Follup up on the Inquisition

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Dear Sir,

Your facts are wrong on the inquisition, were does your research come from? 68,000,000, come on. And as far as praying to Mary and Saints. It is the belief of Catholics these wonderful people who have made it into heaven might intercede for us to the Lord just as if you asked a friend to pray for you. We don't worship statues because they are but inanimate objects with no power. Jesus is the only way to the Father, that is taught by the Church. You guys fear what you don't understand... The Church isn't perfect and yes I am sure in history there have been some very bad people in positions of power and authority but you can't blame the Spirit of the Church for the actions of men. The evil men who have been positioned in the church have always been exposed, the same as in Protestant Churches. The Lord will not allow the gates of Hell to prevail over the church. But I still say Chick is a very hateful man, who will one day make an account of his actions to the Lord almighty. As will I and every other Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim and Atheist. I just feel it is wrong for Chick to publish hateful literature because there are a lot of impressionable people who would believe his lies. And this would never allow Peace to reign in their hearts......

The inquisition in Spain was established as a separate and distinct use of the tribunal inquiry, The Spanish Inquisition was set up by the Catholic Sovereigns, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, By special authorization from the Holy See in 1476. Its purpose was primarily (1) to protect the Jewish converts from retaliation from their fellow men and from relapse. The second purpose was to protect the Moorish converts and to keep them from forming harmful alliances with various heretical groups. Thus it became a semipolitical machine, a mixture of ecclesiastical and state effort to protect Christian Spain when the nation faced unusual conditions. It was however only 6 years after its institution that protest was made to Rome because of cruel and illegal practices, and Pope Sixtus IV issued a brief which threatened penalties for abuses of canonical procedure. The inquisition was a ruthless tool of both zealots and political self seekers. The number of people killed during the inquisition is grossly overexaggerated. however, I agree it was a period in history which should have never occurred, but also look at the level of human intelligence as it has grown. Do you really believe it is the Holy Catholic Church who should be getting the blame and not some very bad and wicked men who occupied space and time in world history?

And as far as this confession thing you are talking about, John:20. v21-23 says this, Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." Again Jesus was talking to the disciples during this time. As a result of Apostolic Succession this has been passed down through the Tradition of the Church, The handing down. I see no problem with it, but there are many Catholics who will not participate in this Sacrament for various reasons. I guess it is by choice. It doesn't mean they cannot be forgiven by any means, that is something the Father in Heaven can do with the direct intervention of Christ himself. After all he is our Advocate to the Father.

Just know this: If you desire to reconcile with the Church, the Catholic Churches will welcome you with open arms. -Dan

Dear Dan,

The figure of 68 million killed in the inquisition is not my figure, but the figure Jack Chick quotes. It is printed on page five of My Name In The Vatican? Chick's footnote indicates the information is from The Shadow of Rome printed in 1960 by Zondervan, page 87.

I expect that figure includes every single person killed in every single Catholic persecution from the last 2,000 years, probably including the crusades as well! But even conventional historians credit the inquisition with murdering millions. For the sake of argument, however, lets say they only killed one person. One innocent person was murdered by the Vatican for no other reason than they were a protestant (a Christian protestant who believed in the same Bible, but not all the Catholic dogma). His brutal torture and execution was carried out by the church, for the church, under orders of an "infallible" pope. Even if this doesn't bother you, it obviously bothers Chick and many other protestants. Remember, other religious persecutions have been carried out by protestants throughout history, but they weren't ordered by the protestant Church. That's a major difference.

Trying to suggest the Spanish inquisition was set up to protect Jewish or Moorish converts is rather amusing. I'm not trying to pick a fight here, but I bet most minorities don't appreciate that kind of protection. Protection is arresting those who actually hurt others, instead of rounding up everyone who "might" hurt others and forcing them to change their religion under penalty of death. (It's bound to burn a lot of bridges with any Jewish acquaintances, to say the least.) And to maintain that the Pope issued "a brief" scaling down the violence after just six years is somewhat humorous as well. The Nazi Holocaust was completed in the same amount of time. The fact that Hitler sent telegrams ordering police to stop the vandalism during Kristallnacht doesn't win him many brownie points with historians.

You asked if I believed "the Holy Catholic Church should be getting the blame and not some very bad and wicked men who occupied space and time in world history?" Our Museum site is really about Chick's opinions rather than mine. But Jack clearly believes the Vatican IS to blame.

However, I'll go a step further and say I have to agree with him on this point because it's a historical fact. The chain of command was well established. The Catholic Church controlled canon law during that time. Secular law was subordinate to religious law. "Right of cleric" meant you could not arrest anyone who could read Latin, because they were trained by the Church and therefore beyond the power of secular law. It was this kind of absolute power that corrupted the Catholic church to such an extent that it lead to the inquisitions and the protestant reformation in the first place.

