18th Century (1700-1799)
1702
British author Daniel Defoe was pilloried, fined and imprisoned for fourteen months for writing a satirical religious tract, The Shortest Way with Dissenters. The tract recommended executing nonconformists in order to frighten others. “Several prominent Anglican churchmen took the proposal seriously and endorsed the policy.” [Engh, 229]
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1720’s
English writer Thomas Woolston was put under lifetime house arrest for doubting the Resurrection and Bible miracles. [Haught, 1990, 131]
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1720
Two competing monastic orders of the Ethiopian Church accused each other of heresy. The emperor David III took sides with one group and massacred the monks of the other. [Engh, 156]
——————————————————————————————————————-1723
The bishop of Gdansk, Poland, demanded the expulsion of Jews but the city council declined. The bishop then raised a mob which killed them. [Haught, 1990, 129]
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1731
Eighty-three people were burned at the stake in Lisbon. [Kirsch, 197]
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1752
At his own request, Fr. Junipero Serra was appointed Head Inquisitor of Sierra Gorda, Mexico. He wrote that the native people “… are addicted to the most detestable and horrible crimes of sorcery, witchcraft, and devil worship….” Serra later brought his inquisitorial techniques to the California mission system. [Jose Ignacio Rivera, “Father Serra And The Skeletons of Genocide,” in Leedom, 270-271]
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1766
A boy, Chevalier de La Barre, in Abbeville, France, was tortured and killed for criticizing the church. [Haught, 1990, 10]
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1780
“The unhappy treatment which the Franciscans give the Indians renders the Indian condition worse than slaves. The fathers aim to be independent and sovereign over the Indians and their wealth.” [Governor Felipe de Neve, July 4, 1780, during the tenure of Fr. Serra (in Costo and Costo., 132)]
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19th Century (1800-1899)
This century saw Christian missionaries making great efforts to convert peoples all over the world, using force when necessary. They showed no respect for indigenous cultures, indeed they meant to replace them with “civilized” Christian culture. European governments were quite willing to send military assets to support the missionaries.
1801
In Bucharest, Romania, Orthodox priests incited their parishioners to kill Jews by repeating the lies that Jews sacrificed Christians and drank their blood. [Haught, August 1990]
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1821-34
“… there were seventy-three convictions for blasphemy in England. Most of those were for printing or distributing The Age of Reason.” [Engh, 228]
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1825
“France makes sacrilege a capital offense.” [Grun, 388]
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1832
Pope Gregory XVI published Mirari Vos, an encyclical against freedom and the separation of church and state. He specifically condemned freedom of thought, speech, writing, the press, and religion. He said “It is in no way lawful to demand, to defend, or to grant [these fredoms] as if they were so many rights that nature has given to man.” Freedom of thought would lead to “the ruin of the Church” and freedom of the press is “the most deadly and execrable freedom for which one cannot have enough horror.” [Cline, “This Date in History: Freedom of Conscience vs. Catholicism”; Burleigh, 141]
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1834
A Protestant mob burned an Ursuline Catholic convent in a suburb of Boston. Thirteen men were arrested. Only one was convicted, and he was pardoned. The Ursuline order was not reimbursed for the loss of their property. [Engh, 247]
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1841
Charles Southwell was imprisoned for publishing England’s first atheist periodical, “The Oracle of Reason.” His successor, George Jacob Holyoake, was imprisoned for his “blasphemous” answer to a question from the audience after he gave a lecture. [Engh, 229]
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c.1857
The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa enforced church separation, thus providing a justification for apartheid. It set a precedent for separate educational institutions for Afrikaners, English and the native African population. The new Calvinism of Abraham Kuyper played a key role in the evolution of this ideology. His view of Christianity was intended to counter the new freedoms of the Enlightenment. [Nieder-Heitmann]
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1860s
Western missionaries had reduced Hawaii’s native population by 90%. The Reverend Rufus Anderson said that the situation was similar to “the amputation of diseased members of the body.” [Stannard, 244]
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1864
Pope Pius IX, in Syllabus Errorum, condemned rationalism, liberalism, modern civilization, and the idea of progress. Other errors he included were the state’s not excluding all religions other than Roman Catholicism, and stating that the pope should accept modern civilization. [Grun, 426; Williams, 2003, 21]
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1864
The Haitian government and the Church tortured and executed eight people during a campaign to eliminate the native Voodoo religion. [Engh, 248]
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1870
The First Vatican Council proclaimed papal infallibility when speaking ex cathedra, i.e. when speaking of doctrine or morals applicable to the Church as a whole. [Catholic Encyclopedia, “General Councils”; Grun, 432]
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c.1878-1903
