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22 The Bloody Church: The Inquisition
The Bloody Church:
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“In fact, it is impossible for me to misrepresent when I only repeat their own words.”
(Catholic Bishop John Hughes, Hughes-Breckenridge Debate, 191).1031
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate
you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the
children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on
the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-45, KJV).
“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou
shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
(Romans 12:20-21, KJV).
“They [i.e., the inquisitors] caused many citizens in their domains, nobles and commoners,
clerics, knights, peasants, spinsters, widows, and married women, to be burnt alive,
confiscated their property, and divided it between them.” (Catholic Encyclopedia).1032
Inquisition is a papal institution.
Innocent III’s Crusade against the Albigenses.
Gregory IX Established Severe Penalties against “Heretics.”
Inquisitors were Cruel and Abusive.
There was “Madness in their Method”!
The Accused were Compelled to Testify against Themselves!
Innocent IV Sanctioned the Use of Torture!
When the Inquisitors Hand a “Heretic” Over to Civil Rulers, It is Tantamount to
a Demand for that Man’s Execution!
Under the Influence of the Roman Catholic Church, Civil Rulers Also Adopted the Use of Torture!
The Bloody Office in its New Clothes
New Inquisition Censored Books, Condemned Galileo!
Spanish Inquisition an Instrument of Persecution
Tomas de Torquemada, the Notorious Grand Inquisitor
Spanish Inquisition a Byword for Cruelty and Obscurantism
Emperor Charles V Also Introduced the Inquisition in His Own Domain
St. Bartholomew’s Massacre: Fulfillment of Pius V’s “Inexorable Dream”!
The Inquisition Justified; the Inquisitors Praised and Canonized!
REFUTATION
Inquisition is a Papal Institution
“Inquisition” is a “judicial institution, established by the papacy in the Middle Ages, charged
with seeking out, trying, and sentencing people guilty of heresy. In the early Church the usual
penalty for heresy was excommunication. With the establishment of Christianity as the state
1031
1032
Quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:16.
Catholic Encyclopedia, 8:29; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:98.
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22 The Bloody Church: The Inquisition
religion by the Roman emperors in the 4th century, heretics came to be considered enemies of
the state, especially when violence and the disturbance of public order were involved.1033 St.
Augustine gave a somewhat reluctant approval to action by the state against heretics, but the
Church generally disapproved of coercion and physical penalties.”1034
Early in its history, the Catholic Church had been suppressing other religious groups, such as
the Novatianists (3rd century),1035 the Arians (4th century),1036 the Nestorians (4th and 5th
centuries),1037 the Monophysites (5th and 6th centuries),1038 the group suppressed particularly
by the Eastern Catholic Church, the Paulicians (6th to 9th centuries),1039 the Bogomils (10th
“With the establishment of Christianity in the Roman Empire, heresy came to be considered a crime against
the state, punishable by civil law. Heresy was also generally outlawed in countries with an established or state
supported Church.” (MEPS 2005, art. “Heresy”).
1034
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.”
1035
The Novatianists were a sect originating in the 3rd century that advocated the denial of Church membership
to “fallen” Christians. (MEPS 2005, art. “Cathari”). They were named after Novatian (c. 200-c. 258), “Roman
theologian, who became the second antipope (from 251). A leader among the Roman clergy, Novatian espoused
the doctrine of Montanism. His acceptance of that belief developed into the Novatian Schism. St Cornelius, who
favoured a lenient attitude towards those Christians who lapsed into idolatry, was elected pope in 251, and
Novatian established himself as antipope. The Novatianists became heretical when they sought to deny penance
to all people who had sinned” (MEPS 2005, art. “Novatianists”).
1036
“Arianism [is] a Christian heresy of the 4th century AD that denied the full divinity of Jesus Christ. It was
named after its author, Arius. A native of Libya, Arius studied at the theological school of Lucian of Antioch,
where other supporters of the Arian heresy were also trained. After he was ordained a priest in Alexandria, Arius
became involved (319) in a controversy with his bishop concerning the divinity of Christ. Arius was finally
exiled (325) to Illyria because of his beliefs, but debate over his doctrine soon engulfed the whole Church and
agitated it for more than half a century. Although his doctrine was eventually outlawed (379) throughout the
Roman Empire by Emperor Theodosius I, it survived for two centuries longer among the barbarian tribes that
had been converted to Christianity by Arian bishops.” (MEPS 2005, art. “Arianism”).
1037
Nestorianism is a “historical doctrine espoused by Nestorius, archbishop of Constantinople from AD 428 to
431. Nestorius preached a variant of the orthodox doctrine concerning the nature of Jesus Christ. The orthodox
doctrine is that Christ has two natures, one divine and one human, which although distinct are joined in one
Person and Substance; Nestorius claimed that in Christ a divine and a human Person acted as one, but did not
join to compose the unity of a single individual. Also, according to Nestorius, the Virgin Mary could not be
called Mother of God, as she was termed by more orthodox Christians, because her son, Jesus, was born as a
man, his divine nature being derived not from her but from the Father who begot him. The doctrines of Nestorius
spread throughout the Byzantine Empire during the early 5th century and caused much argument. In 431 the
Council of Ephesus declared the Nestorian beliefs to be a heresy, deposed Nestorius and drove him out of the
empire, and persecuted his followers. The Nestorians sought refuge in Persia, India, China, and Mongolia where
in early medieval times the Nestorian Church was powerful, although it was greatly reduced by later
persecution.” (MEPS 2005, art. “Nestorianism”).
1038
“Monophysitism, Christian schismatic sect of the 5th and 6th centuries which maintained that Christ had
only one (divine) nature, thereby opposing the orthodox doctrine that he was both divine and human. The
Monophysites were mainly confined to the Eastern Church and gained little strength in the West. At the directive
of Pope Leo I, the Council of Chalcedon in 451 attempted to steer a middle course between the orthodox and
Monophysite views. The resulting edict did not satisfy the Monophysites, and the controversy continued, the
Monophysites being supported by the Copts and the Eutychian sect. The Eastern Church, in an effort to suppress
the heresy, in the first half of the 6th century excommunicated the Monophysites, who thereupon formally
seceded from the parent Church. The Monophysites split into two factions over controversies regarding the
incorruptibility of Christ's body. After 560 a third faction, the Tritheists, arose; they interpreted the three persons
of the Deity as three separate gods and hence were regarded by the other factions as heretics.” (MEPS 2005, art.
“Monophysitism”).
