Halloween Treat: Witches, Halloween, Inquisition, plus brief update

Witches and Halloween
Witches were perceived as evil beings by early Christians inspiring the iconic Halloween figure.
http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween/videos/hist...

Short summary of the Roman Catholic Church Inquisition
http://www.1902encyclopedia.com/I/INQ/inquisition.html
written by The Very Rev. George William Kitchin, D.D.; Dean of Durham and Warden of the University from 1894; Censor and Tutor of Christ College, Oxford, 1861; Lecturer in History, 1882; Dean of Winchester, 1883; author of an edition of the Novum Organum of Bacon, a translation of Brachet's Historical Grammar of the French Language, History of France, etc.

1184 Synod of Verona under Pope Lucius III...Roman Catholic Pope 1181-1185 witchcraft amended to include heretics
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synod_of_Verona

Burning at the Stake
http://www.thereformation.info/burningstake.htm
Catholics and Protestants had martyrs but execution by burning at the stake was a punishment normally inflicted for heresy and witchcraft. The method was first approved for use against heretics by the Synod of Verona in 1184 and subsequently confirmed by the Lateran Council of 1215 and the Synod of Toulouse in 1229. In 1401 King Henry IV authorised the first actual statute in English law against heresy - De Heretico Comburendo, (Henry IV,c.15) which gave the clergy power to arrest and try those suspected of heresy. The Act condemned "divers false and perverse people of a new sect; they make unlawful conventicles, they hold and exercise schools, and make and write books." By this Act, the lives of the subjects were put under the control of the bishops, who got power to fine and imprison all heretics, and all possessors of heretical books, while obstinate and lapsed heretics were handed over to the sheriff, to be burned at once, ‘in a high place before the people, that they might take salutary warning.’

articles edited and shortened
The Witch Hunts... 1450-1750 C.E.
by Helen Ellerbe, from The Dark side of Christian History

Witch hunts were neither small in scope nor implemented by a few aberrant individuals. The persecution of witches was the official policy of the Catholic and Protestant Churches. The Church invented the crime of witchcraft, established the process by which to prosecute it, and then insisted that witches be prosecuted. After much of society had rejected witchcraft as a delusion, some of the last to insist upon the validity of witchcraft were among the clergy. Under the pretext of first heresy and then witchcraft, anyone could be disposed of who questioned authority or the Christian view of the world Witch-hunting secured the conversion of Europe to orthodox Christianity....

The Reformation did not convert the people of Europe to orthodox Christianity through preaching and catechisms alone. It was the 300 year period of witch-hunting from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century.. The [Roman Catholic] Church created an elaborate concept of devil worship, then, used persecution of it to wipe out dissent, subordinate the individual to authoritarian control...an eruption of orthodox vilification of women, "the weaker vessel," in St. Paul's words. The second century St. Clement of Alexandria wrote: "Every woman should be filled with shame by the thought that she is a woman." The Church father Tertullian explained why women deserve their status as despised and inferior human beings: “And do you not know you are an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil 's gateway: you are the unsealer of that tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God 's image, man. On account of your desert -- that is, death -- even the Son of God had to die.”...

The sixth century Christian philosopher, Boethius, wrote in The Consolation of Philosophy, "Woman is a temple built upon a sewer."... In the tenth century Odo of Cluny declared, "To embrace a woman is to embrace a sack of manure..." The thirteenth century St. Thomas Aquinas "nothing [deficient] or defective should have been produced in the first establishment of things; so woman ought not to have been produced then."...
Corinthians 7:1 "It is a good thing for a man to have nothing to do with a woman." The Inquisitors who wrote the Malleus Maleficarum, "The Hammer of the Witches"...”Because the female sex is more concerned with things of the flesh than men;' because being formed from a man's rib, they are 'only imperfect animals' and 'crooked' whereas man belongs to a privileged sex from whose midst Christ emerged.
King James I estimated the ratio of women to men who "succumbed" to witchcraft was twenty to one. Of those formally persecuted for witchcraft, between 80 to 90 percent were women...

