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Vic Biorseth, http://www.CatholicAmericanThinker.com
Digging under the Inquisition myth we find the various and sundry inquisitions, and an actual institution, in the form of an official Catholic office and growing responsibility, all collectively known as the Inquisition. Some of these were Catholic, some were not, some were good, more were bad, some were horrible. In the times and places instituted, the Catholic Inquisitions were necessary, which is the real bottom line here. The Catholic Church has been beaten up by atheist, secularist and other anti-Catholic historians so badly and for so long that The Inquisition myth has taken on a life of its own, and people no longer ask the obvious questions about it.
Such as, why was any inquisition, or the establishment of the office of the inquisition, even necessary in the first place?
And, if the Catholic Church is the True Church founded by Jesus Christ, and it has remained true to Him, then how could it have done the horrible things attributed to it in the inquisition myth?
And if it's merely a myth, then why is it so enduring?
Before we can answer these questions coherently we need to look at precisely what the inquisitions were, how they came into being and what their purpose was.
Then we can look at what the inquisitions actually did. It’s all wrapped up in the social/cultural dichotomy between encouraging tradition and encouraging chaos.
The Nature of the Inquisitions
Necessity: Tradition is the thing that brings order, predictability and peace to the social group. This applies any social group, from the smallest family to the largest nation or religion. The traditions that describe our table manners are a good example; children must be taught from their earliest ability to sit at table the appropriate manners and ways to eat and participate in discourse at the dining table in the company of others. In any house in which the traditions of table manners have been dispensed with, eating in the company of others potentially becomes an unpleasant, somewhat risky and even disgusting activity. We learn these traditional manners from our parents, who learned them from their parents.
Man is a social being, who thrives in the company of others, and who will wither, in some respects, when isolated. Tradition, in some form, guides nearly every aspect of our social lives. When someone grossly violates tradition, he makes of himself an outcast, or one whom everyone else wishes was an outcast.
Just as a parent may dismiss or temporarily ban a misbehaving child from the table for exhibiting bad manners, a community may sentence a legal offender to jail, fine or some form of service, and a church may penalize, dismiss or even shun an ecclesial offender. All of our rules, from simple manners and rules of civility, to civil law, to contract law, to ecclesial law, all, have their originating roots in some sort of tradition. When everyone behaves in accordance with the rules of the tradition, the result is good social order; when everyone does not behave in accordance with the rules of the tradition, the result is the opposite of order, which is chaos.
Catholic large-T Tradition comes out of the Public Revelation of Jesus Christ and His message. This Public Revelation ended with the death of the last original Apostle. Since then it has been safeguarded by the Church as the Depositum Fide, or Deposit of Faith. Holy Scripture itself was produced from this Deposit. [It produced the canon or approved list of Old Testament books, and it produced all of the New Testament books.]
The purpose of the Church is to preach the Good News to all the nations. The purpose of any Catholic Inquisition was and is to oppose and suppress heresy in the faith, and to keep the original sacred Deposit Of Faith pure and unchanged for all time, until He comes again. The Church may, only in that way, continuously preach the exact same Good News message to all the nations.
Atheist/Secularist Stumbling Block. Contemporary culture is loaded down with those who openly despise tradition in general and ecclesial tradition in particular. Their thinking has been malformed by the errors of Modernism, or Secularism, or Enlightenment/Scientism and they do not see ecclesial issues as clearly as we do. Opposing faith itself, they do not agree with the ancient notion that faith and reason need to cooperate in the quest for ultimate truth. Their concept of cosmos or existence is man-centered, world-centered, material-centered, accidental, random, purposeless and pointless. If there is such a thing as the exact opposite of wisdom, this is it.
What atheists and weak believers have lost is the notion of religious belief, or Divine Revelation being something objective, real and outside the realm of private judgment. To the purely worldly man, nothing is outside the realm of private judgment. To the degree that the believing Jew or Christian is affected by purely worldly “wisdom”, to that same degree do they disvalue their own ecclesial minor and major traditions in favor of “inclusiveness” or loose moral interpretations. They will hold up multiple wildly different religions for comparison and declare them all to be the same, and even give them equal value to atheism itself.
They will even say such incredibly stupid things as “It doesn’t matter what you believe in, so long as you believe in something.” If that statement were true, then saying “Glory to God”, or saying “Glory to Baal”, or saying “There is no God” would all be equivalent, synonymous statements. Obviously, that is not true. It does indeed matter what we believe.
Having abandoned ecclesial tradition, the moral standards and spiritual paths of atheists and weak believers are chaotic and unpredictable. As they move farther into atheism they lose even their very purpose for being. Having abandoned God, Who would never abandon them, they adopt the world, and live for the world only. The pure atheist, if there is any such thing, is without tradition, which is to say without any roots, and he blows with the wind. To say that the atheist believes in nothing is wrong, for history proves that the atheist will eventually believe in anything.
Pure atheism is the path away from morality as universally understood, which leads farther and farther into worldliness, nihilism, hedonism, despotism, Communism, Nazism, other forms of Marxism, and the systematic devaluing of humanity even to the point of despising it.
Once the very notion of sacredness itself is denied, nothing whatsoever is held to be sacred; certainly not human life.
Intolerance of the intolerable. Much is written about the intolerance and the cruelty of the inquisitions. The cruelty charge is put to the lie by the fact that so many people preferred and openly sought to be tried by Church inquisitors rather than by civil courts. People had been being tried, tortured and executed for various “heretical” practices by civil authorities, with no input from the Church, from the beginning. The intolerance charge is largely true. The Church, to remain the Church, could not tolerate heresy growing within it. The first centuries of the Church’s existence were spent trying to extricate itself and distance itself from being subject to worldly kings and emperors, with mixed success. By the time of the Reformation, and its Lutheran-inspired combination of church and state, the Church was forced to more closely ally itself with Catholic princes as a simple matter of self defense.