1039
The Paulicians were a religious group akin to the Cathari; they had been transported to the region of Thrace
1033
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century),1040 the Cathari1041 and the Patarines (11th century),1042 the Albigenses (12th century,
see below), the Waldenses (second half of the 12th century),1043 the Lollards (14th and 15th
centuries),1044 the Hussites (15th century),1045 and the Camisards or Huguenots (17th
century).1046
in south-eastern Europe in the 9th century and united with the Bogomils (MEPS 2005, art. “Cathari”). “Their
founder was Constantine of Mananali, who established his first congregation in Armenia about 660. He was put
to death by order of the Byzantine emperor Constantine IV, but the sect survived.” (MEPS 2005, art.
“Paulicians”).
1040
The Bogomils were members of a religious sect that arose in the 10th century in the Balkans. The chief
centre was in Bulgaria and the group spread among other Slavic peoples. They practiced a severe asceticism,
despised images, and rejected the sacraments. “In 1118 the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus executed the
leader of the sect for heresy… Before the Bogomils were suppressed they influenced the development of the
Albigensian and Cathari groups of France and Italy in the 12th and 13th centuries.”(MEPS 2005, art.
“Bogomils”)
1041
“In the second half of the 12th century the Cathari were in great strength in Bulgaria, Albania, and
Slavonia… In Italy the heresy appeared in the 11th and 12th centuries.” (MEPS 2005, art. “Cathari”).
1042
The Patarines, or Patarini, were the “Milanese adherents” of the Cathari, named from Pataria, a street in
Milan frequented by rag gatherers. “The Patarine movement assumed some importance in the 11th century as a
reform movement, emphasizing action by laypeople against a corrupt clergy.” (MEPS 2005, art. “Cathari”)
1043
“Waldenses [were] members of a Christian sect that grew out of a movement that opposed the ecclesiastical
establishment. The sect was originated by a wealthy French merchant, Peter Waldo of Lyon, in the second half
of the 12th century. Waldo's followers were known as the “poor men of Lyon”. Itinerant preachers under a vow
of poverty, they taught a type of religion that has been erroneously associated with the teachings of the Cathari.
Their simple, Bible-based preaching proved more popular, however, than the more complex teachings of the
Cathari. The archbishop of Lyon vainly forbade them to preach. They were later excommunicated and
persecuted along with the Albigenses in southern France.” (MEPS 2005, art. Waldenses”).
1044
“Lollards [were] members of a religious sect in 14th- and 15th-century England. They were led by the
English theologian and religious reformer John Wycliffe and followed the doctrines he preached. Lollards held
the Bible to be the only authentic rule of faith; exhorted the clergy to return to the simple life of the early
Church; and opposed war, the doctrine of transubstantiation, confession, and the use of images in worship. In the
last decades of the 14th century Lollards were numerous; their number decreased, however, during the reign of
King Henry IV because of their vigorous persecution by the English prelate Thomas Arundel. The Lollards
remained numerous enough to be a formidable group at the accession to the throne of King Henry V. Their most
prominent supporter at that time was the English martyr Sir John Oldcastle, who was executed under the 1417
statute De Haeretico Comburendo (On the Burning of the Heretic). During the early years of the reign of King
Henry VI, the Lollards were persecuted in London and the eastern counties, and some members of the sect were
burned at the stake. The persecution continued after the accession to the throne of King Henry VII, but in the
time of King Henry VIII the Lollards began to merge with the rising forces of Protestantism.” (MEPS 2005, art.
“Lollards”).
1045
“Hussites, followers of John Huss (Jan Hus) in Bohemia during the early 15th century, whose demands
prefigured many elements of the Protestant Reformation. The agitation for Bohemian independence and Church
reform began well before the burning of Huss at the Council of Constance in 1415. These goals, articulated in his
teaching, became vital causes that inspired a national movement when he was martyred.” (MEPS 2005, art.
“Hussites”).
1046
“Camisards (French dialect camisa, “shirt”), name applied to the French Huguenot (Protestant) peasants of
the Cévennes mountain region, southern France, who rose in rebellion in 1702 against King Louis XIV. The
Camisards, so-called because of the black smocks they wore during night raids, had sought refuge in the
Cévennes after Louis XIV in 1685 had revoked the religious freedom granted to them by the Edict of Nantes
(1598). The revolt was prompted by a religious “awakening” among the Huguenots. Led principally by the
French soldier Jean Cavalier, the Camisards conducted guerrilla warfare from mountain strongholds against the
royal troops. Roman Catholic churches were burned, and their priests were killed or forced to flee. Urged on by
Pope Clement XI, who issued a papal bull censuring the Camisards, the Roman Catholics razed more than 450
216
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Innocent III’s Crusade against the Albigenses
“During the 12th century opinion began to change, in reaction to resurgence of heresy in an
organized form, especially the Albigenses of southern France.1047 Albigensian doctrine and
practice seemed destructive of matrimony and other institutions of society and after less
vigorous efforts by his predecessors, Pope Innocent III [pope, 1198-1216]1048 organized a
Crusade against the group. He issued punitive legislation against them and sent preachers to
the area. The various efforts to control heresy were, however, still uncoordinated and
relatively ineffective.”1049
Catholic persecution against people perceived to be heretics became “coordinated” and
“effective” when Innocent III’s nephew, Gregory IX, became pope (see below). About this
time, the burning of “heretics” was also decreed.1050
Gregory IX Established Severe Penalties against “Heretics”
Gregory IX founded the Inquisition. “The Inquisition properly so called did not come into
existence until 1231, with the constitution Excommunicamus of Pope Gregory IX.1051 By his
villages, killing most of the inhabitants.” (MEPS 2005, art. “Camisards”).
1047
The group centered in the town of Albi, in southern France. “Called Albiga by the Romans, the town was the
seat of an archdiocese in the 5th century AD and a manor (a self-contained community overseen by a lord) in the
8th century. It became part of the duchy of Toulouse two centuries later. Albi was the centre of the Albigensian
Crusade (1208-1229), a struggle between the Albigenses heresy and the Christian church. The crusade, the first
in Western Europe, repressed and persecuted the Albigenses and they never regained their former influence.
Their estates were taken by the French crown.” (MEPS 2005, art. “Albi”). Cevennes, a mountain area in
southern France “was [also] the scene of the persecution of religious groups, including the Albigenses and the
Waldenses in the Middle Ages and the Camisards in the 17th century.” (MEPS 2005, art. Cevennes”).