That doesn't mean I don't like Catholics or the Catholic church. Two of my sisters are Catholic and so is my girlfriend. I'm hoping they'll bail me out during the next inquisition. (Just kidding, haw-haw-haw!) Seriously, I don't blame them anymore for the inquisition than I blame myself for slavery. But whereas slavery has been outlawed and the last country that refused to give it up was invaded and devastated, the Vatican is alive and well. The church acts (like you do) that the inquisition wasn't really its fault. It still maintains it is the "one true church", that the pope is infallible, and protestants are heretics. Nor has it ever been punished or paid a single cent in reparations for its crimes against humanity. And yes, that's exactly what the inquisition was, a crime against humanity, arguably the greatest example of it in the history of the world.

So although I'm not as outraged as Chick is about the evil the Catholic church has committed in its past, your attempt to excuse and defend those crimes are far more disturbing to me that Chick's efforts to emphasize them. But that's just my opinion, since you asked.

I have no beef with confession so I won't challenge your views on the topic. Like transubstantiatian, that's one of Chick's pet peeves that doesn't really bother me one way or another. But I don't see how his criticism of it (or similar issues) justify labeling him a bigot. For comments about Chick's view on statues and intercessory prayer, go here.

[Dan's Closing Remarks]

I am in no way defending the murder of any person as being right. The Church has made mistakes in the past, I'll grant it. Hopefully we have learned from our mistakes. However, I do believe the figures Chick quotes are inaccurate and written by anti-catholic people who have an ax to grind. That is my opinion and the opinion of many. So don't try and turn and twist my words making me a bad guy. I love my Church, my faith and my relationship with the Lord. I have put up with too many discriminatory anti-catholic bigots with in my own family. My brother left the Church in pursuit of Fundamentalism. Talk about anti-catholic, former Catholics usually comprise the most anti-catholic views, due to their own short comings and lack of personal development within their own faith. They should know better. As far as you are concerned I don't fault you as much because you have been taught to dislike or even loathe the Catholic Church as an institution. Shame on the Preachers that taught you this hatred for Judgment will be theirs one day. Anyway, I wish you well and hold no dislike of you or your Church. I just wish you would pray about it and ask God to guide your spirit. Peace of Christ be with you!

Thanks for your comments Dan,

However, you're mistaken if you think I hate the Catholic church. There's a lot I like about it. But I believe in giving criticism where criticism is due. (Just as I do with Chick.)

If it makes you feel any better, two of my siblings left the protestant church to become Catholic, so you're still up by one!


[Correction by Joeseph]

If Jack Chick said the popes ordered 68 million killed, as you said on this site, per The Shadow of Rome, please appreciate that the quoted source does not say that.

What The Shadow of Rome by John B Wilder, published by Zondervan, actual says is,

"The records of historians and martyrologists show that it may be reasonable to estimate that from fifty to sixty-eight millions of human beings died, suffered torture, lost their possessions, or were otherwise devoured by the Roman Catholic Church during the awful years of the Inquisition."

What it means to be devoured or lost possessions I don't know, but it doesn't mean being murdered by order of the pope(s). I recall the Encyclopedia Britannica speaking of the worst of the Inquisitors was responsible for delivering 2,000 heretics to Spanish royalty for execution.

Dear Joeseph,

Thanks for following up on the footnote and making this excellent point. Leave it to Chick to give the WORST CASE interpretation of the quote. (Lawyers and news reporters do the same thing all the time, giving technically correct information that isn't balanced or complete.) I find it hard to believe a reputable Encyclopedia estimated the Inquisition deaths at only 2,000. If it did, I bet that figure is from only one of several inquisitions, because conventional historians credit Rome with killing millions once all the inquisitions are combined. Granted, this is from a span of several centuries, but it was also during a time when the population was a fraction of its current size, making only 1 million dead an unprecedented attack on humanity.

For documentation of the millions killed, names & dates, and the methods used, go here.

[View Joe's response here.]

Here's another Inquisition Denier: This one from Stephen, 6/5/08 9:46:33 AM:

