Inquisition

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by stan the man, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. stan the man

    stan the man
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    Heavenly Pilgrim said that there were millions tortured and put to death in the Inquisition. That's what the anti-Catholic author Dave Hunt also said. So let’s continue with the wild exaggerations of Heavenly Pilgrim and Dave Hunt about the Inquisition. (But mainly Dave Hunt)

    "In his History of the Inquisition, Canon Llorente, who was the Secretary to the Inquisition in Madrid from 1790-92 and had access to the archives of all the tribunals, estimated that in Spain alone the number of condemned exceeded 3 million, with about 300,000 burned at the stake." (Dave Hunt, A Woman Rides the Beast, page 79, also 242)

    When called on this in a issue of his newsletter, Hunt responds: "I relied upon a secondary source that said Llorente cited 300,000 deaths in the Spanish Inquisition. Other sources say 30,000. The apparent discrepancy could be explained by Llorente on one occasion giving figures for Spain and on another for Europe—or including those who, though not burned at the stake, were martyred in other ways....Instead of trying to discredit my figures, these critics ought rather to admit that the Spanish Inquisition swallowed up far more than 300,000, whether Llorente said it or not....

    "They are trying to disprove that accusation, but history affirms it and I will stand by it. The truth is that there is no other institution, government, organization or entity in history that even comes close to the Roman Catholic Church's slaughter of the saints!

    "The horror of the Inquisition is beyond recital. Why, then, don't the Roman Catholic apologists acknowledge that horror, confess their shame and call upon their Church to repent of its centuries of unspeakable crimes against humanity!

    "Yes, we can attribute millions of deaths of true Christians to Roman Catholicism and the popes down through the centuries. No other entity in history comes close to being drunk with the blood of the saints, and that description absolutely fits the Roman Catholic Church
    !"
    (Dave Hunt, The Berean Call newsletter, June 1998)

    Dave Hunt says the following from his book, A Woman Rides the Beast [hereafter AWRTB]
    "The purpose of this book is to present vital, factual information...The vast majority of both Catholics and Protestants are ignorant of the pertinent facts. It is our hope and prayer that the following pages will help to clarify the issues and dispel the confusion."

    If there are issues to be clarified and confusion to be dispelled, it certainly won't be remedied by any perusal of writings from Fundamentalist Dispensationalist author Dave Hunt, whose books seek to bash Catholicism rather than provide a factual account of anything. This is particularly true of Hunt's wild claims on the subject of the Inquisition, since Hunt relies on extremely biased and unreliable sources (e.g. Fox's Book of Martyrs, ex-priest Peter DeRosa, Canon Llorente, etc).

    Note: this is not meant as a complete refutation of his comments on the "Inquisition" (e.g. AWRTB chapter 17, "Blood of the Martyrs"); for that I would recommend, the book by Medieval church historian Edward Peters Inquisition (1988) does the job nicely, separating "myth" from history. Hunt's claims on the Albigenses and Waldenses (supposedly true "evangelical" Christians who were "slaughtered" by the "millions") have been thoroughly answered by Baptist historian James Edward McGoldrick and his work Baptist Successionism (1994) that refutes the "hidden church" theory.

    Let's take Canon Llorente, for example, who is Hunt's source for the 300,000 figure (or 30,000, the discrepancy will be dealt with later), which Hunt admits in his newsletter he lifted from a secondary source (R.W. Thompson, The Papacy and the Civil Power [orig 1876] from AWRTB chap 6/note 17, chap 17/note 1) without checking the original work. Hardly the mark of careful research or scholarship.

    While it is true Llorente was the last Secretary of the Inquisition in Madrid in the late 18th century who had access to the archives, it is readily conceded that Llorente was a biased "anti-cleric" whose "facts" and figures are quite unreliable. It would have taken Hunt a few hours in a library to discover, as 20th century scholars of the Spanish Inquisition have noted (see the mostly non-Catholic sources in the brief bibliography below, books that have been around for decades) :"Llorente, the ex-Secretary of the Holy Office who wrote a bitterly antagonistic account of it at the beginning of the 19th century, based on manuscript material which is no longer extant, states that all told, from its foundation down to 1808, the total number of heretics burned in person in Spain alone totalled 31,912... These figures are so enormous as to seem highly suspicious." (Cecil Roth [orig 1937], page 123)

    "[Llorente] came up with the incredible figures of 31,912 relaxations in person, 17,659 relaxations in effigy, and 291,450 penitents, a grand total of 341,021 victims. All the historical evidence has shown this greatly exaggerated figure to be without any foundation." (Henry Kamen [orig 1965], page 280-1)

    "Llorente put the total at nearly 32,000 [burned in person], but his method of calculation is fantastic and ridiculous." (A.S. Turberville [orig 1932], page 112)

    From a book of essays by leading Inquisition historians: "There can be little doubt, however, that in light of subsequent research, even by those more or less sharing Llorente's animus towards the Holy Office, he can no longer be considered reliable...Clearly, Llorente also contributed substantially to the growing anti-clerical tradition in Spain in the 19th century." (Paul J. Hauben [1969], page 31, from chapter "Juan Antonio Llorente: A Spanish Anti-Clerical View")

    Even Henry Charles Lea, the first major American Inquisition historian and no fan of the Catholic Church, says of the calculations of victims: "There is no question that the number of these has been greatly exaggerated in popular belief, an exaggeration to which Llorente has largely contributed by his absurd method of computation...." (Lea, volume 4, page 517)

    Lea calls Llorente's guess-work "reckless" and "entirely fallacious."

    Before I get to what the real figures could be, what is this discrepancy between 3 million, 300,000 and 30,000? Hunt's attempt at explaining his mistake notwithstanding, we all have to admit that the all-powerful Inquisition racked up and killed far more than 300,000, right?

    "Instead of trying to discredit my figures, these critics ought rather to admit that the Spanish Inquisition swallowed up far more than 300,000, whether Llorente said it or not..." (Hunt, TBC, June/98)

    To heck with the facts! 300 million, 300 thousand, 3000, same thing, right?
     
