Holy Medieval Catholic Inquisition Meaning,Quotes And Pictures


Relentless and cruel dissidents were interrogated, tortured and burned at the stake if necessary. A Christian does not just dealing with people, but the inquisitors of the Middle Ages knew no mercy when it came to the unity of faith. About five centuries the Church took action against so-called heretics, also did not before prominent scientists like Galileo Galilei halt. And in spite of cruelty – the historians agree that the introduction of the Inquisition was nevertheless a step forward in the legal history of the Middle Ages.

The ordeal

Wood engraving after Rene de Moraine: An accused is tortured by hanging tied together behind his back arms on a rope

The methods of the Inquisition were cruel

Has always persecuted the Church of other faiths. In order to convert it, it makes use of the early Middle Ages the so-called God’s judgment. The judgment of God is at this time the only way to convict a suspect indeed, if it is not caught in the act, and so the guilt is evident. A suspected murderer is led to the corpse: Catch the wounds to bleed again, this is a proof of his guilt. Suspects must handle hot iron: If they are not seriously injured, they are innocent. The duel between two nobles decide on guilt or innocence, God is the one giving the victory that right. The judge holds back the process. He pays attention to a formally correct behavior of accuser and defendant, but does not own investigation before. At the beginning of the 13th century, the Church forbids clerics to participate in such processes and reasoning.

Oil painting of three inquisitors in advising

The inquisitors were plaintiffs, defenders and judges

But there is no general rule of law in dealing with heretics, and the result is successively a new process method, the “Inquisitio”.”Inquisitio” means “research”. The inquisitors are prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges at the same time, they “investigate”, they are authorized, without initiating the prosecution of a third party because of a process of its own and to question witnesses.So these are also often cruel, terms of the process is the “Inquisitio” a step forward, because they are at least a slight chance of defending the accused and the ordeals and similar irrational methods detaches. This procedure is also urgently needed because the emergence of great heretic groups threatened the church existentially.

The emergence of heretic groups in the 12th century

In the 12th century AD, the Catholic Church is losing credibility among the population. The churchmen of Rome are more concerned with the accumulation of wealth than about the Church’s teachings and the spiritual welfare of the faithful.At the same time this is a time when the living conditions of the people are poor: There are a lot of hunger and great distress. Life is a vale of tears for those who believe, you are looking for support in the piety and all her hope is directed to a good life after death. But who can guarantee them their salvation? From the Catholic Church, who lives in clover sinful, more and more people turn away.

French manuscript illumination from the 14th century: the expulsion of the Cathars of Carcassonne by the Crusaders

1209 there is a crusade against the Cathars

At that time, built in the south of France and in northern Italy a new church movement, founded by the Cathars, the “pure”, as they call themselves, and the Waldenses. They live as opposed to the Catholic Church people in poverty. For them material things are the work of the devil, they preach the gospel message and are convinced that the soul can be saved only by asceticism. The Cathars establish their own dioceses and use our own bishops. Disappointed by the princes of the Church in Rome, close them more and more devout Christians.

This creates a counter-Church which the Pope is not only an eyesore, but also threatens the political balance of power in the south of France, for the followers of the “Pure”, which also include Prince, also reject the oath to the king from. Never in its history has the Catholic Church by heretics, dissenters of their faith, so existentially threatened. Completely confused in dealing with heretics, persuaded Pope Innocent III. the French king in 1209 for a crusade against the Cathars. Twenty years later, ending the crusade, the degenerates more and more into a war of conquest against the counts of the south and leads to an aggrandizement of the French king. But the problem of heresy can therefore not be solved. The heresy continues to exist.

The establishment of the Inquisition

Mural: 'The dream of Pope Innocent III'.  The hl.  Francis supports the threatened collapse Lateran Church

‘The dream of Pope Innocent III’

The Church is faced with the task of finding a way in which they can systematically detect and combat heresy. Originally, the bishops were in charge of the fight against heretics.But they are overwhelmed or not even interested in solving the problem. Therefore, to assume responsibility specially trained emissaries of the Pope. Pope Innocent III. has assigned the Order of the Dominicans and Franciscans at the beginning of the 13th century an important task in the fight against heresy. The mendicant orders, which – unlike the other orders – not their whole lives praying and working spend behind monastery walls, have a completely different closeness to the people. Drag across the country as an itinerant preacher, preach the true gospel and to accept ever in this manner the heretics the wind out of the sails. Pope Gregory IX. is it then who appoints 1231 Dominicans and Franciscans to “inquisitors” and they charged with the persecution of heretics. This is the birth of the Inquisition.

