THE PAPACY: Inception to Inquisitions End
Pope Leo IX (b. 1002, d. 1054) was an unscrupulous adventurer who spent his pontificate touring Europe with a quota of armed knights and left the world worse than he found it. The Church called him “Lapsi” (lapsed), coyly admitting that “he defected from the faith…he fell away by actually offering sacrifice to the false gods (t h u r i f i c a ti)…it is not known why he recanted his religion” Catholic Encyclopedia, Pecci ed., iii, p. 117.
The Papacy as it exists today is a far different entity than that which emerged from the ashes of the crumbling Roman Empire.
After the establishment of the Church in Jerusalem on Pentecost, 30 AD, it existed as singular ‘ecclesias’, ‘churches’, located in various cities. These bodies were overseen by the Apostles Peter, Paul, Barnabas and Elders appointed by them.
On October 10, 366, Damasus was elected Bishop of Rome and began the drive to consolidate the disparate sects of Christendom into a cohesive, universal whole.
In December 384, Damasus died and Siricius was appointed to the Pontificate. Until his death in November 399, Siricius strove to complete the work begun by Damasus, being the first to claim the apostolic succession direct from Peter.
In the following years, the work of the various popes succeeded in consolidating power to Rome. With the enthronement of Constantine as the Emperor, followed by his vision of the cross and the words ‘in hoc signe vinces’ (‘with this sign conquer’), Constantine drove the final stake into the heart of ecclesiastical independence and, with the Council of Nicea, established the Catholic Church.
Miltiades was the first pope following the end of Christian persecution (the persecution ended with the Edict of Milan issued by Constantine in 313, which legalized Christianity). Also in 313, Miltiades oversaw the Lateran council.
Reigning for only 2 years and 192 days, from July 2, 311 until January 10, 314, Miltiades was succeeded by Sylvester I.
Sylvester was appointed by Constantine on January 31, 314 and in 325 ruled over the First Council of Nicea. Sylvester ruled the Holy See as a Constantine puppet, consolidating power over Christendom until December 31, 335. Sylvester wore the Crown of Bishop for an astounding 21 years and 334 days.
The alleged authority of the establishment of the papacy as the supreme authority over the Church of Christ, known as the ‘Petrine Theory’, comes from Matthew 16:18 ‘And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’ 19 ‘And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’
However, this reading of two verses is quite out of context. The entire contextual reading would of necessity include:
Matthew 16:13 ‘Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is”?’ 14 ‘And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets”.’ 15 ‘He said to them, “But who do you say that I am”?’ 16 ‘And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”.’ 17 ‘And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’ 18 ‘And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it”.’ 19 ‘”I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”‘ 20 ‘Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.’
As you see, there is quite a bit more to the conversation Jesus had with His disciples than the simple reading claimed by Catholicism as the imprimatur of authority for their establishment of the church universal.
The New Testament was originally written in Greek and the translators had difficulty with the exposition of masculine and feminine pronouns in their reading of the text.
Matthew 16:17-20. Peter’s words brought a word of commendation from the Lord. Peter was blessed because he had come to a correct conclusion about the person of Christ and because great blessing would be brought into his life. The Lord added, however, this was not a conclusion Peter had determined by his own or others’ ability.
God, the Father in heaven, had revealed it to him. Peter was living up to his name (it means ‘rock’ for he was demonstrating himself to be a rock. When the Lord and Peter first met, Jesus had said Simon would be named Cephas (Aramaic for ‘rock’) or Peter, Greek for ‘rock’; John 1:41-42. ”…his declaration about Messiah’s person led to a declaration of Messiah’s program. Peter (Petros, masculine) was strong like a rock, but Jesus added that on this rock (petra, feminine) He would build His church. Because of this change in Greek words, many conservative scholars believe that Jesus is now building His church on Himself. (…) It seems best to understand that Jesus was praising Peter for his accurate statement about Him, and was introducing His work of building the church on Himself (1 Corinthians 3:11). The Bible Knowledge Commentary
Now, as for the assumption of apostolic authority usurping God’s, the church uses another loose translation, this time of Matthew 16.19 ‘whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven’.