  2. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    I accept that the numbers are much lower than some Protestant propanganda would assert, but even if it was as low as 3,000, that is 3,000 too many (and, yes, I accept that Protestants don't have clean hands either, in respect to both Catholics and other Protestants, but two wrongs don't make a right)

    [Spelling]
     
  3. stan the man

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    To heck with the facts! 300 million, 300 thousand, 3000, same thing, right?

    Sorry, I do not excuse Mr. Hunt’s laziness in doing the research.

    If he had checked the original work of Juan Antonio Llorente (published in English translation in 1823), he would have discovered that while the French version (translated from the Spanish) notes in its preface "three hundred thousand victims", the actual number who perished in the flames is listed as 31,912 at the end of the book, with 291,450 persons given severe penances.

    The discrepancy is explained by Gabriel Lovett in his introduction in a 1966 English reprint of Llorente's book, as follows: "Llorente's original Spanish draft may very well have mentioned over 300,000 victims without indicating that they were all actually burned; or he may have stated that over 30,000 persons had been burned at the stake. In that case the French translator of Llorente's original draft either made a mistake in rendering this particular sentence of the Spanish clergyman in the preface or simply wrote 'three hundred thousand' instead of 'thirty thousand,' and Llorente did not notice the error upon preparing the final French version for the printer. This error was corrected in the first Spanish edition of 1822...." (Gabriel Lovett, introduction to Llorente)

    Regardless of the discrepancy, Dave Hunt is clearly incompetent as a researcher when he insists on defending such numbers as 300,000 or (even worse) "millions" put to death by the "Inquisition." It is estimated by modern scholars of the Spanish Inquisition, for example, that in its entire 356 year history (1478-1834), the grand total executed range from 3000-5000 persons which, though not entirely defensible either, is far lower than sensationalist writers like Dave Hunt would have us believe. Perhaps 50 percent of those who perished did so in the first 20 years of the institution, an estimated 2000 (or less) under the Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada --though he was not the "cruel monster" as popular "Inquisition myths" portray him.

    "....the Spanish Inquisition, in spite of wildly inflated estimates of the numbers of its victims, acted with considerable restraint in inflicting the death penalty, far more restraint than was demonstrated in secular tribunals elsewhere in Europe that dealt with the same kinds of offenses. The best estimate is that around 3000 death sentences were carried out in Spain by Inquisitorial verdict between 1550 and 1800, a far smaller number than that in comparable secular courts." (Peters, page 87, emphasis added)

    Some data for the later periods are offered by Oxford scholar, Kamen:

    TRIBUNAL
    PERIOD
    YEARS
    RELAXATIONS (burned in person)
    Ciudad Real (tribunal)
    1483-1485 (period)
    2 (years)
    52 (relaxations)
    Toledo (follow the same example as shown above)
    1485-1501
    16
    250
    Toledo
    1575-1610
    35
    11
    Toledo
    1648-1794
    146
    8
    Saragossa
    1485-1502
    17
    124
    Valencia
    1484-1530
    46
    754
    Barcelona
    1488-1498
    10
    23
    Mallorca
    1488-1729
    241
    120
    Canaries
    1504-1820
    316
    11

    (from Henry Kamen [1985], page 42)

    Henry Charles Lea presents the following figures for Saragossa which "was reckoned as one of the most deadly tribunals in Spain" from the Libro Verde de Aragon that gives us an official list of the residents of Saragossa burnt, year-by-year:


    (I HAD THE YEARS AND NUMBERS IN A CHART, IN ORDER, BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED) YEAR​

    NUMBER
    (year) 1483
    (number) 1
    (follow the example from above) 1493
    11
    1505
    1
    1485
    4
    1494
    1
    1506
    5
    1486
    26
    1495
    9
    1510
    1
    1487
    25
    1496
    1
    1511
    5
    1488
    13
    1497
    18
    1512
    4
    1489
    2
    1498
    2
    1520
    1
    1490
    1
    1499
    13
    1521
    2
    1491
    10
    1500
    5
    1522
    1
    1492
    15
    1502
    2
    1524
    1​


    YEAR​

    NUMBER​

    1526
    1
    1549
    1
    1528
    2
    1561
    4
    1534
    1
    1563
    1
    1535
    1
    1565
    1
    1537
    1
    1566
    1
    1539
    1
    1567
    2
    1542
    1
    1574
    2
    1543
    1
    1546
    2​


    (from Henry Charles Lea, volume 4, page 521)

    As conclusive proof of the sloppy and biased computations of Llorente, Lea notes that in the little tribunal of the Canaries, after 1524 Llorente includes it among the tribunals by which he multiplies the number of yearly victims assigned to each. He thus comes up with the outrageous figures of 1,118 relaxations in person and 574 in effigy. However, Millares (in Historia de la Inquisicion en las Islas Canarias, III, 164-8) has printed the official list of the -quemados- during the whole career of the tribunal, and they amount in all to ELEVEN burnt in person (Lea, volume 4, page 524). So much for Llorente's accuracy.

    Even more outlandish are Hunt's claims about "millions" tortured by the Inquisition. In A Woman Rides the Beast, our Fundamentalist author confirms the anti-Catholics' worst suspicions in lurid detail: "Try to imagine being suddenly arrested in the middle of the night and taken to an unknown location kept secret from family and friends. You are not told the charges against you or the identity of your accusers, who remain unknown and thus immune from any examination to discover whether they are telling the truth. Whatever the accusation, it is accepted as fact and you are guilty without trial. The only 'trial' will be by the most ingeniously painful torture that continues until you confess to that unnamed crime or heresy of which you have been accused. Imagine the torment of dislocated joints, torn and seared flesh, internal injuries, broken bones on the rack and other devices, mended by doctors so they could be torn asunder again by fresh torture. Eventually you would confess to anything to end the torment, but no matter what you confess it never fits the secret accusation, so the torture continues until at last you expire from the unbearable trauma." (Hunt, AWRTB, page 250)

    Hunt continues, "Such was the fate of MILLIONS" (emphasis his). And such nonsense from Dave Hunt's fertile imagination he would like his readers to swallow, but such is not the case. Torture was infrequently used, and there is no reference to it in the documents concerning the origins of the Inquisition, the Italian inquisitors being the first probably to make use of it (after the 1252 Bull -Ad Exstirpanda- of Innocent IV), though it was alien to the canonical tradition of the Church, and was a revival of secular Roman law. The idea of "millions" tortured and killed is pure fantasy. Edward Peters gives us a more accurate picture: "If sufficient evidence accumulated against an accused who did not confess, the Inquisition had torture at its disposal, as had all ecclesiastical and secular courts -- except in England -- since the 13th century. Although torture as an incident of legal procedure was permitted only when sufficient circumstantial evidence existed to indicate that a confession could be obtained, inquisitorial torture appears to have been extremely conservative and infrequently used.