And many of these Catholic princes were fighting for their kingdoms and their lives against “heretical” Protestant princes and their new religions. Once the Reformation began, a Protestant living in a Catholic land was seen by his prince to be an enemy of the State. But I’m getting ahead of myself. More needs to be said about the beginnings.
God orders, Israel obeys. Long before Christ came to Earth, the Hebrews were recognizing the need to safeguard Tradition. First, God ordered Israel to use formal legal inquiries – inquisitions – to find, expose, try and purge itself of secret unbelievers or false believers. So the first inquisitors were Jews.
Deut. 17:2-7:  "If there is found among you, within any of your towns which the LORD your God gives you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing his covenant,  and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden,  and it is told you and you hear of it; then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is true and certain that such an abominable thing has been done in Israel,  then you shall bring forth to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones.  On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses he that is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.  The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from the midst of you.
What this is describing is a formal and legal inquiry, which is to say, an inquisition. There were Israelites posing as believers and keepers of the covenant, while secretly they practiced and even sought to spread false religions. We see this in Scripture.
Deut.13:1-18:  "If a prophet arises among you, or a dreamer
of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder,  and the sign or wonder
which he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, `Let us go after other
gods,' which you have not known, `and let us serve them,'  you shall
not listen to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of dreams;
for the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD
your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  You shall walk
after the LORD your God and fear him, and keep his commandments and obey
his voice, and you shall serve him and cleave to him.  But that
prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has
taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the
land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to make you
leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you
shall purge the evil from the midst of you.  "If your brother, the
son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your
bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, entices you secretly,
saying, `Let us go and serve other gods,' which neither you nor your
fathers have known,  some of the gods of the peoples that are round
about you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the
earth to the other,  you shall not yield to him or listen to him,
nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you
conceal him;  but you shall kill him; your hand shall be first
against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the
people.  You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought
to draw you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the
land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
 And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.  "If you hear in one of your cities, which the LORD your God gives you to dwell there,  that certain base fellows have gone out among you and have drawn away the inhabitants of the city, saying, `Let us go and serve other gods,' which you have not known,  then you shall inquire and make search and ask diligently; and behold, if it be true and certain that such an abominable thing has been done among you,  you shall surely put the inhabitants of that city to the sword, destroying it utterly, all who are in it and its cattle, with the edge of the sword.  You shall gather all its spoil into the midst of its open square, and burn the city and all its spoil with fire, as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God; it shall be a heap for ever, it shall not be built again.
 None of the devoted things shall cleave to your hand; that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and show you mercy, and have compassion on you, and multiply you, as he swore to your fathers,  if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, keeping all his commandments which I command you this day, and doing what is right in the sight of the LORD your God.
So, we see that, by God’s command, secret practitioners of false religions were to be rooted out and expelled from the community to protect the kingdom from hidden heresy. This command from God applied even to whole communities. It was carried forward into the New Testament writings, as we see in 1 Corinthians.
1 Cor. 5:1-13:  It is actually reported that there is
immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans;
for a man is living with his father's wife.
 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.  For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment
 in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,  you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed.  Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men;  not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.  But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber -- not even to eat with such a one.  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?
13] God judges those outside. "Drive out the wicked person from among you."
Israel was a society of tribes and communities and cities, with differences between them, but one law. Nations with borders as we recognize them today didn’t really exist yet. In a similar manner, Christian medieval Europe was a diverse society of feudal kingdoms, but all were Catholic. They followed the same tradition laid down in the Old Testament and carried forward in the New.
2 Cor. 11:1-15:
 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with
me!  I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ
to present you as a pure bride to her one husband.
 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  For if some one comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough.
 I think that I am not in the least inferior to these superlative apostles.  Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not in knowledge; in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.  Did I commit a sin in abasing myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God's gospel without cost to you?  I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you.  And when I was with you and was in want, I did not burden any one, for my needs were supplied by the brethren who came from Macedo'nia. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.  As the truth of Christ is in me, this boast of mine shall not be silenced in the regions of Acha'ia.  And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!
 And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do.  For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
Gal. 1-9:  Paul an apostle --
not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the
Father, who raised him from the dead --  and all the brethren who are
with me, To the churches of Galatia:  Grace to you and peace from
God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,  who gave himself for our
sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of
our God and Father;  to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel --  not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.
Catholics and Protestants form inquisitions. Reformers on the continent and in England and Ireland formed their own ruthless inquisitions against Catholics and against other sects of Protestantism. Luther and Calvin preached the right of the state to protect Protestant society by purging it of false religion. Many were banished, and many were executed for “heresy.” Conservative estimates put Catholic executions in England and Ireland alone in the multiple thousands, and many more fled; the crime they were accused of was refusing to convert to Protestantism.
So we see that if the inquisition myth (or truth) provides evidence that a given confession is not or no longer of God, a charge often made against the Catholic Church, then that charge applies equally to Protestantism. The truth of a religious confession must be proved on other grounds.
