The Inquisition

Related Reading: Modern Inquisition (an ironic political satire)

The Inquisition was a Roman Catholic tribunal for discovery and punishment of heresy, which was marked by the severity of questioning and punishment and lack of rights afforded to the accused.


While many people associate the Inquisition with Spain and Portugal, it was actually instituted by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) in Rome. A later pope, Pope Gregory IX established the Inquisition, in 1233, to combat the heresy of the Abilgenses, a religious sect in France. By 1255, the Inquisition was in full gear throughout Central and Western Europe; although it was never instituted in England or Scandinavia.


Initially a tribunal would open at a location and an edict of grace would be published calling upon those who are conscious of heresy to confess; after a period of grace, the tribunal officers could make accusations. Those accused of heresy were sentenced at an auto-da-fe, Act of Faith. Clergyman would sit at the proceedings and would deliver the punishments. Punishments included confinement to dungeons, physical abuse and torture. Those who reconciled with the church were still punished and many had their property confiscated, as well as were banished from public life. Those who never confessed were burned at the stake without strangulation; those who did confess were strangled first. During the 16th and 17th centuries, attendance at auto da-fe’ reached as high as the attendance at bullfights.


In the beginning, the Inquisition dealt only with Christian heretics and did not interfere with the affairs of Jews. However, disputes about Maimonides’ books (which addressed the synthesis of Judaism and other cultures) provided a pretext for harassing Jews and, in 1242, the Inquisition condemned the Talmud and burned thousands of volumes. In 1288, the first mass burning of Jews on the stake took place in France.


In 1481 the Inquisition started in Spain and ultimately surpassed the medieval Inquisition, in both scope and intensity. Conversos (Secret Jews) and New Christians were targeted because of their close relations to the Jewish community, many of whom were Jews in all but their name. Fear of Jewish influence led Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand to write a petition to the Pope asking permission to start an Inquisition in Spain. In 1483 Tomas de Torquemada became the inquisitor-general for most of Spain, he set tribunals in many cities. Also heading the Inquisition in Spain were two Dominican monks, Miguel de Morillo and Juan de San Martin.

First, they arrested Conversos and notable figures in Seville; in Seville more than 700 Conversos were burned at the stake and 5,000 repented. Tribunals were also opened in Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia. An Inquisition Tribunal was set up in Ciudad Real, where 100 Conversos were condemned, and it was moved to Toledo in 1485. Between 1486-1492, 25 auto-da-fes were held in Toledo, 467 people were burned at the stake and others were imprisoned. The Inquisition finally made its way to Barcelona, where it was resisted at first because of the important place of Spanish Conversos in the economy and society.


More than 13,000 Conversos were put on trial during the first 12 years of the Spanish Inquisition. Hoping to eliminate ties between the Jewish community and Conversos, the Jews of Spain were expelled in 1492..


The next phase of the Inquisition began around 1531, when Pope Leo X extended the Inquisition to Portugal. Thousands of Jews came to Portugal after the 1492 expulsion. A Spanish style Inquisition was constituted and tribunals were set up in Lisbon and other cities. Among the Jews who died at the hands of the Inquisition were well-known figures of the period such as Isaac de Castro Tartas, Antonio Serrao de Castro and Antonio Jose da Silva. The Inquisition never stopped in Spain and continued until the late 18th century.


By the second half of the 18th century, the Inquisition abated, due to the spread of enlightened ideas and lack of resources. The last auto-da-fe in Portugal took place on October 27, 1765. Not until 1808, during the brief reign of Joseph Bonaparte, was the Inquisition abolished in Spain. An estimated 31,912 heretics were burned at the stake, 17,659 were burned in effigy and 291,450 made reconciliations in the Spanish Inquisition. In Portugal, about 40,000 cases were tried, although only 1,800 were burned, the rest made penance.


The Inquisition was not limited to Europe; it also spread to Spanish and Portugese colonies in the New World and Asia. Many Jews and Conversos fled from Portugal and Spain to the New World seeking greater security and economic opportunities. Branches of the Portugese Inquisition were set up in Goa and Brazil. Spanish tribunals and auto-da-fes were set up in Mexico, the Philippine Islands, Guatemala, Peru, New Granada and the Canary Islands. By the late 18th century, most of these were dissolved.


Poem: (Gestapo) Guantanamo Bay


“Aren’t Secret Interrogations and Abuses including Torture and Murder of Alleged Terror Suspects by the Covert Intelligence and Law Enforcements a Modern Ploy for Ethnic Cleansing like Past Inquisition in Occupied Lands following Crusades?” Kolki


The Last Great Inquisition!!