Not so fast. The Greek properly translated comes out to ‘whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven’. So we see that the intention of our Lord was to iterate a statement previously made by the Father in Isaiah 46:8 ‘Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. 9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure’.
Therefore, the proper understanding of the context of Matthew 16:19 is that our Father (read: God) has stated at least twice in scripture that no matter what happens here on Earth, all things have been foreseen by Him and, in the case of the Apostles, their understanding of scripture and the Gospel is sufficient to know the Will of God as revealed by the Holy Spirit and to give voice to it in their evangelistic efforts. Such things will come to pass as they have already been decided by our Father.
The title ‘Vicarius en Filii’, or ‘Vicar of Christ’ comes from this usurpation of authority and intentional misrepresentation of scripture, and was first used by Pope Gelasius I (492–496).
The First Epistle of Clement is widely acknowledged as the basis for the authoritative primacy of the Holy See (the office of Pope located in the Vatican).
Furthermore, Clement is given direct lineage from Peter by Irenaeus, who wrote: ‘The blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, having founded and established the Church of Rome, handed over the office of bishop to Linus – of whom Paul makes mention in his second letter to Timothy” (2 Timothy 4:21). And Eusebius, in his ‘History of the Church’ confirms this: ‘Linus (67-76 A.D.) was succeeded by Anacletus (76-88 A.D.), then by Clement (88- 97 A.D.), a disciple of Peter’.
Constantine was a priest of the cult of Sol Invictus, the sun cult, and maintained his position until the time of his death, where upon his deathbed he accepted baptism as a catholic, subsequently dying a fallen soul, not believing in or proclaiming the sufficiency of Salvation through Christ.
During his efforts to rein in the nascent church, Constantine merged several pagan cults with his new version of Christianity. The syncretization of Mithraism, the cult of Sol Invictus, Greek, Egyptian and Roman paganism would succeed in bringing into the coffers of Rome the tithes of hundreds of thousands of new Christians. These people would have been very comfortable in this new religious environment, as they would hardly feel out of place. The re-establishment of the offices and rituals of the Collegium Pontificum (today known as the College of Cardinals); the assumption of the title of the Roman Emperors by the pope, Pontifex Maximus; the office of Nun, or Bride of Christ, formerly known as temple prostitutes and sorceresses in the Temple of Jupiter, the Vestal Virgins; the wearing by priests of vestments modeled on the garb of the priests of the cult of Dagon, the fish god. Even going to far as to wear the mitre, or fish head.
The popes have always considered themselves to be Christ incarnate and even the Deity Himself, hence their insistence upon being called Holy Father, to differentiate themselves from the lowly ‘father’ used to entitle all other priests.
The title Pope means ‘papa’ in Italian, from the Greek for Father, ‘pappas’. The earliest known use of the title ‘Pope’ was to the deceased Heraclas of Alexandria (232–248).
As to the use of the title ‘Father’, I believe Jesus Christ should have the final Word, perhaps speaking in anticipation of this very heresy: Matthew 23:9 ‘And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven’.
As for the use of confession and the remission of sins by priests, this is a practice of sheer paganism that dates back to the dynastic Egyptians and to the Sumerians before them.
We see that the Word of God tells us in no uncertain terms that we are to confess our faults to each other, James 5:16 ‘Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.’
However, we are to confess our sins to God, who forgives us. 1 John 1:9 ‘If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ And David iterated this in Psalm 32:5 ‘I acknowledged my sin unto thee (God), and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and Thou (God) forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.’
Mark 2:7 ‘…who can forgive sins but God only?’ Jesus tells us how to pray using the Lord’s Prayer. In this prayer He is clear: Luke 11:4 ‘And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.’
1 Timothy 2:5 ‘For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.’
However, Catholics will use the following verse, out of context, to justify their assumption of this divine responsibility: 2 Corinthians 2:10 ‘To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ.’
