recently Discovered in Jerusalem, by F. Paul Peterson, 1960, p. 45:

At length a Sclavonian waterman came to the palace with a startling story. He said that on the night when the prince disappeared, while he was watching some timber on the river, he saw two men approach the bank, and look cautiously around to see if they were observed. Seeing no one, they made a signal to two others, one of whom was on horseback, and who carried a dead body swung carelessly across his horse. He advanced to the river, flung the corpse far into the water, and then rode away. Upon being asked why he had not mentioned this before, the waterman replied that it was a common occurrence, and that he had seen more than a hundred bodies thrown into the Tiber in a similar manner.

Even as recently as the mid twentieth century, dissenters from Catholicism were in danger, according to the following quotations:

But to even bring things closer home; an acquaintance told me of a recent conversation between a Protestant relative of hers and a Roman Catholic. The Catholic said, "I would like to see the blood of Protestants flow down the streets of this city." The Protestant was rightly surprised and said, "How can you say that, we are friends and you know that I am a Protestant?" The Catholic responded, "Yes, I know, but the greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward." Since they teach Catholics from childhood on, that to kill a Protestant is to do God a service, we had better be careful how we put Catholics in public office [but note that such teaching does not appear to be continued today, and also other quotations show that many Catholics oppose such persecution].

While I was in Ohio recently, I was told the same story by two people at different times, of a pastor who has a Christian broadcast. Through the preaching of the Gospel, this pastor at times would have Roman Catholics tell him of their difficulties and ask for advice. One case was of a lady who implicated a priest in a scandal. The pastor would always advise all those who came to him, according to the Scripture, and would urge all to trust only in Jesus Christ for their salvation. Several times, this pastor received strange telephone calls. Once a woman called and advised the pastor never to have communications with Catholics who call or write in to him. He responded that it was his God-given duty to help in any way possible, all those who came to him, and that he could not comply with her request. She then said that bodily harm could come to him or those Catholics who communicated with him. The pastor responded that surely the Catholic Church would not be guilty of such an unchristian act. The answer came that the Catholic Church was too "holy" to shed blood, but they had their agents who would. Mark you, what an outrage on human intelligence, to leave the impression that the instigators of bloodshed are innocent. This is a perfect example how they do their nefarious acts, whether to individuals or nations, and manage to keep hidden from the public.

-- Peterson, 1960, pp. 50-51.

While travelling on a train in Spain I talked with quite a number of Spanish Catholics, and some of them in hushed voices said, while armed soldiers were passing to and fro outside our compartment door, "I am a Catholic, but I do not agree with the way the priests are persecuting the Protestants." You hear such statements in all Catholic countries. Six months ago, in Brazil, a fanatical mob led by a priest destroyed a Baptist and a Presbyterian Church. It got out into the papers there, and honest Catholics all over the land raised their voices against such barbarity. The same is true of the priestly murders of Christians in Colombia. But Rome does not mind, nor is she checked by mere protests.

-- "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Catholic Church" by F. Paul Peterson, published privately, 1959, page 21.

A pastor in Britain, who had been a missionary in Lebanon, told me the following story: A young man had visited America when World War II had broken out, and remained there until the war was over. He then returned to Lebanon enquiring about his relatives. He was told that only a cousin remained and she had entered a Convent. He went there and saw her and they decided to be married, which is lawful in Lebanon. They spoke to the Superior about it and it was agreed that he should come back the next day to take her away. When he came back the Superior said that she had already given him the girl. He responded, "Why no, you did not give me the girl." The Superior insisted and called two nuns and asked them if it was not true that they had given him the girl, and they bore testimony to the statement. His first thought was to notify the police, but then he realised that he would have to give an account as to what had been done with the girl, since there were testimonies against him. But murder will out. Next door to the Convent lived an old couple. The man was not feeling well, and he asked his wife to make him some tea from the lemon blossoms of a tree which they had in their back yard. The wife climbed the tree, picked the blossoms, when she noticed that over the high wall the nuns were digging a large hole in the ground. She told her husband of the strange incident, who accused her of being mad to say that at night the nuns were digging a large hole in the ground. But he went out and verified the fact. They reported the incident to the police, who were directed to the spot, and excavation was made and the girl was found. She had been poisoned. The Convent was made into a Government institution, and the nuns were judged according to the law. A large book could be written over modern occurrences of this type. Rome never changes.

-- Peterson, 1959, pp. 44-45.

A British Consul in Yugoslavia told the following incident to a good friend of mine, which happened in the early days of Marshall Tito. There was a boys' school run by priests and, not far away, was a small village made up of Protestants. One day the priests told the boys that the Protestants should be killed and, together with the priests, the horrible massacre was carried out. Tito, hearing of this, sent his troops and killed every priest and boy in the school.

-- Peterson, 1959, p 50.

Just recently I was in various cities in Eire (Southern Ireland), and while travelling there I spoke to over 15 priests about salvation through Christ. I realized I was treading on dangerous ground, but one Irishman seemed to realize it more than I did. I was in a compartment in a train with about sixteen people, one of whom was a priest. I gave him a good testimony, telling him of my experience of conversion. I had just asked him about his own experiences with God (which is quite an embarrassing question), when the Irishman next to him entered into the talk, but quickly steered the conversation to other matters. Later, when we had to change trains, this Irishman came to me and apologized for the way he had changed the subject. But he asked me, "Didn't you know that man was a priest ? "I replied that I knew that. He then said, "You were in danger, for this is Southern Ireland."

-- Peterson, 1959, p. 111.

During its rise to power, the Papacy also essentially exterminated the Heruli shortly after 493 A.D., the Vandals soon after 533 A.D., and the Ostrogoths in 554 A.D, all of whom were asserted to hold to the Arian belief. However, Limborch (The History of the Inquisition, p. 95) doubts that Arius held the views attributed to him. Concerning the Vandals, Bunch writes

"It is reckoned that during the reign of Justinian, Africa lost five millions of inhabitants; thus Arianism was extinguished in that region, not by any enforcement of conformity, but by the extermination of the race which had introduced and professed it." – History of the Christian Church, J.C. Robertson, Vol. 1, p. 521.

-- Bunch, Taylor, The Book of Daniel, p. 101.

Of course, the Heruli and the Ostrogoths also undoubtedly numbered in the millions, and were exterminated. Everywhere one looks there is evidence of millions and millions of people who were killed by the Papacy in various stages of its history. The Hussites were also nearly exterminated:

[footnote, speaking of Innocent VIII] Yet on the papal throne he played the zealot against the Germans, whom he accused of magic, in his bull Summis desiderantes affectibus, etc., and also against the Hussites, whom he well nigh exterminated.

-- Williams, Henry Smith, The Historian’s History of the World, vol. 8, p. 643.

Furthermore, in a footnote speaking of the thirty years’ war which started in Bohemia where the Hussites originated, Krus and Webb write

The intensity of that conflict surpassed that of other types of armed confrontations. In Bohemia, for instance, there were whole sections of the country in which nobody was left to bury the dead. The total population of Bohemia decreased in the 17th century from about 3 million to 500,000. These population changes are representative of other areas of Central Europe afflicted by the Thirty Years War.

-- Krus, D.J., & Webb, J.M. (1993) Quantification of Santayana's cultural schism theory. Psychological Reports, 72, 319-325.

In fact, many sects had been exterminated throughout the history of Rome:

The inquisitor Reinerius, who died in 1259, has left it on record: "Concerning the sects of ancient heretics, observe, that there have been more than seventy: all of which, except the sects of the Manichaeans and the Arians and the Runcarians and the Leonists which have infected Germany, have through the favour of God, been destroyed.

-- Broadbent, E.H., The Pilgrim Church, Gospel Folio Press, 2002, p. 90 (originally published in 1931).

One of these sects lost a hundred thousand to persecution:

An edict was issued under the regency of Theodora, which decreed that the Paulicians should be exterminated by fire and sword, or brought back to the Greek church. … It is affirmed by civil and ecclesiastical historians, that, in a short reign, one hundred thousand Paulicians were put to death.

-- Andrew Miller, Short Papers on Church, London, Chapter 16.

 

 

CHAPTER 3. The 50 Million Figure

It is often claimed by historic Protestant writers that 50 million or more people have been killed by the Papacy. For example, Buck [Buck, Charles, A Theological Dictionary, containing Definitions of All Religious Terms; ..., Philadelphia, Thomas Cowperthwait & Co., 1838, article "Persecution", p. 335] writes, "It has been computed that fifty millions of Protestants have at different times been the victims of the persecutions of the Papists, and put to death for their religious opinions." However, most people today have no idea how this figure of 50 million was originally computed. Some persons today are claiming that this figure of 50 million has no basis in fact and is an exaggeration based on anti-Catholic sentiment. Therefore it is of interest to find out how this figure was originally computed in order to evaluate its reliability. This study reveals some aspects of history that are being neglected today and also gives us an insight into the extent to which the true history of religion is being lost. This study also shows how some of the other figures were computed.

There were many attempts to calculate the number killed by the Papacy. Albert Barnes, in his commentary on Revelation 11:14, states, "Calculations, more or less accurate, have been made of the numbers Popery has slain…." We give one plausible method of computation for the often quoted figure of 50 million killed by the Papacy in Europe. As a starting point, John Wesley speaks of "the whole number of victims who have been offered up in Europe since the beginning of the Reformation? Partly by war, partly by the Inquisition, and a thousand other methods of Romish cruelty? No less within forty years, if the computation of an eminent writer be just, than five and forty millions!" John Wesley, "Doctrine of Original Sin", Part I, section II.8, 1757, Wesley's Works, edited by Thomas Jackson, vol. 9, pp. 217-19. He also wrote,

Some have computed, that, from the year 1518 to1548, fifteen million of Protestants have perished by war and the Inquisition. This may be overcharged, but certainly the number of them in these thirty years, as well as since is almost incredible. To these we may add innumerable martyrs, in ancient, middle, and late ages, in Bohemia, Germany, Holland, France, England, Ireland, and many other parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia.

(from the commentary on the book of Revelation in Wesley’s "Explanatory Notes on the New Testament," fifth edition, 1788) Also, Bennet [Bennet, Benjamin, Several discourses against popery, Lawrence and Midwinter, London, 1714, p. 459] writes,

And some that have pretended to make a calculation, affirm, that in the space of 40 years Rome has been the death of 30 millions of people.

Also, Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965 edition, page 726, referencing many older works on church history states "Historians estimate that, in the Middle Ages and Early Reformation Era, more than 50,000,000 Martyrs perished." Furthermore, speaking of Innocent III, Halley writes [p. 776], "More Blood was Shed under his direction, and that of his immediate successors, than at any other period of Church History, except in the Papacy’s effort to Crush the Reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries." In his introduction to [Berg, Lectures on Romanism, D. Weidner, Philadelphia, 1840, p. 6], Brownlee writes, "Rome has been ‘drunk with the blood’ of fifty millions of martyred Culdees, Waldenses, Albigenses, Bohemian Brethren, Wicklifites, and Protestants!" This at least gives a listing of those included in one of the computations of fifty million killed. Voltaire wrote [Traite sur la Tolerance, 1763, Chapter XVII]

depuis environ quatorze cents ans, la théologie a procuré le massacre de plus de
cinquante millions d'hommes.

This shows that one of these computations of 50 million killed was accepted by Voltaire and approximately covered the period from 350 A.D. to 1750 A.D. In commenting on this figure, a web page maintained by Professor James MacLean of the Department of French and Spanish at Memorial University of Newfoundland says

allusion aux Guerres de Religion, aux Croisades, etc.

Thus Prof. MacLean speculates that the 50 million figure is based on wars of religion, crusades, and other events.

These quotations give us important clues about the origin of the figure of 50 million killed by the Papacy in Europe. Another individual recalled to the author that this figure of 50 million consisted mostly of those killed after the beginning of the reformation, suggesting that this 50 million figure contained the 45 million figure. Because Wesley quoted the figure of 15 million killed by war and the Inquisition, it is reasonable to conclude that this is part of the figure of 45 million, and that this figure of 45 million is part of the often quoted figure of 50 million. The figure of 30 million killed in 40 years probably refers to a period including the Thirty Years’ War from 1618 to 1648. Thus the figure of 45 million is probably the sum of these two other figures of 15 million killed from 1518 to 1548 and 30 million killed in 40 years including the period from 1618 to 1648. It is interesting that even in 1714, such computations were being done. In general, in reconstructing the computation, it is helpful to remember that these death tolls tend to decrease with time due to the influence of the Catholic Church, so that death tolls that are considered high today were probably used in the computation. For example, Lockman [A history of the cruel sufferings of the protestants, and others, by Popish persecutions, in various countries: together with a view of the reformations from the Church of Rome. London: printed. And, Dublin: re-printed by J. Potts, 1763, p. 226] writes that during the Huguenot wars in France, even when many Protestants were being forcibly converted to Catholicism the "Romish clergy" were claiming that these conversions were entirely voluntary. Thus the Catholic version of history will tend to reduce the magnitude of past persecutions. In addition, the specific events covered in the computation of the 50 million figure were probably mentioned by later Protestants, even if the computation itself was not mentioned. Therefore it is best to restrict the computation to massacres listed, for example, by Brownlee and others.

The time period for the figure of 45 million has now been reasonably established, but not the place. For this, Burton [Burton, Robert, Martyrs in flames: or, the history of Popery, Bettesworth and Batley, London, 1729] lists in the table of contents the following persecutions: Piedmont, France, Orange, Bohemia, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Flanders, Scotland, Ireland, and England. This seems to be the most exhaustive list of persecutions of any of the sources examined, indicating the areas in which the principal persecutions took place. In fact, Buck [Buck, Charles, A Theological Dictionary, containing Definitions of All Religious Terms; ..., Philadelphia, Thomas Cowperthwait & Co., 1838, article "Persecution"] writes, speaking of the time after the Protestant Reformation,

The inquisition, which was established in the twelfth century against the Waldenses ... was now more effectually set to work.  Terrible persecutions were carried on in various parts of Germany, and even in Bohemia, which continued about thirty years, and the blood of the saints was said to flow like rivers of water.  The countries of Poland, Lithuania, and Hungary, were in a similar manner deluged with Protestant blood [p. 333].

This suggests that the principal areas of persecution included Germany, Bohemia, Poland, Lithuania, and Hungary. Also, Bennet [Bennet, Benjamin, Several discourses against popery, Lawrence and Midwinter, London, 1714, p. 457] writes

Germany, Bohemia, Poland, Lithuania &c. have in their turns been deluged in blood.

Thus the time and place of the major persecutions contributing to the 50 million figure have been determined with reasonable confidence. It remains to estimate numbers killed in each of these persecutions and show that they add up to 50 million. Although it is not yet possible to give a full accounting, one can assign reasonable totals to these persecutions that do add up to 50 million.

A large portion of the figure of 45 million is covered by the thirty years’ war, the conflict in Bohemia, the civil wars and persecutions in France, and 15 million killed from 1518 to 1548. Now, the thirty years’ war lasted from 1618 to 1648 and estimates for those killed in this conflict range up to 14 million. The thirty years’ war started when Ferdinand II (1578-1648) tried to suppress Protestantism in the Holy Roman Empire. As for where Ferdinand II got his motivation, "Emperor Ferdinand II, of the House of Hapsburg, had been educated by the Jesuits; and with their help undertook to suppress Protestantism." (Halley, p. 792) "The sons and daughters of the rich and noble they [the Jesuits] sought by every means to bring under their influence, and they were soon the favorite confessors in the imperial court and in many of the royal courts of Europe. …. It was their policy to … instill into their minds [the rich and the noble] an undying hatred of every form of opposition to the Catholic faith. … When they had once molded a ruler to their will and made him the subservient instrument of their policy, they were ever at his side dictating to him the measures to be employed for the eradication of heresy and the complete reformation of his realm according to the Jesuit ideal, and they were ever ready, with full papal authority, to conduct inquisitorial work." [Newman, pp. 374-375] Lindsay [A History of the Reformation, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1922, pp. 607-608] writes, "Many Romanist Princes had no wish to persecute, still less to see their provinces depopulated by banishment. … Toleration of Protestants they [the Jesuits] represented to be the unpardonable sin. They succeeded in many cases in inducing Romanist rulers to withdraw the protection they had hitherto accorded to their Protestant subjects …. The League was the symbol in France of this Counter-Reformation. … they [the Jesuits] were the restless and ruthless organizers of the Holy League." Clarke [Clarke, Samuel, A looking-glass for persecutors, London, Printed for W. Miller, 1674, p. 52] writes, "The emperor Ferdinand the second, was a great Persecutor of the Protestants in Bohemia and Germany, who after his victory over Frederick, Prince Palatine, and the Bohemian States, made it his work to root out the Protestant Religion in those Countries, and turned them into a very shambles of Blood, sparing neither Age, Sex, nor Rank that refused to abjure the Truth. But while he was in his full Career, God brought in against him a contemptible people [the Swedes] under whose swords most of those bloody wretches fell; who were the Bohemian scourges, so that much of Germany, and of the Emperors Country was a very Aceldama, a Field of Blood." A high estimate for the Thirty Years’ War is that the population of Germany was reduced from 20 million to 7 million, implying 13 million killed [Cushing B. Hassell, History of the Church of God, Chapter XVII]; actually the population should have increased by about 3 million during this time, so we can estimate 16 million killed. Ploetz [Epitome of Ancient, Medieval, and Modern History, 1884, p. 312] writes of the "Terrible ravages committed by the bands of Wallenstein" in Germany in 1632 in Saxony. Also, in 1648, Ploetz [p. 315] writes "Terrible condition of Germany. Irreparable losses of men and wealth. Reduction of population; increase of poverty; retrogradation in all ranks." The war extended to other areas of Europe, and there was also a tremendous population loss there, so it would not be unreasonable to estimate 18 million killed altogether. In fact, one edition of Halley’s Bible Handbook states that estimates for this war reach as high as 20 million:

The Thirty Years War had started as a Religious War; it ended as a Political War; it resulted in the deaths of 10,000,000 to 20,000,000. Jesuit educated Ferdinand II started it with the purpose of crushing Protestantism.

Halley, Henry H., Pocket Bible Handbook, Chicago, 13th edition, 1939, p. 418.

Estimates for the number killed in the Huguenot wars in France range as high as 4 million, and probably almost all of these were killed by Catholics. Pierre Miquel [Les guerres de religion, Paris : Fayard, c1980, p. 396] writes,

Henri IV n'était pas plus riche. Son royaume était dévasté: en quarante ans de guerres civiles étrangères, la France avait sans doute perdu plusiers millions d'hommes et de femmes (4 millions, selon Mariéjol).

