PBS special, Inquisition, & Mortara Case

Did anyone see the PBS Special on the Inquisition and the Mortara case? Some of the stuff discussed can be used as anti-Catholic fodder, particularly Pope Pius IX’s ivolvement in the “abduction” of a Jewish boy. Any comments?

God Bless,

Yes, I sat through it. Their “abduction” is Pius IX’s “guardianship” or “protection” of the boy. When Child Protective Services removes a child from a home for cause, the parents might feel it was abduction, but the state calls it protection.

The taking of the boy certainly was heavy-handed by modern standards, but it really was a different historical time in the life of the world.

The PBS Special was decidedly lop-sided. The non-charismatic but well-informed Catholic priest was stuck in from time to time to give the appearance of fairness; his remarks were always lopped off. His was the lone voice providing context and explanation, without excusing any of the excesses.

I waited to hear PBS put in some perspective on the numbers killed by the Inquisition–sad that there were any, but statistically very small. Nothing was said.

From the program, one would think that the Catholic Church was just a rotten, evil organization, and the Inquisition a natural evil outgrowth.

Nothing about all the Catholic bibles being put out by printing presses and in the hands of people at the same time as the protestant bibles were being rounded up.

Poor history; basically propaganda.

I agree. I watched the first episode, noticed how many facts were missing, was disgusted, and vowed not to watch any more episodes.

Perhaps Americans can contact the Catholic League in the US and Canadians can contact the Catholic Civil Rights League in Canada.

:eek: Yes I saw the show.One thing bothers me about it.Why did the pope take such an interest in this child?
There were undoubtedly other jewish boys who may have also been taken in this manner,yet the holy father didn’t seem to concern him self with them personally.
I think there is more to the background of this case and the Vatican’s invovlement. Very peculiar story indeed.

How good the history of this series is I don’t know, however
Catholics have to face the fact the Inquistion was a terrible thing and that people were falsely accused of being heretics or witches
by neighbors or even family members who disliked or even hated
that person or were envious or whatever the case might be.

The same happend in Germany under the nazis.People wound up in concentration or death camps because they didn’t agree with Hitler or nazi policy,they weren’t pure aryans,etc.
Had a cousin who was acussed of being a jew, just because someone thought his last name Lillienschild sounded jewish.The Gestapo did a background check into the family history,and came up empty handed,no jewish blood.The name means Lilly shield in German.However,cousin Rheinhold had to flee Germany,because he was told by a friend,that the Gestapo had orders to arrest him.I understand he was not a fan of Hitler or the nazis and wasn’t above expressing his opinions.

However I know not everyone in Germany was a nazi,and that there were various attempts by different groups to get rid of Hitler,just as in Russia,not everyone was a member of the communist party.
There is good and bad in all things,including Holy Mother Church.
I’m not saying there might have been sometimes where the Inquistion did good things on occassion,but they also did much damage to people too.

We also have to know that the accusations of the numbers and harshness of the Inquisition are completely plown out of proportion. The Inquisition courts treated people with more care than the legal courts!!! I mean come on! You CANNOT even compare Nazism and the Inquisition. The numbers are so drastically different it’s ridiculus to even compare them.

The Inquisition has long been a propaganda tool for Protestant/English anti-Catholic/Spanish efforts. The “Black Legend”. I read some time back that historians have long known that the Inquisition has been way overblown, but it’s difficult to make much head-way in the popular mind … if much effort is being made at all.

Probably as many - if not more - people were killed/persecuted in Protestant England as in Spain. As I recall, the Pilgrims were fleeing Protestant England, not Catholic Spain.

I watched some of the episodes. Saw the bias and spin. But there were SOME counter-points, if one looks carefully.

The “Crusades” are another standard tool for anti-Catholicism.

The case was based on the archives of the Inquisition which were obtained by the program, and indeed, the Church is portrayed as a rather horrible institution (particularly in the case of the Spanish Inquisition and the crusade against the Albisegenians).

The Inquisition is certainly a dark blot on the history of the Church and the Christian religion as well, though not as tragic or evil as the Crusades in my view (which did immensely more damage for the relationship between Christianity and Islam and Judaism, as well as the Orthodox when Constantinople was sacked on one Crusade), though it has often been exaggerated by anti-clericalist and Protestant and secularist propoganda. The historical currents are quite complex, but relate a lot to questions of temporal and political power and who holds and wields it. In Spain the Catholic monarchs used the Inquisition as an organ of the state to carry out their policies, which included the expulsion of Jews and Muslims, while the Church also used it to monitor religious dissent and adherence to doctrine. Like any historical entity in any time, the Church was deeply influenced by the culture as well as the temptations to wealth and power inherent in any organised body with authority.