1048
“Born Lotario de' Conti di Segni in the castle of Gravignano, he came from an ancient noble family with
powerful connections. He studied theology at the University of Paris and canon law at the University of Bologna,
thus receiving the best education his age offered. Although not yet a priest, he was, at the age of 37, unanimously
elected pope by the College of Cardinals on the day of his predecessor's death. Innocent's pontificate fulfilled the
promise that his electors discerned in him.” He was particularly fond of the title “Vicar of Christ” and was
considered the real founder of the Papal States (MEPS 2005, art. “Innocent III”).
1049
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.” MEPS 2005 says, “Innocent's most controversial ventures were the two
Crusades that he declared.” The first one, against the Albigenses. “After the failure of the preachers he had sent
to them [i.e., the Albigenses in southern France], Innocent in 1208 declared a Crusade against them, which
caused much bloodshed but did not bring the heresy under control during the pope's lifetime.” His other Crusade
was against the Muslims who had overrun Palestine. “Genuinely concerned about the Holy Land, Innocent
promoted the Fourth Crusade to recover it. In 1204 a group of Crusaders were diverted to the Christian city of
Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey), which they sacked. This tragic event, although deplored by the pope,
poisoned relations between the Greek and Latin Churches for centuries to come; and it provided the occasion for
a short-lived and ill-conceived Latin kingdom in Constantinople. (MEPS 2005, art. “Innocent III”). Lambert,
quoting other Catholic writers, says the “Crusades, that were pushed with such zeal by ‘saints and popes,’ and
for which the pope promised such lavish indulgence, were in reality bands of thieves and robbers who
‘plundered’ (Catholic Encyclopedia, 7:457; 4:546, 553) as they went and gathered much ‘booty,’ over which
they fought like highway robbers (Catholic Encyclopedia, 4:550) Their battle cry as they went was, ‘God wills
it!’ (See Pope Innocent III and His Times, p. 115)” (O. C. Lambert, 1:47-48).
1050
The Catholic Encyclopedia says “the burning of heretics was first decreed in the eleventh century.” (Catholic
Encyclopedia, 7:260; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:113).
1051
Gregory IX (c. 1147-1241), pope (1227-1241), was the founder of the Inquisition. “He was born Ugolino de
Segni in Anagni, Italy. After studying in Paris and Bologna, he was made a cardinal by his uncle, Pope Innocent
III, in 1198. His own pontificate was marked by conflict with Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, who sought to
strengthen the imperial position in Italy, thus posing a constant threat to the papacy. When Gregory called on
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action the pope lessened the bishops' responsibility for orthodoxy, placed inquisitors under the
special jurisdiction of the papacy, and established severe penalties. The office of inquisitor
was entrusted almost exclusively to the Franciscans and, especially, the Dominicans, because
of their superior training in theology and their supposed freedom from worldly ambition.1052
In putting the prosecution of heretics under papal direction, Gregory IX acted at least in part
out of fear that Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II intended to pursue the task himself and
turn it to political purposes. Restricted at first to Germany and Aragón, the new institution
was soon extended in effect to the whole Church, although it functioned not at all, or in an
extremely limited way, in many parts of Europe.”1053
Inquisitors Had Been Accused of Excessive Cruelty & Other Abuses
“Two inquisitors with equal authority—bestowed directly by the pope—were in charge of
each tribunal, aided by assistants, notaries, police, and counsellors. Because they could
excommunicate even princes, the inquisitors were formidable figures. Under these
circumstances it is surprising that among their contemporaries the inquisitors generally had a
reputation for justice and mercy. Some, nevertheless, were accused of excessive cruelty and
other abuses.” 1054
The Catholic Encyclopedia says, “They [i.e., the inquisitors] caused many citizens in their
domains, nobles and commoners, clerics, knights, peasants, spinsters, widows, and married
women, to be burnt alive, confiscated their property, and divided it between them.”1055
“Madness in their Method”!
“The inquisitors established themselves for a definite period of weeks or months at some
central place, from which they issued orders demanding that all guilty of heresy present
themselves. The inquisitors could themselves bring suit against any suspect person. Lesser
penalties were imposed on those who came forward and confessed their heresy than on those
who had to be tried and convicted. A period of grace of about a month was allowed for this
spontaneous confession; after that, the actual trials began.”1056
Fishing for Evidence, the Inquisitors Compelled the Accused to Testify
Against Themselves!
“If the inquisitors decided to try a person suspected of heresy, the suspect's pastor delivered
the summons. Inquisitorial police sought out those people who refused to obey a summons,
Frederick to fulfill an old promise to embark on a crusade, Frederick delayed, claiming illness. Gregory promptly
excommunicated him. The conflict grew, was never fully resolved, and continued until Gregory's death on
August 22, 1241.” (MEPS 2005, art. “Gregory IX”).
1052
“Gregory was a personal friend of St Dominic and St Francis of Assisi. Profoundly troubled by the
Albigensian heresy, Gregory in 1231 issued the constitution Excommunicamas, which placed the prosecution of
heretics under papal direction and thus established the Inquisition.” (MEPS 2005, art. “Gregory IX”).
1053
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.”
1054
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.”
1055
Catholic Encyclopedia, 8:29; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:98. The Catholic Encyclopedia, in another volume,
says, “The synod of Verona (1184) imposed on bishops the duty to search out the heretics in their dioceses and
to hand them over to the secular power… Every one was bound to denounce heretics; the names of the witnesses
were kept secret… Torture was applied in trials; the guilty persons were delivered up to the civil authorities and
actually burnt at the stake.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, 12:260; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:100)
1056
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.”
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22 The Bloody Church: The Inquisition
and the right of asylum did not apply to heretics. The accused were given a statement of
charges against them. For some years the names of accusers were withheld from suspects, but
Pope Boniface VIII [pope, 1294-1303] abrogated that practice.1057 The accused were
compelled under oath, however, to answer all charges against them, thus becoming their own
accusers. The testimony of two witnesses was generally considered proof of guilt.”1058
Innocent IV Sanctioned the Use of Torture, Although It Was Apparently
Not Sanctioned by their Canonical Tradition!