Pope Leo XIII forbade Catholics to participate in the new Italian state elections. His purpose was to prevent the separation of church and state, which he termed an “American” idea. [Williams, 2003, 23]
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c.1878-1903
Pope Leo XIII approved capital punishment for heretics and other rebels who are not deterred by other penalties. [Ellerbe, 38]
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Early 1880s
Atheist Charles Bradlaugh was repeatedly denied his seat in Parliament for refusing to take the oath of office. The oath had to be taken with a hand on the Bible, and the member had to swear “by the true faith of a Christian.” [Engh, 232-233]
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1890
A policy of genocide by American Christians eliminated 80% of California’s native-Americans when that state joined the Union. [Stannard, 145]
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1896
Catholic Christian Haiti banned Voodoo religious services, Voodoo shrines were destroyed, and practitioners were arrested. [Engh, 248]
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20th Century (1900-1999)

1907
Pope [St.] Pius X issued the decree Lamentabili and the encyclical Pascendi gregis both of which condemned modernism. He thought that modernism threatened the purity of Catholic doctrine. [Cross, 1080; Grun 460]
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1910
Pope [St.] Pius X issued Sacrorum antistitum which contained an anti-modernist oath. In it he called modernism “Americanism” and said that it “represented ‘the synthesis of all heresies.'” [Williams, 2003, 23; Cross, 1080]
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1914
“When a clearly defined dogma contradicts a scientific assertion, the latter has to be revised.” [Catholic Encyclopedia, 1914, “Science and the Church” (article), “Conflicts” (section heading)]
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1914
“To undo the creed is to undo the Church. The integrity of the rule of faith is more essential to the cohesion of a religious society than the strict practice of its moral precepts.” [Catholic Encyclopedia, 1914, “Heresy” vii, “Vindication of their teaching”]
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1928
A Hungarian court acquitted a peasant family of beating an old woman to death for witchcraft. The court found that the defendants had acted out of “irresistible compulsion.” [Ellerbe, 137]
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1928
Pope Pius XI published Mortalium animos: “On Fostering True Religious Unity.” This encyclical forbade Catholics from taking part in Faith and Order or any other ecumenical movement to reunite the Christian churches. [Cross, 492 & 927; Grun 494]
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1929
The Vatican under Pope Pius XI and Benito Mussolini signed a concordat known as the “Lateran Treaty.” The Vatican blessed the Italian fascist in return for money and recognition of the Vatican as a sovereign state. “In Berlin, Adolf Hitler was delighted with the news of the treaty.” Hitler wrote: “The fact that the Catholic Church has come to an agreement with Fascist Italy proves beyond doubt that the Fascist world of ideas is closer to Christianity than those of Jewish liberalism or even atheistic Marxism….” The treaty also made Catholicism the “‘official religion of Italy’ and outlawed propaganda in favor of Protestantism.” [Williams, 2003, 31]
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1931
Catholic bishops, at a meeting in Fulda, Germany, voted down a condemnation of Nazism. “They hated liberalism and democracy much more than they hated Hitler.” [Johnson, 1976, 482]
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1933
Adolph Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany. “The Nazis, thanks to the clandestine workings of the Vatican, had gained control of the government.” [Williams, 2003, 44]
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1933
Rome signed a concordat with Hitler, which unilaterally ceded all power to the Nazis and advised German Catholics to support Hitler’s regime. At the time of the signing, Nazis had been asserting their hostility to Catholics by “by searching priests’ houses, forcing Catholic clubs and organizations to liquidate themselves, dismissing Catholic civil servants, confiscating diocesan property, censoring Catholic papers, and even attempting to close Catholic schools.” Priests and leading lay Catholics were arrested and held until the Catholic Bavarian People’s Party dissolved itself. In the face of these provocations, there was nothing but silence from German Bishops and the Vatican. [Johnson, 1976, 482-483, 489]
Hitler and the Vatican signed a concordat. The Nazis promised state support for Catholic social programs, outlawed criticism of Catholic doctrines in schools and public forums, and instituted a “church tax” on incomes of all Catholics in Germany. The tax was 9 percent of gross income and was collected via payroll deductions. In return, the Vatican agreed that Germany’s Catholic Center Party would dissolve itself. In addition, German Catholic bishops were forced to swear loyalty oaths to the Nazi regime. [Williams, 2003, 46]
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1935
A munitions plant owned by the Vatican provided armaments for Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia. [Williams, 2003, 38]
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1938
Pope Pius XI had prepared an encyclical that condemned Hitler’s anti-Semitism and terrorism. He scheduled a meeting of the Italian hierarchy for February 11 to be followed by the public release of the document on the twelfth. On February 10 the pope died under mysterious circumstances. Not only was the encyclical never issued publicly, for decades the Vatican maintained that the document never existed. In 1997 scholars found a copy among the papers of Cardinal Eugenio Tisserant, who had been dean of the Sacred College under Pius XI.
