The Inquisitions and the Crusades?


#1

What exactly was the “inquisition?” Also what were the crusades really about and what purpose did they accomplish? Did the Christians win the last battle?


#2

[quote=J.W.B.]What exactly was the “inquisition?” Also what were the crusades really about and what purpose did they accomplish? Did the Christians win the last battle?
[/quote]

Here ya go… knock yourself out:

turrisfortis.com/history.html


#3

I recommend Edward Peters’ book, Inquisition. As far as I know he is not Catholic, just a historian. The book is a little dry, but guess what? When you look at the actual history, and ignore the shrill anti-Catholic sensationalism, it is a somewhat boring subject. The most important thing to understand is that inquisitions were regional things. There was not some massive, centralized CIA-like organization. The most famous of course is the inquisition in Spain, where they inquired if converted Jews were truly Catholic (fine), and sometimes used torture to extract confessions. (Not so fine).

Scott


#4

Another book that has been recommended on Catholic Radio is The Spanish Inquisition : A Historical Revision by Henry Kamen.

PF


#5

Having done alot of study of the Spanish Inquisition in college, (while still a protestant at a secular state run institution), I can tell you there are a few really good histories of the Spanish Inquisition that blow the socks off of the whole idea that the Spanish Inquisition was born of the Church…so there are good secular histories out there, that are not out to condemn the Catholic Church for the whole thing, if you look for them.


#6

[quote=Scott Waddell]I recommend Edward Peters’ book, Inquisition. As far as I know he is not Catholic, just a historian. The book is a little dry, but guess what? When you look at the actual history, and ignore the shrill anti-Catholic sensationalism, it is a somewhat boring subject. The most important thing to understand is that inquisitions were regional things. There was not some massive, centralized CIA-like organization. The most famous of course is the inquisition in Spain, where they inquired if converted Jews were truly Catholic (fine)
[/quote]

That’s a bit (more than a bit) disingenuous. The Jews were being persecuted and forced to convert. Some secretly remained true to their faith, not unlike Catholics in England who lived publicly as C of E and surreptitiously attended Mass when they could.
The Inquisition went after all conversos – in effect there was nothing a convert could do to prove that he wasn’t faking it. Logic 101 – you can’t prove a negative.

Lastly I don’t think it’s “fine” to have authorities “inquiring” into converts’ sincerity.


#7

[quote=didymus]That’s a bit (more than a bit) disingenuous. The Jews were being persecuted and forced to convert. Some secretly remained true to their faith, not unlike Catholics in England who lived publicly as C of E and surreptitiously attended Mass when they could.
The Inquisition went after all conversos – in effect there was nothing a convert could do to prove that he wasn’t faking it. Logic 101 – you can’t prove a negative.

Lastly I don’t think it’s “fine” to have authorities “inquiring” into converts’ sincerity.

[/quote]

Or discriminating against Christians because they could not prove their “purity of blood”; as some religious orders did. Presumably Jesus and the Apostles were Spanish grandees. :mad:

Of course it was a Church thing - it’s disingenuous to pretend otherwise: Torquemada (for example) was not a layman - he was a religious and a priest. The “familiars” may have been laymen, but this is no proof the Inquisition was not an ecclesiastical tribunal: there are laity in Vatican dicasteries. Pious associations were stuffed with laity - they were still Church-sponsored. The connexion between the Spanish Crown and the Inquisition does not make the Inquisition any less a Church body - it merely means that the Crown was jealous of its control over the Church; as was the case in other Catholic (and later, Protestant) monarchies.

Failure to admit that the CC was responsible for it, is what is liable to put people off the Church: if it can’t be trusted to be honest about its past - can it be trusted to be honest about its present ? If it’s not being honest about the Inquisition - is it being honest about its part in WW2 ?