The foregoing verse is Paul talking to the Corinthian church, telling them that as his proxy, if they deem it efficacious to forgive the trespass of a brother, then he (Paul) would accede to their decision and render forgiveness also. This is not a forgiveness of sin but a pardon for wrongdoing. Nowhere in the New Testament scripture does the power to forgive unto Salvation rest with anyone but God the Father, and Jesus, such power given to Him by God the Father, to Whom we pray in Jesus Name.
Jesus also did not anywhere indicate that there was to be any kind of ‘Apostolic succession’ of powers, indeed all evidence is to the contrary.
As for Salvation, the scriptures keep it simple: the warden of the prison where Paul and Silas were incarcerated asked what he must do to be saved and the answer was plain, Acts 16:30 ‘…Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,…’
Unfortunately, the (proclaimed by man) ‘Vicar of Christ’, in the person of Benedict XVI stated: “Whoever seeks peace and the good of the community with a pure conscience, and keeps alive the desire for the transcendent, will be saved even if he lacks biblical faith.” Pope Benedict XVI’s general audience, Nov. 30, 2005.
Jesus said something else entirely: 1 John 2:1 ‘My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.’
According to the Pope, for non-Catholics, there is no need for Salvation by faith in Christ.
However, the Catholic Church lists at least 23 things necessary for a Catholic to endure in order to ensure salvation. I list a select few below, followed by specific scriptures that refute these pagan practices:
WORSHIP (VENERATION) of GRAVEN IMAGES
The Bible is replete with admonitions against the use of graven images, statues, et cetera in the worship of God. God and He alone is to be venerated and that using no image or statue, but only with the heart and mind and soul.
Especially not praying to the disembodied spirits of the departed, dear or not. The Second Commandment, Exodus 20:4 ‘Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth’, is quite clear that statues and pictures are not to be worshiped or venerated.
However, the Catholic version of the Holy Scriptures, a 1609 translation of the Old Testament from Genesis through Job were incorporated into the previously published works of the New Testament collectively known as the Douay-Rheims Bible, leaves out the Second Commandment and splits the 10th into two parts. The original wording of the 9th Commandment is as follows:
Exodus 20:17 ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s’. The Catholic version splits this into the Ninth and Tenth Commandment as shown: 9th ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife’, and 10th ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s house’; thus ending up with Ten Commandments and conveniently leaving the door open for the veneration of statues, coins, pictures, relics, and other ‘images’, thus flooding the church coffers with ‘offerings’.
There are many additional admonitions against this practice to be found: Leviticus 26:1 ‘Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God’.
Deuteronomy 4:16 ‘Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,’
Deuteronomy 4:23 ‘Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee’.
Romans 1:23 ‘And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things’.
SALVATION BY WORKS / FOLLOWING CHURCH LAW
There is none that can work hard enough to gain Salvation. There was only one, Jesus Christ, Who perfectly and without error followed both the Law of Man and the Law of God, to show he was worthy, as a man, for salvation by works. Therefore, being fallen man, the only path to Salvation lies in faith in the Risen Christ and the cleansing power of His blood to wash away sins. Good works are a result of Salvation, not a cause of it.
Acts 16:30 ‘…Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,…’
Ephesians 2:8 ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.’
Matthew 7:22 ‘Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity’.
There is no salvation in following Church Canon, or Law: Galatians 2:16 ‘Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified’.
‘The most holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or, above all, spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations, that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the holy Rosary. With the holy Rosary, we will save ourselves; we will sanctify ourselves; we will console our Lord, and obtain the salvation of many souls.’ Conversation between Sr. Lucy of Fatima and Fr. Fuentes, Dec. 26, 1957.
In 1569, Pope Pius V issued a papal bull known as Consueverunt Romani Pontifices, in which Pius, a Dominican, mandated that devotion of Mary using the rosary was to be an official rite of the Catholic Church. Use of the rosary is necessary to keep count of the many repetitions of the Ave Maria and the Lord’s Prayer that Catholics undertake in daily worship as well as completion of penance, the Rosary as a way of praying oneself into forgiveness for assorted sins.
