This English version is still under review

© Primitivo Martínez Fernández

ISBN 1-934630-69-1

First Edition 2008


Printed in Colombia for Pan Shapes and Forms SA
Front:Enlarge the image
St. Dominic chairing an auto da fe, by Pedro Berruguete (c. 1490). The Dominican friars because of their excessive zeal in the defense of orthodoxy, were called 'Domini canes', dogs of the Lord.



Spanish Version: Click here

(By the same Author: The Myths, Ideological Manipulators)




auto-da-fé. of the Inquisition, Goya. Enlarge

Dedication: In memoriam to all victims of the Inquisition





Recognition: To my good friend and fellow student, Miguel del Valle Campelo, for his invaluable assistance.





 by Dr. Antonio Mansilla Trivino




Dedication of the author


Dear reader.

Here you have this book at your disposal for reading. But it is not authorized total or partial reproduction of it.


Much has been told and written about The Inquisition. I do not know if I bring anything new, but I have attempted to study the phenomenon of The Inquisition from various viewpoints: Its background, the mythological, religious, political and philosophical foundations of the courts of the Inquisition. Its birth and development. Its resources and methods.


I closely studied very special and notorious cases, victims of the Inquisition, like Servetus, Giordano Bruno and Galileo. Less prominent cases such as Fray Louis de Leon, the Archbishop and Primate of Toledo, Bartolomé de Carranza and others.

My focus has always been located in disagreement with those events of the inquisition that have left thousands of victims along the way and have washed their minds to conform to a single truth. The truth of the submission that clogs every glimmer of freedom.

This book is intended as a hymn to freedom that the Inquisition stifled. The freedom to think always anything you like and to do everything that does not interfere negatively in the other's field.

Greetings from the author

Primitivo Martínez Fernández





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The Alliance

The Confession of Peter. Sources of the Gospels

Arguably position of Paulus of Tarso. The stigma of sin, instrument of domestication

Philosophical foundations: Hylemorphism


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Christians before Constantine. The persecution

The Church 'Constantinization'

The Donation of Constantine. Born Papal States.

Theory of two swords


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The Cathars

Extermination Order

The Inquisition spins its net

The Forerunners of the Reformation

The Convictions


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The Christian Mindset in the Middle Ages 

The Stigma of Witch: Undervaluation of Women

The Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Witches)

The Hunting of the Witches, Orgy of Destruction

Witches fly to the Sabbath

The Ministry of the Devil

Devil's Pact of Faust

Pseudo lighting and Applicants


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Inquisitorial Procedure

Grace Period

The Report

How did the Inquisition interrogate

The Torture

Words on Torture

The Prisons of the Inquisition



Inquisitorial Terrorism

The Bonfire


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The Templar

Religious and political plot in the Dissolution of the Knights Templar

The political stratagem

Order of Arrest of the Templar, September, 14th, 1307


The Jews

The Jews. The Problem of Ethnic Minorities

Conspiracy against the Court

Worse than a Crime: A Mistake


The Arabs

The Arabs in Spain

The Arabs, Agents of Iberian Evolution


Noble People Victims of the Inquisition

Fray Louis de León and other two Agustinians, Victims of Jealousy

Bartolomé de Carranza y Miranda, Primate of Toledo

Michael Servetus, Origin of Freedom of Conscience

Servetus, The Dark Side of Protestantism

Unusual theological dispute with Calvin

Giordano Bruno

Nicolaus Copernicus

Design of the Universe in the Middle Ages around the Earth

Galileo, The Humiliated Reason

Cardinal Bellarmine's Letter to Brother Paolo Foscarini

Lorini letter, addressed to Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfrondati

Severe Reprimand of Bellarmine to Galileo

And however, It Moves (Eppur, si muove)

The Sentence of Conviction

Descartes: Prudent Inhibition


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Impact of the Inquisition in Literature and Science

Under the look of Bruno, Copernicus and Galileo

The Case of Galileo and Pope John Paul II


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Presentation by Dr. Antonio M. Trivino at the University of Puerto Rico

The Grand Inquisitor
Order Of Arrest Of The Templar, 14th, September 1307
Defence of the Orthodox Faith against the Errors of Servetus. (Writing of Calvin refuted by Castellio)
Discourse of John Paul II on the Galileo
Excerpts from the Malleus Maleficarum
Legends of Witches
Torture techniques
Auto-da-fé in the Plaza Mayor of Madrid, 30th, June, 1680.
Identity issues of Jewish People
New Court, Reasons for its creation by the Catholic Kings
Ad perpetuam Rei Memoriam
Archbishop Carranza
Process of Giordano Bruno


Notes References




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Castle of the Knights Templar, Ponferrada, whose construction started in 1178 by the military religious order of the Temple.

The King of Leon Ferdinand II granted the manor of Ponferrada for the protection of the Jacobean pilgrims.

Dissolved the Order, the fortress passed to the Crown and later at the hands of various noble families, the Castro, Trastámara and Duke of Arjona. The Catholic Monarchs ( Reyes Católicos) collect their possessions for the Crown.


I remember, Primitivo, when you were carried in a wheelbarrow on which you were going quietly seated, symbolizing the denial of motion based on Parmenides of Elea. It was the allegorical parody of philosophical movements that we prepared when we studied philosophy, not far from that castle of Ponferrada.

I do not know if, at that performance, you were already thinking about the Eleatic stagnation of many institutions. I do not know if you accepted the role on conviction or as an irony, but I see you've definitely come to the edge of Heraclitus. Welcome to the left margin. I also believe that everything goes and goes, that everything is relative, that, with Pirandello, everything is so if it so seems to you.

I was surprised by the overwhelming logic that has been threaded throughout the book. In a topic upon what it has been written so much, I did not expect any important changes. And I was wrong. It is true that most issues are already discussed in a thousand ways, given the importance of this subject that transcends the centuries marking generational patterns of all peoples bound together in this Western civilization. Among those thousand ways, I find this of yours is very structured, well documented and courageous.

Very structured, as you put all supports of this phenomenon with such skill that they have nothing to envy the scaffolding of engineering works. I think it's a success to bring the biblical and mythological anchors of the mother ideas that underpin the Inquisition. And yet more original it seems to me the philosophical foundation that you have developed 'ad hoc'. I like the way you roughly lull the Aristotelian-Thomistic crib with the inquisitors in.
In in this area, I think the part dedicated to Hylemorphism , which flows into the allusion to the neutrinos, deserves particular mention. Very important, in my opinion, is the inclusion of pre-reformers with their theological arguments facing the official ones. For being more known, I do not insist on the political-economic factor, the very basis of that cohesive structure made with this product more durable than the mortar in the Templar castles.

Well documented. We know that it is not a work of research, certainly you did not intend it, but the bibliography you bring, and its constant use to substantiate your purpose, give off some solvent and fresh air that blows through the pages of the book.

Very brave. I see you speak bluntly to draw conclusions from each historical event you analyze. I see that freedom is the supreme value that flows through each paragraph, from the start, with the appointment of Don Quixote, to the end. And it is for the sake of that freedom that you, occasionally, get the whip, leaving the work on the edge of a species of essay, with biting gusts, that will fuel the reader's attention.

It is perhaps this last aspect, and from this left shore, where we can put some small objections to your book: It seems that your admiration for many of the victims is so strong that you would like your meat be "relaxed" as well. Anyway, it is praiseworthy your profound empathy for the Cathars, Wickliffe, Huss, Servetus or Bruno when you present them challenging with their lives the omnipotence of the institutional Church, questioning with their doctrines the current dogmas of that unique culture, and that, with their deaths at the stake, it was inflicted wounds (vulnera) that you consider incurable.


We agree with you that the more clarity and accuracy we place in every nook and cranny of history the closest we will be to that freedom you present in the introduction. That freedom that took over the Grand Inquisitor. That freedom that you, in your book, try to steal from him to give it to the readers. Be welcome your interest and hope that everyone know how to release from such slaveries.

But this remains a very complex issue. In the end, we all as feudal serfs will swallow what they impose the churches in turn. The church of the moment is the shift to the consumerism uninteresting values. The church in turn are the economic powers that lead us to work for somebody like productive ants. The church in turn are many political figures full of wordy goodness, or the cocky ones, in many cases uneducated but who run perfectly the art of the sum. And in front of them all, the church of the manipulation of information, the "mass media", driven by large speculators with their unbridled pursuit of profit, able to disrupt the world economy as it is happening these last weeks: May-June 2010.


In the midst of such dislocations, not far worse than those of the dark times, one thinks that the Catholic Church in turn still suffers a heavy burden, but it still has some capacity for renewal which is not seen in other institutions, increasingly arrogant and petulant. This church, with all its counter-values, remains a repository of some values hard to overcome by any of the best NGOs.

It is interesting to maintain a critical attitude towards the church of the Inquisition and towards the majority of institutions. Your book will help people to become more critical with all of them, they can not be left asleep in their pedestal. If we give up to criticism, we will be slaves. This is what those in power will never understand. 

I leave, Primitivo. Thanks for sending me the book before editing it. I wish you luck.
A hug. Miguel
Gijón, June 2010.



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So great is my grief and feeling at this sad and rigorous imprisonment...
Sonnet inscribed by an prisoner in a prison wall of the Inquisition of Cuenca.
Probably in the seventeenth century.



Freedom, Sancho, is the most precious gift given to men by the heavens. Miguel de Cervantes

Fyodor M. Dostoevsky himself was a deep believer. As a writer, he opens a huge range of possibilities for his diverse characters. In The Brothers Karamazov, Alyosha represents the mystical belief in transcendence, while his brother Ivan, who denies any divine fullness, embodies a bitter and disillusioned skepticism. In Book V, Chapter V, Ivan presents the famous story of "The Grand Inquisitor".

Christ returns to earth. It does so without warning, without announcing it, for a brief moment. He has arrived to Seville, where, the day before, the Cardinal Grand Inquisitor, in the presence of the King, courtiers, knights, monks, cardinals and many very beautiful ladies of the court and before the large population of all Seville, had made to burn a little less than a hundred people, infected with the heretical depravity, in a solemn auto-da-fé, for the greater glory of God. The air still accumulates the smell of burning flesh mixed with that of orange blossom, and the embers in the fireplaces of the Inquisition are still crackling.

He tries, as one more, to walk unnoticed, but his charisma and the magnetism of his personality give him away and the crowd, once discovered, clustered round him. It is an invincible force of attraction that captivates the crowd, seduced.

From his eyes and from his presence flows the truth and the light, but the priests do not celebrate his return. The Grand Inquisitor threatens to burn him as a heretic unless he abandons all hope in humanity. He reproaches him his failure in the understanding of human nature. He, who raised Lazarus, spreads freedom, but this is a burden too heavy. So the Inquisitor threw this in his face: "Instead of restricting human freedom, you opened the levees, forgetting no doubt that, to freedom of choosing between good and evil, man prefers peace, even the peace of death '.

Dostoevsky, through shimmering poetic imagery, directly makes psychology of old Inquisitor and of Jesus in his brief return and appearance among men, through his silence in the inquisitorial prison, and at the same time he makes sociology of the Inquisition. The subject of freedom and happiness are at the heart of the monologue-dialogue between the philosopher-Inquisitor and Jesus, the patient prisoner who answers with his transparent, tender and without reproach eyes.

Jesus and the Inquisitor are projected as two antithetical figures. Jesus had promised freedom to human being by offering him the truth: "The truth shall make you free," he had said. Truth and freedom are graded at the top on the scale of Christian values. The Inquisitor, however, offers human happiness in exchange for freedom. Freedom is for the weak, simple and depraved nature of man, who is not even able to conceive that freedom, a real torment. First, the torment of discriminating between good and evil and, secondly,
the heavy responsibility to make decisions, with the usual fear of being wrong. It's true that nothing is more seductive for man than his freedom of conscience, but there is nothing more tantalizing. That's why they will put their freedom at our feet -says the old Inquisitor- and they'll tell us: "Better that you enslave us, but feed us." They will reveal their secrets to us, they will pass their sins to us and we will charge them before God. And like a flock we will drive them. So they will be happy.


The love of Jesus, however, condemns the human beings, free by birth, to the torture of having to choose between good and evil. Happiness and freedom are compatible and inseparable. The Inquisitor, in honor of an hypothetical happiness, eliminates the freedom and consummates the happiness of the person at the stake.

The old Inquisitor offers a highly revealing statement: "Because, who is going to overpower people but those who master the consciences of men and have the bread in their hands?"


We have corrected your work, but let us, in our way, consummate it. "We took the sword of Caesar and, in doing so, of course we reject you, and went after him." Jesus preached the kingdom of God. The Pope governs an earthly empire, with purple robe and the sword of Caesar. The Inquisitors are quick to consummate the work, to strengthen the perfect society of the Church. "We are not with you, but with him", with the Pope, and that from many centuries ago. The Inquisitor's fidelity to the Pope is absolute to make the Christianity without Christ, the fastest way possible, devoid of patience and evangelical methods.

The suffering Inquisitor neither is Christian nor loves Jesus and says "
Get angry, I do not want your love, because neither I love you". Nor is sincere and honest with his vassals, even more he is an incredulous trickster: "Behind the grave they will find nothing, but death. And we shall preserve the secret and for their own happiness we will captivate them with the prize of heaven and eternal life. For though there were something in the other world, it, of course, would not be for men like them".

An enigmatic and disconcerting kiss of Jesus closes the scene, while he leaves without uttering a word.


Given the beauty of this story, we send a fragment to Supporting Documents [1]





Dutchman satirical engraving, sixteenth century.


Struggle between supporters and opponents of the Inquisition.



Some writers and poets have a special feeling to see things that not always the scientist detects, as is the case of Dostoevsky who knows how to penetrate things poetically and describe them with skill.


Human beings are always perceived as limited, contingent, fragile and ignorant, that's what we are. Children after all, they seek for explanations, they need emotional and existential support to walk through life and find an explanation to their surroundings and even death. So with their imagination and fantasy were creating myths, gods, that would give meaning to their lives and early responses to their endless doubts, achieving so a rational scheme of life instead of confusion and unanswered questions.

Religion, no doubt, is a complex and deep phenomenon, with many variables, made of thin warps and wefts, aware of some, the least, unconscious of most. Religion is anchored more in sentiment than in reason, in ignorance rather than in the illustration, in the fear of uncertainty more than in the risk of the adult to take a false step, to make mistakes. So we thought we needed kind parents, omnipotent and provident, who could only be in the mystery of the beyond, since they are not feasible in the near side, we know. And when we hit the fact of death, it is therapeutic to find the immortality that only the gods, hypothetically, can bestow.

Religion is atavistic, it is embedded in the culture, in the tradition, "the ancestors have so prescribed", as the air, it envelops and surrounds us. The religious atmosphere is stifling because it not only affects the beliefs, but the whole human life and worldview. We spin the web of religion and its tissue and we leave mesmerized, trapped in it. To strengthen religious practices there are the most rigorous indoctrination, the rites and rituals with their magic power, the breathtaking and fabulous temples, the institutions that represent God and the same mysterious and captivating concept of divinity.

It is true that human beings can not live the same story twice. With Heraclitus, you can not bathe twice in the same water of the river, but you can rewrite the same story when you investigate new facts and new realities appear, when old myths are demystified, when the focus of analysis is beyond the merely religious to advance into the economic and political spheres of each stage, as with the Inquisition.

You also need the necessary atmosphere of intellectual freedom to study, analyze and evaluate the Inquisition as objectively as possible, according to historical documents recently discovered and investigated by symposia and international congresses, such as one held in New York in April 1983 sponsored by the Program on Society in Change, in Lisbon in 1998, Basin CUENCA, 1999 and the International Conference on Intolerance and the Inquisition, held in Madrid and Segovia in 2004, whose papers we closely followed.



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The newly discovered Gospel of Judas.

Its text has raised several enigmas since then.



The great pillars on which the inquisitors were based tremble.


The Old Testament is not the aborigine of many religious concepts that are enshrined there. Several passages are plagiarized from other sources.

We will see similarities to Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism concepts. There are dark spots on the Pentateuch and New Testament sources.

Also the philosophical foundations preferred by the Inquisition, mainly the Hylemorphism, have their weaknesses.









Zoroastrian fire temple in Yazd. Iran





Little is known about this famous reformer of the ancient Iranian religion, belonging to the Chalcolithic civilization four or three millennia before our era, real figure, but with a lot of legend, normal thing with the religious founders. The Persians, Atlantean race, forged weapons and were crafty and predators; worshiped the sun and fire.

His name, Zarathustra, in zend language, could mean bright star or gold star. It is believed that he founded Zoroastrianism, syncretism of old traditions from the banks of the Indus, whose doctrine includes the holy book of Zoroastrianism, the Avesta, written long after the death of its founder. But Zoroaster stated that there had been a revelation and that his doctrine had been dictated by the Great Light to him.

There is, according to Zoroastrianism, a primordial state: the Creation; an intermediate state: the continuing conflict between Good and Evil, between Hormuz and Ahriman, which equals the antagonistic Chinese yin and yang, Light and Darkness. Life is the result of both principles, an antagonistic struggle. The final state is the victory of Ahriman and the defeat of Hormuz, so dualism tended to monotheism.

The supreme God is Ahura Mazda, which means "Lord of wisdom". Zoroaster, assisted in his work by the Immortals Benefactors, a species of archangels, would be his prophet.
The believer's duties are summarized in three commandments:

To have good thoughts.
To perform good actions.

To pronounce only good words or words of consolation.

God takes into account the observance of these three commandments. On Doomsday, marked by the fall of Ahriman, he will open the book that registers all the actions of every mortal. The elect, those who have faithfully observed the three commandments and all Avesta laws, go to Paradise of Light, which is the kingdom of Hormuz. Moreover, the absolute defeat of the evil powers will be announced in advance by a sort of Messiah, the "Saoshyant" or Savior, who will proclaim the approaching end of time for men to get ready, through prayer and purification, to the dreaded doomsday.

By making God accessible to the masses, as would do the Christianity from its origins, the new religion was assured a solid base.

It was necessary to separate good from evil and to offer people the hope of the hereafter and awarding the good in the final trial. These ideas or beliefs came in useful to Christianity. Already the Jews in exile in Babylon, 1600 BC, knew these Mazdeist ideas. The Jewish notion of creation, paradise, hell, the final resurrection, the principle of evil, Satan, angels and demons, are already in the Avesta. The main idea that announces the coming of the Messiah or Savior (Saoshyant) comes from Zoroaster.

The Egyptian high priest Amenemope, with a simile very understandable in his time, where architecture was created with mud and hay, wrote a sacred maxim to define the greatness of God: "Man is clay and straw and God is his sculptor. From this to the story according to which Moses wrote that God made Adam from clay and that he breathed life with a puff there is no more than a simple imitation








Manes declared himself successor of Buddha, Zoroaster and Jesus


Manes, alleged founder of Manichaeism, was born in a village of Babylon in 216 of our era; his parents were of Persian origin. Manes declared himself successor of Buddha, Zoroaster and Jesus, the last of a series of prophets that - according to him - had contributed only part of the truth. He, Manes, would bring the total knowledge. But Manichaeism is not just a synthesis or syncretism of Buddhist, Christian and Mazdeist religions, but it is itself a gnosis, because according to him, in the knowledge lies the salvation.

The Manes doctrine is presented as the culmination of the evolution of humanity, so says:

The wisdom and good works have been contributed to a perfect series from one age to another by the messengers of God and also by the prophet named Buddha in the region of India and in another -in the region of Persia- by Zoroaster and even in other western region by someone named Jesus. After which, the revelation was established intently and he spoke at the recent Age for me, Manes, messenger of God.

The leading idea of esotericism lies in this: All religions contain an indivisible part of the truth, allowing them to be part of all other religions.


Manichaeism proclaims the two principles of Zoroastrianism: the Good and Evil, The Father of Greatness and the Prince of Darkness, the Spirit and Matter oppose and contradict "like a king to a pig". The world is the work of the prince of darkness, but contains a lot of light emanating from the light. The world, with this mixture, can only be saved by successive purifications, at whose end, spirit and matter will again be separated as it was at the beginning of times.

The story of that fall and that rise is exposed by the Manichaeism as a cosmogonic myth and, under the veil of such myth, it develops a philosophical vision far ahead of his time, but today it seems recent, youthful. Assuming the rebelliousness of man against an unjust world, he feels that the story progresses through conflict, that evil can be a springboard for progress and that salvation of mankind lies not in blind faith, but in knowledge, in the Gnosis, that shall convert the man -according to Manes' beautiful formula- in "
the savior saved".[3] 

Christianity before Manes, but after Zoroaster, also professed a keen Manichaeism: God and the Devil, good and bad, spirit and matter; with the terrible consequences that matter, which really is the only reality existing in our life and everything coming from it or related to it, such as sex, pleasure and happiness, is wrong and harmful, which certainly is a true anti-humanism. The Church, which persecutes heresies, is itself a victim of what unfairly it pursues, of its many and varied heresies.












Fragment of the Ark of the Covenant


No one is more dangerous than those who think they have divine knowledge and act on behalf of God; those who act as intermediaries bridges, who begin and end their voyage interpreting the silence of God.

Two months after the Israelites had left Egypt, they arrived to the Sinai desert with their tents. Moses climbs Mount Sinai and there he meets God, who tells him:
If you hear me and you respect my covenant, you'll be my people among all peoples, people of priests and consecrated nation to me. Moses sends it to the bosses and they answer: We will do what Yahweh has commanded.

On the third day at dawn, there were on the mountain thunders, lightings and a thick cloud. A very loud sound of horn rang and all the people began to tremble. The entire Sinai smoked, because Yahweh had descended upon it in fire. And the whole mountain shook violently. Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder.

And Yahweh spoke these words:
I am the Yahweh your God who brought you out of Egypt, a country of slavery. And he gave Moses the Ten Commandments, the Decalogue. Moses later developed the Code of the Alliance, a collection of conventional laws, some of them written by Moses himself and most of them taken from the people of Canaan.

Moses came down the mountain with two boards in which the laws were written and recorded on both sides. The boards were the work of God, as well as the writing, which was the writing of God, engraved on them. But Moses, seeing that the Israelites worshiped a golden calf, full of anger, throws the boards that fell in pieces at the foot of the mountain. That's the first incongruity of galactic magnitude: to break what God himself had given him, what he had personally developed and written.

Now, literally, I transcribe a few Bible verses of Exodus:

Then Yahweh told Moses in the mountain: go back down, because your people have sinned. Very soon they have strayed from the path I had showed them. They have made an image of a calf of molten metal and they have been kneeling to it. They have offered sacrifices and they said: Israel, here are your gods who brought you out of Egypt. Yahweh also said: I see that this is a rebellious people. Now therefore let my anger explode against them. I will exterminate them. From you, however I will raise a great nation. Exodus 32, 7-10.

Moses pleaded to Yahweh and said:
"Calm your anger and forgot the punishment to your people. What will the Egyptians say?" He remembered him the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and his oath. Yahweh, convinced, waived destroy his people.

The calf is the traditional figure of the Canaanite god. The God of Moses, jealous, vengeful, forgetful, flighty, in search of sacrifice and recognition, including praise, is presented as a mere product of human intelligence. Prometheus certainly would revolt against the intolerance and inhumanity of this God.

Moses, after convincing Yahweh not to exterminate his people -bad start of an alliance-, incongruously takes justice into his own hands and with the help of the priestly caste, the tribe of Levi, commits three thousand crimes, after retirement.

Moses was placed at the entrance of the camp and called out: "Come to me those who are with Yahweh. And he was joined by all the tribe of Levi. Moses gave this order from Yahweh: Place your sword in your back, enter the camp, review it and do not hesitate to kill your siblings, peers and family. Exodus 32, 26-28.

The tribe of Levi fulfilled Moses order and that day died about three thousand men of the village. Then Moses told the Levites:
Today you have been consecrated to the Lord, at the expense of the son or brother, gaining his blessing today. Exodus 32, 29.

