witchcraft

Derivation

  • Old English – wicca, witch; croeft, craft

Article

That practice of the magic arts which involves the idea of a diabolical pact, or an appeal to the spirits of evil, by a person, in order to secure the destruction of obnoxious persons, to recall the dead, etc. The traditional belief in witchcraft, or sorcery, has existed since antiquity (Code of Hammurabi; the Bible: 1 Kings 15; Galatians 5). The Church does not deny the possibility of human communication with evil spirits in rare instances, but she did oppose the persecutions which were leveled against so-called witches in the 16th and 17th centuries. Gregory XV (1621-23) issued a Constitution against persecutions for witchcraft in 1623; and Friedrich von Spee, S.J., published a book against the popular condemnation of witches, 1631.

Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “witchcraft”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 15 January 2019. Web. 18 April 2021. <>