666 Christian Crimes

1500 - 1549


Queen Mary of Hungary, Regent of Flanders, ordered the execution of all heretics, with instructions not to depopulate the provinces. [Haught, 1990, 98]


The Spanish Inquisition burned heretics in Mexico and South America. The Portuguese did the same in Goa in India. Inquisitors routinely accompanied priests on missionary travels. [Kirsch, 55]


Spain, in the treaty ending their victory over the last Muslim kingdom in Spain, promised toleration. That promise was soon broken. In 1501 Muslims in Spain were given the same choice as that given to Jews: convert or leave the country. Queen Isabella ordered all copies of the Koran burned. [Engh, 139; Kirsch, 182]


Pope Alexander VI allows Spain to claim all new lands in the Americas, only if they provide religious instructions to the indigenous people there. [Wikipedia, "Timeline of Christian Missions"]


Queen Isabella decreed that "natives [in the New World] who rejected the Catholic faith could be enslaved." [Engh, 181]


Massacre of Xaragua: Fr. Nicolás de Ovando, governor of Espanola, invited Anacaona, native queen of the west of the island, to dine. She accepted the invitation and was hanged. Her chief followers were burned alive. [Thomas, 66-67]


Dominican monk, Johann Tetzel (1465-1519), preached and sold indulgences in Germany. Tetzel was Martin Luther's first public antagonist. [Grun, 224; Catholic Encyclopedia, "Johann Tetzel"]


4,000 Lisbon Jews were slaughtered in one night. [Manchester, 33]


"Persecution of Jews in Germany; the converted Jew, Johann Pfefferkorn, receives authority ... to confiscate and destroy all Jewish books, especially the Talmud...." [Grun, 226]


In Spandau, after a tortured Jew confessed, 38 more Jews were burned in Berlin. [Haught, 1990, 52]


Russian monk Philotheus of Pskov wrote: "Our ruler, Czar Basil III, is on earth the sole Emperor of the Christians, the ruler of the Apostolic Church which stands no longer in Rome or in Constantinople but in the blessed city of Moscow....Two Romes have fallen, but the Third stands. A fourth there will not be." [Martin, 135]


"The Pope must have been drunk," when he gave to the Catholic kings so much territory which belonged to others. Comment of the Cenú Indians when being told that Alexander VI had divided the world between the Portuguese and the Spaniards. [Thomas, 72]


Dominican missionary Antonio de Montesino reported to King Ferdinand that the native populations of Hispaniola and Cuba were in danger of extinction because of slavery imposed by the colonists. [Wikipedia, "Timeline of Christian Missions"]


Giovanni de'Medici, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, became Pope Leo X. Leo was a spendthrift who sold cardinal hats and anything else he could to raise money to pay his debts and put on lavish displays. One of his favorites, Cardinal Petrucci, joined a conspiracy to assassinate Leo. Leo lured him back to Rome with a promise of safe conduct, a promise which he broke. While Petrucci was being tortured, he told the ambassador who guaranteed the safe conduct, "No faith need be kept with a prisoner." Not content with that, Leo also had killed Petrucci's family and friends. [Martin, 203]


The Spanish began turning the Caribbean natives into slaves. About half a million people of the Bahamas were sent to Hispaniola to replace the huge loss of population there. Cuba's large population was also severely reduced by slavery. Millions of the Caribbean's original population died in only twenty-five years. Slavers continued enslaving people from other islands to replace the dead elsewhere. By the time Cortés arrived in 1525, the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras were uninhabited. [Stannard, 72-73]


Thomas Cardinal Wolsey ordered 60 street people hanged who had demonstrated against their plight. [Manchester, 36]


"'In the year 1517, New Spain was discovered; after the discovery of which they did nothing first or second, but immediately fell to their old practices of cruelty and slaughter; for in the following year the Spaniards (who called themselves Christians) went thither to rob and kill. Though they gave out that they went to people the country. From that year unto this present year 1542, the violent injustice and tyrannies of the Spaniards came to their full height.' His writings were banned for a long time in Spain and most of Europe...." [Catholic priest Bartalomé de las Casas (1474-1566), The Tears of the Indians (quoted in Costo and Costo, 50)]


