10 myths about the Inquisition

10 myths about the Inquisition

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This is one of the darkest periods in the history of Christianity. When people point to the dark side of the Catholic Church, the Inquisition is the first thing that comes to mind. This is a difficult period of history, and it is not surprising that many myths and delusions have grown around it.
1. The Inquisition was a single event.

When we talk about the Inquisition, to a large extent, thanks to Monty Python and Mel Brooks, we usually mean the Spanish Inquisition. But she was by no means the only one, although the most famous.

The idea of ​​the Inquisition arose much earlier. Already in the first century, Roman law made allowances for what are called “inquisitorial procedures”. There were other methods, for example, the right of the investigators to use torture against the interrogated.

When Christianity began to spread throughout Europe in the 4th century, laws regulated both religious and secular issues. From the very beginning of Christian history, bishops took an active part in the work of the Inquisition.

In 1184, the rules for the work of the Inquisition were changed by Pope Lucius of the 3rd century. side more aggressive means of searching and exterminating heresy.In the Middle Ages, religious orders formed groups of people who were supposed to act as inquisitors. Their goal was to change people's behavior, not to punish them for it. However, everything changed a few hundred years later with the emergence of the Spanish Inquisition.

2. Pagans and Jews

Usually, thinking about the goals of the Inquisition, we think about those people who worshiped pagan gods, and about Jews. Although they, of course, were the main objective of the Inquisition, they were not the first targets.

One of the first groups of people with whom the Inquisition was engaged purposefully, was a group of Cathar Christians. The Cathars opposed the Roman Catholic Church, especially its wealth and power. Serious persecution of the Cathars began under Pope Innocent III. Toulouse. The soldiers were ordered to kill the Cathars, but they did not know how to distinguish them from other Christians. Then the papal legate said to them: “Kill everyone, God will choose his own people later!”

At about the same time, the Pope also announced his condemnation of another Christian group, the Waldenses. This group was declared heretical by the Roman Catholic Church, including disbelief in the existence of purgatory and the idea that someone could sanctify wine and bread.The Waldenses had been active for several hundred years, but were eventually victims of witchcraft accusations.

3. It was longer than you thought.

In essence, the purpose of the Inquisition is not torture and death; she was going to eradicate heretical thoughts and actions. And the inquisitors watched not only what people do, but what they read. As a result, the Index of forbidden books appeared. The first official version of the list was published in 1559 by Pope Paul IV and caused much controversy. The idea of ​​the list arose several decades before that, and over the next four centuries, the Index was constantly updated and refined.

As many unauthorized religious texts spread, a huge number of strange entries were made to the Index. Among them are the works of Alexander Dumas, Victor Hugo, Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift. Most philosophers — Descartes, Mill, Kant, Sartre, and others — were also included in this list. It was only in 1966 that the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith ceased to publish and update the Index of Prohibited Books, although it still maintains that highly moral believers should continue to use the list as a guideline for reading which books.

Nowadays, the Holy Congregation of the doctrine of faith serves as an inquisition. This is its modern name. The purpose of the Congregation, the progenitor of which was the Holy Congregation of the General Inquisition established in 1542, is to protect the church from heresies, it is believed in the Vatican.

4. Prohibition of torture

This is probably the main thing the Inquisition became famous for. But torture was not always the most common method in the arsenal of the church. Some of the earliest writings on freedom of religion, such as the writings of Lactantius, 4th century, claim that those who will defend their religion through torture will not fall into the kingdom of heaven. At the beginning of its activities, the Inquisition did not use torture and punishment.

In the 13th century, torture by inquisitors was banned. But they could be present at the tortures that were carried out by secular executioners. Torture was used to extract confessions, but the upper strata of society were freed from them. It was not until 1252, when Pope Innocent IV gave the right to members of the Inquisition to use torture as a way to achieve truth.

Later, torture was applied with the condition that the blood of the interrogated person was not spilled or there was no incurable damage to the extremities, and the death of the person being tortured was not encouraged.This, of course, required the presence of secular executioners on torture — specialists in such methods of interrogation.

5. Number executed

How many people died during the inquisition - no one knows. Some historians claim that millions were killed, while others speak of tens of thousands. According to an official statement issued by the Vatican in 2004, there were far fewer casualties.

According to documents prepared by the Vatican, 125,000 people were committed to the court of the Spanish Inquisition, and only about one percent of them were executed. The results were published following a process that began in 1998. The same study showed that about 25,000 people were executed in Germany for witchcraft, but most of them were not the hands of the Inquisition itself. The small country of Liechtenstein presented its sad statistics: only 300 people were executed by the Inquisition, but at that time it was about 10 percent of the country's total population.