Rome equips the Inquisitor made with a power of attorney, which is valid for one or more dioceses. The new legal procedure “Per Inquisitionem” (by inquiry) replaces the ordeals and similar irrational methods. The inquisitors are prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges at the same time, they “investigate”, they are authorized, without initiating the prosecution of a third party because of a process of its own and to question witnesses. In very stubborn cases, Pope Innocent IV. Has 1252 along the lines of state law also allows the use of torture. After consultation with the assessors of the Inquisitor comes to a verdict. Since the church itself but must carry out any judgments, it is dependent on the support of the secular power. The commitment of Friedrich II. (His grandfather Frederick I in 1183 has an agreement with Pope Lucius III. Closed) to support the Pope in the persecution of heretics, is a crucial prerequisite for the success of the Inquisition.

The procedure against heretics

Wood engraving: 'Konrad von Marburg, the papal Ketzemeister'

Konrad von Marburg was a cruel Inquisitor

With the Inquisition, the Catholic Church now has the opportunity to proceed systematically throughout Europe against heretics. The Inquisitor moves from city to city, all citizens can compete in the marketplace. After the heretic preaching he sends them with the command home heretics display in a specified period to him or show themselves. In this case, the heretic’s what happens with a more lenient punishment. Denunciation and self-display are a successful instrument of the Inquisition, but also create the problem of abuse. The accused must be brought to justice; the defenses are low, because they are the names of the witnesses be withheld, so that they are not exposed to reprisals of the accused or his family. For particularly stubborn heretics the Inquisitor can apply torture. Then fixed the blame, the verdict is announced publicly as part of a trade show, it means, at worst, burning at the stake. But there are far fewer people at the stake, as is widely thought. One of the most famous inquisitors of the Middle Ages, Bernard Gui, condemned in 930 processes 42 heretics to death at the stake. 307 defendants, he was sentenced to imprisonment, 139 acquitted, and the rest comes with lighter punishments such as the wearing of Bußkreuzen or pilgrimages thereof.

The Inquisition is active primarily in France, Italy and Spain, but also raging in Germany. Here especially Konrad falling from Marburg on a cruel Inquisitor. He is killed in the summer 1233rd Mid-14th century decreases the importance of the medieval Inquisition. The heretical movements are destroyed, this problem of the church is resolved. But soon the Inquisition is facing new tasks.

The “Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition”

The Reformation, the invention of the printing press and the dissemination of new scientific ideas brings the Catholic Church again in a tight spot. 1542 founded by Pope Paul III. the “Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition” in Rome. The individual Inquisitor, who previously has the final word, disappears from now on in a bureaucratic apparatus: the “Holy Officium” as that authority is also called. It consists of about a dozen cardinals, whose mission is to Reiner attitude of faith.

The bronze statue of Giordano Bruno in the Campo de Fiori in Rome

Giordano Bruno died in 1600 on the pyre

The invention of the printing press itself heretical ideas can spread like wildfire.Consequently, the Authority is trying to control the book market. Books are checked and censored, regularly an index of all banned books will be published. Who has a forbidden book or reading must reckon with excommunication and that applies not only to reformatory literature. Especially the emergence of new scientific ideas leads to a harsh confrontation with the ecclesiastical dogma. The most prominent victim is Galileo Galilei. Not only that he sees the Copernican system as a fact: He is the Pope even a fool out and has to answer as relapsed heretic twice before the Inquisition. He is sentenced to life imprisonment, which is mitigated later in house arrest. Worse it is with Giordano Bruno. The former Dominican monk is publicly burned at the Campo dei Fiori in Rome, because he claimed that Jesus was not the Son of God and the universe is infinite.

With the Enlightenment in the 18th century the control of scientific ideas but finally an end. The Inquisition is now focusing on monitoring the order within the Church. Their influence in Europe also because the secular powers of the church beyond the means of power is shrinking. But the Inquisition will even milder. 1761 and 1782, there is the recent death sentences in Rome or Seville. 1917 gives the pope the head of the authority to a cardinal from 1965, the “Holy Office” finally dissolved, the indexing of books will be abolished.

The Congregation

Pope Benedict XVI.  in purple-red robe

The former Pope Benedict XVI. was head of the CDF

In place of the “Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition” enters the CDF. She wakes up still on the unity of faith. But you can effectively proceed only against their employees and clergy of the Church. The most effective punishment that may be imposed, is the prohibition. The future Pope Benedict XVI., Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was for many years head of the CDF. He has, for example, the theologian Hans Küng and Leonardo Boff revoked the teaching license. Küng questioned the infallibility of the pope, and criticized the ban on abortion.

A change of the Catholic Church is seen at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), there is the Catholic Church professes the religion and conscience. On the first Sunday of Lent of 2000, admits Pope John Paul II. The first pope publicly errors and misconduct of the Catholic Church a. He says the church has sometimes allowed to intolerance – by which he means the persecution of other faiths, forced conversions, torture and inquisition. 1998 opens the Vatican archives of the Roman Inquisition. Thousands of Inquisition records from many centuries will certainly bring a lot of insight into a dark chapter of the Catholic Church.

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