“The inquisitors usually had a kind of jury, composed of both clergy and laity, to assist them
in arriving at a verdict. They were permitted to imprison suspects who were thought to be
lying. In 1252 Pope Innocent IV,1059 under the influence of the revival of Roman law,
officially sanctioned the use of torture to extract the truth from suspects. Until then, this
procedure was alien to the canonical tradition.”1060
“Until the 13th century, torture was apparently not sanctioned by the canon law of the
Christian Church; about that time, however, the treason law began to be adapted to heresy as
crimen laesae majestatis Divinae (“crime of injury to Divine majesty”). Soon after the
Inquisition was instituted, Pope Innocent IV, influenced by the revival of Roman law, issued a
decree (in 1252) that called on civil magistrates to have people accused of heresy tortured to
elicit confessions against themselves and others; this was probably the earliest instance of
ecclesiastical sanction of this mode of examination.”1061
When Inquisitors Hand a “Heretic” over to Civil Authorities, It is
Tantamount to a Demand for that Man’s Execution!
“The penances and sentences for those who confessed or were found guilty were pronounced
together in a public ceremony at the end of all the processes. This was the sermo generalis or
auto-da-fé. Penances might consist of a pilgrimage, a public scourging, a fine, or the wearing
of a cross. The wearing of two tongues of red cloth, sewn on to an outer garment, marked
“Boniface VIII (c. 1235-1303), pope (1294-1303), who upheld the absolute power of the papacy. Born
Benedetto Gaetani (Caetani) in Anagni, Italy, he studied law in Bologna before accepting a series of
appointments in the papal government. After serving with the embassies to France and England, he was
appointed (1281) a cardinal. As papal legate in Paris from 1290 to 1291, he negotiated peace between France and
Aragón. He succeeded in persuading the incompetent pope Celestine V to resign his office and succeeded him as
Boniface VIII.” (MEPS 2005, art. “Boniface VIII”).
1058
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.”
1059
Innocent IV (c. 1200-1254), pope (1243-1254), the pope “who asserted the universal dominion of the papacy
by declaring the deposition of his chief opponent, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. Born Sinibaldo Fieschi in
Genoa, he studied law at Parma and Bologna. He was consecrated bishop of Albenga in 1225, and in 1227 he
was made a cardinal. On his election to the papacy, Innocent took up the struggle against Frederick II, who
sought to establish absolute imperial authority. After ineffectual negotiations with Frederick, the pope, feeling
unsafe in Rome, fled to France. There he called the First Council of Lyons (1245), at which Frederick was
condemned again (he had earlier been excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX) and then declared deposed.
Innocent then advised the German princes to elect a new emperor, and he lent his support first to Henry Raspe,
landgrave of Thuringia, and later to William II of Holland. Frederick's death in 1250 allowed Innocent to return
triumphantly to Rome, but a struggle against Frederick's son Conrad IV ensued, and the conflict remained
unresolved at the time of Innocent's death” (MEPS 2005, art. “Innocent IV”).
1060
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.”
1061
MEPS 2005, art. “Torture.”
1057
219
22 The Bloody Church: The Inquisition
those who had made false accusations. The penalties in serious cases were confiscation of
property1062 or imprisonment. The most severe penalty the inquisitors could themselves
impose was life imprisonment. Thus, when the inquisitors handed a guilty person over to civil
authorities, it was tantamount to a demand for that person's execution.”1063 “Although the
Inquisition in the beginning directed most attention to the Albigenses 1064 and, to a lesser
degree, the Waldenses,1065 it later extended its activities to other heterodox groups, such as the
Fraticelli,1066 and then to witches and diviners.1067 Once the Albigenses were under control,
however, the pace of the Inquisition decidedly slackened, and in the late 14th and 15th
centuries relatively little was heard of it. In the later Middle Ages, however, secular princes
The Catholic Encyclopedia says, “They [i.e., the inquisitors] caused many citizens in their domains, nobles
and commoners, clerics, knights, peasants, spinsters, widows, and married women, to be burnt alive, confiscated
their property, and divided it between them.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, 8:29; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:98).
1063
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.”
1064
“The Christian [i.e., Catholic] Church initially attempted to reconvert the Albigenses through peaceful
means. When every attempt failed, Pope Innocent III launched the armed Albigensian Crusade (c. 1209-1229)
that brutally repressed the Albigenses and desolated much of southern France. Small groups of Albigenses
survived in isolated areas and were pursued by the Inquisition as late as the 14th century.” (MEPS 2005, art.
“Albigenses”).
1065
“Waldenses, members of a Christian sect that grew out of a movement that opposed the ecclesiastical
establishment. The sect was originated by a wealthy French merchant, Peter Waldo of Lyon, in the second half
of the 12th century. Waldo's followers were known as the “poor men of Lyon”. Itinerant preachers under a vow
of poverty, they taught a type of religion that has been erroneously associated with the teachings of the Cathari.
Their simple, Bible-based preaching proved more popular, however, than the more complex teachings of the
Cathari. The archbishop of Lyon vainly forbade them to preach. They were later excommunicated and
persecuted along with the Albigenses in southern France.” (MEPS 2005, art. “Waldenses”).
1066
Fraticelli (Italian, “little brothers”), in a general sense, [were] members of the religious orders founded in
Italy in the 13th century, especially the Franciscans. The name also refers to members of the groups that
separated from the Franciscans in the 14th and 15th centuries, charging the order with improper views regarding
poverty. One of the earliest of these divergent groups, known as the Franciscan Celestines, or Spirituals,
practised severe asceticism. This group was declared heretical and ordered suppressed by Pope John XXII in
1317. In reply, the Celestines declared themselves not only the sole rightful Franciscan order, but the only true
Catholics as well, condemning the entire Church as heretical and declaring the papal decrees invalid. Small
groups of Fraticelli continued their activities for more than a century. The Church took strong measures against
them in the 15th century and, their popular support diminishing, the Fraticelli eventually disappeared.” (MEPS
2005, art. “Fraticelli”). A fellow Franciscan, John of Capistrano (1386-1456), became the inquisitor who tried
and suppressed the Fraticelli. “Born in Capistrano in the Abruzzi region of Italy, John studied law, but he entered
the Franciscan order in 1416 following the death of his wife. He was ordained priest in 1426. Under popes
Martin V, Eugene IV, and Felix V, he served as papal inquisitor against the Fraticelli sect, a splinter group of the
Franciscans that had renounced its parent order. In 1450 Pope Nicholas V sent John to Germany as papal
delegate to preach against the Hussites, a Bohemian religious group that was in revolt against the Church; he
successfully opposed them in Moravia. John’s fanaticism led him into acts of excessive cruelty, such as the
racking and burning of 40 Jews in Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland). Expelled from Bohemia by the king, John
devoted his energies to raising an army to fight the Ottoman Turks, who had been waging war on Europe. In
1456 he took command of the left wing of the army that opposed the Turks in their unsuccessful campaign on
Hungarian-held Belgrade. He died during this conflict at Illock, Slavonia. John was canonized by Pope Benedict
XIII in 1724.” (MEPS 2005, art. “John of Capistrano”).