Only Dr. Francisco Petacci and Cardinal Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) had access to Pius XI’s body. Against Vatican tradition, they had the deceased pope’s body immediately embalmed and refused to allow an autopsy.
It turned out that Dr. Petacci’s daughter was one of Mussolini’s mistresses, and Cardinal Pacelli’s secretary, Monsignor Umberto Benigni, was an official of the Fascist Secret Police—a Nazi spy. [Williams, 2003, 49-54]
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1941-42
Many Catholic priests were officers at Ustashi death camps in Croatia. Fr. Miroslav Filipovic, Fr. Zvonko Brekalo, Fr. Zvonko Lipovac, Fr. Josef Culina, Fr. Grga Blazevitch, and Br. Tugomire Soldo, all of whom were Franciscans, also took an active part in the atrocities.
Many more such atrocities by Croatian Catholics (including priests) are documented here. Williams comments that even some hardened Nazi officers were horrified; one reported to Hitler that “the Ustashi have gone raving mad.” The massacres and plundering of Orthodox establishments resulted in much treasure being transferred to the Vatican. [Williams, 2003, 67-68]
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1942
The Vatican bank was founded by Pope Pius XII, despite never having withdrawn its ban against the charging of interest on loans “under any circumstances.” The bank was involved in major financial scandals a few decades later. [De Rosa, 21]
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1945
Pope Pius XII finally condemned the Nazis. By this time the Germans had surrendered and Hitler was dead. [Johnson, 1976, 493]
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1976
“… a poor spinster, Elizabeth Hahn, was suspected of witchcraft and of keeping familiars, or devil’s agents, in the form of dogs. The neighbors in her small German village ostracized her, threw rocks at her, and threatened to beat her to death before burning her house, badly burning her and killing her animals.” [Ellerbe, 137]
——————————————————————————————————————-
1977
“… in France, an old man was killed for ostensible sorcery.” [Ellerbe, 137]
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1978
U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan, his aides, reporters, State Dept. officers and relatives of colonists were killed at Jonestown, Guyana, by members of Rev. Jim Jones’ People’s Temple. Then 914 colonists killed themselves by drinking a poisoned liquid. A female member and her three children had their throats cut in Georgetown, Guyana. More than a year later, Former member Al Mills and his family were shot to death at their California home. They had helped to expose the problems at Peoples Temple. Jim Jones was an evangelical, a self-proclaimed prophet of God, then Jesus, who performed “miracles” and faith healing. He had also predicted that the world would end on July 15, 1967. [Haught, 1990, 185-191]
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1979
“I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!” [Rev. Jerry Falwell, (quoted in Leedom, 265)]
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1981
“A mob in Mexico stoned a woman to death for her apparent witchcraft which they believed had incited the attack upon Pope John Paul II.” [Ellerbe, 137]
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1984
“I believe this notion of the separation of church and state was the figment of some infidel’s imagination.” [Rev. W. A. Criswell, Dallas TX, (quoted in Leedom, 265)]
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1984
Father Gilbert Gauthe was indicted for many crimes, including rape and sexual relations with a minor, in Lafayette, Louisiana. Knowing Gauthe’s history, the Church transferred him to different parishes several times for positions in which he had contact with children. [BishopAccountability.org, citing “The Tragedy of Gilbert Gauthe” by Jason Berry in The Times of Acadiana, May 23, 1985; Gaylor, Annie Laurie, “Sexual Child Abuse In The Church,” in Leedom, 372.]
