The Catholic church excommunicated a group of moles (not spies, but the tiny mammal variety) in Italy in 824 AD?
Were they part of some secret underground?
- SolusLutrinaeLv 72 years agoFavourite answer
If you read the medieval chronicles, you'll find a lot of things that don't make a lot of sense or that seem impossible -- nuns giving birth to rabbits, literal witches, werewolves, stars coming alive and dancing, just to name a few.
It is important to note that quality control for food was nonexistent at the time. Some scholars have speculated that accidental inclusion of ergot in flour for breadmaking is a possible explanation for all the weird stuff being reported. Ergot contains a compound similar to LSD and grows on wheat. They may have been literally tripping.
- John SLv 72 years ago
Sounds crazy so I googled it. -- Your book citation is a bit misleading - it over simplifies the situation.
1) The evidence that such court cases took place is VERY scant. - Many scholars believe that they are made up. The evidence for the trial of the Rats of Autun is one of the weakest and is most likely an urban legend or was done to defame the lawyer named in the story, since he is the only specific name ever mentioned and the only detail that can be independently verified.
2) If 'excommunication' of animals was done - it was probably done as a way to give local citizens 'license' to exterminate them and NOT feel bad about it. Kinda like Society's way of saying "OH they're evil..so its OK to kill 'em!" This is because some citizens, like today, probably felt that they were 'God creatures' too, and so some may have been hesitant to kill them. By 'officially' deeming them an enemy of the people or 'in league with the devil' -- it made it that much easier to exterminate them.
3) Since some small villages lacked their own civil courts of law, many time ecclesiastical and civil courts were combined, since the Church was typically centrally located and large enough to accomodate large crowds. In other words - the local Church ALSO served as the local court house and the local priest often presided over both since he was the most educated and thus closest thing to an trained Judge that they had. -- It is this mixing of the secular and religious that is very foreign to modern westernized cultures.
4) The terms 'excommunication' 'exorcism', and 'expulsion' were kinda interchangeable back then and BOTH could be done by either the community OR the Church - just in different senses. So a civil court could 'excommunicate' or even 'excorcise' a person from the midst of the community OR the Catholic church could do that from the congregation. They were different however, 1 being a civil process the other being via a religious tribunal.