Dawn Eden sent me the following information.
A high-school textbook used for the AP (Advanced Placement) European History exam equates the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance with “high magic” and says that, to combat witchcraft in the 13th century, “the Church declared its magic to be the only true magic.”
The Western Heritage Since 1300 (10th Edition, AP Edition, is published by Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Prentice Hall) is written by Donald Kagan of Yale University, Stephen Ozment of Harvard University, and Frank M. Turner of Yale Unversity.
Attached as a PDF file are the relevant portions of the textbook, which were given to me by a teacher at a Catholic high school that uses the textbook. The teacher, who does not teach history, learned about it from a student who asked her if its account of “Church magic” was true.
An actual AP European History study sheet featuring material from the book. The study sheet is available as a download from http://teacherweb.com/ . The download link is http://teacherweb.com/CA/SantiagoHighSchool/Krueger/AP-Euro-Chapter-14-Student-Notes-Pages.doc .
Sample quote from the book’s Chapter 14, p. 438, under the section title “Influence of the Clergy”:
Had ordinary people not believed that “gifted persons” could help or harm by magical means, and had they not been willing to accuse them, the hunts would never have occured; however, the contribution of Christian theologians was equally great. When the church expanded into areas where its power and influence were small, it encountered semipagan cultures rich in folkloric beliefs that predated Christianity. There, it clashed with the cunning men and women, who were respected spiritual authorities in their local communities, the folk equivalents of Christian priests. The Christian clergy also practiced high magic. They could transform bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ (the sacrament of the Eucharist) and eternal penalties for sin into temporal ones (the sacrament of Penance or Confession). The also claimed the power to cast out demons who possessed the faithful.
In the late thirteenth century, the Church declared its magic to be the only true magic. Since such powers were not innate to humans, the theologians reasoned, they must come either from God or from the devil. Those from God were properly exercised within and by the church. Any who practiced magic outside and against the church did so on behalf of the devil.
And a sample quote from the attached study sheet:
1. Influence of the Clergy
– When the church expanded into rural areas, it: ____________
– There the church clashed with the “cunning folk” who were respected in their communities
– The Christian clergy also performed “magic” by turning bread: __________________
– In the 13th century, the church declared its magic to be the only true magic
– The church argued that: ______________________________________________
– Therefore, magic either: ______________________________________________
– Those powers from God were good and were practiced w/in the church
– Those who practiced magic outside the church: ___________________________
– Attacking these so-called witches was a way for the church to extend its spiritual control
– The princes of the day who wanted: ____________________________________
– Witch trials became a way for the church and princes to realize their power goals
N.B. One of the book’s co-authors, Frank M. Turner, who died last month, also wrote a book on Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman that, according to its publisher, “portrays Newman as a disruptive and confused schismatic conducting a radical religious experiment” and “demonstrates that Newman’s passage to Rome largely resulted from family quarrels, thwarted university ambitions, the inability to control his followers, and his desire to live in a community of celibate males.”
I use to complain when history textbooks pretty much had a hole the size of the Catholic Church in them regarding the Church’s contributions to Western Civilization. But this textbook is a textbook example of anti-Catholicism.