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Definition  An ecclesiastical prohibition or censure (often for political purposes) to punish or exert pressure on a person or group. The interdict could prohibit a city or nation from participating in the Catholic mass, thereby threatening the spiritual well-being of its inhabitants. England was placed under an interdict by Pope Innocent III after King John had refused to accept the new Archbishop of Canterbury. Even the threat of interdiction would yield the intended result. When the reform-minded Savonarola preached against the moral corruption of the clergy, Pope Alexander VI threatened Florence with interdict. In response to the threat, Savonarola was captured, hanged and his body burned.

Discussion: The enjoining of religious and political power in medieval Europe led to the abusive practices of inquisitions, religious wars, and persecution. The papacy even had its own army. The final battle described in the Bible is when God destroys the assembled armies of the powerful Antichrist (Rev. 19:19).

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