The Levites became the priestly family in reward for their loyalty; they helped Moses to restore his authority and killed the rebels, declared convicted. And bless them for their contempt of solidarity "in the flesh." This is what the commentators of the Latin-American Bible say of this terrible text, precursor of the practice of the Inquisition, which overlooks the New Testament to merge with that of the Exodus, in which Yahweh, according to Moses, commands to run this fratricidal killings. The commentator in the Latin-American Bible says:
The families of priests, the Levites, are more loyal and help Moses restore his authority: they start killing the offenders. So, he gives them his blessings, because their zeal for God made them despise any solidarity "in the flesh". And he has the audacity and the gall to write such nonsense.

Solidarity "in the flesh" is a natural principle, inherent to the human being, a primary and important value that is beyond any imagination and beyond any mythic,theological or philosophical speculation. It is inalienable and inviolable, the religion is for humans, never humans for religion; the human being is always an end in itself. Only an inhuman fundamentalism, retrograde and obscurantist may suggest that aberration.

Today, as Galileo wisely said, there is the Book of Nature with its laws and infinite wisdom, and in which everything that is human is enrolled, and on the other hand there is the Book of Scripture, which at times has been wrong written or misunderstood. With him, with the scientist Galileo, in case of doubt or conflict, we rely on the Book of Nature. Prometheus teaches that fickle and arbitrary gods can't be neither omnipotent nor recognized as such. "Prometheus glimpses the fall of all power that is based on violence," Schajowicz.

The commentator is right when he says that the killing of fellow Israelites helped Moses in the restoration of his authority, or better his power, through terror -the pedagogy of fear- that so wisely, although cruelly, practiced the Inquisition.

These Hebrews were simple, rustic shepherds wandering in search of their cattle, with a patriarchal regime and a religion born from their ignorance. Moses, brought up in the court of Egypt, illustrious nation, equipped with all the arts and sciences, rich and commercial, was a learned and educated man, and did not find anything so good to his ambitious spirit that the simple ignorance of these Hebrews, that fortune had treated so bad. He imposed himself as a supreme judge and legislator, with the help of Yahweh, of whom he declares he is his representative. He could not, he knew very well, invent better ruse that the story of a God who, amid thunder, speaks to him in person through a burning bush and built for him the Ten Commandments, which he records with his own fingers.

Is not the same to go down after forty days and say: Here are the commands that I want you to fulfill, or say: Yahweh has made a covenant with you and these are the commands he want you to fulfill.

It has been said that God is the greatest invention of all time, it's true. But sticking to the tragedies written and arranged in his name, could be the worst invention; this is also true. Human sacrifices, crusades, inquisitions, religious wars, all attributed to God, ad maiorem Dei gloriam (for the greater glory of God)... makes us very cautious, aware of the whole assembly of prophets and priests. To speak on behalf of God, to flaunt the representation of God, to give absolution in the name God, to promise heaven and hell in the name of Yahweh, when presented to ignorant and helpless, pays many taxes and infinite revenues. Pharaohs, kings and emperors, claimed the kingdom in the name of God. Moses was a cruel and cunning teacher, archetype of the demagogue and of the political use of theocracy: the power comes from God.

The Hebrews, seeing him in these circumstances, so unequal to them in dress, appearance and talents, as a messenger of the great Yahweh, who sent thunders and lightning in response to his questions, surrendered to him.

Yahweh chooses a simple people like the Hebrew, nomadic town of shepherds, with whom he makes an alliance, preferring them from other more relevant people and civilizations that existed in the world. He became an exclusive and jealous God who gets angry and then regrets.

This pact with the Jewish people began its history with Abraham when, about 1870 BC, left Ur of Chaldea in Mesopotamia and went with his nomadic clan to their settlement, on the edge of the desert of Canaan. From there, a century later, forced by hunger, they leave for Egypt, guided on this occasion, by the patriarch Jacob, where they will be enslaved. The facts of the Sinai desert could have happened on the thirteenth century BC.

According to Pepe Rodriguez, these partnership agreements between a small town and his master had been happening between the Hittite and different Mesopotamian cultures from the third millennium BC, and this, that of Moses, is a copy of the treaty of vassalage of Hittites.

This pact, mythical and megalomaniac, constituted the backbone of Jewish identity, and, in direct inheritance, of the Christian one. It served for the Hebrews as an agglutinating element of their faith and identity and of collective cohesion. At the same time that they were isolated from the other ethnic groups, they were allowed to survive as a people. It is said in the psychology of goals that what is perceived as real is real in its consequences, so the Jewish people perceived this pact with Yahweh as truly real and they always felt like the people chosen by God. Their isolation also brought them misunderstanding, hatred and persecution, atrocious holocaust, the result of envy and intolerance, because, no doubt, they were a privileged people.

In the treaty of allegiance, fidelity to the lord is a fundamental element; the infidelity is punished very severely. This issue, in a wrong interpretation, was transferred to Christianity and to the Inquisition, where they considered that thinking and acting differently was an infidelity and it was criminalized as a felony that may be punish with death.

The "Divine narrative" of Genesis is only an incomplete recount of the of Mesopotamian, Chaldean and Egyptian cosmogony myths, the description of the sky, for example. Myths and Legends of the Bible of the Jewish people were mostly plagiarism: Sumerian ruler Sargon (c 2334 to 2279 BC) had already been deposited in a reed basket and left to die in the waters of the Euphrates River, until he was rescued and adopted. The same that later would happen to Moses, who, "Saved from the Waters", is a universal legend, as it is the universal flood, the creation, the existence of souls, the afterlife and the final judgment.


The Israelite people, historically an insignificant and geographically minuscule group, was forced to compensate its smallness by feeling themselves chosen by a God, who if he were not the most powerful, he was unique and exclusive. A god that settled a protection pact with his chosen people in exchange of obedience and submission, of servitude. Israelite culture imposes on its members this nationalist conception of divinity.

This megalomaniac dynamic, full of myth mania, was the key that enabled the survival of the Israelites and eventually became the backbone of Jewish identity and, finally, by direct inheritance, of the Christian. So basically, in the biblical texts the real and the mythical story of Israel and its religion are confused.

From that Old Testament and the inspiration in the figure of Jesus of Nazareth, was born the New Testament, the basis and origin of Christianity in general and of the Church in particular. Not to forget also the curious fact that most of the books were not written by apostles, but for compilers who did not know Jesus and who wrote long after his death. They are late texts of the last quarter of the first century of the Christian era and the first quarter of the second century, with the exception of Paul's letters, written between 51 and 67 of the Christian era.

It seems that God in his infinite immutability, radically changed his exclusive pact with the Jews, since, after Paul of Tarsus, he also makes a pact with the Gentiles, whom he had stricken with rage in the Old Testament. Paul presents the New Testament with all sorts of tricks and accommodative reinterpretations, such as compliance and fulfillment of the Old Testament(Hebrews 1: 1-3, Galatians 3, 24, I Corinthians 15, 28).

Saul, condemned to endure with a very difficult, depressive, paranoid and fanatical character, and of a very frail physical health, tried to offset his personal problems shutting in himself progressively, up to the point of living completely oblivious to the harsh reality of the existence of his fellow Jews, who were oppressed by the Roman invader. Saul turned into a very personal spiritual world, which according to him, led him to experiment some mystical episodes that led him to see himself as the messiah who was sent to prepare the way for the imminent return of the celestial “Son of the Man” (remember Daniel 7, 13), who would come to earth to bring the resurrection of the dead and to establish the" Kingdom of God".

Paul, without being an apostle, declared himself an apostle. Beginning as a fanatical and violent persecutor of Christians then became Apostle to the Gentiles. After his participation in the stoning of Stephen he became the key figure in the expansion and development of the new religion, due to his careful rabbinical and Hellenic preparation, to his great talent and indisputable organizational ability. Paul never renounced Judaism and always observed the Mosaic prescriptions, when circumstances permitted it. This would have been enough to Torquemada, the Inquisitor, to condemn him to the bonfire as he did with the crypto-Jews, or false converts, as they were called because they secretly still practiced the Law of Moses. Paul never gave up his ardent hope of salvation for Israel.

Paul had his own peculiar and Christian logistic when he was developing the corpus of his Pauline Christianity, without stopping thinking like a Jew, but agreed, contrary to Peter, that the Gentiles were not to be circumcised.

Rejected by his people, the Jews, tormented by his physical illness, tortured by his emotional crisis and his egocentric paranoid and by an extraordinary presumption that leads him to contradict his apostles about "the will of Christ", he aims to indoctrinate them with teachings that were contrary to those of Jesus. Paul, for example, argued that Christians converts gentiles, those who were not Jews, in the very moment they accepted the Messiah automatically were part of Israel, because the Messiah was the King of Israel, and also in that moment their sins were forgiven.

For Paul, Jesus was not an incarnate God, nor the second person of the Trinity; he identified the Jesus of the ascension with the “Son of the Man” from the Jewish myths. Nor the rest of the apostles conceived him as God, nor they felt that the divinity cohabited with them, something quite unthinkable in the public life of Jesus. The Council of Nicaea, 325, was still far off. Paul's Christ is not God, concludes Schonfiel, but is the first creation of God and leaves no room for the Trinitarian formula of the creed of Athanasius at Nicaea.

Jesus, a Jew faithful to the Hebrew law, who preached the kingdom of God, was convinced that eschatology (the end of the world and the beginning of the thereafter) was imminent.

Jesus began to preach to the desperate masses. To promote healings - as many shamans still-current do- to reduce the requirements of the Act, focusing on the love for God and to the neighbor. At first, his messianism must have been quite rudimentary and more enlightened than political, but very soon the strengthened masses began to believe that the "kingdom of God" had come, even that Jesus was the Messianic king that the Jews expected. With his attention to the masses, Jesus separated himself from the modus operandi of the Pharisees, Essenians or other Jewish groups, earning at the same time, the appreciation of the first ones and the growing enmity of the seconds.

Jesus goal was never the beginning of a new sect within the Judaism, or the foundation of a church, but tried to assemble Israel in a new framework, the Kingdom of God and his ekklesía, as in the Old Testament, designs the general meeting of the Jewish people in the presence of God. He clearly stated:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets: I have came not to abolish it but to consummate it." Mt 5, 17-18. He adds: Do not go to the Gentiles nor enter in the Samaritans town, go rather to the lost sheep of Israel, and on your way preach, saying The Kingdom of God is near. And to the Canaanite woman, who claims to have a possessed daughter, he said: I have not been sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel [...] It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs, Mt 15, 24-26.


It is obvious that Jesus grows doctrinally within the Judaism, and that he sought to comply with the Jewish law written in the Old Testament. From his words and actions it cannot be inferred that he attempted to found a new religion against the people of Israel, nor a new Church with a clearly anti-Jewish beliefs.

Jesus was surrounded by men to preach the good news, his Gospel; a logical thing in a patriarchal context in which each man was grateful, through prayer, for not being born a pagan, a slave or a woman. There is no indication that he has been married, although his relationship with woman was very normal; but his supposed celibacy was the ulterior motive, plus other economic and administrative ones, to enforce the celibacy of the clergy of the future Church. At the same time, he generated the prohibition on women to enter the priesthood; the hierarchy says that such prohibition corresponds to the express will of Jesus, which, besides being false -it does not appear anywhere- it is impossible to demonstrate. What is absolutely true is that women's fundamental rights are violated by being marginalized.

Jesus, as his apostles, believed in the end of the world, the Parousia (the coming of the Son of the man, at the end of times) was imminent, with the subsequent advent of the Kingdom of God. Clearly stated in Matthew 16: 27-28:
The Son of the man shall come in his Father's glory with the angels, and then would give to each one according to his works. Truly, I should say that there are some among the audience who will not taste death before they see the Son of the man coming to his kingdom. And in Matthew 24, 34, it is added: Verily I say unto you that this generation shall not pass away before all this happens.

Peter, James, John and Paul also shared this great error of unfulfilled prophecy. The end of the world did not come with the expected coming of the Son of the man, but certainly in this context no one could think in the possibility of a new church, when there was no intention, no space or time to create a new one. It would be Paul, who later could create the foundation for a new church; a process that would last centuries.

The early Christian communities, upon seeing that the Parousia, the end of the world, did not arrive, took a big shift to soteriology or saving issues. They began to speak of the redemption and salvation, of Jesus as a redeemer and savior, through his ignominiously death on the cross, scandal for everyone except for the Christians. The truth is that the idea of the Parousia remained in the collective consciousness of the Christians, who continued caressing and waiting it ("millenarianism”). There is talk about the sin, the souls, and the other world, which presupposes immortality. Topics served in tray by Egyptian religions, Mesopotamian, Persian and Indian, by Jews in the Old Testament and by Plato, one of the great philosophers of the immortality of the soul that had so much influence on Christianity, filtered by Philo, by the Stoics and by Augustine of Hippona.

When the masses oppressed by the Romans, who had heard his preaches, found that the expected socio-political changes that they hoped to accomplish through the promised Messiah did not come, deeply disappointed, they began to withdraw their support. The added value of the growing hostility of the Jewish religious authorities towards Jesus and their absolute conviction of the imminent end of the world forbid them to try to prevent his arrest and they took him to the gallows.

The Inquisition and the Inquisitors upon condemning to the fire the crypto-Jews (Jewish converts who continued to practice Jewish laws and customs) and the corresponding forfeiture of their possessions. They forgot that Jesus, like all his apostles, was a Jew and no one of them left being so; it is one of the many contradictions of the so called Holy Inquisition.










St. Peter in tears by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.

Peter's confession is one of the major issues in dispute.

The Protestant Reform denied all its value.



The context has to be searched at Caesarea of Philippi when Jesus asked his disciples:

- Who do the people say that the Son of the Man is?

They replied:

- Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, others Jeremiah or one of the prophets

He told them:

And who do you say that I am?

Simon Peter answered:

- You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Matthew (16, 13-16).

Jesus changed Simon's name to Kepha or Cephas, which means stone or rock and took the Latin form of Peter's, hence the pun on Simon Peter.

Mark and Lucas end Peter's confession only with: You are the Christ, without the paragraph of the confession, which gives rise to the powers that Popes will assume as successors of Peter; John the Evangelist, also omitted it. All the three silence, in the confession of Peter, the expression the son of alive God, that was the key to grant such powers, which were bound to be allegorical and symbolic, never legal.

Matthew added:

 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."(Mt.16, 17-19).

The omission in the other gospels of this text, the most emblematic and important of the future church, since it is supported by theologians to create their ecclesiology with all its powers, remains highly surprising and eloquent. The text of Matthew is spurious and added later with apologetic and dogmatic purposes. It is totally impossible for the three synoptic Gospels remaining, aware of its importance, that they had omitted it. Mark, a disciple of Peter, could not ignore a text that favored his teacher so much. Anyway, theologians overstayed its interpretation and meaning. This text was also used to demonstrate the divinity of Jesus, but it seems that the other three evangelists did not realize that.

The bishops of the East, in the fourth century, stated that this text of Matthew had been very late interleaved or interpolated by supporters of the Bishop of Rome in the power struggles among the bishops for the Primate.

Peter said that Jesus is the living stone, as also are the believers:

He is the living stone, rejected by men, chosen and valued by God, hence, to approach Him, also like living stones, are involved in building a spiritual temple and are a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. I Peter 2.4-5.

The believers are the stones of the temple and they are priests. And Paul adds:

For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. I Cor. 3, 11.... built upon the foundation of the apostles, with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. Eph. 2.20.

The argument that Peter is the rock upon which is founded the Church has no exegetical basis as we have seen. Neither during the first ten centuries, the bishops of Rome could claim to be successors of Peter. Ecumenical Councils, the first eight, were held in Asia, without the direct intervention of the Pope or Rome. There were the emperors who gathered and led the councils. The papacy is beginning to consolidate as the supreme authority from the eleventh century. Rome was in constantly fight for Primacy against Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria, founded by the apostles. The primacy of the Bishop of Rome comes to history and has nothing to do with Peter neither with Jesus. All its powers are based solely and exclusively on the theologians and canonists of the late Middle Ages, with no divine intervention.

There is another fact that cannot be ignored: Most of the New Testament was not written by apostles, but for collectors who did not know Jesus.

The Gospel of Mark is the oldest document of the life of Jesus, but Marcos was not a disciple of Jesus nor he knew him personally; he writes what he had listened to Peter.

The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, essential documents to understand the origin and development of the early church, were written by the same author who was not an apostle and who composes his texts from plagiarizing passages of various documents from different sources and from what he listened to Paul.

The Gospel of Matthew was not written by the apostle Matthew, as it was believed. Today, due to compelling reasons, it is known that the author was a Christian of second generation, from the Judaism of the Diaspora, who wrote in Greek, using documents from Mark, the first gospel written and that just does not have the famous text of Peter's powers. It seems that it was written in Antioch around the year ninety.

The Gospel of John and the Apocalypse, as it is commonly believed, are not works of the apostle John, "the beloved disciple," but of John the Elder, a Greek Christian who relied on Hebrew and Essene texts and on the memories he got from John the apostle.

All Catholic biblical scholars today, there might be some rare exception, accept that the gospels were not written by the apostles. As they accept that they are not historical books, in the sense that today we understand history, but they are doctrinal and apologetic books.

Besides these four Gospels, called synoptic or canonical, chosen as the best, were other different gospels that were called apocrypha, hidden texts. Later, they were considered as of doubtful authenticity and, finally, as not recommended or suspected of heretical doctrines.

Among the apocryphal gospels, which were many, there were texts older than the synoptic ones and some of them were attributed directly to the Apostles. It is curious how many Fathers and early Christian apologists quote the Apocryphal gospels in preference to canonical ones.

The selection of the canonical Gospels was held at the Council of Nicaea in 325 and was ratified in Laodicea, 365. The way the four canonicals were chosen among the rest, more than fifty apocryphal, miraculous legends are recounted: that all were on the altar and, after invocation of the Council Fathers, the apocryphal fell to the ground and only left the four canonical; another says that they previously selected those four ones, placed them on the altar and ordered to God that, if they had a wrong word, fall to the ground, but they all stayed on the altar; and this one which explains that if four were the regions in the world, four should be the Gospels. The divine inspiration of the Sacred Text, as the inerrancy, they are still free tenets of theologians to give unquestionable weight to their dogmatic assertions.









Primer and Christian doctrine. Catechism of the sixteenth century.

Diocesan Archive of Cuenca.




Sin is the secret weapon of all monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, that the Church used to frighten -pedagogy of fear- the believers, to delve into their inner life, thus violating their right to privacy, and, at the same time, as a flock or herd, to drive them into the fold of submission and vassalage. The simile of sin with a big nose, that the bull is placed in the nose to lead him meekly, despite its wildness, is very successful. Sin is the theological concept that makes the main contribution to the church institution, which, as time goes on, goes away at top speed from those simple first episodes of Jesus and his fishermen, who were risen to galactic heights by a mythologizing process.

The sin is the religious stigma that the Inquisition used to rationalize its procedures and justify its crimes and atrocities. It is the backbone of the redemptive theology, which comes to be the reason of its being: saving souls, that is nothing else than to liberate them of sin, according to its theology. And, therefore, it is central to the control and domination of the faithful or members of the Church in the daily aspect of their lives.

Let us analyze its first orthodox truth: We all were born in sin. "In sin my mother conceived me," said David. The origin goes back to the myth of Eden, where the first couple, created by God, delighted in Paradise, created by God as well. And a women, just Eve, the mother of every living thing - a symbol -, not without reason, thought it was good to eat from the tree of science. And so cleanly, in a mysterious way, without eating or drinking it, we all inherited the sin of disobedience of the first humans. According to serious church councils, early human, farmers or shepherds, were created immortal, but sin turned them into deadly beings and loaded them with all sorts of ailments and diseases. And Catholic theology insists that sin enslaved and denigrated us, corrupting our human nature.

The Synod of Carthage, 418, against the followers of Pelagius who deny original sin and whose doctrine had been formally declared heretical by the Council of Carthage, in the year 411, and whose sentence was ratified by Pope Innocent I in 417, says:

Can. 1: It pleased all the bishops gathered in the holy [...] Church Council of Carthage: Who so ever shall say that the first man Adam was created mortal, so that whether or not sinned must die in the body, i.e., that the dead of the body would not be punishment for sin, but by necessity of nature, let him be anathema (excommunicated).

Can. 2: It also pleased that whoever denies that newborn children from their mothers, have not to be baptized or say that, indeed, they are baptized for the remission of sins, but they bring nothing of Adam's original sin that has to be atone by the washing of regeneration; hence consequently it follows that in them the formula of baptism "for the remission of sins" is to be understood not true but false, is anathema.

The first thought that springs spontaneously is this: If the first couple never really existed -it could be a symbol- where from do we inherit a sin which doesn't exist?
The Church, before accepting the evidence of evolution, so as not to demolish its dogmatic building and its reason of being, clings to the puerile and absurd, as did St. Anselm in the eleventh century: I believe because it is absurd (credo quia absurdum est), but it does not stop it to torture and to lead to the burning those who deny these childish fantasies.

Paul, in his letter written to the Romans, said:

"We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin." Rom 7.14. "Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.." Rom. 7.20.


Our freedom, says the commentator of the New American Bible, is powerless against sin, that is, nothing can be done against the evil forces that drag the whole humanity. The "meat" makes us be accomplices in all this. [8]

Manichaeism cannot be disguised, and the moral problem of determinism, that restricts freedom necessary for sin, complicates the affair: If not me who does evil, but sin that is in me, the sin is the sinner. For the Church there is no problem of determinism, everything is all right. The Fathers proclaim that where sin abounded, the grace abounded more. Besides this, the sin, which corrupts human nature, was necessary to justify the grace and redemption in soteriological theology, that was put into action, when the liberating political messianism, expected by the Jews, was not fulfilled. Since then, sin is a key part of Catholic theology, and even its raison of being, although it be a human destroyer stigma.

Paul ends chapter seven:
"So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin." Rom. 7.25, and continues: "God then, to deal with sin, sent his own Son and somehow put him in carnal and sinful condition, and so he condemned sin". Rom. 8,13.

The amazing expression "carnal and sinful condition" is a Pauline stigma of Manichean inheritance, disrespectful and shameful for human beings by assimilating flesh with sin. But, in fact, we are made of flesh and of substance, the same as our brain. Paul influenced and greatly affects even today all Christians, and his prejudices and doctrinal aberrations invaded Christianity. He, who was not an apostle but declared himself as apostle, corrected the Teacher. He, who was a persecutor of Christians, became the apostle of the Gentiles, who did not hesitate to confront Peter. We are slaves of the law and sin; it is the seal of Christian slavery.


"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" Rom. 5.12..........."Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." Rom. 5.18.


The Pauline thought, its body of doctrine, is mythical, it is based on myths. Saul of Tarsus also believed in Adam and his immortality, and he was the support of the synods and councils against Pelagius, who denied original sin and defended free will against Paul's theology of slavery. Pelagius, in these doctrinal points, was right. He was defender of human dignity, free and not slave of sin; baptism was not necessary to erase a sin that did not exist. But the Church used the pretext of the original sin to incorporate the baptized in its flock and make him part of its herd, as it did with the forced baptisms of the Jews and Muslims, who, once inside, were tread as heretics for following their ancestral traditions and habits, for their refusing of a trans-cultural education.

The misogynism of Paul of Tarsus is proverbial. Not only he denies the vote to women, even the voice: Mulieres in ecclesia taceant (Women in the Church to shut up). That the human being, man and woman, is free and independent, fundamental priority embedded in human nature, is recognized in all jurisdictions worldwide; only religions, carried by ancient beliefs, do not accept them in full, the same as with equal gender rights, men and women. The woman continues to be marginalized and subordinated in patriarchal society. Catholic Church forbids them the access to the priesthood and, therefore, they cannot become bishops or higher ecclesiastical authorities: In the marriage, she has to accept the charge until the end of her days, and sexuality is that every sexual act must be open to procreation, ignoring the most basic of human sexuality and marital happiness. All this due to Manichaean prejudices, such the one that states the sex is bad in itself, and that we are simple stewards of our bodies, because they belong to God for the creation myth.