Catholic Inquisitions have a much longer heritage, going back to well before the Reformation. The root of the inquisitions, which was the imperative to oppose heresy in the community, is as old as the Church itself, and, as we have seen in the above Scripture quotations, was even exercised in the time of Christ and His Apostles, before much New Testament Scripture was even written, let alone recognized as being Scripture. The Christian position toward heresy was softening from the Old Testament penalties, as shown in 1 Tim. 1:20 and in Titus 3:10, toward excommunication or banishment from the community rather than torture and death. Although punishment for heresy was always hotly contested within the Church, with high ranking Churchmen on both sides of the argument, the prevailing official position of the Church solidified into non lethal punishments early on.
The Apostles were convinced of the need for them to protect and transmit an absolutely undefiled Deposit of Faith produced by Divine Revelation, and that any teaching at odds with that Deposit, even if it came from their own mouths, or from the mouths of Angels, was to be opposed as heresy. But, in 1 Tim. 1:20 and Titus 3:10, they did not call for the Old Testament punishments of scourging and death. For the first three centuries of the Church, it was a moot point anyway, since the Church was persecuted, largely underground, and had no real authority or enforcement capability.
Terttulian said that the natural law instructed man to follow the voice of individual conscience in the practice of religion, since the acceptance of religion was strictly a matter of free will and not of compulsion. Already, Christian dissidents had suffered torture, burning and death based on the Old Testament laws, but the larger Church, in its worldly imperfection, was turning from it. Origen wrote of the need to distinguish between the law which the Jews received from Moses and the law given to Christians by Jesus Christ. The former was binding on the Jews, and the latter on Christians, including the Jewish Christians, such as the original Apostles themselves. Jewish Christians who were fully Christian could no longer conform to all of the Mosaic law and thus they could no longer burn, stone or otherwise kill violators of it. And if Jewish Christians could not impose the severest penalties on Jewish violators, it made no real sense for any Christians to impose such severe penalties on Christian violators.
That the Church, with the bishop of Rome in the lead, chose the milder punishments for heresy is a simple matter of historical fact. That is not to say, however, that there were not many renowned Catholic bishops who disagreed and called for the death penalty for heresy, with the penalty to be imposed by civil authority.
The successors of Emperor Constantine saw themselves as “Bishops of the Exterior,” which is to say that, besides being emperors and absolute civil rulers, they assumed responsibility for the material and temporal well being of the Christian religion. Sometimes in league with schismatic or heretical bishops, they persecuted orthodox bishops; sometimes in league with orthodox bishops, they persecuted heretical bishops. We who think we live in troubled times might be interested in reading this part of early Church history; those were very troubled times indeed.
Anti-Catholic authors of history on the topic mix quotations between ecclesial and civil rulers on the topic so regularly as to indicate that they did not differentiate between the words of an emperor and the words of a pope. Since both were Catholic, to them, it was always The Church who was speaking, and so credit for the words spoken was laid at the feet of the Church. Often the same cross-quoting occurred between minor princes and non-pope bishops; since everyone involved was Catholic; many such statements were falsely attributed to representing official universal Church position.
While there was no formally declared doctrine yet, the pattern was quite clear from the record of the first five centuries of the Church’s existence.
We cannot pretend that exceptions did not occur, that all bishops were without sin in this regard, or that all popes enforced or encouraged these rules to the utmost of ability; but we can state that, these were the basic rules as applied by the universal Church during that period of time. The Church contended with heresy from its birth; most of it resulted in beneficial doctrine, meaning, specific ecclesial law, fixing the ancient teaching in clear language. For example, the Arian heresy resulted in a clear definition of the Trinity; the challenges presented by the Gnostic writers ultimately produced the official Canon of Scripture, etc.
The first formal inquisition was established in 1184 in southern France in response to Catharism, or the Catharist heresy. The Cathars posited a completely different cosmos than that of Latin Christianity, any other religion, and the secular culture of the day. In Catharism were two equal deities, one material and evil, and one immaterial and good. Catholic inquisitors, or investigators, were established at the diocesan level in the locations affected by the heresy. Note that Cathars had been being branded, burned and otherwise abused by civil authorities and by mobs for many years before this. The Medieval Inquisition, as it was known, was expanded to include the Waldensian heresy, and took place in southern France and northern Italy.
The Church’s intent was to more accurately ascertain innocence or guilt, and to return as many heretics to the faith as possible. Among those brought before the inquisition, the largest number was found to be innocent, the next largest was returned to faith after penance, and the smallest number was turned over to civil authority for civil punishment, frequently a death sentence. The Medieval Inquisition expanded to include neo-Manichean and other heresies, but it generally faded out as Catharism was suppressed.
The Roman Inquisition that began in 1542 was the least active and probably the most benign of all inquisitions. If the Roman Inquisition was the most benign, then the Spanish Inquisition was the least benign. By this time an office of Inquisitor was established in Rome, and It would send inquisitors to kingdoms at the request of civil authorities to professionally investigate cases of heresy. Rather than diocesan Inquisitors who served the local bishop, highly educated lawyers were drawn from the Orders, most frequently the Dominicans, but also Franciscans and Jesuits. They were sent from Rome to the places requesting their services. Inquisitors were permanent judges who executed their offices in the name of the pope. Wherever they sat, there was the Inquisition. It is important to note how many inquiries did not involve these judges from Rome, but other Inquisitors installed by civil rulers, with the distant approval of Rome.
Inquisition Procedure normally began when the Inquisitor arrived in the location of his assigned task. He would call the citizenry to a public meeting to proclaim a “term of grace” during which the guilty were invited to confess, with guarantee of mild rather than severe punishment. An early form of plea bargaining. The guarantee was that the punishment would be ecclesial rather than civil, and often involved little more than some penance and perhaps a pilgrimage of some sort. Those who confessed often provided the Inquisition, with prompting, evidence against others. During the period of investigation, those being investigated were not detained or deprived of property.