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1984
When attorney Gloria Allred scheduled a press conference to name seven priests who had sexually abused her client, all seven “disappeared.” When Msgr. Benjamin Hawkes found out about the lawsuit, he telephoned the priests and told them to leave town immediately. The Los Angeles diocese claimed not to know their whereabouts. [Morrison, “Los Angeles Times,” March 28, 1991]
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1985
In Northern Ireland, “there were 54 assassinations, 148 bombings, 237 shooting episodes, 916 woundings, thirty-one kneecappings, 522 arrests on terrorism charges, and 3.3 tons of explosives and weapons seized. All this in a tiny country with a population of 1.5 million people.” [Haught, 1990, 183]
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1986
Father Andrew Christian Anderson was found guilty on 26 counts of child molestation. He was sentenced to only five years probation. The church had never reported him to authorities, and continued allowing him contact with young boys. [Gaylor, Annie Laurie, “Sexual Child Abuse In The Church,” in Leedom, 373.]
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1987
“[Non-believers] can’t be considered citizens or patriots … this is one nation under God.” [George H.W. Bush, 41st US President, at a press conference at O’Hare Airport, Chicago]
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1990
According to a study by Rev. Ronald Barton and Rev. Karen Lebaczq at Berkeley found that 25% of all clergy have engaged in sexual misconduct. [Gaylor, Annie Laurie, “Sexual Child Abuse In The Church,” in Leedom, 369.]
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1990
“11 out of the 46 Protestant ministers charged in 1990 with criminal sexual abuse had prior convictions … all dating since 1985. Most of the men had received light sentences … Churches are not only failing to check ministers’ records, but in some instances are knowingly hiring convicted child molesters.” [Gaylor, Annie Laurie, “Sexual Child Abuse In The Church,” in Leedom, 370.]
——————————————————————————————————————-
1991
Letters dating from the 1980s from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles advised Santiago Tamayo, a priest accused of sexual abuse with a minor, to leave the country and stay there. Church officials later denied knowledge of his whereabouts. They later admitted that they did know that Tamayo was in the Philippines when the victim’s attorney was trying to serve him legal papers. [Morrison, “Los Angeles Times,” March 28, 1991]
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1992
“The majority of our leaders are pro-abortion. So you don’t go in there and say, ‘I’m an advocate against abortion.’ No, you say, ‘I’m interested in housing, or development, or sanitation.’ And you keep your personal views to yourself until the Christian community is ready to rise up, and, wow! They’re gonna be devastated!” [Antonio Rivera, Christian Coalition NYC, (quoted in Leedom, 265).]
——————————————————————————————————————-
1992
After a thirteen year study of Galileo’s trial, a commission appointed by Pope John Paul II reported that the Inquisition had committed “a subjective error of judgment.” The pope expressed sympathy with their findings but declined to reverse Galileo’s conviction. As of 2008, Galileo’s conviction still stood. [Kirsch, 208]
——————————————————————————————————————-
1994
Rwandan Benedictine nun Maria Kisito and her mother superior Sister Gertrude helped Hutu militiamen set fire to a garage in which Tutsis had taken refuge. Five hundred Tutsis were burned alive. 5000 to 7000 in all died after taking refuge at the convent in southern Rwanda. [Wikipedia, “Maria Kisito,” citing the “Washington Post,” June 9, 2001]
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1995, July
“Srebrenica: Worst European Atrocity Since World War II”
Led by “Serb commander-in-chief General Ratko Mladic.”
“In a five-day orgy of slaughter at Srebrenica in July 1995, up to 8,000 Muslims were systematically exterminated in what was described at the U.N. war crimes tribunal as “the triumph of evil.”
“More than 60 truckloads of refugees were taken from Srebrenica to execution sites where they were bound, blindfolded, and shot with automatic rifles.”
“Some were buried alive….”
“… Bosnian Serb forces had killed and tortured refugees at will. Streets were littered with corpses, he said, and rivers were red with blood. Many people committed suicide to avoid having their noses, lips and ears chopped off….”
“… adults being forced to kill their children or watching as soldiers ended the young lives.” [CNN World, 05/26/2011]
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1998
Pope John Paul II announced the beatification of Archbishop Stepinac, who was a convicted war criminal. [Williams, 2003, 70-72. See also: 1942.]
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