1067
Innocent VIII “complained of the folly of ecclesiastics and laymen who opposed the Inquisition and its
prosecution of heretical sorcerers.” (Vacandard, Inquisition, pp. 199-201; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:113). For
at least ten centuries there was a continuous slaughter of unfortunate people accused of “witchcraft” (Catholic
Encyclopedia, 13:728; 7:6; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:54). Vacandard in his Inquisition also says that the
Catholic Church burnt 30,000 “witches” in 150 years (Inquisition, pp. 199-201. See also O. C. Lambert, 1:54,
113).
1062
220
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employed a pattern of repression corresponding to the Inquisition.”1068
Under the Influence of the Roman Catholic Church, Civil Rulers Also
Adopted the Use of Torture!
“During the Middle Ages the influence of the Roman Catholic Church contributed to the
adoption of torture by civil tribunals. The Italian municipalities adopted torture early, but it
did not appear in other European countries until France legalized its use in the 13th century.
Ultimately, torture became part of the legal system of every European nation except Sweden
and England. Although torture was never recognized in the common law of England, it was
practiced by exercise of the royal prerogative. In the American colonies torture was illegal;
the few instances of its use were in forms of execution.” 1069
The Bloody Office in its New Clothes
“Alarmed by the spread of Protestantism and especially by its penetration into Italy, Pope
Paul III1070 in 1542 heeded reformers such as Cardinal Gian Pietro Carafa and established in
Rome the Congregation of the Inquisition, also known as the Roman Inquisition and the Holy
Office. Six cardinals, including Carafa, constituted the original commission, whose powers
extended to the whole Church. The Holy Office was really a new institution, related to the
medieval Inquisition only by vague precedents. Freer from episcopal control than its
predecessor, it also conceived of its function differently. Whereas the medieval Inquisition
focused on popular misbeliefs that resulted in the disturbance of public order, the Holy Office
was generally concerned with orthodoxy of a more academic nature, especially as it appeared
in the writings of theologians and high Churchmen.” 1071
The Roman Inquisition or the Holy Office is described as a “notably repressive current.”
“Beginning about 1542 a notably repressive current entered Roman Catholicism itself as the
Index of Forbidden Books and a new Inquisition were instituted. The pontificate of Paul IV
gave the most vigorous support to such measures.”1072
The New Inquisition Censored Books, Condemned Galileo
In 1559, the pope approved the first Index of Forbidden Books. “In the first dozen years or so,
the activities of the Roman Inquisition were relatively modest, restricted almost exclusively to
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.”
MEPS 2005, art. “Torture.”
1070
Paul III (1468-1549), pope (1534-1549), the pope “who initiated the Counter-Reformation. Born Alessandro
Farnese, he was a vocal supporter of reform in the Roman Catholic Church. He revived the Inquisition, but many
considered his nepotistic appointments a sign of weakness. Under his orders Michelangelo began his work on the
Sistine Chapel, and other major structures were commissioned. Politically, Paul strengthened the papal hold on
central Italy. He negotiated the Treaty of Nice (1538) between Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and King
Francis I of France, and he excommunicated King Henry VIII of England in that same year. Paul called the
Council of Trent, but failed to retain the support of the European monarchs. He also authorized the establishment
of the Jesuits, or Society of Jesus, an important element in the Counter-Reformation” (MEPS 2005, art. “Paul
III”).
1071
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.”
1072
MEPS 2005, art. “Counter-Reformation.”
1068
1069
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Italy. When Carafa became Pope Paul IV in 1555,1073 he urged a vigorous pursuit of suspects,
not sparing bishops or even cardinals (such as the English prelate Reginald Pole). He
meanwhile charged the Congregation to draw up a list of books that offended faith or morals,
and as a result he approved and published the first Index of Forbidden Books in 1559.”1074
They had been forbidding the reading of non-Catholic books since the year 496. “The pope
was recognized as the final authority in Church doctrine and government, and the secular state
used force to compel obedience to his decisions. Books or sermons that were opposed to
orthodox faith or morals were prohibited, and their authors were punished. The first catalogue
of forbidden books was issued by Pope Gelasius in 496. Individual heretical books were
subsequently forbidden by special papal edicts. Censorship in this period was concerned
primarily with suppressing heresy. For the purpose of punishing all such manifestations, Pope
Gregory IX instituted the Inquisition in 1231. For almost 500 years the Inquisition remained
an influential agency of religious censorship.”1075
The Inquisition also tried and condemned Galileo. “Although later popes tempered the zeal of
the Roman Inquisition, they began to see it as the customary instrument of papal government
for regulating Church order and doctrinal orthodoxy; for example, it tried and condemned
Galileo in 1633. In 1965 Pope Paul VI, responding to many complaints, reorganized the Holy
Office and renamed it the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” 1076 Why was the
name changed? “The name Inquisition was suppressed in order to shield this congregation
from the hatred inspired by that name.”1077
Spanish Inquisition an Instrument of Persecution
The Spanish Inquisition had the approval of the pope. “Also distinct from the medieval
Inquisition, the Spanish Inquisition was established with papal approval in 1478 at the request
Paul IV (1476-1559), pope (1555-1559), the pope “who vigorously pursued the Counter-Reformation. Born
Gian Pietro Carafa, he was placed in charge of the Inquisition in Rome. After his election to the papacy over the
veto of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, he alienated Protestants and Roman Catholics alike with his zeal for
reform. Among his projects was the compilation and publication (1559) of the first Index of Forbidden Books.
Paul allied with France to drive the Spanish from Italy in 1555, but Spain was victorious. The pontiff denounced
the Peace of Augsburg between the Holy Roman Empire and the Lutheran states, and he would not recognize the
abdication of Charles in favour of his brother Ferdinand I. His hatred of Spain led him to quarrel with Mary I,
Queen of England and wife of Philip II, King of Spain” (MEPS 2005, art. “Paul IV”).
1074
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.”
1075
MEPS 2005, art. “Censorship.”
