Page 1, 3rd February 2006

3rd February 2006
Page 1
Page 1, 3rd February 2006 — Inquisition was 'legally justified', says official

Report an error

Noticed an error on this page?
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it.


Organisations: Catholic Church


Related articles

Mel Gibson's Film Will Melt Hearts Of Stone, Says Priest

Page 5 from 12th December 2003

Cardinal Recovering Well' After Brain Haemorrhage

Page 1 from 11th October 1991

Pope Chooses New Right-hand Man To Reform Roman Curia

Page 1 from 30th June 2006

‘reform Of The Reform’ Still On The Cards

Page 4 from 11th September 2009

Inquisition Myths Debunked

Page 5 from 25th June 2004

Inquisition was 'legally justified', says official


A VATICAN official has prompted controversy after he defended the Inquisition on a television programme.

Fr Joseph Augustine Di Noia, under secretary for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, said that the Catholic Church's use of torture to root out heresy was "legally justified".

He was interviewed in a four-pan American-made series about the Inquisition, which used secret Vatican archives that were opened for the first time in 1998.

Fr Di Na. perhaps the highest-ranking Church official to have been questioned about the inquisition, told the documentary makers: "It is a mistake to torture people. However, torture was regarded as a perfectly justified, legitimate way of producing evidence and it was therefore legally justi

fled." He added that before condemning the Inquisition, people needed to appreciate the historical context in which the organisation existed, as well as -the sociology of religion, how communities react to threats which they regard as dire or fatal".

Current trends in historiography would support Fr Di Noia's argument. In 2004 a Vatican study on the Inquisition containing 31 essays from European and American academics was published.

The document concluded that the horrors of the Inquisition were often in reality the mere fabrications of Protestant propagandists. The study suggested that of the 125,000 trials for heresy carried out by the Spanish inquisition, less than one per cent of those accused were actually burned.

Pope John Paul II applauded the authors of the study. He acknowledged the "errors committed in the service of truth" by the Inquisition but added: "In public opinion the image of the Inquisition represents in some way the symbol of counter-witness and scandal. In what way is this faithful to reality?"

Professor Agostino Borromeo, an indirect descendent of St Charles Borromeo who edited the scholarly symposium, said: "The recourse to torture and the death sentence weren't so frequent as people have long believed."

The idea that the Inquisition's brutality was greatly exaggerated is nothing new. In 1985, historian Philip Kamen wrote The Spanish Inquisition: An Historical Revision, a book that sought to counter the myth that Inquisitors were mad zealots with a penchant for torture.

Editorial Comment: Page 11

blog comments powered by Disqus