Kamen’s book is not the whitewash it may sound - his portrait (which is incomplete, as he points out) is more benign than some descriptions, but he doesn’t write as though the SI had nothing to answer for. And the body-count is not the only thing to be considered - the body-count of those executed for religious reasons during the Scottish Reformation was minuscule, but that doesn’t make it any less traumatic than it was. ##


#8

[quote=didymus]That’s a bit (more than a bit) disingenuous. The Jews were being persecuted and forced to convert. Some secretly remained true to their faith, not unlike Catholics in England who lived publicly as C of E and surreptitiously attended Mass when they could.
The Inquisition went after all conversos – in effect there was nothing a convert could do to prove that he wasn’t faking it. Logic 101 – you can’t prove a negative.

Lastly I don’t think it’s “fine” to have authorities “inquiring” into converts’ sincerity.

[/quote]

I was merely making a general descriptive statement as an antidote to the hysteria about the Inquistion. Not trying to be disingenuous. There is no need to have an indignant hissy-fit about anything I said. If you want to add more detail, great. Have at it.

Scott


#9

[quote=J.W.B.]What exactly was the “inquisition?” Also what were the crusades really about and what purpose did they accomplish? Did the Christians win the last battle?
[/quote]

  1. There were three principal “Inquisitions”.

l) The medieval Inquisition founded after the Cathar wars in the 13th century. It operated only in parts of France, italy and Germany. It’s task was to prevent another mass outbreak of heresy such as provoked the Cathar War in France. It was allowed to use **one ** session of non-bloody torture (generally hanging by the arms) to extract information from those accused. This inquisition died out by the 15th century. It never, as often alleged, dealt with witchcraft cases. Those were handled by civil courts.

ii) The Roman Inquisition. Operated in Italy from the 16th century. Was very mild, dealt largely with minor offences punishable by penances, and extremely rarely passed death sentences.

iii) The Spanish Inquisition - the notorious one. Was established by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1480 and was always an office of the Spanish Government. It employed Churchmen, but was never under Church control. The Spanish Government used it as a means of official control within the Spanish Empire.

Even so, many of the evils of this Inquisition have been greatly exaggerated. It only had authority over Christians, and killed nowhere near the ridiculous figures (running into Millions!) anti-catholics sometimes claim for it. In fact Oliver Cromwell killed more Catholics in one week in Ireland, than the Inquisition killed in 400 years of its existence!

The worst period of the Inquisition was between 1480 and 1500 when around 2,000 conversos (muslims and jews falsely converted to Christianity) were condemned under Torquemada. In this period Pope Sixtus condemned the inquisition, but was told by King Ferdinand not to interfere! After this, the inquisition was much milder than propaganda suggests.

**it would seem that during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries fewer than three people a year were executed by the Inquisition in the whole of the Spanish Monarchy from Sicily to Peru, certainly a lower rate than any provincial court of justice in Spain or anywhere else in Europe. ** The Spanish Inquisition, p203, Henry Kamen. Weidenfield and Nicholson. 1997


#10
  1. the Crusades

Have also been subject to revisionism. Where a history written 50 or more years ago will relate all the known facts chronologically and in great detail, about the personalities involved, the lead up to the conflict and every event along the way. Today’s historians give a general overview of what they say happened, and what detail is added tends to be odd stories to add colour and “prove” the writers point.

So with the Crusades, we get told in detail of the Christian massacre in Jerusalem, but nothing of the larger and more brutal massacres of Christians by Muslims in city after city across the Holy Land. We get told of the chivalry of Saladin, but nothing of the brutality of Baybars. A picture is often presented of evil crusaders attacking peaceful Muslims who had “always” lived in the Holy Land!!

The key point is that the Crusades were a defensive war.

From 600 AD on, Islam has been an expanding religion, which has aimed to conquer the lands of Christianity. This continuous war or “jihad” began just three years after Muhammad’s death and continued continuously for the next thousand years. In this time the Muslim overran the Christian Lands of

Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine 630 AD
Egypt 650 AD
North Africa, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco 700 AD
Spain 780 AD
Southern France 790 AD
Sicily 850 AD
Southern Italy 860 AD
Turkish borders 900 AD
Armenia and Georgia 1050 AD
Central Turkey 1070 AD
Greece 1300 AD
Bulgaria and the Balkans 1400 AD
Constantinople 1450 AD

Of all the New Testament Churches, only a single one, Rome, escaped Muslim domination.

