Please help me understand some concerns I have regarding the Inquisition. For the record, I was a Catholic. I grew up in a family where religion/spirituality did not matter. I converted at the end of high school and went through a few lapsed and return phases. I believed the Catholic Church was the true church of Christ and had a general disdain for protestantism (which led to sins related to self-righteousness and pride that I later confessed to). For approximately one year I strongly discerned Priesthood through FSSP (Latin/Tridentine mass). If someone asked me what my religion was today I would say “none”. You are welcome to reply to me with “Catholic lingo”; given my Catholic background I will understand.
I understand that people were executed by secular courts and governments and not by the Catholic Church. **Why did this even have to happen?
So what if Giordani Bruno believed and published what he did? How was he a threat to the life of others and how was his justified by the Church’s understanding of the death penalty (CCC2263-2267)? Even if he was a heretic (he had differential theological opinions, I know he wasn’t sentenced due to his scientific works) what is so wrong with that? He believed in God or gods in a way different from Catholic dogma. Isn’t it true that one cannot love God or gods (or goddesses) unles s/he is free to do so? Please help me understand this.
Why did the Church feel the need to root out heresy in the first place? If people believed in different things they could just not be Catholic, right? That’s what happens today. I’m sure (more like I hope) the Inquisition started out with good intents and then went overboard. OK, fine. We’re all human. What about now? Why isn’t the church going after lapsed Catholics or heterodox RCIA teachers ?
I am just very very confused. Why didn’t the Church then just accept that people had different opinions and if they were so off just allow them freely not be/identify as Catholic?
Were the deaths during the Inquisitions justified? Yes or no.
YES YES YES I know the standards of the Inquisition were more humane than secular courts. Please don’t use that excuse as a means to lessen the culpability of the Church.
Please help me.