Inquisition torture chamber by Bernard Picart showing the 3 main tortures used: the pulley, the water torture and the fire.
(Doesn’t it sound like tortures of suspected Al-Qaeda victims by the modern extra judicial Covert Intelligence?)

Picture courtesy Chick Pub.

Ever heard of the Inquisition, from 1200 A.D. to 1800 A.D. . . ? It's never mentioned any longer. We hear a lot about the Jewish Holocaust when 6 million Jews perished under Hitler. But most people don't know that Hitler was a Roman Catholic and an instrument of the Holy Office. Hitler was never excommunicated for his crimes against humanity and causing the deaths of millions of people; whereas Martin Luther was excommunicated for translating the Bible into German!!

Meet the real Adolf Hitler.

concord.jpg (16557 bytes)In 1933 the Vatican signed a Concordat with Germany making Roman Catholicism the only recognized religion in that country. Hitler was financed by Wall St. and the corrupt U.S. Bank.


Signing the Concordat is Cardinal Pacelli (later to become Pope Pius XII). By 1933, he was the Vatican Secretary of State. Seated second from his left is Franz von Papen who was the Papal Nuncio to Germany. Standing at the far right can be seen the little known Vatican prelate, Montini, later to become Pope Paul VI.


pius.jpg (9697 bytes)Eugenio Pacelli (Pope Pius XII from 1939 to 1958) was a brilliant diplomat, a cunning politician and a religious crusader. He was appointed Papal Nuncio to Germany in 1920 — the first since the Reformation!! He, more than anybody else outside Germany, helped Hitler to power. He was one of the paramount personalities of the 20th century. He transformed the Vatican into a global political instrument. His pet obsession was Communism, and he became the main instigator of the Cold War.


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Archbishop Cesare Orsenigo, papal nuncio to Germany, talks with Hitler at a formal reception in Berlin in Jan. 1936. Martin Luther would never have allowed this!!





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Hitler greets Msgr. Joseph Tiso, Slovakian Chief of State, Papal Chamberlain and Roman Catholic priest, at Hitler's field headquarters on

the Eastern Front, October, 1941.




hitler2.jpg (15239 bytes)Little Dollfuss (Dictator of Austria) with Cardinal Innitzer on the right, witnessing the proclamation of the new Clerical-Fascist Constitution in 1934.




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Dr. Schuschnigg, Price Staremberg and Cardinal Innitzer with Dollfuss.






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The Spanish Catholic Hierarchy giving the Fascist salute at Santiago de Compostela in 1937.







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Catholic "evangelization" during the Spanish Civil War.






hitler7.jpg (15411 bytes)Hitler's mistress Ava Braun. Like LaPopessa in Rome, very few people knew of their relationship.


Eva Braun as a young girl at Simbach Convent. Martin Luther emptied the convents in Germany. He called them "cesspools of iniquity." The Jesuits filled them up again.

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hitler9.jpg (13247 bytes)Hitler reading with his glasses. If only he had read Martin Luther's masterpiece translation of the Bible . . . and converted to Christ. He might have become a great 20th century Reformer instead!!


Prior to 1960, libraries in America were filled with books on the Inquisition. Today however, very few can be found. . . . Why has the Inquisition been covered up? Because the total number of victims of this atrocity reached about 68 million people. 



They were Bible-believing Christians, Jews and even Roman Catholics like Joan of Arc, Savanarola, Giordano Bruno and Galileo etc., who were destroyed by the Inquisition carried out by the "Holy Office." The victims were always found guilty. They never knew who accused them. They never had lawyers, and no one would dare lift a finger to help. . . . On August 28, 1558, Walter Mill (an 82 year old Scotsman and parish priest of Lunan near Montrose), was burned alive with several others for embracing the Reformed Faith!!

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Picture courtesy of Chick Pub.


The Inquisition was forcibly suppressed by Napoleon when he entered Madrid in 1808. When the Spanish Parliament in 1831 declared it incompatible with the Constitution, the Vatican protested. King Ferdinand VII restored it again in 1814. The Inquisition was finally suppressed by the Liberals in July, 1833. However, the Holy Office has never ceased to function. It is still alive and well and disguised under the specious name (sacred congregation for the doctrine of the faith) in the Vatican today! Its current head is a German named Ratzinger and Time magazine had this to say about him:


The Cardinal wields immense clout in the hierarchy - beginning at the top. The Pope and Ratzinger are, says one mid-ranking Vatican official, two pieces of a puzzle. Without one, the other is not complete. Others point out an obvious primacy. Asked whether the Cardinal in practice was the undisputed No. 2 under the Pontiff one insider in the Holy See responds, Intellectually and theologically, he's No 1.

Historical Torture Museum