Isabella the Catholic


I’m not sure where to put this, so just move it if it needs to be.

I know there’s a move to canonize Queen Isabella I of Spain somewhere- can someone please explain to me why someone would want to canonize her, after her persecution of Jews and Muslims and setting up the Spanish Inquisition?


There’s two sides to every story–and the one you’ll get in mainstream American culture (which was founded on ant-Catholicism) usually paints Catholics with the myths held by the Protestants and deists who each wanted to destroy Catholic society. Here’s an explanation of her cause, including the arguments against it:


And I thought I’d seen historical revisionism…


whoa, hold up a second? You’re saying the Inquisition was ok, then?

I’m going to agree with Kadaveri here- she does not deserve canonization. I’ve seen this article before- no matter what miracles she may do, she still has the blood of the Inquisition on her hands.


I don’t know enough about Spanish history to know her precise role as regards the Inquisition … but I’m inclined to agree she’s unlikely to be entirely innocent.

Having said that, two points:

  1. God reveals in his own good time who he wants to be canonised. He alone judges hearts and souls, so he alone would know what state Queen Isabella’s soul is in. It’s not for us to judge her, nor to whinge if she were to be canonised. If we hope for his pardon, mercy and salvation for our own sinful souls then we can’t begrudge such to anyone else.

  2. The current political climate is such that she probably has a snowflake’s chance in heck of being canonised any time soon. As far as I am aware she hasn’t been beatified yet, which would be the first step.


Yes. Absolutely.

Perhaps you should read more on Isabella. I sugegst Isabella of Spain: Catholic Queen by Warren Carroll and/or Isabella of Spain: The Last Crusader by William Thomas Walsh.


“There were three killings of Jews between the years 1470 and 1478. One of the most powerful reasons Queen Isabella asked them to leave Spain was to avoid another massacre of Jews.”

This is so distorted it’s almost comical. So she only expelled, no I’m sorry asked the Jews to leave Spain because if they didn’t leave they’d be massacred. How considerate of her.


Very well said! :thumbsup:

I read a speech given by a historian named E.H. Carr (published as a book called What Is History?) where he gave a very good reason for not passing moral judgment on historical figures (and he did it convincingly from a secular standpoint). What he pointed out is that historical figures lived in a different society than we do, and the society they lived in has already passed judgment on them (we may agree or disagree with that judgment, of course), so it is not fair for a society they did not live in to judge them again. That person and society did not necessarily look at the world our way, or have our more extensive experience or historical hindsight. I

Is it also fair to pass judgment on someone who is dead and therefore cannot defend herself?

I remember reaidng a historian comment on Emperor Constantine, saying that his behaviour would be considered unacceptable in any society - well, it was actually quite acceptable in the Roman society in which Constantine lived, and even expected of a Roman Emperor. It’s from the point of view of our modern society that this historian was speaking, and we are all products of the society in which we live.


You have a problem with Queen Isabella kicking the Muslims out of Spain? Care to explain to me how they ended up in Spain in the first place? I’ll give you a hint, they didn’t get lost on a hiking trip. Maybe she was reclaiming her land from the people who had forcefully invaded it.


So she’s got the right to have hundreds of thousands of people expelled from their homes, tortured, mutilated and killed because of that? How Christ-like…

And how do you explain the brutal treatment of Jews if this was only a slaughtering Muslims thing, and not just slaughtering people they didn’t like? Were they in on it too?


mainly the Jews. And with what the Inquisition did to Protestants later on. Murder is murder, and the Bible says THOU SHALT NOT KILL.