In support of this figure, Albert Barnes in his commentary on Revelation 11:14 writes,

In France several million were destroyed in the innumerable massacres that took place in that kingdom.

If four million persons were killed in France in only forty years, the total killed in France could be considerably higher including those killed afterwards. Concerning the persecutions in France, Southwell [Southwell, Henry, The new book of martyrs; or complete Christian martyrology. Containing an authentic and genuine historical account of the many dreadful persecutions against the Church of Christ, in all parts of the world, ... Imprint London : printed for J. Cooke, [1765?]] writes,

"Thus did popish malice pursue the reformed in most parts of France, and persecute them under various names, but the denomination about this time, viz. the sixteenth century, most obnoxious to the Roman Catholics were hugonots, protestants, Lutherans, and Calvinists; and as these words were then synonymous in their meaning, and implied renouncing the errors of the church of Rome, so all who were apprehended under the imputation of belonging to either, were equally martyred. Yet the reformed flourished under persecution…." [p. 93]

"the king [of France] publically declared he would exterminate the protestants from France…." "The general cry was ‘Turn papists, or die.’" [p. 108]

"Those who were not put to death suffered imprisonment, had their houses pulled down, their lands laid waste, their property stolen, and their wives and daughters, after being ravished, sent into convents…. If any fled from these cruelties, they were pursued through the woods, hunted and shot like wild beasts....At the head of the dragoons, in all the provinces of France, marched the bishops, priests, friars, &c. the clergy being ordered to keep up the cruel spirit of the military. An order was published for demolishing all protestant churches…." [pp. 108-109]

Adding 15 million for the period 1518 to 1548 and 18 million for the thirty years’ war and 3 million for Bohemia and 4 million for France gives 40 million, nearly agreeing with Wesley’s estimate. The remaining 5 million persons can be accounted for by the persecutions in Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, and elsewhere. Some of these estimates may be on the high side, but many smaller conflicts and persecutions have been left out, such as the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and the killing of probably millions of witches. Another example is the persecution of the Waldensians; Halley’s Bible handbook, 1965 estimates 900,000 Protestants killed from 1540 to 1570 in the persecution of the Waldenses. At least this method of computation gives us a good idea where the figure of 45 million comes from and takes the mystery out of its origin.

Also, Wesley in his diary of January 16, 1760 quotes Sir John Davis in his "Historical Relations Concerning Ireland" as stating that "from 1600 to 1641, the general massacre, with the ensuing war, again thinned their numbers; not so few as a million of men, women, and children, being destroyed in four years' time." The rebellion in 1641 killed more than 150,000 Protestants in Ireland, by the priests’ own computations, and many others died later. This shows how quickly religious wars consume lives. Similar numbers were killed in a short time in France, Bohemia, and especially Germany. Thus it is reasonable to conclude that in the countries of Poland, Hungary, and Lithuania, at least four million persons were killed at about the time of the thirty years’ war. With the million persons killed in Ireland and the 40 million figure computed above, this yields 45 million killed since the Reformation. Almost all of these would be Protestants, because Protestants do not generally massacre Catholics but Catholics in the past have often massacred Protestants. In a similar way, with the religious conflicts raging in Europe from 1518 to 1548, it is reasonable to assume that 15 million persons were killed then.

Now, to obtain 50 million, one has to include those killed before the Protestant Reformation. For this, estimates for the Hundred Years’ War from 1337-1453 range up to 10 million killed, and this war could have been furthered by the Papacy, as nearly all other European wars were. (See Philip Pregill, Landscapes in History, 2d Ed. estimating the population loss in France at 6.3 million and Frederic J. Baumgartner, France in the Sixteenth Century estimating the population loss in France at 10 million, taken from a web page by Matthew White. Both sources deny that the Black Death caused most of these deaths.) In fact, the reconquest of Spain from the Mohammedans took several centuries, so it is reasonable to estimate the number killed in this war at well over 10 million. W. C. Brownlee estimates the slaughter of Saracens in Spain at 3 million, but other estimates are higher. Joseph Berg writes [Lectures on Romanism, D. Weidner, Philadelphia, 1840, p. 260],

The stupid quarrels that have originated from disputes relative to ceremonies the most puerile have deluged Europe with blood…. "Disputes arose in connection with this ceremony [the investiture of prelates], which cost sixty-three battles, and the lives of many millions of men. Fra. Paolo says it cost eighty battles in Germany alone. This question excited great troubles, particularly in Germany and England…. The Dictionnaire des Sciences states that it occasioned sixty battles under Henry IV., and sixty-eight under Henry V, his successor, in which two millions of men were slain."

One can also list the Catholic crusade against the Albigenses in Southern France (from 1209-1229) with one to two million killed. Newman [A Manual of Church History by Albert Henry Newman, The American Baptist Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1902, p. 461] speaks of many crusades against heretics in Europe: "There were many crusades against heretics in Europe, as against the Albigenses (1208-1249) and against the Hussites (1420-1431).  These were accompanied by the indiscriminate massacre of the helpless populations in the regions invaded." Also, Brownlee in one place speaks of "millions of Albigenses and Waldenses" killed by Rome. Computations for the total number of Waldenses killed can easily range into many millions, as shown elsewhere. These could make up the balance of the 50 million killed in Europe. But the persecutions only increased their numbers, by scattering them in many lands. Finally a crusade was pronounced against them. As an example of such persecution, Morant writes [Morant, Philip, The cruelties and persecutions of the Romish church display'd …. James and John Knapton, London, 1728, p. 52], "Again, in the year 1235, an army of the Albigenses was entirely defeated near Spain, so that not one of them escaped. Likewise in Germany there was an infinite number of them killed." Concerning persecutions in Bohemia before the Reformation, Southwell [Southwell, Henry, The new book of martyrs; or complete Christian martyrology. Containing an authentic and genuine historical account of the many dreadful persecutions against the Church of Christ, in all parts of the world, ... Imprint London : printed for J. Cooke, [1765?]] writes,

"In the year 1460, the king of Bohemia published a very severe edict against all protestants; commanding the Bohemian nobility and magistrates, not only to seize them wherever they could find them on their estates, and within their districts, but to pursue them to their retreats, to hunt them in their recesses, and to do every thing they possibly could toward their extirpation." [p. 184]

"In the year 1510, an edict was prepared for ordering an immediate and general massacre of all the protestants that could be found in Bohemia…." [p. 185]

Concerning the Cathari, who were similar to the Waldenses, near the end of the twelfth century "The Dominican Rainerius gave 4,000,000 as a safe estimate of their number and declared this was according to a census made by the Cathari themselves" [Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 8 volumes (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s, 1910; reprint, 1978), Volume V, Chapter X]. Of course nearly all of the Cathari were killed. They were said to be very zealous for their faith, and few would have recanted. In addition, if the Cathari conducted a census, they must have been a cohesive group. There must have been many other "heretics" that had similar beliefs but were not part of the Cathari; it would be reasonable to estimate at least 8 million when these were included. This would imply that the number of those killed by the Papacy before the Reformation was 8 million or more, especially when one considers the hundreds of years that elapsed since the Papacy was established.

For evidence that there were many sects during this time and that they were very numerous and willing to die for their faith rather than to recant, Neander [General History of the Christian Religion and Church: Translated from the German of Dr. Augustus Neander by Joseph Torrey, Volume VI, London: George Bell & Sons, York Street, Covent Garden, 1889] writes,

This sect [Thondracians, a sect of Paulicians], though it met with no mercy from the bishops, at whose instigation it was fiercely persecuted, continually revived, and spread [p. 343] widely in Armenia. At one time, in particular, about the year 1002 it made the most alarming progress …. [p. 342]

The corruption of the clergy furnished the heretics a most important vantage-ground from which to attack the dominant church and its sacraments. The ignorance of the people on religious subjects exposed them to be continually deceived by those who were seeking, on whatever side, to work upon the minds of the multitude. The fickle populace were excited sometimes by the fiery appeals of the heretics … to abhorrence of their corrupt clergy …; and sometimes, by the influence of the clergy, to fanatical fury against the heretics, who were represented as utterly irreligious and godless men. [p. 348]

Except in the case of one ecclesiastic and one nun, all the pains which were taken to reclaim them from their errors, in other words, to induce them to recant, were to no purpose. The others, thirteen in number, were condemned to the stake, and died there. [p. 354, speaking of members of a sect at Orleans]

The sufferings to which they [a sect of Gerhard] were exposed on account of their doctrines, they encountered cheerfully, considering them as means of expiating sins committed before and in the present life ….Those therefore who were deprived of the privilege of dying as martyrs, died cheerfully under self-inflicted tortures. [p. 361]

… the fury with which the Catharists were persecuted in the thirteenth century may have contributed to promote among them this fanatical seeking after death; and we meet with examples which show that they inflicted death on themselves in these ways, to avoid falling victims to the inquisitions. [Volume VIII, p. 319]

The Catharists were zealous in disseminating their principles everywhere; they were careful to improve every favorable circumstance for this purpose, and seized upon every occurrence which could serve as a means to it. …the heretics, who at the peril of their lives traveled about from village to village and from house to house. As merchants they frequented fairs and markets …. [p. 320]

The intrepidity and calmness with which the Catharists faced an excruciating death might well create an impression in their favour on those who were not altogether hardened by fanaticism. … The persecutions furthered the spread of the Catharists, who often held their meetings in obscure retreats, catacombs, and subterranean caves. … in 1231, many priests even were affected with the heresy, and the sharpest measures had to be employed in order to stay it. [p. 330]

Such was their boldness that, in open defiance of the church, they [the Catharists] proceeded to elect a pope for themselves, to act as supreme head over their scattered communities. Such a pope appears in South France, Nequinta. He held, in 1167, a church-assembly at Toulouse, to which crowds of men and women flocked …. Nine bishops were installed …. Still later, about 1223, the sect chose themselves a pope in their original seat, in Bulgaria …. Delegates of the sect visited him from all quarters, for the purpose of consulting him on disputed matters. [p. 331]

… not only people of rank left their possessions and joined them, but also clergymen, priests, monks, and nuns were among their adherents. And it is mentioned as a characteristic fact, that the rudest and most unlettered peasant who joined their sect, would in less than eight days gain so much knowledge of the Scriptures, that he could not be foiled in argument by any man. [p. 337, speaking of another sect]

… after he had laboured for ten years in those regions [Toulouse and Alby], Bernard of Clairvaux, in writing to a nobleman, could say, "The churches are without flocks, the flocks without priests, the priests are nowhere treated with due reverence, the churches are leveled down to synagogues, the sacraments are not esteemed holy, the festivals are no longer celebrated." … he [Bernard] means the priests had gone over to the Henricians …. [p. 349]

The corruption of the clergy had, even in places where the church-system of doctrine was still held fast, excited great dissatisfaction and violent complaints, as appears evident from the songs of the Troubadours, who came from these districts, where this tone of feeling is not to be mistaken. [p. 351]

Since then … the church had now to engage in a violent contest with tendencies of spirit struggling in opposition to her, continually multiplying and continually spreading,--a contest such as had never occurred before,--she must be driven … to employ every means at her command for the purpose of suppressing an insurrection which could not be put down by spiritual might alone. [p. 399]

… the bishops … were no longer regarded in the communities with the requisite respect. This was especially the case in South France, in Languedoc, in the territory of the counts of Toulouse …. The clergy and the church service had here, ever since the last times of the twelfth century, been treated with contempt and ridicule. [p. 400]

Innocent the Third … well understood that extraordinary measures were needed to suppress the heretical tendencies so rapidly advancing, which threatened wholly to sever the connection betwixt these districts and the church of Rome. … he chose for his instruments the monks … the germ of the future inquisitions. [p. 401]

After the land had been laid waste for thirty years, the blood of thousands had been spilt, and a general submission had thus, in the year 1229, been finally brought about by force, the maintenance of the faith was still by no means secured for the future. The sects destroyed by fire and sword sprang up afresh out of the same needs of the spirit from which they had sprung up at the beginning. [p. 404]

Many of these sects were essentially Protestants, so that many of their martyrs can be included in the figure of 50 million Protestants killed by the Papacy. Perrin, who was a leading Waldensian minister, writes [History of the Waldenses, Book I, Chapter III, 1618] that the Waldenses were called by many names including Albigenses, Josephists, Lollards, Henricians, and Arnoldists and that many false accusations were made against them in order to induce the secular powers to persecute them. They were also called Cathari, Arians, and Manichees. In Chapter VI and VIII Perrin shows that the beliefs of the Waldenses were very similar to those of the later Protestants. In Chapter VIII Perrin shows how the teachings of the Waldenses spread to England and were handed down to Wycliff and from him communicated to John Huss. Also, the Bohemians obtained their beliefs somewhat earlier from the Waldenses. Therefore there is a direct connection between the Waldenses and the later Protestants.

Where does the figure of 15 million killed in the period 1518 and 1548 in war and the Inquisition come from? It is possible to conjecture about this as well, considering the large numbers of people even in Catholic countries that were accepting Protestantism. Jortin writes, "…at the time of the Reformation, when multitudes of Heretics and Schismatics, as they called them, arose in all places …" [Jortin, John, 1698-1770. Sermons on different subjects, by the late Reverend John Jortin, ... London : printed for Benjamin White, 1771-72., p. 127]. There would have been many Protestants in Hungary, because "under Maximilian II. the Reformation made unobstructed progress" [Kurtz, History of the Christian Church from the Reformation to the Present Time, 1872, p. 105]. Also, "It [the Reformation] was most cordially welcomed in Prussian Poland" and "In Poland proper, the new movements spread with great power" [Kurtz p. 103]. The same was true in Bohemia; "Thus Bohemia became an evangelical country; in a hundred inhabitants not more than one or two were Catholics" [Kurtz p. 105]. One commentator said that more than half of France was Huguenot at one point. As for Spain, "About 1550, the reformatory movement acquired so general and comprehensive a character, that a Spanish historian of that period expresses the belief that all Spain would have fallen a prey to the heresy, if the Inquisition had delayed the application of the remedy but three months" [Kurtz, p. 106]. In Italy, the same was true, because it took many years to eradicate Protestantism: "in 1542 a special Inquisition was instituted to suppress Protestantism in Italy, which, with reckless, fanatical fury, punished every appearance of Protestantism with imprisonment, the galleys, the scaffold, and the stake; nevertheless, it did not accomplish its purpose until towards the close of the century" [Kurtz, p. 107]. Of course Protestantism was also prevalent in the Protestant countries of Europe. Everywhere multitudes were accepting the true gospel. The Papacy felt its life was at stake, and met the threat with the most determined measures.

Wherever Protestantism appeared, it was viciously persecuted, both in the period from 1518 to 1548 and later. Concerning the period from 1518 to 1548, R.B. writes [R.B., The scarlet whore, or, the wicked abominations, horrid cruelties and persecutions of the Pope and Church of Rome …, Macnair, Glasgow, 1779]

About the year 1523 Martin Luther begain to shine as a great light in Germany, and his doctrine soon overspread Bohemia, and all the parts adjoining; which so enraged the pope and his clergy that they continually raised very violent persecutions against them, wherein multitudes of good Christians lost their lives by means of Ferdinand I. and Charles V. emperors of Germany. [p. 36]

Germany was miserably torn and rent to pieces by the cruelties and severities which they inflicted in order to extinguish the light of the gospel. … In the year 1523 the pope excited the emperor Charles V. to destroy all the protestants as heretics, and allowed him 200,000 crowns to raise soldiers for that purpose …. The duke of Saxony and the landgrave of Hesse stood up for the protestants, and were taken prisoners in the year 1547. Wherever the papists prevailed all sorts of cruelties … pursued the protestants, so that all Germany was as it were in a flame and combustion at once, some flying, and others suffering death on every side for their conscience and religion. [p. 39]

Also, in 1521 Luther was pronounced a heretic and punishments against him and his followers were decreed. In 1522 Hadrian the Sixth incited the princes of Germany to root out the teachings of Luther. Soon afterwards Lutheranism spread over almost the whole of Europe [Garrido, Fernando, and C. B. Cayley, A history of political and religious persecutions : from the earliest days of the Christian church, London, 1870?, p. 499]. In 1525 Clement the Seventh urged the senate of Paris to punish the Lutheran heresy that had sprung up among them. Also,

In Germany, after the victories of Charles V [about 1546], against the Lutherans, there ensued a very bitter persecution in many places, authority armed with laws and vigorous malice striving against simple verity. Both ministers and people, some were tossed from place to place; some exited out of their native countries, others driven into the woods, and forced to live in caves; some tormented upon the rack, and others burnt with fire and faggot. [The true spirit of popery, or, The treachery and cruelty of the Papists exercis’d against the Protestants …, London : Printed for Richard Baldwin ..., 1688, p. 22]

"The emperor Charles V, in the year 1547, ordered that all the decrees of the council of Trent, against the protestants, should be put in force with the utmost rigour, in every part of his extensive dominions. This severe order occasioned a most dreadful persecution throughout the greatest part of Europe; for as the emperor’s power was very extensive, so the cruelties practiced were almost innumerable. None, however, suffered more than the protestants of Bohemia…. The poor, who had no money to pay by way of mitigation, for thinking and acting right, were [here the passage becomes very explicit, so those who are sensitive should NOT read the rest of it] Racked, Burnt, Sawn asunder, Thrown from rocks, Torn by wild horses, Cut to pieces, Hanged, Drowned, Stabbed, Boiled in oil, Immured and starved, Beheaded, had boiling lead poured down their throats, were thrown on spears, hung up by the ribs, or crucified with their heads downwards." [Southwell, op. cit., p. 185]

[Speaking of Germany after 1517] "Indeed, the pope was so terrified at the success of that courageous reformer [Luther], that he determined to engage the emperor, Charles the Fifth, at any rate, in the scheme to attempt their extirpation…. Thus prompted and supported, the emperor undertook the extirpation of the protestants…." [Speaking of the defeat of the protestants in battle in 1547] "This fatal blow was succeeded by a horrid persecution, the severities of which were such, that exile might be deemed a mild fate, and concealment in a dismal woods pass for happiness…. Those who were taken experienced the most cruel tortures that infernal imaginations could invent; and by their constancy evinced, that a real Christian can surmount every difficulty, and despise every danger, to acquire a crown of martyrdom." [Southwell, op. cit., p. 195]

With so many persons accepting Protestantism, the total number killed would have been large. Kurtz [History of the Church , p. 162] says, "In Hungary the number of Protestants was reduced one-half, by various intrigues and enticements." Freeman [p. 281] writes, "Meanwhile, at the other end of Ferdinand’s dominions, the Protestants of Hungary revolted, and for a while turned him out of that kingdom also." Also, [p. 303] "The Emperor Leopold meanwhile, besides the wars with France, had much to do in his kingdom of Hungary, both with the wars against the Turks and with the revolts of the Hungarians, who were stirred up by his cruel persecutions of the Protestants." The following is from W. C. Brownlee, Popery the Enemy of Civil and Religious Liberty, J. S. Taylor, New York, 1836, p. 102:

The following is from the Jesuit Confession of Faith imposed on papists in Hungary, published in German, at Berlin, 1829 ; and translated in The London Protestant Journal of 1831. "We also swear, that we will persecute this cursed evangelical doctrine, as long as we have a drop of blood in our bodies; and. we will eradicate it secretly and publicly; violently and deceitfully, with words, and with deeds; the sword not excluded." Land. Prot. Jour. p. 210.