Piratical raids and campaigns of raiding on land, slave-taking and slaughter took place virtually every summer for a thousand years to destabilise neighbouring Christian lands. No permanent peace with “infidels” was allowed by Islam.

The one time the Christians decided that enough was enough and united to fight back was the Crusades. And it is arguable that without them, Europe would be Muslim ruled today. The Crusades had two causes:

  1. An appeal from the Byzanine Empire because the Muslims had broken through their defenses and laying waste to Christian Anatolia.

  2. The systematic destruction of Christian sites in the Holy Land and the prevention of pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

The crusades took the Holy Land and prevented Muslim advance into Europe for 200-300 years, but eventually the Muslims reconquered the Holy Land.


#11

Anyone who’s ever done any study of the Spanish Inquisition could easily find out that it was instituted by the Crown of Spain, originally because the Crown needed money, and the crown saw it as a way to raise funds (i.e. kicking the moors out of the country and taking their lands and goods).

It was instituted by King Ferdinand, Torquemada was CHOSEN personally by King Ferdinand, and the Pope wrote a Bull to the crown of Spain, condemning the inquisition and what it was doing…

I’m SURE there are many who would like to continue to think that this was a wholly ROMAN CATHOLIC thing, and that Rome instituted it, kept it going, funded it, etc…etc…etc…which is complete NONSENSE> READ a secular historian.
There are many out there who have a good grasp of what happened, and most deny that Rome had much to do with it whatsoever.


#12

Quote: Originally Posted by didymus
That’s a bit (more than a bit) disingenuous. The Jews were being persecuted and forced to convert. Some secretly remained true to their faith, not unlike Catholics in England who lived publicly as C of E and surreptitiously attended Mass when they could.
The Inquisition went after all conversos
– in effect there was nothing a convert could do to prove that he wasn’t faking it. Logic 101 – you can’t prove a negative.

Lastly I don’t think it’s “fine” to have authorities “inquiring” into converts’ sincerity.

I was merely making a general descriptive statement as an antidote to the hysteria about the Inquistion. Not trying to be disingenuous. There is no need to have an indignant hissy-fit about anything I said. If you want to add more detail, great. Have at it.

Scott

I’m sorry for using the word disingenuous, I didn’t mean to imply you were being dishonest – and I certainly didn’t think I was itching a hissy fit.

Just to be clear, I am glaed to see issues like the Crusades and the Inquisition being looked at in an unbiased way (or at least less biased).

shalom,
Didymus


#13

Everything you need to know:

Crusades:
catholiceducation.org/links/search.cgi?query=crusades

Inquisition:
catholiceducation.org/links/search.cgi?query=inquisition


#14

About the Fourth Crusade : ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/vryan_crusades_may05.asp


#15

[quote=WanderAimlessly]Another book that has been recommended on Catholic Radio is The Spanish Inquisition : A Historical Revision by Henry Kamen.

PF
[/quote]

YES, YES, YES. This book is an absolute Must. Kamen, is a jew and Cambridge scholar, who specializes in 16th Century Spanish history. He has chaired the best and numerous conferences on the Inquisition. His book is extremely well documented, with cites for virtually every thought including:

  1. The Inquisition was secular from Ferdinand and Isabella…NOT initiated by Rome.
  2. Rome issued a Papal Bull AGAINST Ferdinand and the Inquisition.
  3. One Spanish Bishop died trying to stop the Inquisition
  4. Numerous priests died trying to stop the Inquisition
  5. The numbers concerning deaths is sheer fantasy. Kamen sedulously pours over tax records from the Spanish Crown and found there were only a small number of jews in Spain at that time.
  6. The conversions from Judaism seemed valid to the Jews at that time. He goes over letters and writing from Rabbi’s in Africa who were alarmed that so many Jews were being converted and one Jewish physician, whose name I can’t remember was responsible for thousands of conversions and this upset the Rabbis!!!
  7. Kamen notes the large lag time between the Inquisition itself and rumors of Catholic atrocities. I think he faults protestants in the 19th century.
  8. Does Kamen find that Jews were killed in the Inquisition? Yes. Does he fault the Catholic Church? No. Does he blame the Spanish Crown and some runaway Dominicans? Yes. Did approximately 2,000 people die over a two hundred year period? Yes.