The whole goal was to obtain a voluntary confession, the sooner the better. And with each voluntary confession, it was hoped that more testimony would be obtained against other heretical practitioners.
Guilt could not be proclaimed in the absence of the testimony of at least two witnesses, and most Inquisitors would not be satisfied with that number. They typically examined many, many witnesses, giving greatest weight to the testimony of the Parish Priest. But there was a major fault with the ability of the Inquisitors to accept the testimony of heretics against other heretics. It was assumed that many heretics practiced their heresy in secret, with other heretics, and thus other witnesses to their heresy were not available.
When the Inquisition was sufficiently satisfied that heresy had occurred, the accused would be brought to trial. The charges against him would be read aloud, including supporting evidences; however, witnesses testifying against the accused would not be identified. An opportunity to confess or to speak in his defense was given, and his response was carefully noted. A defense was to identify personal enemies; if the charges originated with these personal enemies, they could be dismissed forthwith, and the false witnesses brought to trial.
At this point in the heresy case, if confession was not obtained, the accused was incarcerated, and all of his property and possessions were confiscated, meticulously catalogued and held aside until the issue was settled. At this point in the investigation, evidence was so heavy against the accused that guilt was assumed. There was no assumption of innocence until proven guilty here, or probably anywhere else on Earth. However, meticulous records of inquisition proceedings show that huge numbers of witnesses were called per individual case, normally including many of the most respected members of the community. And, perjury was, in those days, about as serious a civil offense as one could possibly commit, considering the Commandment regarding bearing false witness.
Still, what was sought more than anything else was a confession. The means to get the accused to confess included:
It is rather interesting that torture was applied not as a sentence or for guilt, but only to obtain a confession of guilt. In actual practice, torture was applied in the smallest fraction of cases, including the worst of the inquisitions. Allowing torture under ecclesial law was an accommodation of civil law, and contained restrictions. Torture could not endanger life or limb, and it could only be applied once, and only when the evidence of guilt was overwhelming. In some instances the “only once” torture rule was circumvented by “suspending” the session rather than ending it, and then simply resuming it later.
If the preponderance of evidence was great, the accused did not confess even under torture, a final decision was made by a group of community leaders. Diocesan Inquisitors had to conduct trials in cooperation with their bishops, and Roman Inquisitors had to conduct trials in cooperation with the Pontiff or his legate, and meticulous records had to be maintained of all proceedings. In the rare cases that went so far as to go through the entire process without a confession, a sort of jury of community citizens was used to produce t a verdict.
A group of independent citizens would be summoned from among the leading citizens of the community. As many as eighty citizens would be summoned and sworn, from among layman, priests, both secular and from orders. They would be solemnly sworn to give verdict, and would examine all evidences in the hands of the Inquisition. These were called the Bon Viri, and they would be tasked to produce two findings:
Although the Inquisitor was the ultimate authority and could override the verdict of the Bon Viri, this was very seldom done, and the record shows that when it was done, it was done to make the sentence more lenient.
All verdicts would be publicly announced at a major public event at which the Inquisitor would preach a sermon. This was a solemn ceremony called the Sermo Generalis, which would later be called the auto-da-fe, or, Act Of Faith. The penitents would be paraded out to stand opposite the Inquisitors and officials during the sermon. The penitents at first wore the Coroza, similar to a bishop’s miter, but later in the Inquisitions this practice would be banned as undignified to the office of the bishop. They wore a garment called a Sanbenito, usually of yellow linen with a cross on the front, and their names on the back.
The Inquisitor would read the charges and the sentences aloud, one at a time. Each penitent in turn would either remove his Sanbenito and go home, confess his crime and accept his penance, or be turned over to the civil authorities for punishment. At that point, all of his previously confiscated property was also turned over to civil authority. The auto-da-fe became enormously popular local events.
The Spanish Inquisition was a State institution to identify conversos
- Jews or Moslem Moors who pretended to convert to Christianity for
social or political advantage, and secretly practiced their former
religion. Forgotten or conveniently neglected by detractors is the fact
that it was also important in clearing the names of those falsely
accused. This is the Inquisition singled out most for cruelty,
unfairness and horror. With good reason.
It was distinguished from all other Inquisitions by its monarchic character and centralized State control throughout. The man chiefly held accountable by history, rightly or wrongly, is one Thomas de Torquemada, priest, Dominican, Cardinal and Grand Inquisitor. He was the confessor and spiritual director of Isabella before she became queen of Spain. When she ascended the throne, he would become her Grand Inquisitor, confirmed by Pope Sixtus IV, who had previously approved the State Inquisition of Isabella and Ferdinand.
The Spanish Inquisition began with the reign of Ferdinand the Cahtolic and Isabella, in response to the threats from the Moriscos and the Marranos. The Moriscos were pseudo-converts to Christianity from Islam, and the Marranos were pseudo-converts to Christianity from Judaism. Torquemada was the actual organizer of the Spanish Inquisition, at the request of Ferdinand and Isabella, confirmed by Sixtus IV and re-confirmed by Innocent VIII. He was given the office of Grand Inquisitor of the kingdoms of Castile, Leon, Aragon, Velencia and others. The organization was massive. It actually remained operative into the 19th century, and increased it’s scope to oppose Protestantism. It would grow from Torquemada’s beginnings to include the New World.