One source [Wylie The History of Protestantism, Volume Third - Book Twentieth, Chapter 3] says that Hungary lost over a million people in the religious persecutions after the Reformation. Another source ["HUNGARY." LoveToKnow 1911 Online Encyclopedia. © 2003, 2004 LoveToKnow. http://3.1911encyclopedia.org/H/HU/HUNGARY.htm] says the population of Hungary was 5 million in about 1500 and 3 million in 1715. Unless there is a deliberate effort to massacre the people, a war will not cause such losses of population. This suggests that a million or more persons were killed in persecutions in Hungary. Bohemia lost about 3 million, well over half of its population, due to such persecutions. In Spain "In twenty of thirty years the evangelical course was suppressed" by the Inquisition [Kurtz, p. 106]. Similar losses were probably occurring in Roman Catholic countries all over Europe. Newman [A Manual of Church History by Albert Henry Newman, The American Baptist Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1902, p. 234] writes concerning the French Huguenots,

The Romanists had all the means of aggression in their own hands. The Protestants could hope, at best, for nothing better than a gradual extinction. The Jesuits were at work here, as everywhere, and their diabolical principles were soon to work the ruin of their defenseless adversaries.

Speaking of Siebenbuergen, Newman [p. 305] writes,

In 1523 and 1525 rigorous imperial laws were promulgated against the spread of the new doctrine. "All Lutherans are to be extirpated from the kingdom, and wherever they may be found are to be freely seized and burned, not only by ecclesiastical but also by secular persons" (Diet of Pesth, 1525).

Siebenbuergen is known in English as Transylvania and is a geographical region of Romania near the Hungarian border. It covers about 39,000 square miles. Speaking of a colony of Saxons in the Siebenbuergen area, Newman [p. 307] writes,

Like Poland, Hungary, and Siebenbuergen, it fell an easy prey to the Jesuits, who from 1560 onward were carefully laying their plans for the crushing of all forms of evangelical teaching and the restoration of papal authority.

Speaking of Austria, Newman [p. 387] writes,

The correspondence of the time, the careful records of public and private conferences, and the exceedingly full and well-preserved archival materials, give us an inside view of the process by which the Counter-Reformation was inaugurated and carried out to its bitter end…. [Speaking of Charles] He was led to believe that the salvation of his soul and the permanent holding of his hereditary possessions depended upon his remorseless persecution of heretics. At a conference of Catholic princes at Munich (October, 1579) Charles was urged to enter with vigor upon the work, and the princes bound themselves mutually to give each other all needful assistance in suppressing rebellion among their subjects…. The Jesuits were already present in force, and they were ready to be the chief instruments in the destruction of Protestantism….

The Protestants struggled heroically, as long as successful resistance seemed possible. Nowhere do we find a nobler type of Lutheranism than in this region. No country in Europe was readier to throw off the papal yoke and to adopt evangelical Christianity. Apart from Hapsburg rulers, Romanism would have been swept away almost without resistance. Hapsburg conservativism and Jesuit zeal were more than a match for the sturdy Lutheran nobles.

Freeman [General Sketch of European History, MacMillan and Company, New York, 1903, p. 264] writes

Thus, for instance, in Austria, where a large part of the people had become Protestants, the Catholic religion was brought back, chiefly by the help of the Jesuits.

Speaking of Germany and Austria after 1620, Newman [p. 388] writes,

Within a few years Protestantism had been almost completely exterminated throughout the Hapsburg domains, multitudes having been slaughtered, and the rest banished or forcibly converted.  The Jesuits were the instigators and the chief agents in this horrible work.

Concerning Belgium, Newman [p.388] writes,

In Belgium the Counter-Reformation was carried forward under Jesuit influence with remarkable rapidity…. Half the population had been Protestant. Within a few years it became exclusively Catholic.

Lest anyone think that these people were fleeing to other countries, it is important to recall that the objective of the Jesuits was to eliminate Protestants and not to push them from one country to another. Thus the Jesuits would have attempted by every means to prevent their escape. In support of this, Halley [pp. 780-781] writes, "In Spain, Netherlands, South Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Poland, and other countries, they [the Jesuits] led in the Massacre of Untold Multitudes. By these methods they Stopped the Reformation in Southern Europe and virtually saved the Papacy from ruin." Also, Halley [p. 790] writes,

In Bohemia, by 1600, in a population of 4,000,000, 80 per cent were Protestant. When the Hapsburgs and Jesuits had done their work, 800,000 were left, all Catholics.

In Austria and Hungary half the population Protestant, but under the Hapsburgs and Jesuits they were slaughtered.

In Poland, by the end of the 16th century, it seemed as if Romanism was about to be entirely swept away, but here too, the Jesuits, by persecution, killed Reform.

In Italy, the Pope’s own country, the Reformation was getting a real hold; but the Inquisition got busy, and hardly a trace of Protestantism was left.

Also, [Halley, page 792] "… under the brilliant and brutal leadership of the Jesuits [Rome] regained much of the lost territory; South Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Belgium, and crushed the Reformation in France." As additional evidence that only a few people emigrated from Bohemia, James A. Wylie [The History of Protestantism Volume Third - Book Nineteenth, Chapter 10] writes,

Of the common people not fewer than 36,000 families emigrated. There was hardly a kingdom in Europe where the exiles of Bohemia were not to be met with. Scholars, merchants, traders, fled from a land which was given over as a prey to the disciples of Loyola, and the dragoons of Ferdinand. Of the 4,000,000 who inhabited Bohemia in 1620, a miserable remnant, amounting not even to a fifth, were all that remained in 1648.

Furthermore,

Bohemia had its population reduced from three million to seven hundred and eighty thousand, and there were parts of the continent where unburied corpses lay so thick that the regions had to be avoided until nature had done its work with the putrefying bodies of the dead.

Joseph McCabe, The Story of Religious Controversy, Chapter XXIX The Jesuits: Religious Rogues, 1929.

Kurtz [p. 162] writes, "It [the Protestant church] was wholly exterminated in Bohemia." Newman [pp. 400-401] writes,

Ferdinand Extirpates Protestantism. It need scarcely be said that Ferdinand followed up his victories in the Austro-Hungarian Empire by vigorous measures for the extirpation of Protestantism. The Jesuits were on hand in full force to aid in the terrible work. This is not the place to describe the process by which Protestants, who in Bohemia at the beginning of the war constituted eighty per cent of the population, were in an incredibly short time almost wholly exterminated. The Counter-Reformation did its work here with an amazing thoroughness. Roman Catholicism had an opportunity here to exhibit itself in its true character. The time for expediency had ended. The rigid carrying out of the principles of the body now had place.

Burton [Burton, Robert, Martyrs in flames: or, the history of Popery, Bettesworth and Batley, London, 1729, p. 107] notes that as a result of the persecutions in Bohemia, the Jesuits obtained vast possessions in that country. Also, "In the year 1617, Ferdinand II was obtruded upon the Bohemians, who joined with the papists, and raised up a terrible persecution against the protestants, which was the cause of the election of Frederic, Prince Palatine of the Rhine, to be king of Bohemia, upon which there followed those cruel wars and troubles in that country, wherein many godly ministers, and other pious, holy, and good men, suffered such barbarities and inhumanities from the popish soldiers, that the ear of a Christian cannot bear, nor his tongue relate them without the greatest abhorrence and indignation…. In the year 1621 all the ministers were banished out of the kingdom of Bohemia…. Not long after an edict was published in Bohemia for banishing all Protestants in general, and that their children should be taken from them and brought up in the popish religion…. Upon this there followed a cruel persecution, so that almost in every city, town, or village the protestants suffered great torments and barbarities." [R.B., The scarlet whore, or, the wicked abominations, horrid cruelties and persecutions of the Pope and Church of Rome …, Macnair, Glasgow, 1779, pp. 37-38] Furthermore,

In some places they shut up the people in the church, and forced them to receive in one kind, and if they would not kneel before the host, they used to beat their legs with clubs till they fell down; others they gagged, and when they had propped their mouths wide open, they thrust the host down their throats. Others were detained in prisons and bonds so long till they died, and particularly one was kept in a loathsome dungeon so long till his feet rotted off. If any, to avoid this tyrrany, fled to the woods or other private places for shelter, edicts were published forbidding all to entertain them, upon pain of forfeiting great sums of money for every night’s entertainment. The country people were fetched out of their houses; nay, out of their very beds, by troops of soldiers, who drove them before them like beasts in the sharpest of cold and bitter weather. And with these poor creatures they filled the common prisons, towers, cellars, stables; nay, and hog-sties too, where they were killed with hunger, cold, and thirst. Marriage, burial and baptism were forbidden to the Protestants, and if they did it privately, they were imprisoned, or else put to great fines. … In some places the heretics were shut up in privies, to the end that they might be poisoned with the stench. And these were the charitable ways, by which the Bohemian Catholics endeavored to reclaim such as were revolted from the tyrrany of the Pope. [The true spirit of popery, or, The treachery and cruelty of the Papists exercis’d against the Protestants …, London : Printed for Richard Baldwin ..., 1688, pp. 17-18]

As an illustration of the attitude of the Catholic Church towards the Protestants in Bohemia, Robbins [Ecclesiastical Megalomania, The Trinity Foundation, 1999, p. 134] writes "Two centuries after Thomas, Martin V (1417-1431) ordered the King of Poland to exterminate the Hussites. The pope wrote to the king:

Know that the interests of the Holy See, and those of your crown, make it a duty to exterminate the Hussites. Remember that these impious persons dare proclaim principles of equality; they maintain that all Christians are brethren and that God has not given to privileged men the right of ruling the nations; they hold that Christ came on Earth to abolish slavery; they call the people to liberty, that is to the annihilation of kings and priests. While there is still time, then, turn your forces against Bohemia; burn, massacre, make deserts everywhere, for nothing could be more agreeable to God, or more useful to the cause of kings, than the extermination of the Hussites."

Also, speaking of Rome, "not content with petty cruelties, but still clearing her way to absolute dominion, by general massacres, entire desolations, and utter extirpations." [The true spirit of popery, or, The treachery and cruelty of the Papists exercis’d against the Protestants …, London : Printed for Richard Baldwin ..., 1688, p.3]

After describing the persecutions in Germany in the Thirty Years’ War, R.B. states [R.B., The scarlet whore, or, the wicked abominations, horrid cruelties and persecutions of the Pope and Church of Rome …, Macnair, Glasgow, 1779, p. 41] "the same cruelties were also committed in the kingdom of Hungary and in other countries …." Concerning Poland, "In lower Poland … In the year 1654 the papists put to death all the Protestants they could find by most exquisite tortures" [R.B, op. cit., p. 42]. Also,

[Speaking of Poland in 1655] "The Romish clergy having thus awakened the suspicions, and appealed to the passions of the people, the latter took it for granted that the protestants were guilty, and began a most furious persecution. Every city, town, and village, presented scenes of horror and cruelty; no inhumanity was left unthought of, no barbarity unpracticed. Age, sex, or rank, made no distinction; all protestants fell alike the undistinguished victims of bigoted rage." [Here some specifics of the persecutions are given.] [Southwell, op. cit., p. 226]

[Speaking of the Polish nobility with their papist army in 1655] "In what manner they would have used the refugee citizens who fled [from Lesna], but more especially the pastors, they showed by their heroic conduct to those remaining; and in other places, by the most savage slaughtering of divers ministers of the church, and other faithful members of Christ of both sexes; for of all that they laid hold on, they gave no quarter, but cruelly put every one to death with most exquisite tortures…." [Southwell, op. cit., p. 236]

Concerning Lithuania, "In Lithuania all who were not Roman Catholics were slaughtered without distinction of age or sex" and "their countries and churches [were] laid waste, so that nothing was to be seen but murders and massacres; the blood of the poor suffering Protestants ran in streams through the streets of towns and cities …." [op. cit., p. 43]. Southwell [op. cit., p. 224] writes,

"The persecutions in Lithuania began in 1648, and were carried on with great severity by the Cossacks and Tartars. The cruelty of the Cossacks was such, that even the Tartars, at last, grew ashamed of it, and rescued some of the intended victims from their hands."

"The barbarities exercised were these: [here the passage becomes very explicit, so those who are sensitive should NOT read the rest of it] Skinning alive, Cutting off hands, Taking out the bowels, Cutting the flesh open, Putting out the eyes, Beheading, Scalping, Cutting off feet, Boring the thin bones, Pouring melted lead into the flesh, Hanging, Stabbing, and Sending to perpetual banishment."

In Protestant countries as well, many would have been persecuted during the transition to Protestantism. For example, concerning the Thirty Years’ War, Newman [pp. 410-411] writes,

The extent of the destruction of life through the Thirty Years’ War cannot be estimated. If we take into account the multitudes who died of starvation and exposure, the hundreds of thousands of women and children who were slain in the sacking and destroying of the towns and cities, the fearful waste of life that must have been involved in camp-following, the deaths caused by the war would amount to many millions. In Bohemia, at the beginning of the war, there was a population of two million, of whom about eight-tenths were Protestant; at the close of the war there were about eight hundred thousand Catholics and no Protestants. Taking Germany and Austria together, we may safely say that the population was reduced by one-half, if not by two-thirds. And the deaths were in most cases the result of untold sufferings and as horrible as we can conceive.

[Speaking of the persecutions in Germany after 1630] "The cruelties used by the Imperial troops, under count Tilly in Saxony, are thus enumerated: [here the passage becomes very explicit, so those who are sensitive should NOT read the rest of it] Hanging, Stifling, Roasting, Stabbing, Frying, Racking, Ravishing, Ripping open, Breaking the bones, Rasping off the flesh, Tearing with wild horses, Drowning, Strangling, Burning, Boiling, Crucifying, Immuring, Poisoning, Cutting off tongue, nose, ears, etc., Sawing off the limbs, Hacking to pieces, Drawing by the heels through the streets. Theses enormous cruelties will be a perpetual stain on the memory of count Tilly, who not only permitted, but even commanded his troops to put them in practice. Wherever he came, the most horrid barbarities, and cruel depredations ensued … so that the full result of his conquests were murder, poverty, and desolation." [Southwell, op. cit., p. 197]

Du Prin[Du Pin, Louis Ellies, A new ecclesiastical history of the seventeenth century: containing an account of the controversies in religion, Translated by Digby Cotes, T. Combes, London, and A. Peisley, Oxford, 1725] writes,

The whole kingdom of Bohemia, and half the subjects of Hungary, Austria, and Moravia were Protestants…. In a Word, the Reformation was established by Authority in most of the principalities and imperial cities of Germany, in Hungary, Transylvania, Poland, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Great Britain, and Ireland…. The emperor has so rooted the Protestants out of Bohemia and Silesia, that there is hardly one Family of them left in those Countries; their brethren in Hungary and Transylvania have had the same fate; and in Poland they are now in great Danger of being wholly extirpated…. Their very Name is almost extinct in France. Thus the Protestant Religion, which had spread itself almost over all Europe,… has been subverted and destroy’d in Country after Country, till it is now reduced to a small inconsiderable Part of what it was once possessed of.

Persecution typically only increases the zeal and growth of the Christian Church. These Protestant communities could only have been eliminated by killing on a massive scale. The vast reduction of the Protestant communities in Europe also shows that the Protestants did not migrate from one country to another, and if they had, there would have been records of mass migrations of millions of people, with a significant impact on the culture of the receiving countries. Besides, the Papacy knew that persecution would only cause Protestantism to grow faster, and realized that the only hope of eliminating it was by a war of extermination.

Because the population of Europe in 1600 was about 80 to 100 million, mostly in Catholic countries, it is reasonable to assume that a large proportion of the population of Europe accepted Protestantism and faced persecution. In many regions half or more of the population accepted Protestantism, and many of these persons were slaughtered. Even some of those who gave up their faith under suffering were killed. From 1518 to 1548 large numbers of people would have been accepting Protestantism and would have met such a reaction from the church. Therefore significant population losses due to persecution would have taken place in all Catholic countries in Europe during these years and later. Such losses might have been viewed as the "Inquisition" by some writers. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that the Inquisition claimed millions of victims in the century or two after the Reformation, though the Jesuits would not have been initially involved because they were only recognized in 1540. After all, the Jesuits did not originate the policy that heretics should be killed; they merely implemented it.

The extent of the Inquisition can also be surmised from the following quotation, which estimates five million souls killed during the Reformation in Spain:

But the country in which the Inquisition has reached its most flourishing estate is Spain. This tribunal was first introduced into Catalonia in 1232, and propagated over all Spain. It was re-established in greater pomp and terror in 1481 by Ferdinand and Isabella, chiefly for the spiritual good of the Jews, then numerous in Spain. The bull of Sixtus V. instituted a grand inquisitor-general and supreme council to preside over the working of the Holy Office; and under that bull commenced that system of juridical extermination which is said to have cost Spain upwards of five millions of her citizens, who either perished miserably in the dungeon, or expired amid the flames of the public auto da fe.

Rev. J.A. Wylie, LL.D, Genius and Influence of the Papacy, Book III - Chapter III.

This could partially explain the figure of 15 million for war and the Inquisition because most of the victims may have suffered after 1481. Those in prison can be counted as killed because they undoubtedly died much sooner than otherwise, and lived the remainder of their lives in miserable conditions. In fact, the Inquisition continued for many years:

When the papal government was temporarily suspended in 1849 by the Roman Republic, the Inquisition was found in active operation, and it was restored the moment the Pope returned to Rome. The various horrors of the place,--its iron rings, its subterranean cells, its skeletons built up in the wall, its trap-doors, its kiln for burning bodies, with parts of humanity remaining still unconsumed,--were all exposed at the time. These partial disclosures may convince us, perhaps, that it is better that the veil which conceals the full horrors of the Inquisition should remain unlifted till that day when the graves shall give up their dead.

Wylie, op. cit.

Also, Berg [Lectures on Romanism, p. 258] writes,

When the inquisition was thrown open in 1820, by order of the Cortes of Madrid, of the twenty one prisoners who were found in it, not one of whom knew the name of the city in which he was, some had been confined three years, some a longer period, and not one knew perfectly the nature of the crime of which he was accused.

