Spanish Inquisition by Joseph Pearce

There is a new article by Joseph Pearce that is really good.

Everyone Expects the Spanish Inquisition

Also, I have more notes here,
The Spanish Inquisition, The Full Story



Good article. I’m reminded of Benjamin Netanyahu presenting Pope Francis with a book on the Spanish Inquisition, written by Bibi’s father, upon first meeting the Pope. I’ve always considered that a particularly slimy gesture.

Depends on how you take it, or how it was meant.

If it was a good and interesting history book, on an interesting historical happening, it’s a nice present. If it’s by the gift-giver’s dad, it’s a personal present. And if Mr. Netanyahu’s dad was fighting the Black Legend of eevul Catholic Spanish peepuls(!), it would be a thoughtful present.

It does look like an interesting book, it’s become a classic historical work, and the second edition’s been out since 2001. So it may have been an “I’m really proud of my dad, I like to raise his sales figures, and I’m giving copies to all the heads of state I know!” present. Worst case, it’s the author’s son desperately trying to clean out all the author copies from the garage.

And let’s remember that the Spanish government ran the Spanish Inquisition; it had the participation of the Spanish leaders of the Catholic Church, but not of anybody from Rome. Rome had its own all-Christendom Inquisition to deal with heretics; but Spain didn’t want them furriners coming into town.

The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain is 1408 pages long.

“In this magisterial reexamination of the origins of the Inquisition, Netanyahu argues for a different view: that the conversos were in fact almost all genuine Christians who were persecuted [by various Spanish factions] for political ends. The Inquisition’s attacks on not only the conversos’ religious beliefs but also on their “impure blood” gave birth to an anti-Semitism based on race that would have terrible consequences for centuries to come. This book has become essential reading and an indispensable reference book for both the interested layman and the scholar of history and religion.”

Which is probably true in some part, because there were a lot of honest conversos and people of converso background who were outstanding Catholics. St. Teresa of Avila, for one, and the great Dominican law and human rights professor, Francisco de Vitoria, for another. If you’re ever reading about a Spanish religious figure like St. Teresa, and the Inquisition shows up (as they did a lot in St. Teresa’s life), half the time they’re investigating him/her as somebody from a converso family. This is not always mentioned explicitly in contemporary sources about saints, but more modern sources do bring it up.

The Spanish had a bad thing for “pure blood” for a while, which was why a lot of converso families ended up moving to the New World. Colonies like Argentina benefited from this; and Pope Francis is from Argentina.

OTOH, if you want to consider it as mean… getting an aggressive in your face present from a former tank commander? It’d actually be kinda flattering, in a weird Patton-like way. When you care enough to send an aggressive joke present…

I gotta say, I would have laughed and been pleased. And a gift copy from the author’s son who’s also a head of state is pretty much priceless. I’m sure the Vatican Library is very happy with their acquisition.

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