I don’t pay enough attention to PBS, as I should. I would have wanted to catch the whole series.
PBS did a great documentary on Islam, as I recall. It was very upbeat and positive about the accomplishments of the Arab / Muslim world over the centuries.
It did not really deal with the philosophical problems of Islam. Catholic Apologist HIllaire Belloc (? if I haven’t botched that name) calls Islam a external heresy of Christianity. It is so Judeo-Christian in its basic tenets, it’s no coincidence, but then it turns heretical on so many points. Its view on Christianity is based on the exposure of the Prophet to Arian heresies and the Arian view of Christianity.
But, from viewing about an hour of the PBS program, I’m very depressed that it is very accurate, especially the parts about why Napoleon wrestled control of Italy from the Pope and seized thousands of crates of Inquisition documents and took them to Paris.
The incident of the kidnapping (from one point of view) or of the liberation (from the other point of view) of Edgardo Montarro (Montarra?) is also very troubling.
That takes the inquisition down to the very personal level, of what it did even in the last decades to one Jewish family.
It is very uncomplimentary to the Catholic Church. Even the recent announcement about Limbo questions the teaching and almost-fanaticism about baptizing infants. I had to look into JPII’s book, Crossing the Threshold of Truth to remind myself of what he said. He said that the Church does not have a monopoly on truth. During the Inquisition, the Church acted as if it did.
In the final analysis, the PBS series estimates the number of heretics burned at the stake was around 12,000. An earlier program on the History Channel gave an estimate of 5,000 executions over the life of the Inquistition. The depiction of anti-semitism during the Inquisition is also not very complimentary-- for good reason. (those estimates are very close, compared to protestant propaganda over the centuries that hundreds of thousands of people were executed; also, the discovery of devices of torture does not prove that they were used in fact, except in many cases for the pure terror of showing the intended victim “the instruments” .)
Overall, the heavy-handedness of the Catholic Church shows that it has perhaps relied too much on itself and not enough on God, or trusted enough in HIs direction.
I watched those religion-oriented programs on the History Channel on Mother’s Day and they showed the heavy-handedness of the nation of Israel as it was coming out of Egypt and following the directions of God to capture the Holy Land. So, the Jews cannot escape their history of barbarism.
Neither can Christians (Catholics) or Muslims. God help us.