How can I defend the Church against the inquisition?

By November 8, 2014 10 Comments

Full Question

My son has left the Church and is attacking it for having had the inquisition. What can I say to respond?


Point out that the Inquisition was intended not to convert people, but to find people who were outwardly claiming to be Christian but secretly practiced another religion, such as people who had become Christian outwardly, but who were still secretly practicing anti-Messianic Judaism, Islam, or Albigensianism, this last being a religion claiming that there are two gods, one good and one evil. The inquisition was thus an attempt to protect the purity of the Christian community.
Also point out that the Protestants had a counter-inquisition that killed Catholics. Thousands of Catholics were killed in England alone after the Reformation struck there. The same thing was true in Ireland and other areas where the Reformation came. John Calvin, for instance, was known for burning people at the stake.
In addition, Protestants were the big witch-burners. Witch burning never caught on in Catholic countries. When the Spanish Inquisition examined the cases of reported witches, it almost invariably concluded that the charges were false and the accused were not guilty. But tens of thousands of supposed witches were burned at the stake, hanged, or drowned in Protestant countries, including the American colonies.


  • D says:

    This is a great video with a lot of information regarding the inquisition that will help:
    Catholic Inquisition Myths Busted: http://youtu.be/uJ_xohxaLEo

  • Betty says:

    Why would you defend it? I especially wouldn’t justify it by pointing out the bad things that others did.

    • Douglas says:

      Agree with you entirely………there is nothing to defend. As Christians we should ask for forgiveness when man has undertaken inhuman acts which the Lord has NOT condoned.

  • There is no defense, it was evil people using the church for their deeds.

  • Peter says:

    Is there something like unforgivable sin according to get church’s teaching?

  • primo says:

    “Look what the Protestants did!!, is not a defense at all. It would seem to me that no response at all would be better than this one.

  • Luke says:

    The best “defense” for the Inquisitions (particularly the Spanish one (which none of you expect!!!!)), is: look at the time in which they took place. What was society like at that time? Society was violent, the state and the Church were very dependent on each other, and in the case of Spain, during and following the Reconquista, it was very essential to state security to prove that people were who they said they were, and that erroneous beliefs were either corrected or removed.
    Was it necessary? I don’t know, I’m not a 15th c. Spaniard having just reclaimed my homeland from Muslim occupiers. Was it as brutal as has long been claimed? No, not even close. I have seen claims that stated millions of people, many of them innocent, were put to death. The more serious scholarship that has been done, the smaller and smaller the numbers become. The most legitimate estimates, today, put the number of people who were killed via the Inquisitions to be ~3,000-~5,000 over the course of the 350 YEARS that constituted the height of the Spanish Inquisition.
    Here’s the kicker, though. The courts that were set up for the Inquisition were very thorough, used torture at a far, far lower rate than was the norm for European justice systems, and people accused of normal criminal activity would often try and do something that would get them in front of an Inquisitor, rather than the civil courts. He stood a much better chance of receiving a fair trial, and nobody was ever condemned in the name of the Church. All executions were carried out by the Spanish crown.
    To us folks today, the Inquisition seems like a horrible and uncivilized affair, and you know what, it is. The concept of justice and fairness is very different in 2015 than it was in 1515. By no means do I condone what was done, but as a historian myself, I also realize that we cannot hold our ideals against those of a man 500 years ago and expect them to stack up.

  • Carl Weber says:

    You are missing the point . The fact is that to me the inquisition is not condonable under any circumstances no matter how many people were murdered and in which century. You seem to be looking for excuses under which circumstances it’s acceptable to murder innocent people . To put common criminals to justice is one thing , but to prosecute someone for what you call “erroneous ” believes is never to be condoned.

  • Larry Katz says:

    Religion does three things to us when we are born. We are labeled separated and controlled. We all have the same God Creator etc the rest is man made BS. We as a species will never have a chance unless we all realize that every single person comes from and goes to the same place.What that is I dont know and neither does anyone else. I despise all religions but I am one of the most spiritual people to roam this planet.I do not need nor will I accept anyone telling me what God is thinks wants approves etc. Look at the history present and future of this world religion is the single most destructive controlling force on this planet. wake up before its too late. I also am amazed at how any woman could ever follow any religion since women have absolutely zero say and or power in them. I watch as religious leaders steal money abuse children and make hypocrites look good. ONE GOD for all the rest is pure horse crap.

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