Torquemada’s appointees ran over 19 different courts; most of Troquemada’s time was spent hearing appeals. He, alone among all Inquisitors, was free to delegate his Inquisitor responsibilities to others, and to personally hear and decide all appeals to Rome. I’m not sure exactly how he did this, but the record shows that he did. While the record shows that he was not quite the ogre popularly described by those who proclaim The Inquisition Myth, neither was he exactly a saint.
It is written that the Morranos posed a real threat and were attempting to “Juda-ize” all of Spain – whether this is true or not I cannot ascertain, but it certainly seems an unlikely possibility. The Marranos had rich Jewish friends with influence, and thus many were able to avoid the Inquisition. (Jews who were not Morranos were not subject to the Inquisition.) To counter this evasion-by-influence, Torquemada convinced the monarchs to force all Jews to either convert to Christianity or leave Spain.
That, to me, is the most serious single charge against the honor and the Catholicity of Torquemada. It meant forcing non-Catholics to become Catholics, or, permanently leave home and property and native country. Quite a choice. Since he couldn’t identify the supposed culprits from among the Jews, his response was to persecute all the Jews.
The Numbers given by those who flaunt The Inquisition Myth just don’t add up. Some Protestant sources have claimed that over sixty five million died in The Inquisition. Yet, the whole of the population of all of Europe wouldn’t reach that number until long after the Inquisitions were all closed. The Black Death is credited with killing from one quarter to one third of the entire population; the Inquisition was nowhere near that size of a fraction. Torquemada, probably the worst of them all, can only be verifiably credited with about 2,000 sentences of death.
The Catholic inquisitions collectively went on for almost a thousand years, and in that time the number of actual deaths accredited to them in all likelihood was only in the range of about 10,000. More Catholics were killed in England an Ireland by Protestant Inquisitions. There were no Catholic Inquisitions in Northern Europe at all. It was Protestants, not Catholics, who sewed other Protestants up in cloth bags and threw them into a lake to drown, and to teach them something or other about Baptism.
The Inquisitions left the Catholic Church with a black eye, surely. No one is proud of the excesses that we all know occurred. But records were kept, and the records show something different than all the negative hype. Strong efforts were made to prove cases, one way or another, with all the means that were available, common and acceptable at the time.
But artistic renderings of half or fully naked women being tortured rule the predominantly Protestant art depicting the period. This despite the relative rarity of torture being implemented at all, let alone against women. The wearing of the sanbenito and to coroza and being publicly paraded today shocks our sensibilities; we even now have laws against such treatment. But, that was then. The Auto-da-fe was designed and intended to be a sort of liturgical re-enactment, and bringing-to-life, of Judgment Day for all the public to see. The fact that these events were very popular shows that heresy was very unpopular, and that safeguarding the faith from heresy was universally seen to be an important undertaking.
The worst of it all was, perhaps, that the Church, or at least some of her representatives, seemingly joined in with the civil rulers and princes in what amounted to a pogrom against the Jews, merely because they were Jews. If the historical record is accurate, then Torquemada – a prince of the Church – actually instigated that State persecution. No Catholic (or Protestant) religious inquisition had any right to interfere in any way with the life of any Jew who was minding his own business.
We may pray that more good than bad came out of all of that history, for the souls of the wrongfully accused, and we may pray for atonement for the sins of many of the Inquisitors and their effect on the larger Church, and on relations with others.
But the best thing we can do for the Church, her image and her unchanging Gospel Message is to live our faith.
Get out there and be Catholic.
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Date: Thu Dec 31 16:30:48 2009
I find it hard to imagine the blocks to really seeing what is true that must be in your mind. You are so off the mark here that it is incredible. the holy roman catholic church is so far away from the Intent of it's Founder as to be the same sort of "den of thieves" that made Christ angry enough to lose his temper. Now it is also a den of pedophiles and greedy lying business men - most of whom are afraid to admit, even to themselves, their homosexuality.
Date: Fre Jan 01 08:23:59 2010
From: Vic Biorseth
Since nothing in this submission refutes the history, my guess is that you cannot refute the history. This is just a typical anti-Catholic rant, completely off the point, and not even beginning to relate to the issue at hand.
You seem to believe that you have some sort of personal insight into what is true that the rest of us mere mortals do not possess. But you fail to set us straight, and show us “the mark” that we are so far off from.
If you really believe your libel against the One Holy Roman Catholic Church to be true, then you are dreaming, and the source of your dreaming is evil.
Wishing you a blessed New Year, with regards,
Date: Tue Feb 08 20:44:50 2011
From: Jeremy Plossay
Location: Ellington, CT, USA
I must concur with the other notations and agree that I was waiting the entire time to read your "secret" sources of evidence that the Inquisitions had been less then the "black eye" given to the church. This article was the biggest bunch of washed down garbage I have read in a long time. I agree that some of the numbers out in circulating material often seem high based on recorded accounts, but we both know it was much more than thousands. You address the topic with a gently and comforting tone which is utterly annoying. It was a genocide of human spirit and nothing more.
Date: Wed Feb 09 20:26:12 2011
From: Vic Biorseth
Secret sources? What secret sources? There is nothing secret about history.
Nothing – not one thing – you have said here can be backed up by actual history. Where is the evidence for what you say?
Show me the evidence.
Or, in all humility, hold your tongue.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Converted Page to SBI! Release 3.0 BB 2.0.
Date: Mon Nov 17 2014
From: Vic Biorseth
Changes pursuant to changing the website URL
and name from
Thinking Catholic Strategic Center to
Catholic American Thinker.
Pulled the trigger on the 301 MOVE IT option June 1, 2014. Working my way through all the webpages. .
