Summis Desiderantes: Associated Goals

Topics: Pope, Heinrich Kramer, Malleus Maleficarum Pages: 3 (1069 words) Published: November 29, 2006
What goal do you think Pope Innocent VIII was trying to achieve when sanctioning the writing of the Malleus Maleficarum through his papal bull, Summis Desiderantes, in 1484?
Pope Innocent VIII could have had obviously had many goals in issuing Summis Desiderantes; however, in my opinion, one goal is much more evident than the rest. Pope Innocent VIII had one of the most corrupt papacies on record ( glossary/western/bldef_innocentviii.htm). Also, during the time of his papacy, the accusations of witchcraft were growing quickly throughout Europe, but mainly in Germany. Personally I think that his issuing of Summis Desiderantes was an attempt to better his "approval ratings".

Innocent's papacy was littered with scandals and secrets. Before being elected as pope, Innocent had three children from different mothers. This was not announced until his position as pope had been secured. He was not a wealthy man; however he insisted on living like one. He had many new offices created within the church only to be auctioned off to the highest bidder; this put rich people in charge of the church rather than the religious leaders of the time ( _innocentviii.htm). The pope had, at one point, wanted to launch a crusade against the Turks; however, he settled for a treaty paying him a very large sum of money. In my opinion, Pope Innocent VIII either did not have very much common sense or did not have very much respect for the position to which he had been appointed. This shows through in that despite the embezzlement charges against Institoris, he was still allowed to maintain his position in the church as an inquisitor. Innocent eventually sank so low as to pawn the papal tiara to a Roman merchant. I think that the irresponsibility and greediness of Pope Innocent VIII led the people of the Catholic Church to question his ability to lead it. Innocent knew he must do something to change their opinion....
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