The human being is not a means to anything or anyone. The law, against Paul, is for the human being, the opposite is false: no human being is for for the law. Human being is always sovereign, never is medium or belongs to anyone. Nobody can impose moral burden to his conscience, as did the Church ever to print the marks of sin in his conscience and make him to feel himself as a sinner. Power is not in God but in the people, in the Citizens Assembly. The religious elites seek the source of power on topics very easy to erect, very difficult to disassemble and decisive in the structuring of society to suit them. The Inquisition not only constrained the freedom of thinking, feeling, believing and living, but it also constrained the freedom of investigation, discovery and progress; all that under the symbol of holiness (the holy Inquisition, Holy Office, ad maiorem Dei gloriam )and the accomplishment of the divine will. Everything was possible when the Power, who came from God, embodied in his delegates, the Pope, the King or the Emperor, by the laying on of hands (quirofanía), while the citizen, deprived of adequate rights and the right skills, was helpless at the mercy of the arbitrary exercise of powerful men, who based on their caesarian-papist theocracies, were ignoring that the real power belongs to and resides in the people. But the church hierarchy always snatched it. Democracy in the Church was always a utopia, and it remains so. The dogmatic thesis supporting that the Church is essentially hierarchical is false, it is a later product of theologians and canonists subservient to the Pope. It was not so in the first centuries of Christianity.

The stigma of sin brings about, as related corollary, the complex of guilt and remorse. That inner fire, maddening, burns without consuming consciences, who can hardly get rid of so many conscience taboos, prejudices and existing laws on religion; and it allows the grantors of forgiveness, through the sacrament of confession, to fumble in the morbidly interior of conscience to discover intimacy and impose guidelines to follow. These advisers of the divine had great influence even on the decisions of kings, as was the influence of the Dominican Torquemada on Isabella and Ferdinand, who took the decision to expel the Jews, although since the third century they were already in Spain and to their race belonged, it is believed, a grandmother of the king.









Provincial Library of Huelva.

An edition of Aristotle's Logic printed in Lyon in 1570.



Aristotle, 384-322 BC, one of the greatest philosophers of antiquity, together with Socrates and Plato, gives reality to the ideas by understanding them as the essence of the reality: there is nothing in the mind that was not previously in the senses.

His Hylemorphic conception (hyle -matter- and -morphos- form) is that the essences or substances of things have a dual reality: matter and form, which are interrelated and from their interrelationship emerge the Psychology, the Sociology, the Politics and a new philosophical Anthropology. For the essence of man, the body is the matter and the form is the soul, which, in turn, is the first principle, first force or energy that gives rise to life, to feel, to insight, to the integrated structure into the biological, intellectual and thoughtful terms of man.

The Aristotelian Hylemorphism implies a rejection of the immortality of the soul, defended by Plato and the Pythagoreans. The soul not survives the body, Aristotle says, because it cannot exist without the body, although it is not a body, only its form, its functionality.

The scholastics with Thomas Aquinas, who follow Aristotle's hylemorphism theory, give a qualitative leap: the human soul is a pure, spiritual form, created by God, and that can exist independently of matter or body; it seems a too metaphysical and mythical conception. Thomas adds more: "Matter exists for the form", it is a second step, the subordination of the material to the spiritual. The human being, according to the Scholastics, made up of 'materia prima' (first matter) and of substantial form, earthly body and spiritual soul, it would be a kind of minotaur or centaur, spirit and body. Aristotle is more logical and consistent in his doctrine.


The form is not spiritual, nor can it survive the matter, it is mortal. Immortality is not feasible, it belongs to the mythical realm. Beyond life, only death. Brain death, scientists say, is final and irreversible.

Substance is any piece of matter that shares certain intensive properties, is the kind of matter of which bodies are formed.

Plato and Aristotle developed the concept of form, corresponding and opposed to matter. But it was Aristotle who developed the more complete concept of matter, but the metaphysical aspect of the matter was relegated to the scholastics. The fundamental characteristic of matter is the receptivity of the form, therefore it is potential to be something, something being determined by the form. This theory is intended to explain the motion, generation and corruption, which demand form changes and involve concepts of potency and act. The matter, as substance and subject, is the very possibility of movement. To explain the substantial change, it is needed the metaphysical concept of materia prima, which is a mere potential power that is nothing, since it has nor a determination form or a new form.

Scholasticism, which takes the hilemorphic concept of Aristotle to also explain the reality of things, of movement and of substantial change, defined the 'materia prima' as : It is not a what (substance), not a quality, not a quantity or any other thing by which the being is determined. This negative definition contradicts the laws of logic, which states that the definition can not be negative; moreover, it is nothing, it is all a pipe dream, a metaphysical free quote.

To the Greeks, the 'materia prima' is no generable, it is eternal; eternity of matter and motion, but as the matter does not need a cause, the movement does. It always demands an engine and that is precisely how Aquinas goes to show, in one of his five ways, the need for a first mover: God. Note that the concept of creation is alien to Aristotelian thought, as to the Greek thought in general. And so it will be for the future science that postulates: Matter is neither created nor destroyed, only transformed. The concept of creation is mythological. stw

The creation myth is almost universal in religions; there are also myths of appearance (in which the human being without being created, has its origin in certain American mythology), all of them masterfully handled. According to them God, the Creator, owns everything created by Him: the cosmos, plants, animals, humans... Everything, absolutely of everything, God is the owner. Therefore we would not be free, as our owner would be God and we would have the duty, therefore, to worship him in gratitude and allegiance, and we would be merely stewards of our own. But as God does not act directly, there will be his representatives, the bridges or pontiffs, who interpret the silence of God and act accordingly, but always in his name. This explains why Pope Alexander VI divided the newly discovered America between the Spaniards and Portugueses, as if it were his private estate, and that the church prohibits euthanasia, as life does not belong to us, but to its creator. The myths, as we see, are not harmless legends or naive fables, they have a high burden of ideological depth.


Returning to the philosophical concept, let us say that it is really very simple, inadequate and inaccurate, because the 'materia prima' as it is defined is nothing, nor would be its compound. It is only a metaphysical assumption to explain the motion and the substantial changes.

Only in current Physics we can obtain a rigorous and scientific conceptualization of the matter. Without forgetting the immense and evolutionary complexity of the subject, as shown by quantum mechanics, nuclear physics, astrophysics, realities that go beyond the material chemistry or crystallography. And this, without considering the physical concept of antimatter.

As basic data, and in contrast to the simplistic Hylemorphism, matter means any physical entity that is part of the observable universe, which has energy and it is measurable. All forms of matter have energy, but only some have mass, what is called mass matter. Physics tells us that the components of matter are:

Electrons: leptonic particles with negative electric charge.

Protons: baryonic particles with positive electric charge.

Neutrons: baryonic particles without electric charge, but with magnetic moment.

These particles, in turn, are composed of subatomic particles that are the last components of matter. The baryons in the nucleus, protons and neutrons, have lower-level constituents, the quarks, held together by exchanging virtual gluons.

And the physical state of a substance can be solid, liquid, gaseous and plasma, depending on its kinetic and potential energy. If the kinetics (which tends to separate) is less than the potential (which tends to put it together), it is solid; if both energies, the kinetic and potential are equal, it is liquid; if the kinetic energy is greater than the potential, it is a gas; if the kinetic energy is such that the electrons have a positive total energy it is plasma.

The mass matter has dimensions, occupies a place in space; it has inertia, which is the resistance of the material to change its state of rest or motion. The matter is also the cause of gravity or gravitation, that is the attraction that always acts in the material objects, no matter the distance at which they are. However, the bulk of matter in the cosmos corresponds -according to astrophysicists- to particles or fields that have no mass, such as light, electromagnetic radiation, which are composed of mass-less photons. The neutrins, particles that flood the entire universe and are responsible for much of its energy, it is unclear whether they have mass, if they are massive. There is also the dark matter, which could form a quarter of the total energy of the universe.


The law establishing the conservation of matter is due to the French chemist Lavoisier, the father of chemistry, which showed that by measuring the mass before and after taking part in a chemical reaction, matter measured by mass is nor created or destroyed, it is only transformed. This had been discovered by Mikhail Lomonosov, who had established that the mass of a substance is constant, regardless of internal processes attached to it (Lomonosov-Lavoisier law).

But this (here is another advantage of science over religious dogma and ideas about beliefs) is not quite true, as Einstein proved to establish the equivalence of mass and energy. In an atomic explosion, or behind the constant output of energy that made the stars, there is a loss of rest mass, gravitational mass, while emitting radiation. Thus, we can say that the relativistic mass equivalent (the total material mass plus energy ) is preserved, but change the rest mass. The conventional mass is not conserved, because mass and energy -according to Einstein-are inter-convertible. The rest mass can change in relativistic processes, in which a portion of matter is converted into photons.

Aristotelian physics is shattered, as it was his astrology with the invention of the telescope and Galileo's observations. There is no doubt that Aristotle was a genius and an encyclopedic of his time, but most of his knowledge has been happily overcome by science. The Church, in the course of time, used them to develop its dogmas: substance, nature, person, geocentric... But if the premises are false, the conclusion is false as well.

Here are some dogmatic statements of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, made with wrong Greek concepts of physics.

253 The Trinity is One. Do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons: "consubstantial Trinity" (cc. Constantinople, in 553: DS 421). The divine persons do not share the one divinity, but each is fully God: "Father is like the Son, the Son is the same as the Father, the Father and the Son as well as the Holy Spirit, i.e, by nature one God "(CC, Toledo XI, year 675: DS 530). "Each of the persons is that reality, i.e, substance, essence or divine nature" (cc. Lateran IV, 1215: DS 804).

479 In the time prescribed by God, the Father's only Son, the eternal Word, that is, the Word and Image substantial Father, became flesh: without losing the divine nature he assumed human nature.

480 Jesus Christ is true God and true man in the unity of his divine person, that is why he is the only mediator between God and men.

481 Jesus Christ possesses two natures, divine and human, not confused, but united in the one Person of the Son of God.

482 Christ, being true God and true man, has an intelligence and human will, in perfect agreement and subject to his intelligence and his divine will that he has in common with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

251 In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to develop its own terminology with the help of notions of philosophical origin: "substance", "person" or "hypostasis", "relation" and so on. By doing this, did not subject the faith to human wisdom, but gave a new meaning, surprisingly, these terms also used to signify an ineffable mystery onwards, infinitely beyond all that we conceive as the human dimension "( Paul VI, CPG 2).

253 The Church uses the term "substance" (rendered also at times by "essence" or "nature") to designate the divine being in its unity, the term "person" or "hypostasis" to designate the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit in its real distinction among them, the term "relation" to designate the fact that their distinction lies in the relationship of each other.
The notion of substance, nature or essence slips away, like water in the basket, of hyhlemorphic categories, which define very little and this incorrectly. Modern physics demonstrates its complexity and subtlety.

The terms and concepts that emerge from human perception only can be applied to the humans. Trying their extrapolation to the divine is like trying to imitate Phaeton driving the car in the sun. They are human terms, too human to be divine. The projection of the human over God makes him human. Its hypothetical substance, nature or essence, according to the hypothetical attributes of divinity, should be very different in nature, unless we wanted to get into pantheism.

The wise and naive Servet, as we all, did not understand the Trinitarian mystery, because it is a jumble of contradictory terms that say nothing and mean less, and his disagreement with Calvin about the Trinitarian formula cost him his life. At least, Arius, in denying the Son consubstantial with the Father, was more logical and consistent. It is said that the God of the Old Testament is in little resemblance to the New; the truth is that the new God, the triune God, is truly new at least in the unsuccessful attempt of its definition. Look, trying to define like trying to put doors to the countryside or dykes to the sea!

The Christ with two natures, two intelligences, two wills and a single person who is divine, it not the historical Jesus, who is the son of Mary... Nobody, or His apostles, could recognize him; luckily there is William of Ockham for terms not intimidate us, knowing that they are pure names.

But the Church needed an orthodoxy as a cohesive identity to mark its territory, to establish and consolidate its power and ideology and carry out checks on its members. To do this, the church was developing dogmas, by using an accommodating interpretation of the Scriptures and a conditioned vision of the Fathers of the Church, by using the Councils that were summoned by history when its needs required it and that were built by the elite of ecclesiastical power, and also by using the philosophical doctrines, vain attempt to prop up its beliefs because they are based on legend. As if these dogmas said or might say something of the infinite reality always conceived as an act pure, or pure energy in action, using vague terms of dubious meaning and trying to lock the infinite reality, overwhelming rality, in a static moment, woven with the simplicity of a few terms.

William of Ockham (c. 1280/1288-1349), Franciscan friar and English scholastic philosopher, together with Duns Scotus, one of the brightest minds in speculative metaphysics and deep throughout the Middle Ages, advocates the economics of science, which is called Ockham's penknife that today it might be called Ockham's scissors. It states that every phenomenon can be explained without assuming a hypothetical entity and must be explained by the fewest possible causes, factors or variables; if two are enough, you should not use three.

Nominalism, against the existence of universals (concepts) or universals (ideas) that unreasonably were believed to represented the essence of things, holds that universals are merely names, i.e. words, but not reality existing. For some, nominalism leads to conceptualism, which states that the names are concepts that only exist in the human mind, because they proceed from it. The universal does not exist outside the mind, outside the understanding; it is a fiction of ours. Universal is a mere term, which is used to mean many similar, unique and individual objects. So if I want to say that every member of the human race is mortal, I have not to list by name all human beings to deduce it, it is enough to include all in one term: man (human being). By saying any man is mortal, the word man does not represent the essence of man neither is real, it is a fiction of human intelligence practice, a supposition, a word, a term.

Universals are explained as entities that exist in themselves, with their own reality, independent of mind, transcending the course of time, timeless, eternal, like the Good, the Beautiful, Justice, and are defended by Catholic thinkers to support their morals, their value systems and beliefs with their dogmas, that transcend human beings of any era or culture. These universals are based on the theory of Ideas of Plato, who overcoming the relativistic theory of sensation of Protagoras and Socrates, enters into an ethics, metaphysic and mystical theory of knowledge. Intelligence, in Plato, through the dialectic, ascends to the ideas, i.e., to the absolute essences or unconditioned realities: eidetic passion.

The Pythagoreans had provided an early escape from the sensible to analyze things in their essentials (we would say in their commons), but neither Socrates nor the Pythagoreans transcend the material world. This metaphysical leap is done by Plato by putting the research into the supersensible, where, by intuitive contemplation, is performed the genuine philosophical knowledge, whose own object is the essence, which is reached only by intuitive contemplation of ideas. This design is copied by Catholic theology.

Nicolas Malebranche (1638-1715), on his ontologism about the universals and unchanging ideas, asks: what is their source? They can not come from the senses, which capture only the singular and the concrete; nor from the imagination, mere residue of sensations; nor from reason, because producing an idea is to create, and human reason nothing can create. Consequently, the only explanation for the origin of ideas is that they are coming from God; this does not mean that God creates the ideas in our reason, but the ideas are grasped by our mind in God, where they are located. Malebranche's epistemology is not only an exaggeration of Augustinian doctrine, but also it violates the principle of Ockham's economy, besides the blowing up of the theory of knowledge. Malebranche does not explain how our minds can grasp the ideas in God. But in mythology anything is possible.

Plato thinks that only in the ideas (eidos) things reach security and consistency. What's more, over the ideas in a lower case letter, Plato puts the Ideas themselves, supreme realities, absolutely consistent, but also quite indefinable. And there are three such realities: the Good, the Beautiful and Justice. Plato's dialectic is primarily metaphysical, ontological, theological and, deductively, physical, anthropological, ethical and political. Platonic ideas are universal beings, eternal archetypes, which are in the supersensible world. Plato, through the Pythagoreans, through Philo of Alexandria and Augustine of Hippo, enters the Catholic theology and morality.

Speaking of Augustine, I am reminded of that legend of his walk on the beach, thinking about the mystery of the Trinity. He found a child playing on the beach and when asked what he was doing, he answered that he was putting the whole water of the sea into a bucket. And always comes the same moral: that is easier than to understand the mystery that occupied his mind. The term sea does not cover or understand the sea; or the term ocean, the ocean; or the term human being, the essence of human being; or goodness, justice, happiness, substance, person, freedom... are realities in themselves, nor are comprehensive of all; they are always highly relative products of the human mind to mean different things.

The essence does not exist, nor could be captured; every idea comes from the senses and it is a product of the mind. The senses only capture the phenomenon, the peripheral or superficial, not the essence or the Kantian noumenon. Every real thing is individual. There is no full happiness, truth, beauty, justice, there are just parts of them all and always conditioned by the historical moment. There is a cultural constant in all peoples, according to anthropologists: Do good and avoid evil, but good and evil are defined by each company or group of people at each moment in history: moral relativism. There is nothing static, as he thought Parmenides of Elea, for whom the true reality is the 'being' (ens-entis), which is the unity, the immobility, the eternity, but the entity with ontological reality does not exist. The truth is closer to Heraclitus of Ephesus, as his 'being' is racked with dynamism, as it is the life itself; only the becoming exists, everything flows, nothing stands still. The bottom line is really a ceaseless becoming; at our core we are and are not flowing. The same evolution is the struggle of opposites, only in the struggle the life is possible.

The dogmas born of such pompous terms, as matter-form, substance-accident, potential-act, universal-particular, abstract-concrete, predicable-predicament, guilt-penalty, try to raise to substantive category what is pure nominalism. And from an impossible orthodoxy into all these, it is born a possible, better, inevitable heterodoxy, whose members are potential victims of ecclesiastical inquisitions.

Behind these dumb dogmas, there is a whole theoretical amount of power and a waste of psychology in the domain of the masses, as well as an effective pedagogy of promises, first, and of punishment, later. 





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Betrayal of Judas Giotto di Bondone, 1302-05.

On the left, another priest tries to convince Judas to betray Christ.






Gone are the days of repression against the followers of Christ. Constantine shows a benevolent attitude toward Christians. For the first time an emperor declared himself Christian though it should further be investigated the genuineness of the faith of Constantine.

The Edict of Milan put an end to the era of persecution and inaugurates a new period in the history of Christianity.

The name of the Theory of Two Swords expresses the spiritual supremacy of the Pope over the temporal power of the Emperor. Such power of the Church is that which allows the aberrant idea of establishing the tribunals of the Inquisition.








Fresco of Niccolo Circignani, 1583

Torments of martyrs who preferred to die rather than renounce the faith of Christ.




It is said that the first Christians professed a religion of peace and love. They sanctified life and abominated violence, they were not supporters of the Roman circuses or go and fight in the battlefield, thus ignoring the law of the Roman emperors. They also refused to worship the emperor. Divinity always provided good returns to power and tried to make Rome the center of Christianity, they would achieve it over time, but for the moment it was too much to ask for. Christianity, from the beginning, was a threat to the Greco-Roman domestic religion, from which emanated the assumptions of Ius (right) and Lex (law), according to Fustel de Coulanges in his work The Ancient City.

Fifty days after Jesus' death, on the feast of Pentecost, they formed the first Jewish-Christian community, chaired by James the apostle and it was decided the colossal task of extending the doctrine of Jesus throughout the known world.

Rome was tolerant of all religions, as was the Greece of Pericles, but, when Rome realizes that the new Christian religion begins to destroy social order and beliefs of its citizens, the persecutions began. Christianity besides denying the cult of the emperor, questioned the disparity between masters and slaves and was opposed to pagan religious practices. They are the first signs of intolerance in the Empire.

The first pursuer, who falsely blamed the Christians of burning Rome, was Nero. Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom. Domitian banished from Rome John the Apostle. After Domitian, the pursuers would be Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Septimus Severus, Maximus, Decius and Diocletian, who tried to exterminate the Christians, who fought, in the name of their God, traditions and Roman laws. Galiano, in 260, published the first Edict of Toleration, which would be revoked by Diocletian in 303. State administrators come to the wise conclusion that the persecution would completely fail. It was said that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of new Christians. In the year 312, Valerio gives the final step to allow Christian worship in all his territories and, in 313, a year later, the Emperor Constantine, with the Milan Edict, granted complete religious freedom and equal rights to Christians. He also restores the Church the confiscated property.


We ran so into the first important reflection for understanding the phenomenon of later heresies. Already during the Roman Empire religious punishment was a social punishment. There is a close relationship between the belief largely accepted in a society and the authority that makes the power in the same society. The Romans knew that religion is one of the most important logistical equipment for the maintenance of social cohesion and, therefore, while possible, they harassed Christians who undermined the foundations of established order. Christians ceased to be pursued only when the persecution itself threatened to destabilize the Empire. They were only accepted when they became elements of stability. The religious Roman elite realized, in the early fourth century, that nothing could be done against the religiosity of the working classes, who embraced the creed born with Jesus of Nazareth. [10]






Statue of Emperor Constantine. Found in Rome in a disused drain, would date from AD 312


Constantine helped to change the identity of the Church.

Constantine Statue at York, where he was proclaimed emperor



The Catholic Church is the product of historical circumstances, not an institutional foundation emanating from the will of Jesus. We can not forget that its origins are Jews who spoke Aramaic, but later, with the new Gentile Christians and Hellenized Jews, like Paul, were slowly away from the foundations of Judeo-Christianity that, in Jerusalem, led James and Peter. The small Jewish-Christian sect was transformed into a relatively large church, made up of uneducated masses who do not hesitate to mix Christian base with the remains of pagan Hellenism in decline.

Between 250-323, after suffering major Roman persecutions inflicted on the Christians in order to eradicate Christianity from their territories and that they were counterproductive as well as unfair -violence was never the proper solution to the problems- the church began to engage in the pursuit and consolidation of political power for its institutional stability. From the pax of Constantine, 310, begin to flourish as a first-class political power.

The churches, in economic need to keep their nascent structure and worship as well as to serve the needy, were demanding more freedom and accumulating income and capital in order to strengthen their legal status, which was precarious. At the same time they were losing their autonomy, the independence they had in their first two centuries of existence, to approach the State and flirting with its power to preserve their heritage, their prestige and capacity for influence and proselytizing. And Pax of Constantine came and, with it, came the beginning of the end of the Church as well: allied with power, installed in the State, one more power, supplementary to the state and to the state functions. Christian citizens, from now, will have double economic burden, dual control and dual allegiance, the external, in state hands and the internal, in the hands of the Church.

said that Constantine seized the ecclesiastical apparatus to strengthen his empire and the truth is that he succeeded. After subjecting with his army Italy and North Africa, he returned confiscated property to the church and provided a valuable contribution of the Imperial Treasury. He helped, at the same time, to strength and create its own dogmas, to beat the Christians dissidents living in northern Africa and other parts of Asia, as, from the outset, emerged different beliefs within the Christian community.

Constantine called councils, christianized imperial laws, bought the wills of bishops and, in return, he grew in power and wealth the Patrimonium Petri, the famous and controversial heritage of Peter. He acknowledged to the episcopal jurisdiction in civil cases. In 318, it is established that any citizen who had a civil dispute could go to the bishop, whose decision would be "holy and healthy" and whose ruling could not be appealed, the state limited to the execution of the power of the secular arm, as, in centuries later, would do the Inquisitors. He authorized churches to receive inheritances, 321. He declared national holiday on Sunday, the day of the Sun. Large areas and buildings were donated to the Church throughout the empire and, with money from public funds, built luxurious houses of worship.

Constantine, the usurper of Church powers, summoned the Council of Nicea, 325, to combat one of the many heresies of the early centuries of Christianity: that of the bishop Arius, 256-336, who claimed the absolute uniqueness and transcendence of God and conceived therefore, the Son as a prophet, a creature created by the Father, that is, made by Him and he is God just as involved in his grace, but not of the same nature as the Father.

The Trinitarian concept is well established in other religions, like some Egyptian and Asian. Jesus was a normal prophet in his time. Neither he nor his disciples and followers saw and perceived him as the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, as declared in the Council of Nicea, where Constantine, in keeping with his advisor, Osio, Bishop of Cordoba, called for nearly three hundred bishops.

Osio's thesis, contrary to that of Arius was that the Son is "consubstantial with the Father" (homoousios), of the same divine nature as the Father, which not only to Arius and his supporters, but also to other bishops, was an openly wrong formula. But Constantine with his gifts and banquets, first and then with his threats of banishment if the formula was not accepted, got the most signatures. Only Arius and his Egyptians supporters resisted and had to choose the path of exile. Some bishops, such as Eusebius of Nicomedia, Maris of Chalcedon and Theognis of Nicaea, declared that they had signed the article of faith for fear of the Emperor and they came to recant. Constantine banished them from their dioceses and they were replaced.