As reformation fervor spread... the worship of Mary became suspect. Throughout the Middle Ages, Mary's powers were believed to effectively curtail those of the devil. Protestants dismissed reverence for Mary while reformed Catholics diminished her importance. Devotion to Mary often became indicative of evil. In the Canary islands, Aldonca de Vargas was reported to the Inquisition after she smiled at hearing mention of the Virgin Mary. Inquisitors distorted an image of the Virgin Mary into a device of torture, covering the front side of a statue of Mary with sharp knives and nails. Levers would move the arms of the statue crushing the victim against the knives and nails.

The witch hunts also demonstrated great fear of female sexuality. The Malleus Maleficarum, the manual for understanding and persecuting witchcraft, describes how witches were known to "collect male organs in great numbers, as many as twenty or thirty members together, and put them in a bird's nest..." ...recounts how a man who, having lost his penis, went to a witch to have it restored: She told the afflicted man to climb a certain tree, and might take that which he liked out of a nest of several members. And when he tried to take a big one, the witch said: You must not take that one; adding, because it belonged to a parish priest....

While Christians invented most of what became known as witchcraft, elements of witchcraft represent an ancient pagan tradition linked and considered synonymous with "divination" -- foretelling the future, and discovery of knowledge by aid of supernatural power -- something orthodox Christians insisted could only be the power of the devil....The word "witch" comes from the old English wicce and wicca, meaning male and female participants in the ancient pagan tradition, holds masculine, feminine and earthly godly aspects in great reverence...Wiccan divinity was understood to imbue both heaven and earth... recalling a period when human society functioned without hierarchy -- matriarchal or patriarchal -- without gender, racial or strict class rankings..a tradition that affirmed the potential for humanity to live without domination and fear...

The early Church tried to eradicate vestiges of this non-hierarchical tradition by denying the existence of witches, or magic, outside of the Church. The Canon Episcopi Church law which first appeared in 906, decreed belief in witchcraft heretical...“Far an innumerable multitude, deceived by this false opinion, believe this to be true and, so believing, wander from the right faith and are involved in the error of the pagans when they think there is anything of divinity or power except the one God.”

Nevertheless, the belief was still so prevalent in the fourteenth century that the Council of Chartres ordered anathema to be pronounced against sorcerers every Sunday in every church. It took the Church a long time to persuade society... Reversing its thirteenth century doctrinal denial of the existence of witches, it began depicting the witch as a slave of the devil. No longer associated with the older pagan tradition of witch as benevolent healer, teacher, wise woman, one who accessed divine power... now she became an evil satanic agent. The Church began frightening portrayals of the devil in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Images of a witch riding a broom first appeared in 1280. Thirteenth century art also depicted the devil's pact in which demons stole children and parents themselves delivered their children to the devil....images frequently used to characterize heretics: "...a small clandestine society engaged in anti-human practices, including infanticide, incest, cannibalism, bestiality and orgiastic sex..."

The Church developed the concept of devil-worship as a simplistic reversal of Christian rites and practices... became excrements in the devil's church... Communion parodied by the Black Mass. Christian prayers recited backwards to work evil...Devil worship was a simple parody of Christianity...
The Church projected its own hierarchical framework onto the pagan Wiccan evil ... Julio Caro Baroja explains:“...the Devil causes churches and altars to appear with music ... and devils decked out as saints. The dignitaries reach rank of bishop, and sub-deacons, deacons and priests serve Mass. Candles and incense are used for the service and water is sprinkled from a thurifer. There is an offertory, a sermon, a blessing over the equivalents of bread and wine ... So that nothing should be missing there are even false martyrs in the organization.”...

