Rev. Father A. Maximiadis
The Inquisition spread from Continental Europe to the Americas. A numerous number of Jewish Qedoshim (קְדֹשִׁים, i.e. “holy ones”) died at the hands of the Inquisitors throughout Continental Europe, and England between 1232 and 1834. Notwithstanding Papal bulls issued by Popes Clement VI (1342-52), Boniface IX (1389-1404), and Pope Nicholas V (1447-55) ‘denouncing the activities of the Inquisitors,’ the Inquisitors ignored their decrees.
The Inquisition was the socially accepted solutions, at that time, to deal with the anarchy and heresy that were creating havoc in both church and state. For example, Donatism, Priscillianism; in the 4th and 5th centuries, and the Catharist (Albigenses) in the 12th and 13th cents. These disruptive forces were curbed to assure national unity and security. Whether or not some judicial practices were, in some isolated cases, excessive, e.g., Tomas de Torquemada (1420-98), they were the accepted judicial procedures of the state in those centuries. Some state-approved practices of this century will be viewed censoriously in the centuries ahead. However, these court proceedings – whether we approve or not – have to be considered in the context of the accepted societal norms of the period. The Inquisition was paramount in protecting the church, state, and culture, which eventually influenced the formation of Western civilisation; a civilisation of which many of its benefits are enjoyed today.