The Roman Oppression…

Roman Catholicism practiced much persecution against those it deemed heretical, pagan and Christians alike. Of particular interest were those who spoke in opposition to the Roman church…

Even during the earliest days, those who went against their interpretation of Scripture and its role in the world faced harsh retribution. Jerome, the translator of the venerated Latin Vulgate Bible, a translation he completed with the intent of making the Bible more accessible to the common people, was accused of “tampering” with God’s words by Bishops of his day. Such accusations were but a prelude of the bloody reality that was dawning. As John Foxe said, “…no denomination except the papal hierarchy, has adopted as an article of religious belief, and a principle of practical observance, the right to destroy heretics for opinion’s sake.”¹  

One of the first major groups to reject the practices of Catholicism was the Petrobrusians, later known as the Anabaptists. During the 11th & 12th century, in rejection of the Catholic practice of infant baptism, the Petrobrusians began re-baptizing believers who had consciously accepted Christ and demonstrated faith in Him. Despite incredible persecution at the hands of the papacy, the Anabaptists persisted, and from them the English Baptists arose in the 1600s. Other groups that stood as heretics against Catholic doctrine – and in turn suffered for their faith – included the Waldensians, Novations, Albigenses, Cathari, Lollards, and many others.


What kind of persecution did so-called heretics of the Catholics face? Their tastes for torture then were far worse than a hateful word or a public slap on the wrist. History records that the Papal enforcers were determined to make an example of those who stood in the way of the Catholic church, and those accused of heresy – men and women alike – were forced to suffer incredible punishments, including, among other things:

  • Being hanged, and often having the genitals cut off
  • Breasts being sliced or ripped off from the body
  • The mouth being sewn up
  • Being boiled alive in water or oil
  • Eyes being gouged out
  • Amputation of the limbs



  1. Foxe, John, “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs,” White Dog Publishing, 2009, pp 5-6, 1563

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