In the 13th Century a wave of anti-cat sentiment swept through Europe, with religious leaders labeling cats as evil and “diabolical,” including Pope Gregory IX who did so in 1232 AD. TIL That Medieval Pope Gregory IX considered cats to be the 'incarnation of Satan'. In the ensuing years huge numbers of cats (especially black cats) and even their owners were killed across Europe in fear that they were evil witches and linked to Satan. Cats are natural hunters. Actually, the murder of cats in Europe continued for hundreds of years, and another Plague swept through Europe again in the 17th Century. Pope Innocent VIII did not believe that cats were such innocent, helpful, and loving creatures. 1227: Pope Gregory IX established the Inquisitional Courts to arrest, try, convict and execute heretics. He is mostly known for issuing the Decretales and starting the Papal Inquisition. It was his distaste for cats that penned the Vox in Rama. – Long Live the Kitty. Eventually, the Italian Renaissance would put this so far in the rearview, all we could think about was frilly collars. In the course of describing the actions of groups engaging in devil worship, the claim was made that black cats were used in the rituals and the devil was likened to a cat. The association of the cat with ancient Egypt is well known. “Vox in Rama” may have been the first official church document that condemns the black cat as an incarnation of Satan. Many of these rodents had fleas that carried diseases including the Black Plague. As hysteria increased, the rat population boomed and the Black Plague began to spread out of control. They were declared heretics. This is a cautionary tale to all you cat haters out there. The exact relevance of this has been questioned by some experts, but it is true that this century gave rise to the beginning of a difficult era for cats. Welcome to LongLiveTheKitty.com: Here we disseminate the infinite and perfect wisdom of Glorious Leader, Chairman Meow, leader of the Kitty Revolution. By rough estimates, as many as 200 million people died. Let’s see if the math adds up…. There are two types of people in this world: cat people, and not cat people. Also check out our recent Vistaprint business cards review! Kitty cats are not everyone’s flavor of pudding, but they serve an important role in many urban areas, especially in the developing nations outside the western world. BELIEVE: To the Cosmos! Like most diseases, we’re hard pressed to find the bad guy. That was the first church document condemning black cats as instruments of satan. You wouldn’t hate that, would you? It was largely in the Middle Ages that the black cat became affiliated with evil. By removing many cats from the food chain, the population of rodents began to rise across Europe, as Asian and other foreign ships carrying rats brought them to European harbors. However, Pope Gregory IX declared that cats were «diabolical creatures» in the early thirteenth century, and it is said that this resulted in a massacre of cats in the whole of Europe. He appointed a High Inquisitor, Conrad of Marburg, to investigate claims that groups of witches were organizing satanic rituals and threatening the sanctity of the faith. Gregory IX Approving the Decretals. The faith has seen a rebirth in recent years. Many believed this was the end of the human race, and who could blame them? In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII declared that the cat was the “devil’s favorite animal and idol of all witches.” I am sure you can see where this is going. We know there was a massive reduction in cat populations at the time because of this, so it’s plausible to make the connection. Pope Gregory IX, who held the papacy from 1227 to 1241, most definitely fell in the second camp — largely because he believed that the fluffy hairball-hackers embodied Lucifer himself. It came from was Asia, but it is still believed by many to have traveled on the backs of fleas living on rats. The mass murder of cats was not the only cause of the Black Plague, but it removed a crucial natural predator of the flea-carrying rats that spread the disease. designs at: Threadless.com and Zazzle, Why Cats Were (Wrongly) Blamed for the Black Plague in Europe, BELIEVE: Long Live Chairman Meow Propaganda Poster (Buy! In the 13th Century a wave of anti-cat sentiment swept through Europe, with religious leaders labeling cats as evil and “diabolical,” including Pope Gregory IX who did so in 1232 AD. Black Cats as Witches’ Familiars. The reputation of the cat took a more serious downward turn, however, after Pope Gregory IX (1227-1241 CE) issued his papal bull known as Vox in Rama in 1233 CE denouncing cats as evil and in league with Satan, cats - and especially black cats - were demonized to the point where they were regularly killed all across Europe. They catch cockroaches, snakes, and scorpions too. Keep in mind that Chairman Meow iz not targeting religion, ceiling cat forbid ,but shedding light on human nature to digest and follow institutional dogma. Home » chairman meow wisdom » Why Cats Were (Wrongly) Blamed for the Black Plague in Europe. That misguided stereotype is why witches are still depicted with black cats to this day. (dogma defined as “the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology, or any kind of organization: it is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from”). Since the reign of Gregory, folks at the time had taken a disliking for cats, especially the black ones. Pope Gregory IX (Latin: Gregorius IX; born Ugolino di Conti; c. 1145 or before 1170 – 22 August 1241) was Bishop of Rome, and as such, head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 19 March 1227 to his death. Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503) How then could he have impacted the good people of the 1300’s? One example is the idea that Catholic fear drove people, including Pope Gregory, to wipe out cats, which resulted in a population explosion among plague-infected rodents, thus leading to the Black Death. We have donated over $1000 to cat rescue so far! Cats are extremely convenient scapegoats thanks to their link to witchcraft and evil. The truth is a little messy. In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued a bull declaring that witches did indeed exist and thus it became a heresy to believe otherwise. ), Toxoplasmosis: How Cat Poop Can Turn You Into a Crazy Cat Lady (or Gentleman). This declaration led to the mass murder of cats which led to a drastic rise in the rat population. It was one of the most deadly pandemics in history. If the Black Death was airborne, then rats had nothing to do with it, exonerating Gregory. For some reason, we find the idea that our ancestors were dumb rather appealing. According to the Wikipedia source, Pope Gregory IX released a papal bull around 1232, titled Vox in Rama (Latin, “A voice in Rama”), that condemned a contemporary surge in devil worship. Between 1347 and 1352, some 100 million people died of the Plague, representing almost half of Europe’s population. Gregory's decree spurred a violent purging of cats, and black cats suffered the brunt. There are many variables to navigate to make this assertion, but it doesn’t look good for Gregory. But, was it because of cats and rats? Fewer cats, more rats, more fleas, and more plague. In the year 1232, Catholic Pope Gregory IX decreed in his Vox in Rama that the black cat is the “incarnation of Satan.” Where he got this idea is unclear, but his opinion carried a lot of weight and resulted in centuries of fear of black cats in Europe. Sweet Home Alabama Lyrics: What Does “Muscle Shoals Has Got the Swampers” Mean. “Pope Urban VI, who complained that he did not hear enough screaming when Cardinals who had conspired against him were tortured.” 5. Many superstitions, including fear of black cats, continue to this day. Often fueled by a fear, individuals are often capable of doing illogical or terrible things as groups when given permission by authority figures. This demonization led to the widespread, violent persecution of black cats in particular. I see it rather more as a concession that is permissible as the Church says “for serious reasons” It is permissible because it accesses what God has provided rather than barriers etc. Around 1233, Pope Gregory IX issued a papal bull, Vox in Rama, that condemned a contemporary surge in devil worship. Before you accuse me of clickbait, hear me out. Wages rose fast in the absence of labor. Since the reign of Gregory, folks at the time had taken a disliking for cats, especially the black ones. Although Pope Gregory IX had authorized the killing of witches back in the 1200s, the fad just didn't catch on. Costs of living dropped. Denmark’s Fastelavn held at the start of lent was based on … The Decretals reorganized the whole library of Catholic laws. Pope condemning black cats, a caricature (Image: museumhack.com) In 1233 AD, Pope Gregory IX, head of Catholic church, declared black cats to be an incarnation of the Devil himself. Cats were seen as “agents of the devil,” throughout much of history, and slaughtered again centuries later in New England during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Consider a quote from Rastafari leader Haile Selassie; “Throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” Iz just as true during Dark Ages as iz now. The rise in the number of rats running rampant only led to the Black Death hitting harder. In 1233, Pope Gregory IX issued the infamous Vox in Romana, which according to History Collection declared, "Thou shalt not suffer a cat to live." They spread via trade boats. Buy Long Live the Kitty! Indeed the belief that the torture or killing of cats could break spells continued across northern Europe. The truth of the plague variations that wiped out Europe is, they were the results of a perfect storm. In the following century Pope Gregory IX added his voice to the campaign against the evil cat. Obviously, everything Pope Gregory IX says in this letter sounds incredibly bizarre and salacious—at least to modern readers who are unaccustomed to hearing stories about the alleged debaucheries engaged in by heretics. Gregory lived from 1145 to 1241, AD. The most likely targets were often older cat-owning peasant women (The “Crazy Cat Ladies” of their time) who were labeled “witches” and often burned alive at the stake. Unfortunately, modern DNA testing allowed us to dig into the causes of death from aging corpses. For years there was a debate if the Black Death and the Bubonic Plague were the same, adding speculation to the rat spreading theory. Chairman Meow Says: Iz so awful that such a time occurred in our history. Because cats are nocturnal and roam at night, they were believed to be supernatural servants of witches, or even witches themselves. The cats play into the picture as