Pope John XXII formalized the persecution of witchcraft in 1320 when he authorized the Inquisition to prosecute sorcery. Thereafter papal bulls and declarations grew increasingly vehement in condemnation of witchcraft and all who "made a pact with hell." In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII issued the bull Summis Desiderantes authorizing two inquisitors, Kramer and Sprenger, to systematize the persecution of witches. Two years later their manual, Malleus Maleficarum, was published with 14 editions following between 1487-1520, and at least 16 editions between 1574-1669. A papal bull in 1488 called upon the nations of Europe to rescue the Church of Christ "imperiled by the arts of Satan”...It was now heresy not to believe in the existence of witches.
Malleus Maleficarum: "A belief there are such things as witches is so essential a part of Catholic faith that obstinately to maintain the opposite opinion savors of heresy." Passages in the Bible such as "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" were cited to justify the persecution of witches. Both Calvin and Knox believed that to deny witchcraft was to deny the authority of the Bible. The eighteenth century founder of Methodism, John Wesley, declared "The giving up of witchcraft is in effect the giving up of the Bible." An eminent English lawyer wrote, "To deny the possibility, nay, actual existence of Witchcraft and Sorcery, is at once flatly to contradict the revealed Word of God in various passages both of the Old and New Testament."..

The process of formally persecuting witches followed harshest inquisitional procedure. Once accused of witchcraft, it was virtually impossible to escape conviction. After cross-examination, the victim's body was examined for the witch's mark. The historian Walter Nigg described the process: “...she was stripped naked and the executioner shaved off all her body hair in order to seek in the hidden places of the body the sign which the devil imprinted on his cohorts. Warts, freckles, and birthmarks were considered certain tokens of amorous relations with Satan.” Should a woman show no sign of a witch's mark, guilt could still be established by methods such as sticking needles in the accused's eyes. In such a case, guilt was confirmed if the inquisitor could find an insensitive spot during the process. Confession was then extracted by the hideous methods of torture already developed during earlier phases of the Inquisition. "Loathe they are to confess without torture," wrote King James I in his Daemonologie.
A physician serving in witch prisons spoke of women driven half mad: “...by frequent torture ...kept in prolonged squalor and darkness of their dungeons ..constantly dragged out to undergo atrocious torment until they would gladly exchange at any moment this most bitter existence for death, are willing to confess whatever crimes are suggested to them rather than be thrust back into their hideous dungeon amid ever recurring torture.” Unless the witch died during torture, she was taken to the stake. Since many of the burnings were in public squares, victims were prevented from talking to the crowds by using wooden gags or cutting their tongue out....
Sexual mutilation of accused witches was not uncommon...When “zealous Catholic” inquisitors found themselves sexually aroused, it was assumed such desire emanated...from the woman.....and attacked breasts and genitals with pincers, pliers and red-hot irons. Some rules allowed them to visit female prisoners in solitary confinement, never allowing female visitors....The horror of the witch hunts knew no bounds... witches' children were liable to be prosecuted and tortured for evidence of witchcraft: officially, girls by nine and a half, boys, by ten and a half. Younger children were tortured to elicit testimony to be be used against their parents. Even the testimony of two-year-old children. never admissible in other types of trials. A famous French magistrate... regretted his leniency when, instead of having young children accused of witchcraft burned, he only sentenced them to be flogged while they watched their parents burn.

Reformation social turmoil intensified witch-hunting....Witches were held accountable for nearly every problem. Any threat to social uniformity, any questioning of authority, and any act of rebellion could now be attributed to and prosecuted as witchcraft. Not surprisingly, areas of political turmoil and religious strife experienced the most intense witch hunts. Witch-hunting tended to be much more severe in Germany, Switzerland, France, Poland and Scotland than in more homogeneously Catholic countries such as Italy and Spain. Witch-hunters declared that "Rebellion is as the sin of Witchcraft." In 1661 Scottish royalists proclaimed that "Rebellion is the mother of witchcraft." And in England the Puritan William Perkins called the witch "The most notorious traytor and rebell that can be..."

