Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

My Photo
Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Inquisition(s)

Tonite PBS broadcasts the first part of its 4 part documentary "The Secret Files of the Inquisition."

“For over half a millennium a system of mass terror reigned. Thousands were subject to secret courts, torture and punishment. Learn how the Catholic Church once employed mass terror to remain the world's only true Christian religion."

The very word "inquisition" brings to mind for many images of an oppressive Catholic Church wielding its political power in a tortuous and inhumane fashion on any defectors from the true faith. For others in my generation, it brings to mind an old Monty Python skit!
Sometimes, on this blog when I attempt to show the beauty of Catholicism, I get an anonymous commenter saying "oh yeah, how beautiful were the inquisitions?" I myself had long ago concluded that the Church had to be "off the rails" given such practices as I heard occurred in the Inquisition. Though quite honestly, most of my information regarding the inquisitions was from anti-Catholic sources that had a vested interest in portraying the worst-case scenario.

There are always two sides to every story, and this one is no different. Bill Donahue of the Catholic Defense League has a few points here.

Catholic Answers has some information here .

Sadly, religious intolerance has not been limited to the Catholic faith alone but can be found in other traditions as well. Phillip Schaff, 20th century Protestant theologian notes:

To the great humiliation of the Protestant churches, religious intolerance and even persecution unto death were continued long after the Reformation.... Bullinger, in the second Helvetic Confession, announced the principle that heresy could be punished like murder or treason.

As Karl Keating has said before, Catholics should never attempt to defend the wrong actions of the Church and this post isn't made to justify the actions of the Church during several of the Inquisitions. However, it is important to be aware that Inquisition history is not always presented in the most accurate light and I fear that the PBS documentary may not tell the entire story. We'll see.


Post a Comment