My Musings

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Blood-Bath of the Catholic Inquisition

Throughout the history of the Catholic Church, they have been known from time to time to promote the execution of those who would disagree with their tenants and dogma. They would, in the name of God, murder anyone who opposed their ever-expanding religious hierarchy. They conducted these gleanings through a series of inquisitions including the Medieval Inquisition, the Spanish Inquisition, the Portuguese Inquisition, and the Roman Inquisition.

The Catholic Inquisition Caused Thousands of Innocent Deaths!Some very famous and intelligent men have been condemned by the Catholic church throughout the ages for simply ridiculous reasons. A simple glance through the history of these inquisitions will reveal that thousands and thousands of men and woman were murdered for freely expressing their conscience toward God. The Catholic church officially supported the hanging, beating, torturing, beheading, drowning, and the many other forms of murdering those who didn't share their view of religious matters. It disgusts me to even think about some of the ways in which the Catholic church took life during these Inquisitions.

Even Galileo Galilei was banned by the Pope himself, Pope Urban VIII, from promoting the idea that the earth moved around the sun. He was forced to recant at the threat of death. He recanted and his sentence was reduced to imprisonment and was even forbidden to be buried with his family in the local cemetery.

These acts of inquisition were later renounced by the Catholic Church when modern society began to place political pressure on them to take such action. Consider this quote from the pope:

"The institution of the Inquisition has been abolished...the children of the Church cannot but return with a spirit of repentance to 'the acquiescence given, especially in certain centuries, to intolerance and even the use of violence in the service of the truth.'"
~ Pope John Paul II

Yet this becomes an even a greater difficulty to the open-minded Catholic because according to church dogma it is the Pope who speaks directly on the behalf of Christ. How is it then that these men could have been wrong? Unless, of course, the Catholic church leadership has been guided over the centuries by that which is the most politically safe for them rather than being guided by the voice of God as they claim. An objective look at history will reveal this very fact.

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3 Comments:

  • Hello, Nicholas!

    Many non-Catholic Christians try to use the Inquisition as some sort of proof that the Catholic Church is a false faith or to prove that papal infallibility is not true. However, the facts of the Inquisition are often skewed (some even claim that 60+ million people were executed during the Inquisition, which would equal the killing of the entire population of Europe TWICE during that period in history!) and the argument is used without a proper understanding of papal infallibility to begin with.

    You said, "Yet this becomes an even a greater difficulty to the open-minded Catholic because according to church dogma it is the Pope who speaks directly on the behalf of Christ. How is it then that these men could have been wrong?"

    It must be understood that the pope is a sinner, just like any of us. The concept of papal infallibility does not grant that the pope is infallible at all times or about all things. And he certainly is not impeccable! The truth of the matter is that there ARE horrible popes in history. These popes, however, never produced any doctrinal changes in the matters of faith or morals. The sinning nature of a pope does not mean that he teaches doctrinal error. And if you are going to say that the sinner in him prevents him from teaching truth, then we cannot trust anyone to teach truth at all!

    Therefore, even if every death (approximately 5000 - they kept meticulous records) that took place during the Inquisition were wrong in the eyes of the Lord, it does not produce a difficulty to a Catholic because we're not taught the pope is impeccable... The pope is a sinner in need of salvation, just like the rest of us. Infallibility only keeps him from teaching doctrinal error when teaching in an official capacity for the Church. This VERY rarely happens (approximately 7 times in all of history). It is much more common for infallible statements to come out of councils, such as the Christological statements of the first seven councils, or by way of universal agreement by the Church on a specific matter.

    Regarding the Inquisition itself, it should be noted that heresy during the 15th-17th centuries was a rebellion against the civil authorities just as much as it was against the religious authorities. Heresy then is no different than treason today. Is it acceptable to put someone to death for treason? Some believe it is!

    I am not saying in any way that the deaths of the Inquisition were moral. I cannot be the judge of that. But, we must remember that religious persecution also came at the hands of others, such as Luther with his treatment of the Anabaptists. The fingers point in many directions. But I don't believe that these events should be used to trump the validity of a particular faith, as there are sinners in all of them! One does not leave Jesus because of Judas!

    For a fair treatment of the Inquisition, I would recommend, "Why Apologize for the Spanish Inquisition" by Frs. Duran & Vota M.J., "Inquisition" by Edward Peters, and "The Spanish Inquisition" by Henry Kamen.

    By Blogger Amber, At 12:06 PM  

  • Amber!

    Welcome the The Baptist Muse and thanks for stopping by and taking the time to discuss the issues with me. I always want to learn and I always seem to learn the most when learning at the feet of someone who disagrees with me.