The Trinitarian creed was established by the grace of Constantine, who frequented pagan practices, cruel and bloodthirsty, responsible for massacres of entire villages, who slew his own son Crispus, strangled his wife and murdered his brother and his father. It's the same church that he used at will for the unification of his empire under one religion, the Catholicism, and dared to call himself the thirteenth apostle. Even his mother, with a life not entirely clear, in reward, would be Saint Helena.

Constantine, Christian Prince, was baptized before his death. As suggested by Voltaire: "They thought that they found a way to live as criminals and die like saints," and as baptism, according to the Church, erased every sin of the baptizing, so he could enter directly into heaven. Constantine agreed to be baptized only on his deathbed. He was baptized by Eusebius, bishop promoter of Arianism; interestingly, the heresy that Constantine had pursued.

The route of the current church began with Constantine. That Kingdom of God, that Jesus preached and seconded his fishermen apostles, became, by the magic of power, a powerful institution rooted in the wealth and, given its academic qualifications, it reached the performance of functions in the higher echelons of the State administration. From being persecuted it became persecutor, from redeeming solidarity it passed to oppressive situations, from being relatively tolerant it passed to be intolerant, arrogant, dogmatic and overpowering.

The conquest of power was the Achilles heel of the church, his weakness. Constantine changed its identity, its DNA we can say. That is the milestone showing the beginning of the end; an end lengthened by the ignorance of their faithful people, by the fearful apparatus of repression, by the alliance with political powers in office and by the creation, with the help of its lawyers, of laws and documents to its benefit.

We should not forget, to remind the supporters of the Papacy, that during the first Christian millennium, the eight Ecumenical Councils held, had their headquarters in the East, under the initiative of the Emperors of Byzantium or Constantinople. And that the Nicene symbol, the Creed, was written there, step by step, without any direct intervention of the Bishop of Rome.












Map of the Papal States.

The reddish area was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1860.



Gregory VII writes a letter to all the princes who want to travel to Spain to encourage them to recover those lands from the hands of infidels and Saracens and return to its rightful owner, Saint Peter, i.e, the Pope.

We are aware, he says, from old, that the Kingdom of Spain was under the jurisdiction of Saint Peter and although that territory had been occupied so long by the pagans, it still belongs, by the law of justice, only to the Holy Apostolic and no to other mortal.


In another letter to the king of Castile and Leon, Alfonso VI, the Pope warns that the Almighty has given to Peter and his successors "all the principalities and powers of the earth."

Everything is heading toward theocracy, the government of the Pope, converted to "vice-God." Such claims, almost universal, are based on the famous document of the Donation of Constantine: Apocryphal imperial decree attributed to Constantine whereby, while the Pope Sylvester was recognized as sovereign, he donated him the city of Rome as well as the provinces of Italy and the rest of the whole Western Roman Empire. It is a gift the Emperor makes the Pope for having cured him of the leprosy. But Constantine never suffered such an illness, hence the rest of the legend is just that, legend. The counterfeiting of the document emerges, it seems, in the mid-to late eighth century.

Pope Stephen II in 752, when he turns to France for help against the Lombards, alludes to the Donation of Constantine. He frees Pepin from the oath of allegiance he had promised Hilderic and he is anointed as king. Later, on Christmas Eve of the year 800, Pope Leo III crowned his son Charlemagne as Emperor and declared that, henceforth, kings would be elected from the Pepin's family. That is the end of the Merovingian dynasty and the beginning of the Carolingian. The Frankish troops, in return, handed to the Pope a strip of land of 42,000 square kilometers in central Italy. With the Donation of Constantine at hand, the Pope said that the king had only given him what belonged to Church according to that document. Leo IX, in 1054, using this document to warn the Patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Cerularius, that the Roman Pontiffs are the inheritors the most powerful in the earth, thanks to the lofty and imperial generosity of Constantine, who received it from God and it will be given back to God through his ministers. Europe is from now a papal feud.

The Dictatus Papae contain the solemn proclamation of a universal and absolute theocracy. Pope Gregory VII, 1073-1085, determines that his power is unlimited. Today we flush with the thought of such nonsense, but it was used as a weapon against kings and emperors for many centuries, about six. Here are its 27 sentences, which formed the basis of the canonical law that has survived to this day.


  1. 1. The Roman Church was founded exclusively for the Lord.
    2. Only the Roman Pontiff is justly called "universal".
    3. Only the Pope can absolve or depose bishops.
    4. A papal legate presides over all bishops in the councils, even inferior to them by their management and may depose them.
    5. Even the Pope may depose the absent.
    6. You can not hold any communication with the excommunicated by the Pope.
    7. Only the Pope can establish new laws in keeping with the times, meet new people, transform into an Abbey a sinecure and back, split a rich episcopacy and gather poor bishops.
    8. Only the Pope can use the imperial insignia.
    9. The Pope is the only man that all the princes kiss his foot.
    10. The Pope is the one whose name should be pronounced in all churches.
    11. The title of Pope is unique in the world.
    12. The Pope has power to depose emperors.
    13. The Pope is permitted to transfer bishops from one diocese to another.
    14. The Pope has the right to ordain a cleric of any church, to where he wants..
    15. One who has been ordained by the Pope in the church can order in other's church, but not to do the war; he should not receive a higher grade from another bishop.
    16. No general council can be convened without his order.
    17. No text of any book can be considered canonical without his authorization.
    18. His judgments can not be revoked by anyone and only he can revoke all.
    19. No one can judge the Pope.
    20. Nobody can condemn one who appeals to the Apostolic See.
    21. The major causes of any church should be referred to the Pope.
    22. The Roman Church never made a mistake and, according to testimony of Scripture, can not ever go wrong.
    23. The Roman Pontiff, if it is canonically ordained, is a saint by the merits of blessed Peter, as bishop San Enodio and many holy fathers testify, as affirm the decrees of pious Pope Symmachus.
    24. For the Pope's consent and order subordinates are allowed to blame.
    25. The Pope can depose bishops and acquit, regardless of the synod meeting.
    26. There is no Catholic who disagrees with the Roman Church.
    27. The Pope can absolve subjects from their oath of allegiance to unfair kings.


Papal power projects in concentric circles. The Pope is the epicenter. The curia and the bishops, clergy and people revolve around the Pope. There is a tendency to centralism. Everything is good with Rome and all bad without Rome. The early Christian communities were small and closed, autonomous and self-sufficient, cultural subgroups which, with the passing of time, constitute the Church that becomes one of the most impressive, absolutist and bureaucratic organizations of the world.

In the first communities, the unit was in a shared faith, rather than in institutional structures. Above the local Church there was no standing organizational apparatus. In the first communities there was some degree of anarchism, without bureaucracies or pontificates. The ultimate and absolute boss was the bishop and only there was a certain reverence for the churches founded by the apostles as Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem and Rome. Everything changed when Constantine, with great political tact, use the church as a cohesive force to implement its program of government. It's then when it is born the path of ecclesial power which will strengthen, with ups and downs, until today.

When disagreements arise between the churches, the Emperor invites all community leaders, bishops, to sit together and resolve the problem. He begins the practice of convening councils, task that inherit his successors until the year one thousand. The first eight ecumenical councils were convened by the emperors. At Nicaea, First Ecumenical Council, begin to build that massive dogma which crushes Jesus' word. At Nicaea was proclaimed the divinity of Jesus. The idea of a substantial Son to the Father was unknown at the Scripture, such words were introduced by the theologians of Nicaea. Dogmas are created. He who accepts them is good, he who refuses will be pursued. It solves a problem of public order.

The Emperor should exile or imprison heretics, even bishops. Theology, that is, the doctrine that outlines and clarifies the nature of divinity and the Church itself, was born in Nicaea as mandatory structure. And it will be very useful, because it has the centralizing capacity the Church needs to unify the belief and that Constantine, in turn, needs to structure his empire. Thus theology creates the need for a central and unique authority, superior to local churches and their bishops, to adequately monitor the orthodoxy of the doctrine.


Until the fall of Western Roman Empire, that authority was embodied in the Emperor and from the eleventh century, lies in the Pope, assisted by a large curial apparatus. Theological unit carries unity of language, of liturgy and ceremonial. Pius V, 1566-1572, Inquisitor General, will implement a single Roman Catechism, which specifies what is to be believed, a Roman Breviary with the recitation of the priests, a Roman Missal for the rite of the Mass to be identical anywhere. The Roman rites wipe out the indigenous rites bursting with beauty, color and, many of them, with cultural content. This happens in Spain with the rites of Toledo, for example and the Mozarabic liturgy. The Curia was able to standardize and control the dogmas, “lex-credendi”, the manner of praying, "lex orandi”, and the way of thinking, "ratio cogitandi". When Pope Pius V promulgated the Roman Missal, all missals or ritual manuals circulating in the Church had to be burned, unless they were two centuries old.

Since the eleventh century papal legacies are created by the curiae, which reduce the powers of the national primates. Similarly the appointment of bishops, a right rescued with much slaughter from the princes through the long War of Investiture, is now reserved to the Pope. In the ritual form there is coined the phrase: "Bishop by the grace of God and the Holy Apostolic See". The period of the Popes in Avignon,1305-1378, coincides with the roof of the institutional power of the Church: Never before had been so powerful and severe control of the Western Church by the Popes, nor it will be again. Avignon marks the highest point in the process of growth of the medieval Curia and the Papacy. The exile reinforces the absolute power of the Popes. There were economic and geographical reasons underpinning that fact: Avignon was more accessible than Rome.

Pope Gelasius I, the year 493, is the author of the first declaration of independence of the Papacy against the highest authority of the Council and of political power.

The first Christian communities were characterized by low interest on money and for the generosity with which they surrendered it. "The money from the Christians, Tertullian says, is to provide bread for the poor, to pay their graves, to feed orphans and to help the elderly." In general, there is no treasurer or treasury in the second century because the Church lacks economic structure. At that time, the various churches have two sources of income that were spent at the moment: cash handouts spontaneously deposited by the faithful in a box ready for it and in-kind offers. Exceptionally a church leads to another for help, as it is the case of the bishops of Numidia, who write to Carthage and Rome to send them money to rescue virgins and Christian children kidnapped by barbarians. While the church functions as an artisan organization, comprised of small communities, convinced of the imminence of the apocalypse, the end of the world, -eschatology-, money is considered a bad travel companion.

The early Christian writers reflect that common view. St. Jerome came to write that "all rich is a criminal, or the heir of a criminal." But from the third century and specially from the IV, the growth of the Church brings a change in attitude: to increase in size it increases the volume of needs and birth of a new approach. In short, the process that changed the meaning of money in the Church can be summarized in four phases that offers Antonio Castro:

  1. 1.- At the beginning and as the chronicles tell (Acts 4:32) Christians put their assets available to other members of the community even sell their properties to make them money to help the priests and the poor.

  2. 2.-The Church organizes its Thesaurus and makes up the Patrimonium Sancti Petri (St. Peter's Heritage) with the avalanche of gifts and bequests: then creates a legal space to possess. The properties are not sold and revenues are dedicated only to aid.

  3. 3.-Triumph of the canon law: the revenues are divided into four equal parts that are distributed each among bishops, clergy, the poor and the fourth for the maintenance costs.

  4. 4.-The law provides that the usufruct of the property of the Church is for the clerics.

Each of these phases is the result of a long process. First they had to justify retention of the property received. Then the circle of the Roman Curia will apply to donations the sense of Roman law: any donation is final and irrevocable.

Popes accumulate wealth under the title of Patrimonium Petri: monuments, books, paintings and sacred vessels, movable property and real estate. Hence the logic words of the governor of Rome, Praetextatus, when he says: "make me Bishop of Rome and immediately I will Christian".

The document that has given the Catholic Church the most profitability is the famous forged decree known as The Donation of Constantine –Constitutium Constantini or Privilegium Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae-, dated March, 30th, AD 315.

.... in this text, which was presented as written by Constantine himself, apart from describing his conversion process, at the hands of Pope Sylvester, the Emperor made it clear that:

"the more so as our imperial power is earthly, we come to decree that His Most Holy Roman Church will be honored and revered and the holy seat of blessed Peter will be gloriously exalted even above our empire and its earthly throne [...] This See will govern the four main headquarters of Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople and Jerusalem, just as all the churches of God throughout the world. [...] Finally, we inform that we transfer to Silvestre, universal Pope, our palace and all the provinces, palaces and districts of the city of Rome and Italy as well as the regions further west."

This criminal forgery, produced by order of Pope Stephen II, 752-757, was employed by him to force the military alliance of the Frankish king Pepin and his son Charlemagne with the Church to fight the Lombards, who threatened the wealth and power of Roman Pope. After the defeat of the Lombards, King Pepin, convinced by the delusion that Stephen II was the successor of St. Peter and of the Emperor Constantine, restored the Catholic Church all lands that rightfully belonged to it through the Donation of Constantine.

With this scam the Catholic Church has accumulated a wealth and power so immense that still it lives off the income of that grand and infamous crime, origin of the state of the Church. The oldest text known of this Donation appears in the manuscripts of the pseudo Isidorian Decretals (c.850), but was not used publicly until the eleventh century, when it all was taken for real and that very few had seen it. Pope Leo IX, 1049-1054, in his writings, he quoted large passages from the false donation to justify the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, but it was not until Pope Gregory VII, 1073-1085, that legal doctrine designed by deception becomes an essential foundation of canon law. Subsequent Popes, as Urban II, 1088-1099, Innocent III, 1198-1216, Gregory IX, 1492-1503, used it hard to prevail upon princes, to annex territories and so on. [11]

The Emperor Otto III, 983-1002, knowing the deceit, denounced falsehood to the Pope Sylvester II, leaving it null and void. In their paper, 1001, after denouncing and repudiating the corruption and misappropriation of wealth that characterized the Papacy, said that the Popes:

"twisted papal laws and humiliated the Roman Church and some Popes were gone so far as to pretend most of our empire. They did not ask for what they had lost for their own fault, they did not worry for how much they had wasted in their madness, but having scattered their possessions to the winds, through their own negligence, vented their guilt on our empire and sought the property of others, namely, our property and our empire. They are lies invented by themselves (ab illis ipsis inventa) and among them the deacon John, nicknamed cut-Finger, who wrote a paper with gold letters and feigned a long lie under the name of Constantine the Great (sub titulo longi mendacii tempora Constantini magni finxit).


The falsehood was discovered by the papal secretary and canon of the Lateran, Laurenzi Vall, in 1440, but he did not made it public for fear of Pope. It came to light in 1519, the same year that Martin Luther harshly criticized the papal blatant business of indulgences. The Church defended the authenticity of the document until the nineteenth century, under pressure from the leaders of European nations, weary of the extortions of the Vatican. In this false document the Church supported the creation of the Papal State and its primate, but it did not ask pardon for the stolen riches or expressed a desire to return them or to clarify the issue of primacy, just against its moral standards. [12]

Boniface VIII, with the Document of the Donation and with the help of Roman law, becomes head of State and, to express it in symbols, added a third crown to his tiara, which also had appeared in the thirteenth century, to symbolize the temporary power. First, the tiara had only one crown and then two, which, as the two keys, symbolizes the dual power: the order and the jurisdiction of bishops. Boniface VIII feels imbued with an authoritarian power, as Philip the Fair and in his person merges absolute power, the religious and political. The latter in his own state.







Tiara: Touched high.

With three triple crowns symbolizing his authority as Pope, bishop and king.



Pope Gelasius, in the late V, proposes the organization of dual society corresponding to the two kinds of values that should be preserved. The Church would be responsible for the spiritual interests and eternal salvation. The temporal or secular interests, the maintenance of peace, order and justice, would be granted to civil power. This doctrine is commonly accepted in the first part of the Middle Ages, when the rivalry between the Pope and the emperor became a controversial relationship between the temporal and spiritual.

In matters of doctrine, the emperor should be subordinated - it was thought- to the Church and the clergy should be subject, in criminal cases, to ecclesiastical authority or ecclesiastical courts, not the civilians. This theory follows the teaching of Augustine of Hippo, who defends the distinction between the temporal and spiritual and he considers pagan the union in the same person of the secular and spiritual authority.

Loyalty and obedience of man, with the advent of Christianity, would be divided into two ideals, two governments and two contributions: tithes and first fruits to the Church, personal services and contributions to the state. The economic burden of the people was increased greatly and also moral and religious pressures weighed heavily on their consciences.

Gelasius, writing against the Church's subordination to the imperial court of Constantinople, made it clear that the responsibility of the priest was heavier than the king because it was the eternal salvation of souls. Hence it would be easy to infer that the ideal society should be the Christian and the leadership or main power should belong to the Church. In fact, Pope Gregory VII, supported in this doctrine, sought to exercise on the Emperor the same right to discipline which, as Pope, he had on every Christian, and so to become the moral arbiter of Europe. In a Council held at Rome, 1080, he wrote to the council fathers:

I ask, then, most holy fathers and princes act so that everyone understands and knows that, if you can bind and loose in Heaven, on Earth you can remove and give to anyone, on their merits, empires, kingdoms, duchies, principalities, trademarks, counties and possessions of all men.... That Kings and all secular princes understand how great you are, how great is your power and that they fear to disobey in the least to your churches. [13]


The qualitative leap, made by the Pope in the theory of power, is hallucinating. The Church becomes the main power of society over the Emperor and, therefore, of the kings and feudal lords.

The foundations for the struggle between the Papacy and the Empire were served: The fights between Gregory VII and Henry IV, the Wars of Investiture, the alliances with the power to the detriment of the Christian people. Everything was a product of the ideology geared to the interests of the Church, drawn from accommodative interpretations. Myths are handled, as well as the doctrines and ideologies derived from them. The Patristic and Tradition sometimes saw to interpret and sometimes to say what the Scriptures had omitted, always carrying water to their mill. Those in power always rationalize their behavior and auto-suggest that they are doing the right thing, even if it means having to lie and invent texts and documents; they are even able to believe and convince themselves that they act for the greater glory of God. Here it is applied the iron law of oligarchy of Milchels, chain of events that lead to the concentration of power; it is also applied the elite theory of Mills and the iron law of Mosca, who study the metamorphosis of power and the influence of circles or elites on the ruler.




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On the origin and development of the Holy Inquisition Office.

Louis de Paramo, Madrid, 1598.


The church invested with new powers emanating from the Edict of Milan, takes action to repress any idea that does not fit the official version.

The threat posed by the Cathars against the Church of that time was an excuse to treat them as heretics, as social rebels, to exterminate them, joining the powers of the church and the state.

At this time, in an effort to save what was called "purity of faith or dogma," the Inquisition was born. In the fateful year of 1223, Pope Gregory IX issued a bull establishing the "Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition” whose purpose would be “rooting out heresy wherever it could be found”.

The writings of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation are examined thoroughly to detect their heresies and condemn them.







Cathar Cross.

The bloody crusades during the 13th century against the Cathars razed the ancient Occitan civilization, the civilization of the troubadours, courtly love, tolerance and democracy too soon, leaving only ruins.


The Occitan (Languedoc), in southern France, in the mid-twelfth century, is a neutral space limited by the French power in the North, by the English rule in Aquitaine to the west, by the imperial authority to the east, and by the influence of the kingdom of Aragon in the south. In his region the clergy was characterized by the relaxation of their customs and by their dissipated, corrupt and parasitic life. They lived bleeding people dry with the tithes tax and enjoyed of cohabitation with mistresses.


In these circumstances, they begin to reach the Languedoc some special characters who dress in poverty, with long beards and living in their own work, and practiced the most absolute austerity, so they were called "good men" or "pure". They are the Catars, from the Greek term Kataroi, which means pure or perfect. Later, they would also be called Albigenses, having been the city of Albi one of the initial focuses of the Cathars. As many of them were weavers, the word tisserand (weaver) was also synonymous of Cathar or heretic. They declare themselves Christians, they seem priests, but are humble, simple and austere in their habits. Their message, in the preaching in the squares and markets, is that of the early Church: love, tolerance, common share, freedom... They attack with energy, but without violence, the Church of Rome calling it the "Great Babylon", the "Basilica of Devil", the "Synagogue of Satan."
Their doctrine enclosed some singularities, which did not pass without notice, they are innovative. Here are some of its proposals:

-Do not build churches, but rather destroy the already built, because prayer is equally beneficial in a tavern or in a public square or in the interior of a temple, at the foot of the altar.

-The bread blessed and consecrated by the hands of a priest is not unlike the bread blessed and consecrated by secular hands.

-The charity is not good, given that Christians should act so that between them had not rich nor poor, nor should they have the means to succor the needy and no opportunity to exert such an act of charity.
-And they added that the Roman Church was a den of thieves: Speluncam latronum esse. [14]

The Cathars are Manichean, advocates of the dual principles the Good and the Evil, with Gnostic links, Jewish and Christian, with esoteric contributions, but with important theoretical coherence that brings them the sympathy of all classes, both in Languedoc and in northern Italy.

The Catholic Church always frightened the people of faith with the fear of hell. For the sins, the medieval man felt and feared being condemned to eternal fire. The Cathars, however, say the opposite: that man was destined to salvation so inevitable. Fear was not part of their message because sooner or later the purification will be reach, and the triumph of Good over Evil will be reached as well. The Hell of the Cathars, being related to the matter, a product of evil, was here on earth. Through various incarnations the person is released to achieve full spirituality, perfection, purity. In future incarnations, the creature could become male or female, regardless, because the soul has no sex, hence the men and women are equal before God. Another revolutionary idea for that time.

The same doctrine, but perhaps with more moderation, was professed the Waldenses, so called by Peter Waldo, but they added a very important assumption: that there is not the least legitimate reason to take the life to anyone, not for criminal reasons and less for a question of doctrine.

Cathars and Waldensians introduce a democratic movement within the Church, defending the abolition of privileges of the clergy and supporting the universality of the priesthood among Christians. Every Christian, for being it, participates in the priesthood of Christ and he can bless the bread, preach and practice the worship their conscience dictates.

The Church lost the opportunity to assimilate this democratic doctrine, even more, was extremely irritated with it, because it violated their privileges and wealth and it was against their spiritual and earthly power, against their arrogance and abuse of authority. Let us that the Cathars criticized the pomp and opulence in which bishops and the Pope lived and claimed that, through baptism, every Christian is a priest. This Catholic theological truth is not put into practice since it would eliminate the privileged priestly class. It is also worth to recall that neither Jesus nor the apostles were priests, but prophets, preachers of the word, never rites administrators, which became the typical role of the priest.

In its structure there were three categories corresponding to the three degrees of initiation: supporters, believers and perfects.

Most Cathars belonged to the single degree of supporters who must practice the perfectionism, a rite which consisted of kneeling when a Perfect passed to get his blessing. The Catholic clergy said that the Perfect made to worship himself, but this was not the sense of that ritual.

Believers were the second category and should practice humility, love of neighbor and truth. The Perfects revealed them one of their secrets, the esoteric, and taught them the effectiveness of the Paternoster (Our Father).

The third stage consisted of the Perfect (men) and also of the Perfect (women) because women were not barred from the priesthood. The name of Perfect was not a vain superlative, but it designated those who had completed the initiation and it was a development idea.

The Perfect had received the consolamentum (consolation), a sort of priestly anointing and baptism, deserved only the righteous who had become worthy of the liberation of matter, which was obtained by the imposition of hands by another Perfect and by the delivery of the only prayer recited, the Our Father. The morality that the prefect should observe was much stricter than that of the believer: totally abstention from worldly pleasures, to lead an ascetic life, not to eat meat and even to practice endura or voluntary suicide, consisting of starving themselves to get rid of the vile matter where they were imprisoned. Instead, the believer could take a less rigorous life, have his own property, he could eat meat and even practice free love, because they regarded marriage as a contrafornicatio (against fornication).

Do not forget that the Cathars argued that the tangible world was a prey of evil, that is why it could not be created by the extremely good God. This world is the work of the Demiurge, Satan, whom they call the Great Arrogant.