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Refuting "Brothers Of The Lord", again, for poor Scripture scholars. We have to go over the "Brothers Of The Lord" misinterpretation, over and over again, because newer generations of the misinformed just keep being maleducated.
Who's in Heaven? Catholics. How do we know? The Bible says so. Scripture, Tradition and consistent Church teaching down through the ages confirms it: In Heaven, there are no non-Catholics.
There is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. Once you know Christ founded it, then you must enter it, or not leave it, for there is no salvation outside of it.
The Seven Catholic Sacraments in Scripture. Protestants always ask for Scriptural evidence for all of our Sacraments; so here it is.
Indifferentism and Moral Relativism eats away at Catholic Culture. Catholicism stands against Indifferentism. Where do you stand?
The Latin Mass Page is to be a repository for links to Latin Mass availability. If your Church celebrates the Latin Mass, send a link to the Latin Mass Page.
The Traditional Latin Tridentine Mass Explained, Step By Step.
With Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio 'Summorum Pontificum', the Traditional Latin Tridentine Mass may need explanation for the uninitiated.
Tridentine Mass Implements and Vestments
Describing the required Tridentine Mass Implements and Vestments
Background history of the recent Catholic reformation (revolution?) in liturgy.
Reform of the Liturgy began with good intentions toward minor changes, yet almost permanently trashed Latin, and Chant, and, etc., etc., etc.
Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum; Apostolic letter on 1962 Rite.
The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum confirms the 1962 Latin Rite as the 'Extraordinary' Roman Liturgical Rite.
The Pope's Letter to Bishops on Summorum Pontificum. Benedict XVI's Letter to Bishops on Summorum Pontificum issued the same day as the Motu Proprio.
The Explanatory Note on Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. An 'Explanatory Note on Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum' issued by the Vatican.
Catholic Marriage Annulment: Is it merely the Catholic version of Easy Divorce. Ecclesial law regarding the Catholic marriage annulment process has not changed, yet the numbers of annulments granted in America have rocketed. Why?
John Paul II, alias John Paul the Great, now becomes Blessed John Paul. Blessed John Paul the Great has been beatified; now, on to sainthood!
Our Lady of Siluva appeared twice in Lithuania, in AD 1608. Our Lady of Siluva appeared with the Christ Child in her arms; the rock on which she stood is preserved in a shrine.
Welcome to Holy Cross (Lithuanian) Roman Catholic Church. Holy Cross Church in Old North Dayton, maintaining the Lithuanian ethnic heritage.
Woodcarver George Mikalauskas produces unique, and custom, Lithuanian crosses. A Dayton, Ohio native of Lithuanian heritage, George prayerfully produces crosses in the ancient Lithuanian style.
The conservative Catholic forum promotes orthodoxy and attacks heterodoxy.
Actually, Conservative Catholic Forum (or Liberal) make no real sense here. A Catholic teaching is either correct, or it is incorrect, according to official Catholic Church authority.
“Are you saved” might be the conversation starter with a devout Protestant.
First, are you saved; then, are you saved by having been “born again” (but not by Baptism) are the two popular questions of Protestantism.
Is the Bible the sole authority for teaching Christianity?
If Holy Scripture is the sole authority for Christian teaching, then, where does it say that in Holy Scripture?
Is faith alone the sole requirement of salvation?
Luther’s dictum says that man is justified by faith alone. Is it true?
The Eucharist is our Emmanuel, our "God is with us." Who else can say it?
Roman Catholicism is centered on Eucharist; it is a central dogma of our faith.
The contentious issue of Infallibility of Papal and Church teaching.
On matters of faith and morals, and matters relating to Divine Revelation, our central Catholic trust is in the Infallibility of the Holy Ghost, Peter, and The Church, acting together.
The Thinking Catholic responses to questions re perpetual virginity of Mary.
From the "brothers of the Lord" to "The Davinci Code" to the word "until" in Matt. 1:24-25, the ancient Hebrew cultural notion of Professed Perpetual Virginity is doomed to be repeatedly challenged.
Catholic Prayer is described in the Catholic American Thinker.
The Catholic American Thinker describes, defends and presents Catholic Prayer, in all its diversity.
A submission of the “The Church is rotten to the core” argument and its basis.
If indeed the church is rotten to the core then all is lost; unless, of course, the statement is untrue.
"The History Channel" repeats the flagrant categorical lies regarding Pius XII.
Ho hum, heavy sigh, and here we go again. Once again, we see show-biz "Historians" bypassing actual historical documents in favor of purely anti-Catholic show-biz fictional works, for fun and profit.
On Straying, Right or Left, from the Catechism.
We have before us, on one side, excesses of "Social Justice" and "Liberation Theology", and on the other, the "Lefebvre" movement and related groups. In the center: the Catechism.
The "Enlightenment" birthing of Historical-Critical Scripture analysis.
Historical Criticism of the most paranormal literature ever produced calls into question the "enlightenment" of the enlightened.
Freedom's Circle: Free Will's relationship to Love, and to Evil. Looking at Freedom, and it's relationship to Good and Evil.
The nature of Freedom, in Concept and in actual Fact
Tradition and Moral Discipline Vs. Impulsiveness, Popular Fad and Moral Chaos.
America was born of tradition and moral discipline, and she changes for the best when the process is steady and natural.
Proper catechesis is the glue that keeps the Church and the People Catholic.
Lack of proper education may cost you your liberty; lack of proper catechesis may cost you your soul.
Faith versus Atheism: Is atheism really just a silly superstition?
The Faith versus Atheism argument is at the root of every other important argument.