    You said, "Regarding the Inquisition itself, it should be noted that heresy during the 15th-17th centuries was a rebellion against the civil authorities just as much as it was against the religious authorities. Heresy then is no different than treason today. Is it acceptable to put someone to death for treason? Some believe it is!"

    When America comes to the place that its citizens are accused of treason for being baptized as an adult, for teaching their children to read the Bible, or for preaching that works are not necessary for salvation then she will be just as immoral as the Catholic Church in this particular sense. Calling it treason in a civil court does not justify it on a Biblical level.

    You also made reference to the Lutherans persecuting the Anabaptists. I can trace my religious roots directly back to the Anabaptists and their forefathers. I agree that the finger should be pointed at them as well as at the Catholic church. If I get pulled over for speeding and I plead with the officer that another vehicle was speeding also, I am no less guilty. I am getting a ticket. Pointing fingers at other groups of religious organizations that persecuted my forefathers alongside of your church will not change my opinions about this.

    The problem I have with the doctrine that has emerged with the Pope's and the councils over the years is that it often has run contrary to the Word of God. You have built traditions and doctrines in much the same way as the Pharisees had done during the time of Christ.


    "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."
    ~ Mark 7:7,9

    Also, since we are on the subject, I would love to know the Scriptural basis for any or all of the following doctrines that the Catholic church espouses.

    1. Forbidding priests to marry.
    2. The selling of indulgences.
    3. The priest is the only one who can absolve sins
    4. Praying to Mary
    5. Executing Non believers
    6. Sacraments required for salvation
    7. Purgatory
    8. Infant Baptism
    9. Why you believe that you don’t know for sure that you are going to heaven.

    By Blogger Nicholas Z. Cardot, At 9:49 PM  

  • You said, "The problem I have with the doctrine that has emerged with the Pope's and the councils over the years is that it often has run contrary to the Word of God. You have built traditions and doctrines in much the same way as the Pharisees had done during the time of Christ."

    Please cite specific examples. We are talking about the same councils which were able to recognize the canon of Scripture, by the way... And, according to Scripture, not ALL traditions are condemned. You can't say a group is like the Pharisees without citing something specific, as I don't see how Catholics as whole act in such a manner. (Though I believe Pharisee-like people can be found in ALL faiths, Catholic included, I think a blanket statement is unfair.) This has not been my experience with Catholics, nor has it been my experience AS a Catholic. What specifically did the Pharisees do that you see Catholics doing? Our traditions and doctrines go back to the early days of Christianity. Please tell me how they have been "built" in a Pharisee-like manner. Perhaps, while you're at it, you can explain to me your understanding of the definition of Catholic "traditions".

    You said, "When America comes to the place that its citizens are accused of treason for being baptized as an adult, for teaching their children to read the Bible, or for preaching that works are not necessary for salvation then she will be just as immoral as the Catholic Church in this particular sense."

    First, I'd like proof (from a neutral source) that the Catholic Church persecuted people for baptizing adults (which they themselves did and still do as I have personally witnessed) and for teaching children to read the Bible (this is another myth). Third, to remove works completely from the equation, is heretical, as it goes directly against the Word of God. Now, if the Catholic Church were teaching works-only for salvation, then I can say we'd have a problem... but then, we wouldn't be having this conversation, because I never would have converted if this were the case. IF people were being put to death for these reasons, that would be wrong indeed, but I would not hold the Catholic Church (as a whole) to blame, but the few who would have promoted such things. As I said before, one does not leave Jesus because of Judas. The holiness of a church does not equal the sum of the holiness of it's members.

    As far as pointing fingers at other faiths, I'm merely showing that one cannot attack another faith simply on the basis that it's history is less than perfect. People seem quick to make this argument against the Catholic faith (at the ignorance of others and with inflated details) and I find the argument illogical. If your forefathers were accused of the same, it would not change the truth of your faith. It would only prove that there were weeds among the wheat.

    I am Catholic because the theology is the most sound, imo... and, to be honest, because it's right where God wants me. I feel I can explain all of your issues, but only if you really want to try to understand the Catholic position. I love a healthy debate, but when it starts getting ridiculous with attacks instead of Scriptural backing, as often happens, I'm done.

    I'm a single mother, work full time, take three college courses and attend a weekly Bible study. I'm more than willing to take the time to discuss these issues with you on the condition that you don't "condemn me to hell" or say things like how I'm "on dangerous ground" simply because I'm Catholic. After all, isn't it our love for God, our desire to live for Him, and our acceptance of his free gift of salvation through his work on the cross that saves us? I believe all that as a Catholic... I don't question your salvation, so I ask that you don't question mine. That way, we can look at the issues objectively.

    If you're still interested, why don't you pick one from your list, and I'll address it.

    May the peace of Christ be with you this day!

    By Blogger Amber, At 11:27 AM  

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