By his spirit, man is part of the good god, of the immaterial world of light, but, by his body, is a prisoner of the evil Demiurge. Hence his hostility towards procreation, cruel act as a soul was locked in the dungeon of matter. Perfects refused, therefore, that marriage be for the procreation. They were tolerant regard to sexuality of believers, otherwise Occitan society had not heeded them; and they preached contraception.

Believing in the Pythagorean doctrine of metempsychosis or transmigration of souls, the Cathars believed that after death the spirit could be reborn into a lighter, more ethereal or immaterial being if it had been virtuous, or in a more heavy being, in an animal for example, otherwise.


So Perfects could not eat those animals that may have a lost or in transit soul embodied in them. They ate fish because they were convinced that fish reproduce by spontaneous generation. The eternal soul, say using a textile metaphor, can take one by one, various body wraps. The man, after his last mortal breath, can be transformed into a beast or an angel.

It is true that the Catholic Church does not accept transmigration, metempsychosis, of the souls, but it is not less true that it is dualistic as the Cathars, who were also Christians and as such they believe in God and the Devil or Satan, rebellious Angel, and that the good is pneumatic or spiritual while the bad is the corporeal appearance, the world and the flesh. Common to both faiths is to see the body as a keeper of the spirit, both of them could could agree to that expression "I die because I do not die" of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, and all of tem consider the world as the enemy of human beings.


Let's look a little more certain positions of the Church regarding these issues. For the Catholic doctrine, there are three enemies of man: the world, the devil and the flesh, says the catechism. Sexual pleasures are bad, sinful, and all sexual acts must be open to procreation. The deprivation and asceticism are good and cleansing, sexuality is bad in itself, say the Popes. Gregory the Great, 590-604, was the first to establish that sexual desire is a sin in itself, it is only acceptable for the purpose of procreation.

What matters is the afterlife, the life beyond the greave, Heaven, which is eternal and, for Catholics, it is the view face to face with God, which contains all the goodness and beauty. Paradise is more attractive for Muslims, which is in the highest, a delicious and refreshing spot watered by rivers and where leafy trees pour their shade with magnificent fruits. The participants of the heavenly banquet, dressed in tuxedos, silk and brocade, get everything they wish. Young men beautiful as pearls come and go pouring a delicious drink that does not induce to say nonsense or to commit reprehensible actions. As a company and as wives, the blessed receive the black-eyed houris, specially created by Allah for the eternal enjoyment of men.

his side, the world, this life and the matter are bad and evil. Certainly this is a kind of... psychological, anthropological and cosmological heresy. It is against the logic of life and it travels through mythical worlds, from where the souls or spirits come from. That is the world that feeds Plato. The symbolic thinking is not the scientific one and the Church continues confusing them, with its, to a certain point, Manichean and dualistic mentality.

In 1209, Pope Innocent III preached a crusade against the heretic. Now there are not the unbelievers who die at the hands of the cruciform sword, but Christians themselves. In less than half a century, the Cathar heresy is destroyed by theforce of arms. In 1231, another Pope, Gregory IX, instituted the Inquisition. Everything for the maintenance of social order. With it begins the actual killing. In partnership with the civil power, anyone who opposes papal statements or merely who is annoying shall be sentenced to the stake or killed by hanging. In 1252, Pope Innocent IV officially introduces the use of torture in his bull Ad extirpanda. The heretics have no rights. In the manuals used by judges that were written at the time, you can read sentences like this:

"It is better a hundred people die innocent than a single heretic is freed".

It begins the era of terror. All is allowed to the inquisitors, who, in many cases, behave as genuine psychopaths. It would seem that they could not ever go wrong. It seemed that they could do nothing that was reprehensible. Those who dared question their authority were declared heretics. Catholic intellectuals like Siger of Brabant, Meister Eckhart, William of Ockham and Marsilius of Padua, among many others, were under suspicion or condemned and their works were declared heretical. In many cases, heresy takes the form of social protest. They are the national heresies: In England there were the Lollards of John Wycliffe; in Bohemia, the Hussites, in the shelter of the memory of Jan Huss; in Spain, the heretics of Durango, with Alonso de Mella in the lead. [15]









Camp dels cremats.

Field of the burned, situated on the slopes of Montségur.



It was in the castle of San Felix de Caraman, the road from Toulouse to Revel (France), where in May 1167 it was held the first council of the Occitan Cathars; a Bulgarian bishop named Nikita and nicknamed "the Pope of the Cathars", came on purpose from Constantinople to preside it. Delegates to the Champagne and Lombardy were present and, of course, there were also in the castle the Occitan Cathar clerics.

To start, acting by the absolute dualism and unlike the mitigated dualism, it was set the doctrine that granted the same power to God and to the Evil Demiurge, which still dug a deeper doctrinal gulf between Cathars and Catholics. Then they dealt with the organization. The Occitan Cathar Church was divided into the four dioceses of Touluose, Albi, Carcassonne and Agen, whose respective bishops were elected just there, namely, Bernard Raymond, Guiraud Mercier, Raymond of Casalis and Cellerier Sicard.

The open day celebration of the council, the geographical extent of the diocese, all show that the Cathars, who had appeared in the region half a century earlier, had quickly become the national religion of the Occitan. [16]

Catharism quickly spread throughout the Occitan and surrounding regions, protected by the counts of Toulouse and Foix and also by Raymond Roger de Trencavel. The Cathars enjoyed certain privileges, such as being exempt from 'carving' taxes and military service.

The Roman Catholic Church, amazed at the spread of Cathars, thought at first to contrast preaching against preaching, doctrinal arguments against doctrinal arguments. Bernard of Clairvaux, a Cistercian abbot, was one of the preachers without success.

The ambitious Earl Lothario di Segni was elected Pope with the name of Innocent III, 1198. He sent Pierre de Castelnau to Occitania with a large group of missionaries. In a debate in the castle of Foix, the sister of the Earl of Esclarmonde, defender of the Cathars and known by her knowledge, heard from the monk Stephen of Minia, to the outrage of the Cathars assistants, these offensive words: Dedicate to spin in your spinning wheel! Here the word is not granted to women!


Between 1203 and 1205, Dominic de Guzman, founder of the Dominicans, try to solve the problem through preaching and theological disputes, but faith is a matter of belief and not a matter of ideas or logical debates. It is not easy to give up on certain beliefs to take others. Belief against belief, the failure was inevitable. The only solution would be tolerance, but the Catholic Church could not, in the least, boast about it.

In a painting by Pedro Berruguete, Saint Dominic appears with the Albigenses and there are subjected to God's judgment the two opposing doctrines. He yields two books on the fire, one Cathar and the other Catholic. The Cathar, obviously, burns and the Catholic rises through the air miraculously escaping the flames. It was a premonitory sign of burning o the Cathars. First there were the books, then it would be people. The most disastrous mistake of the Church.

It is said that Dominic de Guzman, when he withdrew from the Languedoc after his dismal failure, made this fatal threat: where there is no point preaching, stake will prevail.

And there begins the hunt for the Cathars, Waldenses and Albigenses. Pierre de Castelnau, legate of the Pope in the Languedoc, is killed trying to cross the Rhone. They blamed for the crime the Count of Toulouse, Raymond VI, Cathar believer who used to be accompanied by Cathar Perfects. This is what Pope Innocent III needed to organize for the first time ever, a crusade against the Christians. Transcendent milestone.

There is no doubt that the position of the Cathars against the Roman Church was like that of other dualistic schools : rejection of baptism, of the Old Testament and of the belief that Jesus was a being created by God. His incarnation was illusory and neither suffered nor died or rose again. But the Church, to justify its repression and intolerance, wove a tissue of lies:

That they were celebrating Sabbats, in which Satan offered to attendees in the form of animal from whose ears flames were coming out and, with his terrible voice, he put some into a trance for several hours, while others lost consciousness.

That the devil president was anally copulating with women, forcing them to remain as the goats to be penetrated by the male, resting on the soles of the feet and palms of hands and that his semen was yellow and smelly. After that they copulated among themselves, mainly through homosexual practices. To Invent these tales helped the Church to weaken, before the Christian believers, the image and value of the persecuted, and to justify its own crimes.

On March, 6th, 1208, after a campaign in which it was claimed that it was the Count of Toulouse, Raymond VI, who had armed the murderer's arm of the legacy of Pope Innocent III, he launched the call for holy war:

"We deem it a duty to warn our venerable brothers, bishops and voters, urging them on behalf of the Holy Spirit and ordering strictly to make bloom the word of peace and of faith sown by Pedro de Castelnau. And those who, armed with the true faith, attack those who reject it, we promise them complete remission of their sins".

It was not only the remission of their sins what Innocent III promised the crusaders, but also the right to pillage:

"We want the bishops declare detached by apostolic authority those who are under the yoke of the Count of Toulouse by an oath of allegiance and grant to all true Catholics, not only the right to persecute heretics, but also to take their lands and domains so that hereby they expunged their disloyalty to Christ and to keep it clear of all blame the territories which have been shamefully stained by ofevil of that count. Come on, soldiers of Christ! Pacify these people in the name of the God of peace and love! Apply yourself to destroy heresy by all means that God will inspire you!." [17]

Pope promises to attackers, armed with the true faith, the complete remission of their sins. The use of sin, purely religious concept, is a religions lethal weapon used to subdue and enslave their believer members, to poke and violate the privacy of human consciousness, to hoard wealth through the sale of indulgences which are nothing, but remission of sins. This is called simony.


The Pope, normal thing in his time, invades the civil power with an undeniable air of superiority. He orders bishops to release from the oath of allegiance to those who are under the yoke of the Count of Toulouse.

The feud is the essence of medieval social structure determined by the vassalage, the basis of feudalism. The relationship between a lord and a vassal is established through the oath of allegiance, under which, most of the rights fall on the master and most of the obligations on his vassals. By the oath of allegiance, the vassal can not fool his lord, attack him, stain his honor or prejudice his interests in the feud, in the usufruct of the land. The Lord promises to give the vassal protection and security.

To untie
the oath of allegiance is to leave the master without his subjects, it is his death sentence as a feudal lord. The Pope, clearly ultravires, beyond his authority, is abusing his power and his perceived authority. The Crusaders are allowed to invade lands that are not theirs or belong to them, allowed to occupy them for the crime of disloyalty to Christ. And in the name of the God of peace and love, a whole theological nonsense, he tells them: apply yourself to destroy heresy by all means that God will inspire you. With death, obviously.

Innocent III and Gregory IX, considered the two great Popes of the Middle Ages, began to develop an authoritarian thinking, to exercise centralized sovereignty and they resort to temporary power to preserve the spiritual one. They chose the easy option: the use of violence, the result of intolerance, which more than solution it was the opening of the serious problems to come.

Lacking self-criticism, the necessary humility to learn from others, they did not know or could not appreciate the terrible consequences of their decisions, dictated by impatience and by the search of immediate effectiveness, so contrary to the spirit of the Gospel. They fell into the trap of authoritarianism that the practice of Roman law inevitably develops. The constitutions of Justinian sent to kill the heretic, that's the worst thing that the Church could have done because they are crimes they never prescribed and that history will never forget and never forgive. Believes and rituals are free actions. Nothing belongs to the realm of freedom as religion, because it concerns free will, said Lactantius, the Christian Cicero, already in the fourth century.

The phrase in the name of the God of peace and love makes shudders. Semantics, Logic and even Theology jump through the air, blown by ambition and arrogance without limits of Innocent III. Destroying the heresy was one of the motivations, not always the principal. At the same time there was to destroy the people who, with their behavior of evangelical poverty, complained of luxuries and wealth of the Church. The Pope added: "With regard to the Count of Toulouse, although providing satisfaction to us and to the Holy Church, do not let that the burden of oppression ceases weighing on him. Throw them, he and his henchmen, from their castles and take away their lands".


He also was looking for castles and lands to reward those kings and princes who fought with him. Political and economical reasons, conservation and progression of ecclesiastical power always stood behind the crusades and the heretical persecutions. In addition there were ethnical or racist motivations, as that would be made with the Jews and Muslims. And all ad maiorem Dei gloriam.

Raymond VI, aware of imminent danger to his territory, sought a commitment to saving the Pope, but he ordered him: Raymond shall waive all rights on the bishops and abbeys, prevent the Jews from public offices and hand over all that be reported as heretics.


Raymond was submitted to the dictates of the Pope. Stripped to the waist, the bare feet, the rope around his neck, went to the church of St. Gilles where he suffered the torture of flogging as a price for his acquittal.

When he realized he had been duped, made a bold political stroke: he joined the Crusaders, which, according to predetermined arrangements, made his lands to be untouchable and can thus avoid appropriating them. Land of the Crusaders were untouchable.

The North French barons saw in the crusade of Innocent III against the Cathars a wonderful chance to conquer the South and thus to broaden their areas of influence to the Perineum and to put boundaries to the kingdom of Pedro II of Aragon. The Languedoc feudatory lands were his and, therefore, Pedro II was forced to pay attention to them, what would end up with his life by attending Raymond's call and fighting in his defense.

Philip Augustus, King of France, had declared himself undecided at the beginning of the crusade, but he ends giving up by the political benefits that it brings and, in the spring of 1209, he authorizes the recruitment of his vassals. The Crusaders are concentrated in Lyon and they form a large army - made up, it is said, of sixty thousand people between horsemen and foot soldiers- that the chronicler and poet William of Tudela describes thus:

"It was like an army of petty ideals,

an army armed from head to toe,

wrong villagers, obtuse peasants,

not counting the priests and all the nobility."

 Arnaud Amaury, Abad of Citaux, was in charge. On July, 20th, they camped in front of Béziers and request the population the delivery of all Cathar heretics. Raymond-Roger de Trencavel, Viscount of Bézeirs, Carcassonne, Albi and Razes, tried to negotiate with the papal legate Arnaud Amaury, but the latter rejected the peace proposal. Trencavel entrenched himself there in Carcassonne to organize resistance. To the proposal of hand over the heretics, the elected magistrates and municipal judges indignantly rejected the offer thus: We prefer to drown in the sea thant give you our citizens and give up defending the city and our freedoms with it.

The city of Béziers was well fortified and well furnished with sufficient food, but the besieged committed a serious indiscretion. They went out in full day to harass the attackers who were lying and they left the doors of the walled city opened on their backs. Realizing that, the attackers took advantage to penetrate in the city with thousands of crusaders and launch plunder and pillage, rape of women and killing their inhabitants. The citizens of Béziers, terrified, took refuge in churches and rang the bells asking for help. The Catholic priest, not a heretic one, was clothed with the sacred vestments thinking it would save his life, but all in vain. The Magdalena church was sumptuously decorated to celebrate its holiday, the chroniclers say there were about seven thousand crowded people, men, women and children included. No one was spared, nor the Catholic priest dressed in the vestments at the altar. The massacre, in macabre procession, followed by the entire city, which, after the looting and pillage, was burned with his church. Everything was turned to ashes that emitted smell of crimes and death.

Twenty thousand people were killed in the looting of the city of Béziers, as stated in the letter that the legacy Arnaldo Amalric sent to Innocent III: On this day, twenty thousand citizens were put to the sword without distinction of age or sex.

It is said that some soldiers, before starting the slaughter, knowing that in the city there were Catholics Christians besides the heretics, they asked the papal legate, the Abad of Citaux, Arnaud Amaury, how they might distinguish the Cathars from the Catholics among the population. He responded with this sad famous phrase that History will keep indelible : Kill them all. God will recognize those of him.

One scholar, in 1866, -according the French archivist Pernoud Regine in What is the Middle Ages? - showed that those words were never spoken, because they are not in any historical document of the time and can only be read in the Dialogus Miraculorum (Dialogue of Miracles). This Dialogue was written some sixty years after those events by the German monk Caesarius of Heisterbach and it is considered as little historic and highly imaginative. Regardless of the historicity of the sentence, which many authors writing on the subject mentioned it as historical, the reality is that they killed everyone, men, women, children, Cathars and Catholics, including the priest clad in sacred ornamentation. The slaughter terrified all Cathars of neighboring regions and many of them had to take the flight to save their lives.

The first of August, the Crusaders appeared before the walls of Carcassonne and proposed its defender, Trencavel, a young man of twenty five, to hand over the Cathar heretics. Trencavel, just as the magistrates of Béziers, replied: I'd rather die at the stake to surrender the humblest of my subjects.

After heavy fighting that lasted two weeks, the Crusaders failed to take the city stoutly walled, but the summer was hot, water was lacking and food was spoiling, especially meat. Given the circumstances, Trencavel began negotiations with the Crusaders and he gets that the people lives, in exchange for leaving the town, should be respected, leaving Trencavel himself hostage for as long as the duration of the evacuation.

Far from obtaining the agreed freedom, Trencavel was imprisoned with chains on his feet in the Painted Tower of the town of Carcassonne, where he died three months later. Eight centuries later, Trencavel, a Cathar knight, a model of generosity and altruism, who sacrificed his life for his subjects, is a national hero for Occitan people.

But not all citizens of Carcassonne came through the gates of the city. Many, using a tunnel which ran under the river Aude, gained access to the Black Mountain, where there were four castles, one in each of the four peaks and from there they decided to continue the resistance led by the master of those places, Pierre Roger de Cabaret, Trencavel's friend and adviser.

Simon de Montfort suffered the first defeat when he tried to take by assault the fortress of Pierre-Roger de Cabaret.

The military victory of the Papacy's crusade was delayed due to the high resistance of the villagers refugees in the mountains and castles. The harsh winter forced the Crusaders to rest and return to their land. During the spring of 1210, Simon de Montfort and Arnaud Amaury, supported financially by the Pope, resumed military operations against the Cathars. In Bram, a town near Carcassonne, Arnaud and Simon ordered to cut the lips and noses and empty the eyes of all defenders of the population, but one was left with only one eye to guide them in the region.

In Minerve, the Cathars were suggested that if they abjure their beliefs, would save their lives. The Cathars, about one hundred and forty men and women, replied: Neither life nor death will get to tear our faith. All died at the stake on July, 22nd, 1210, a year after the massacre of Béziers.

The Crusaders, later, laid siege to Toulouse, but before it sixty Cathars were burned in Les Cassés. The murderers were led by Dominic, today Saint Dominic, the founder of the Dominican Order from which came the first inquisitors, called Domini canes (dogs of the lord), for their repressive work against heresy. The Toulousian people fell suddenly upon the attackers who had to flee, but Simon of Montfort would achieve, within a year, the recovery of everything lost.

Raymond VI was called in Montpellier, where he was required to obliterate all his fortresses, to license his army, to force the Occitan nobility to reside outside the town, in the countryside, as the villains, not to eat meat and to wear coarse brown layers and that he, Raymond, was to leave to the Holy Land, where he should be within the Knights Templar until it would please the Church and that his territory to be reduced to mere colony. Without answering, Raymond returned to Toulouse and it is, in this circumstance, when Raymond calls to his aid his brother in law, King Pedro II of Aragon, who had just finished winning the Almohads in the famous battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, 1212.

Pedro II is not going to defend the Languedoc Cathar heresy, but to enforce the rights of his subjects against the French conquest. Pedro II arrived in Toulouse with his cavalry and infantry, over a thousand men in total.

The Occitan and the Aragon people, on 12th, September 1213, at the orders of King Peter II of Aragon, faced the Crusaders, led by Simon de Montfort who, seeing his handicap, he studied the strategy to kill Pedro II and demoralize the army and win the battle.

Pedro II, it seems, wanted to fight as a plain soldier, for that he wore an ordinary armor and he was only distinguished by his enormous height. Suddenly, the reckless Aragonese monarch was surrounded by men of Alain of Roucy and he expired pierced by their arrows. Killed the king, his army was defeated in the flight while Raymond VI and his son took refuge in Provence.

Simon de Montfort takes the title of Count of Toulouse and abolishes all its municipal liberties. Arnaud Amaury was proclaimed bishop, duke of Narbonne and Marquis of Gothia, 1215, what greatly annoyed Simon de Montfort.

In Montségur, in the height of the sacred mountain, there were about five hundred men and women Cathars. Leading them there were the Lord of Montségur, Raymon of Perella or Parella and his wife Corba and the command was the lord of Mirepoix, Pierre Roger de Belissa with twenty knights and a hundred armed men. Also at Montségur was the cream of the Cathar clergy. This place, before being fortress, was a temple to worship.

The army of the French king, Louis IX, advances to Montségur, chanting a Te Deum, with the inquisitor Ferrier, a worthy successor of Arnaud for his fiendish cruelty, and behind them an army of ten thousand men. But Montségur was hardly feasible. The entire summer passed without the besiegers could achieve its goal, the taking and killing of Montségur. Back in March, the conditions of the Cathars in the fortress were very difficult after ten months of siege and a merciless winter.

These were the conditions of peace: The castle would be surrendered to the king Louis IX of France and to the Holy See. Its defenders would be absolved of their sins and, after fifteen days, they should withdraw with their arms and baggage. Those who abjure their errors, after confession, would also be acquitted. Raymon of Perella and Peter Roger of Belissa, on their return to Montségur, presented the conditions for peace. There were two hundred and fifteen who preferred the flames to have to give up their Cathar faith.


On 16 March 1244, at dusk, the Cathars came out of Montségur and the soldiers made them prisoners. At the foot of the mountain, in a closed field, they had erected a giant bonfire which was lighted by the soldiers of the French king. The Cathars, caught everyone's hand and singing hymns, went to the bonfire, where they were burned alive and so, from that moment, it is known as Camp dels cremats (Field of burnt). Louis IX would be canonized, Saint Louis of France.







Saint Dominic chairing an auto-da-fé, by Pedro Berruguete (c. 1490).

The Dominican friars, because of their excessive zeal in the defense of orthodoxy, were called Domini canes, the dogs of the Lord.


Simon de Montfort was killed at the site of the Crusaders in Toulouse, with a crossbow in his temple. The treaty of peace signed at Meaux by Raymond VII, Treaty of Meaux-Paris (1229), had two consequences: the return of Toulouse to the sovereignty of the King of France and the beginning of the Inquisition. From that treaty follows the alignment of the crime of heresy with high treason (“high majesty”), under which the civil power, from that moment, would be obliged to collaborate with the ecclesiastical power in the pursuit and punishment of heretics.

Innocent III reached a goal impossible to disengage in the future: the ethical-religious issue of the fight against heresy would become a legal issue. Popes Honorius III and Gregory IX completed the task: first, by approving the rule of the Dominican Order and the second, lawyer as the first, in establishing the canonical legislation of the Court and extending its power to all Christianity countries.

Emperor Frederick II established civil law in this area, drawing on the councils against the heretics. The persecution of heresy would be a matter of public law, besides the ecclesiastical. With cruel edicts, emanating between 1220 and 1239, he imposed the penalty for heretics: confiscation of property, exile and imprisonment which could be for all life and, ultimately, the bonfire. Frederick offered the Church the secular judicial intervention as the intervention of blood, and freed the Church of the unacceptable, the physical realization of the death sentence for heretics, the same time that the issue of heresy became an exclusive concern of the Church.

The difficult and contentious relationship throughout the Middle Ages of two swords, ecclesiastical power and secular power, was clarified and finalized with the peace of Meaux:

The crime against the faith should be considered a crime of high treason, the greatest felony that would become a terrible sin which should be pursued, even beyond death, with the exhumation of heretic cadaver, with the display of his bones placed over hurdles, in dark and macabre procession through the streets of the city, to be cremated after. No one would be free from the Inquisition, from that Holy Tribunal, not even the dead, who should be allowed to rest in peace.

The primary trial corresponded to the Church, but the sentence could refer the case to the civil and criminal branch: the soul belonged to the Church, which investigated to save, and the body belonged to the king, who executed to ran justice.

Two years after Meaux, in 1231, Gregory IX completed the work of reorganizing the Court of the Inquisition, by establishing a network of courts in all major cities of Europe.

It was in 1236, when the Dominicans were entrusted with the management of the courts. Thirteen years later, they joined the Friars Minor of the Franciscan Order, in order to temper the excessive zeal and cruelty that put the Dominican inquisitors in the exercise of their functions.