The Vatican even made a statement in which Pope John Paul II apologized for the actions of the church in the past.

6. Inquisition in the New World

The Spanish Inquisition was very far away.However, the Inquisition existed not only in Europe - all the Spanish colonies in the New World felt its heavy hand. While the monarchs of Europe fought for their share in the New World, Ferdinand and Isabella the Spanish were among the most determined supporters of a single nation under the shadow of the Catholic Church. It was under their rule that the Spanish Inquisition gained power. And the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada, with his sinister fame, was the personal confessor of the queen.

When Spain and Portugal were busy colonizing the new continent, people under the Inquisition found many ways to hide in the New World; many pursued by the Inquisition settled in Lima. By 1520, missionaries and monasteries were allowed to perform all the duties that the Inquisition considered necessary.

One of the largest museums of Peru is the Museum of Congress and Inquisition. It was opened in 1968 and is still located in the building that once housed the Spanish Inquisition. The premises where the testimony was tortured and the cells in which people served their sentences still serve as a terrible reminder of the Spanish heritage of Lima.

7. Everyone was waiting for the inquisitors.

The idea of ​​the Spanish inquisitors on the threshold without warning and sending ordinary people to interrogation cells is still terrifying.

When the inquisitors opened their representation in the region, the first thing they announced was what they were going to do. Until 1500, they read the Edict of Grace, and after 1500 it was the Edict of Faith. The meaning of the decrees was about the same, but they clearly stated the purpose of their activities.

Decrees were given to community members from two weeks to several months before the court of the Inquisition began work. Any heretic was asked to appear in court and plead guilty. When the time came, they started asking questions, and people testified against each other. For you to start having serious problems, it was enough if someone testified against you during confession.

It is believed that a huge number of accusations was the result of the slander of neighbors or denunciations of those people who thus sought to get rid of competitors or seize other people's property. Denunciations were collected and evaluated, after which the Inquisition knocked on the door. But it was never a surprise.

8. Conflict of the “black legend”

To get completely reliable information about what was really happening is not so simple. As Spanish journalist Julian Juderias writes, much of what we know about the Spanish Inquisition (or think we know) is actually part of a massive smear campaign led by people who simply don’t like Spain very much.

This rather new idea appeared in 1912. According to Juderias, most of the criticisms and horror stories about the Spanish Inquisition came from the second half of the 16th century. The journalist believes that what we know about the Spanish Inquisition is only part of the truth, and that its history was written by representatives of other Protestant European countries who wanted to present the Spanish Catholics in a rather unattractive light.

The reformed Catholic Catholics, by and large, were not far from the Inquisition itself, and this fact is cited as support for the so-called “black legend”. After the Protestant movement that was oriented towards heretical Catholics began to gain strength, everything was not only turned upside down, but also used to pervert the ideas of the Inquisition.

9.Willingness and unwillingness to change

If a person was considered a heretic, this did not mean that he was necessarily subjected to torture or that he was sentenced to death.

In 1391, unrest began in southern Spain, and eventually around 20,000 officially converted to Catholicism. The law was a double edged sword.

As for the Jews, the Catholic Church did not really have jurisdiction and had no real power over them. Those who changed faith for Catholicism were taken under the wing of the church and were supposed to be regular Catholics. If this did not happen, the Inquisition came to them.

Converts with their children and grandchildren were called conversos. Conversion to Catholicism opened some doors for them. There were jobs available only for Catholics, and many trading opportunities that were closed to those who were not in favor of "true religion."

By 1391, the Converseos formed a new middle class in Spain, and this became a problem for the Inquisition. It consisted in the fact that the converse moved too quickly along the hierarchy for people who were not truly believed.As a result, the church was forced to watch over them to make sure that they regularly go to confession, take communion and are baptized, as promised.

10. Survivors

There were people who fought against the Inquisition and won, such as Maria de Cazalla. The trial against her began in 1526, and in 1530 she was arrested. Mary, a representative of the highest strata of society and the bishop's sister, was a converse, that is, with a label that was supposed to act against her. In 1534, she was convicted on several charges, including adherence to a Protestant idea, opposing the religious authority of a mortal woman to saints and arguing that sex is a more religious experience than prayer.

Over the next few years, she experienced torture, imprisonment and countless interrogations. Maria did not accuse anyone of heresy and did not confess anything. She was justified in discussions within church doctrines. In the end, the court could not find any concrete evidence against her, and after almost 10 years of investigation, she paid a small fine and was released from prosecution of the Inquisition. What happened to her later is unknown.

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  • 10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition

    10 myths about the Inquisition