    "There is enough inquisitorial literature on torture contained in -Instrucciones- intended only for the eyes of inquisitors, for us to conclude that the Inquisition's use of torture was well under that of all contemporary secular courts in continental Europe, and even under that of other ecclesiastical tribunals....

    "In a trial before the Spanish Inquisition, the very fact that the accused had been charged and arrested at all indicated that sufficient evidence for guilt had already been accumulated on the basis of denunciations by others, the testimony of other tried heretics, evidence from neighbors or local clergy, or self-incriminating evidence from one's own household. But the aim of the Inquisition remained penitential rather than purely judicial."
    (Edward Peters, page 92-93, emphasis added)

    to be continued
     
    #3 stan the man, Jun 27, 2006
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  4. stan the man

    stan the man
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    An issue of the Catholic Dossier magazine (Nov/Dec 1996), edited by Ralph McInerny, was dedicated to the history and "myths" of the Inquisition, with articles by noted Catholic historians that analyzed the work of the most recent Inquisition scholarship, including a review of a 1994 BBC/A&E documentary "The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition" which has been replayed on the History Channel.

    James Hitchcock, a professor of history at St. Louis University, summarizes the conclusions of the best of modern Inquisition studies:
    (1) The inquisitors tended to be professional legists and bureaucrats who adhered closely to rules and procedures rather than to whatever personal feelings they may have had on the subject.
    (2) Those rules and procedures were not in themselves unjust. They required that evidence be presented, allowed the accused to defend themselves, and discarded dubious evidence.
    (3) Thus in most cases the verdict was a "just" one in that it seemed to follow from the evidence.
    (4) A number of cases were dismissed, or the proceedings terminated at some point, when the inquisitors became convinced that the evidence was not reliable.
    (5) Torture was only used in a small minority of cases and was allowed only when there was strong evidence that the defendant was lying. In some instances there is no evidence of the use of torture.
    (6) Only a small percentage of those convicted were executed -- at most one or two percent in a given region. Many more were sentenced to life in prison, but this was often commuted after a few years. The most common punishment was some form of public penance.
    (7) The dreaded Spanish Inquisition in particular has been grossly exaggerated. It did not persecute millions of people, as is often claimed, but approximately 44,000 between 1540 and 1700, of whom less than two percent were executed.

    And so on....

    I would ask anyone who has doubts about the above to check out some of the resources in the following bibliography, which present different perspectives on the Inquisition, but the basic facts remain constant.

    BIBLIOGRAPHY ON THE INQUISITION
    BOOKS
    (by publication date, these are the ones I found in a few hours.)

    A Critical History of the Inquisition of Spain
    by Juan Antonio Llorente/intro Gabriel Lovett (orig 1823, 1966)

    A History of the Inquisition of Spain
    (4 volumes) and other works by Henry Charles Lea (orig 1906, 1966)

    The Inquisition from its Establishment to the Great Schism
    by A.L. Maycock/intro Fr. Ronald Knox (orig 1926, 1969)

    History of the Origin and Establishment of the Inquisition in Portugal
    by Alexandre Herculano (orig 1926, 1968)

    The Inquisition: A Political and Military Study of its Establishment
    by Hoffman Nickerson/preface Hilaire Belloc (orig 1932, 1968)

    The Spanish Inquisition
    by A.S. Turberville (orig 1932, 1968)

    The Spanish Inquisition
    by Cecil Roth (orig 1937, 1964)

    The Spanish Inquisition
    by Henry Kamen (1965)

    The Spanish Inquisition: Its Rise, Growth, and End
    (3 books in one) by Jean Plaidy (The Citadel Press, 1967)

    The Spanish Inquisition
    edited by Paul J. Hauben, et al (John Wiley and Sons, 1969), a series of essays by different authors

    The Mexican Inquisition of the Sixteenth Century
    by Richard E. Greenleaf (Univ of New Mexico Press, 1969)

    The Roman Inquisition and the Venetian Press, 1540-1605
    by Paul F. Grendler (Princeton Univ Press, 1977)

    Inquisition and Society in Spain in the 16th and 17th Centuries
    by Henry Kamen (Indiana Univ Press, 1985) re-work of 1965 book (Note: Kamen also has a more recent 1998 book on the Spanish Inquisition)

    The Spanish Inquisition and the Inquisitorial Mind
    edited by Angel Alcala, et al (Columbia Univ Press, 1987), a series of essays by different authors

    Inquisition
    by Edward Peters (The Free Press/Macmillan, 1988 [Univ of CA Press, 1989])

    The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain
    by B. Netanyahu (Random House, 1995)

    The End of Days: A Story of Tolerance, Tyranny, and the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain
    by Erna Paris (Prometheus Books, 1995)
     
  5. BobRyan

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    Some amazing RC propaganda there! Pretty facinating if you ask me!!

    Kinda like those guys that deny the holocaust was really "all that bad"!!
     