This heinous Court was not welcomed. Its entourage meant fighting, bonfires, natural and legal violations, atrocities, cruelty and deprivation of freedom of belief and worship. Soon uprisings broke out in all populations south of France against the inquisitors, who were forced to leave the villages where they exercised their office, for lack of support and for hostility overdose. They were the subject of public aversion and generalized hatred, what was fully deserved by them.


Peter of Verona, the Dominican inquisitor, was ambushed in Seveso, between Milan and Como, by the heretics he pursued. They waited him in a bush called "Fargo" and killed him by sticking a sword in the center of his head. Two years later, in 1254, he will be canonized by Innocent IV.

It was said that Peter, son of heretics, was killed for defending the truth against heresy. He was the perfect inquisitor who, on behalf of the "inquisitio veritatis", had met his death. The truth doest not exist, it is distorted, always has been. The universals, as the word truth, we have said, only are in our minds and are manipulated... Saint Peter Martyr, the first inquisitor killed, but he would be neither the only nor the last.

The IV Lateran Council, called by Pope Innocent III in 1215, officially condemned the Cathar doctrine. Pope Innocent thinks he has accomplished his mission and that he already can sleep peacefully, what happens a year later with his death, 1216.

The North French feudal lords had obtained a double gain: the domain of Languedoc and the triumph of French feudalism, opposite the urban initiatives of the Occitan Cathars. Thus were aborted the seminal initiatives for a new social order led by the Cathars, Waldenses and Albigenses.

In 1226, the French King Louis VIII requested a new crusade against the Cathar heretics still surviving in the area, with the clear intention to establish the French domination there.

That's in 1231 when Pope Gregory IX formally established the Inquisition in the whole Church, and entrusts it to the Order of Preachers, Dominicans, so called because of their founder Dominic, dead ten years before in 1221. These "Domini canes" were ardent defenders of Catholic orthodoxy.

The Inquisition was created, among other things, to keep fighting against the Cathars still alive and hiding in some fortresses and cities. To this degree was the zeal of the Dominicans, who were eager to exhume the bodies themselves to burn them at the stake, as it was in Albi, in 1234. When the civil authorities refused to unearth the bodies of the heretics who had been condemned as such by the Court, the Dominicans went to the cemetery and proceeded to dig themselves the dead so that their remains be publicly burned at the stake.

Faced with this relentless inquisitorial persecution, many Cathars chose exile, particularly to the cities of northern Italy, others opted for the mountains to the fortresses, such as Montségur.








John Wycliffe was one of the first people to make a direct translation of the Latin Bible, known as the Vulgate, to a vernacular langue.



Martin Luther, Augustinian monk, promoter of the Reformation Church. With his wife, the former sister Katharina von Bora and their children.

John Wycliffe, John Huss and Jerome of Prague were precursors of the Reformation, two centuries before Luther.

The life of John Wycliffe passes in the England of the second half of XIV century, where he explained the chair of theology at Oxford and, in the English Court, was personal tutor of King Richard II of England.

At that time he began his radical criticism toward the Church which was very far from the early Church. The Bishop of London, Guillaume Courtenay, invited him to present his doctrine. Wickliffe denies transubstantiation in the Eucharist, what caused uproar in the English Christian society and it involves his removal of the chair of Oxford and his departure from the Court.

Defying the ban of the Church, Wickliffe and his friends from Oxford, began the English translation of the Vulgate Bible that St. Jerome, towards 382 in Palestine, had translated into Latin, but the Church had forbidden its translation into local languages; no surprising if we consider the interest in maintaining absolute control of the Holy Scriptures behind the mob that did not know Latin, only known by churchmen and by very few others. This position, so daring for the time, aroused such disapproval that his friend and supporter, Jean de Gand, withdrew his support.

The Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation is a Catholic doctrine, established in the Roman Council of 1079, that affirms the real presence, not symbolic, of Christ in the sacrifice of the Mass through the bread and wine. Wickliffe deny that the bread becomes the body of Christ and wine into his blood

He attacked the Church's wealth and power and demanded a return to poverty and egalitarianism of the early Christian centuries. He states that God is the one who owns the domain and He is everywhere. In a perfect and ideal society you do not need priests or bishops, God does not need delegates and intermediaries; it is a theory similar to that used Martin Luther of the Christians in a state of grace. He denied, therefore, the hierarchical authority in the Church and said that the Pope could be elected by drawing lots. He denied the clergy the power to forgive sins, if they had committed a mortal sin. The official Church doctrine holds that the sacraments act on their own virtue "ex opere operato" and not by the minister "ex opere operantis ". The sacrament is valid even if the minister is in sin, but Wickliffe asserts its invalidity.

states that there are two churches, the visible and invisible, the latter would be composed of the elect -predestination theory- and it is the only true, as later also affirm Hus and Calvin among the reformers.

Here is the Gordian knot of the ecclesiology of Wickliffe, Prague and Hus. The true Church is invisible, that of the predestined by God in his divine plan and the predestinated will not fail to be, whether he sins, for he has been chosen by God. Hence it is easy to deduce that the Church visible or earthly, formed by the Pope, the Curia, bishops and priests is inauthentic and therefore a public nuisance to the viability of the true Church. The whole structure of the Church on earth is visible or widely panned by the three theologians and they all return to defend the Holy Scriptures, the theory of "biblical", where real power lies not in the Church, salvation comes from God directly, without intermediaries, and they highlight the unique value of the Bible as the sole source of power, salvation, revelation and authority. These theories are devastating to the existing church structure, that relies more on tradition and the laws and customs of the Roman Empire than in the Bible itself; these are very deep ideas that Protestant Reformers take successful advantage of, two centuries later. The doctrine was served to those reformers and to Henry VIII in achieving his independence from Rome and for the creation of the Anglican Church.

John Hus met and shared the doctrine of Wickliffe, although he lived in Bohemia, Czechoslovakia. The defense of freedom was the common denominator of his work and ecclesiastical authority would be subjected to a rigorous examination, that would not pass. The starting point of Hus was the honest indignation of his soul at the corruption and scandals of the Church. He wanted to strip the Christianity of the fancy decoration with which the Roman Church had invested it.

Hus wanted to return the clergy to discipline and healthy habits, either depriving them of interfering in temporal matters, either stripping them of the many assets they abused of. Apostle of freedom, he defended not only individual liberties, freedom of conscience, but he also defended freedom for Bohemia in its incipient nationalism, while he was the president of the University of Prague. Czech nationalism and the reform movement had been initiated by another Bohemian religious, Jan Milic, whom Hus endorsed and supported.

In one of his major works, "De ecclesia", Huss said that the Papacy was not an institution of divine origin and therefore could be eliminated in case of making an error and heresy. That was happening with Pope John XXIII, called Balthazar Cosa, who was Pope from 1410 to 1415, described by Draper as: a man as capable as perverse who was forced not only to provide a largest simonist traffic of the ecclesiastical corridors, but to create income with the licensing of brothels and gaming and usurers. Already in the twentieth century, between 1958 and1963, there was another Pope John XXIII, whose name was Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, initiator of the most important and revolutionary Ecumenical Council of modern times, Vatican Council II, whose Papacy, an exemplary life and apostolate, was the obverse of his homonym deposed in Constance.







Martyrdom of Jan Hus.

Called the Council of Constance in order to reunify the Catholic Church, Hus came to defend his points of view, but there was sentenced to be burned at the stake, on July, 6th, 1415.



In 1382, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Courtenay, called a synod to analyze John Wycliffe's doctrine, which is finally declared heretical. His contacts in the Court save him, for the second time, to enter prison. There began to emerge his followers, the Lollards; but in the Council of Constance, 1414, Wickliffe dead, he is declared a heretic. His books are burned and it was ordered the exhumation of his body and the burning of his bones, whose ashes would be strewn at the Swift River as it passes through Lutterworth, where he had been pastor.

Hus also dared to translate the Bible into Czech and preach in the same language, contrary to what they did his fellow priests, who preached in German. So, when the Council of Constance, 1415, calls him to explain his ideas, it was created around his figure a genuine movement of social, religious and nationalistic dissent, round the person who was considered a leader of freedom. With a pass granted by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg, made the big mistake of wanting to defend his thesis or theological theories in front of the council fathers; but the safe conduct was not good for heretics, they notify him. In the diatribe, in the presentation of Huss and the answers from the council, one of them rebuked him:

- If the council say that you only have one eye, even having two, the Council would be right.

- I should never accept this reason, said Huss, even if the whole universe compelled me to do it.

He was subjected to interrogation and torture, and was declared a heretic. When he was ordered to withdraw and stop preaching, he refused categorically. The council condemned him to death at stake after burning his books. On July, 6th, 1415 he was relaxed (burnt) at the stake. His countrymen, angered by his death, proclaimed him authentic Christian martyr and national hero. His followers, called Hussites, provoked the outbreak of the Hussite Wars in Bohemia, four years later.

Jerome of Prague, the closest collaborator of Huss, who had brought the writings of Wickliffe to Bohemia, which he shared with his teacher Hus, also had to appear before the Council of Constance. He entered the city in a cart, surrounded by guards and chained; it happened this, as related by Emile of Bonnechose:

The custody of the prisoner was entrusted to Juan de Walendrod, archbishop of Riga, who made drive him that same night to the bottom of a tower in the cemetery of St. Paul. He ordered to heavily chain him and his irons to be nailed to a wooden column, so that he could not sit down; with both hands passed through its chains, which weighed on his neck and forced him to bow his head. This is how ancient authors and those who saw him described him in his prison. Two days was in this sad situation on bread and water, without his Bohemian friends being aware of such cruelty; finally, Peter, the notary, knew it by the mouth of one of the guards and obtained to give him better food. But Jerome of Prague fell gravely ill and being in danger of death, asked for a confessor. Then they loosened the bonds and he escaped, as with John Hus, his illness through the ordeal and remained a whole year, sick and imprisoned in that place of pain.

In 1416, after the burning of Huss, he was brought before the council to retract himself. Completely Fallen and to escape death, he recanted. Returning to prison, decided not to deny his faith again and, back to the Council of Constance, on his knees, made the defense of his creed. He was condemned and burned.

Wickliffe, Huss and Jerome, in addition to being great intellectuals familiar with the Scriptures and theology, they were sensitive human beings and authentic apostles of the word, consequential to the end in their beliefs and in their fight for freedom.

We must distinguish between beliefs and ideas.


The beliefs have to do with faith, with the mystery, they are very intimate experience, not always rational or conscious, that rely on arguments of authority. They are rooted in the sacred books, theoretically revealed by a deity; in the religious customs received and inherited from our ancestors, they are ancestral; in the interpretations of the texts considered sacred and personal and collective experiences of the believer group. Their last point of support will be the authority of the speaker, to whom they usually attribute extrasensory powers and other esoteric, mysterious and awful qualities, able to subjugate and terrorize at the same time. The believes affect intelligence, the will and feeling, the conscious and the unconscious, the entire human life. So it is so difficult, once assimilated and integrated, change the beliefs. And for them and in their name it is allowed to kill. There is no more dangerous than someone who believes and feels that acts on behalf and for the glory of God. Also for them, the beliefs, they may die, as we are seeing with these wonderful heretics and the martyrdom of early Christians, who are no different because they all died in the right of defending their beliefs.

The ideas, however, rely on the data, verification and in contrast; they belong to reason, are supported by experimental methods and the scientific argument. They can be easily changed, when the arguments convince us that their content is not true or correct -the

 ethical aspect-. The reason is a personal activity that takes time and effort; creativity and research, capacity for change and, therefore, uncertainty, mishap and risk.

In the medieval times people was gregariously led by beliefs that they neither could nor should be questioned, on pain of high treason, with the possible death after torture, as a result.

The absolute political and religious powers, the two powers, the two swords had interferences in theoretically opposed areas, but in reality it was only one power, as demonstrated by the issue of the War of Investitures. The emperors appointed bishops and owned dioceses, which generated for them social control and untold wealth. Religious power has also in itself temporal power, since Constantine, in virtue of the counterfeiting undertaken by the Roman Curia with the Donation of Constantine, which justifies the civil power of the Pope and the Roman Curia, in addition to the possession of absolute religious power.

After much infighting among the Christian churches in search of the Primate, the Pope began to believe himself vicar of Peter. With the aid of theologians and canonists he passes from vicar of Peter to Vicar of Christ. And later, in the Inquisition and its Autos-da-fé, he acts on behalf of the Trinity, without complexes and without apparent problems of conscience.

Some theologians rightly wonder whether the God in the Old Testament is the same God found in the New. Of course not, he neither is the same nor seems it. It had not yet reached the Council of Nicaea (325), that would dogmatize, as we have seen, that the Son is consubstantial with the Father, of the same substance, the divine, of course; but we never will know what is this divine substance; not even know if the divine, being spiritual, has substance. The God of Old Testament is One and that of the New is Trinitarian, a concept that it was very difficult to be accepted by the converted Jews and by the Muslims, as their Yahweh and Allah are one.



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Goya's masterpiece.

 The first trip of the novice witch.






Witches preparing ointments, by Goya


At this dark times of gloomy culture, it was easy to fill people minds with ideas completely inconsistent for us.

Although the presence of belief in higher beings is latent since ancient times, especially witchcraft meant a particular historic event in Europe during the Middle Ages. In this crazy environment it appears the "Malleus Maleficarum ", the bedside reading of the Inquisitors. It is possibly the most frightening book ever written. Its content defines who were the witches, what they were doing, and it analyzes the legal proceedings to be followed to condemn them.

Belief in the devil was the basis of superstitious influence that degenerated into mental pathology. The history of witchcraft will always present the history, legend and myth of the enigmatic Doctor Faustus. This infernal and necromancer character has not only been present as a legend or myth, but existed at the time of Martin Luther, as it is known by scholars.

We are immersed in that dark age in which everything fit. Even the pseudo illuminati and petitioners.








Coven around the crowned goat, Goya




The social and mental structures are based on ternary organizations: those who pray, those who fight and those who work. As the centuries passed, attitudes are changing: there are new attitudes towards the time, the money, work and family. Famines are a constant threat, violence is omnipresent, social struggles are bitter and constant.


The medieval epoch combines material realities with the symbolic ones. It is a time that runs between the towers of the clergy and the watchtowers of the laity, between eschatology and miracles, between diabolical and divine epiphanies. A time that runs among the circular time of the liturgical calendar, the linear time of history, of storytelling, and that mechanically quantifiable by clocks; between the real and imaginary, the material and the symbolic. It is a world of liturgical gestures and asceticism whose social realities are complemented by the social imaginary, whose daily realities and religious symbols are mixed.

This crippling design that prevents man to attack the building of the earthly society without making shake at the same time the heavenly society, that imprisons the mortals into the meshes of the angelica net, adds to the weight of the masters on the shoulders of the vassals the burden of the angelic hierarchy of the seraphim, the cherubim and thrones, the dominations, virtues and powers of the principalities of the archangels and angels. Men of the Middle Ages struggled between the clutches of demons and the obstacle that involve the millions of wings that beat both on earth as in heaven and make life a nightmare of winged palpitations. Because the issue is not that the celestial world is as real as terrestrial, but they constitute only one world in an inextricable mixture that imprisons men in the nets of a supernatural living.

Time, which is linear, not circular and only belongs to God, can only be lived. To take it, to measure it, to take advantage or exploit it is a sin. Time is a moment of eternity. The story has a beginning, starting in Adam, and an end, the final trial. All medieval chronicle is "a story of universal History". The global reference is one aspect of medieval totalitarianism. Time is history and history has its Christian meaning. The most important historic effort of medieval Christian thinkers is to try to stop the story and finish it. The feudal society, with its two dominant classes cavalry and clergy, as says Chretien de Troyes, is considered the end of the History.

It's as if Jacob's ladder, that connects heaven and earth, was in constant motion, in direct communication without barriers, customs or tolls. Life on earth is not autonomous, secular and independent; everything depends on the future life and it is conditioned by it. It is the right atmosphere for the rule of the clergy; human values are the spiritual, the soul, not the body that should always be subject to asceticism and renunciation, as an enemy of the soul, in a perfect Manichean dichotomy.

During the Middle Ages it was created an apocalyptic mood, flight of the world and longing for death. Both in art and literature it was developed the daunting issue of expiration of life: the hourglass, as a symbol, and "Sic transit gloria mundi " (thus passes the glory of the world), as a rhetoric convention inspired by the idea of death. For the medieval Christian life is the way to true life, towards Second Life, to the serene abode, to eternal rest:


This world is the way

to the other that is abode

without regret;

It is better to have good sense

to walk this journey

without err:

We leave when we are born

we walk when we live

and we gather

while we perish;

so when we die

we rest.


Couplets of Jorge Manrique to the death of his father, Don Rodrigo Manrique, Master of Santiago.

Este mundo es el camino

para el otro que es morada

sin pesar;

mas cumple tener buen tino

para andar esta jornada

sin errar:

Partimos cuando nascemos

andamos cuando bivimos

y allegamos

al tiempo que fenescemos;

así que cuando morimos



Coplas de Jorge Manrique a la muerte de su padre, don Rodrigo Manrique, Maestre de Santiago.



For the believer, death is not the end, because it is the gate of life "mors janua vitae ", it is the beginning of an eternal spiritual life; however Science tells us that after this life it is only the death, because brain death is irreversible. If life is only transit, why worry about worldly vanities? Hence in the literature of the late Middle Ages it is constant the memory of death (memento mori), the contempt of the world (contemptu Mundi), the theme of living death or dying life and the longing for liberating death.



Do not delay, Death, that I die;

come, that I live with you:

love me, as I love you,

with your coming I hope

not to have war with me.


Jorge Manrique

No tardes, Muerte, que muero;

ven, porque biva contigo:

quiéreme, pues te quiero,

que con tu venida espero

no tener guerra conmigo.


Jorge Manrique

The Christian concept of life is actually an anti-life, a true anti-humanism, as well as an anti-vitalism. From the pulpit, the gravelly and threatening voice of mendicant preachers, Franciscans and Dominicans, reminded the faithful that terrible corruption of what had been human beauty: vanity of vanities (vanitas vanitatum). The Christian worldview is negative, terribly negative, of all human values, of the universe and of the socio-economic and, therefore, very harmful to progress and to human happiness. Alienating ideologies cause a very unfortunate social impact, all in the name of pseudo-values that are considered superior to or from the invocation of divinity. The Church planted all human fields of prejudice and counter values.

These medieval Christian concepts have their continuity in that "I die because I do not die ", of Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila, a paradox used by sixteenth century Spanish mystics.


This life I live

deprivation of life is

and so, is continuous die

until I live with you.

Hey, my God, what I say:

that I do not love this life,

I die because I do not die.

Saint John of the Cross

Esta vida que yo vivo

es privación de vivir

y así, es continuo morir

hasta que viva contigo.

Oye, mi Dios, lo que digo:

que esta vida no la quiero,

que muero porque no muero.


San John of the Cross

We recognize the worth and poetic delicacy of these two great mystics, Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, experts in mystical experiences and in he management of symbols and the metric. Despite their virtue and learning they also are imbued with Christian philosophical vitalism, demonstrating how difficult it is to escape the dominant ideology and the Inquisition controls, that they did not succeed completely. What is no less certain is that preconceptions about life values, and life itself, violate human dignity by inventing and imposing values anchored in spiritual realities, that religious fantasy has drawn.







The flight of witches.

Volaverunt of Goya.



The woman had pre-eminence in agrarian society, where it was revered the Great Mother Earth, Gea, as it provided shelter and food needed to survive through its cycles. Earth is also responsible for her own fertility, as was for the plants and the wildlife. Agrarian society reflects these religious attitudes in its structure and its values.

The community was ruled by a queen who was the greatest priestess of the Great Mother Goddess. The woman exercised priestly functions through the rituals and social values promoted by the institutions. The family was vital in this matriarchal community. The social position, inheritance and the name came from the mother, who, accompanied by a brother, ruled the family. The father's role was negligible, it was even thought that he was not necessary for procreation.

Motherhood was a mystery, a miraculous event, possibly aided by the fertilizing wind and by water. In this society, the first ethical and moral obligation was to the mother and sisters; it is a peaceful society, focusing on the family rather than on the conquest of the kingdoms. Mother's love was a humane and peaceful influence, creating an aura of honor, of trust, of hospitality and generosity, and of reverence for everything related to life.


The time was measured by the nights, by the moons, and religious rituals were done just at night. The moon was more important than the sun. The months were calculated by the cycles of the moon, producing uniform seven-day weeks, months of twenty eight uniform days and a lunar year of thirteen months plus one day.

The main male deity, Zeus, and the main oracle, Apollo at Delphi, appear with the arrival of the warrior tribes of Greece and the enthronement of the male gods in Olympus; the matriarchy gave way to patriarchy, where the man, aided by the lance and by his patron gods, is mainly warrior and conqueror. The woman will change, gradually, her roles and she will end subjected to man. The daughters will be property of their brothers, the wives will belong to her husbands, and parents will decide the marriage of their daughters. Patriarchal society became more aggressive, more militarized, as promoter of heroic deeds in battles with neighbors, and more ambitious of wealth and conquests. The myths and their manipulation changed the gender perspective 180 degrees.

In the Old Testament, in Genesis, in the myth of creation, God created man of clay and the wife of Adam's rib. The woman never will be like the man, she was not created in the same form and manner; here is the primordial and fundamental injustice. From the myth of the sin of knowledge "you will be like God, knowing good and evil", badly interpreted and worse applied as the sin of disobedience, will emerge the woman as the instigator of sin, the mother of all thunder, Pandora's box. The die had been cast for the woman. Jews, Christians and Muslims will consider her as a being inferior to men. In the description of paradise of the Mohammedans, already described when speaking about the Catars, the role of the houris is to serve the man in a thousand ways and manners. In the Catholic Church women can not be priests or bishops and impossible to be Popes; and they say this is by express will of Jesus, blaming the Lord to marginalize women, creating the doubt, at the same time, of how they know it is Jesus' will if he never said that. He did not chose women for apostles, because that was impossible in the culture of that society, that strongly discriminated against women and separated them from the reading and interpretation of scripture and realization of Jewish worship; all these were in the hands of the Jewish men.


The gradual loss of the importance and value of women is exacerbated in these obscure times.

During the Middle Ages the Church reinvented witchcraft as significant antagonistic to the will of God and a challenge to its legitimate representatives on earth. The Wicked Witch, an invention of Christian theology. Everything against its rules would fall under the sign of sin, the stigma par excellence of political violence of the Church. Under its charters would be proscribed any knowledge about the body and sexuality to the realm of the taboo subject; especially of women, inevitably subjected to a culture of patriarchal subordination by order or curse of God the Father in Genesis: "... with pain you will give birth to your children and you will crawl to your husband, who will rule over you". Once invented the enemy, its legends multiplied and society was marked by an irrational fear [...]. The witch became everything that was rejected[...], people were convinced of the existence of devil, of evil witches and the veracity of the associated legends". [19]


The Church managed to master the stigmata, and at this time many women were marked with the incandescent and cutting attribute of 'witches'. This brand, like all the stigmata, excludes from a normal status, marginalizes and excommunicates, while it includes in a derogatory and slanderous category, through the so called in sociology "the role assigned." The heretic, a believing person that the power judges as deviant, ends assimilating the role of heretic with witch they have labeled him. The concept of guilt, remorse, low self-esteem takes possession of his conscience and emerges inside him the imperative of seeking forgiveness and reconciliation, whose administration is in the religious power hands.


Stigma plays an insurmountable domesticating role and, therefore, a role of social control. The stigma is not rational, but it is functional, because much of its power operates from symbols deeply rooted in the subconscious, as it befits everything related to the feeling. Self-esteem and religion have much to do with this sentimental human aspect.













Malleus Maleficarum.

A comprehensive guide to identify, pursue and punish witches.




Henry Charles Lea, in his book The Inquisition in the Middle Ages, tells us that the persecution that took place between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries was not but a prelude to the blind and crazy orgies of destruction that inflamed the next and a half century. It seemed as if Christianity had rooted in delirium.

Pope Innocent VIII gave a definitive step forward by publishing the bull Summis desiderantes affectibus in 1484, to open the insane stage of witchcraft. Two years later, in 1486, Pope appoints two Dominican inquisitors, Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, the persecution of witchcraft in Germany and, for that, they write the infamous book, Malleus Maleficarum, known as the Hammer of Witches.