The use of prayer beads, however, is not isolated to Catholicism. Prayer beads have been used for thousands of years and are still in use today by Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, the Baha’i and others. The earliest use of prayer beads in Christianity dates to the third century. The Desert Fathers used pebbles drawn from a bag to count prayers and then made use of a knotted rope, still utilized by the Eastern Orthodox.
It must be said that there is absolutely no Biblical frame of reference endorsing the use of prayer beads.
As a matter of fact, Jesus Christ Himself commanded His Apostles NOT to pray in a repetitious manner:
Matthew 6:7 ‘But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.’
‘Prayer beads, or prayer rosaries, are really another form of the witch’s ladder, a knotted rope or cord used to count repetitions during a spell or ritual. Praying with beads is a spiritual practice with a long history in most of the world’s religions. Sacred Mists Shoppe, Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone
A hallmark of the Catholic Church is the enforced celibacy of its priests and nuns. However, this has been shown in fact to be celibacy largely in name only, as there are numerous examples of these celibates engaging in decidedly un-chaste behavior.
The Church records bear evidence of the complete degradation of the office of Pope in searing detail:
“At the time of Leo IX’s election in 1049, according to the testimony of St Bruno, Bishop of Segni, ‘the whole Church was in wickedness, holiness had disappeared, justice had perished, and truth had been buried; Simon Magus was lording it over the Church, whose popes and bishops were given to luxury and fornication. The scientific and ascetic training of the popes left much to be desired, the moral standard of many being very low and the practice of celibacy not everywhere observed. Bishops obtained their offices in irregular ways, whose lives and conversations are strangely at variance with their calling, who go through their duties not for Christ but for motives of worldly gain.
The members of the clergy were in many places regarded with scorn, and their avaricious ideas, luxury and immorality rapidly gained ground at the centre of clerical life. When ecclesiastical authority grew weak at the fountain head, it necessarily decayed elsewhere. In proportion, as the papal authority lost the respect of many, resentment grew against both the Curia and the papacy.’ Catholic Encyclopedia, vi, pp 793-4; xii, pp. 700-03, passim
In a triumph of understatement, the official publisher to the Vatican, in a book devoted to the history of the papacy, said the following: ‘The hidden history of doctrinal foundations that permitted a papal alliance with conflict and licentiousness, and to what degree decadence among the clergy is “partly true”, provides for an extraordinary story, one that has no precedent or parallel in the history of world religions. In the preface to an official papal record commissioned for publication by the Holy See, called The Popes: A Concise Biographical History, the Christian reader is tactfully prepared for some upcoming and unpleasant facts about popes with this apologetic admission: “Some Catholics may find surprises when they read the papal biographies in this book. The part we are accustomed to think of the pope playing in the Church may need a little adjustment.” The Popes: A Concise Biographical History, Eric John, ed., Burns & Oates, Publishers to the Holy See, London, 1964, p. 19, published under the imprimatur of Georgius L. Craven
The scandal of sex abuse among the Catholic clergy is well known, such as the preponderance of pregnant nuns, pedophile priests, homosexual popes, married popes, popes with illegitimate children, popes with incestuous affairs, popes having turned the Lateran Palace into a bordello, popes endowing lovers with cardinalates and bishoprics, buying and selling the papacy itself.
The earliest known admonitions against the practice of clerical sexuality are Canon 33 of the Council of Elvira (c. 305): ‘It is decided that marriage be altogether prohibited to bishops, priests, and deacons, or to all clerics placed in the ministry, and that they keep away from their wives and not beget children; whoever does this, shall be deprived of the honor of the clerical office.’ and; Canon 3 of the Council of Carthage (390): ‘It is fitting that the holy bishops and priests of God as well as the Levites, i.e. those who are in the service of the divine sacraments, observe perfect continence, so that they may obtain in all simplicity what they are asking from God; what the “apostles taught and what antiquity itself observed, let us also endeavour to keep… It pleases us all that bishop, priest and deacon, guardians of purity, abstain from conjugal intercourse with their wives, so that those who serve at the altar may keep a perfect chastity.’