  6. BobRyan

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    dupelicate
     
  7. BobRyan

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    Now here is a Catholic quote that might be worth noting --

     
  8. stan the man

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    History and Myth: The Inquisition

    (From my last post, I recommend some books since most people will not read them, I will make some points from two books (which I cite extensively) plus other books which will provide overviews of the inquisition based on modern historical studies. Edward Peters, Inquisition (1988) is available in paperback from University of California Press, Berkeley, CA 94720. Peters book is a fascinating account of the development of the myth of the inquisition and how polemics, art and literature enhanced this myth. Peters is the Henry Charles Lea Professor of Medieval History at the University of Pennsylvania. The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision (Yale University Press) by Henry Kamen is the best available study on the origins, methods and history of the Spanish Inquisition. Kamen is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a professor of the Higher Council for Scientific Research in Barcelona, Spain.)

    Many Americans, have an understanding of history, as well as a way of thinking, that carries the baggage of post-Reformation propaganda or 19th century Enlightenment prejudices. Myths created in anti-Catholic passions have become part of the cultural corpus and accepted as undeniable truths. We all know, for example, that the astronomer Galileo was tortured and imprisoned for years by the inquisition. He then recanted his scientific theory on the rotation of the earth around the sun, but bravely muttered aloud as he left the trial chamber, Eppur si muove! ("And yet it does move"). The historical reality, however, is that Galileo was never tortured, lived in comfort at the Florentine embassy during his trial, and the defiant quote was a legend created nearly 125 years after his death. [For the best contemporary research on the trial of Galileo see Galileo’s Daughter, by Dava Sobel (Walker & Co., NY, 1999).]

    Common to these myths are an invented history meant to portray Catholicism as the enemy of free thought, an alien presence in a democratic society, and as a perverse form of medieval superstition that survives on the ignorance of believers. Just as these myths served a purpose in the Reformation and were perpetuated in the 18th century Enlightenment and the 19th century world of progress and scientism, they serve a purpose in today’s secularist climate. Though developed in a war of propaganda between Catholicism and the dissenting churches of the 16th century, the theological trappings of the myths have been stripped away in many cases. They are now simply historical assumptions used to undermine and dismiss Church positions, particularly in the public arena, without the necessity of analyzing or addressing those positions. They are common rhetorical tools useful because they are universally understood and accepted.

    In our own time we are seeing the creation of such a myth in allegations of silence and collaboration with the Nazis of Pope Pius XII during World War II. Though the allegations contradict clear historical evidence, they are becoming conventional wisdom regurgitated by columnists and commentaries with no need for substantiation. ["Is It Enough to be Sorry?" Lance Morrow, Time , March 27, 2000.] Of the many historical myths about Catholics and Catholicism, however, perhaps the most pervasive are those centered on the inquisition in general and the Spanish Inquisition in particular. From the 16th through the early 20th Century, the legend of the Inquisition grew larger than its history. This legend of the inquisition persists today in the imagination, well after its debunking by historians.

    A good summation of that legend as it persists today was in the May 20, 2000 edition of The Times, a regional newspaper in Northwest Indiana and suburban Chicago. Written by Jerry Kaifetz, it is a response to the papal Jubilee "Request for Forgiveness" in March 2000. Kaifetz wrote: "The pope has not confessed the bloody and horrible 600-years inquisition against humble Bible-believers, which was instigated by Pope Innocent III (1198-1213). Some of the devices and inventions used to torture the "heresy" out of those rejecting the Catholic Church’s authority included "The Iron Maiden," "Hanging Cages," "The Judas Cradle," "Skinning the Cat," "The Head Crusher," "The Heretic’s Fork," "The Barrel Pillory," "The Rack," "The Knee Splitter," "The Breast Ripper," and other devices too numerous to mention or too heinous to describe in any detail. The inquisitor was commissioned directly by the pope and acted directly on his behalf. The trials were held in secret and the inquisitor acted as judge, jury and prosecutor. The accused was never represented. The Inquisition resulted in the torture and murder of millions of Christians whose only crime was a rejection of Catholic heresy and a commitment to follow the Bible as their sole authority for faith and practice. John Paul II has not confessed the Inquisition; he has failed to label his fellow popes the murderers they were."[Dr. Jerry Kaifetz, "Pope John Paul II’s apology falls way short by Catholic standards, The Times newspaper (May 20, 2000).]

    Kaifetz, writing on the cusp of the New Millenium, neatly summarizes the falsehoods, exaggerations and myths of the inquisition established in the religious wars of the 16th Century. While he approaches the inquisition from the perspective of a more traditional form of religious anti-Catholicism, the image he presents would be shared by many today.
     
  9. stan the man

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    History and Myth: The Inquisition

    What, in fact, were inquisitions? Generally defined, inquisitions were ecclesial investigations, meaning that investigations were conducted either directly by, or under the auspices of, the Church. The investigations were undertaken at certain times in certain regions under the authority of the local bishop and his designates, or under the auspices of papal-appointed legates, or representatives from Religious Orders delegated the task from the papacy. The purpose of the investigations was peculiar to the local circumstance. They usually involved a judicial process aimed to obtain the confession and reconciliation with the Church of those who held heretical views or engaged in activities contrary to Church teaching and belief. The goal was to secure a person’s repentance, and to maintain the unity of the Church. These investigations were conducted with the cooperation and involvement of the temporal authorities. If these investigations resulted in finding serious doctrinal heresy and an unwillingness to abjure from heresy, it was the responsibility of the secular authorities to undertake punishment. The uniqueness of the inquisitions was that the Church conducted the investigations, and that the Church worked closely with civil authorities. In Protestant states after the Reformation, the distinct role of the religious congregation did not necessarily exist, and the investigation, trial and punishment of dissenters were primarily the responsibility of the state.

