The Pros And Cons Of The Witchcraft Law

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This panic sparked the creation of several new anti-witch laws that allow for crimen exceptum which is when someone is judged guilty before their guilt is proven. Elias Slattery of the University of Virginia argues, “By choosing to give their souls over to the devil witches had committed crimes against man and against God. The gravity of this double crime classified witchcraft as crimen exceptum, and allowed the suspension of normal rules of evidence in order to punish the guilty.” These new anti-witchcraft laws started in 1484 with Pope Innocent VIII’s papal bull Summis desiderantes affectibus in which he spoke out against witchcraft in fear that it could compromise the Catholic faith. Within Summis desiderantes affectibus, Pope Innocent …show more content…
This law states that whenever someone causes trouble or harm to others through the use of witchcraft, they should be punished with death, specifically death by fire. What makes the Witchcraft Law in 1532 so unique, however, is that it contains a separate provision that says if someone uses witchcraft and does not cause trouble or harm to others, they are not punished with death, but instead their punishment is left to the discretion of the court trying the individual. For some countries, witchcraft became a statutory crime such as in England in 1542 and Scotland in 1563. But both were repealed by the British Parliament following the end of the witch craze in …show more content…
The Catholic Church began making attempts to suppress all forms of magic, which Edward Bever described as “the prosecution of witches for malevolent attacks and diabolical associations was just one front in a wider campaign to suppress all forms of magic and, indeed, all popular practices deemed improper by the governing and religious elite.” Bever describes this campaign from the Catholic Church as a combination of state, church, and the local community to get rid of all unwanted practices, practitioners, behaviors, and experiences. But Bever ultimately takes an economic approach of the witch craze claiming that the peak of witchcraft trials in the late sixteenth to the early seventeenth century was due to what he calls the “scissors effect”, which is a steadily rising population and only limited amounts of resources. With more and more people to supply and fewer things to supply them with, people panicked and needed a way to

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