Krämer and Sprenger submitted the Malleus Maleficarum to the Faculty of Theology at the University of Cologne in the hope that it would be approved, but it was declared illegal and unethical, as his demonology was not consistent with Catholic doctrine. Krämer, however, inserted a false note in support of the University of Cologne in subsequent editions. It becane a real best seller and, for three centuries, it was a required reading for inquisitors and judges. The theologian Peter de la Rosa in his seminal and unorthodox book Vicars of Christ writes:

Today is a bedside book to learn about the hardships imposed on the witches. It contains a full theological "corpus" about the witchcraft that is unsurpassed for nonsense presented as scientific analysis. For three centuries, it was found on the platform of every judge, on the table of every judge. The preface of the many editions of this book full of doom was the bull of Innocent VIII.

The intricate world of magic, so exciting and attractive to the masses, with unimagined and unimaginable hypothetical connections with the devil, left profuse mark on medieval Christians, prone to all beliefs, more credible when more absurd. Spirits, good and bad join the Heaven to Earth, they cohabit with humans beings. This rather uneducated people, of agricultural profession the majority, with long, cold nights, dark as the lion's den, feed on all sorts of imaginative representations, to the point of conceiving the devil copulating and agreeing with women, branded as witches. Under this satanic pact, it was believed that they had power to do harm, to cause serious illness or to cause death, to ruin crops, among other infinite woes and wonders, as to be able to fly or attend meetings, the famous witches' sabbath, held at a great distance.

The Malleus Maleficarum revolves around the curses that were attributed to witches. The authors, supported by the biblical phrase "To the witches do not will leave them alive" (Exodus 22, 18), supported in other texts of Scripture, in Augustine of Hippo, in Thomas Aquinas and in other important theologians, develop their doctrine of witchcraft with a sexist concept full of prejudices of women.

In the first part of the book, obviously they assume that witchcraft and sorcery exist. They believe that witches and sorcerers perform a wide variety of ailments "with the permission of Almighty God" so that the devil not win an unlimited power and he can destroy the world.

The second part of the book describes the ways of witchcraft, how they cast spells and how their actions can be prevented or remedied. Sprenger and Kramer in their inquisitorial trials, with the help of torture, obtained much information on spells, demonic pacts, sacrifices and intercourse with the Devil.

The third part details the methods to detect, destroy, prosecute and convict witches. Torture is a common practice in any inquisitorial trial. Faced with a stubborn reluctance, medical torture makes the accused say any more than the inquisitor would like to listen.

In the excerpt of the Malleus Maleficarum presented by Agustin Celis, when answering the question that the authors themselves made of why superstition was mainly found in women, you can read a real bunch of misogynistic niceties:


The woman is a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger, a delectable detriment, an evil of nature painted with bright colors! [...]


In his second book The Rhetoric, Cicero says: "The many man's desires lead them to one sin, but the only appetite of women leads them to all sins, because the root of all female evil is greed ”. And Seneca says in his tragedies: "A woman loves or hates, there is no third alternative. And the tears of a woman are a deception as they may arise from a real penalty, or a trap. When a woman thinks alone, she thinks evil."


Regarding the first question, why is there a lot of witches in the fragile feminine sex, a greater proportion than men, it is indeed a fact that it would be idle to contradict and experience confirms that, apart from verbal testimony of trustworthy witnesses [...].

The second reason is that by nature women are more impressionable and more ready to receive the influence of a disembodied spirit and that when they use this quality well, are very bad. The third reason is they have a mobile tongue,[...]

"That, as they are weaker in mind and body, no wonder they fall further under the spell of witchcraft". [...]

 And there is the story of a man whose wife drowned in a river, who while searching for the corpse out of the water, walked upstream. And when asked why, since heavy bodies do not rise, but fall and he sought against the current of the river, he said: "When this woman lived, always in word and in deed, contradicted my orders, so I look in the opposite direction, as if now, even dead, she retains her contradictory provision. [...]

If we investigate, we see that almost all the kingdoms of the world have been overthrown by women.[...] The kingdom of the Romans endured much evil because of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, the worst of women.[...]


It means that a woman is beautiful in appearance, she contaminates the touch and it is deadly to live with it. [...] More bitter than death, i.e, the devil: Apocalypse, VI, 8: "I was named Death".



Read more in the Supporting Documents


More debasement and compliance of a human being is impossible. As if those monks had not ever born, as if they never had sisters, because they had no wives or daughters due to their celibate, as if they all suffered a serious pathology. Behind all this are the prejudices against sex, which are disguised as carnal lust. It is a pathological obsession of Manichaean misogynists. And in its support are many myths that patriarchy fabricated with evil intention. It should be added the ignorance of the psychology of women, which was total. No doubt that from a matriarchal point of view, with these kinds of myths, sexist prejudices and stereotypes, there could be written similar or worse things of men.

The inquisitors acted charged with a religious and dogmatic ballast, which, coming from ancient religions, affected their lives, their values and their worldview
. They themselves were victims of indoctrination, received in their education process in the convents and religious institutions, which was permeated of Manichaeism and other errors on the design of life, as guilt complexes and anguish for their salvation. Driven by these prejudices, they acted projecting them on other human beings, who were greatly harmed, but, in a pseudo-mystical autosuggestion, they thought it was very good. The religious conventions against women subjected them to endless indignities and humiliations to the point of being marginalized and be assigned roles of subordination and submission. And in the beginning of all this madness is the Encyclical of Pope Innocent VIII, ultimately responsible for all the disorders produced by the witch-hunt.

















A sketch of Nicholas of Cusa

In Bressanone on the occasion of a witches process





In 1457, Nicholas of Cusa, philosopher, mathematician, theologian and bishop, preached in Bressanone on the occasion of a witches process, held that year in the city against two women. Somewhat prone to be guided by popular fantasies and imaginations that rather perplexed him, skeptical of the facts of witchcraft, he stated in his homily that the two women were half-delirious (mad), who saw visions that they had nothing to do with reality, what was unfounded nonsense:

[...] It was said the good lady, that is, Richella, had come to them at night in a car. She looked like a well-dressed woman, but they had not seen her face... She had touched them and from that moment they had been forced to follow. After having promised her obedience, they had renounced the Christian faith. Then they had reached a place filled with people dancing and having a party: some men, covered with fur, had devoured men and boys who had not been baptized by the rules. [21]

Nicholas, after talking to them and try them back to reason, he imposed them a slight penance as punishment. He was trying to avoid such trivialities, which could only serve to increase fear of the devil and the idea that this could be more powerful than God himself. And he endorsed the question we all ask:
Is it not true that this superstition, which makes us fear the devil, is not very different from the superstitions, apparently harmless, which make us pray to God to have good children, optimal harvest, curses against enemies,...?. He thinks that there are fundamental problems in popular religion and should be found ways to get out of the confusion between faith and superstition, and ways to affirm a faith that does not confuse the Creator with the inner forces of creation.

Nicholas was aware of the power of oral traditions that supported the existence of very powerful and invisible forces, that defended the Greek and Roman paganism, and the rural animism. That made it difficult to separate the Christian faith from superstition, which attributed to the devil the ability to attract, deceive and mislead the believers, who lived earthly realities and ignored the forces of nature. Forces that regulate the cycle of seasons; unseen forces that affect the flora and fauna and human life itself, the production of disease and pestilence; forces that, even, act on love and hatred.

The power and the phenomenon of witchcraft, the coven, it is within the frame of pagan superstitions that coexist with Christianity, powered by the popular imagination. In these fields, the bishop Nicholas thinks, what matters is not its truth or falsity, but its credibility. He sensed and despised this power: to endorse the myth of witchcraft means an invitation to consider it true.

In this trap, to endorse the myth of witchcraft, fell Pope Innocent VIII, who did not know or forgot the reasonable doubt that the wise philosopher and Bishop Nicholas had raised thirty years before. To follow such myth so ingrained in the minds of normal people, led to a phenomenon of unexpected and terrible consequences: the witch hunt, cannon fodder for the most gruesome and imaginative novelists and for filmmakers with high macabre creative potential.

The doctrine of Nicholas of Cusa, that is supported by Ulrich Mukker, 1498, whwn he says that witches are poor women who live more a satanic illusion than a demon reality. And Andrea Alciato, 1544, adds that not legal persecution is warranted for women who, in fact, are victims of illusions. Earlier, in his Flagellum Maleficarum, Pierre Marmoris even speaks of the Sabbath as a derivation of the Jewish holiday. The problem of witchcraft, conclude some humanistic authors, rather than a religious problem is medical, rather than ask for a priest it would be better to look for a doctor, a psychiatrist or a psychologist.

This slaughter, the witch hunt, that lasted three centuries and produced between seventy thousand and three hundred thousand relaxed or killed in the fires, not counting those who managed to save their lives after incarceration, torture and abuse, was initiated by Pope Innocent VIII and by the misogynist best-seller of Jacob and Heinrich, Malleus Maleficarum. They all were helped by Emperor Maximilian I of Austria, who, in the November, 6th, 1486, had invited all good Catholics and respectable citizens of the Empire to cooperate with the misogynist Dominicans.

The Pope, the Emperor, Krämer and Sprenger, everyone is convinced, firmly convinced, that witches exist, that they obey the devil with whom they have a deal and are very dangerous to the health of body and the salvation of the soul. The Malleus Malificarum states categorically that most of heresy is not to believe in witches, when it should be said that belief in witches is the greatest of heresies.

The elements of witchcraft, the existence of the devil and its powers is the doctrine of the Church, "but who can be so foolish as to believe that all this happen?", asks the Canon Episcopi, where we can read:

Do not forget the unfortunate fact that women have offered themselves to Satan and, seduced by spells and ghosts of diabolical origin, they believe that they have ridden animals at night, after the pagan goddess Diana and that they have done this in the company of many of other women, or that they crossed large tracts of land with the complicity of the deep silence of death [...] Many have been fooled by these things and they believe that everything is true andthey moved away of true faith [...] But who can be so foolish as to believe that all this happens [...] even bodily? [22]

Innocent VIII presents, in his bull Summis deriderantes affectibus, legendary descriptions of the power of witchcraft, but these incredible superstitions are given as true:

Wishing with all my heart, as it wants our pastoral concern, that grow and spread all over the Catholic faith, while any ruinous heresy is put far from Christianity, of good will we proclaim these orders and regulations, so that our pious vow becomes effective and, after all the errors are removed through the action of our ministry [...], place in the souls of the faithful the zeal and the observance of faith. With sadness we have learned recently that in many parts of northern Germany [...] several people, both male and female, are offered to devils incubus and succubus, leaving the path of true faith. They make through spells, incantations and spells, all that is abhorrent and criminal in the field of witchcraft, for the evil of the others: abortions occur in women; they sterilize or kill fetuses in animals, products of the soil, grape vines, fruit trees, men and women, pets and jobs, plus all kinds of livestock, from countryside animals to integer crops: vineyards, orchards, meadows, cereals, grasses, wheat, all vegetables. They want to prevent that man procreates, that woman conceives, the spouses meet the conjugal rights. They are not afraid to renege, sacrilegiously, the faith which were given through the holy baptism; they do not go away fearful of violence, of the offences to which they are instigated by the Adversary of mankind [...]. [23]


Let us clarify two terms by the Royal Spanish Academy: Succubus. Such a spirit, devil or demon that, according to people superstition, has sexual intercourse with a male under the guise of a woman. Incubus. It was said of the devil that, according to common opinion, with the appearance of man, had sexual intercourse with a woman.

The papal text is really amazing, because it is contrary to the theology and science, but was the catalyst for all future crimes committed on grounds of witchcraft. The Pope begins by granting more powers to the inquisitors:

[...] By virtue of our apostolic dignity, we want to eliminate any capable obstacle to hinder the inquisitors activity [...] Prompted by concerns of faith, we sanction that [...] inquisitors are to be allowed to fulfill their duty and proceed, with complete freedom, to punishment, incarceration and the amendment of those people because of the excesses and crimes listed above [...]. We attach also the Inquisitors the right to preach the Word of God in any church and how often they want [...]. We ordered the bishop of Strasbourg [...] to protect and sustain the action of the Inquisition, as a way to suppress those who want to harm them, prevent them, contradict them and rebel [...] with the help of the secular arm. [24]

To understand the social roots of these fables -which deserve no other name-, in the disclosure of which also the inquisitors were involved, when treating them as something actually existing and actually prosecuted and punished, let's look closely at some stories related by Natale Benazzi. Notice the resemblance, its consistency, its durability through the years. They seem fireproof through the passage of time. Three centuries passed, from 1390 until 1692 (see below), and they are not the first nor the latest:

Paris, 1390. The case of the prostitute Macete is more complex and reveals a world of wrenching physical and moral poverty. Macete, gripped by nostalgia, with the attempt to make her lover come back, because instead of marrying her, as promised, left her for another woman of ill repute, performs a spell: she has memorized the preamble of John's Gospel and through this formula, recited aloud, achieves contact with the devil, called Haussibut. The lover is forced, against his will, to return with her, but refuses to marry. Sad, Macette repeats the formula, but more potent with the help of wax and pitch with which it makes a paste that extends, three consecutive nights, on the shoulders of her lover while evoking Satan. He finally relents and marries her. But love does not arise. The years that followed are difficult. He mistreats her, beats her. Macete does not know, but yet again to entrust her devil: she kneads again wax and pitch, with which she forges a boy figure that floats on straw in a pot of boiling water. Macete is still being abused. Then she desperate goes out to the countryside to look for toads that after she sticks with a needle. Nevertheless, the husband beat her until he finds her doing spells and makes a denunciation to the Inquisition. The proof of her guilt is a dead toad.

Mirandola, 1522-1523: The process of Mirandola remains one of the important and cruel witch-hunts, as it recalls the terrible title of Pogrom of Mirandola; it involves the prince of Carpi, Gian Francesco Pico. The violence with which they treat the accused is such as to make witnesses of the people exclaim: "It's not fair that these men had been killed so cruelly".

Zurich, 1546. The procedural testimonies relate the case of Agatha Stuodlerin, daughter of a canon, dedicated to prostitution. She wuld have sold her soul to the devil holding a series of sinister crimes: to poison some men, to lead to impotence to others, whom she would have asked the compensation money for restoring their virility. A baker and his wife, suffering from impotence and frigidity, denounce her and attended the torture. As she does not stand the bitterness of her jailers, Agatha throws herself through a window and breaks a leg. The judges suspect even more: did she want to kill herself (an offence against the faith) or to fly away? They increased the torture. Agatha, finally, admits the crimes asking the sole grace of not being burned. The court decides to grant it because of the apparent conversion had occurred. She was drowned on 27
th, February.


Salem (Massachussets), 1692. A colored slave, named Tituba, accused of being invited to a night dance, with probable voodoo practices, the girls in the region, she confesses her guilt and gives the names of some notable people of the village. It triggers a form of collective hysteria that lead to the death of many people, uniting for the future Salem's name to a form of horror.[25]



More about legends of witches in Supporting Documents









Witches Sabbat traveling, accompanied by various demonic creatures.




Lamia, maker of spells, harpy, sorceress, witch, devil, Tarascan, summoner of demons, Satan worshiper, idolater.

The nomenclature is plentiful and its abundance perfectly covers the two areas at stake: the superstition and the crime against the faith, going, almost imperceptibly, from one to another and astonishing anyone who startles into the rainforest of the testimonies and of the events. Moreover, what makes possible the confluence of those two rivers is the certainty that witches existed. What allowed the Inquisition (but before it to the political and ecclesiastical powers) to act to convert, was the realization that it was necessary to unmask and to defend against them.

If one could question the human beings who lived the period between the fourteenth and the seventeenth century, they would answer undoubtedly: yes, witches exist among us. The affirmative answer covers all social classes and all kinds of people from the poorest to the rich and the nobles. The witches exist and perform so many operations and are so terrible that just to name some of their gestures can lead to mishaps, if you are not adequately protected. Their power is great, large their sect and deceptive their appearance.

The witches have the ability to fly, to transport themselves and transport the others, even during sleep and wakefulness, to far-away places, in the twinkling of an eye. Some have the gift of metamorphosis: they change their shape by animals, like cats and thus they enter the houses... [26]

Vicente Risco, speaking of the Galician witches or meigas, said: "Although I did not believe them, “they to be, they are ". As if there were doubts, the Inquisitors were responsible for the evil superstitions became a thing of faith and real at the same time. All categories of people, from the simple to the nobles, intellectuals, clergy and theologians, believed that witches existed and that, through the pact with the Devil, had immense power. We must be cautious to repel their charms, even a simple evil eye. The witch does evil because she is a slave of evil by her own free choice, say the judges of the soul, the inquisitors. They had to fight The Demonic Conspiracy [...] in the form of the Sabbath of witches.

The Church, in her desire to have a monopoly and control of real and magical rites, under the guise of protecting the faithful so they do not depart from the path of faith, showed a great credulity in the devil or Satan, what seems to be a real heresy and a great ignorance of human psychology. Most of the cases were psychological problems, but focused especially from a religious perspective, distorted and wrong, and it was carried away by gender bias, that, in varying degrees, depending on the times, it always maintained.

The Church also showed an unusual cruelty against the poor and sometimes ill women, questioning, very seriously, its message of peace and love, and questioning the credibility in that God, in whose name so many crimes were committed.








Wait they oint you, by Goya.
Implementation of magic ointment, applied to a goat.



The monotheistic religions, Jewish, Christian, Moslem, enthroned the figure of the evil and gave him the name and his peculiar characteristics. All potential calamities were the result of his wicked arts and sin was due to the temptations of Satan as an enemy not only of man, but of God himself.

The Middle Ages represented Satan as a hybrid, a goat with human traits and evil, who was revered by magicians and witches, regarded as his priests. Since there was the concept of good, there was that of the evil, like day and night, light and darkness, God and the Devil. With these ancient dualistic concepts, the imagination of believers was filled with superstition and devil worship was magically linked to witchcraft and black magic.

Their rites were often parodies of Catholic ceremonies, which was officiated by following the ritual in reverse, turning the black mass in the most solemn ritual of Satanism. Its symbolism was also used in reverse: the cross was placed face down, prayers were recited backwards, from end to beginning and the name of God or Jesus Christ would be replaced by that of Satan. The sacred ornaments, the chasuble, for example, would have satanic inspired embroidery, as the effigy of a goat.

And for their bloody sacrifices, the officiant, behind a mask, was wearing a hooded cloak of black or red color and text orientation were diabolical. One of the most common practices was to celebrate the sacrifice on the naked body of a young woman, placed on a platform; herself became the altar. To its right, was the only white candle lit permitted, he embodied the "hypocrisy of white magicians" and to its left, there lit one or more blacks candles, which represented the power of darkness. On the black candles were burnt papers written with satanic blessings and the curses were burned on the white ones; the candles were the only light in the room. The candle wax came either from the leftovers of a wake, from the fat of a goat or from a man who had been hanged.

The psalms were praising Satan as a Yahweh of sins, God of the scandal, benefactor of all crimes.
- Oh, Satan!, God of the ancient hatreds! Come to us and grant the wish that this, your candidate, you pray.

They also use magic potions to achieve their desires.








Faust, semi-legendary figure who made a pact with the devil to gain wisdom.



The Faustian pact is between myth and reality. Faust was a real person transformed by the mythical legend. Johannes Faust was born in Württemberg in 1480 and educated at the University of Ingolstadt. Man of extraordinary intelligence, he continued his studies at Hidelberg tat he expense of an uncle who paid his studies pretending him to be a priest, for what he had no vocation.

He met Cornelius Agrippa, doctor, a student of the Kabbalah and magic, by means of which he performed, it was said, miraculous healings that exceeded normal knowledge of medicine. They traveled together to Prague, where they met Theophrastus Paracelsus, whose philosophical ideas were similar to those that they farmed. All the three shared and studied esoteric concepts, prohibited doctrines and occult sciences.

Faust became convinced of the great opportunities available to the occult and then guided his life and studies to unravel the great mysteries. For some time, Faust was drawn by Luther and his Reformation. They say that, because of this meeting, Luther came one day to say:
- I need the help of God to save me from the demons that Faust has invoked against me.

Faust admired the Manichaean doctrine, diligently studied magic and alchemy and maddened with the powers of demon in which he firmly believed. His servant and secretary commented, deforming, doctrines and practices of his employer, whom they described as a magician and worshiper of the Devil.


From the real life of this man, of his friends and of theories he defended, literature spawned a series of myths, possibly originating from actual events attributed to Faust. What, in fact, was due to the reality of time in which he lived was the interest in the occult and in the called demonic pacts. The bookseller Johann Spiesz, 1587, wrote:

... a full moon night, Faust goes to the forest of Spesser. At a crossroads he traces with his stick in the ground two concentric circles, he places in the middle and utters some magic words. It is heard music and sounds of swords when suddenly a beast appears like a faucet, carrying a fire star that he drops and in the fall it continues to grow, to become one big ball. Suddenly, a human figure outline, cast into the fire, begins to revolve around the magic circle. It disappears and in its place is a monk who is close to Faust and greets him. They set a meeting for the following day. (Hemmert and Roudene. Historia da magia, do ocultismo e das sociedades secretas.)

Faust restarts the ritual at home. The spirit emerges and the magician offers him a pact, but the envoy of hell can not make a decision without consulting the Prince of Darkness. For the third time Faust invokes the spirit that is evident in human form and requires the collection of his body and his soul forever. But his word is not enough, he has to take the oath in writing, a document sealed with his blood. The deal is valid for a few years, during which the devil will relinquish its powers to Faust, this time served, he will return to take him back.

- What is your name?

- Mephistopheles, the devil answered.

The document signed by Faust, reads:

I, Dr. Joanne Faust, I write with my hand and acknowledge publicly that, having speculated on the elements with the help of the gifts that were granted to me and not getting to find in my intelligence the necessary talent to understand them, I subordinate to the spirit I have been sent, called Mephistopheles, who is one of the servants of the infernal
Prince of the East. The same spirit is committed to be submissive and obedient to me. In return, I promise that after 24 years, completed after the date of this document, he may dispose of my person, govern, carry and command me the way he wants: in body, soul, flesh, blood and goods throughout eternity. Furthermore I disclaim all who live in this world and all the heavenly host. To certify the authenticity of the document, I wrote it with my hand and sealed with my blood, in full possession of my senses, my head, my intelligence and my will. The undersigned: Johannes Faust, skilled in the science of the elements and doctor of theology.

Many witnesses at that time said the agreement existed and that, from 1525, Faust began to publicly demonstrate his gifts and to use the wealth that Mephistopheles had given him. Magician himself claimed to have visited hell and that, despite the violence of fire, suffered no burn, or even feel the heat of the flames.

One day, in Leipzig, when he served as a guide to some students, he saw some men who, evidently tired, tried to get out of Auerbach's cellar a wine barrel. Faust, approaching them jokingly asked:

- Why are needed so many men for a job that just one can do?
Listening to him, thinking it was a joke, the owner of the winery came up, wiping his hands on his apron.
-I offer a cask of wine to anyone who can take it out of my parking and roll into the street without help.

Faust dropped to the damp cellar, got astride a barrel and took it to the street, as if it was horse and rider, to the astonishment of people who had gathered curious.

The development of this scene was imprinted for posterity on the walls of the tavern. The drawings and the allegorical phrases inspired one day the pen and the talent of a man who, seduced by the myth, wrote some of the most beautiful pages of German literature. A man who was also a student of the occult, astrology and magic: Johann Wolfgang van Goethe. From his hand emerges a Faust dissatisfied, a misunderstood hero who does not find meaning in life, an intellectual who walks with Mephistopheles and makes Auerbach's tavern the world stage. This Faust scientific and poor attempts suicide, but is saved by a choir of angels.

With the help of the devil, dissolved in the love potion from a witch, with flattery and gifts, he seduces Margaret, a peasant whom he leaves when she expected a child of his. Later, repentant, requires to Mephistopheles to reveal the whereabouts of the beloved and he tells she is in jail and will be executed. Faust wants to save her, but was not on time. Margarita has been slaughtered and her immortal soul ascends to heaven. At the end of a life passed among witches, Greek myths, emperors and monsters, always with personal or spiritual company of Mephistopheles, Faust dies. The devil comes to take possession of his soul, as it was agreed, but again the angels involved and prevented it. Faust's spirit is finally with Margarita.