One of these prisoners had been condemned, and was to have suffered the following day. His punishment was to be death by the pendulum.

If 5 million were killed in Spain alone in the Inquisition, the total for all countries could easily be much higher, because the Inquisition was established in many countries:

Wherever the poor Albigenses and Waldenses fled, the Inquisition followed them; and in a few years it was set up not only in Italy, Spain, and Piedmont, but in France and Germany, Poland and Bohemia, and in course of time it extended as far as Syria and India. …

Spain, Portugal, and Italy were decimated by this tribunal.

Wylie, op. cit.

Another source that indicates millions killed in the Inquisition is Halley:

The Horrors of the Inquisition, ordered and maintained by the Popes, over a period of 500 years, in which unnumbered millions were Tortured and Burned, constitute the MOST BRUTAL, BEASTLY, and DEVILISH PICTURE in all history. [p. 732]

Newman writes

It is also certain that the inquisitorial records preserved represent a very small part of the actual inquisitorial proceedings.

Newman, Albert Henry, A Manual of Church History Volume 1, The American Baptist Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1899, p. 543.

In fact, many were killed by the secular authorities and would not even be recorded in the official records of the Inquisition:

The Jesuit Sanders himself confesses, that an innumerable multitude of Lollards and Sacramentarians were burnt throughout all Europe, who yet, he says, were not put to death by the pope and bishops, but by the civil magistrates ….

Towers, Joseph, Illustrations of Prophecy …, William Duane, Philadelphia, vol. 1, 1808, p. 55.

The Papacy would still be responsible for these deaths because it insisted that the secular authorities should persecute heretics. Jones writes

Authors of undoubted credit affirm, and without the least exaggeration, that millions of persons have been ruined by this horrible court.

Jones, William, A History of the Christian Church, volume ii, page 98, 1812.

Also, Robert Bellarmine, a Roman Catholic scholar, write sometime in the period 1586-1593 that "almost infinite numbers were either burned or otherwise killed" by the Catholic Church [Disputationes de Controversiis Christianae Fidei Adversus Hujus Temporis Haereticos (Disputations about the Controversies of the Christian faith Against the Heretics of this Time), Tom. ii, Lib. III, cap. XXII]. This was written well before the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War, and supports the idea that many millions were killed by the Church before the massacres in the Holy Roman Empire began. Wesley’s testimony consists of two parts: First, that "some have computed" that fifteen million persons perished from war and the Inquisition during a certain time period, and second, that Wesley’s knowledge of history confirms that an enormous number of people perished in this manner during this time, even if the figure of fifteen million may be somewhat too large. Thus a number of sources including Wesley give evidence that war and the Inquisition were responsible for millions of deaths during this thirty year period.

After such a survey of the persecutions, it is possible to revisit the question of how the total of 50 million was computed. Germany and Bohemia lost most of their population, and "the countries of Poland, Lithuania, and Hungary, were in a similar manner deluged with Protestant blood." Thus it is plausible to assume at least several million killed in Poland, Lithuania, and Hungary. Austria also had many slaughtered: "Taking Germany and Austria together, we may safely say that the population was reduced by one-half, if not by two-thirds." Many were probably killed in Siebenbuergen as well. Ferdinand II wanted to suppress Protestantism in the Holy Roman Empire. By the 18th century, the Holy Roman Empire consisted of most of modern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Belgium, and Luxembourg, as well as much of modern Poland and parts of the Netherlands. Previously, it had included all of the Netherlands and Switzerland, and parts of France and Italy. Thus there may have been bitter persecution against Protestants in all of these countries: "Within a few years Protestantism had been almost completely exterminated throughout the Hapsburg domains, multitudes having been slaughtered, and the rest banished or forcibly converted."  The Hapsburg domains included the Holy Roman Empire as a whole: "With the one exception Bavarian Charles VII in 1742, the electors of the Holy Roman Empire almost always chose a member of the Habsburg dynasty as emperor, and the Hapsburgs, consequently, regarded the title as a family fiefdom, despite the formalities of election" (from http://www.hapsburg.com/menu3.htm). All the countries of the Holy Roman Empire, excluding Germany and Bohemia, together with other areas such as Siebenbuergen could easily have had five million victims of persecution. Almost all of those killed in all of these locations would have been Protestants: "The emperor Ferdinand the second, was a great Persecutor of the Protestants in Bohemia and Germany, who after his victory over Frederick, Prince Palatine, and the Bohemian States, made it his work to root out the Protestant Religion in those Countries, and turned them into a very shambles of Blood, sparing neither Age, Sex, nor Rank that refused to abjure the Truth." Thus there would be possibly 18 million killed in Germany and nearby areas in the thirty years’ war, three million in Bohemia, four million in France, five million in other areas of the Holy Roman Empire and Europe, and fifteen million in war and the Inquisition from 1518 to 1548 making 45 million in all for one or two centuries following the Protestant Reformation. Because the Inquisition lasted a long time, the total number killed could easily have been significantly larger. At any rate, this method of computation appears to be eminently reasonable.

Even apart from the specific figures, the general context is important. The Jesuits "were soon the favorite confessors in the imperial court and in many of the royal courts of Europe" and "dictating to [rulers] the measures to be employed for the eradication of heresy." The number of Protestants that would be slain by such policies is clear from Germany, Bohemia, and elsewhere. Even where the Jesuits were not the favorite confessors, the Papacy would have motivated Catholic rulers to a similar policy. At the time of the Reformation, "multitudes of Heretics and Schismatics, as they called them, arose in all places" so there would have been multitudes of Protestants killed in all the Catholic countries of Europe, and the Catholic Church would have been directly responsible for these deaths.

Another method of computation also yields large figures. Annie Besant [The Freethinker's Text-Book. Part II. Christianity: Its Evidences. Its Origin. Its Morality. Its History, section I] writes,

in the course of the Middle Ages hundreds of thousands perished; in France and Germany "many districts and large towns burned two, three, and four hundred witches every year, in some the annual executions destroyed nearly one per cent of the whole population...."

This refers only to witches, but it illustrates the attitude of the church to heretics in general. Because the church had a uniform policy in all places, one can expect similar numbers of heretics to have been killed everywhere in Europe. There would have been many heretics throughout the Middle Ages, for Joseph Towers [Towers, Joseph, Illustrations of Prophecy …, William Duane, Philadelphia, vol. 1, 1808, pp. 202-203] writes,

The Waldenses and Albigenses, so renowned for their numbers, their virtues, and the purity of their faith, taught, in the 12th and 13th centuries, that the pope was Antichrist, and the church of Rome the Babylon of the Apocalypse.

Footnote: Such, says Vitringa, was the language of pious men in general, during the whole of the four centuries which preceded the Reformation. In Apoc. p. 749.

The population of Europe from 1100 to 1500 averaged about 65 million people. If one percent of the population was sometimes burnt as witches per year, one can assume that on the average half a percent of the population was slain each year as heretics altogether. This would amount to an average of about 300,000 persons killed per year for 400 years, or 120 million persons total killed during these four hundred years.

These figures do not even consider those killed in the New World and the non-Christians killed in Europe and Asia. For example, referring to Bishop of Chiapa's account of the cruelty of the Spaniards in America, Grosvenor [Grosvenor, B., Persecution and cruelty in the principles, practices, and spirit of the Romish Church, 1735, p. 16] writes

... truly they went a great way to make this remark literally true with regard to the new world, when first found out: for, according to the account of one of their own bishops, in the space of forty years they destroyed fifty millions of people.

Adding in these deaths might explain the commonly quoted figure of 100 million killed by the Papacy. Adding in non-Christians killed in Europe might explain some of the higher figures. Adding in the total killed assuming half a percent killed per year in Europe for four hundred years would yield about 200 million total killed. Omitting those killed in the New World would yield a total of about 150 million. This might explain where many of the commonly quoted figures come from.

There is another computation that yields 100 million killed by the Papacy. In "Romanism in the light of prophecy and history: its final downfall, and the triumph of the church of Christ" [New York, American and Foreign Christian Union, 1854, p. 58], Brownlee quotes a figure of 68,500,000 killed by the Papacy, composed of 50 million Christians in Europe, 15 million Indians in the New World, 1.5 million Jews in Spain and elsewhere, and 2 million Moors in Spain. He then writes,

And, O merciful Father in heaven, this does not include the millions of their own people, and her enemies, which fell in her crusades, and wars, and massacres! Here thirty millions and a half would be a moderate calculation! Thus, Rome papal has hurried into eternity A HUNDRED MILLION OF THE HUMAN RACE, by her bloody religion!

Other estimates of the number of Indians killed range from 30 to 40 million; using these, one obtains a total of about 120 million instead.

It is notable that discussions of the Reformation and Inquisition in modern historical works omit the religious wars from consideration and omit all consideration of the large number of people who accepted Protestantism in the early years of the Reformation, thereby hiding the truth about the magnitude of past persecutions. However, even though much of the truth about history is being forgotten, there is still enough evidence remaining to show that the figure of 50 million killed for their faith by the Papacy in Europe is reasonable. These computations do not even include the extermination of the Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths, or those who died in the Crusades.

There is some additional information about the number killed in Europe in the Middle Ages. For this, G. H. Orchard in A Concise History of the Baptists, 1855, chapter 2, section 11 estimates that there were over 3 million persons possessing evangelical views in northern Italy in 1260, and mentions another authority as giving an estimate twice as large. He states that the number eventually "quadrated," which may imply that it became four times as large, that is, 12 million or possibly 24 million persons, whom he calls Anabaptists. Almost all of these were presumably killed in persecutions. Also, of the seventy sects exterminated, which Reinerius mentioned, the great majority were probably Christians in Europe, and probably averaged well over 100,000 members each. This would yield at least 7 million more Christians killed in Europe. Together with 12 million Anabaptists, this gives 19 million Christians killed in Europe.

In general, whenever the Papacy extended its territory, it appears that a significant fraction or even a majority of the population was killed, as occurred in Bohemia, Spain, Central and South America, with the Waldenses, and in the extermination of the Vandals, Ostrogoths, and Heruli. Therefore the number killed was larger than the number remaining. Extending this proportion to all of Europe with a population of 50 to 100 million at the time yields an estimate of 50 to 100 million or more killed as the Papacy extended its sway over Europe. For example, the conversion of Prussia to Christianity in the thirteenth century was accompanied by deliberate extermination by the Teutonic Knights.

It is also possible to perform this computation in another way. There were 3 million or more persons with views similar to the Waldenses in northern Italy in 1260. They were gradually worn down by persecution over a period of several centuries. The number in their valleys in 1560 was only 10,000 or 20,000, but many in other places adhered to their beliefs. Assume their average number during these centuries was about 1.5 million. Now, a group of people following a Biblical lifestyle should at least double in population each century; this represents a growth rate of less than one percent a year. Thus during these centuries their total increase should have been at least 4.5 million. Together with the original 3 million, this leads to a loss of 7.5 million to persecution. When one adds in their fellow believers in other lands the total would be undoubtedly over 9 million. Because they were active missionaries, the Lord would have blessed their efforts, so one can assume 9 million more were converted through their efforts, leading to a total of 18 million lost to persecution. If one assumes 6 million at the start, as another authority does, the total would be 36 million lost to persecution. Either a larger growth rate or a larger number of Waldenses, as several writers attest, or more converts could easily put the total over 50 million. Therefore it is not at all unreasonable to assume that 50 million or more Anabaptists, or Bible believing Christians, as some suggest, were killed in Europe in the Middle Ages by persecution.

Another point is that the persecution of the Waldenses lasted four centuries, from 1160 to 1560, rather than three, according to Armitage. Therefore it is reasonable to multiply the above estimates by four thirds, obtaining 24 million or possibly 48 million Waldenses and their converts killed. Furthermore, the actual estimate was 3.2 million instead of 3 million persons with evangelical views in northern Italy. Thus the estimates should all be increased by about 7 percent, to nearly 26 million and over 51 million, respectively.

In addition, a Bible believing church that is on fire for the Lord will generally grow by at least 5 percent a year, and persecution generally only increases the rate of growth. Because the Waldenses were highly motivated and active in missionary work, one can expect a similar rate of growth for them. With an average population of 1.5 million, this would result in a growth rate of at least 7.5 million per century, or, 30 million in four centuries. Adding the original 3 million gives 33 million, and increasing the result by about 7 percent would put the total at about 35 million, without considering Waldenses in other countries. Including these, a lower bound for the total lost to persecution would appear to be about 40 million. Assuming twice as many persons with evangelical beliefs gives a total of 70 or 80 million. If one assumes that the population of Waldenses held steady during these four centuries instead of decreasing, the totals nearly double again, to nearly 70 million and nearly 135 million, without even considering Waldenses in other countries.

It is possible to give a partial explanation of where the figure of 3.2 million comes from, as well. Jones, in his Church History, Chapter 6, section 1, states "In the year 1530, George Morel, one of the pastors of a church of the Waldenses, published Memoirs of the History of their Churches, in which he states, that at the time he wrote, there were above eight hundred thousand persons professing the religion of the Waldenses [Morland’s Evangelical Churches, p. 224]; nor will this appear an exaggerated statement, if we consider the view that was given, in the last section, of their dispersions throughout almost every country of Europe--the immense numbers that suffered martyrdom; and what was formerly mentioned, that in the year 1315, namely two centuries before this time, there were eighty thousand of them in the small kingdom of Bohemia." Furthermore, there were at least from one to two million Albigenses in the south of France in the early thirteenth century. In 1530, there were probably only about 10,000 to 20,000 Waldenses in the valleys of northern Italy, so these 800,000 persons must have been distributed throughout Europe. It is reasonable to assume that these persons descended from the inhabitants of northern Italy, because elsewhere persecution would have largely wiped out the Waldenses. Because their numbers were continually reduced by persecution, the number of Waldenses in northern Italy in 1260 would have been at least 800,000. Also, Orchard assumes that for every person who was officially a member of the church there were three others with similar beliefs; this could include unbaptized children as well as other adults who for some reason did not have their names on the church books. Another authority gives a ratio of seven to one. This is where the total of 3.2 million (or 6.4 million) originates.

The most reasonable assumption overall seems to be that there were at one time at least twice as many Waldenses as there were in 1530, and that this number gradually decreased to 800,000 over the course of four centuries. Also, one can assume that the total number of persons with similar beliefs was at least four times as large, and thus decreased from about 6 million to about 3 million. This leads to an average population of 4.5 million during this time, and to a total of 90 million killed. Increasing the number by seven percent gives about 96 million, and adding in the 3 million lost along the way gives 99 million. This may explain where the sometimes quoted total of 100 million comes from.

Chapter 4. The Spanish Inquisition

Now let us consider in particular the Spanish inquisition. Quoting Schmucker,

According to Llorente, this fearful tribunal [the inquisition] cost Spain alone 2,000,000 of lives, and the amount of torments suffered by these, and the other victims of papal persecution, was probably greater than that of all the generations that ever lived and died in God’s appointed way, by natural death.

Llorente had access to the records of the Spanish Inquisition. Overall, Llorente in his "A Critical History of the Inquisition of Spain," 1823, gave a much smaller figure. He calculated that more than 300,000 suffered persecution in Spain, of whom 31,912 died in the flames. Here are two passages from "The Reformation in Spain," 1824, by Thomas M’Crie, p. 66 that also illustrate some of the discrepancies in such figures:

In the course of the first year in which it was erected, the inquisition of Seville, which then extended over Castile, committed two thousand persons alive to the flames, burnt as many in effigy, and condemned seventeen thousand to different penances. According to a moderate computation, from the same date until 1517, the year in which Luther made his appearance, thirteen thousand persons were burnt alive, eight thousand seven hundred were burnt in effigy, and one hundred and sixty nine thousand seven hundred and twenty three were condemned to penances, making all in all one hundred and ninety one thousand four hundred and twenty three persons condemned by the several tribunals of Spain in the course of thirty six years. There is reason for thinking that this estimate falls much below the truth.

According to Puigblanch, "Inquisition Unmasked," the number of reconciled and banished in Andalusia from 1480 to 1520 was a hundred thousand, while forty five thousand were burnt alive in the archbishopric of Seville.

Cecil Roth in "History of the Marranos," page 143, cites Amadeo de los Rios as giving the figures of 28,540 burned alive, 16,520 burned in effigy, and 308,847 punished in other ways. These figures are exclusively for Jews up to 1525, in less than half a century of existence, implying that the true figures are larger even than Llorente quoted. Speaking of Llorente’s figures, Roth says

… these huge figures are open to suspicion. However, they are exceeded by the indications given by the intensely Catholic Amadeo de los Rios, usually most moderate in his views.

Wilder (page 86) presents the figures in a way that can explain some of the misunderstanding about the number killed. Quoting Llorente, page 5,

The horrid conduct of this holy office weakened the power and diminished the population of Spain, by arresting the progress of the arts, sciences, industry, and commerce, and by compelling multitudes of families to abandon the kingdom, by instigating the expulsion of the Jews and the Moors, and by immolating on its flaming piles more than three hundred thousand victims.

Brownlee states

The number of victims of the Inquisition will never be known until the day of final retribution. Various have been the numbers set down. "Authors of undoubted credit," says Jones, "have affirmed, and without any exaggeration, that millions of persons have been ruined by this horrible court. Many were banished from Spain, a million at a time. From six to eight hundred thousand Jews were driven away from it at once; and all their property seized." Jones’ Church History ii page 98.

Then after citing Llorente’s figures, he writes,

This number fixed on by this unusually accurate historian, is far below the truth. It is generally admitted that under the first Inquisitor of Spain alone, namely, Torquemada, no less than 100,000 human beings suffered: under the above three classes, that is, they were burned; or they perished on the rack, or by it; or in exile; and perpetual confinement!

-- Brownlee, 1834, pp. 339-340.

In fact, quite a number perished in prison during the Inquisition, and these are omitted from the usual statistics, as mentioned in a web article:

It was with reason that the Serbian Orthodox Bishop, Dr. Nikolaj Velimirovic, so well known to the Anglo-Saxon world, compared what happened in Croatia, on such a large scale, with the darkest days of the Middle Ages. In an article published in 1954 by the ecclesiastical review Svecanik, the Bishop wrote: "The Spanish Inquisition is noted for its atrocities. The head inquisitor, named by the Pope, was the Dominican Monk Thomas de Torquemada, who is remembered with such sinister bitterness. During the eighteen year period of his mandate, 10,220 persons were burned at the stake while 114,401 (according to the historian Motley) perished from hunger and torture in their prisons, which meant 125,000 people within a period of eighteen years. This record is frightful enough, but the inquisition of the Serbian Orthodox was much more terrible, for 750,000 Serbs were killed in just four years."