It was most often the sermons of both Catholic and Protestant preachers that would instigate a witch hunt. The terrible Basque witch hunt of 1610 began after Fray Domingo de Sardo came to preach about witchcraft. "There were neither witches nor bewitched until they were talked and written about," remarked a contemporary named Salazar. The witch hunts in Salem, Massachusetts, were similarly preceded by the fearful sermons and preaching of Samuel Parris in 1692...

..Until the terror of witch hunts, most people did not understand why successful healers should be considered evil... the very invocations used by wise women sound quite Christian. For example, a 1610 poem recited when picking the herb vervain, also known as St. Johnswort, reads,

Hallowed be thou Vervain, as thou growest on the ground
For in the mount of Calvary there thou was first found
Thou healest our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and staunchest his bleeding wound
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost
I take thee from the ground.

But in the eyes of orthodox Christians, such healing empowered people to determine the course of their lives instead of submitting helplessly to the will of God. According to churchmen, health should come from God, not from the efforts of human beings. Bishop Hall said, "we that have no power to bid must pray..." Ecclesiastical courts made the customers of witches publicly confess to being "heartily sorry for seeking man's help, and refusing the help of God..." An Elizabethan preacher explained that any healing "is not done by conjuration or divination, as Popish priests profess and practice, but by entreating the Lord humbly in fasting and prayer..." And according to Calvin, no medicine could change the course of events which had already been determined by the Almighty...Even Church-licensed male physicians, who relied on purgings, bleedings, fumigations, leeches, lancets, and toxic chemicals such as mercury, were little match for an experienced wise woman's knowledge of herbs. As the well-known physician, Paracelsus, asked, "...does not the old nurse very often beat the doctor?" Even Francis Bacon, who demonstrated very little respect for women, thought "empirics and old women" were "more happy many times in their cures than learned physicians..." Physicians often attributed their own incompetence to witchcraft. As Thomas Ady wrote:
The reason is ignorantiae pallium maleficium et incantatio -- a cloak for a physician's ignorance. When he cannot find the nature of the disease, he saith the party is bewitched....
Not surprisingly, churchmen portrayed the healing woman as the most evil of all witches. William Perkins declared, "The most horrible and detestable monster ... is the good witch." The Church included in its definition of witchcraft anyone with knowledge of herbs for "those who used herbs for cures did so only through a pact with the Devil, either explicit or implicit." Medicine had long been associated with herbs and magic. The Greek and Latin words for medicine, "pharmakeia" and "veneficium," meant both "magic" and "drugs." Mere possession of herbal oils or ointments became grounds for accusation of witchcraft. A person's healing ability easily led to conviction of witchcraft. In 1590 a woman in North Berwick was suspected of witchcraft because she was curing "all such as were troubled or grieved with any kind of sickness or infirmity." The ailing archbishop of St. Andrews called upon Alison Peirsoun of Byrehill and then, after she had successfully cured him, not only refused to pay her but had her arrested for witchcraft and burned to death. Simply treating unhealthy children by washing them was cause for convicting a Scottish woman of witchcraft.
Witch-hunters targeted midwives...orthodox Christians believed the act of giving birth defiled both mother and child. In order to be readmitted to the Church, the mother should be purified through the custom of "churching," which consisted of a quarantine period of forty days if her baby was a boy and eighty days if her baby was a girl, during which both she and her baby were considered heathen. Some thought that a woman who died during this period should be refused a Christian burial. Until the Reformation, midwives were deemed necessary to take care of what was regarded as the nasty business of giving birth, a dishonorable profession best left in the hands of women. But with the Reformation came an increased awareness of the power of midwives. Midwives were now suspected of possessing the skill to abort a fetus, to educate women about techniques of birth control, and to mitigate a woman's labor pains. A midwife's likely knowledge of herbs to relieve labor pains was seen as a direct affront to the divinely ordained pain of childbirth. In the eyes of churchmen, God's sentence upon Eve should apply to all women. Genesis: “Unto the woman [God] said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. To relieve labor pains, as Scottish clergymen put it, would be "vitiating the primal curse of woman..." The introduction of chloroform to help a woman through the pain of labor brought forth the same opposition. According to a New England minister: Chloroform is a decoy of Satan, apparently offering itself to bless women; but in the end it will harden society and rob God of the deep earnest cries which arise, in time of trouble, for help.
Martin Luther wrote, "If [women] become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth -- that is why they are there." It is hardly surprising that women who not only possessed medicinal knowledge but used that knowledge to comfort and care for other women would become prime suspects of witchcraft.
How many lives were lost during the centuries of witch-hunting will never be known. Some clergy members proudly reported the number of witches they condemned, such as the bishop of Würtzburg who claimed 1900 lives in five years, or the Lutheran prelate Benedict Carpzov who claimed to have sentenced 20,000 devil worshippers. But the vast majority of records have been lost and doubtful such documents would have recorded those killed outside of the courts.[..]

