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Antonia wrote:

Hi, guys —

The word "sorcery" in the Old Testament is translated from the word pharmakaia, or something like that, which is the exact origin of the word "pharmacy". That said, there's really no difference between some witch putting together a potion from natural substances to effect health and other human affairs, and a professional business man putting together a potion from natural substances to effect health and other human affairs (like anti-depressants or aphrodisiacs).

  • So why did the Church persecute tons of witches but let pharmacies and doctors get away with their drug making and usage?
  • Was the Church simply going through a very corrupt period of time and out of greed, supported the doctors because they made money out of their healings and biological [and|or] natural manipulations, while witches gained no such worldly reward and thus couldn't financially profit the Church?
  • Is it not a fact that the Crusades and witch hunts occurred.

I keenly await your replies for I find this particularly interesting.

Thank you for your time!


  { Questions about the crusades and the persecution of tons of witches by the Church. }

Mary Ann replied:


Pharmakaia was the word used to describe what people who made potions did. Many of them were witches.

Doctors also used herbs and diet but physicians were sworn not to give herbs for abortion, so people went to witches for abortion-inducing herbs and for herbs that would prevent pregnancy. Along with the herbs came words and tokens, because that was the "magic" that the witches dealt in, so the word, pharmakaia, became also identified with what witches did, which we call sorcery.

The Church did not persecute tons of witches, and there were no Church witch hunts. Read some good history. There was some witch hysteria by Puritans in Massachusetts, and the governments in Europe punished some witches, but the myth of thousands of witches being burned is a myth.

The Church still believes that witchcraft is evil. It is a sin against the First Commandment.
It opens one to demonic influence. Many witches are indeed knowing servants of Satan. So-called "white witchcraft" is a modern invention that attempts to return to a mythical pagan matriarchal nature religion.

The Crusades were not bad things, though the inter-Christian sacking of Constantinople was deplorable. You have been greatly mislead by elements of the Black Legend, myths invented after the Reformation. [Check out the results from a Catholic Answers search on the topic.]

Mary Ann
[Related Posting], also:

An Inquisition Primer by Robert P. Lockwood
from Catholic Answers

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