This figure of 114,401 is apparently in error and according to Llorente should include all that were punished by any means by Torquemada during this eighteen year period, including life imprisonment. There is also indirect evidence of the magnitude of the victims of the inquisition:

No secrets could be withheld from the inquisitors; hundreds of persons were often apprehended in one day, and in consequence of information resulting from their examinations under torture, thousands more were apprehended. Prisons, convents, even private houses, were crowded with victims; the cells of the inquisition were filled and emptied again and again; its torture chamber was a hell.

-- Romanism and the Reformation by H. Grattan Guinness, lectures, London, England, 1887, lecture 4, page 101.

To make the subject personal, here is the testimony of one of the victims:

Before we let fall the curtain upon this awful subject, let us listen for a moment to some of the words of William Lithgow, a Scotsman, who suffered the tortures of the Inquisition in the time of James I. After telling of the diabolical treatment he received, which was very similar to that I have just described, he says, "Now mine eyes did begin to startle, my mouth to foam and froth, and my teeth to chatter like the dobbling of drumsticks. Oh, strange, inhuman, monster man-manglers!. . And notwithstanding of my shivering lips in this fiery passion, my vehement groaning, and blood springing from my arms, my broken sinews, yea, and my depending weight on flesh-cutting cords, yet they struck me on the face with cudgels to abate and cease the thundering noise of my wrestling voice. At last, being released from these pinnacles of pain, I was handfast set on the floor with this their ceaseless imploration: ‘Confess, confess, confess in time, or thine inevitable torments ensue.’ Where, finding nothing from me but still innocent, — Oh! I am innocent. O Jesus, the Lamb of God, have mercy on me, and strengthen me with patience to undergo this barbarous murder — ’"

Enough! Here let the curtain drop. I should sicken you were I to pursue the subject further; it is too horrible, too damnable.

-- Romanism and the Reformation by H. Grattan Guinness, lectures, London, England, 1887, Lecture 4 pp. 103-104.

Lower estimates for the number of victims of the Inquisition also exist, as cited by a Roman Catholic on a discussion board:

The best estimate of the total number of executions under the Spanish Inquisition comes from the Encyclopedia Judaica (not a Catholic source) which estimates the number at around 7,000.  It should be remembered that the Inquisition was a court charged with hearing cases for all crimes committed on Church property or against the Church, clerics, or professed religious.  There were several capital crimes under the Inquisition's jurisdiction besides heresy.  These included murder, rape, kidnapping, assault on a bishop, and others.  Might I recommend that you get Henry Kamen's recent book The Spanish Inquisition : A Historical Revision (N.B.- Kamen's estimate is that there were only 3,000 executions.) 

So there is considerable disagreement in the figures concerning the Spanish inquisition. And such disagreements occur in the larger context, as well. The figures are rapidly decreasing with time, and our memory of past persecutions is being lost. Because records and memories are lost with the passage of time, in general the earliest records and those closest to the source are to be preferred.

Another quotation helps to explain some of the discrepancies.

And Walter M. Montano, writing in Christian Heritage, says:

‘Spain has had a long history of intolerance. The number of victims sacrificed by the Inquisition in Spain almost exceeds credulity. Yet it has been shown by Llorente, who carefully examined the records of the Tribunal, and whose statements are drawn from the most authoritative sources, that 105,285 victims fell under the inquisitor-general Torquemada; 51,167 under Cisneros; and 14,952 fell under Diego Perez. It is further reckoned that 31,912 were burned alive! Half that number, 15,659 suffered the punishment of the statute, and 291,450 were sent to penitentiaries. Half a million families were destroyed by the Inquisition, and it cost Spain two million children!’

-- INTOLERANCE—BIGOTRY— PERSECUTION by Loraine Boettner D.D. (taken from his book "Roman Catholicism" first published 1962), Chapter 18.

This quotation explains where Schmucker’s figure of two million comes from, though it is still unclear what it means. The figure of 15,659 (which perhaps should be 17,659) represents those who were killed before being burnt. Many were also expelled from Spain; this could explain the figure of two million. Roth in "The Spanish Inquisition," page 251, discussing those who were expelled from Spain, says

The number of the exiles has been estimated variously between 300,000 and 3,000,000. It probably lies much nearer to the first of these figures.

He also refers to the exiles as "her children," possibly explaining Schmucker’s statement and Montano’s statement about Spain losing 2 million children. Some of the exiles had to leave their children behind to be raised as Roman Catholics, which can explain the comment about destroying half a million families. Also,

The whole number of Jews expelled from Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella is variously computed at from 160,000 to 800,000 souls; a discrepancy sufficiently indicating the paucity of authentic data. Most modern writers, with the usual predilection for startling results, have assumed the latter estimate; and Llorente has made it the basis of some important calculations in his History of the Inquisition. A view of all the circumstances will lead us without much hesitation to adopt the most moderate computation. This, moreover, is placed beyond reasonable doubt by the direct testimony of Bernaldez. He reports that a Jewish rabbi, one of the exiles, subsequently returned to Spain where he was baptized by him. This person estimated the whole number of his unbaptized countrymen, at the publication of the edict, at thirty-six thousand families. Another Jewish authority, quoted by the curate, reckoned them at thirty-five thousand. This, assuming an average of four and a half to a family, gives the sum total of about 160,000 individuals. …

We need look no further for the principle of action, in this case, than the spirit of religious bigotry which led to a similar expulsion of the Jews from England, France, and other parts of Europe, as well as from Portugal, under circumstances of peculiar atrocity, a few years later. …

[footnote] The Portuguese government caused all children of fourteen years of age, or under, to be taken from their parents and retained in the country, as fit subjects for a Christian education. The distress occasioned by this cruel provision may be well imagined. Many of the unhappy parents murdered their children to defeat the ordinance; and many laid violent hands on themselves.

-- Williams, Henry Smith, Historian’s History of the World, vol. X. pp. 159-160.

Commenting on Llorente’s methods of calculation, Jean Dumont in his book L’Eglise au Risque de l’Histoire (Limoge: Criterion, 1985) states

Professor Gerard Dufour shows that the impressive numbers of Llorente which are almost universally accepted are "not at all convincing." They are in no way a reasonable statistic, but only the naive imposture of purely conjectural numbers established on the basis of insupportable fragility and exaggeration. How did Llorente arrive at his figures? The answer is quite simple. Totally ignorant of the number of victims of the Inquisition, he fabricated them from conjectural accounts available to him with regard to the tribunal of Seville during the first years of its activity, numbers provided by the early chroniclers and historians and a lost inscription. As Mariana, one of the ancient historians, pointed out, Llorente did not take note of the fact that these numbers were only rumors. Moreover, carried away by his passions, Llorente quoted inexactly and exaggerated greatly in his additions. For, as Gerard Dufour noted, among the 2,000 victims mentioned by Mariana were included some added up by Llorente, and the 700 mentioned by Bernaldez, the anti-Semitic chronicler who moreover had inflated the number to satisfy the needs of his cause. Llorente did not take all these facts into account.

Having thus taken "entirely erroneous numbers," and these only from Seville during the early years, Llorente tranquilly multiplied them by the total number of Inquisitorial tribunals and by the number of years they functioned.

But as he arrived by means of this method of blind multiplication of inflated figures at a total figure that was so enormous as to be absolutely unbelievable, he reduced them on a completely arbitrary basis by 50% in general, and by 90% for the first year after each tribunal was established because they would not have had sufficient time to pronounce sentence on anyone during the first year.

Dumont is a non-Catholic professor of history at the Sorbonne in Paris and argues for very low figures. But at least from his explanation it is clear that Llorente made use not only of the records of the Inquisition but also oral accounts, which he considered as reliable. Perhaps Llorente did not believe that the written records of the inquisition were complete. Also, Llorente himself says that he divided the number by 50% "to avoid all exaggeration, though it was in general much more considerable." Dumont also cites unfavorably various other estimates of the number killed, including that during the term of Torquemada 100,000 were decimated by fire in five years, from La Grande Encyclopedie, Inventaire Raisonne des Sciences, des Lettres et des Arts, par une Societe de Savants et de Gens de Lettres / sous la direction de MM. Berthelot, Hartwig Derenbourg [etc.]. Paris: H. Lamirault, 1886-1902. This echoes the figure of 100,000 from Brownlee, but with a different meaning.

Another problem with interpreting such figures is that of language. Wilder’s figure of 68 million apparently includes those who were not killed, but persecuted and lived. If a writer says that there were 68 million "victims" of the Papacy then it could be misunderstood that they were all killed. Obviously the sources from the early 1800’s interpret the figure of 68 million as those who were killed. The same problem occurs with Schmucker’s statement about Llorente; Schmucker says that Llorente asserted 2 million were killed in the Spanish inquisition. Other sources claim that Llorente asserted 300,000 were killed (which was probably due to a translation or copying error as explained by Dumont). However, Llorente himself gives a smaller number that were killed, and a large number that were punished but not killed. It is not clear whether these disagreements result from a misunderstanding of the text or whether Llorente’s history has been modified in some way. The latter seems unlikely because M’Crie refers to Llorente’s figures at a very early date.

 

Chapter 5. Alethia’s estimate

What is the basis for such a large overall estimate, whether it be 50 million, 68 million or 100 million killed? Dowling does not say where he obtained his figure. Brownlee, at least, breaks the figure into categories, but does not say where the estimate of 50 million comes from. Another source also gives some information about this topic, namely, M. D. Aletheia, The Rationalist's Manual (1897):

Let us look for a moment at the number of victims sacrificed on the altars of the Christian Moloch: -- 1,000,000 perished during the early Arian schism; 1,000,000 during the Carthaginian struggle; 7,000,000 during the Saracen slaughters. In Spain 5,000,000 perished during the eight Crusades; 2,000,000 of Saxons and Scandinavians lost their lives in opposing the introduction of the blessings of Christianity. 1,000,000 were destroyed in the Holy(?) Wars against the Netherlands, Albigenses, Waldenses, and Huguenots. 30,000,000 Mexicans and Peruvians were slaughtered ere they could be convinced of the beauties(?) of the Christian creed. 9,000,000 were burned for witchcraft. Total, 56,000,000.

The source for this quote appears to be "Letters from Rome" by Middleton. Conyers Middleton lived from 1683 to 1750 and in 1729 wrote his "Letter from Rome, Showing an Exact Conformity between Popery and Paganism." He was a rationalistic theologian, and denied the occurrence of miracles in the church. Of course, Protestants as well as Catholics have implemented witch hunts. But perhaps Middleton was the source of some of these figures of millions killed by the Papacy. Because he was not an orthodox Christian, some Protestant writers may have been reluctant to cite him.

From the information given it is possible to explain the origin of some of the common figures. Bengel’s figure of 15 million seems to be general knowledge, passed down from the time of the persecutions themselves, and obtained by some method of computation. The method of computation of the 50 million figure was discussed in a previous chapter. Brownlee shows how the figures of 68 and 69 million derive from the 50 million figure. Middleton’s figure of 56 million does not include the figure of 50 million Protestants, except for an overlap of 3 million. Adding these to Middleton’s figure gives a result of about 100 million. The figures of 120 and 150 million for the number killed by the Papacy in the Middle Ages are still unexplained. Voltaire apparently estimated that 20 million witches were killed; perhaps using this estimate and the casualties for the thirty years’ war explains some of the higher figures.

It is noteworthy that these figures of millions killed by the Papacy do not derive solely from nineteenth century scholarship, as is sometimes claimed, but also go back to sources in the eighteenth and even seventeenth century (Clarke). If Clarke cited two million killed of the Waldenses alone, surely he would have reckoned the total killed by the Papacy at many millions. The question remains whether these figures about the magnitude of religious persecution are trustworthy. Even though the figure of 56 million is broken into categories by Middleton, it is unclear where the individual figures come from and how reliable they are. It is possible, at least, to give a partial answer to this question. Middleton gives a figure of a million killed among the Waldenses, Albigenses, and others; Mede (cited in Cassels) gives a figure at least as large. Clarke doubles the figure. For this figure, at least, Dr. Middleton had some basis, and did not invent it out of thin air. The same is true of the figure of 9 million witches killed:

Gottfried Christian Voigt (1740-1791) extrapolated from his section of Germany to calculate 9,442,994 witches killed throughout Europe. From this came the common estimate of 9 million.

-- Selected Death Tolls for Wars, Massacres and Atrocities Before the 20th Century, by Matthew White.

Therefore the figure of 9 million witches killed also has a source and was not made up. From these two examples it is possible to infer Middleton’s approach: All of the figures he gave were obtained form another source. None of the figures were increased; in fact some of them may even have been reduced. Even the figure of 30,000,000 Mexicans and Peruvians killed, for which we do not have a source, is not too far off from the estimate of 15 million given by Schmucker, cited above.

However, it would be useful to look at one of these figures in more detail, to see how reliable it is. This can help to give insight into the reliability of the entire estimate. It is possible to reconstruct how Voigt arrived at his figure. This is from a German publication, Sepp-Depp, from July, 2001. Quoting Voigt,

Ich habe aus dem Zeitraume vom Jahre 1569 bis 1598 also ungefähr in 30 Jahren einige 30 Fälle nachgewiesen. (...) Ich schätze die Anzahl derselben noch einmal so hoch. (...) Ich will nun annehmen, dass in dem genannten Zeitraum von 30 Jahren wenigstens 40 Personen durchs Feuer als Hexe hingerichtet sind; ob ich gleich glaube, dass ich die Zahl auf 60 annehmen könnte. Nach diesem Verhältnis würden in jedem Jahrhundert in Quedlinburg 133 Personen als Hexen verbrannt worden seyn.

The publication is highly critical of Voigt’s estimate, calling it "statisfiction." Nonetheless, from the surrounding text (also in German), one can infer Voigt’s method of computation. In a 30 year period he found records of 30 cases of witches being condemned. He estimates the actual number to be at least twice as high, but for the sake of an estimate supposes that 40 witches were burnt during this 30 year period. At this rate, in a century there would be (100/30) times 40 or 133 witches burnt, and in the period from 1100 to 1600 (five centuries) there would be 665 witches burnt, approximately. He then notes that the population of this part of Germany is about 1/15,000 of the population of Europe (actually slightly more), so multiplying 665 by 15,000 one obtains an estimate of somewhat less than 10,000,000 witches executed in Europe in 500 years. The population of Europe was about 50,000,000, so Voigt’s area of Germany would have had somewhat over 4,000 people. One or two executions of heretics a year would have only been a tiny fraction of the population, but no less serious thereby. This number is conceivable, in a sense. If two percent of the population were witches, and half of them were caught at some time during their life and executed at an average age of 40, then 1/40 of one percent of the population would be executed as witches each year, which is one person per year in a population of 4000.

Now, the number of witches executed may have varied from time to time and from place to place, so the above estimate is not necessarily correct. However, Voigt felt that his area of Germany was representative of Europe as a whole for this 500 year period. Modern rebuttals to his figures mention that not many records exist of witches being executed. But this ignores the fact that records are often lost or destroyed; even Voigt realizes this in his discussion. Some executions may never have even been recorded. Also, the fact that so many of Middleton’s sources gave numbers in the millions adds credibility to Middleton’s overall figures. Concerning witches, it is interesting that many of those debating the 9 million figure have no idea where it came from, and those ridiculing the figure act as though it were invented out of thin air.

Some say that these high death toll figures are tinged by anti-Catholicism. One could just as well say that arguments against these figures are tinged by pro-Catholicism. The figures are so large that even Protestants probably found them hard to believe and preferred smaller rather than larger figures. Wesley or Bengel, at least, did not find the figure of 15,000,000 killed in 30 years to be ridiculous, though he admitted it might be somewhat too large. Many other well-regarded authors also found these figures to be reasonable, as cited earlier. Of course there are also instances of cruelty of Protestants toward Catholics that could be mentioned. And Protestants as well as Catholics have mistreated Indians.

According to a web site, "Modern research (Dreschner, 1987, Kung, 1991) indicates that the previous estimates of the number of victims of witch trials are seriously attenuated. Church archives on concremiret trials remain closed even to academic scholars. Research by Kung is unique by presenting the insider’s estimate of the number of victims of witch trials. For this, Kung was expelled from his teaching position and denied the right to teach at parochial schools in Germany. Kung maintains that not hundreds of thousands of victims as previously estimated, but several million human beings were subject to torture and murder by the justice system on charges of witchcraft. Among the infamous judges presiding over witch trials were Bernard Gui and Heinrich Boblig of Edelstadt. Of their victims, perhaps the best known is Joan of Arc." This gives added support for a number of victims in the millions.

There is also a plausible source for Middleton’s estimate of 30 million killed in the New World. In 1542 Bartoleme de Las Casas wrote "Brevissima Relacion, "  a short description of the atrocities committed by the Spanish on Native Americans in America. In it he states,

"I affirm it as very certain and approved that during these forty years (1502-1542) owing to the aforesaid tyrannies and infernal works of the Christians more than twelve million souls, men, women and children, have perished unjustly and tyrannically; and in truth I believe I should not be overstepping the mark in saying fifteen million…two ways have in general been used by those who come to the Indies calling themselves Christians to extirpate and root out these wretched people utterly from the land. One, by unjust, cruel, bloody and tyrannical wars: the other, after they have killed off all those who could long or sigh for liberty, that is to say, all chiefs and warriors, they oppress those that remain, being commonly only children and women, with the most horrible and relentless and pitiless slavery to which ever men or beasts were put."

Las Casas gave numerous eye-witness accounts of repeated mass murder and torture. In a version of this work translated in 1699, the title reads "An account of the first voyages and discoveries made by the Spaniards in America, containing the most exact relation hitherto publish'd of their unparallel'd cruelties on the Indians, in the destruction of above forty millions of people ; with the propositions offer'd to the King of Spain to prevent the further ruin of the West-Indies." Las Casas spent the last forty years of his life trying to improve the conditions of the native inhabitants in the lands under Spanish control. In particular, the population of Haiti may have been as high as 8 million before the Spanish conquest, but by 1516 only a small number of Indians remained. Smallpox did not appear in Haiti until after 1516. Many historians believe that the population of Mexico and South America decreased by 20 to 30 million during the Spanish conquest. Later accounts assigned more of a role in this population decrease to the introduction of diseases, such as smallpox, to which the Indians did not have immunity, than to the cruelty of the Spaniards. However, even the Black Plague, which has a higher mortality rate than smallpox, is estimated to have killed only a fourth of Europe’s population, so it seems unlikely that most of these Indians were killed by disease. In severe smallpox epidemics, 30 of every 100 attacked may die, and not everyone will even be exposed. In 1944 historian Rómulo Carbia linked Las Casas' work to the "black legend", which portrays the Spanish as cruel and bigoted. Carbia felt that Las Casas had exaggerated the brutality of the Spanish. But at least Middleton’s figure of 30 million has a reasonable source. However, there is still a question about whether the Papacy was responsible for these deaths. The Indians were killed when they would not convert to Catholicism and for political reasons. Clearly the Papacy was responsible for the killing of those who would not convert. Also, because the Papacy gave permission for Spain and Portugal to conquer Central and South America, it was responsible for deaths of Indians for political reasons, even moreso because the Papacy was aware of the killings and did not attempt to stop them. Another issue is that this figure of 30 million does not even include those who died after the Spanish conquest, either by inquisition or mistreatment or wars instigated by the Papacy.

