This is our stunning Friedrich Spee, S.J. Plaque. Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld, S.J. (1951-1635) was a Jesuit priest, poet, professor, and opponent of the use of torture in criminal proceedings. Born at Kaiserswerth on the Rhine, he completed his early studies in Cologne, and then entered the Society of Jesus in 1610. He later taught in Trier, Fulda, Wurzburg, Speyer, Worms and Mainz. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1622. In 1624 he began teaching at the University of Paderborn in 1624. He also taught in Speyer, Wesel, Trier and Cologne, and preached in Paderborn, Cologne and Hildesheim. This plaque is a most meaningful gift, for a birthday, first communion, confirmation gift, ordination, ordination anniversary and vow jubilee! Also a perfect “Thank You!” gift for those special donors to your Jesuit institution!
A Solid Bronze Wall Plaque
This solid bronze wall plaque measures 7.9 by 6.3 inches. This plaque is made is such a way that it hangs easily on any wall in study, home, or office. This plaque was designed and cast in Germany by a master bronzesmith of world renown. This is a wonderful gift for that special “Friedrich” in your life.
Friedrich Spee, S.J. – Opponent of Torture in Trials for Witchcraft
Fr. Spee is best remembered as the author of the Goldenes Tugendbuch (The Golden Book of Virtues), the Trutznachtigall (a collection of sacred songs), and, most importantly, the Cautio Criminalis. The treatise Cautio Criminalis made Fr. Spee the most important and articulate opponent of the witchcraft trials raging in 17th century Germany. Fr. Spee was the first person in his time to speak out forcefully and convincingly against the use of torture in criminal proceedings, especially against “witches.” He may in fact be considered the first to ever give compelling arguments about why torture is not an appropriate or effective way of obtaining truth from someone who is being interrogated under duress and in great pain. Fr. Spee believed in the existence of witches and was not advocating for the immediate abolition of trials for witchcraft. But he did heap great sarcasm on the abuses rampant in the legal proceedings at that time, particularly the use of the rack to force confessions of guilt. He pressed for reform measures, such as a new German imperial law requiring that judges be subject to and liable for damages. If these measures had been carried out, they would have brought a speedy end to the witchcraft trials as they were then being conducted. For more, go to the History/Story tab.