Inquisition (Holy Inquisition)

What is the Inquisition

The Inquisitionalso known as Holy InquisitionIt was a institution dedicated to the investigation, conviction and punishment of heresywhich was linked to the Catholic Church.

Its period of operation extended from the Middle Ages, when in 1184 the first inquisitorial organ was inaugurated in France, until the 19th century, when it was abolished. However, it would not be until 1231 that it would begin to be directed directly by the pope.

As such, the Inquisition was a legal court of the catholic churchadministered in cooperation with the civil authority, whose objective was to preserve the State against the enemies of the faith.

It must be emphasized that in the medieval times there was no separation between church and state, so there was no clear line between authorities. In addition, the people were obliged to follow the religion of the king, and everything that constituted a threat in the religious sphere was considered heresy.

A heresy, in this case, was to contravene the postulates of Catholic doctrine and, therefore, the faith of the king. Heretical acts could be the practice of witchcraft, the worship of idols, the worship of false gods from the point of view of Catholicism, among other things.

The Inquisition punished anyone who opposed the Christian religion, who did not accept the Catholic faith, who refused to convert, who did not want to give up their belief in favor of Catholicism. And so, he sent the Jews to the stake, and the same fate befell the women who were taken for witches, or the books considered a threat to the faith. In addition, he practiced torture and launched deadly crusades against communities considered infidels.

In this sense, that of the Inquisition is considered one of the darkest episodes of the Catholic Churchdespite the fact that similar situations were experienced by Christians in countries with a Protestant majority.

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Etymologically, the word inquisition comes from the Latin inquisitive, inquisitions, and, as such, means ‘action and effect of inquiring’. To inquire, in this sense, means to investigate, find out, or carefully examine something.

See also: Heresy and Witchcraft

Inquisition according to the Bible

In the Bible, where the dogmas of the Catholic religion are collected, it is noted that God ordered the Hebrew people to investigate anyone who committed acts of heresy, such as worshiping idols or “false gods”, in order to judge and condemn them. . Some guidelines are even pointed out that, according to the doctrine, should be followed in the inquisitorial process.

Deuteronomy notes: “If, in your midst, in any of the cities that Yahweh will give you, a man or a woman does what is displeasing to Yahweh, until they break their covenant; if he is going to serve other gods and they prostrate before them… As soon as they report it to you or as soon as you know about it, you will start to investigate everything well. If you prove that this abomination has been committed in Israel, you shall bring out the man or woman who committed this deed to the gates of the city, and stone them to death… You shall require the testimony of two or three witnesses to sentence them to death. No one will be sentenced to death for the accusation of a single witness… Thus you will make evil disappear from your midst” (XVII: 2-7).

Inquisition in Spain

What Spanish inquisition was called the Court of the Holy Office of the Inquisition which functioned between 1478 and 1834. It was created by the Catholic kings with the aim of protecting and preserving the Catholic faith in their domains. As such, it was always under the control of the Spanish monarchy. Its scope of action extended over the entire Spanish territory and overseas colonies in America, such as New Spain, current Mexico, or the Philippines, in Asia.

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