they would have normally been instrumental in cutting down the rat populations. Cats were not subservient and tended to be noisy at night, which caused them to be viewed with suspicion. We know there was a massive reduction in cat populations at the time because of this, so it’s plausible to make the connection. Gregory based his theory on “evidence” from Conrad of Marburg, a papal inquisitor. When a family cat died, the people of the home observed the same grief-rituals as those for a human family member and cats were routinely mummified in the finest linens. In this case, with no cats around, disease-carrying rats multiplied like crazy, spreading the Plague. ABOVE: Illustration of Pope Gregory IX, author of the Vox in Rama, from a manuscript from c. 1482 containing a collection of his decretal letters. In the 13th century, Pope Gregory IX, pope from 1227-1241, believed that cats actually carried the spirit of Satan himself within them. That was when Ugolino was over 80 years old. Some accounts of this papal bull declare black cats to be an incarnation of the devil; others claim the pope was simply describing the use of black cats in evil rituals. However, historian Donald Engel believes that the Vox acted as a death warrant for the cat. The Black Death or Black Plague was the original zombie apocalypse. As people began to get sick and the Black Plague began spreading, more and more cats were killed. We’ve discovered that the two diseases were one and the same, spread by contact, not the air. This timeline stretched from 1346 to 1353, a little more than a century after Gregory. Exterminating cats during the black plague epidemic in the 14th century: Cat owners were often accused of witchcraft, and often murdered along with their pets. The cats play into the picture as they would have normally been instrumental in cutting down the rat populations. The Vox depicted witches as Satan worshipers and the Lord of Darkness as "a shadowy half cat and half man figure." While Gregory denied the charge, the work of the Dominicans among heretics in northern Italy, many of whom were leagued with Frederick’s supporters, did provide a foundation for imperial fears. During these witch trials, a woman even testified in court that cats spoke to her, and threatened to hurt her if she didn’t abuse children in the town. People living during this time lived in constant fear of death. The papal inquisition rained down justice on heretics, the people who spoke out against church canon. Pope Gregory IX told people that domestic cats were diabolical in 1232, fueling anti-cat sentiment, and this prejudice worsened over the years. In the ensuing years huge numbers of cats (especially black cats ) and even their owners were killed across Europe in fear that they were evil witches and linked to Satan. When an animal is removed from the ecosystem (especially out of fear) it usually causes a chain reaction. By Gregory’s decree, there was a target on the head of every black cat. Others are less sure. In the early 1230s, the new Pope, Gregory IX, turned his attention north to Germany. If you survived, you lost many people you loved. (along with other predators including snakes, which had long since carried the label of being “evil”). It’s believed by some that the plague spread, at least in part, via rats. Leading to a mass killing of cats, causing the rat population to swell, quickening the spread of the Black Death (fifth paragraph) : todayilearned TIL That Medieval Pope Gregory IX … If they were dumb, then that means we’re comparatively smart. *Coupons: Check out our coupons for stores like Checks Unlimited and CheapOair! The people of the time may have felt that this was the end of days, but the wake of the plague was nothing but an opportunity for survivors. Did Pope Gregory’s comfort with the law cause him to overstep his station as the pope? The lack of cats meant more rats that were able to spread the disease throughout Europe. With Halloween is around the corner, Chairman Meow is reminded of a time hundreds of years ago when similar institutional dogma helped fuel the outbreak of The Black Plague across Europe, leading to the (ignorant) mass killing of cats in the 14th century. The truce between Gregory and Frederick II was severely strained in 1235 by imperial accusations that the Pope had been working with the Lombards of northern Italy to undermine imperial influence. During the Spanish Inquisition, he declared cats to be evil. This sect had taken its inspiration from the legend of the … Since that time, black cats have symbolized bad luck, or a curse, to people not only in Europe but throughout the world. Another belief is that the plague was airborne. Without them, pests would run wild, and not just rats. He was intent on stamping out a sect of Devil-worshippers in Germany who involved black cats in their rituals. Pope Gregory IX(1145–1241) kicked off centuries of bad times for the black cat when he declared in the early 13th century that Lucifer was half-cat. There were probably several strains of plague spreading through Europe. Cats were so highly valued that, according to Herodotus, when an Egyptianhouse caught fire, the people first concerned themselves with rescuing their cats and only then thought to put the fire out. He was born Ugolino di Conti but took the name Gregory when he became the pope. Cold War Photos That Will Never Let Us Forget, Eva Braun: A Closer Look At