1076
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.” “The invention of printing in the 15th century made pre-publication
censorship possible. In 1487 Pope Innocent VIII introduced such censorship. Printers we re required to submit
all manuscripts to Church authorities, and a work could be printed only after it had been approved. Pope Paul III
in 1542 established the Universal Roman Inquisition, or Congregation of the Holy Office, one of whose duties
was to examine and condemn heretical or immoral works. In 1559 Pope Paul IV first issued the Index of
Forbidden Books, which was supplemented by his successors. Approximately 5,000 books were ultimately listed
in the Index, the last edition of which was issued in 1948. In 1965 Pope Paul VI made substantial reforms,
changed the name of the Holy Office to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and abolished the
position of censor. It was announced that the Index would not be renewed, that the penalty of excommunication
would no longer have the force of law, but that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would
occasionally publish lists of books that were not recommended for reading by Roman Catholics.” (MEPS 2005,
art. “Censorship”).
1077
Catholic Encyclopedia, 13:137; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:100.
1073
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of King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella I. This Inquisition was to deal with the problem of
Marranos, Jews who through coercion or social pressure had insincerely converted to
Christianity;1078 after 1502, it turned its attention to similar converts from Islam, and in the
1520s to people suspected of Protestantism. Within a few years of the founding of the
Inquisition, the papacy relinquished virtually all supervision of it to the sovereigns. Thus, the
Spanish Inquisition became more an instrument of the state than of the Church, although
Churchmen, especially Dominicans, always functioned as its officers.”1079
Tomas de Torquemada, the Most Notorious Grand Inquisitor
“On Isabella's recommendation, Pope Sixtus IV appointed Torquemada the first inquisitor
general of Castile in 1483.1080 With the encouragement of his sovereigns, Torquemada
reorganized the Inquisition established in 1478. In 1487 he was made grand inquisitor for all
Spain by Pope Innocent VIII. A deeply religious and zealous Catholic who felt that nonCatholics and insincere converts could destroy both the Church and the country, Torquemada
used the Inquisition for the next 11 years to investigate and punish Marranos (insincerely
converted Jews) and Moors, apostates, and others on an unprecedented scale. As in other
contemporary European judicial systems, torture was used to gain evidence, and a wide range
of offences were prosecuted, including heresy, witchcraft, bigamy, and usury. About 2,000
people were burned at the stake during Torquemada's term of office. He also supported the
expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.”1081
Spanish Inquisition Became a Byword for Cruelty and Obscurantism
The procedures of the Spanish Inquisition were similar to its medieval counterpart, and it
became a byword for cruelty and obscurantism. “The Spanish Inquisition was centrally
directed by the Supreme Council of the Inquisition, but its procedures were similar to its
medieval counterpart. It became in time a byword, particularly in Protestant areas, for cruelty
“Marrano (Spanish, “swine”), originally an abusive term, used to refer to a Spanish or Portuguese Jew who,
during the late Middle Ages, insincerely converted to Christianity to escape death or persecution at the hands of
the medieval Inquisition. Many such converts continued to adhere secretly to Judaism and carry out Jewish rites.
In 1478 a second inquisition, called the Spanish Inquisition, was instituted for the purpose of exposing and
punishing the Marranos. Thousands were burned at the stake as heretics.”(MEPS 2005, art. “Marrano”). “It is
estimated that by the end of the 14th century about 100,000 Jews had become Marranos, although the greater
number of Jews openly continued to adhere to their faith even at the risk of expulsion. Some Marranos sincerely
accepted Christianity, but most practised Judaism in secret…The Marranos suffered greatly at the hands of the
Inquisition. Those perceived to be returning to Judaism were severely punished, even burned at the stake.
Marranos were often regarded with hostility by the Christian population and at times became the victims of riots
and massacres. Many Marranos left Spain and Portugal and openly resumed Judaism once they had settled in
countries beyond the scope of the Inquisition.” (MEPS 2005, art. “Marranos”).
1079
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.” “The Inquisition was also a powerful tool for increasing and consolidating
royal power. Inquisitors were royally appointed, invested with both civil and Church power, exempt from normal
jurisdiction, and served by a multitude of informants and bodyguards. Proceedings were secret and the property
of the condemned was confiscated and distributed among the Crown, the Inquisition, and the accusers.” (MEPS
2005, art. “Spain”).
1080
Tomas de Torquemada (1420-1498), Spanish monk, is known for his ruthless administration of the
Inquisition. “Born in Valladolid, he entered the Dominican order at an early age and in 1452 became prior of the
monastery of Santa Cruz in Segovia. After 1474 he was also confessor to the Castilian monarchs Isabella I and
her husband, Ferdinand V” (MEPS 2005, art. “Tomas de Torquemada”).
1081
MEPS 2005, art. “Tomas de Torquemada.”
1078
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and obscurantism, but its methods were much the same as those of similar institutions in other
Roman Catholic and Protestant countries of Europe. Nevertheless, its superior organization
and the consistency of the support it received from the Spanish monarchs, especially Philip
II,1082 assured that it would have a greater impact on religion, politics, and culture than
comparable institutions elsewhere. This efficiency and political support enabled Tomás de
Torquemada, the first and most notorious grand inquisitor, to execute thousands of reputed
heretics.”1083
Catholics claim there is nothing cruel or intolerant about the Inquisition. “There is nothing
exceptionally cruel or intolerant about the statute… which provided that heretics convicted
before a spiritual court, and refusing to recant, were to be handed over to the secular arm and
burnt.”1084
A comment on canon 2214 in the Penal Legislation in the New Code of Canon Law says,
“They should have recourse to penal measures only when persuasion or reproach failed.”1085
Emperor Charles V Also Introduced the Inquisition in His Own Domain
“The grand inquisitor and his tribunal had jurisdiction over local tribunals in colonies such as
Mexico and Peru, which were usually more concerned with sorcery than heresy. Holy Roman
Emperor Charles V introduced the Inquisition into the Netherlands in 1522, where it failed to
wipe out Protestantism. The Spanish established it in Sicily in 1517, but were unable to do so
in Naples and Milan. Historians have noted that many Protestant lands had institutions as
repressive as the Spanish Inquisition, such as the consistory in Geneva at the time of the
French reformer John Calvin. The Inquisition was finally suppressed in Spain in 1834.”1086
St. Bartholomew’s Massacre: Fulfillment of Pius V’s “Inexorable Dream”!