Cortés landed at an island near Yucatan, Mexico. He had been instructed that "the first motive which you and your company have to carry with you is to serve our Lord God and increase the dimension of our holy Catholic faith." When Cortés encountered the Mayas, he informed them there was one God, the creator and giver of all things. He and his men interrupted a native ceremony and arranged for a mass to be held instead. He broke their idols and installed an image of the Virgin Mary. [Thomas, 159-161]


Pope Leo X made heretics of secular officials if they refused to execute people at the church's order. There was no appeal. [Ellerbe, 82-83]


Paris' high court ruled that the theological faculty of the Sorbonne must approve all religious books prior to publication. French-language Bibles were burned and new translations were forbidden. [Engh, 170]


The first Protestant was burned at Paris. [Engh, 170]


Giulio de'Medici, nephew of Giovanni (Pope Leo X) was elected pope, becoming Clement VII. Church law had disqualified him for the papacy because he was a bastard, but he was able to buy the office by paying the cardinals for their votes. [Martin, 209]


Twenty-five years after Columbus landed, the population of the island of Hispaniola had been reduced to 3 percent of its former number. After eighty years, only 125 natives remained from the original 3.5 million inhabitants. Eventually, 90 to 95 percent of the native population of North America was wiped out. [Engh, 181]


Martin Luther wrote a tract condemning the peasants' revolt. After thousands of peasants had been killed, he said, "It is a trifle for God to massacre a lot of peasants, when he drowned the whole world with a flood and wiped out Sodom with fire." He had changed his position over time, from believing that people could not be coerced into changing their religion, to believing that capital punishment was proper for blasphemy and idolatry. He applied this to other religions, especially Judaism. He wanted to destroy Jewish synagogues and books. [Engh, 165]


Thomas Muntzer led rebels in the Peasant's War. They were wiped out; he was tortured and executed. Martin Luther supported the merciless suppression of the peasants in this war. [Haught, 1990, 88; Ellerbe, 99]


The Dutch Inquisition convicted Lutherans for the first time. Sentences were imprisonment on bread and water for two to seven years. Survivors had to "wear conspicuous red or yellow crosses for the rest of their lives." [Engh, 168-169]


In France, a commission was appointed to prosecute suspected heretics. [Engh, 170]


The Colonnas pretended reconciliation with the Vatican, then suddenly attacked Rome. Cardinal Pompeo Colonna led a raid to assassinate Pope Clement VII. The Pope was cornered while the attackers plundered the Vatican. They stole the papal tiara and valuable works of art, raped, killed and plundered. Several members of the papal household were killed, but the pope escaped through a secret passageway. That was followed by an invasion by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. His army finished what Colonna had startedsacking Rome. [Manchester, 196-197; Catholic Encyclopedia, "Pope Clement VII"; Martin, 211-213]


"Persecution of Jews in Hungary." [Grun, 234]


Possession of a French translation of the Bible or any of Martin Luther's writings was criminalized in France. [Engh, 170]


"Austrian Anabaptist Balthasar Hubmair burned at the stake in Vienna." [Grun, 234]


"The first auto [da fe] on American soil was held in Mexico City in 1528, when two Marranos from Spain were burned alive." [Kirsch, 180]


At the Diet of Speyer, Catholics and Lutherans agreed to join forces to execute Anabaptists. [Haught, 1990, 111]


Pope Clement VII crowned Charles V emperor. He had made his peace with Charles by agreeing to pay an enormous ransom. [Martin, 219]


Martin Luther publicly supported the Speyer agreement to execute Anabaptists. [Haught, 1990, 111; Ellerbe, 99]


In Switzerland, Ulrich Zwingli led urban Protestants in two local wars against rural Catholics. He was killed in the second war. [Haught, 1990, 88]


"Inquisition in Portugal." [Grun, 236]


Michael Servetus' On the Errors of the Trinity was published. [Freeman, 2009, 194]


John Calvin led the Protestants and created a police-state theocracy in Geneva. No amusements were allowed. Morality police inspected household behavior. Theological nonconformists were executed. He also urged the burning of witches. He burned Michael Servetus, a famous dissenter who had fled the French Inquisition. He and John Knox believed that theirs was the only legitimate church. Each new Protestant church made the same claim. [Ellerbe, 99-100; Haught, 1990, 90]