KEEP IN MIND KAMEN IS JEWISH!! HE TEACHES AT A PRESTIGIOUS SECULAR UNIVERSITY!!! KAMEN, ALONG WITH NETANYHOU (sp?), ARE THE TWO BIGGEST EXPERTS ON THE INQUISITION. THE LATER IS THE SON OF THE ISRAELI P.M… [size=2]BTW, although I haven’t read from the later author, I understand he concurs with the bulk of scholarship that Kaemn has produced. This book alone sinks all the protestant BS I have ever read on the subject. [/size]


#16

This is something that I have long wanted to study as well but from what limited knowledge I do have - the fact that the Inquisition was started by the King and Queen of Spain is well documented. Heresy was seen as a traitorous offense against the state worthy of death! The Catholic Church actually stepped in to keep the civil courts from arbitrarily sentencing so many people to death!

It was the Church that actually ended up saving alot of lives. The civil courts were not accustomed to having people defend themselves. Nothing these people said in their own defense mattered. They would beg to be brought before the Inqusitors of the Chruch becasue they knew they would get a fair trial - with witnesses and everything! The Church often prescibed sentences of doing penances or having the person denounce their heresy therefore being welcomed back into the fold. The main job of the Inqusition was to ultimately bring those who had strayed from the truth back into the fold. There were some that persisted and in the case of absolute obstenate heresy, sometimes death was pronounced as a last resort - but nowhere near the numbers originally reported.

I’m not suggesting that there were no tortures, I’m sure there were. And I’m sure there were priests that were drunk with power and went way overboard in the pursuit of rooting out the true heretics. That was the time that people were tortured for many reasons especially if you were considered a heretic/traitor! Back then, if you were a heretic, you were considered a traitor of the state and the punishment was automatic death! That’s why so many wanted to go to the Church for trial, they knew the Church would not automatically condemn them like the civil court would.

There was good and bad and the whole ordeal was unfortunate but by no means was this sanctioned by the Church! As awful as some things got in the Church, she would never, willfully condemn people to death. We, in the 21st century tend to forget to put these things in the perspective of the 15th, 16th century mind set and social climate and how life actually operated back then. It doesn’t make it right but it explains alot! The world must learn from history and never, never repeated those mistakes.


#17

For info on the Crusades, you need only look here:

crisismagazine.com/april2002/cover.htm

To read more in depth about them, try this book. Short and to the point but full of history and detail. Also with a great list of other books to read with the authors take on each one.

amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0742538222/qid=1118251551/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/102-0970759-4036946?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

By far the BEST book I’ve yet found about the Crusades.


#18

It was asked if the Christians “won the last battle” of the Crusades. The answer is in another question: Is the Middle East predominantly Christian today?

Remember, most of the Middle East was heavily Catholic, or at least Apostalic, prior to the rise of Islam. It’s hard to imagine that with our modern image of the Middle East as the bastion of Islam, but the truth is that the Holy Land and its environs were deeply and thoroughly Christian. The Muslims waged a bloody campaign first against the Middle East and North Africa (another Catholic bastion, where luminaries such as St. Augustine hailed from) and pushed well into Europe (Iberia was completely overrun, other areas were partially conquered). The Christian counter-offensive pushed the Muslims out of Europe, and briefly reclaimed small portions of the Middle East, but eventually the Muslims won out in North Africa and the Middle East and largely lost interest in most of Europe.

In other words, the long period of warfare that the Crusades in question fell into can be summed up as a brilliant victory for Islam. It was all the Church could do to hold on to Europe. Any time you hear someone talk about “Christian conquests” or “Christian invasions of the Middle East”, remember that the Middle East WAS Christian, extremely so, and it was all Europe could do to muster the ultimately failed *defense *of the Christian world. It’s a very sad loss for the Church, IMO, as many souls that were nicely embedded in the Faith were stripped away by Muslim conquerers, and there was little the Christian world could do to stop it.


#19

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