Thursday, August 20, 2015

Spanish Inquisition was 99% Myth


A BBC documentary. After centuries of of lies and myths aimed at the Catholic Church we now know the Spanish Inquisition never happened, no one was burned, put on the rack or any of that. It makes you wonder, how much "settled history" is actually not true.

15 comments:

J said...

Gracias, Padre Blake!

Murray said...

It makes you wonder, how much "settled history" is actually not true.

A very great deal of it, if my experience is any indication. Moderns are extremely fond of the Cartoon View of History, in which our ancestors prior to about 1960 were (with a very few Enlightened exceptions) black-hatted, mustache-twirling Snidely Whiplash figures who perpetrated inexplicably evil acts towards women, natives, Jews, immigrants, etc. I get a lot of this right now because I have two children in high school (public, because our Catholic system is dying from sheer awfulness), and they get taught these tales in History and Social Studies courses. My kids generally know better than to take these fables at face value, but most of their classmates are far less critical.

In every case, when I have dug beneath the surface of these Whig-history morality plays, I have discovered living, instantly recognizable human beings who were responding to actual contemporary events in a rational fashion. This doesn't mean, of course, that their actions were always moral or adequate to the situation (often the opposite!), but they certainly weren't mere automatons with their switch set to "Evil", as they are so often portrayed.

Jane said...

An illuminating read is: "The History of the Protestant Reformation" written by William Cobbett between 1824 and 1827 and republished by TAN.

Inter alia, Good Queen Bess and Bloody Mary swap epithets, according to Cobbett and his research. And he was not a Catholic.

JARay said...

Finally this myth may, in fact, be put to death. I suppose that we must thank the BBC for producing this. The question now is who is going to take any notice?

umblepie said...


Very interesting and informative. Thank you Father.

Jacobi said...

A general comment. At a time when the 20th/21st century problem of dictated, Secularist-led, belief is beginning to be questioned, (the swing of the pendulum I suppose), the Catholic Church and press, continue with their silence and coyness.


The myth of the Inquisition, particularly the Spanish Inquisition, was and still is, an example of Protestant inspired propaganda.

It is good that the BBC, yes the Beeb, believe it or not, dared to produce this objective analysis, even though it was 1994?? Why has it been kept so quiet. Why has the Catholic Church not reacted?

Now we have alternative statistics (which incidently have been there for anyone willing to look), 40/50 burnings compared with 150,000 in mainly Protestant Europe for heresy and witchcraft (often old women suffering from Dementia).

As for the answer to your question, we Catholics must just thinking again, objectively, about so-called settled history and not be influenced by the anti-Catholic, now mainly Secularist, propaganda still so prevalent.

We must put aside the false meekness so prevalent in post-Vatican II thinking!

Victoria said...


The BBC is certainly no friend of the Catholic Church yet if you can stomach to read only a portion of the comments on YouTube one wonders if they have even bothered to watch the documentary because in the comments were the same old anti-Catholic myths.

2 Timothy 4:3 (NIV) For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine [the truth]. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

On the side of the angels said...

History's being rewritten all the time - look at the Catholic media's version of synod - My other half studied the official government records of the kosovan war and it bears absolutely no resemblance to the accepted established media/political version - even the Times in the church during the Easter people nightmare undergoes revisionism at our modern diocesan/deanery meetings - even the recent history of Pro-Life screwups or wrong policies or disastrous strategies
don't exist if you hear the revised standard version - even reading some bloggers' versions of recent years makes me feel I'm suffering from false memory syndrome! Maybe we should make more records while we sail through it all?

Fred Brown said...

When I was at one seminary it was called the "Black Legend", not only the Inquisitions but elsewhere too. I remember one history prof saying, "The Catholics were victorious with the sword but the Reformers won with the pen."

Nicolas Bellord said...

Very interesting. Georges Bernanos asserted that many of our ideas about human rights come from the Inquisition's development of law as to the rights of the accused. It would be interesting to know to what extent that is true. You can get some idea of this from Hugh Thomas's 'Rivers of Gold' which deals with the Spanish conquest of central America. The disputations at the Collegio San Gregorio (now a museum well worth visiting) in Valladolid with the likes of Bartolomeo de las Casas trying to ameliorate the lot of the American Indians are particularly interesting.

I have always understood that the rights of the accused in our own English Ecclesiastical Courts were developed to such a degree that by 1800 nobody got convicted of anything.

Sean W. said...

Yes, the consistency with which Whig history turns out to be lies is just breathtaking.

Independent said...

A former secretary of the LGBT no less, in his book "Europe's House Divided" makes a vigorous defence of the inquisition. He regards it as much superior to the state courts. Prof Diarmaid MacCulloch also tells us that the Arabs of North Africa enslaved more white people by means of slave raids on Europe than did other Arabs sell black people to white slave traders for transport across the Atlantic. The same writer also demolishes the myth of a Protestant/Catholic State Church in England.

Sadie Vacantist said...

I am about to see the film "The Best of Enemies" which features William F Buckley. In many ways his failed vision of a synthesis between the modern democratic state and Catholicism has been implemented. Fr. Robert Barron uses the model himself and has gained a promotion by it. Thomas More responded by silence to chaos we respond with youtube videos.

Alan said...

Interestingly enough, when Philip II of Spain (as he would later become) married Mary I of England (as she already was), his chaplain, a Fr de Castro, was taken aback by his boss's new bride's robust action against protestants, which he thought was over the top. (He didn't expect the English Inquisition!) Fr de Castro was no softie, being the author of a work entitled "De iusta punitione haereticorum". Given that Mary's "bloody" reputation is grotesquely overdone, we can conclude that Spain was moderate.
In the case of witchcraft, the Inquisition were definitely the good guys. Intelligent, legally savvy inquisitors were far lees likely to kill an eccentric old woman than the more lurid types of protestant.

John Nolan said...

In 2006 the Italian historian Andrea Del Col published a study of the Roman Inquisition from the 12th century onwards, although it hasn't, as far as I am aware, appeared in English.

He estimates that out of 62,000 cases of heresy examined after the Inquisition was formally established in 1542, two percent (around 1,250) resulted in the death penalty.

Scotland, with its tiny population, executed over 1,OOO people for witchcraft between 1611 and 1660. The Spanish, Roman and Portuguese Inquisitions combined accounted for about a dozen. Catholics, however, can't simply shift blame onto the Protestants, since the witch-craze was particularly virulent in south Germany and the Catholic Swiss cantons, although it was organized by local authorities (both lay and ecclesiastical) and not ordered by the pope. The German historian Rainer Decker has published a study 'Witchcraft and the Papacy' which has been translated into English.

Historians are banging their heads against a brick wall. Even educated Americans accept a largely mythical account of their own revolution and the 'lions and donkeys' myth of the Great War is still prevalent in Britain despite the efforts of historians over the last fifty years.