The InquisitionLooking Into The Human Soul Professor Will Adams Valencia College Fall 2011
What Is An Inquisition?1. A formal tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church created to discover and suppress heresy 1. Heresy: Any opinion or belief that is or is thought to be contrary to official or established theory of the Catholic Church2. A severe interrogation (often violating the rights or privacy of individuals)
The Church in Medieval Europe By 1200, Catholicism had been dominant religion in Europe for 800+ years In most of Europe, the Pope was the undisputed religious leader Heresy wasn’t much of a problem The Church actually tolerated small groups with opposing views Others were suppressed
A New Challenge to Church In the 1100’s, thousands began following Catharism Catharism: A rigorously ascetic Christian sects maintaining a dualistic theology which stated that the material world was evil and only the spiritual was good They believed they were true Christians and that the Catholic Church was false Many dukes and local leaders in France protected the Cathars This new religion attracted large numbers of converts This, in turn, threatened the Pope and the French government
A Crusade Against Cathars In 1209, Pope Innocent III declared a Crusade against the Cathars This led to a long war between Northern and Southern French nobles The North won, but many thousands of people remained secret Cathars Consequently, Church leaders felt something stronger needed to be done
The Coming of the Inquisition In 1232, Pope Gregory IX decided to end this heresy once and for all. He set up a system of special courts called the Inquisition. Gregory authorized the leaders of the Dominican religious order to send out friars to find and question heretics.
The Inquisition’s Purpose Bernard Gui, a French inquisitioner described the purpose of the Inquisition thusly:“Heresy cannot be destroyed unless heretics are destroyed and . . . their defenders and [supporters] are destroyed, and this is effected in two ways: . . . they are converted to the true Catholic faith, or . . . burned.”
Inquisitional Procedure When the Inquisition arrived in town, townspeople would gather in a public place Failure to show immediately placed one under suspicion Anyone could denounce him or herself for a light punishment They would also have to inform on other heretics Other people faced forced interrogation
Sample Inquisition TrialThe inquisition has come to town. Everyone gathertogether to confess your crimes!
The Inquisitional Trial The Church generally favored prosecution – Why? Lawyers were allowed to defend the accused, but seldom used Unlike modern criminal trials, these were closed trials Defendant were allowed to confess (but seldom knew the charges to which they were confessing) The Defendant didn’t have the right to face his or her accuser Prosecutorial testimony was taken from all sorts
Defendants’ Rights: A Loophole! Defendants named those with “mortal hatred” against them. If the accuser was named, the defendant was released. The accuser faced a life sentence. This was meant to keep the Inquisition out of local grudges.
Inquisitional Torture Torture was not used until after 1252 A confession under torture was not admissible in court The inquisitor could, however, threaten torture Ironically, torture was common in the medieval judicial system Torture methods used by the Inquisition was mild in comparison
Inquisitional Torture Torturers were forbidden to use methods that resulted in bloodshed, mutilation or death One of the more common forms of medieval inquisition torture was known as strappado. Strappado: The hands were bound behind the back with a rope, and the accused was suspended this way, dislocating the joints painfully in both arms. Weights could be added to the legs dislocating those joints as well.
Punishment A long pilgrimage was assigned to first offenders Pilgrimages: Journeys made to some place with the purpose of venerating it, or in order to ask there for supernatural aid, or to discharge some religious obligation. Others were sentenced to wearing a yellow cross for life The Church could also order the confiscation of property Banishment was another punishment for the convicted Still more were forced to publicly recant their heresy Long-term imprisonment was a finally (expensive) solution for the Church
A Final, Grisly Punishment Burning at the stake was only for the most serious cases, including repeat offenders and unrepentant heretics. Execution was carried out not by the Church, which was forbidden to kill, but by secular officials.
Punishment in the Inquisition The inquisitors generally preferred to persuade the heretic to repent. They wanted to be perceived as merciful, and they generally preferred to keep defendants alive in hopes of obtaining confessions. Bernard Gui executed 42 people out of over 900 guilty verdicts in fifteen years of office. Execution was to admit defeat, that the Church was unable to save a soul from heresy, which was the goal of the Inquisition.
The Spanish Inquisition The Spanish Inquisition began in 1478 under King Ferdinand & Queen Isabella Around that time, thousands of Jews & Muslims had settled in Spain They’d been forced to convert to Christianity to participate in business and government These conversos made up a large portion of the wealthy and influential
The Spanish Inquisition The wealth of these groups led to much resentment and Anti-Semitism in Spain Rumors then began spread that conversos continued to practice Judaism Anti-converso riots erupted across the nation This upset the just-united Spain Alarmed by this unrest, King Ferdinand & Queen Isabella took action
Spanish Inquisition The Spanish government didn’t attack rioters Instead, they attacked the conversos! Pope Sixtus IV gave Ferdinand & Isabella permission to set up their own Inquisition in Spain Tomas de Torquemada, a Dominican friar, was appointed Inquisitor General
Spanish Inquisition The Spanish Inquisition was ferocious in dealing with heretics Within 10 years of its advent, 2,000 people had been burned at the stake Another 15,000 suffered other penalties Even the auto-da-fe was horrendous
Auto-Da-Fe It can be translated as “Act of faith” It was the final public ceremony of Spanish Inquisition Crowds gathered in a public square A bishop called out names of the condemned Then, heretics led out, wearing black robes with red demons and flames Next, they were tied to stakes in the square
Auto-Da-Fe A priest would ask if they’d given up their heresy to the church Anyone who repented would be strangled to death The others were burned Their screams mingled with the crowd’s cheers
Spanish Inquisition Ends In 1492, Ferdinand & Isabella expelled all Jews who refused to convert This paralyzed Spanish commerce 100 years later, the same resentment and fury turned toward Muslims As a result, Spain never recovered as a commercial power
Protestant Reformation In the 1500’s, the Pope tried to use the Inquisition against the growing Protestant (Lutheran & Calvinist) movements, but was unsuccessful The Protestants had government allies; they were therefore protected A single, Catholic Europe had come apart
The Inquisition Peters Out The Inquisition began as an attack on a few sects of heretics 300 years later, it could no longer hold Europe together Religious and national wars were to last centuries and take hundreds of thousands of lives
The Controversy of Galileo Galilei Galileos belief in the Copernican System eventually got him into trouble with the Catholic Church. A committee of consultants declared to the Inquisition that the Copernican proposition that the Sun is the center of the universe was a heresy. Because Galileo supported the Copernican System, he was warned that he should not discuss or defend Copernican theories.
The Controversy of Galileo Galilei In 1624, Galileo was assured by Pope Urban VIII that he could write about Copernican theory as long as he treated it as a mathematical proposition. However, with the printing of Galileos book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Galileo was called to Rome in 1633 to face the Inquisition again. Galileo was ordered to stand trial on suspicion of heresy in 1633.
Galileo’s Sentence Galileo was required to recant his heliocentric ideas, which were condemned as “formally heretical”. He was ordered imprisoned; the sentence was later commuted to house arrest. His offending Dialogue was banned; and in an action not announced at the trial, publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future.