On the other hand, in 325 the Council of Nicea rejected a ban on clerical celibacy at the request of the Spanish legation.
Later, we find canon law was codified as follows: ‘All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” Called to consecrate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to “the affairs of the Lord”, they give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church’s minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God.’ Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Still, we find that there were many popes who were married and fathered children, not only with their wives, but also their concubines: Felix III 483-492; Hormidas 514-523; Silverus 536-537; Hadrian II 867-872; Clement IV 1265-1268; and Felix V 1439-1449 were all married. Alexander VI 1492-1503; Julius II 1503-1513; Paul III 1534-1549; Pius IV 1559-1565; Gregory XIII 1572-1585; and Leo XII 1823-1829. All were known to have fathered illegitimate children whilst occupying the Most High and Holy Throne of St. Peter.
Other Popes which are known to have been sexually active during their pontificate include: Sergius III 904–911, adulterer; John X 914–928, adulterer; John XII 955–963, incest, adultery; Benedict IX, elevated to the Papacy in 1044, in 1045 and 1047–1048, unspeakably vile practices; Paul II 1464–1471, homosexual; Sixtus IV 1471–1484, homosexual; Leo X 1513–1521, homosexual; and Julius III 155-1555, homosexual.
To those who pose the question “What does the Bible say about married priests?”, this is a straw question as the Scriptures make no allowances for the office of priest, indeed all believers in Christ are considered priests of His Church, Peter 2:5 ‘You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.’
So, to the Catholic who insists that priestly celibacy is ordained of God, we find absolutely no Biblical instruction for this, as a matter of fact, the exact opposite: 1 Timothy 3:2 ‘A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; … 4 ‘One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?); … 12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.’
Catholics use the Apostle Paul and his arguments for celibacy to bolster their position. However, a reading of Corinthians reveals that, yes, Paul addressed this very subject, but made it clear that celibacy was preferred, not commanded or required: 1 Corinthians 7:1 ‘Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. 7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.’
PERSECUTION OF PROTESTANTS AND JEWS
THE ‘HOLY’ INQUISITION
There is no period of the history of Catholicism so fraught with apologetic and denial, refutation and explanation as the Inquisition(s), except perhaps the stain of priestly sexual incontinence and abuse.
“The popes were not only murderers in the great style, but they also made murder a legal basis of the Christian Church and a condition of salvation.” The Cambridge Modern History, Vol. 1, pp. 673-77
“Anyone who attempts to construe a personal view of God which conflicts with Church dogma must be burned without pity.” Pope Innocent III
The Inquisitions were begun in 1184 and began with the Episcopal Inquisition which lasted from 1184-1230 and the Papal Inquisition which began in 1230. In 1231, Pope Gregory the IX took from the local bishops the power to punish heretics and gave it to the papacy under a tribunal system. In 1233 this was the Inquisition which was leveled at the Albigenses.
In 1252 Pope Innocent IV gave official sanction to the use of torture in the pursuit of these efforts at rooting out and punishing heresy. In 1536 the Portugese Inquisition was initiated, based upon the example of the Spanish Inquisition. In 1560 the Goa Inquisition began in an effort to root out false converts from Hinduism to Catholicism. In 1542 Pope Paul III began the Roman Inquisition and placed it under the Holy Office as a court of last resort, or final appeal, to decide all matters of heresy. It was this group which, in 1633, tried Galileo for heresy and banned all his writings.
Below we examine in some minor detail the workings of the Spanish Inquisition.
THE SPANISH INQUISITION
In June of 1492, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand gave the Muslim Moors and Jews of Spain who had not converted to Catholicism an ultimatum, convert or leave. They were given 6 months to comply. About 100,000 did so (and became known as ‘conversos’), but upwards of 300,000 remained. The failure of these Catholicized Jews and Moors to emigrate from Spain led the King and Queen to appeal to Pope Sixtus IV.
The Pope gave his permission for the establishment of an Inquisition.