    The common assumptions about the inquisition – the myths of the inquisition – are neatly summarized in the Kaifetz opinion piece, and could be outlined as follows:

    THE MYTHS OF THE INQUISITION
    • The inquisition was a single, unified court system directly responsible to the pope and controlled solely by the papacy.
    • The inquisition existed throughout Europe for nearly 700 years, founded in the 12th century and continued to the early 19th century. Prior to the Reformation, it focused on a "secret" and "hidden" church, similar to that of the Reformation churches.
    • The inquisition was primarily aimed at the early Protestant reformers of the 16th century and the Spanish Inquisition alone killed and tortured hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Protestant reformers.
    • Vicious and unique tortures were routinely used, particularly in the Spanish Inquisition.
    • The Spanish Inquisition existed independent of Spanish royal authority and existed solely as an arm of the Church, as did all other inquisitions.
    • The inquisition was a means for the Church to exercise its authority over science.
    • Persecution of religious dissent was unique to the inquisition and to the Catholic Church in Europe.
    These assumptions about the inquisition and how it operated are part of the cultural baggage of Western civilization. They are far more myth than history. Yet, it would be very wrong to whitewash the inquisition, or to attempt to explain away its historicity. In the words of the papal apology, Catholics should understand that there were events in the past where "men of the church, in the name of faith and morals, have sometimes used methods not in keeping with the Gospel in the solemn duty of defending the truth." The inquisition existed and it remains an unsettling part of Catholic history. However, the caricature of the inquisition that most of us have come to know and that is often utilized in anti-Catholic polemics has little to do with the reality of the inquisition.

    In its simplest summary, the Church after the death of the Apostles had a faith that "united scattered congregations: that Christ was the Son of God, that He would return to establish his Kingdom on earth, and that all who believed in him would at the Last Judgment be rewarded with eternal bliss."[Caesar and Christ, Will Durant (Simon & Schuster, 1972) p. 603.] However, very soon the Christian community needed to give better definition to its beliefs as conflicts and disputes arose. From very early (as noted in Scripture (See 2 Cor 11: 3-4; Titus 3: 10-11) the Christian community was forced to confront how to deal with those people who persisted in teachings contrary to the Apostolic Faith. For the most part, the early Church settled on admonishment, avoidance and, if a person persisted in error, expulsion from the community. This also led the early Church to an increased understanding of the universal authority of the See of St. Peter at Rome as the defender of the "deposit of the faith." As the Christian faith grew throughout the Roman Empire and Church authorities settled controversies over essential teachings, statements of faith were developed. These Creeds (statements of fundamental beliefs) came in response to various teachings that were seen by Christian leaders as fundamentally erroneous.

    With the victory of Constantine in the second decade of the Fourth Century, followed by the conversion of most of the Roman Empire by the end of the century, Christianity became the faith of the Empire. While this ended the age of martyrdom under intermittent Roman persecution, it created its own difficulties. Most prominent was the relationship of the Church – particularly Church authority – to the Christian emperors. It was a problem that, in certain respects, would plague Church relationships with government until the dramatic changes of the late nineteenth century and early 20th centuries. Government wanted to control the Church within its borders, seeing the faith as inextricably linked to societal stability, identity, and as foundational to royal power. At the same time, the Church wanted to be seen as separate and above this "City of Man," while also seeing in the secular arm the means to assure orthodox belief.

    It was a troubled period of confusing – and at times obscure – doctrinal controversies after the legalization of Christianity and as the faith became the official religion of the Roman Empire by the end of the Fourth Century. Roman imperial power would insert itself into doctrinal controversies, at times with the support of Church leadership, at other times with the Church standing in opposition. With the disastrous effect of doctrinal heresies on both Church and social unity, however, there was a growing consensus that use of the "secular arm" was necessary, with even St. Augustine arguing in favor of it. [St. Augustine, "Letter to Boniface."] With Christian emperors occupying the imperial throne, heretical views came to be seen as not only a violation of Christian unity, but as an act of treason against the State. This is essential to an understanding of how heresy came to be viewed, particularly in Western civilization. It was not a matter of arbitrary enforcement of ecclesial discipline, or doctrinal conformity. Heresy was seen as an evil that threatened the unity of the community, as well as threatening the salvation of souls. Heresy was not merely an individual act – it was an attack on the state itself. This would become an ingrained part of European thinking, inherited by royal authority and the Church ecclesiastical leadership, as well as by the 16th Century Protestant reformers. [See Medieval History, by Norman Cantor (Macmillan, 1970 Second Edition) pp. 45-57] It was during this early period that both canon and civil law were developed dealing with heresy that would become the sources for addressing religious dissent in the Second Millenium.

    After the breakdown of Roman imperial authority in the Fifth Century, heresy, perhaps a luxury of wealth and leisure, lessened within the more vital concern of the evangelization of non-Roman Western Europe. While theological disputes rose from the Sixth through the 10th Century, the Church struggled to establish independence from the interference of the Eastern emperors and domination of petty local rulers while at the same time developing ecclesial structures and clerical discipline. With the renewal of the papacy and the conversion of Europe accomplished, powerful reform movements began in the 11th Century that reaffirmed the need for unity of belief and the means to address doctrinal dissent that threatened both Church and society.
     
  10. BobRyan

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    Catholic Digest 11/1997 pg 100
    The question:
    A Baptist family who lives across the street gave me a book called the “Trail of Blood”, by J.M. Carroll. It attacks Catholic doctrine on infant Baptism, indulgences, purgatory, and so on. But I am writing to learn if there is anything in history that would justify the following quotation:

    The answer from Fr. Ken Ryan:

    In the article above – Fr. Ken Ryan makes the meaning of “extermination” of that group and “many other groups” clear for modern readers.
    Catholic apologists like Catholic Digest’s Fr. Ken Ryan quoted above often argue that the RCC isn't accountable for the Inquisition, since the state carried out the torturing and the executions. It was the RCC who defined these people as "heretics", however, and the RCC handed them over to the state (John 19:11).
     
  11. BobRyan

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    We know from the decrees of Popes and councils that the RCC viewed itself as having authority over the state.

    The Fourth Lateran Council, for example, the ecumenical council that dogmatized transubstantiation, declared (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/lat4-c3.html):


    Other councils, such as Vienna, issued anti-Semitic decrees that ordered the persecution of Jews. The persecution of other groups, such as the Waldensians, was also ordered by the RCC.