One of the most horrible events of history is the Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day, the
mass slaying of Protestant Huguenots in Paris, on August 24, 1572, on orders of the French
Catholic king Charles IX, at the instigation of the Catholic queen mother, Catherine de
Medicis. It is said that “on the following morning, blood flowed in streams.”1087
“Jealous of the growing power of the Huguenot leader Gaspard de Coligny, adviser to her son,
King Charles IX, Catherine ordered Coligny's assassination. The plot failed, however, and a
number of Huguenot leaders who were gathered in Paris for the wedding of Catherine's
daughter to Henry of Navarre, later King Henry IV of France, demanded an investigation.
Because an investigation would have implicated his mother, Charles was persuaded by the
Queen to order the murder of the Huguenot leaders. The number killed cannot be determined
with any accuracy; estimates vary from 2,000 to 100,000. Coligny was among the first to
“In Spain, the Inquisition became an instrument of the Crown, used effectively by King Philip II to ensure
the orthodoxy of his subjects and to suppress both political and religious dissent.” (MEPS 2005, art. “CounterReformation”).
1083
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.”
1084
Catholic Encyclopedia, 5:441; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:100.
1085
Quoted from O. C. Lambert, 1:100.
1086
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.”
1087
Catholic Encyclopedia, 13:335. See also O. C. Lambert, 1:113, 114.
1082
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fall.”1088 “The wholesale massacre of Protestants in Paris was followed by copycat massacres
in various provincial towns.”1089
That massacre was the fulfillment of the “inexorable dream of Pius V.”1090 Catholics writing
for Protestant readers us usually try to deny that the pope knew about the plot to kill the
Protestant Huguenots, but the Catholic Encyclopedia admits otherwise. “To reestablish
political peace and religious unity by the royal sword was the inexorable dream of Pius
V.”1091 In fact, the Catholic Encyclopedia says the pope had advised the king of France,
Charles IX, to fight the enemies of the Catholic Church unto their utter destruction: “If your
Majesty continues openly and freely to fight the enemies of the Catholic Church unto their
utter destruction, divine help will never fail you.”1092 Our source goes on to say that “he had
begged the king thenceforth to tolerate in his states the exercise of Catholicism only.”1093
In addition to urging the French king, Charles IX, to utterly destroy the Protestants and
tolerate nothing but Catholicism, Pius V furnished them 6,000 troops.1094 This murderous
pope also has been made a “saint.”1095
While Pius V and the Catholic king of France were plotting the massacre, Pius died, May 1,
nearly two and half months before the massacre. On May 13, Gregory XIII became pope. This
was two months before the great bloody event.
Salviati wrote a letter to Gregory XIII just three days before the massacre: “Finally, I hope
that God will give me the grace soon to announce to you something that will fill His Holiness
with joy and satisfaction.”1096
After the bloody event, Gregory XIII, the new pope, celebrated in “glorious triumph.” “A
procession of thanksgiving took place in Rome, and the pope, in a prayer after mass, thanked
God for having granted the Catholic people a glorious triumph.”1097 Our source goes on to
say: “He had a medal struck representing an exterminating angel smiting the Huguenots with
MEPS 2005, art. “Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day.”
MEPS 2005, art. “Reformation.”
1090
“St. Pius V, (1504-1572)” became pope from 1566 to 1572. His “austere reforms and repressive measures
against dissenters strengthened the Roman Catholic Church at the time of the Counter-Reformation. Born
Antonio Ghislieri near Alessandria in northern Italy, he became a Dominican friar at the age of 14 and
subsequently worked zealously for the Inquisition, eventually rising to the position of grand inquisitor; he was
made a cardinal in 1557. As pope he enforced the reforming decrees of the Council of Trent; aided French
Roman Catholics in their persecution of the Huguenots; expelled many Jews from the Papal States;
excommunicated Elizabeth I of England; and used the Inquisition to punish heretics relentlessly. In 1570 he
formed the Holy League in alliance with Spain and Venice against the Turks, and the league won a great naval
victory in the Battle of Lepanto (1571). His personal asceticism, opposition to nepotism, and severe reforms
raised the morale of the Church; and his policy of reliance on the Inquisition virtually eliminated Protestantism
from Italy. His intolerance and harshness, however, were often counter-productive in foreign relations, and he
antagonized France and the Holy Roman Empire as well as England.” (MEPS 2005, art. “Pius V”).
1091
Catholic Encyclopedia, 13:336. See also O. C. Lambert, 1:114.
1092
Catholic Encyclopedia, 13:336. See also O. C. Lambert, 1:114.
1093
Catholic Encyclopedia, 13:336. See also O. C. Lambert, 1:114.
1094
Catholic Encyclopedia, 13:336. See also O. C. Lambert, 1:114.
1095
MEPS 2005, art. “Pius V.” He was canonized in 1712.
1096
Catholic Encyclopedia, 13:337. See also O. C. Lambert, 1:114.
1097
Catholic Encyclopedia, 13:337. See also O. C. Lambert, 1:114.
1088
1089
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the sword.”1098
The Bloody Inquisition Was Justified; the Inquisitors Were Praised, Some
Were Canonized!
The inquisitors were inhuman; they were a murderous character; they had no qualms about
killing a life, yet the Roman Catholic Church has turned them into “saints”! “Not a few of
them have been canonized by the Church,” says the Catholic Encyclopedia.1099
What about the pope who established it? “Gregory IX cannot be accused of injustice, but he
will forever be remembered as the pope who established the Inquisition as a permanent
tribunal, and did his utmost to enforce everywhere the death penalty for heresy.”1100 The
Catholic Church admits they have failed. “We ought not to blame Innocent III for taking
severe measures because one hundred years of preaching and persuasion had utterly
failed!”1101 “There is nothing exceptionally cruel or intolerant about the statute… which
provided that heretics convicted before a spiritual court, and refusing to recant, were to be
handed over to the secular arm and burnt.”1102
Furthermore, “They [i.e., the inquisitors] caused many citizens in their domains, nobles and
commoners, clerics, knights, peasants, spinsters, widows, and married women, to be burnt
alive, confiscated their property, and divided it between them.”1103 Says Lambert, “This was
an easy way to make the Roman Catholic Church rich! It was always a part of inquisitorial
procedure.”1104
REFUTATION:
(1) Christ tells His disciples, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them
that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may
be the children of your Father which is in heaven…” (Matthew 5:44-45)
(2) “Overcome evil with good” is an apostolic injunction. “Therefore if thine enemy hunger,
feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:20-21).
(3) It is an undeniable fact that indeed “in the early Church the usual penalty for heresy was
excommunication.”1105 But by establishing the Inquisition, Gregory IX formalized the
Catholic policy of killing non-Catholics. This is a truth which no Catholic historian could
deny. A Church that claims to be Christ’s own, whose head claims to be Christ’s “Vicar,” has
engaged in a bloody policy of exterminating those who differ from it! This simply shows that
the Roman Catholic Church is not like the early Church.