I've just read your article 'Chick Denouncers (And they call Chick a hate-lit publisher?)'.
You are being completely naive measuring the violent historical realities of the past 2,000 years against the exalted, and so rarely attained, modern humanitarian ethics.
I live in London, England and have a good grasp of our history. [I've got a Master's degree but I'm only a layman.] It is my understanding that many Non-conformist Christians such as the Puritans did emigrate to the U.S.A. because of persecution by the Established Anglican Church. Certainly, Anabaptists were burned at the stake in this city 'roaring and crying' in the Smithfield Fires: murdered by Protestants. The founding of your nation is far more complex than the arrival of a shipload of Puritans. There were many diverse waves of immigration, not least the founding of the 'Maryland Colony' by persecuted Catholics ca.1630.
The worst atrocities committed in this country were the murders of scores of Catholic priests over the centuries following the Reformation. Catholicism never died out in England and priests trained abroad, and operating under pain of death if captured, continued to enter the country 'illegally' fearlessly ministering to the flock. Thanks to their spilt blood the Catholic Church is numerically dominant in England once more. After, the systematic state attempt (the "Reformation") at her extermination you should ask why. The truth is that this Church is the real thing: the Church Christ Himself founded on the Rock against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. Catholicism's vigour is the very Life of God that permeates its life through and through.
Our priests when captured were hung, drawn and quartered at the Tyburn tree near Marble Arch, central London. I visited the Catholic convent that stands near that site last Sunday afternoon:
A famous convert Cardinal Newman once said 'To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.' Presumably your sister knows something of this. The Catholic Church recieved yet another famous convert on Pentecost Sunday, 2008. Christopher Lee is arguably our most well-known political and constitutional historian (due to being a BBC TV personality) and author of a historical series called 'This Sceptred Isle'.
I'm sure Christopher Lee  knows more about the Inquistions and atrocites of past centuries than you or I. There is nothing naive in the report of his conversion to the ancient Faith. My bookshelves are packed with books of real history. I myself read all the Chick comics two decades ago when I became a Christian. I soaked them all up at the beginning like a sponge. My brains were brand new and trustingly open to the first wave of propaganda I was subjected to. Even at the time though, at the back of my mind I was concerned so much of Chick's works seemed grotesque, far-fetched and no proof was offered. It is absurd to dismiss real history books as 'revisionist' and promoting America's old prejudice: anti-Catholicism, through comics!
I'm sure your sister is praying for you daily.

Dear Stephen,

I respect but disagree with your underlying premise. There are some historians who think more Catholics were murdered than the thousands, if not, millions of non-Catholics killed by the Vatican and its followers. However, those historians are usually Catholics themselves or play to that audience. The Inquisitions lasted nearly 1,000 years, and even common sense would dictate that nearly all of Europe under Vatican Cannon Law would be able to punish more minorities than the hand full of nations (like England) who eventually ejected Vatican influence. But if you wish to selectively read history and collect all the books that make the most powerful religious institution of its time look like the victim, knock yourself out.

As far as your last comment, "It is absurd to dismiss real history books as 'revisionist' and promoting America's old prejudice: anti-Catholicism, through comics" we are actually in agreement. That would be absurd. But of course, I've never said any such thing. Your so called "real history" is no more real than Chick's is. Yours is basically a conspiracy theory, just as Chick's version of history is. ("America's old prejudice: anti-Catholicism"? Get real. I guess that's why we elected a Catholic President over 40 years ago, nominated another last election cycle, and a majority of our Supreme court is Catholic. We must REALLY hate them.) I've stated many times I do not agree with Chick's inflated Inquisition claims, but I also do not believe the Catholic activists who try to deflate the Inquisition death toll. The truth is somewhere in the middle, between the 3,000 dead that the Inquisition Deniers claim, and the the 60,000,000 victims that Chick claims. Both figures are outrageous, but in opposite extremes.

You have fallen victim to the classic "either/ or" fallacy. Just because someone doesn't agree with your fanatical views, doesn't mean they automatically agree with your enemies equally fanatical views in the other direction. So this battle is between you and Chick, not you and me. I'm just stating as a matter of historical record what most the universities and most experts agree, that the Catholic church started the inquisition, that they lasted for centuries, and that they tortured and often murdered hundreds of thousands of victims (or perhaps even millions if both groups are combined) for having the wrong religious beliefs. I also believe that this was an unjust and immoral act. (gasp!)

Did the Protestant's retaliate? Of course they did. Did they also commit atrocities? Absolutely. And it was also immoral and unjust. But did they equal or surpass the number of victims persecuted by the Vatican and its followers for preceding centuries? You do the math: Most of Europe verses England. Hmmmm. Not likely.

As far as the USA is concerned, the closest thing we did to hanging a Catholic for being Catholic was the execution of Mary Surratt, who was executed in 1865 because her son was involved in the Lincoln assassination but then escaped to France. Some believe that her being Catholic made the jury less sympathetic to the fact that no real evidence implicated her in the actual plot. I believe she was unjustly killed, but she would have been hanged regardless of her religion because the North was hell-bent on revenge. Either way, it's a far cry from a government systematically rounding up and persecuting religious deviants, don't you think?

So they may be COMICS, but if I had to say who is closer to reality about the horrors of the inquisition (your version or Chick's version), I think on this one point, Chick has the upper hand. But I'm sure you'll just attribute that to my pro-American "Anti-Catholic" bias. Haw-haw!


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