It's The Inquisition Myth, Vs. the various Catholic and Protestant Inquisitions.
On the history of the inquisitions (plural) that existed, and The Inquisition, which did not. The Inquisition Myth became a handy club with which to abuse Catholicism and Catholic history.
The Galileo Inquisition: Contemporary Icon for the Enlightenment and Scientism.
The Galileo Inquisition was no small affair at the time, but over the centuries it has grown and become a club with which to beat the Church, and to promote the myth of the "Dark" ages.
The Christian Medieval Crusade, the preceding events, and the aftermath.
The Medieval Crusade describes what is popularly called The Crusades; Christendom's attempt at self defence, and the freeing of the Holy Land.
The Infamous Byzantine 4th Crusade: A Total Failure in Direction and Purpose.
In the Byzantine 4th Crusade we find classic results of intrigues, sub-plots and greed overpowering and taking over good intention.
Artificial Contraception: Tool of Materialism with which to destroy Monotheism.
Acceptance of Artificial Contraception marked the single most destructive turning point in the history of Western Culture, marking the end of moral norms, foretelling tolerance of anything at all.
Our argument against public despair, hopelessness and pessimism re the future.
Despair is a mortal sin, the opposite of the virtue of hope; it is a sin unto the death of the soul, a repudiation and rejection of God’s grace.
Returning to American Founding Principles offers a return to national salvation.
American Founding Principles are reawakened by the mortal threat to the nation posed by Obamunism.
The Fracturing of Christianity: loss of unity of message and teaching authority
The history of the Fracturing of Christianity amplifies the need for ecumenism and healing among men of good will.
Getting ready for Paczki Tuesday. Paczki Tuesday is the old time European version of Fat Tuesday.
What is it that makes us uniquely Catholic? What defines a Catholic culture? Our baptism and our faith make us Catholic, but it is through the living out of our faith that we build and participate in the larger Catholic culture.
More American Imperial Edicts Issuing Forth out of Obamunism. Archbishop Schnurr joins Rick Santorum in identifying American Imperial Edicts from this administration.
Bringing the Liturgy Back to the Real Vatican II. Cardinal Burke Comments on Sacra Liturgia Conference
The Church calls us all to Catholic Evangelism; how do we do that? Catholic Evangelism comes easier than Protestant variants because it has its base in Truth.
Fallen away Catholics may be America's largest Christian denomination. An appeal to Fallen Away Catholics: Christ is calling you home.
Reconciliation with God, through a good Confession with Absolution. Repentance, resolve, confession, absolution, penance, and uplifting, EXHILARATING Reconciliation.
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The List of the Catholic Popes and the Historicity of the Catholic Church. Each of the Catholic Popes has a documented history, and these histories show the Apostolic Succession from Peter.
Supernatural Genesis 1-11 vs. Pagan Darwinism God and Liberty or Fallen Mankind and Tyranny
Luke 21: 29-31: Some Signs Of America’s Abandonment And Spiritual Bondage
Eternal Paradise Or Hell? How And Why Both Choices Are Freely Made
Luciferian Humanists: Citing the Genesis Account is Evil “Any country grounded in Judaeo-Christian values can’t be overthrown until those roots are cut … "
Who Is Intolerant Because Ashamed: Creationists or Evolutionary Theists?
Death of the Christian God in Hearts of All Humans Why America and W. Europe are Committing Suicide
THE WORLDVIEW OF EVIL SPIRITS - an article by Linda Kimball MAGICAL MYSTERY CHURCH
Pagan-Darwinian-Materialism Redoubt of Miserable Self-Deceived Non-Self Nihilists
Americas’ Spiritually Dead, Deep State and Ruling Class Nihilists Walking Dead Parasitic Idolaters
Doctrines of Demons and the Modern Pagan and Pantheist Antithesis The West's Greatest Threat
Gnosis: The Main Expression of Paganized Christianity in the New Age Inner Knowing, Self-Salvation
Our Age of Malicious Perversion How Truth, Meaning, and Reality Have Been Perverted
The Serpent’s Gnostic Luciferian Elite Oligarchy and Global Powers Demonic Darkness Over the West and America
The Creation Model Versus Modern Pagan Models
2 Corinthians 10:5
What Kind of God Do You Believe In?
2 Cor. 10:5 Destroying 'Scientific' Arguments for False Gods
Evil Spirits, Death of God, Satanic Inversion Pagan America’s Reality of Madness, Demonic Bondage, and Non-Self
Judgment and Wrath The Biblical Explanation for Madness and Evil
The Worldview of Evil Spirits Revolution, Evolution, Materialism, Nihilism, New World Order, and More
Gnosis The Main Expression of Modern Paganized Christianity
America's Transformation Into A Mystical Pantheist God-State What the Death of God Has Wrought
Message to All Wearied Truthtellers: Let Isaiah Be Your Inspiration the Remnant
The Triune God, Supernatural Heaven, Souls, Hell, and Demons Do They Exist?
Teachings of Demons The Aeon of Horus, Reign of God-Men, and End of the Christian God
Revelation 2:7" ...the closing of a steel door – a solemn, cataclysmic slamming of a door."