WHY SOURCE—CHECKING IS ESSENTIAL
Witches and The Inquisition
http://www.catholicbridge.com/catholic/burning_times_inquisition_witches...
Christians of all backgrounds share a common shame with regards to their treatment of witches. It was a very dark time in history regardless of whether it was in a Catholic or Protestant society. In this article we're going to try to sort out the fact from fiction about the witch burnings of the Middle Ages. In the last 20 years virtually all reputable secular historians have revised witch death rates to 40,000 - 60,000, and less than 500 of those deaths were caused directly by the Church through the Inquisition...
Although the deaths are inexcusable, they are a long way from 9 million in the Nation Film Board's popular (but unhistorical) movie called "The Burning Times."
For these and dozens of other reasons, historians today are confident these 14th century trials never occurred. There were no mass trials before the 15th century, and never was a craze where 400 women died in one day....
his site is linked to this one with no links to referenced sources: Sources: http://www.summerlands.com/crossroads/remembrance/_remembrance/00000081....

Common Misconceptions...
Jenny Gibbons crossroads/remembrance/_private/remembrance_ahdr.htm
Jenny Gibbons, M.A. in medieval history, minored in the history of the Great Hunt. This article originally appeared in issue #5 of the Pomegranate (Lammas, 1998
For years Witch hunting has been dumped on the doorstep of the Catholic Church...Popular history places the witchcraft persecutions in the Middle Ages (5th-14th centuries). 19th century historians considered the Great Hunt an outburst of superstitious hysteria, fostered and spread by the Catholic Church...therefore worst when the Church's power was greatest: before the Reformation split "the" Church into warring Catholic and Protestant sects...When the Church was at the height of its power very few witches died. Persecutions did not reach epidemic levels until after the Reformation, when the Catholic Church had lost its position as Europe's indisputable moral authority......Witch Crazes were rare, extreme types of Witch hunting. Most countries only had one or two in all the Burning Times... Endemic Witch hunting is the low-level stream of isolated, individual trials throughout the Burning Times. Usually one to six Witches died. Epidemic Witch hunts, on the other hand, are the Witch crazes: the great panics that swept the countryside, killing dozens or hundreds of people.... In 1258 Pope Alexander IV declared "The Inquisitors, deputed to investigate heresy, must not intrude into investigations of divination or sorcery without knowledge of manifest heresy involved."...not until 1326 did the Church reverse its position allowing the Inquisition to investigate witchcraft. But the only significant contribution was the development of "demonology", the diabolic origin of witchcraft. ...
The first mass trial occurred in Valais, Switzerland, in 1428. Older texts do say mass trials first appeared in 14th century France. Up until 1972, historians believed the first great Witch crazes occurred around 1320... handiwork of the French Inquisition, they were some of the worst crazes of the Burning Times. Many popular and Pagan texts mention monstrous affairs where as many as 400 women were killed in one day! In reality, these trials never happened....
By the 1950s, historians were extremely skeptical about 14th century crazes. They didn't fit the pattern of Witch hunting. Their demonology was far too elaborate for a medieval trial, more complex even than in the _Malleus Maleficarum_ of 1484....For these and many other reasons, the 14th century trials seemed terribly odd...as if someone had taken a trial from the 16th century, from the height of the Burning Times, and plunked it down in the late Middle Ages. In 1972, we learned that was exactly what someone *had* done. Two historians -- Norman Cohn and Richard Kieckhefer -- independently discovered that _Histoire de l'Inquisition en France_ was a forgery...that Lamothe-Langon was a noted forger, writing fake autobiographies of numerous 18th century notables... For these and dozens of other reasons, historians today are confident these 14th century trials never occurred. There were no mass trials before the 15th century, and there never was a craze where 400 women died in one day... [crossroads/remembrance/_private/remembrance_aftr.htm