Concerning Middleton’s estimate of 5 million killed in Spain during the eight crusades, the crusades took place from 1095 to 1272 to recapture the Holy Land, and during this time there were also persecutions in Europe. Therefore Middleton’s figures do not even include those killed during the later Inquisition. Wesley or Bengel accepted a figure of about 15 million or more killed from 1518 to 1548 for war and the Inquisition, and many more killed later, which other authors may have added to Middleton’s total figure. Spain had been conquered by the Moslems, and the reconquest by Papal countries took many centuries. The Crusades were not only directed against the Holy Land but also towards the reconquest of Spain, which the Papacy strongly promoted. This explains the meaning of Middleton’s figure for 5 million killed in Spain during the crusades.

As for the Crusades themselves, H.Wollschläger (Die bewaffneten Wallfahrten gen Jerusalem, Zürich 1973) estimates that there were probably 20 million victims in the Holy Land and Arab/Turkish areas alone, with all figures taken from contemporary Christian chroniclers. This book includes a full list of original medieval Christian chroniclers' writings. Of course, other estimates for the Crusades are smaller, but such original sources deserve a high weighting. Wollschläger also estimates that a million Albigenses were killed, exceeding Middleton’s figure because the latter also includes other groups. Concerning the crusades, Brownlee states

"The last, in the Holy Land, commenced in the year 1096, and it raged with fury, for two centuries; causing, according to Mons. Voltaire, the death of two millions of men, in the flower of their youth; and ill prepared, we fear, to meet their Judge.

-- Brownlee, 1834, page 341.

Also, Williams writes

The lives and labors of millions, which were buried in the East, would have been more profitably employed in the improvement of their native country … .

-- Williams, Henry Smith, The Historian’s History of the World, vol. 8, p. 480.

Let us consider the estimate of 9 million witches killed, in another way. Our main concern is not with the number of witches killed, but with the total number executed by the Papacy. It is reasonable to assume that the total number executed by the church was much larger than the number of witches, probably by a factor of at least 2 or 3 (at least, we read much more about Bible believing Christians being executed than about witches). If Voigt felt that 40 (or even 60) witches executed per 30 years was a reasonable rate, he probably would have felt that 80 total executions by the church of witches and others per 30 years was reasonable, as well. This, extrapolated to Europe for 500 years, yields 18 million executions. Extending the argument to other regions dominated by the Papacy (especially Central and South America and India) may at least double the figure to 36 million, and then extending the figures to the full 1260 year reign of the Papacy or adding in the 15 million mentioned by Wesley or Bengel would undoubtedly bring the total over 50 million. This gives added support to the oft quoted estimate of 50 million. This does not even include those executed in special circumstances such as crusades and wars, and does not include those who died in prison due to illness or maltreatment or suicide. Voigt’s area of Germany must have had a prison, so it is reasonable to assume that there were the equivalent of nearly 15,000 prisons in all in Europe. If each year, four people died in each prison due to illness or mistreatment or suicide, then there would be 60,000 deaths per year, and extended to a thousand years this gives 60 million deaths, but not all the responsibility of the Papacy. Though we will never know the exact number this side of eternity, it is reasonable to conclude that the estimate of 50 million is in reality many times too small.

Lyman Beecher stated that the Papacy "has swayed a sceptre of iron, for ten centuries over nearly one-third of the population of, the globe." Currently about a third of the world population professes Christianity. The world population is estimated to have grown from 200 million in 600 AD to 545 million in 1600 AD. One third of this population would have grown from about 70 million to about 200 million in this time, with a reasonable average of about 100 million. Voigt felt that 2 witches executed per year for a population of about 4000 was a reasonable number, even in an area that had been Christian for hundreds of years. This amounts to 1/20 of one percent executed per year. Assuming this proportion of executions of all heretics, not just witches, for a thousand years for an average population of 100 million ruled by Rome, gives about 50,000 executions a year or a total of 50 million deaths. Whenever Rome encountered other religions as the Papacy extended its domain, the death toll was higher, so it is reasonable to assume that the average number killed was larger than this. This does not even include those killed during crusades and wars instigated by the Papacy. It is also a steady state figure and would not include those killed during intense periods of the Inquisition. Perhaps this reasoning explains the origin of some of the estimates.

Beecher stated that the Papacy extended its domain to nearly half of the civilized world by 1800. The world population in 1800 was estimated at 900 million, so the two centuries from 1600 to 1800 would have an average world population of about 650 million. Half of this would be about 300 million, and at the rate of 1/20 of one percent per year would lead to an average of 150,000 killed per year for 200 years, or 30 million more for a total of 80 million deaths. This quantity would be reduced to some extent by the dying down of persecutions, but would be increased by the violence associated with new conquests in the New World and elsewhere.

It is also possible to make the estimates of persecutions smaller by reasoning as follows: Suppose that the persecutions took a while to gather strength, then peaked for a short time, then dwindled away. This could have happened because of the natural reluctance of humans to persecute others. Also, after a period of intense persecution, there may not have been many "heretics" left. Furthermore, the Papacy may have seen the reaction against its persecutions and tapered them off. Thus the 15 million or so that Wesley or Bengel accepted may be close to the total.

This reasoning seems to be invalid. In the first place, many respected Protestants and atheists for the last several hundred years accepted the high figures, and at least one Roman Catholic supports a high figure. In addition, any organization as powerful and corrupt as the Papacy was for so many years would continue to gain enemies. This would continue to supply opponents for the church to persecute. What we know of the fierce hostility shown in the past by the Papacy towards Bible believers, Jews, and other religions suggests that the intense persecutions continued in force for many, many years.

In support of the extended nature of the persecutions, Deschner notes that in Poland about 200,000 Jews were slain in Chmielnitzki in 1648 (K.Deschner, Opus Diaboli, Reinbek 1987). In 1349 in more than 350 towns in Germany all Jews were murdered, mostly burned alive (in this one year more Jews were killed than Christians in 200 years of ancient Roman persecution of Christians). In 1257 and 1267 the Jewish communities of London, Canterbury, Northampton, Lincoln, Cambridge, and others were exterminated. In the 17th century Catholics sacked the city of Magdeburg, Germany and roughly 30,000 Protestants were slain (D.Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992). Many other similar incidents could be cited. Thus the persecutions continued for many centuries.

The Waldenses sent out missionaries on tours of several years, and only about half of them ever came back. This suggests that of the "heretics" existing in the population, at least 10 or 20 percent were executed per year, not necessarily by the Inquisition and not necessarily mentioned in historical records. There must have been a significant number of heretics, or else the Papacy would not have set up the machinery of the Inquisition. Just one percent of heresy would hardly have alarmed them. It must have been a life and death struggle with the Papacy to set up such an elaborate mechanism and maintain it for such a long period of time. So the percentage of heretics must have been at least two percent and probably significantly higher, on the average. If five percent of the heretics were executed each year and two percent of the population were heretics, then 1/10 of one percent of the population would be executed each year. . From 1100 to 1600 the average world population would be about 350 million of which on the average about 100 million would be in Roman Catholic countries. With 1/10 of a percent each year killed there would be 100,000 killed each year, for 500 years, for a total of 50 million killed just during this time period. If the percentage of heretics were four percent and the proportion of heretics killed each year were 10 percent, the total killed during this 500 year period would be 200 million, which appears to be much nearer the truth. Persecutions before 1100 were probably smaller, and persecutions after 1518 were probably considerably more intense.

As evidence of the number of "heretics," Brownlee states

"These Waldenses," says Rainerus, "were in nearly every country." "They are multiplied through all lands," says Sanderus. "They have infested a thousand cities," says Caeserius. "They spread their contagion through almost the whole Latin world," says Ciaconius. … Says Newburgh, -- "They became like the sand of the sea; without number; … ."

-- Brownlee, 1834, page 351, Appendix 1, citing Newburgh, ii page 13.

Thus there would have been many "heretics" to persecute. And as the Waldenses existed throughout the period from 1100 to 1600 and continued to send out missionaries, the population of the Papal countries would have always had an exposure to Bible truth. Along the same line, Brownlee states

I repeat the words of Edgar, whose testimony I prefer to Malte Brun, or any modern papist, who has not entered into the estimates of the comparative nuimbers in ancient times; nor examined the statements of these fathers, and travelers, now quoted by us: "The European, the Asian, and African denominations that dissented from popery were four times more numerous than the partisans of Romanism, when, prior to the Reformation, the papacy shone in all its glory. Popery, instead of universality, which is its vain boast, was never embraced by more than a fifth part of Christendom." Variations of Popery, p. 67, Dublin edition.

-- Brownlee, 1834, Appendix 1, pp. 352-353.

The Papacy must have had a very efficient method of eliminating heretics, as Bellarmine stated:

Argument 2d. ‘ Experience shows that terror is not effective.’ I reply, EXPERIENCE PROVES THE CONTRARY—FOR THE DONATISTS, MANICHEANS, AND ALBIGENSES WERE ROUTED, AND ANNIHILATED BY ARMS.

-- Robert Bellarmine, Disputationes de Controversiis, Tom. ii, Lib. III, cap. XXII, "Objections Answered," 1682 edition.

Bellarmine states that these three groups were "annihilated." This must also have been the fate of almost all the Waldenses, who were "like the sand of the sea; without number" at one time, and were essentially Protestants. How many other groups were annihilated, swelling the total figures to many millions?

Concerning the ferocity of the persecutions, Guinness writes

This part of the prophecy began to receive its fulfillment at the end of the twelfth century, when, at the third Lateran Council (A.D. 1179), the Popedom roused itself collectively to a war of extermination against heretics. Previously to this, separate members of the system, acting alone and independently, had opposed the truth by force and cruelty. But in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, Romanism, then in the plenitude of its power, gathered itself together for a great, determined, united, and persistent effort to crush out all that opposed its supremacy, and to clear Christendom of heresy.

-- Romanism and the Reformation, Lecture 8, p. 200.

Instead of eliminating heretics, the persecutions often only increased their number:

So Sismondi, the historian writes: To maintain unity of belief the Church had recourse to the expedient of burning all those who separated themselves from her; but although for two hundred years the fires were never quenched, still every day saw Romanists abjuring the faith of their fathers and embracing the religion which often guided them to the stake. In vain Gregory IX., in A.D. 1231, put to death every heretic whom he found concealed in Rome. His own letters show that the heretics only increased in numbers.

-- Romanism and the Reformation, Lecture 2, p. 45.

Concerning the effectiveness of the persecutions in rooting out heresy over a period of many centuries, Guinness writes further

Hear Mosheim’s description of the crisis. "As the sixteenth century opened, no danger seemed to threaten the Roman pontiffs. The agitations excited in former centuries by the Waldenses, Albigenses, Beghards, and others, and afterwards by the Bohemians, had been suppressed and extinguished by counsel and by the sword. The surviving remnant of Waldenses hardly lived, pent up in the narrow limits of Piedmontese valleys, and those of the Bohemians, through their weakness and ignorance, could attempt nothing, and thus were an object of contempt rather than fear." Milner, the Church historian, says that at this date, though the name of Christ was professed everywhere in Europe, nothing existed that could properly be called evangelical. All the confessors of Christ, "worn out by a long series of contentions, were reduced to silence." "Everything was quiet," says another writer; "every heretic exterminated."

-- Romanism and the Reformation, Lecture 8, p. 202.

But of course this was only a temporary situation, because the Reformation began soon afterwards.

Bible religion has always been attractive in comparision to the Roman Catholic faith. It was so in the days of the Waldenses, when they were greatly multiplied. It was so in Bohemia at about the time of the Protestant reformation, and also in France, in which a large proportion of the population were Protestants. And of course it was so in the Protestant countries during the Reformation, and remains so today the world over. It is reasonable to assume that Bible religion has always been popular and that a significant fraction of the population of Papal countries has always preferred it. Therefore the number of heretics, by Rome’s definition, would always have been a large fraction of the population. And persecution, instead of reducing the number of heretics, often only increased it, as witnessed in New Testament times and also later. Because Rome waged such a bitter war against Bible religion from 1100 to 1600 and onwards, the number of those killed must have amounted to many, many millions of persons.

Adding up the figures that either have multiple sources of support or seem reasonably well documented, gives 20 million killed in the Holy Land and surrounding areas during the crusades, 1 million Waldenses, 1 million Albigenses, at least 18 million witches and others killed during steady state persecutions of heretics in Europe from 1100 to 1600, about 10 million in the 30 years’ war, 20 million Protestants in the Inquisition (not just in Spain) from 1518 to 1548 and onwards, and 15 million Indians in the New World for a total of 85 million, even ignoring many small events. This also ignores 9 million from the figures given by Middleton, plus 7 million for the Saracen slaughters. There is some evidence that millions of Saracens in Spain were killed, which could not have any reasonable military justification. However, Middleton’s figure of 7 million may refer to those killed in the Crusades in the Holy Land, which are already included. Neglecting these, and adding 9 million would put the total over 94 million. All these estimates appear to be reasonable, and many more persecutions were left out, according to Bengel:

To these we may add innumerable martyrs, in ancient, middle, and late ages, in Bohemia, Germany, Holland, France, England, Ireland, and many other parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Obviously the figure is open to debate, but at least one can see how such a large figure can be computed.

Chapter 6. An estimate based on population growth

It is also possible to estimate the magnitude of the persecutions using population figures. The world population from 900 to 1600 is estimated as follows (McEvedy, Colin and Richard Jones, 1978, "Atlas of World Population History," Facts on File, New York, pp. 342-351):

Year

World population

Percent growth

European population

Percent growth

900

240 million

9.1

 

 

1000

265

10.4

36

 

1100

320

20.8

44

22

1200

360

12.5

58

31

1300

360

0

79

36

1400

350

-2.8

60

-24

1500

425

21.4

81

35

1600

545

28.2

100

23

1700

 

12

 

20

1800

 

50

 

50

Year

Growth deficit, world, percent

Population deficit, world

Growth deficit, Europe, percent

Population deficit, Europe

1100

 

 

14

5 million

1200

 

 

5

2.2

1300

19.75

71.1 million

0

0

1400

22.55

81.2

59

46.6

1500

-1.65

-5.8

0

0

1600

 

 

12

9.7

Total

 

146.5 million

 

63.5 million

Adjusted total

 

106.5 or 51.5

 

53.5

The crusades began about 1100, the inquisition in 1231, and the Protestant Reformation in 1517. In between these dates persecutions were most intense. The population growth from 800 to 900 was 9.1%, from 900 to1000 was 10.4%, from 1000 to 1100 was 20.8%, and from 1100 to 1200 was 12.5%. The population growth from 1500 to 1600 was 28.2%, but without the 30 million killed in the New World it would have been 35.3%. Averaging these numbers gives a population growth of 19.75% during periods of relatively little persecution. From 1200 to 1300 the population growth was 0%, from 1300 to 1400 it was –2.8%, and from 1400 to 1500 it was 21.4%. This corresponds to deviations from the average of –19.75%, -22.55%, and 1.65%. Attributing these to persecutions and the Black Death gives a total of 146.5 million people that died in excess of what one would expect based on average population growth. The Black Death is estimated to have killed a quarter of Europe’s population, and about 40 million people total. Subtracting this from 146.5 million gives over 100 million excess deaths due to persecution during the Middle Ages. This figure is a mute testimony to numerous persecutions all over the world that were never recorded and soon forgotten, except for their effect on world population figures. This is a low estimate because there were persecutions from 1100 to 1200 and from 1500 to 1600 as well, which would not only increase the total, but would give a higher average population growth in the absence of persecution. It may be reasonable to subtract about 55 million from this figure due to the estimated 40 million who died in the Mongol conquests and the 17 million killed by Timur Lenk.

Beginning the computation of persecutions at 1100 instead of 1200, the average population growth would be 22.2% in the absence of persecution. The deficit in population growth from 1100 to 1200 would be 9.7%, from 1200 to 1300 would be 22.2%, from 1300 to 1400 would be 25%, and from 1400 to 1500 would be 0.8%. This amounts to 203.7 million persons in all. Subtracting 40 million for the Black Death gives over 160 million persons killed by persecutions in the Middle Ages. Of course there were also persecutions before 1100 and after 1500 that are not being considered, such as the 15 million Indians that died in the New World and the estimated 15 million or more killed in war and the inquisition from 1518 to 1548 and onwards. Perhaps 55 million should be subtracted from this quantity, as well.

However, the population growth in Europe presents a different picture. In 1000 AD, the population was about 36 million, then grew by 22 percent by 1100 and by 31 percent by 1200 and by 36 percent by 1300, reaching about 79 million. In 1400 it was about 60 million due to the Black Death and in 1500 about 81 million and 100 million in 1600. The population growth from 400 to 800 was significantly slower. To explain this increasing population growth in the light of persecution, recall that whenever the Papacy extended its dominion, as in South American or the Crusades, there was much bloodshed. The same would have been true as the Papacy extended its dominion over Europe. Afterwards the persecutions within Europe would have decreased and the attention of the Papacy would have been directed more towards extending its domain beyond Europe. But even a population growth rate of 36 percent is not necessarily high; the entire world population grew by almost 50 percent between 1700 and 1800.

From 1400 to 1500 persecutions in Europe had largely died down, and the population growth rate was nearly 36 percent. The population growth from 1200 to 1300 was almost identical, suggesting that persecutions had largely died down then as well because most of the "heretics" had been eliminated already and the Inquisition had not really gotten started. Therefore the value of 36 percent from 1200 to 1300 can be taken as a base value in the absence of persecution. Thus the deficits in population growth due to persecution and the Black Death would have been 14 percent from 1000 to 1100, 5 percent from 1100 to 1200, none from 1200 to 1300, 60 percent from 1300 to 1400, none from 1400 to 1500, and 12 percent from 1500 to 1600. Adding these up gives a total of 63.6 million people, of whom 20 million can be attributed to the Black Death and 43.6 million to persecution. Actually, because Europe had less than one fourth of the total world population, it seems doubtful that half of the worldwide deaths from the Black Death would have occurred in Europe. A figure of 10 million instead of 20 million for this would mean 53.6 million deaths were attributable to persecution. This is not too far from the common estimate of 50 million killed in Europe. Adding in 15 million for the New World almost exactly duplicates Brownlee’s estimate of 68.5 million. Of course, the total would have been higher because there was also persecution when the population growth was 36 percent. In addition, the persecutions before 1000 when the Papacy was extending its domain over Europe are not counted.