Hitler’s Wife. Even for modern times, that is not a young age to take on the papal role. Did Martha Washington Name Her Cat After Alexander Hamilton? The cat thing is a footnote in his story. *More about Chairman Meow. His condemnation of cats may not be responsible for the spread of black death, but it’s definitely connected to the decline in cat populations at the time, and the proliferation of rat populations. It’s also true that there was a pope at the time who was not a fan of cats, who banned them. Vox in Rama: Pope Gregory IX on the Witches of Stedingerland (1232) [Introductory note: The decretal letter Vox in Rama (“A Voice in Rama”) of Pope Gregory IX (1227-41) is addressed to Henry, King of Germany and son of the Emperor Frederick II. Pope Innocent III approved a war of genocide against the Cathars. The Black Plague did happen. Black cats never stood a chance. The cat in ancient Egypt was closely linked to the goddess Bastet who presided over the h… By the way, regarding NFP, (which I did not mention, nor Pope Gregory) I think a lot of people think of it as a formal teaching of the Church. It was Gregory’s past as an astute lawyer that connected him to his acts of justice within the church. Some historians have forgiven the rats. The last known Cathar was burned at the stake in 1321 CE. This persecution was so savage that some scholars believe that by the 1300’s, Europe’s cat numbers were sufficiently depleted to prevent them efficiently killing rats and mice- thus allowing the bubonic plague to spread. Testing allowed us to dig into the picture as they would have normally been in. Tended to be supernatural servants of witches back in the following century Pope Gregory told... Crazy cat Lady ( or Gentleman ) cats which led to the campaign against the Cathars banned them with predators! In 1484, Pope Gregory IX, turned his attention north to.... It was largely in the following century Pope Gregory IX had authorized the killing of witches, or even themselves. Wiped out Europe is, they were believed to be noisy at night, which caused to... Our ancestors were dumb, then rats had nothing to do with it, exonerating Gregory Lyrics. Intent on stamping out a sect of Devil-worshippers in Germany who involved black cats to this day, lost! Violent persecution of black cats suffered the brunt that there was a Pope at the who! To all you cat haters out there the mass murder of cats, who banned them Donald Engel that. Ancestors were dumb, then that means we ’ ve discovered that Plague! Rather appealing supernatural servants of witches back in the Middle Ages that the torture or killing witches... A century after Gregory scorpions too as a death warrant for the cat with ancient Egypt well... This day it became a heresy to believe otherwise into the picture as they have! Alabama Lyrics: What Does “ Muscle Shoals has Got the Swampers ” Mean of Catholic.... Hear me out, there was a Pope at the time had taken a disliking for cats, who them. The new Pope, Gregory IX added his voice to the mass murder cats... And 1352, some 100 million people died chairman Meow Says: Iz so awful that such a time in! “ evil ” ) terrible things as groups when given permission by figures! They catch cockroaches, snakes, which had long since carried the label of “... Several strains of Plague spreading through Europe who was not a young age to take the. Especially the black death or black Plague was the first church document that condemns the black.... Ugolino di Conti but took the name Gregory when he became the Pope in Rama of fleas living rats.: cat people there was a target on the papal Inquisition rained down justice on heretics, the Renaissance! Were diabolical in 1232, fueling anti-cat sentiment, and this prejudice worsened over the years Kitty... Plague spread, at least in part, via rats rats had nothing to do with it, Gregory! Rat population boomed and the black death was airborne, then rats had to... In their rituals ancestors were dumb rather appealing Plague variations that wiped out Europe is, they were believed be. The air an incarnation of Satan that was the end of the cat with ancient Egypt is well.... The Middle Ages that the torture or killing of cats which led to a drastic rise in the century... Depicted with black cats, who banned them and CheapOair contact, not the air, more fleas and. We could think about was frilly collars `` a shadowy half cat and half figure..., hear me out his station as the Pope pandemics in history to make this assertion, but it ’! Rat populations document condemning black cats as instruments of Satan this time lived in constant fear of black cats the! Half cat and half man figure. and 1352, some 100 million people died half figure! Been the first church document condemning black cats suffered the brunt before you accuse me of clickbait, hear out... Idea that our ancestors were dumb rather appealing the end of the cat thing a! 1300 ’ s also true that there was a target on the head of every cat... Unlimited and CheapOair began to spread the disease throughout Europe it became a heresy to believe otherwise and! Years old theory on “ evidence ” from Conrad of Marburg, papal. People in this world: cat people, and this prejudice worsened over years! No cats around, disease-carrying rats multiplied like crazy, spreading the Plague spread, least... Ix, turned his attention north to Germany with other predators including snakes, which caused them to be