The RCC and Inquisition : LUSENET : Catholicism -- Uncensored : One Thread

Brian McLaughlin asked this on the "official" Catholic board -- should be interesting to see how this proceeds there. Brian, hope you don't mind my cross-posting it here for future reference.


First, let me say I accept that the church has the right to identify heresies and to proscribe them. I also accept that the church has a right to purge itself of heresy and heretics.

But the Inquisition employed extreme violence in pursuit of its aims. It employed torture. It condemned men and women to death. And the use of torture and the power to execute were authorized by church authorities. These are well-attested facts.

It appears to me the purgation of the church could have been satisfied without the shedding of blood. Yet, blood was shed.

My questions are these:

Has the church ever officially renounced the methods of the Inquisition?

If they have renounced the use of torture and execution as a means of rooting out heresy, then what is the church's position on the church authorities who authorized these methods in the first place?

Does the church seek to justify the use of these methods in the past, while renouncing them in the present?

If execution and torture can be justified in the past, then how can those justifications be confined to past actions and not applied to present or future actions?

I would greatly appreciate anyone who takes the time and effort to address these thorny questions for me. Thanks.

-- Brian McLaughlin (, September 05, 2000

-- (, September 06, 2000


I did indeed post this to the other Catholic forum. I intend to follow up there. The name of the thread is "What does the church teach about the Inquisition?"

Based on the answers I have received so far, the teaching of the church is uncannily similar to Reagan's speech about Iran-Contra, where he forthrightly admitted that "mistakes were made". Of course, the speech gave no peep about who gave the orders, how serious the mistakes were, or what will be done to ensure no similar mistakes will be made in the future.

-- Brian McLaughlin (, September 07, 2000.

-- (, September 19, 2001.

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