Concerning the Black Death, Robertson writes

This "Black Death" (as it was called) is said to have carried off at least a fourth of the population in the countries which it visited.

[footnote] This is Hecker’s estimate, and he puts the whole loss at 25,000,000 (29). Others say a third, three-fifths, or more. … The "Eulogium Historiarum" makes the loss in England one-fifth (iii. 213).

-- James C. Robertson, History of the Christian Church, Vol. VII, The Young Churchman Co., 1904, pp. 161-162.

The wide divergence in the figures shows a lack of real data about the magnitude of the loss. However, the figure for England, dealing with a smaller area, is probably more reliable.

Despite the differences, there are remarkable similarities in the population growth patterns in Europe and the world as a whole from 1000 to 1800. In all centuries except the twelfth through fourteenth, the population growths were very close, except possibly for the fifteenth. The population growths of the fourteenth century would have been very close but for the Black Death. This suggests that there was some common driving force for these rates of population growth. It seems unlikely that this could have been climactic or political or technological in nature because of the considerable diversity all over the world. However, the global reach and policies of the Papacy provides such a unifying factor. An increase in persecutions would affect population trends the world over. Furthermore, the worldwide decline in the power of the Papacy from the sixteenth century onwards would have had a global effect.

The differences in population growth in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries may be attributable to the tremendous growth of the Waldenses, who became like the sand of the sea, without number. By following a Biblical lifestyle, they would have had low infant mortality and disease rates, long lives, and substantial wealth. The entire world population grew by nearly a factor of four in the twentieth century, and the Waldenses may have been increasing at about the same rate in Europe. Thus there could have been many millions of Waldenses throughout Europe. Such a large population group would have posed a tremendous threat to the Papacy and would have motivated the setting up of the Inquisition. Even in the thirteenth century, millions of them may have been killed in the Inquisition, in addition to the 25 million or more estimated to be killed by persecution in Europe in the fourteenth century.

These population figures may actually underestimate the death toll by a significant factor. If someone is killed who is past child bearing age, his death will likely have only a temporary effect on the population. Someone who is killed after having half of their children will have half of the long term effect on the population as someone who is killed before having any of their children, on the average. Therefore, the total death toll could easily be double that indicated above. Furthermore, the possessions of those who die will be redistributed among those who remain, which will tend to cause the population to grow somewhat faster than normal. In addition, the base figure for population growth could easily have been taken as 50 percent or higher instead of the values given above. This is especially true because of many millions, perhaps 45 million, killed in Europe in the Counter-Reformation after 1517 and before 1700. Therefore the population figures permit, and even invite, the conclusion that the death toll due to persecution in the Middle Ages is astronomical, and many times larger than 50 million.

 

Chapter 7. Indirect evidence of persecution

There is also indirect evidence that many were killed by the Papacy:

However the Pope had his own inquisition at Rome. He ruled what is known as the Papal States of Central Italy directly from 756 to 1870. So the responsibility for the persecution and destruction of "heretics" in that region rested with him. When he was finally deprived of these states in 1870 it was thrown open to the inspection of the public. Letters appeared in the London Daily News at the time. The Daily News correspondent himself, visited Rome only to discover the grim truth of those horrors imposed by the Papal authorities. He reports to have seen skeletons and human remains in huge underground vaults, as they were removing masses of decayed and stinking animal matter. Attached to some of this decaying flesh, he saw silken hair clearly identifiable as human. He reports to have been thoroughly sickened by the sight. A report of his newspaper article was given by Robert Roberts of Birmingham in 1893 in the course of four town hall lectures.

This information comes from a Christadelphian web site. The lectures were given Sunday February 12 through Sunday March 12, 1893 in the town hall of Birmingham, England, and entitled "Christ in the Earth Again." The above quotation is from the fourth lecture. I received the following message by email concerning the above quotation:

The information that you have queried came from the fourth of a series of Town Hall Lectures given by Robert Roberts of Birmingham. He was the editor of the Christadelphian magazine at the time, and contemporary with the events he relayed in his lecture. They were from reports in the London Daily News by a correspondent who was an eyewitness of what he reported to have seen in the vaults under the Vatican.

The Christadelphian Editor, Michael Ashton, currently has a copy of those lectures given and edited by Robert Roberts himself, in his Birmingham office. They have been preserved there, and were also published in a booklet form in Australia when Robert Roberts himself was residing in Australia and was able to authenticate the contents of the booklet, entitled "The Town Hall Lectures."

A similar account is given in an article at the web site http://www.ianpaisley.org/main.asp:

The discoveries made by the armies of the First Napoleon on taking Karne and opening the Inquisition are well known, but the abomination was restored. The revolution at Rome in 1819 was the means of opening the Inquisition there, to the gaze of an astonished world. For the accommodation of the military it was intended to modify one of the convents, and in the course of the work human bones were found, and a trap-door discovered.

This led to excavations being made, and further discoveries of human bones. Digging deeper still the workmen lighted upon a vault, where a great number of human skeletons were found; some of them so close together and so amalgamated with lime, that no bone could be moved without being broken.

In another vault was found a vast quantity of black rich earth, mixed with pieces of decayed animal matter, and human hair of such length as to lead to the belief that it belonged to women rather than to men. From the manner in which the skeletons found in the vaults were placed, it was evident that they must have been deposited there since the erection of the edifice, which was within a period of less than twenty-four years.

The bones of such a multitude of human beings, supplies volumes touching the doings of the so-called Holy Office. The full history of the dread place, however, will not be known till the day which will reveal the hidden things of dishonesty.

Another evidence of massive persecution is a statement made by Colonel Lehmanowsky who had served in Napoleon’s army sent to Spain under the command of Marshal Soult. This statement was included in History of the Old Albigenses, by Jean Paul Perrin with additions written in the 1840s, 1991 edition, Ages Digital Library, Book 3, pp. 311ff. Col Lehmanowsky commanded three regiments of soldiers who took part in the destruction of a secret prison of the Inquisition at Madrid, Spain in 1809. Here is a portion of the account:

From this room we proceeded to the right, and obtained access to small cells, extending the entire length of the edifice; and here such sights were presented as he hoped never to see again. Those cells were places of solitary confinement, where the wretched objects of inquisitorial hate were confined year after year, till death released them from their sufferings, and there their bodies were suffered to remain until they were entirely decayed, and the rooms had become fit for others to occupy. To prevent this being offensive to those who occupied the inquisition, there were flues or tubes extending to the open air, sufficiently capacious to carry off the odor. In these cells we found the remains of some who had paid the debt of nature; some of them had been dead apparently but a short time, while of others nothing remained but their bones, still chained to the floor of their dungeon.

In other cells, we found living sufferers of both sexes — and of every age, from three-score years and ten down to fourteen or fifteen years — all naked as when born into the world! and all in chains! Here were old men and aged women, who had been shut up for many years! Here too were the middle aged, and the young man and the maiden of fourteen years old. …

About a hundred, who had been buried for many years, were now restored to life. There were fathers who had found their long-lost daughters, wives were restored to their husbands, sisters to their brothers, and parents to their children; and there was some who could recognize no friend among the multitude. The scene was such as no tongue can describe.

Clearly those who died in this prison would not have been included in the official records of the Spanish inquisition. Col. Lehmanowsky and his soldiers also discovered many instruments of torture in this prison. But Cecil Roth states, "It is a waste of time to point out the absurdities and incoherences in this egregious account, which was foisted on the horrified public at the height of a period of mid-Victorian respectability" (History of the Inquisition, page 251). Because he does not point out these "absurdities," it is difficult to evaluate his statement. A historian of Napoleon’s wars, describing the capture of Toledo, Spain by Napoleon’s army, discussed the opening of another Inquisition prison:

When the French took Toledo, and broke open the Inquisition prison there, we read, "Graves seemed to open, and pale figures like ghosts issued from dungeons which emitted a sepulchral odour. Bushy beards hanging down over the breast, and nails grown like birds claws, disfigured the skeletons, who with labouring bosoms inhaled, for the first time for a long series of years, the fresh air. Many of them were reduced to cripples, the head inclined forward, and the arms and hands hanging down, rigid and helpless: they had been confined in dens so low they could not rise up in them: . . . in spite of all the care of the surgeons, many of them expired the same day. The light of the sun made a particularly painful impression on the optic nerve. . . . On the following day General Lasalle minutely inspected the place, attended by several officers of his staff. The number of machines for torture thrilled even men inured to the battle-field with horror; only one of these, unique in its kind for refined cruelty, seems deserving of more particular notice.

"In a recess in a subterraneous vault, contiguous to the private ball for examinations, stood a wooden figure, made by the hands of monks, and representing the Virgin Mary. A gilded glory encompassed her head, and in her right hand she held a banner. It struck us all, at first sight, as suspicious, that, notwithstanding the silken robe, descending on each side in ample folds from her shoulders, she should wear a sort of cuirass. On closer scrutiny, it appeared that the fore part of the body was stuck full of extremely sharp nails and small narrow knife-blades, with the points of both turned towards the spectator. The arms and hands were jointed; and machinery behind the partition set the figure in motion. One of the servants of the Inquisition was compelled, by command of the General, to work the machine, as he termed it. When the figure extended her arms, as though to press some one most lovingly to her heart, the well-filled knapsack of a Polish grenadier was made to supply the place of a living victim. The statue hugged it closer and closer; and when the attendant, agreeably to orders, made the figure unclasp her arms and return to her former position, the knapsack was perforated to the depth of two or three inches, and remained hanging on the points of the nails and knife-blades. To such an infernal purpose, and in a building erected in honour of the true faith, was the Madonna rendered subservient!" [Thiers & Bowen, The Campaigns Of Napoleon, cited by H. Grattan Guinness, The Approaching End Of The Age (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1878), 205-207]

Another such account is given by Roth, who as explained on a web site, "records the opening of the Office in Lisbon before it was made into the Opera House. The accounts from eyewitnesses (printed in the Annual Register of 1821) show beyond doubt, that there were human remains found in the dungeons, which were in use (from an inscription on a dungeon wall) as late as 1809. These included monks whose garments were found among the human and other remains lying in the tiers of dungeons and among the evidence of murder both old and recent, committed there" (Cecil Roth, The Spanish Inquisition, Robert Hale Ltd, London, 1937, pp. 84-85). Though somewhat suspicious of this account, Roth states "In the main, nevertheless, the picture is probably as reliable as it is vivid" (page 86).

 

Chapter 8. Cloistered convents

There are also quite a few independent witnesses of terrible abuses that took place in the cloistered convents of the past. Note that cloistered convents are not the same as open convents, where the nuns can come and go. In a cloistered convent, the nuns cannot leave, and there is a much greater potential for abuse:

There were even then sixteen convents, but now there are over four hundred of these barred and bolted and impenetrable prisons, in which fifteen thousand Englishwomen are kept prisoners at the mercy of a celibate clergy, who have power, unless their behests are obeyed, to inflict on these hapless and helpless victims torture under the name of penance.

-- Romanism and the Reformation by H. Grattan Guinness, lectures, London, England, 1887. Lecture 1, page 14.

Rome has, on the other hand, persecuted on principle, and steadily from the seventh century right on to the French Revolution and to some extent almost to the present time. She does so still in the secret recesses of her nunneries and monasteries, under the name of penance. Why else does she require shops for the sale of instruments of bodily torture, such as exist this day in London?

-- Guinness, Lecture 2, pp. 41-42.

St. Ligori himself asserts a fact which, as Mr. Smith justly observes, strongly corroborates the Revelations of Maria Monk; namely, that refractory, incorrigible nuns are punished by imprisonment for life. "A nun (says he) who is guilty of a grievous or pernicious crime, and who appears to be notoriously incorrigible is to be confined in perpetual imprisonment." But they are not expelled as some monks are. The reason is obvious. Nuns, if expelled, would reveal the licentious and brutal treatment they have received from the priests, whilst the latter would be careful not to inform on themselves. Smith’s Synopsis of Ligori’s Moral Theology, p. 231, 232. Now let it be remembered, that the writings of Ligori were approved by Pope Pius VII. and by the Sacred Congregation of Rites so late as 1816: and that, as Dr. Varela, the priest of New York asserted three years ago, are in the hands of almost every priest, and therefore also of those at Montreal; and there will be nothing incredible in the following narrative of Maria Monk. …

-- Schmucker, Glorious Reformation, page 17.

The position of the cloistered nuns, those committed to certain convents for life, is quite different from that of the regular nuns. They usually have gone into this seclusion because of some great sorrow or disappointment. Dr. Montano says concerning them:

'There are 100,000 nuns in the world living in strict seclusion in convents. Subsisting in these retreats are nuns who have retired behind closed doors for life. Young women, who accept the vows of the cloistered nuns renounce their homes, their loved ones, their families, never to see them again. They will stay behind bars for the rest of their lives, shut away from the world.

'These unfortunate souls have cloistered themselves, thinking that the fact they are not in touch with the world will save them from temptations. But again and again, throughout my lifetime, some of the most prominent nuns and monks have confessed to me that it is precisely behind the walls of these convents and monasteries that temptation has tortured them more than it ever did when they lived in the world. Here temptation has beset them until they have finally succumbed, because of the unnatural life they lead. Many poor souls have become tools of Satan, victims of the most monstrous sins.

'Severe discipline is inflicted upon these nuns by the Mother Superior, and flagellation and mortification of the body is practised. Self-inflicted suffering is for the purpose of gaining indulgences by works, a striving to achieve salvation by merits. These poor souls are taught that they are putting treasures in the bank of indulgences....

'The psychological disturbances that have resulted from this type of existence are such that not a few of these poor creatures have had to live out their days within the walls of mental institutions. To confirm this, Father More, of the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., states: "Insanity among priests and nuns (compared with a general population ratio of per 100,000) . . . among sisters who were cloistered rather than active showed a rate of 1,034, nearly twice the general population ratio."  …

Throughout the world there are some 100,000 cloistered nuns. Speaking of one of the more extreme orders, and quoting the regulations under which they live, Dr. Montano says:

 'The discalced (barefoot) Carmelite sisters, for example, neither teach, nor nurse, nor care for the old, the orphans, the infirm. They take a vow of silence--complete silence.

'At 5 :30 A.M. the nuns arise from their pallets, which are wooden boards across saw-horses, covered with a straw-filled tick--for they have also taken a vow of poverty.

'At 8 :30 A.M. they eat a slice of bread and drink one cup of black coffee. The table is set with plain wooden utensils and a covered water pitcher. The mask of death, a skull, is on the table, to symbolize thoughts of death, that we are mortal beings, soon to pass into the unknown.

'Their main meal may be of fish and vegetables, and their evening meal is soup and bread. Their day ends at 11 P.M., when they silently return to their cells furnished with only pallet, table and chair'.

(from Celibacy, by Loraine Boettner, D.D, taken from his book "Roman Catholicism", 1962. He was a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.B., 1928; ThM., 1929), where he studied Systematic Theology under Dr. C. W. Hodge. Dr. Montano’s quotations are from "Christian Heritage," September, 1959.)

Also, Cardinal Peter D'Ailly said he dared not describe the immorality of the nunneries, and that 'taking the veil' was simply another mode of becoming a public prostitute.  (Henry Charles Lea, A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, vol. 3, 1888, pp. 629-631.)

Here is one example of many testimonies about problems in cloistered convents:

I wish to make a statement for those who may think that I am an ignorant protestant who knows nothing about the Catholic Church. I have received numerous e-mails by indignant Catholics who think I don't know anything about what I am writing about and putting on this site.

First of all, I am old enough to be able to say that I attended Mass for years in LATIN! Not English as most today! I am quite familiar with all the Catholic doctrines, traditions and rituals, from the rosary, the stations of the cross, praying to Mary the Mediatrix to not eating meat on Friday.

Moreover, I grew up in San Antonio, Texas, living about 6 blocks from a large Catholic Church that was once a Cloistered Convent. Most today don't know about them. My step-father was an altar boy at the church, planning to go into the priesthood, until the government forced that Convent to open up. Then they found the bones of babies under the floor that came from the sex escapades of the priests (who represent Christ) and the nuns (who were 'married to christ'), which was supposed to mean that when the nun had sex with the priest, they were having sex with Christ and it was not sin. When a priest came wanting a young nun, the Mother Superior lined them up for the priest to pick out his victim of the day. They then went into a private room with a bed and he got what he didn't get at home, since priests are not allowed to marry. This is one of the greatest errors of the Catholic Church and violations of the Word of God and is the source of all the affairs with women (many times with one who came to the confessional and was forced into the abomination called auricular confession) or homosexual encounters you have read about in the papers over the years. And they have only touched the tip of the iceburg of the sexual perversion within the priesthood (and these men are supposed to be 'men of God')? When a baby was born, the Mother Superior would suffocate the baby and bury it within the Convent. Now to the sex sin is added the sin of murder! All for the sexual pleasures and fulfillment of the lusts of the priests.

I personally met a dear nun who was enslaved within a cloistered convent in the United States. She managed a daring escape and ran for her life, then began to speak out and was a part of the governments finally forcing them to be opened and stop the terrible farce of religious piety and holiness behind those walls (she testified before Congress). As soon as she escaped and begin to speak out so that the other enslaved nuns being held against their will might be set free, (for to enter the convent was to be sealed within it's walls until death without ever being able to leave), they began trying to murder her. While in the convent, all mail was checked and censored and there were no outside contacts allowed. They were slaves to Rome! Not bringing Glory to God! But of course the poor little nuns didn't know what awaited them once they entered those walls because of the lies, hypocracy and cover-ups of the church.

The nun referred to may have been Edith O’Gorman, who was still alive in 1947, or Eva Moss, who spoke to thousands in Washington, D.C. in March, 1928. Sister Charlotte gave a similar testimony about abuses in convents. She left her home in the USA for a convent overseas in 1910, and later escaped. Afterwards she accepted Christ and began giving her testimony, from which the following excerpt is taken:

I saw scores of babies born in the convents. Most were abnormal and deformed and seldom was one normal. With my hands I have delivered many, many of them, therefore I know. With my eyes I have seen the horror of it all and the world must be told of what goes on in those chambers of horrors.

Many have said I exaggerate and that these things are not so, but I have yet to be hauled into court to refute the charges. They would have to open the cloisters and this they dare not do. After being snared in this rotten system for twenty-two years, I know whereof I speak.