    For example, Pope Innocent VIII issued a bull in 1487 ordering that people "rise up in arms against" and "tread under foot" the Waldensians.
    Roman Catholic and former Jesuit Peter de Rosa writes in Vicars of Christ (Crown Publishers, 1988),

     
  12. BobRyan

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    The Catholic historian von Dollinger writes in The Pope and the Council,





     
  13. BobRyan

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    Consider the following news stories from the Vatican City.





     
  14. BobRyan

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    Catholic Church says must own up for Inquisition

    By Alessandra Galloni


    VATICAN CITY, Oct 29 (Reuters) - The Vatican on Thursday said it had to take responsibility for one of the darkest eras in Roman Catholic church history and not lay blame for the Inquisition on civil prosecutors.

    Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, head of the Vatican's main committee for the year 2000, opened a three-day symposium on the Inquisition saying it was time to re-examine the work of the special court the church set up in 1233 to curb heresy.

    Etchegaray said some scholars claimed there were several inquisitions: one in Rome, which worked directly under the Holy See's control, and others in Spain and in Portugal which were often aided by the local civil courts.

    ``We cannot ignore the fact that this (attempt to distinguish between inquisitions) has allowed some to make apologetic arguments and lay responsibility for what Iberian tribunals did onto civil authorities,'' he said.

    ``The fact that the Spanish and Portuguese crowns...had powers of intervention...on inquisitory tribunals does not change the ecclesiastical character of the institution,'' he said.

    Pope Gregory IX created the Inquisition to help curb heresy, but church officials soon began to count on civil authorities to fine, imprison and even torture heretics.

    One of the Inquisition's best known victims was the astronomer Galileo, condemned for claiming the earth revolved around the sun.

    The Inquisition reached its height in the 16th century to counter the Reformation. The department later became the Holy Office and its successor now is called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which controls the orthodoxy of Catholic teaching.

    Some of the conclusions of the international symposium, which ends on Saturday, could be included in a major document in which the church is expected to ask forgiveness for its past errors as part of celebrations for the year 2000.

    The church ``cannot pass into the new millennium without urging its sons to purify themselves, through penitence, of its errors, its infidelities and its incoherences...,'' Father Georges Cottier, a top Vatican theologian and head of the theological commission for the year 2000, told the symposium.

    Etchegaray said the conference could also draw on examples that scholars had been able to examine since January, when the Vatican opened secret files.

    The archives also opened the infamous Index of Forbidden Books which Roman Catholics were not allowed to read or possess on pain of excommunication. Even the bible was on the blacklist.

    Pope John Paul has said in several documents and speeches that the Church needs to assume responsibility for the Inquisition, which was responsible for the forced conversion of Jews as well as the torture and killing of heretics
    .

    While there may have been mitigating historical factors for the behaviour of some Catholics, the Pope has said this did not prevent the church from expressing regret for the wrongs of its members in some periods of history.

    He initiated the procedure that led to the rehabilitation of Galileo, completed in 1992.

    19:01 10-29-98


    [/quote]
     
  15. stan the man

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    History and Myth: The Inquisition

    The Medieval Inquisition
    "Through the early Middle Ages belief had been taught through the use of simple creeds, and behavior had been regulated by a series of penitential regulations and by the rich liturgy performed by trained specialists. These rules had achieved the conversion of most of northern Europe to Christianity by the year 1000. They had depicted the world as a place of temptation and the prospects of salvation in it as slender. But during the course of the eleventh century a spirit of religious reform argued that the prospect of salvation in the world would be greatly increased if the world were reformed. With the reform of the papacy itself at the end of the eleventh century the Latin Church began to devise its grand program of sanctifying the world." [Inquisition, by Edward Peters (University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA, 1989) p. 40.] The reform of the papacy involved the freedom from its domination by Italian aristocrats that had taken place in the tenth century. [Saints and Sinners, by Eamon Duffy (Yale University Press, 1997) pp. 82-83.] Led by a stronger papacy, the "grand program of sanctifying the world" was a combination of the Church’s need to reform its institutional life, free itself from control by secular lords, and to build a Christian society. This required a clearer understanding of the essentials of the faith among believers and a more incessant demand to proper Christian behavior. There was also the growing fear that "Those who dissented from belief or behaved in a manner that was explicitly defined as un-Christian appeared no longer as erring souls in a temptation-filled world, but as subverters of the world’s new course." [Peters, p. 40.]

    Christian rulers and the common people themselves shared the same perspective. The "Inquisition" as a formal process of the Church would not be codified until the 13th Century. But in the two centuries prior, there was a strong movement to forcefully address religious dissent. To be a "heretic" meant facing possible mob justice and certain trial by secular courts.

    The two heresies of the 12th and early 13th centuries that gave birth to the medieval inquisition were that of the Cathars (or Albigensians) and the Waldensians. The Cathars essentially held that the "evil god" of the Old Testament created the material world and saw the Church as the instrument of that material world. The Waldensians preached against wealth, clericalism and rejected the sacramental nature of the Church. Both these movements coalesced to a certain degree, and would become somewhat popular in Southern France, Northern Italy and parts of Germany. [Encyclopedia of Catholic History, by Matthew Bunson] (Protestant reformers in the 16th Century would often point to these movements as part of an alleged "silent" Church that existed since the Apostolic Age, as Kaifetz suggests. In reality, the Cathars and the Waldensians had a decidedly non-Christian "dualistic" perception of God, the source of which was essentially pagan philosophy. Their views were unique to the times and would have horrified the 16th century Protestant Reformers.)