However the Inquisition does not prove the Church is evil, as in the same period the Church contributed in countless ways to the shaping of European culture. However it does show the dangers of closely aligning religion and political power.

The more I learn about the Inquisition and the Crusades, the better they look. Only the 19th and 20th centuries could have twisted the history to make them look so bad.

:smiley: I agree! We Catholics need to be willing to really look into these events, and get the historical handle on them.

The only Catholic Answers material I’ve read on it isn’t educating…it simply says we should be educated. I need unbiased education on this!! Anyone up for it? :rolleyes:

The kidnapping and forced conversion to Catholicism of a six year old Jewish boy by Pius ix caused international outrage including condemnations and petitions from the leaders of the United States, France and the Netherlands. Even many Catholics joined in the protests. This immoral and outrageous act helped to unite forces that lead to the end of papal state authority.

There is nothing remarkable in this act as far as Pius ix is concerned. He forcibly returned the Jews of Rome to the ghetto and stripped them of all civil and legal rights. Less than 70 years later another Catholic, Adolph Hitler, would revive these same Catholic church edicts against the Jews. Pius ix is perhaps not to blame. As he stated in 1870, “the Jews are dogs howling in the streets”. You really couldn’t expect the Pope to treat his “dogs” the same way he treated the “people” of Rome.

However what is perhaps just as sad and just as outrageous as the acts of Pius ix or the indiscriminate murders of tens of thousands of Jews by Catholics during the Crusades and the inquisitions, the forced coversions of Jews and their forced expulsions are those Catholics who would deny these acts and their immorality, those Catholics who would even seek to justify and explain those acts.

Oh well! Put that way I guess you are right and there is no discussing it.

There is a difference between good and between evil, between what is just and moral and what is unjust and immoral. Every person has the power to choose, every person has the ability to differentiate between them. Those who would not condemn - condone. It’s your choice not mine.

[quote=chosen people]There is a difference between good and between evil, between what is just and moral and what is unjust and immoral.

And between what is Truth and what is FALSITY.

And the KKK would also be hardpressed to create more hateful anti-Catholic propaganda than this strident example.

I’ve seen little media reaction, so perhaps it’s backfired because its so utterly one-sided. It is probably aired by PBS at the behest of the Catholic-hating homosexual movement that PBS has served since the 80s when ACT-UP intimidated them into promoting the Gay Agenda.

I’ve also written to my Congresswoman and Senators about the continueing Federal funding to a clearly anti-Catholic PBS. IF this kind of programming was aired about Islam, heads would be rolling at PBS. (You can decide if that’s figurative or not.)

Well, think of the audience to which PBS is directed!

Gotta luv it! Gotta just luv it! :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

Honestly, the only people who have commented to me about this PBS thing have been CINOs who are angry at the Church. I just tell them I saw episode one, it was bullfeathers, my time is too valuable to throw away discussing revisionist history, I don’t watch a lot of TV, and I am presently too busy reading Aquinas to be able to commit to any further on the matter. Many of them don’t know who Aquinas is, so that ends the conversation quickly.

Thanks Catholic.com for existing and letting ppl post stuff like this. I am a protestant who is thinking about converting and the printing of bibles thing is a big issue. I saw the program too when it was rerun on the History Channel and I suspected the whole time that it was pretty biased given the people they had on there, and the fact that it was pbs, it still made me worry though. I’m happy there are people on here who can refute it though. :slight_smile:

What for instance was falsely presented in the Mortara case?

What was presented falsely? “Re-actions” as opposed to actions.

For example, suppose you saw a man push a woman down onto the ground. What would your first thoughts be? Wouldn’t you think he was abusing her, perhaps going to rob or assault her? Without knowing ‘why’ the action happened, you put a ‘motive’ into the actors ‘head’ according to what seems most logical to you.

But if you knew the man had seen someone aiming a gun at the woman, and that he pushed her down so she wouldn’t get shot. . .suddenly the action is completely different. From being possibly criminal, it becomes instead heroic.

If (as is often the case in any ‘medium’, PBS or ‘other’), one sees one ‘why’ presented as ‘the’ reason for the action, and any other possible ‘whys’ ignored, then one is not getting an accurate view of that action, especially if it is based on a ‘historical’ fact.

Just as the pendulum swung from the "only good injun is a dead injun’ cowboy movies to the ‘noble first nation’ for whom the only good white man (those greedy scum) is the one who completely embraces the ‘first nation’ life and repudiates everything about his ‘own kind’. . .we see certain groups (and we know who they are) and certain individuals who are portrayed in only one way, usually as ‘evil incarnate’.

No one can argue that appearences may be misleading. Again, what specfically was in the program that was a misrepresentation or misleading in the program’s presentation of the the Mortara case?

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