1098
Catholic Encyclopedia, 13:337. See also O. C. Lambert, 1:114.
Catholic Encyclopedia, 8:31; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:98-99.
1100
Vacandard, Inquisition, p. 132; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:99.
1101
Question Box, p. 232; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:100.
1102
Catholic Encyclopedia, 5:441; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:100.
1103
Catholic Encyclopedia, 8:29; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:98.
1104
O. C. Lambert, 1:98.
1105
MEPS 2005, art. “Inquisition.”
1099
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(4) It is said that the Catholic Church “generally disapproved of coercion and physical
penalties.” However, it is an undeniable fact, too, that she approved the action of coercing
these “heretics” to recant and even imposed severe penalties.
(5) Catholic theologians say no one should blame Innocent III “for taking up severe
measures” against heretics, “because one hundred years of preaching and persuasion had
utterly failed.”1106 There is basically no divine authority for killing “heretics” 1107 even in the
Catholic Bible. The Bible teaches that every man is to be held accountable for his actions (2
Corinthians 5:10).
(6) The church that claims to be “infallible” is apparently not vested with “infallibility” when
it employs torture, when it sanctions killing, and when it influences rulers to do the same in
order to impose religious unity among the believers.
(7) The Penal Legislation in the New Code of Canon Law says, “It is the innate and proper
right independently of any human authority, [for the Catholic Church] to chastise her
delinquent subjects with penalties both spiritual and temporal.”1108 May we ask: Where is
your scriptural authority to chastise people with both “temporal and spiritual penalties”? This
simply proves our contention that the Roman Church is not the Christian church!
(8) The Roman Catholic Church had been persecuting and exterminating people, all in the
name of “religious unity.” For at least ten centuries there was a continuous slaughter of
unfortunate people accused of “witchcraft.”1109 Vacandard in his Inquisition also says that
the Catholic Church burnt 30,000 “witches” in 150 years.1110 A hundred thousand Huguenots
and countless thousands of Albigenses, Waldenses, Camisards, Cathari, Moors, Turks,
Marranos, Jews and other religious groups have been victims of this murderous religious
group. The Roman Catholic Church is drunk with the blood of countless men and women in
the entire world—both Catholics and non-Catholics—who have perished at her altar, all
victims of religious intolerance, bigotry, rapacity and greed for power and wealth.
Don’t Catholic theologians say that “Babylon” is the “cryptic designation” of “Rome”? The
New Catholic Bible says, “From the Apocalypse (14:8; 16:19; etc.), the Jewish writings and
the Sibylline books of the first century, we know that this name [“Babylon”] is the cryptic
designation of the city of Rome.”1111 If so, she is the fulfillment of the prophecy of the
murderous “Rome” in the Book of Apocalypse (or Revelation).
John in his vision saw “the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of
the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great wonder.” (Apocalypse 17:6).
John identified this woman by the name written on her forehead: “And upon her forehead was
a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, and THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
1106
Question Box, p. 232; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:100.
By this term we mean anyone or any group who differs in belief and practice from the Roman Catholic
Church.
1108
Penal Legislation in the New Code of Canon Law, 53; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:100
1109
Catholic Encyclopedia, 13:728; 7:6; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:54.
1110
Vacandard, Inquisition, pp. 199-201; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:54, 113.
1111
Introduction to the First Epistle of St. Peter, The Holy Bible, New Catholic Edition, p. 304.
1107
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AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Apocalypse 17:5).
Who is this “woman,” this “great whore”? I am more inclined to believe that this is not
referring to the Roman Empire. For some reasons: This figurative “Rome,” also called the
“Babylon,” is “the great whore” who sits upon “many waters” (Apocalypse 17:1), meaning
many nations. The rulers of the earth “have committed fornication with her” (17:2). In (17:3),
she is said to be “full of names of blasphemy.”1112 She has always been a “mystery” to all
(17:5a); she is the “mother of harlots” (17:5b) and of “all abominations” on earth (17:5c). In
(17:6), she is drunken with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
And if you wonder about the “seven heads” (17:3, 7), it refers to the “seven mountains” on
which the “whore” sits (17:9), which is descriptive of city of Rome, where the “whore” has
her headquarters. The “great whore” is the Roman Catholic Church itself!
(8) In their writings, Catholic writers and theologians have justified the sins of the Roman
Catholic Church. Listen to Vacandard: “Gregory IX cannot be accused of injustice, but he
will ever be remembered as the pope who established the Inquisition as a permanent tribunal,
and did his utmost to enforce everywhere the death penalty for heresy.”1113
Or to Bertrand L. Conway: “Do you dare defend the cruelty of pope Innocent III in ordering
the Crusade against the Albigenses, and mercilessly demanding that they be put to death?”
“Yes we do defend his policy, for the laws he enacted were not at all excessive compared with
the strict Roman law.”1114
Or to the Catholic Encyclopedia: “There is nothing exceptionally cruel or intolerant about the
statute.. which provided that heretics convicted before a spiritual court, and refusing to recant,
were to be handed over to the secular arm and burnt.”1115
Or to Spalding: “I cannot imagine in what the barbarity consists, which you Protestants
attribute to the Inquisition. On the contrary, it is, in my opinion, the mildest and most lenient
tribunal that exists.”1116
But their “pope,” John Paul II, apologized for all the sins that the Roman Catholic
Church has committed in the past two thousand years! “In another symbolic act in the
Millennium year, John Paul II issued an unprecedented apology for the past sins of the Roman
Catholic Church; he divided the sins of the past 2,000 years of Church history into seven
categories: general sins; sins in the service of truth (including the violence of the Crusades
and Inquisition); sins against Christian unity; sins against the Jews; sins against respect for
love, peace, and cultures; sins against the dignity of women and minorities; and sins against
human rights.”1117
It is clear in the Greek text that the phrase “being filled with names of blasphemy” is referring to the whore
sitting upon the scarlet beast.
1113
Vacandard, The Inquisition, p. 132; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:99.
1114
Bertrand L. Conway, Question Box, pp. 194-195; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:99.
1115
Catholic Encyclopedia, 5:441; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:100.
1116
Spalding in Miscellanae, 229; quoted by O. C. Lambert, 1:98.
1117
MEPS 2005, art. “John Paul II.”
1112
228