Normal young expectant mothers eagerly anticipate the arrival of their precious baby. Everything is ready, nursery, crib, clothing, and everyone is happy with her. By contrast, a little nun in the convent dreads the moment when she gives birth. The child is the product of a shameful, illicit union with a drunken priest which was forced on her. She knows from bitter experience that the baby will only be permitted to live four or five hours at the very most. It will never be cleaned or wrapped in a warm blanket for Mother Superior will put her hand over its mouth and pinch its nostrils to snuff out its life.

This is why there are lime pits in all the convents. Babies' bodies are tossed in these holes to be destroyed. Pray for the government to force the convents to open their doors to release the prisoners and let the whole world see what horrors are hidden behind those doors of cruel religious hypocrisy.

If this happens, I assure you that even the Catholic people will agree to the closing of the convents as they did in Mexico in 1934. They have no idea what is transpiring there either, or they would never expose their daughters to such barbarous debauchery and torture.

The convents in old Mexico have been turned into government museums which you can tour for a modest fee. You should go and see with your own eyes and touch with your hands the things of which I speak. Go down into the dungeons, through the tunnels and torture chambers and see all the fiendish devices, demonically conceived, to inflict suffering on the bodies of helpless nuns. See for yourself the cells in which nuns were locked each night and examine the beds, and the prayer boards.

Convents were banned in Mexico in 1857, but one, the Convento de Santa Monica, continued to operate secretly until it was discovered in 1934 and abolished. It is now a museum. A web site of a homosexual order of hospitaler Friars contains the following statement:

The sexual-orientation and/or inclination of the priesthood has been scandalous and so very damaging for a very long time. With the rest of the world, we shamefacedly have to look at the "lime-pits" that academic archeology has unearthed close to almost every convent while the "official church" feigns zero tolerance for birth-control or abortion.

In a sermon "Wisdom versus Faith," delivered on Sunday, 1st April 1962 at the Branham Tabernacle in Jeffersonville, Indiana, U.S.A, William Branham stated,

I went down there in Mexico myself and seen them lime pits … . That's what made communism spring up in Mexico. They broke up that tommyrot. That's what made communism spring up yonder.

It is hard to believe that all of these statements could result from anti-Catholicism without some basis in fact. In fact, the discovery of the bodies of babies buried in a great many convents in Spain helped to lead to the Second Republic which lasted from 1931 to 1936. I received email from a person whose father was present in Spain when one of these convents was opened at this time and the bodies of babies were discovered buried inside. This person verified that the bodies of babies were found in a great number of convents, that the exposure of these convents took place over a number of years, and that these exposures generated considerable hostility towards the Roman Catholic Church among the Spanish people. Also, the graves of the babies were not marked in any way. In addition, there are many labyrinths of underground passages in Spain connecting churches, monasteries, castles, and convents and some of them are opened to the public on rare occasions. Probably many others are still alive who either recall these incidents themselves or have heard about them from their parents. Such occurrences have even been noted by historians:

In the ninth century, many monasteries were the haunts of homosexuals, many convents were brothels in which babies were killed and buried. Since the end of the Roman Empire, historians say that infanticide was probably not practiced in the West on any great scale -- except in convents. The Council of Aix-la-Chapelle in the year 836 openly admitted it. As to the sex-starved secular clergy, they were so often accused of incest that they were at length forbidden to have mothers, aunts or sisters living in their house. Children, the fruits of incest, were killed by the clergy, as many a French prelate put on record.

-- Peter de Rosa, Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the Papacy, pp. 566-567.

Here is a particularly sad example of a nun who escaped from St. Joe’s Convent in Tipton County, Indiana and was sent back by the sheriff:

Menace, Feb., 1927

Rome has won another victory, a victory which forever places a dark blot upon the history of one of the strongest Protestant counties in one of the strongest Protestant States in the Union Tipton County, Indiana.

Little Nellie Fortune, a girl of twenty years, Convent Number 096, saw a chance to escape. Although the night was bitter cold she made her way across fields, through woodlands and over streams, finally reaching a farm house a distance of five miles away, before the coming of daylight forced her to seek shelter She crept into an out-building and was found by a kindly farmer and was taken in and given food and clothing. This man was preparing to move and Nellie was taken to the home of a neighbor, Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Fuller of the Rock Prairie community. Here she was welcomed and given a home by this good Protestant family.

She related the many things which take place behind the convent walls of St. Joseph's Convent, and said she could stand the conditions there no longer and resolved to escape or die in the attempt. She had come to America from Northern Ireland, and stated that conditions in the convents here were far worse than they were in Ireland.

She was happy in her new home, telling her benefactors that "it felt good to be a Protestant." Plans had been made for her to attend church and "be a real Protestant", as she expressed it.

Life was beginning to take on a brighter aspect for poor little Nellie Fortune. She had a good home. she had freedom, and what was more, human love and companionship. But her joy was to be short lived. The unrelenting hounds of Rome were hot on the trail. At last she was located. Sheriff Claud Louks, of Tipton, (elected on a 100 per cent ticket and sworn to defend the American home, etc.) was called and without a warrant or any authority, save the request of the church of Rome, went straightway to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fuller and seized the pleading, crying defenseless girl, who begged for her liberty and fought with her last ounce of strength to be permitted to remain with those who had befriended her. Mr. and Mrs. Fuller also pleaded and begged but to no avail.

Nellie was dragged back to the convent of St. Joseph, to face God alone knows what.

Some more information from the introduction to the 1957 edition of "The Convent Horror: The Story of Barbara Ubryk" reveals the mistreatment of nuns in some of the cloistered convents:

The following items are taken from recent American dailies:--

London, May 23, 1892.--Two huge petitions were wheeled into the House of Commons this afternoon. They bore the signatures of 13,305 members of the Protestant Alliance and 101,408 members of the Loyal Protestant League and others, praying for the appointment of a commission to inquire into the conditions of the convents and monasteries in the United Kingdom.

City of Mexico, Dec. 26, 1891.--It is probably difficult for people in the United States, where church and State are quite distinct in their spheres of action, to understand the recent forcible closing of convents in Puebla and Cholula by an armed force, and amid a popular tumult which resulted in the killing of soldiers and rioters.

But here everybody understands the difficulty to be the result of the clandestine establishment of convents, in defiance of the laws governing religious establishments.

All convents, or other associations of persons under religious vows, are forbidden by law, and a convent of high church Episcopalian nuns or monks would be as promptly closed by the authorities as similar associations of Catholics.

Naples, Oct. 21, 1890.--The judicial authorities have instituted proceedings against the superior of the monastery popularly known as the "Convent of the Buried Alive," where the dreadful discoveries of the existence of starving and demented nuns within its walls was recently made. Another domiciliary visit has been made by the police to a conventional refuge of a similar character at Tencuraboli, where no opposition was made to their entrance. From information obtained at this establishment, it was found that institutions, for the "Sepolta Vive," or "Buried Alive," under the rule of St. Orsola, are not uncommon. In vatican circles it is asserted that at the next consistory the Pope will enter a protest against the violation of the monasteries here. In the meantime the priests of this city are sending in their adhesions to the remonstrance by Cardinal San Felice, Archbishop of Naples, against the recent visitations.

Another account says: "Sixteen nuns were found within a state bordering on insanity. They were covered with rags, and their surroundings were of the most filthy description. Many had forgotten how to speak, and the demeanor of all of them was more like that of animals than human beings. Those who were induced to talk expressed themselves perfectly resigned to their fate.

"The cause of the raid upon the nunnery was the desire of the parents of a young girl who had entered the convent to recover her. She had been banished to a nunnery on account of a love affair objectionable to her family. The latter, being unable to communicate with her, had complained to the police, and an order from the Minister of Justice for her removal was obtained. She was found to be a mere skeleton, and her parents became half-crazed at the condition in which she was discovered. The nunnery has been closed and a strict investigation ordered by the Governor of Naples.

"Later intelligence states that ten more nuns have been released from the subterranean dungeons of the nunnery of 'The Buried Alive' at Naples which has just been opened by order of the Minister of Justice. Among them were eight young women who had been incarcerated against their will by order of their parents. The police have been ordered to visit all nunneries in Southern Italy which are closed to the public. Cardinal Sanfelice left Naples for Rome to obtain further instructions from the Pope on the subject. Immense excitement has been created by the disclosures."

An article written in 1886 and found at the http://www.ianpaisley.org/main.asp web site states:

So late as the 25th of last January, a gentleman writes to a London journal of great repute, as follows:—"In your paper of the 17th you have inserted a letter from ` C. F.,' relative to a strange occurrence, in 1829, at Charenton-sur-Marne. May I be allowed to state that your correspondent has made a mistake as to the locality? It should have been at Charenton-sur-Seine, near Paris. I was engaged on the works of Messrs. Manby and Wilson, under Mr. Holroyd, the engineer of the works, when time after time large numbers of infant skeletons were discovered in all parts of the premises, which, I believe, had been, a convent of a very strict order of nuns. At first we did not take much notice of the circumstance; but when the attention of Mr. Holroyd and Mr. Armstrong was called to the singular affair, we were directed to count the remains; and from that day we counted, and placed to one side, no less than 387 entire skeletons of infants. We took no account of parts of skeletons, which if they had been all put together, would have far outnumbered the entire ones which were counted. I speak far within bounds when I say that there were found not fewer than the remains of 800 children, and there was not a single bone of an adult person among them. The mayor came to the premises, and had the bones placed in boxes and privately buried in the cemetery, and orders were given to hush up the affair."

It is difficult to believe that such things could still happen in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. What is especially disturbing about these accounts is that the Papal hierarchy must have known what was happening, but did not take effective steps to stop it. Not only this, but they demanded that poor Nellie Fortune be returned to the convent! These abuses also demonstrate another danger of church-state unions. At least in countries where the government is not controlled by the church, such abuses can be controlled, but when church and state unite, there is little hope of improvement. Probably the convents are much better today than in the past. But in computing the number of persons killed by the Papacy, if one includes all of the nuns and children who died in the convents, surely the total would increase by many millions.

 

Chapter 9. Wars

There were also many killed in wars instigated by the Papacy. Chiniquy, "Fifty Years in the Church of Rome," chapter 60, quotes President Lincoln as follows:

The common people see and hear the big, noisy wheels of the Southern Confederacy's cars; they call they Jeff Davis, Lee, Toombs, Beauregard, Semmes, ect., and they honestly think that they are the motive power, the first cause of our troubles. But this is a mistake. The true motive power is secreted behind the thick walls of the Vatican, the colleges and schools of the Jesuits, the convents of the nuns, and the confessional boxes of Rome.

There is a fact which is too much ignored by the American people, and with which I am acquainted only since I became President; it is that the best, the leading families of the South have received their education in great part, if not in whole, from the Jesuits and the nuns. Hence those degrading principles of slavery, pride, cruelty, which are as a second nature among so many of those people. Hence that strange want of fair play, humanity; that implacable hatred against the ideas of equality and liberty as we find them in the Gospel of Christ. You do not ignore that the first settlers of Louisiana, Florida, New Mexico, Texas, South California and Missouri were Roman Catholics, and that their first teachers were Jesuits. It is true that those states have been conquered or bought by us since. But Rome had put the deadly virus of her antisocial and anti-Christian maxims into the veins of the people before they became American citizens. Unfortunately, the Jesuits and the nuns have in great part remained the teachers of those people since. They have continued in a silent, but most efficacious way, to spread their hatred against our institutions, our laws, our schools, our rights and our liberties in such a way that this terrible conflict became unavoidable between the North and the South. As I told you before, it is to Popery that we owe this terrible civil war.

If indeed the Civil War was partly caused by the Papacy, then the Papacy was partially responsible for its victims. The Papacy may also be partially responsible for some of the deaths of World War II; the following quotation is from a web site: "'Father' Petar Oajic, in the publication organ of the Archbishop of Sarajevo, Katolicki Tjednik, No.35, August 31, I941 has these 'Catholic' words to say from the place of power … :

Until now God spoke through papal encyclicals, numerous sermons, catechisms, the Christian Press, through missions, through the heroic examples of the saints, and so on ... And ? They closed their ears. They were deaf. Now God has decided to use other methods. He will prepare missions. European missions. World missions. They will be upheld, not by priests, but by army commanders, led by Hitler. The sermons will be heard with the help of cannons, machine guns, tanks and bombers. The language of these sermons will be international. No one will be able to complain that he did not understand it, because all people know very well what death is, and what wounds, disease, hunger, fear, slavery and poverty are. (Bold italics added.)

The archbishop was not dismissed, his words condemned as heresy; it was not secret; it was read; meant to be read. Its language was soon to be followed in fact by the deeds of its doctrine." In fact, these examples are not exceptional, but typical:

Wars.-Probably at the tribunal where Christian morals and philanthropy preside and arbitrate, to no charge is the system of Popery more exposed, and to no condemnation more equitably doomed, than that of having been the chief cause and the primary instigator of all those pestiferous wars which, during the last thousand years, have filled the European kingdoms and their dependencies with confusion, famine, slaughter, and all diversified wickedness. This attribute of the Roman court has been exemplified in a series of acts, the record of which is too lamentably true to be disputed.

-- Bourne, George, The American Textbook of Popery, Griffith & Simon, Philadelphia, 1846, pp. 400-401.

Considering all wars instigated by the Papacy in the Middle Ages and at other times, the total number of victims would be large indeed. Adding these victims to those killed in persecutions and those who died in convents would result in an enormous total.

 

Chapter 10. Conclusion

However, in addition to the atrocities of the past, the Roman Catholic Church is characterized by many acts of charity and humility. The contradictions in this system are well described by the following quotation.

The career of the papal power has evoked the amazement and admiration of many historians. "It has proved to be the most wonderful fabric of what we call worldly wisdom that our world has seen,--controlling kings, dictating laws to ancient monarchies, and binding the souls of millions with a more perfect despotism than Oriental emperors ever sought or dreamed. And what a marvelous vitality it seems to have....It is too great and venerable for sarcasm, ridicule, or mockery. It is too potent and respectable to be sneered at or lied about. I confess I gaze upon it as a peasant surveys a king, as a boy contemplates a queen of beauty....It is both lofty and degraded; simple, yet worldly wise; humble, yet scornful and proud; washing beggars feet, yet imposing commands on the potentates of earth; benignant, yet severe on all who rebel; here clothed in rags, and there reveling in palaces; supported by charity, yet feasting the princes of the earth; assuming the title of 'servant of the servants of God', yet arrogating the highest seat among worldly dignitaries. Was there ever such a contradiction?-'glory in debasement, and debasement in glory', --type of the misery and greatness of man? Was there ever such a mystery? so occult are its arts, so subtile its policy, so plausible its pretensions, so certain its shafts? How imposing the words of paternal benediction! How grand the liturgy brought down from ages of faith!...And yet what crimes and abominations have been committed in the name of the church?

"If we go back and accept the history of the dark ages, what wars has not this church encouraged, what discords has she not incited, what superstitions has she not endorsed, what pride has she not arrogated, what cruelties has she not inflicted, what countries has she not robbed, what hardships has she not imposed, what deceptions has she not used, what avenues of thought has she not guarded with a flaming sword, what truth has she not perverted, what goodness has she not mocked and persecuted?...Think of gunpowder plots and inquisitions, intrigues and tortures, all vigorously carried on under the cloak of religion—barbarities worse than those of savages, inflicted at the command of the ministers of the gospel of love....Whether exaggerated or not they were more disgraceful than the persecutions of Christians by the Roman emperors....As for the supreme rulers of this contradictory church, so benevolent and yet so cruel, so enlightened and yet so fanatical, so humble and yet so proud,--this institution of blended piety and fraud...the joy and the reproach, the glory and the shame of the earth,--there never were greater geniuses or greater fools, saints or hounds, scholars and dunces, ascetics and gluttons, men who adorned and men who scandalized their lofty position."--"Beacon Lights of History", John Lord, Vol. 3, pp, 96-101.

-- Bunch, Taylor, Studies in the Book of Revelation, 1933?, page 242.

We need to be careful not to show hostility to Roman Catholics today because of the sins of the past. I am sure that many of us know many wonderful and loving Roman Catholic priests and church members. But it is important to know the facts of history, or else we may repeat them. As church and state grow ever nearer to a union in the USA, it is vital for us to be familiar with the dangers of religious persecution so that religious liberty can be guaranteed for many years to come. Because of the dangers of cloistered convents, they need to be prohibited or else regularly inspected and opened. We also need to beware of religious influences that lead to wars. For these and other reasons, it is important to preserve the facts of history, or else they may be forgotten altogether. There is hardly any knowledge of the facts of religious persecution among American citizens today. But Lecky, at least, in his day felt that the knowledge of such persecutions was so widespread as to require little justification. This shows that the facts of history are rapidly being eroded away, and there is a continual need for men and women to search out and make known the truth so that it can be preserved for future generations. Without such efforts, in a generation or two, it may be commonly believed that hardly any persecution occurred during the Middle Ages, and the stage would be set for a repetition. In fact, such persecutions could begin much sooner than we realize.

 

      Source material from Brownlee

      Source material from Bourne

      Source material from Peterson

      More source material from Peterson

      Source material from Bunch

      Source material from Lord

      More source material from Brownlee 

 

REFERENCES

Many other references are cited in line and not included in this list.

[Armitage] Armitage, Thomas, 1819-1896. A history of the Baptists : traced by their vital principles and practices, from the time of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to the year 1889 / New York : Bryan, Taylor, 1889.


[Bourne] Bourne, George, The American Textbook of Popery, Griffith & Simon, Philadelphia, 1846.

[Brownlee 34] Letters of the Rev. Dr. W. C. Brownlee on the Roman Catholic Controversy, second edition, 1834

[Brownlee 36] Brownlee, W.C., Popery the Enemy of Civil and Religious Liberty, J. S. Taylor, New York, 1836.

[Bunch] Bunch, Taylor, The Book of Daniel, 1950.

[Chiniquy] Chiniquy, Charles, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, Protestant Literature Depository, London, 1886.

[Edwardson] Edwardson, Christian, Facts of Faith, Southern Publishing Association, 1943.

[Lord] Lord, John, Beacon Lights of History, 1902, volume VI.

[Perrin] Perrin, Jean Paul, History of the Ancient Christians, 1618.

[Peterson 59] Peterson, F. Paul, The Rise and Fall of the Roman Catholic Church, published privately, 1959.

[Peterson 60] Peterson, F. Paul, Peter’s Tomb Recently Discovered in Jerusalem, 1960

[Wills] Wills, Gary, Papal Sins: Structures of Deceit, Doubleday, 2000.

[Wylie] Wylie, J.A., History of the Waldenses, Cassell and Company, London, 1860.

 

 

 

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