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"When fascism comes to America it will come wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross"
Sinclair Lewis 1935

Bipartisan “Merry Christmas bill” sailed through the state House and Senate ..."Religious freedom does not mean freedom from religion...We hope this is a fire that will take off and become laws in the other 49 states”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/texas-gov-signs-merry-ch...

Pope Names Veteran Diplomat as Secretary of State
8/31/13 by Reuters VOA http://www.voanews.com/content/reu-pope-names-diplomate-as-chief-aide-ch...
Pope Francis attempted to set a new tone for a Vatican beset by scandals on Saturday by naming a veteran diplomat as secretary of state, a role often called the "deputy pope"...naming a new secretary of state - who acts as the pope's prime minister and chief aide - is the most significant appointment by Francis since his election in March. Although he has no power to rule on doctrinal issues, the secretary of state sets the tone for the Curia, the Vatican's central administration and is involved in everything from finances and the appointment of bishops to diplomatic relations with more than 170 countries... One of the most damaging scandals to hit the Vatican under Bertone was "Vatileaks", when Benedict's butler leaked documents alleging corruption from the pope to the media...which coincided with tumult at the Vatican bank, officially the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) which Italian magistrates are investigating on suspicion of money laundering

US-Vatican Relations: 25th Anniversary and a New President
5/1/09 Institute of World Politics (excerpt) http://www.iwp.edu/news_publications/detail/us-vatican-relations-25th-an...
President Roosevelt was the first American president to grasp the benefit of a bilateral relationship. President Reagan and Pope John Paul II took it to a new level of cooperation. Pope Benedict and President Obama are destined to continue on the same path of forward movement....the bilateral relationship between the Holy See and the United States will continue to improve for the benefit of the world...\
In a July 2009 meeting at the Vatican, the Pope and President Obama discussed a myriad of issues (Religious News Service) including the Mideast peace process and drug trafficking in Latin America, but the Pope also gave Obama a booklet condemning embryonic stem cell research and abortion rights. Meanwhile, the pope came under fire (WashTimes) on a March 2009 trip to Africa for opposing the distribution of condoms. The church prohibits the use of contraception of any kind. The church encouraged a strong "conscience clause" in the U.S. Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) major funding initiative...allowing groups like Catholic Relief Services to refuse to execute the condom education and distribution of the programs....
President Ronald Reagan, pleased by the Pope's open defiance of Communist rule and unwavering support for the Solidarity movement in Poland, met with John Paul !! June 7, 1982 in Vatican City regarding the question of freedom in Eastern Europe. From then on the United States and the Vatican worked ever more closely on their shared objective of defeating the Soviet menace. January 10, 1984, President Reagan nominated William A. Wilson, his personal envoy to the Pope since 1981, as the first United States Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Holy See. This official reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the Holy See had not officially existed for over a century....
In September of 1989, U.S. Ambassador Melady had a meeting with Agostino Cardinal Casaroli, Vatican Secretary of State, who informed him about his contacts with the Soviet head of State, Mikhail Gorbachev [and] that the Holy See felt changes were taking place in the Soviet Union Pope John Paul II wanted to occur, believing they would lead to an end of the Cold War.
December 1,1989, Mikhail Gorbachev traveled to the Holy See to meet with the Pontiff. By December 1990, the Holy See had established diplomatic relations with Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Romania... the influence of Pope John Paul II and the Roman Catholic Church played a crucial role in the defeat of Communism, beginning with the Pope's first visit home in 1979, an event which General Jaruzelski himself referred to as the "detonator," setting off the explosion of political change in Poland. Mikhail Gorbachev, in an article he wrote for the March 3, 1992, edition of La Stampa, also paid a fitting tribute to the role played by John Paul II: "What has happened in Eastern Europe in recent years would not have been possible without this Pope, without the great role [and] also the political role] that he has played on the world scene."