I agree with Kadaveri again. Booting out the Muslims doesn’t make her a saint. I wasn’t defending the Muslims- I’m saying what she did was not ok.



let us not be hasty with judgments… i do not know about a movement to canonize queen Isabella, but i do know that the Holy Catholic Church has not taken any formal step, not even an investigation, into this matter… it is wrong for any Catholic to suppose we know better than the Holy Catholic Church and it is wrong for any non Catholic to become angry at the Holy Catholic Church for things it has not done…

and the inquisition is very complicated and not as simple as the smear message it is used for. the brutalities are not the cause or desire of the Church, the Pope even condemned them… it was completely the result of over zealous spanish authorities. also it is wrong to expel the jews and muslims but the muslims were not innocent… they had forcefully taken spain, mistreated the Christians and the spanish took their homes back. there are many stories in andalusia about the abuses suffered at the hands of the muslims which are ignored by modern historians in their efforts to incriminate the Holy Catholic Church by perpetuating the black legend.

maybe this thread should be closed… hypothetical situations should not be used to incite hatred against the Holy Catholic Church…

que Dios te bendiga


I’m sorry, that was not my intention. I just wanted to know more about it.

I did know about what the Muslims did, Jayda. I’m sorry, I meant no disrespect towards the Catholic Church nor anyone here.

By the way, are you of Spanish descent?


Of course, the Muslims can invade any country they want, and just stay there because it would be too mean to tell them to go back to where they came from and let the the inhabitants of that country be free in their own land. I don’t know why I didn’t see it that way before.

All I’m saying is that part of what Queen Isabella did was due to wrongs that had been done by others to the Spaniards, such as the invasion of the Moors. There were some wrongs that needed to be redressed, such as that of the Spaniards not being free in their own land. As their queen, Isabella had a duty to help them, didn’t she?


I never said that. I NEVER SAID THAT! I just don’t believe she should be a saint because of what the Inquisition wound up doing to Jews and Protestants.

I just want to know why you would think Isabella would qualify for sainthood- if you believe that.


I’m not saying that you said that, I’m just saying that she shouldn’t be judged too harshly for expelling the Muslims from Spain.

As for whether she qualifies for Sainthood - God is the one who decides that. The Church doesn’t make Saints, only recognizes that God has made someone a Saint (aka accepted them into Heaven). Someone who is a Saint is someone who is in Heaven, and who am I to judge whether God should have taken her in or not, if He has done so?


The Muslims/Jews in Spain had been living there for 800 years you know? Saying that expelling them was just making them ‘go back to where they came from’ is a bit daft. We might as well have every European descended person in America ‘sent back to where they came from’ with the odd torturing and massacres, they certainly haven’t been there for that long either.

Yes let’s kill, torture and expell everyone shall we? Great fun…

This thread has really disturbed me. What does everyone else think about making Hitler a saint eh? Afterall, those Jews had it coming to them… stealing peoples jobs and wealth and stabbing Germany in the back after WWI. And besides he was only doing them a favour giving them a quick painless death in the gas chambers, think about all the others ways they could have died in war-torn Germany, they were public enemy #1 afterall.


The Inquisition was a blessing of enormous proportions. Even without it Spain was a more civilized country than anything since the Enlightenment. Only 600 executions in 350 years of the Inquisition for capital crimes. Queen Isabella is a saint.



Whoa, that’s quite a jump, there.

What I was saying about the expulsion of Muslims from Spain was that no one who is criticizing Queen Isabella seems to find it problematic that the Muslims not-so-nicely invaded Spain in the first place. Don’t you think there was killing, raping, pillaging, and enslaving involved in that initial invasion? Not to mention no freedom of religion for Spanish Catholics for 800 years. She was reclaiming her people’s land.

I just think we should examine the entire context of what was going on at the time and how the situation got to that point.


Hundreds of thousands?

Talking about historical revision.

Here’s the prayer for her intercession.

Almighty God, in Your infinite goodness, You made Queen Isabel the Catholic, a model for young ladies, wives, mothers, women leaders and government rulers.

						As the first sovereign of the American continent, you granted to her heart a sense of piety, justice, compassion, and the vision of new land full of promise.

						Grant us the grace to see Your infinite majesty glorified through her prompt canonization and, through her intecession, (here mention your intentions) that we ask of You in this present need, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

						Servant of God, Queen Isabel, Pray for us. (3 times)

						Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory be ...(for private use only)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit