office holy tribunal institution spain church rome century heresy system
INQUISITION, THE, is the name usually given to that organization which was established in Spain in the 15th century for the detection and suppression of heresy. The " Holy Office," as it was styled, was, however, only the development of a system which, in the hands of the preaching orders, had existed from the beginning of the 13th century ; and this in turn did but enforce anew the old view that the church is bound to correct all immorality or misbelief. The subject has therefore three distinct periods : - (1) the treatment of heresy and vice before the I3th century ; (2) the Dominican Inquisition, dating from the council of Toulouse in 1229 ; (3) the Spanish Inquisition, which began in 1480. The second and third periods express a different principle from that which guided the first ; for the earlier inquiry into heresy or vice was a part of the episcopal functions, while the second period sprang out of the anti-episcopal and anti-feudal revival of the preaching orders, and the third went with the establishment of a centralized monarchy in Spain, and its claims to a political-religious supremacy in Europe. The first was not directed against any special heresy ; the second was called forth by the Albigensian movement, and the literary and artistic independence of southern France ; the third expressed the views of. Spanish orthodoxy in its struggle with Jew and Moor, and, when that contest was done, it attacked Protestantism, becoming, in union with the Jesuits, the fighting power of the Catholic reaction of the 16th century. The original episcopal Inquisition never forgave its more vigorous and better organized successor ; the Spanish Office was nowhere introduced without a struggle, but the Reformation left episcopacy almost powerless in northern Europe, while in the south the renewed and autocratic papacy discouraged the independence of bishops, and trusted itself mainly to the order of Jesus and the Holy Office.
The Inquisition was an outcome of that desire for safety in the truth which distinguishes Christianity from most other forms of faith. If men feel safe, they charitably wish others to be also safe, - hence missionary heroisms ; they fear whatever may endanger their safety, and long to clear it away, - hence persecution ; they argue that if they make a convert they save a soul, and if not that the stiff unbeliever is too dangerous to be left, - whence come imprisonments and the stake. So long as church and state were distinct, the heretic simply forfeited his privileges as a member of a religious body ; but when state and church became, in theory at least, conterminous, this process availed no longer, and the heretic had to be put away by the state, while the church became ever more industrious in seeking out error. Now, in religions matters, men have always tried to make things easier by multiplying difficulties ; they secure safety by exact statement and minute definition. Creeds and formularies cease to be symbols of a general consent, and become, instead, tests of orthodoxy. And though, in theory, the church was as anxious for the moral purity as for the right faith of her members, the moral questions were presently eclipsed by the dogmatic ; church discipline judged conduct lightly, while it controlled opinion with an iron hand.
leovcrias, by the secular arm, enabled the church to achieve her object without dipping her own hands in blood. Thus, about 316, Constantine issued an edict condemning the Donatists to lose their goods ; and in 382 Theodosius declared the Manichwans guilty of death, and confiscated their goods. Later on, in 169, we learn in the capitularies of Charles the Great that each bishop must visit all his Parwchia," or diocese, teach truth, correct murals, see that the clergy hold the right faith, and, on the Saxon border, stop the use of any pagan rites. Charles the Bald in 814 orders the bishops to preach and confirm the people, and to inquire into and correct their errors, "ut populi errata inquirant et corrigant." In this inquisition, as in other matters, the church long felt the impress of the organizing power of Charles the Great; it helped forwards the episcopal dominance in the 9th and 10th centuries. Still, it claimed no special authority, and its action was very partial, and dependent on the temper and energy of each particular bishop. Sometimes it was raised into activity by some bolder movement of independence, as when in Italy in the llth century the bishops attacked the Patarines, under the impulse of Hildebrand, or as when it was used as an implement for the reduction of the archbishopric of Milan under the papal authority.
Similarly, in 1203, Innocent III. sent Peter of Castelnan and Ralph, two Cistercians of Fontevrault, to preach down the Albigensian heresy ; and when persuasion availed little he added to them Arnauld, abbot of Fontevrault, and named the three his apostolical legates, ordering them to deal more sharply with the heretics. The murder Of Peter (henceforward styled St Peter Martyr) in 1209 led to the outbreak of that cruel and disastrous war, the crusade of Simon of Montfort against the Albigensians. But little success attended the effort of these earlier Inquisitors till they were joined by the too famous Castilian Dominic, who, havine. in 1215 accompanied the bishop of Toulouse to Rome, laid before the pope a scheme for a new order of preaching friars, whose special function should be the overthrow of heresy ; Innocent Ill. approved the order in 1215, and Honorius III. confirmed it in 1216. It spread swiftly through Europe, and the charge of the Inquisition was soon entrusted almost entirely to it. Hitherto there had been no regular tribunal; now, as the war in southern France went on and the strife became more fierce, a stricter organization was introduced. While the strong current of independent opinion was being stemmed in Italy, Provence, France, and Spain, the resistance gave compactness to the new system. St Dominic established three orders - (1) his friars, (2) a female order, and (3) the "Militia of Christ," an order of laymen, married chiefly and noble, who became the working force of the inquisitorial system ; they were also styled " the Familiars of the Holy Office."
It is, however, to Gregory IX. that the Inquisition owes its definite form. In the synod of Toulouse in 1229 it was agreed that each bishop should appoint one priest, and one, two, three, or even more laymen, to inquire, under oath and with much secrecy, into heresy. In 1234 the Dominicans were specially entrusted with the inquisitorial office in Toulouse. From their tribunal there was no appeal to the bishop, who fell into the background, all appeals being directed to Rome alone. To this end Urban IV. appointed, in 1263, an inquisitor-general to be the medium of communication between the papacy and the local inquisitors, in hopes of stopping the delay of business caused by the absence of officials in Rome on appeal questions. This office, however, fell into abeyance till revived by Paul III. in the person of Caraffa in 1542.
From Provence the organization of the Inquisition soon passed into France, where, in 1255, Alexander IV. named the provincial of the Dominicans and the head of the Francisians at Paris his inquisitors-general for France at the urgent request of Saint Louis, whose piety was of the narrowest crusading type. The Gallican Church stoutly resisted this ultramontane interference ; the bishops gave it no help; churches and abbeys became asylums for the victims of the Holy Office ; and the new movement had consequently but very partial success. It was more effectively used by Philip the Fair to crush the Templars, though that greedy prince quickly interfered when he found the Inquisition laying hands on his special preserve, the wealthy Jews. Charles V., moved to new efforts by Gregory XI., imprisoned large crowds of Frenchmen for heresy, and to meet the pressure erected several new prisons, among them the ill-omened Bastille. After this the Inquisition was quiet in France till the Reformation once more aroused it in the time of Francis I. In Spain it was introduced by Pope Gregory IX. in 1232, and had a far more active and continuous life ; we have a minute account of its system and procedure in the Directorivm Inquisitorum of N. Eymerich, inquisitor-general for Castile in 1356. This work, based entirely on the writer's personal knowledge and experience, gives us full insight into the way in which cases were got up and handled : we see the spy system, the delation, the mysterious secrecy, the scandal of the " question " ; the shameless union in one person of accuser and judge, the unscrupulous hindrances put in the way of the victim's defence, the direct interest of the tribunal in condemning, - for condemnation affirmed vigilance and orthodoxy, while it secured to the Holy Office the wealth of the accused, and the accused were usually among the wealthiest in the land. We can trace the absolute injustice of the institution on every page, and must only wonder that even in those days men could endure its existence. In Italy the Inquisition was established under Dominican supervision as early as 1224; Simone Memmi's famous fresco of the " Domini Canes " in S. Maria Novella at Florence, with its black and white hounds chasing off the wolves from the holy fold, bears living witness to the power of the institution and its influence over the Italian imagination. If Eymerich's book gives us a view of the rules of procedure, the MS. Liber Semtenaaruni, or Book of Judgments, printed in part by Limborch, and containing the acts of the Toulouse Office from 1308 to 1322, gives us a full account of those rules reduced to practice in the earliest tribunal of the reconstructed Office. Between the two we can create for ourselves a complete image of the institution, and judge of its power over the intellects, souls, and bodies of the quick-witted southerners. Inquisitors were at a later time brought into England to combat the Wickliffite opinions.
Three chief motives led to the reorganization of the Inquisition in Spain : - (1) the suspicions and ill-feeling against the new Christians ; (2) the wish of Ferdinand and Isabella to strengthen the compactness of their union, threatened by the separatist tendencies of the wealthy Jews and Moors ; and (3) above all, the hope of a rich booty from confiscations, a characteristic which specially marks the history of the Spanish Inquisition. The motive of strictly religious fanaticism influenced, not the monarchs, but the Dominican instruments of the Holy Office. And so when in 1477 Friar Philip de Barberi, inquisitor for Sicily, came to Seville for the confirmation of his office, and pressed on Ferdinand the great advantages of a revived system on the Sicilian plan, the king, led by his hunger for gold, and the queen, guided by her piety, were easily persuaded, and sent to Rome to solicit the establishment of such a tribunal as Barberi suggested. Sixtus IV. in 1478 acceded to their request ; his bull for this purpose is, however, lost. But as Isabella wished first to try gentler measures, and as both monarchs were rather alarmed by the independence the proposed tribunal claimed, the papal permission was not made known or acted on till 1480. The monarchs bargained that they should nominate the Inquisitors, hoping thereby to secure a control over the institution ; but the real centre of authority was inevitably Rome, and from its outset the Holy Office was ultramontane. Nor indeed is there good ground for Hefele's contention, in which he is followed by the Benedictine Gams of Ratisbon, that the Inquisition was entirely a state institution ; the state did take part in it, and tried to draw its own selfish advantages from it, and it was also in name a royal tribunal ; but its spirit was completely Dominican, and the impulse of it papal ; nor can the church be relieved from the just odium which presses on the memory of the institution.
The first inquisitors named in 1480 were Dominicans; their tribunal was established at Seville, where they were but sullenly received. Early in 1481 they began work, and before that year was out had burnt 298 victims in Seville alone, besides many effigies of those who had happily escaped. The Jesuit historian Mariana assures us that in this year full 2000 were burnt in the archbishopric of Seville and the bishopric of Cadiz ; the Quemadero, or cremation-place, built at this time by the prefect of Seville, not far from that city, a square platform of stone, was a grim altar on which the lives of almost daily victims ascended in clouds of smoke to heaven. This new blessing, however, was but unwillingly welcomed by the Spaniards ; the capital of Castile remembered its ancient learning and splendour, and the wealth and intelligence of its old Moorish inhabitants ; complaints and protests poured in on Sixtus IV., especially from the bishops ; and in 1483, in one of his briefs the pope actually ordered a softening of the rigours of the Holy Office; he also named the archbishop of Seville, D. Inigo Manriquez, his sole judge of appeals in matters of faith, hoping thereby to still the strong jealousy of the episcopate. He was also somewhat offended because Ferdinand and Isabella held back the papal share of the spoils.
Shortly afterwards, October 1483, the Dominican father Thomas of Torquemada, (de Turrecremata) was named by Sixtus IV. inquisitor-general for Castile and Leon. From him the institution received its full organization. He became its president ; by his side were two lawyers as assessors, and three royal counsellors. This scheme was not large enough for the work ; it was shortly amended, and there was now a central court styled the Consejo de la Suprema, composed of the grand inquisitor-general, six apostolical counsellors, a fiscal procurator, three secretaries, an alguazil (or head policeman), a treasurer, four servants of the tribunal, two reporters or informers, and as many consultors as might be needful. Under this central tribunal four local tribunals were also appointed. All the officials were well paid from the confiscation-fund ; it was the interest of all that that stream of wealth should never run dry ; Torquemada was to the full as eager as Ferdinand for profit from this unholy source : the chief spoils of the institution fell to the crown ; the true accession of strength was at Rome.
This royal council of the Inquisition, as it was now styled, proceeded next to draw up its rules. Torquemada in 1484 summoned to Seville all heads of local tribunals, who presently published a code of thirty-nine articles. The dreary list regulates the procedure of the Holy Office. The articles were originally twenty-eight ; of these 1 to 10 deal with the summons to heretics to come forward and confess, and with the penalties to the submissive ; 11 to 13 with penitents in the prisons of the Office ; 14 to 19 treat of the procedure of trial, including torture ; 20 and 21 extend the jurisdiction of the tribunal to dead heretics and the vassals of living nobles ; the remainder are on points of detail in the management. Afterwards eleven more rules were added, on points of less interest: they deal with the organization of the smaller tribunals, guard against bribery of officials, establish an agent at Romg,' and make fresh and minute directions as to confiscations and the payment of inquisitors' salaries ; the money question comes up perpetually. In no part of Spain was the i system well received ; the resistance in Aragon passed into revolt and assassination, which were only overcome by the united efforts of the Dominicans, the papacy, and the sovereign, aided to some extent by the " Old Christians" (i.e., those not of Jewish origin), whose jealousy towards the new Christians and the Moors led them to favour a system which repressed their rivals.
The Holy Office had now free scope for its work, and its procedure, arranged by Torquemada, will explain how thoroughly it succeeded in terrifying all who came within its reach. When an accused or suspected person was first delated to the Inquisition, a preliminary inquiry was held, and the results of it laid before the tribunal. If the tribunal thought it a case for interference, and it usually did so, the informers and witnesses were re-examined, and their evidence, with all suspicious circumstances which zeal could rake together, drawn out and submitted to a body of monastic theologians called " the Qualifiers of the Holy Office." The character of these officials was at stake, and their honout involved ; they could hardly be expected to report well of the accused, or there might be a suspicion as to their own orthodoxy. When they had given in their opinion against the accused, he was at once removed to the secret prison of the Office, where all communication with the outer world was entirely cut off from him. Then followed three " first audiences," in which the officials did their utmost to wring a confession out of him, so that he might be made to rank as a penitent, and enjoy the charity of his persecutors. If, however, he was stiff, the charges against him were re-formed, and the fiscal in charge of the case demanded torture to extort confession. This in the earlier times of the institution followed frequently, and had many forms of ingenious cruelty, as to which Llorente, who had good means of judging, declares that " none of the descriptions of them can be accused of exaggeration. " After torture, the shattered victim was carried to the audience chamber, and called on to make his answer to the charges, which were now read to him for the first time. He was next asked whether he desired to make any defence. If so, he had to choose a lawyer from a list of those employed by his accusers, and the defence was little but a mockery. After this process, which sometimes lasted for months, the qualifiers were again called in, and gave their final opinion, which was almost always adverse, on the whole case. Then followed the sentence, with opportunity of an appeal either to the " Suprema " - which was useless, as being an appeal to the tribunal again - or to Rome, The papal treasury by these appeals obtained a large income; for money was the only valid argument. Thus the Inquisition got the victim's property by confiscation, and the papacy the wealth of his friends in the appeal. If the sentence was, as did sometimes occur, an acquittal, the poor wretch might slink home without redress or recompense for imprisonment, and the agony of the trial and the torture ; if it was a condemnation, the victim was made the centre of an auto-cia-fi, dressed in a sanbenito, or condemned man's robe, and eventually, at the open place of execution, informed as to his fate. He might be either " reconciled," and then, as a penitent, had to undergo penalties almost worse than death, or " relaxed," that is, handed over to the secular arm for burning, - for the Holy Office shed no blood.
This then was the instrument by which the purity of Christendom was to be assisted and defended, " misericordia et justitia," as the motto of the institution runs, by the most flagrant injustice, and by the infliction of those cruel " tender mercies " of which the Book of Proverbs speaks.
In 1192 the great work began with the persecution and expulsion of the Jews ; they were ejected, and their wealth confiscated. There was an enormous crowd of exiles, who wandered to different shores of the Mediterranean, carrying misery and plague in their train. A few years later, under supervision of Cardinal Ximenes, the Moors were also ordered to be converted or to go ; the Morescoes, or Christianized Moors, suffered constant persecution throughout the 16th century, until finally they too were expelled by Philip III. in 1609. Jews, Moors, and Morescoes made up over three millions of the wealthiest and most intelligent inhabitants of Spain ; the loss in trade, agriculture, and manufactures was incalculable ; in seventy years the population fell from ten to six millions.
Ximenes was the greatest organizer, after Torquemada, of the Office ; he divided the whole Inquisition into ten tribunals, - Seville as the capital, Jaen, Toledo, Estremadura, Murcia, Valladolid, Majorca, Pampeluna, Sardinia, and Sicily ; and, though the bishops still resisted his authority, he carried his will through with a high hand, The Inquisition was set up in all the colonies and dependencies of Spain ; it established itself, as a theological quarantine, at all the harbours, and greatly checked the development of Spanish trade. The horror of the English at the institution was much due to the collision of the English traders and adventurers of Queen Elizabeth's clay with the Inquisition on the Spanish main, and to its interference with that freedom of traffic which they desired. The new Inquisition was set up in the Netherlands by Charles V. in 1522 ; it was exceedingly severe, and greatly hated by the people (see HOLLAND) under Philip II. and Alva. In Portugal the Holy Office established itself in its sharpest form, and continued there in full force even when the Jesuits \vele suppressed. It was introduced into France under henry II. (1557), though its hold on that country was small. In Italy it had free course during the 16111 century and vigorously supported the Catholic reaction, especially when the very soul of the Inquisition, Michele Ghislieri, had ascended the pontifical throne as Pius V. Its organization was also strengthened by Sixtus V., who secured it at Rome.
The hand of the Holy Office was outstretched against all ; no lofty dignity in church or state, no eminence in art or science, no purity of life, could defend from its attacks. It is said to have threatened Charles Y. and Philip II.; it persecuted Archbishop Carranza, head of the church in Spain ; destroyed De Dominis, archbishop of Spalatro ; it smote Galileo, murdered Giordano Bruno, attacked Pico di Mirandola, and even is said to have threatened Cesar Borgia. With equal vigour, in combination with the Jesuits, the Inquisition made war on books and learning, religious or secular alike ; we have seen how baleful was its effect in earlier days on literature and art in Provence, and in the time of the Catholic sovereigns on the material well-being of Spain. " In the love of Christ and his maid-mother," says Queen Isabella, " I have caused great misery, and have depopulated towns and districts, provinces and kingdoms."
The statistics of death at the hands of the Inquisition in Spain given by Llorente show how the institution gradually lost force ; the average number in each year steadily diminished after the beginning of the 17th century ; and in the 18th torture was abandoned, and the deaths dropped to two or three or even less in the year. In Italy it was abolished in Parma and Tuscany about 1769, in Sicily in 1782 ; the spirit of the 18th century was all against the Office, though it lingered on. In the Revolution wars Napoleon sternly crushed it wherever he came across it, in Spain in 1808, and in Rome in 1809. Down to 1809 Llorente gives as the figures for Spain .alone - burnt alive 31,912, in effigy 17,659, and imprisoned, 47c., as penitents, 291,450 - a total of 341,021, After the hand of Napoleon was taken off, the institution: revived again. at Rome and at bishops to inquire into and suppress the scandal, and in 1865 he uttered an anathema against freemasons, the secular foes of the Inquisition.
The occupation of Rome in 1870 (see ITALY) drove the papacy and the Inquisition into the Vatican, and there at last John Bunyan's vision seems to have found fulfilment. Yet, though powerless, the institution is not hopeless ; the Catholic writers on the subject, after long silence or uneasy apology, now acknowledge the facts, and seek to justify them. In the early times of the Holy Office its friends gave it high honour ; Paramo, the inquisitor, declares that it began with Adam and Eve ere they left Paradise ; Paul IV. announced that the Spanish Inquisition was founded by the inspiration of the Iloly Spirit ; INfuzarelli calls it "an indispensable substitute to the church for the original gift of miracles exercised by the apostles." And now again, from 1875 to this clay, a crowd of defenders has risen up :