It is vital that this relationship be continued under the new Obama Administration. It is apparent that President Obama and his administration are in disagreement with some teachings of the Church. These differences should not interfere with the bilateral relationship between two governments, not a Church and a State. When President Obama made known his selection of Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State, he said it was "a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances." ...
Thus far, the new President and Pope Benedict XVI seem to be off to a good start.
After the November 4 election, Mr. Obama received a telegram from Pope Benedict which noted the "historic" nature of his victory and offered prayers for the new President that God would "sustain you and the American people in your efforts...to build a world of peace, solidarity and justice." A week later Obama telephoned the Pope to thank him for his telegram after which they spoke for several minutes. The new President also received a phone call from the Pope on the day of his inauguration....
Pope Benedict XV! stirred controversy in a September 2006 address that quoted the following statement from a medieval text: "Show me just what [the Prophet] Mohammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman." After Muslim leaders expressed outrage, the pope backpedaled, apologizing for any offense taken-- some Muslim groups said the apology was insufficient as the pontiff stopped short of apologizing for the remarks themselves. Later the pope struck a more conciliatory tone, calling for "reconciliation" among world religions
The White House and Vatican agree on the need to frame the war on terror not as one against Muslims but one against radical ideology. "There's been lots of emphasis on the Holy See to make sure this is not seen as a religious conflict," says J. Bryan Hehir , an expert on the Catholic Church at Harvard University. However, Pope Benedict XVI, like Washington, has been vocal in pressing for Muslim moderates to condemn terrorist actions... Theologically, Benedict has a fine appreciation for religious Judaism, J. Peter Pham of James Madison University says. The pontiff's views on Muslims are less clear. "If you look at history, he's profoundly skeptical of democracy and Islam," Pham says. Before he was elected pope, Cardinal Ratzinger came out against Turkey's accession to the European Union, ostensibly because of its Muslim heritage.
The Vatican has played an important role in the Middle East peace process. Officially it recognizes Israel's right to exist while supporting Palestinian demands for a homeland. In 2006, the pope's omission of Israel from a list of countries struck by terrorist attacks drew criticisms from Israeli leaders....

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Israeli President Peres says pope has role to play in Mideast peace, invites him for visit
4/30/13 http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/israeli-president-peres-...
Peres met the new pontiff Tuesday... Peres spoke to the pope about peace negotiations with the Palestinians and the potential threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. Peres said the pope had “an important role in progressing peace.” The Vatican and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1993...

President Peres to meet Pope Francis on trip to Italy and receive Medal of Honor for Peace.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article34726.htm
back to article
Perhaps nowhere does the Vatican wield more influence than in Latin America, where the population is mainly Catholic. The Vatican opposed Reagan's policies during the 1980s, including the U.S. interventions in El Salvador and Nicaragua. Twenty years later, the U.S. image in the region has been tarnished, not least because of its failed prescriptions for market reforms. Some experts say a U.S. alliance with the Vatican can help improve its image south of the border...in an April 2008 interview the pope intently focused on the extent to which Vatican---U.S. policy intersects with Vatican-Latin American policy... The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops supports free trade agreements like CAFTA and the proposed U.S. Free Trade Area of the Americas. Generally, the church favors free but fair trade and more equitable redistribution of wealth, but not abolishing private property or individual freedoms...explaining the Vatican's chilliness toward Marxist---oriented liberation theology movement in Latin America from the 1960s through the 1980s....