Pope Sixtus appointed Tomas de Torquemada as the first Grand Inquisitor. Torquemada was the confessor of the Queen and also anti-Semitic. He drew up the instructions of how the Inquisition was to be carried out. The Inquisition was aimed at those born and raised as Christian as well as those who had converted from Judaism and Islam.
Torquemada and his two deputies, Dominican monks Miguel de Morillo and Juan de San Martin, carried out this most feared and well known of all Inquisitions.
Meticulous records put to paper by the shaky hand of scribes who detailed every moment of the ‘questioning’ and torture of those accused of heresy reveal a nearly 300 year history of some of the most horrible abuses ever to be committed by man against man, all in the name of ‘faith’.
Allegedly begun to root out heresy and those who propagated it, the Inquisition was ultimately used as a weapon of vengeance and control by the Papacy and it’s vast army of informers, jailers and torturers.
In cases of the most extreme heresy, the Church allowed methods of torture which included the use of: Flogging; the ‘Strappado’; water torture, and binding, among others. Women were stripped naked in order to humiliate them into an early confession. Failing that, torture was carried out.
Those accused by the Inquisitor were not told who had accused them, nor would they be told what crime against Christendom they had been accused of. Therefore no adequate defense could be mounted and the poor soul in the dungeon could languish there for days, weeks, months, or years, undergoing torture and deprivation to the point of insanity, never knowing why they were there.
Medieval prisons were the most horrible abodes of despair employed in history. Damp, cold, overrun with rats, snakes, spiders, halls echoing with the screams of torture and starvation, the putrid stench of disease, decay, and death.
Once a confession was literally wrung out of the poor soul, the climax of the Inquisition was the ‘auto de fe’, or ‘act of faith’. The ‘confessed’ heretic was shown to a hushed crowd numbering from the hundreds to the thousands, then brought before a tribunal of priests to receive sentence of punishment.
The Church had literally hundreds of punishments to choose from. Relatively banal punishments included the wearing of garments known as ‘San Benito’, worn at all times, which indicated the wearer was a heretic; imprisonment; banishment or exile. Death was reserved for those who refused to recant or recalcitrant’s who ran afoul of the Inquisitor and continued their heresies.
The Church would hand the accused over to civil authorities who carried out the sentence of death on their behalf. This allowed the Catholic church to claim to this day that no one was ever put to death by the Church during the Inquisition.
The method of execution was burning at the stake. If the fear of death by fire was too much to bear, the accused could then confess their heresy and they would be strangled to the death. Otherwise the fires would be lit.
The meticulous records of scribes present at these burnings are painfully clear. In stomach-churning detail they list the agony of those burned alive at the hands of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and the minions who served them.
In what is perhaps the act of ultimate theological futility and obsessive compulsion, persons long dead were also accused of heresy and burned in effigy as punishment for their sins.
In 1808, the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Spain and Bonaparte disbanded the Inquisition. In 1815, Spanish forces regained control and re-instituted the Inquisition.
The last accused heretic to be executed by the Inquisition was a school teacher accused of being a Deist. In 1826 he was executed by strangulation and interred by burial in a wooden barrel painted with flames in a gruesome parody of a burning.
Isabella II finally abolished the Inquisition in July 1854 when it became clear that public relations were at risk.
No Pope has ever specifically apologized for the Inquisition and indeed, Pope Paul VI reorganized this body in 1965 and named it the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which it remains to this day.
It’s most famous director was the Cardinal who became known in 2005 as Pope Benedict XVI.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 ‘Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.’
The ways of God are not the ways of man, as the ways of man are not God’s.
To live according to God’s will, a bridge must be crossed. That bridge is Salvation through faith in the risen Christ and the Guide is the Holy Spirit.
Remember, if the purveyor of truth does not begin and end with the Bible, if they twist scripture out of context, if they add to or take away from the Word, if they offer their own personal interpretation of the Holy Writ; follow them not. Pray for protection and flee from Satan and his works.
In the name of Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Living God, bless you.