FR. WILLIAM G. MOST
This topic is a favorite for attacking the Church. We need to remember two things: 1) Actions are not the same as teachings. 2) The abuses were much less than most people think.
This topic is a favorite for attacking the Church. We need to remember two things: 1) Actions are not the same as teachings. The fact that the Church had some abuses is clear. But as on slavery, the Church very early condemned it, repeated it twice more. Yet even churchmen had slaves. So did George Washington. This does not mean the teaching of the Church changed: only laxity on all sides. We think of the putting off of baptism in first centuries.
2) The abuses were much less than most people think. For a good account see Warren Carroll, The Glory of Christendom (part of a seven volume series — the data below is from his work) on the Inquisition, and on sad abuses by the Popes in the Middle Ages. Further all governments of
But then they went underground. Persons accused by the Inquisition were not allowed to know the accusers, to protect the accusers — this sort of thing happens in protection of witnesses in
As to the Spanish episode, the Turks in 1480 attacked the south Italian city of
Torture was used only occasionally and it was the government that inflicted that and death, after the Inquisition turned them over. The Inquisition had no authority over practicing Jews and Moslems, only over professed Christians suspected of being fakes. After the appointment of Tomas de Torquemada as Inquisitor General in 1483 its tribunals were so fair that many preferred to have it hear their cases rather than the regular courts. Again, those questioned could not see their accusers, but could make a list of their enemies, and all testimony from them was discarded.
We must remember again that every government in