Vatican Dismissed Pinochet Massacre Reports As 'Communist Propaganda'
http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130408/vatican-said-pinochet...

U.S. Operation Condor
“Washington’s Pope”: Who is Pope Francis I? Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Argentina’s “Dirty War”
3/14/13 http://www.globalresearch.ca/washingtons-pope-who-is-francis-i-cardinal-...
In 1973,appointed “Provincial” of Argentina for the Society of Jesus, Bergoglio was the highest ranking Jesuit in Argentina during the U.S. backed military dictatorship led by General Jorge Videla (1976-1983)... later became bishop and archbishop of Buenos Aires....in 2001 Pope John Paul II elevated him to a 'cardinal' ...March 5, 2013, a major trial began in Buenos Aires a week prior to Cardinal Bergoglio’s investiture as Pontiff “to consider the totality of crimes carried out under Operation Condor, a coordinated campaign by various US-backed Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s to hunt down, torture and murder tens of thousands of opponents of those regimes.” (Image Left: Jorge Mario Bergoglio and General Jorge Videl)
see Operation Condor: Trial On Latin American Rendition And Assassination Program By Carlos Osorio and Peter Kornbluh, March 10, 2013...
Holy Communion for the Dictators (image right: General Jorge Videla takes communion from priest Jorge Mario Bergoglio)
The Catholic hierarchy was complicit in torture and mass killings, an estimated “22,000 dead and disappeared, from 1976 to 1978 ..Thousands more were killed between 1978 and 1983 when the military was eventually forced from power.” (National Security Archive, March 23, 2006)...

"We preserve and shall preserve memory and perennial gratitude for what has been done in Italy for the benefit of religion, even though not less and perhaps greater was the benefit derived by the [Fascist] party and the [Fascist] regime ... We have always refrained from formal and explicit condemnation [of Fascism]; we have come to such a point as to believe possible and to favor compromises which seemed inadmissible to others."
1926 Pope Pius X1

"Two facts which appear contradictory found together among Jews scattered in the modern world: their control of moneys and preponderance in Socialism and Communism"
Civilta Cattolica, October 3, 1936

"the whole world has been forced to admire the successes of Premier Mussolini in disciplining the nation. Today a new Italian Empire faces the future arid assumes its responsibilities as guardian and administrator of a backward people of ten million [Ethiopian] souls.”
11/6/36. Roosevelt's envoy to the Vatican, Myron Taylor, NYT

“... new order...it is well we encourage a closer association between those in every part of the world – those in religion and those in government – who have a common purpose...it is of the utmost importance that common ideals shall have a united expression.”
12/23/39, Roosevelt post-war letter to Pope X1

“The Church condemns the various forms of revolutionary Marxian Socialism because it is her permanent right and duty to safeguard men from currents of thought and influence that jeopardize their eternal salvation.”
1943 Pope's Christmas message

“... any legitimate economic and social order should rest on the indisputable foundation of the right to private property. The Church has always acknowledged the natural right to property ...Christian conscience cannot admit as right a social order that denies the principle or renders impossible and useless in practice the natural right to ownership of commodities and means of production.”
Sept. 1944 Pope's speech to the world

"...So you have two great forces lined up against each other...this week’s mobilization of world Catholicism against Communism was the most striking visible symbol of opposition since the Communist Manifesto led Pius IX to issue his first condemnation of Marxism. Remember there is only one great totalitarian force left in the world today. It is war and open war, and this Consistory is a formal mobilization for the struggle"
(Herbert L. Matthews, Rome correspondent, New York Times, February 23, 1946.)