Catholic Spaniards captured the Incan king Atahualpa. After receiving a ransom for his release, the Spaniards murdered him. [Engh, 184]


Martin Luther wrote, "Girls begin to talk and to stand on their feet sooner than boys because weeds always grow up more quickly than good crops." [Ellerbe, 99]


Protestant religious radicals seized the town of Munster, Germany. After the leader, John Mathijs, was killed, his successor, John Beukels, instituted a reign of terror. Catholics recaptured the town in 1535. Beukels was tortured to death in January, 1536. [Johnson, 1976, 262-263]


The death penalty was prescribed in France for "reading, expounding, translating, writing, or printing anything contrary to Catholic doctrine." [Engh, 170]


Most of the population of Munster were massacred by forces of the Catholic ruler Prince-Bishop Franz von Waldeck. Their leader, Jan Beukelsz, and two others "were ripped apart with red-hot tongs, and their bodies displayed in iron cages hung on the city gates." They had been denounced by Luther. Philip Melanchthon said that "all Anabaptists should be exterminated." [Engh, 167]


The native population of most of the Caribbean islands had been wiped out. "By 1496 ... the population of Hispaniola had fallen from eight million to between four and five million. By 1508 it was down to less than a hundred thousand. By 1518 it numbered less than twenty thousand. And by 1535, say the leading scholars on this grim topic, 'for all practical purposes, the native population was extinct.'" [Stannard, 74-75]


"Study of canon law forbidden in Cambridge." [Grun, 238]


English Protestant William Tyndale was captured by Catholics in Antwerp, tried for heresy, strangled and burned. He had dared to translate the Bible into English and have it smuggled into England. Much of his prose is retained in the King James Version. [Haught, 1990, 101]


"... the Portuguese king successfully petitioned the pope [Paul III] for an inquisition of his own...." [Kirsch, 180]


"Northern Italian Anabaptist missionary Hans Oberecker is burned at the stake in Vienna, Austria." [Wikipedia, "Timeline of Christian Missions"]


"In southern France, the Parlement of Aix condemned whole villages of Waldensian immigrants to be killed and their houses demolished. Some three thousand villagers were massacred by government troops." [Engh, 170]


In Portuguese Goa, the governor, acting on royal authority, destroyed all Hindu temples on the islands. On the island of Teeswadi, the local base for the Jesuits and the Franciscans, there was no temple there, according to a contemporary report from Fr. Nicolau Lancilotto. The temple estates were to be confiscated for churches not yet built. [Roberts, 81-82]


Pope Paul III revived the Inquisition to hunt Protestants in Italy. [Haught, 1990, 90; Kirsch, 159]


Martin Luther published On the Jews and their lies. [http://www.humanitas-international.org/showcase/chronography/documents/luther-jews.htm ; Also found at: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/Luther_on_Jews.html ; "Jewish Virtual Library, A Division of The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise"]

In his book On the Jews and their lies "Luther referred to Jews as 'as plague, a pestilence,' as 'venomous, bitter worms,' as 'a desperate, thoroughly evil, poisonous, and devilish lot,' as 'useless, evil, pernicious people,' as 'tricky serpents, assassins, and children of the devil,' as a 'brood of vipers,' and as 'mad dogs.'" [Stannard, 248]

"Although Luther could find no scriptural warrant for exterminating Jews, he believed that they should be enslaved or thrown out of Christian lands and that their ghettos and synagogues should be burned." [Ellerbe, 99]


"First Protestants burned at the stake by Spanish Inquisition." [Grun, 240]


The Council of Trent declared that scripture is not to be interpreted "in any other way than in accordance with the unanimous agreement of the fathers." [Freeman, 2009, 150]


Peter Chapot was executed in France for publicly selling Bibles translated into French. [Forbush, IV]


France created the "burning chamber" for executing heretics. Within three years, the chamber had charged more than five hundred people with heresy. [Engh, 171; Grun, 242]


Archbishop Siliceo of Toledo said, "... the principal heretics of Germany, who have destroyed that nation ... are descendants of Jews." [Johnson, 1976, 307]


Protestant reformer Philipp Melanchthon opposed the Copernican theory. [Grun, 242]




© R. Paul Buchman 2011