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Infernal Apocalyptic Atmosphere Over America Disintegration into nothing
Global and Ruling Class Criminal Elitists Their Ring of Power and Pact with the Spirit of Death and Hell
Blessed is the Man Who Does Not Listen to Falling Stars Who Follow After Damnable Heresies
Darwinism: An Abomination Aborting and Rotting the Church. The falling away and apostasy from the one true and personal Holy Triune Creator God has not ended
The Evil One and the Impenitent Who Receive His Mark“. And the LORD God formed man (and) breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7
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Cultural Marxism. The Many Hidden Faces of Living Active Communism
The Devil, the Big Bang, Evolution, Extraterrestrials and the Genesis Problem
The Ascension To Power Of Misogyny. Hatred of Women
Gnostic Chiliastic Evolution: Satan's Alternative Plan of Salvation. The Great Reset
Why Proclaiming Jesus Christ the Word Became Flesh is Offensive. The Technocratic Utopian World Order
The Divine Androgyne, Pandemonium, and the Battle for Our Souls. Satan's Rising New World Order
America's Modern Pagan Oligarchy, Aztec Gods, and Human Sacrifice. Isaiah 57 Revisited
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Americas’ Spiritually Desolate, Parasitic, Ruling Class Nihilists. Satan and Powers and Principalities
Global Oligarchy, Forces of Darkness, and the Spirit of Antichrist. Forces Darkness Within Church and State
Darwinism: Idol of mind symbolizing hatred of Triune Creator God. And Logical End of America
Is the World a Computer Simulation in the Minds of Robotic Overlords? Magic Science, Transhumanists, Gnostic Physicists.
Your soul: Cost of admission to the Progressive Pagan City of Man. New Egypt, Babylon, Sodom and Gomorrah
Iron Curtain Over American Minds Progressive Marxisms’ Ideological Utopia
Satan’s New World Order Blueprint and Key Strategy. Christian Capitulation To the Serpent's Consensus Process
Chaos, Breakdown, Demoralization, Destruction: America's New Normal. How it came about and where we are going.
Demonic Darkness: America's Invisible Wave of Evil. Staring into the abyss
Cain, Marxism, Leftism and America's ruling class of 'superior' humans. The dragon they have in common
Modernist Christians in a Man-Centered Universe. Scientific Neutrality and Biblical Deconstruction
The Connection Between Baphomet and Why Researchers Are Creating Interspecies Embryos. 2 Corinthians 10:5
Isaiah 57 revisited: America's progressive pagan elites. Staring into the Abyss
Evolutionary Theism Implies That Christ is Wrong About Creation. "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" John 5:46-47
Utopianism. Progressive Utopian Cultural Marxism Poisoning Minds, Churches, Schools, Politics
Acts 17:18-19-modern pagan and pantheist antithesis of the Word of God Ecclesiates 1:9 "What has been is what will be.."
Trotsky's Permanent Revolution From Hell In America. The Soviet System in America
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The Evil Eye Of Envy: Why Being ‘White’ Is Offensive To Some People. No Vice Worse Than Envy
Absolute Nothingness and Non-Self: The Reigning Worldview of Global Power Elites and Western Ruling Classes
What is Evil? Man-made alternative realities
Satanism, Communism: What's The Difference? Look To The Roots Of Communism
Fox Is the Leading "Trans" Channel There are some rather peculiar goings-on at the Fox News Channel.
Trump and His Communist Enemies The Demonized Joe McCarthy Turned Out To Be Accurate In Everything He Claimed: Fox News Is Wrong About Him And About Much More
The Five Stooges on Capitol Hill They Think We Need Even More Doped No-Hopers In The American Intelligence Community
The Biden Doctrine of Demoralization and Defeat By Cliff Kincaid
A Republican Church Committee? Do Pro-American Republicans Even Know Who Frank Church Really Was?
A Top to Bottom Housecleaning of America When we clean our house, my wife has a slogan, “Top to bottom,” meaning you have to target the whole house. The same advice applies to nations.
China's Mass Murder Experiment Phase Two
Bury The Dead And Move On Fuggedaboutit!
9/11 Truth This is the real 9/11 Truth: Our “intelligence” agencies are infiltrated.
Moving Toward Gorbachev’s “World of Communism” It's called the Monster Plot.
The Errors of Russia, the Dupes of Putin, and Another Holocaust Can The Increasingly Faithless Free World Be Saved From Russia?
World War Quietly Conquering A Distracted and Blithely Unaware World. Could it actually be Satan's world war on despised humanity?
Stand With Ukraine Against Russia and China By Cliff Kincaid
Tucker Carlson Carlson Gets His Comeuppance. Tucker's View: It is not moral for us to intervene in support of any nation's (Ukraine's) democratic self-determination and against Soviet military expansion.
The Need for Secure Borders. Have we so easily forgotten what borders are for? Have we forgotten that evil exists in the world? Have we forgotten how to keep apart from this evil?
Can Ukraine Survive Putin and Biden? Can America? Can the Free World? Can Faith in God?
The Soviet Union: Back From The Dead The Return of the Evil Empire
Could an American Surrender be in the offing with Biden at the wheel? Is this not the perfect time for Communism to strike, with Commies now governing America, China and Russia? What would Biden do?
Abortion and Communism. If you ever wondered where all the popular abortion-contraception-sexuality-perversion nuttiness came from, look to Marx's Communist Manifesto.
The Secret Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. A life almost totally at odds with his reputation as a minister of the Gospel.
"We belong to the Church militant; and She is militant because on earth the powers of darkness are ever restless to encompass Her destruction. Not only in the far-off centuries of the early Church, but down through the ages and in this our day, the enemies of God and Christian civilization make bold to attack the Creator’s supreme dominion and sacrosanct human rights.”--Pope Pius XII
"It is not lawful to take the things of others to give to the poor. It is a sin worthy of punishment, not an act deserving a reward, to give away what belongs to others."--St. Francis of Assisi
Truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.—Winston Churchill
The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.—Ayn Rand
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