    Up to the late 12th Century, such heresies were considered the responsibility of the local bishop. It was assumed that secular rulers (as well as the mob) would take action. The Church response had remained primarily an attempt to persuade and, if necessary, excommunicate heretics. But an evolution was taking place. "The Third Lateran Council of 1179 produced several canons condemning heretics – chiefly to excommunication and denial of Christian burial – and several widely circulated condemnations of heresy, with specific descriptions of heretical beliefs and practices, as well as privileges comparable to those of crusaders for those who fight against heretics and their defenders. In 1184 Pope Lucius III issued the decretal Ad abolendam called ‘the founding charter of the inquisition.’" [Peters, p. 47.] Pope Lucius’ decree called for those found by the local church to be heretical to be turned over to the secular courts. In 1199, Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) identified heresy with treason. As part of his singularly strong reform movement, including encouraging of popular devotions, increased emphasis on catechesis, and the eradication of clerical abuses, Pope Innocent III viewed heresy as a destroyer of souls. When Albigensians in Southern France killed a papal representative in 1208, Innocent called for a "crusade" against the heretical sect. The violence of the subsequent "Albigensian Crusade" was not in keeping with the reforms and plans of Innocent, who stressed education, confession, clerical reform and preaching to counteract heresy. [Peters, p. 51.]Yet, under the control of mobs, petty rulers and vindictive local bishops who cared little for Innocent’s interventionist reforms, armies from northern France swept through the heretical strongholds for over 20 years. The Albigensian heresy effectively disappeared.

    The uncontrollable fanaticism of local mobs of heresy hunters, the indifference of certain ecclesiastics, the violence of secular courts and the bloodshed of the Albigensian crusade led to a determined effort by the papacy to exercise greater control over the determination and prosecution of heresy. This would allow for some measure of persuasion and conversion, rather than simply prosecution by secular courts that emphasized punishment rather than salvation. Beginning a trend started earlier in the century, papal legates from the curia, or local judges appointed by the popes began to exercise courts of inquisition (ecclesial investigations). The papacy also began to use the Mendicant Religious Orders, especially the Dominicans (founded 1220) and, later the Franciscans (founded 1209) to combat heresy by serving as confessors, preachers and judges. [Peters, p. 54.] In 1231, Pope Gregory IX (1227-1241) specifically commissioned the Dominicans as papal judges of heresy. [Ille humani generis, Pope Gregory IX.]

    Over the next 20 years there grew up a very specific state of canonical legislation for dealing with heresy. Though not as severe as the secular courts of Europe at the time, the penalties for heresy – including confiscation of property and the formality of turning persistent heretics over to the secular courts for punishment – became codified within ecclesial courts. [Peters, 53.] This was, then, the formal establishment of the medieval inquisition. It consisted of a mix of local episcopal courts, as well as papal-designated judges and legates. It had close ties to the secular rulers who, in effect, enforced the judgments of ecclesial courts as heresy had become equated with treason. There was no central office in the medieval inquisition, no overarching authority. Local bishops, or members of the Mendicant orders assigned over a period to a certain area, established ecclesial courts for the investigation of heresy. They used procedures common to contemporary European legal procedures. By the late fourteenth and most of the fifteenth centuries, the work of such ecclesial courts was "intermittent and occasionally non-existent." [Peters, 70.]

    The medieval inquisition courts often functioned like circuit courts of the more recent past. Codes and manuals were developed that detailed how an inquisition was to function. It began with the arrival in an area of the inquisitors, possibly members of the Dominican order. They would preach a sermon to the clergy and laity of an area on the dangers of heresy. A "period of grace" would them be extended to allow for confessions of dissenting practices without subsequent trial. Trials were held for those who refused to confess under the period of grace. For those who returned to the Church, forgiveness was granted and some form of penance imposed. Those that did not reject their heresies were excommunicated and turned over to the secular authorities.

    For the most part, these courts functioned similarly to their secular counterparts at that time though generally, their sentences and penances were far less harsh. The investigations were held in secret and names of witnesses were not given to the accused, generally out of fear of retaliation. (The names of witnesses were known to the inquisitors and were kept in the written records. Judges were given detailed instructions in the manuals on how to detect false witness. Those accused were also allowed to list their known enemies and witnesses appearing on such a list were often discounted.) At the conclusion, the decrees of the trial were made public. [The best known manual for inquisitorial judges was Directorium Inquisitorum by Nicolau Eymeric, collected in the late 14th century. The manual would be a fundamental resource in the 16th and 17th centuries.]
     
  16. stan the man

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    History and Myth: The Inquisition

    The Medieval Inquisition (continued)

    A number of questions arise concerning these medieval inquisitions. First and most important to the myth of the inquisition, concerns the use of torture in obtaining confessions. Proof was necessary in order to convict and in the absence of such, confession was necessary. As Peters explains at length: "The tradition of Roman and medieval criminal law had made torture an element in the testimony of otherwise dubious witnesses, and a procedure could be triggered by enough partial proofs to indicate that a full proof – a confession – was likely, and no other full proofs were available. The procedure of torture itself was guarded by a number of protocols and protections for the defendant, and the jurists rigorously defined its place in due process. A confession made after or under torture had to be freely repeated the next day without torture or it would have been considered invalid. Technically, therefore, torture was strictly a means of obtaining the only full proof availableTheir tasks were not only – or even primarily – to convict the contumacious heretic, but to save his soul if possible and to preserve the unity of the Church. In this their interest often ran counter to those of lay people (who simply wanted the heretic destroyed before the whole community suffered), and of judicial officers of temporal powers, who sought only to punish." [Peters, p. 65.]

    The guidelines from the manuals were extremely strict and torture was not used to punish, as was common in the secular courts. The gruesome lists such as Kaifetz’ were an invention of post-Reformation propaganda in regard to the Spanish Inquisition rather than the reality of the medieval inquisitions. Such actions cannot be justified in our own age, but they can at least be understood as part of accepted judicial procedure at that time. In any case, the use of torture in inquisition courts was far less extensive, and far less violent, than the norms of secular courts.[Peters, p. 65.]

    The question also arises concerning the beliefs that were prosecuted. The general accusation made by 16th Century reformers were that alleged "heretics" were simple bible-believing Christians, precursors of the Protestant revolt. As will also be seen in the Spanish Inquisition, this was usually not the case. The Albigensian heresy was the most extensive religious dissent in the period of the medieval inquisitions. Albigensianism was an essential denial of a Christian understanding of God that led to a host of strange beliefs and practices (such as the non-sinfulness of fornication). But for the most part, "heretical views" were hardly organized in a systematic theology, particularly prior to the 16th Century. Those prosecuted were usually the ignorant, the troublemaker, the braggart and, at times surely, the drunkard in his cups professing blasphemy. Those prosecuted rarely held a deeply contrary belief system. (While those alleged to be witches would become a major concern of the Reformers, this was far less so in the inquisition trials. Sporadic trials for witchcraft by inquisition judges would take place in different areas at different times, though it was generally considered the business of the secular courts and such activities the product of a deluded mind rather than a heretic.)