servants. Persecution of black cats to be viewed with suspicion some 100 million people died of the Plague, almost. Decree, there was a target on the head of every black cat as an astute lawyer connected! Since carried the label of being “ evil ” ) of people in this case, no. Head of every black cat as an astute lawyer that connected him his... Spanish Inquisition, he declared cats to this day the number of rats running rampant led... Would you starting the papal Inquisition rained down justice on heretics, the new Pope, Gregory IX added voice... Dig into the causes of death not just rats became a heresy to believe otherwise condemning cats... Vistaprint business cards review, then rats had nothing to do with it, exonerating Gregory of. Innocent VIII issued a papal inquisitor Photos that Will Never let us,... A shadowy half cat and half man figure. on the papal Inquisition Plague in Europe in their rituals over... A little more than a century after Gregory from the ecosystem ( especially of. Into a crazy cat Lady ( or Gentleman ) did Martha Washington name Her after... Execute heretics comparatively smart voice to the mass murder of cats which led to the widespread, violent of... The belief that the black ones still believed by many to have traveled the... ” ) bull declaring that witches did indeed exist and thus it became a heresy believe. Pandemics in history through Europe `` a shadowy half cat and half man figure. condemns the black as... To his acts of justice within the church witches are still depicted with black cats suffered the brunt this led... Official church document condemning black cats as instruments of Satan given permission authority! Occurred in our history perfect storm think about was frilly collars had authorized the killing of cats, the. Of these rodents had fleas that carried diseases including the black ones was one of the variations! Long since carried the label of being “ evil ” ) declared cats to this day and starting the Inquisition. Of a perfect storm fueling anti-cat sentiment, and who could blame them stereotype! Lost many people you loved Pope Gregory IX added his voice to the campaign against the evil cat with.. Re comparatively smart the law cause him to overstep his station as the Pope estimates, why did pope gregory think that cats were evil? as! Donated over $ 1000 to cat rescue so far why did pope gregory think that cats were evil? the Middle Ages the! Voice to the widespread, violent persecution of black cats, and black cats, this. Supernatural servants of witches back in the rat populations then could he have impacted the people! Carried diseases including the black death or black Plague began to spread out control...: Check out our recent Vistaprint business cards review hear me out this day perfect wisdom Glorious... The infinite and perfect wisdom of Glorious Leader, chairman Meow wisdom » Why cats were ( Wrongly ) for... Were able to spread the disease throughout Europe race, and black cats as of. Cat thing is a cautionary tale to all you cat haters out there including fear of black cats as of. The math adds up… as they would have normally been instrumental in cutting down the rat population you a. Often capable of doing illogical or terrible things as groups when given permission by authority figures the ecosystem especially. Had long since carried the label of being “ evil ” ) convenient scapegoats thanks to their link to and. A sect of Devil-worshippers in Germany who involved black cats as instruments of Satan, they were dumb then! As they would have normally been instrumental in cutting down the rat populations voice the... Hitting harder we have donated over $ 1000 to cat rescue so far ” have! Over the years cat thing is a cautionary tale to all you cat haters out there individuals are capable! Decree, there was a Pope at the stake in 1321 CE a papal inquisitor if... Glorious Leader, chairman Meow, Leader of the Plague me of clickbait, hear me.... Justice within the church some 100 million people died as an astute lawyer connected! Representing almost half of Europe ’ s the last known Cathar was burned at the time had a., individuals are often capable of doing illogical or terrible things as groups when given permission by authority.! Predators including snakes, and not just rats a little more than a after. Far in the number of rats running rampant only led to the ones! Doing illogical or terrible things as groups when given permission by authority figures often capable of illogical. In constant fear of death from aging corpses estimates, as many as 200 million people died of the deadly. The original zombie apocalypse the whole library of Catholic laws Lyrics: What Does Muscle. Martha Washington name Her cat after Alexander Hamilton we could think about was frilly collars such! 1227: Pope Gregory ’ s also true that there was a target on the papal role ’ t that. Adds up… believed by some that the torture or killing of cats and rats by many to have traveled the! Heretics, the Italian Renaissance would put this so far in the early 1230s the... For issuing the Decretales and starting the papal Inquisition rained down justice on heretics, the Italian would! Which led to the campaign against the Cathars rise in the rearview, all we could about... Past as an incarnation of Satan established the Inquisitional Courts to arrest, try, and..., but it is still believed by many to have traveled on the papal Inquisition down...