    Additionally, actions contrary to the faith where commonly prosecuted, rather than beliefs as such. Common fornication, refusal to attend to the Sacraments, disregard of religious practice and devotion were often prosecuted by inquisition trials. Clergy living a dissolute lifestyle or speaking out in ignorance against commonly accepted moral teachings were a major focus of the inquisitions, as well as those who spoke out against the inquisitions. The concept of a rigid thought police searching out a reformed "underground church" was the wishful thinking – and propaganda – of later centuries.

    The final question concerns the extensiveness of the inquisition prior to the 16th century, as well as its uniformity and its continuity through the centuries and in different regions. After the suppression of the Albigensian heresy in Southern France in the 13th century, inquisitorial trials waxed and waned in the face of local needs. In France itself, trials were primarily in the hands of secular authorities. In some areas – such as England – heresy was a smaller problem, and ecclesial courts to judge heresy were utilized intermittently. While there were inquisitorial courts, they were under the supervision of local Church authorities and worked closely with the secular arm. The most notable example of its use in England prior to Luther’s revolt in the 16th Century was aimed at the Lolled followers of John Wycliff in the last quarter of the 14th Century and beginning of the 15th Century.

    John Wycliff was a priest and instructor at Oxford where he developed his theology of predestination – that people were "predestined" to be saved or lost and the good works they do are signs of their election, not a means toward salvation. Inevitably, this theology led to the conclusion that sacraments, the priesthood and the Church were unnecessary. Wycliff’s views became popular, particularly as they meant that the English Parliament – cash-strapped and preparing for war with France – need not forward a tribute to the pope. Wycliff was summoned before a council of bishops to explain his position, but the meeting ended when a fight broke out between his armed retinue and members of the audience. Wycliff’s views were forwarded to Pope Gregory XI who issued a condemnation and ordered the bishops to hold an inquisition. If Wycliff still maintained those views, he was to be excommunicated and turned over to the secular authorities. As his trial by the bishops was about to begin, royal intervention – and a mob outside – convinced the bishops to call a halt to the proceedings. Pope Gregory XI then died and a resulting papal schism let Wycliff proceed in his studies. However, when he launched an attack on the Eucharist, many of his previous supporters abandoned him. A revolutionary uprising by peasants and workers was seen as a result of his work, and his royal support ebbed as well. He was summoned to appear in Rome, but died on New Year’s Eve, 1384. [Age of Faith, Durant pp. 33-37.] His remaining followers, called Lollards, would face local inquisitions.

    In the German states, inquisition trials were few and far between. Additionally, those that were conducted fell under the authority of the local bishops who were often identified with the secular authority. As in many cases, the secular authorities often conducted trials as well. A notable exception was the case of John Hus in Bohemia. Hus had absorbed elements of Wycliff’s teachings, as well as a rising Bohemian nationalism. Attacking a host of Church teaching – and the pope as the Anti-Christ – Hus was ordered to appear at the Council of Constance in 1414, where the Church was attempting to resolve disputed claims to the papacy and enact ecclesiastical reform. Hus was condemned by the Council and turned over to the civil authorities who executed him in 1415.[Age of Faith, Durant, pp. 164-166.] Pope John Paul II would state that the execution of Hus was a mistake.

    By the mid to late 14th century, papal commissioned inquisitors had disappeared from many parts of Europe. Inquisitorial courts, such as they were, were conducted under local episcopacies working closely with local temporal authorities and dealing with local circumstances. Regional control of the inquisition process – and regional concerns – would become dominant. [Peters, 74.] A vast, papal-controlled, grand and singular inquisition never really existed in Europe. The closest approximation of that was in the mid to late 13th century, but did not last very long. [However, as noted in the case of Wycliff, the papacy was often called on to review the theological positions involved. Particularly in such high profile cases such as Wycliff and Hus, bishops would request papal review of the positions being espoused.]
     
  17. Eric B

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    All pretty interesting.
    But even though the attempt is to show that the Inquisitions are "not as bad" as people think; it still raises the question of the Church being so wedded to the state to begin with (which many believ is a fulfillment of Rev.17). Even if you point out the Protestants were too; still, they only continued what they had learned in the RCC.

    Also, we see here the progression of the small groups like the Waldenses and Albigenses that were easily quashed, until we get bigger more powerful schisms when the Protestants break away, holding such power bases in their own regions, they are not able to be quashed. And figure, you already had the split within catholicism itself between East and West. So it is obvious that the cracks were there all along in the institutionalized Church. Instead of blaming the Protestants or claiming "we're no worse than they", the RCC needs to admit that a lot of that stuff back then was still wrong.
    Perhaps that pope has, at least in theory, but it seems we have all of these Catholic apologists here who think the Church was always right.
     
  18. genesis12

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    And therein lies the problem, the crux of the matter. The cult of the Catholic Latin Church, which in no wise resembles the church of the New Testament, devised to sanctify the world? To build Christianity? With what? With heathenistic rituals, supremacy of the pope, multiplied heresies, denying the sufficiency of The Cross, praying to Mary and to so-called saints, plastic Jesus on the dashboard of the car, this cult sought to deceive and did deceive the whole of Europe, engulfing Europe to the Middle East in murderous inquisitions and the crusades* (the crusaders were Catholics, NOT Christians!), with Spain bringing its horrific distortions to the Americas. Constantine et al built a monstrosity that still today feeds on lost souls destined for eternal separation from God.

    Dave Hunt gets it right, the so-called pope and his entourage get it wrong. :Fish: is the Way, the Truth, the Life. John 3:16-17, John 14:6, Romans 10:8-13.

    *thinking they were doing the will of God, as the Bible anticipated!
     
  19. BobRyan

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  20. BobRyan

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