One of the more descriptive scenes is the assistance of Faust to the sabbath Walpurgis Night, where they meet all kinds of monstrous beings to celebrate their festival.

Spiesz details the last moments of life of his hero... The 24-year pact of Doctor comes to an end. The spirit appeared to him and, showing him the document, he announced that the devil would be the next day to pick up his body and soul. Faust invited his best friends to spend the night at his home and over dinner he confessed:

"Dear and intimate friends, I have summoned you because you know me for many years, ending tonight. The hourglass in front of me tells me to be ready. When it empties the devil will came to take me. I beg you, my good and dear sirs, you drink a toast with me in a friendly farewell and salute to all those who keep a good memory of me. Do not be disturbed by the cries and noises you will hear in the house. Nothing bad will happen to you, but stay in your beds. If you find my corpse, command to be buried. My soul is grieving for a genuine repentance. I wish you all a good night. Mine certainly will be bad, painful and terrible".

All men came to embrace his friend, their eyes were filled with tears, their faces marked by sadness.
During the night they heard the agonizing screams of Faust imploring relief, whistles and scary screams, but nobody stood up as promised. In the morning they entered the room of their friend. He was full of blood, part of the brain stamped against the wall, some bones and teeth on the floor. They found the body outside the home next to a manure pit. They order to bury him in the village, but his coffin disappeared and was never found. They said that his ghost appeared to the people of the villages and towns where he lived. On foggy nights, people avoided looking through the windows. The spirit of Faust was wandering, repentant, the streets.

Although lost in the many legends that have spread over him and that the evidence of his passage through life is confined to a parchment, a bag and little else, Faust remains for almost 500 years in the minds of many scholars, who thus make him timeless. [20]









Young witch riding a goat, symbol





...that they have them so subject and rendered in doing nothing, even pious and holy, without their permission or command; and tacitly or explicitly tell them to give them obedience and they are punished when they disobey. Alvaro Huerga.

Alongside the enlightened themselves, there appeared dark and unscrupulous religious, who, in the sacrament of penance and under the authority of false mystic-ecstatic outbursts, ask their female parishioners carnal contact or sex. It was the solicitation of those false enlightened and opportunistic swindlers, of very degraded ethics. Sometimes, especially the enlightened of Extremadura and Andalucia, mingled heterodox doctrines with sensual mystical raptures, scatological ravings with diabolical presences, mixing heretic with moral depravity.

In the act of the inquisitorial process against the religious John of Villalpando you can read:
In the act of confession he drooled the women on their face and put his hands on their breasts and hidden parts, by saying that there it was to enter the spirit and that it was the best way to be in grace...

The solicitation was widespread, as evidenced by the Edict of Grace, enacted by the General Inquisitor Andres Pacheco, 1623, affirming the thousand ways that the confessor used to obtain sexual favors from his penitents. These edicts, when the obscene practices of these shameless religious were known, produced the usual scandal. To justify their sexual abuse and overcome the logic scruples of the penitents, these religious invented false doctrines, making them understand and saying that those touching were not sin, that they did it to cheer, comfort and help them. To
subjugate and humiliate women through the confessional, they often confess their disciples in secret locations and always removed from the temples and churches where attends parochial Christian people....The disciples were the illuminati devotee.


Who could know better the weaknesses of these women penitents, who were obliged, as commanded by catechisms, to reveal the innermost secrets of their inner erotic, their carnal desires and their remorse? Moreover, these confessors took advantage of the discourse on the sixth commandment, a fundamental theme in confession, to cause, with their questions, the penitents sensual temptations. Even the confessor could teach with his unseemly questions, new sins and new erotic passions. These women, who sought the acquittal in repentance and release from guilt, were offered remedies and formulas that, far from providing the domestic tranquility, sank them in a sea of worries, doubts and fears. It was a sad irony that this holy sacrament stained them with new sins of sacrilegious character. Many of them no doubt that the confessor was who first induced them to certain sexual practices, which explains some of their behaviors.

Widespread outcry was the need for drastic reform of the morality of many of the clergy. The illicit relations between clergy and women, cohabitation, was a scandal that could not continue. As Adelina Sarrión Mora described very well in her book Sexuality and Confession,
"at mid-sixteenth century, when Protestant reformers attacked the sacramental doctrine of the Church, claiming it was an invention of the clergy to exploit the faithful, the Catholic hierarchy proposes to clean out of objective suspicion the sacraments. Given the importance acquired by penance, confession solicitation became a very special offence". But this struggle against the religious claimants submitted very distinctive characteristics that here we cannot analyze thoroughly, but it forced the Inquisition to adapting their methods of control under various circumstances. Among these religious seekers, hoarders of devotees, it was established a silent struggle to maintain in their fold the victims and prevent them falling under the seductive influence of another rival in love. There were even accusations between these confessors, womanizers. [27]

The Church, despite being aware of the issue of celibacy, it continued undaunted in its rules that established the practice that, apart from being unnatural, They have not been observed or respected by the majority of the clergy in all periods of History. It is one more of the Church hypocrisies, which generates clerical pathologies and conditions of abuse and humiliation of the confused and ignorant penitents. The Church itself is gripping, it wants clarity in the confession of mouth, and, if it is not clear, it agrees the celibate give help to clarify all the commandments, with special emphasis on the sixth.
And here emerges the predictable plot. No wonder that reformers say clearly that the confession was "an invention of the clergy to exploit the faithful".

Christopher Chamizo, the youngest in the group and the most luxurious, deprived many naive devotees of their virginity, telling them that it was not sin and that he would absolve that all. "And spent a night in bed with three devotees" also told that "if they felt pregnant had to notice him, who would give them with what to throw the creatures; and that if they had to marry, he would give them how to look like they were with their virginity, and having one of the devotees asked for this remedy, after done and applied, he returned to take her, saying he wanted to prove that it was true. He used "spells and incantations" and "did not want to confess, but the girls" and forced to" all those devotees to render obedience "and" forbid them to confess to another."




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 "Initium sapientiae, timor Domini" (Proverbs I, 7): The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. Fear is the most useful of the brakes, and the Inquisition, from the Latin inquisitio - "investigating" -, was a tribunal designed to frighten and to create terror in the believers, in the opinion of experts in the field. And nothing was left to chance, the manuals were setting out full details to follow in the methods and techniques, that the inquisitor should follow in his mission of eradicating heresy.


We will see various steps and procedures of this court, since the process was initiated to its outcome, which used to be the stake: The report, the grace period, procedures to interrogate, torture, sanbenitos, autos-da-fé, torture, prisons and others.











Manual of inquisitors, Directorium Inquisitorum,

by Fray Nicolas Eymeric, 1376, Inquisitor General of the Kingdom of Aragon.

The manual coding practices and arguments, both theological and ideological, that justified the existence of this repressive apparatus of the Church.



The procedures of the Inquisition were well structured books prepared for that purpose.
One of the first books for the inquisitors was the Directorium Inquisitorum (Manual for Inquisitors) of Fray Nicolas Eymeric, written about 1376 in Avignon, by this Catalan Dominican born in Gerona in 1322. It is a treaty that compiles the existing inquisitorial laws and rules that every inquisitor should know and practice in the proper use of his functions. Brother Nicholas was a controversial inquisitor who pursued with extreme rigor the followers of the doctrines of Ramon Llull; for that reason he fell out with Peter the Ceremonious, who ordered him to be expelled from Gerona in 1375. Then it would also be expelled by John I of Aragon, but he enjoyed the favor of Popes Clement VII and Benedict VIII.

The Inquisitors Manual of Eymeric is a synthesis of existing literature up to date; in it, the structure of the repressive apparatus of the Church was uphold and justified, and everything was coded for the eventual use of the inquisitors. A true legal set-up, reprinted many times, to eradicate the plague of heresy.

Previously, between 1244 and 1254, in the Languedoc, four Dominican friars had written another manual. It also became famous, the manual of Bernardo Gui Practica Hereticae Inquisitionis pravitatis, written toward 1320. And, among the necessary forms, it is the collection of Decretals established by Raimon de Penyafort in 1230, by order of Pope Gregory IX. A century later we witness the birth of the above cited gem of the Inquisition: the Malleus Maleficarum.

Given the results of these procedures do not ring hollow the words of Samuel Usque when he speaks of the Inquisition in the sixteenth century:
... a savage monster, of so strange and terrible countenance, that all Europe trembles at the mere mention of his name.

The truth shall make you free, Jesus said in the Gospel of John, 8,32. The freedom brought about by these procedures can not be seen anywhere. Rather, one can speak of terror and slavery.









Delegations of the Holy Inquisition.

Reception of the Inquisitor, accompanied by family members (collaborators.

His flag flying with pealing drums and the people waiting.



Before the arrival of the Inquisitor with the retinue of his family (collaborators), the presence and the sermon of the Inquisitor at the main temple of the city was officially notified to all the relevant authorities and in all the churches of the region.

When the day and time arrive, the temple was crowded; there was no room for anybody else. The parishioners were tense and anxious. Once the Holy Mass started and already made the appropriate liturgical readings, epistle and gospel, the Dominican inquisitor, invested with the sacred vestments, and knowing his role as papal delegate (all other attendees, bishop, priests, public authorities, lords and vassals, were under his power and authority), prepares himself for the homily. He, of humble birth, possessing only some knowledge of scholastic philosophy, of some precepts and a little of Theology, began his climb by the stairs of the pulpit, full of power and arrogance, aware that as plenipotentiary judge, the lives of those poor human beings, that with reverence and fear were expecting his doctrine and his threats, were in his hands. He starts the homily in the name of the Pope and, with a throaty voice, proclaims:


God, to save us from our sins, sent us our lord Jesus Christ, who suffered for us agony on the cross. God did not pardon his own Son, he sacrificed him for our redemption and salvation. In his loving decree Jesus had preached the Gospel and love and understanding among men. Jesus is the good shepherd. I assure you that who does not enter through the door to the sheepfold, but jumping by other side, he is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the flock. The keeper opens him, the sheep’s hear his voice, he calls them by their name and leads them to grass, walking ahead of them and they follow him because they recognize his voice. They did not follow a stranger, but instead escaped from him, because they did not recognized the voice of strangers.

The Inquisitor voice is calm, reassuring, and continues:
Jesus said: I assure you that I am the door of the flock. All who came before me were thieves and robbers but the sheep did not listen them. I am the door, whoever enters by me will be saved; he could come and go and find pasture. The thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy. I came for you to have life in abundance.

The silence was sepulchral; not even could be heard the breathing of those poor people that filled the temple.

I am the true grapevine, Jesus says, and my Father is the grape grower. He cut the branches that do not bear fruit in me, and those that gives fruits he prunes them to give even more.

Jesus, our Master and Savior, to be understood by his disciples used parables: the kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while people slept, one of his enemies sowed weeds among the wheat and left. When the stem came out and showed the spikes, the weeds also appeared. Then the servants told the owner: Lord, did not you sow good seed in the field? From where then comes the chaff? He replied: An enemy has done, the servants told him: do you want that we uproot it? He replied: No, because, uprooting will take the wheat out. Let them grow together until harvest. When the time comes, I will tell the harvesters: uproot first the weed and, once tied, throw it to the fire, then collect the wheat and put it in my barn.

Another parable, brought by the Inquisitor, is the wedding banquet.
One of the guests, at hearing it, said: - Blessed is the one who sits at the banquet of the kingdom of God! Jesus replied:
A man gave a great banquet, to which he invited many. By the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, everything is ready". But all, one after another, apologized.

The first said: I bought some land and I have to go to examine it, I beg you to forgive me.

The second said: I have bought five yoke of mules and I am going to try them, I beg you to forgive me.
The third said: I just got married and I can not go. 

The servant came to inform the homeowner.
He angrily told the servant: Go quickly to the squares and streets of the city and bring here all the poor, crippled, blind and lame.
The servant returned and said: lord, what you ordered has been done and still there is place.
The lord said to the servant: Go to the roads and paths and compel them to enter until the house is full. Because I say to all of you that none of those guests will taste my banquet.

The Inquisitor, raising his voice, continued:
Compelle eos intrare, compel them to enter. We have the power to force them to entry into the Church and, once inside, to force them not to go out; that is the will of the Lord. 
Outside the Church there is no salvation,
Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. God delegated in our holy, catholic and apostolic Church the mission and the obligation of completing the redemptive work of our Lord. We are his messengers, we are his disciples. 

The Inquisitor paused and breathed deeply. Raising his voice, thundered from the pulpit: 
Our ears have heard rumors that there are wolves among you, dry branches, sewers of weed in the field of the Lord.

It was silence. A cold fear ran among all banks and sacred spaces. The attendees bowed their heads and began to tremble. The preacher, tightly clutching the pulpit, using his entire well studied oratory skills, knowing the suggestibility of the masses and the great weight the divine has on them, with deep and powerful voice continues:
There are heretics in this flock, pestiferous people, and transgressors of the heretical depravity. St. Jerome reminds us how Arius was not repressed on time in Alexandria and for that his error spread “per totum orbem", around the world. Heresy is rotting meat, mangy sheep that infects the entire flock; it must be detected, sliced, and separate from the flock, for the flock not to suffer the bad. St. Paul in his Epistle to Titus says: "To the sectarian, after two warnings, avoid him, you know that such a person is perverted and continues sinning so he condemns himself".

The Inquisition is the safeguard of orthodoxy; so those who opposes the inquisition, opposes also the orthodoxy. You are in danger, danger of serious infection. Heresy is a crime of high treason, because is God who is offended, it is the worst of crimes, deserves the worst punishment, but the merciful God wants to give you an opportunity in this period of grace, you can, in front of us, expose your error, with the certainty that you will be treated with indulgence, if you repent and promise not to repeat the mistake.

The sermon concludes with an invitation that leaves no doubt:

Understanding the value of the things we just discussed, everyone must know that, if has knowledge of words or acts against the faith, must reveal it to the inquisitor. To denounce friends or neighbors is not an embarrassment. Rather it should be considered a wonderful gesture of obedience to the law of Jesus our Lord. So, avoiding any confusion, listen well what the notary will read.

In the cathedral, the silence is absolute. The notary steps in the pulpit, where he takes place at the side of the inquisitor father and, unrolling a scroll, he rises his voice to be solemnly heard by everybody and by himself.

We, Brother Nicholas, a Dominican, delegate inquisitor of the Apostolic in these areas [...], having learned that the snakes of heresy wanted to spread their poison in this country, that the heretics want destroy your souls, as foxes are devastated the vineyard of the Lord of the Army, cursing against the God of gods and the Lord of lords.
We, our viscera are shaking with fear and disgust at the idea that the poison of heresy has poisoned many souls.
We, with the authority of the Pope, which we are endowed, by virtue of holy obedience and under penalty of excommunication, we ordain and establish that each and every one, laity, members of the secular clergy and the regular clergy, living in the confines of this city and within a radius of four miles outside the walls, that in six days from today, you must say if you know or have heard that any person is a heretic, known as heretic, suspected of heresy or speak against such or that article of faith or against the sacraments or do not behave like the others, or avoid contact with believers or invoke demons and worshiping them.

The notary twists the parchment with the ordinance and goes, accompanied by the faint murmur that runs through the crowd. But there is no time for any comment; and again the Inquisitor took the word and harasses.
Anyone -God not want it!- that does not abide our order of denouncement and that way neglect the salvation of his own soul, must know that he is subject to excommunication. Those who instead, help us accomplish our task can enjoy three years of forbearance. The notary, that has read to you these last words, has just won his three years of forbearance. Be obedient; do not lose the opportunity of gaining the indulgences. [29]

If after this period of grace, "Edict of Grace", the expected denunciations are not carried out, we will proclaim the "Edict of Faith", by which we will order to all Christians of this country, under penalty of excommunication, to accuse and inform all suspects of heresy, whether parents, siblings, children, relatives or friends; nobody can be excluded. The obligation of cleaning up the community of heretics is above all kinship and affinity. I remind you that this is about excommunication, which only his holiness the Pope, or I, as Inquisitor, could lift up.
We opened the Edict of Grace. May the peace and grace of God’s be with all of you.

Christians frightened and terrified after the downpour that fell on them, once the mass finished, left the temple.

If the simple name of the Inquisition was terrifying, much more when the sword of Damocles was threatening over each of their heads. Anyone could be betrayed for any insignificance if he was a suspect of heresy by any of the anxious and frightened citizens, even by relatives. That night, few could sleep; everyone felt that he was in serious risk, the enemy could be at home or sleep in the same bed. The plague of repression was at their doors in the name of God. The edict was a public letter of the Inquisition. There were several types of edicts:

Edict of Grace, that was published with a promise of forgiveness to all whom voluntarily accused themselves as repentant heretics, without public penance.

Edict of faith, by which, if the person did not confess his sin of heresy voluntarily, other parishioners, who may be the father, a brother, the husband, a child, a relative, a friend, were obliged to betray the suspect of heresy to the inquisitors, under penalty of excommunication.

Edict of accusations, that was read a Sunday of Lent, every year, forcing believers, within six days, to betray to the Holy Office any person suspected of having committed a heresy.


Edict of the anathemas, which was held eight days after the one of the accusations, also once a year, in which every believer who had not betrayed a heretic or suspected of being, was threatened of excommunication.

Edict to summon, which was the one intended to those fled or absent, that already had a case before, they were called to appear personally before the inquisitors at a certain time, otherwise would be deemed as convicted heretic, obstinate and unrepentant.






Like in Spain, in Germany, the tongue of blasphemous is cut before burning.

German Etching.

National Library in Madrid.




After the grace period, the heretic risked falling into the clutches of the Inquisition post if he was object of an accusation, indictment or inquisition. The difference between accusation and indictment was as subtle as important: to accuse a heretic meant not only a formal but also a personal accusation. This means the accuser had to be sure not only of the charges he argued but he had to be sure of the trial that he deserved. If he made a mistake, it will pay dearly for it: the Talion Law would be applied to him, and he would suffer the punishment that would be applied to the accused. However, when it was a simple indictment there was no danger for the complainant that merely informs the Inquisitor simple reports, and sometimes, not even that, only suspicions. It was the Holy Office who had to decide whether it was worthwhile to prosecute the suspect.

It is easily understandable that in such circumstances, there were few accusations and mountains of indictments. Moreover, the accusation almost disappeared and the law of Talion was not applied but to those who, knowingly, had provided the Inquisition erroneous reports, with the sole and deliberate purpose of injuring someone. The base that supported the building was inquisitorial indictment. [30]

The confessors, hearing the sins and problems of awareness of the true believers, who feared for the salvation of their souls, when they were suspected of heresy, forced them to betray to the Inquisition those suspected heretics, even if they were close relatives. If they refused, they did not receive the absolution. Therefore confessors were always collaborating agents of indictment. The believer, involved in the networks of the Inquisition, had very little chance to evade it. The canonical penalties, including excommunication, were intolerable burdens on their consciences troubled, because they were excluded from the Church and, therefore, sentenced to eternal damnation of hell, in which they firmly believed.

There is a case of a sick old Cathar woman who was waiting for the visit of the Perfect for spiritual solace at her death time. Aware of this, one monk dressed as Perfect and, after obtaining evidence that she was Cathar, she was tried and sentenced to death by fire, despite her age and her status of health.

Christians, for the simple fact of being, had to exercise inquisitorial tasks by betraying and denouncing the suspect of heresy, whoever he or she was, as are countless sad cases where this happened. Father Fray Juan Iriarte, for example, Dominican monk, denounced his brothers, Tomas and Bernardo, who used to argue with him on religious themes, of having committed heresy; this originated them a complex and lengthy process with serious consequences.

It is a clear example of the immense burden that the Inquisitors, in their zeal to find heretics, laid on the consciences of believers, which was a clear alienation of minds. Christians did not enjoy the right of not to incriminate themselves; by contrast, they were obliged, under severe canonical penalties, such as excommunication, to betray themselves and to betray the others. Inquisitorial courts move from a legal approach based on the presumption of guilt, not of innocence, as it is usual today. The Inquisition came directly in the privacy of conscience, because the only thinking or desiring could be a crime when they were contrary to orthodoxy, to the customs or rituals established by the Church.

All the suspects were prosecuted and the least suspicion was a source of deep research: The suspects, therefore accused, were summoned by a written summons or by the same parish priest who was obliged, together with some witnesses, to appear in the house of the accused and submit the subpoena. Typically, the summons was unique, 'urgent', but if there were problems, there could be up to three consecutive times. The refusal to appear exposed the defendant to be held in contempt and he incurred excommunication. When the arrest of the accused entailed danger, or when he absconded, the inquisitors called for assistance to civil authorities so that they be in charge of the arrest.

The Inquisition took into account all reports, even anonymous ones. The informer had, after being sworn to tell the truth, to state the facts giving rise to his indictment and to state the names of persons likely to confirm the heretical nature of the suspect. Their declaration with that of the first witness was the summary (summary information or preparatory education) upon which the inquisitors were based to deliver the qualification, i.e, officially declare whether the facts alleged by the complainant and confirmed by witnesses enter or not within the realm of heresy.

 But how serious the matter was that the witnesses were not asked to confirm or challenge the testimony of the informer declared, but only to declare that "if they had not seen or heard anything to appear to them contrary to the Catholic faith or the rights of the Inquisition" without being informed of the identity of the accused. Clever way to get a multiplicity of information from a single report. Eventually the system will be refined further and when a court decides, on the basis of a preliminary-open case, others will reach a circular asking the courts review records, i.e, all the information available in their files and which may be added to the statement of charges against the accused








Courtroom of the Inquisition. The dreaded Inquisition interrogation.

Headed by a great Christ. On the right is the defendant, the prosecutor in the center with his ecclesiastical clothing, and on left the clerk taking notes.

Recorded at the National Library, Madrid.




They proceeded from the assumption that the suspect of heresy was clever and cunning, and he would undoubtedly try to fool the religious who interrogated him twisting the answers to the questions that the inquisitors would make him, so that he can hide his crime. To make his responses appropriate and satisfactory, in order to mislead the interrogated, Eymeric presents ten tips or tricks that normally use the heretic:

The first is the ambiguity, so when they are ask about the real body of Jesus Christ, they answer the mystic or if they are asked: Is this the body of Christ?, say yes, meaning by this his own body or an immediate stone, as all the bodies that the world contains are of God and therefore of Jesus Christ who is God. If they are asked: Do you think Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin? Respond: Finally, meaning that remain firm in their heresy.

The second trick that they use is the addition of an implied condition, mental restriction. When asked: Do you believe in the resurrection of the flesh? answer: Yes, if God willing and assume that God does not want to believe in this mystery.

The third is to twist the question, so that when you tell them: Do you believe that usury is sin? they answer: well, do you believe? When they are replied: We believe, as every Catholic or Christian, that usury is a sin, they replicate : We too think so, this is, that you believe it.

The fourth is to respond as shocked, when asked: Do you believe that Jesus Christ took flesh in the womb of the Virgin? they say: my God, what for do you do these questions? If I were a Jew? I am a Christian!... and I believe everything any true Christian believes... unspecified.

The fifth is used frequently of prevarication, responding to what they are not asked and not answering what asked.

The sixth cunning is to evade the answer. If they are asked: Do you think Jesus was alive when his side was pierced with a lance on the cross? respond: On this point I have heard several opinions, no less than about the beatific vision. Gentlemen, you bring people in an uproar with these disputes. Tell us, for God's sake, what we must believe, because I would not like to err in faith.

The seventh is to make his own apology. When they are asked questions about an article of faith, they answer: "Father, I am a poor ignorant, who simply believe in God and do not understand these subtleties you ask me, I will easily fall into the trap, for the love of God, stop these issues."

The eighth guile of heretics is to pretend lightheadedness when viewed in a hurry with the questions. They feign a headache, that they cannot keep in their feet and ask to suspend the declaration and go to the bedroom, to think about what they have to respond. This trick is worth especially when they see that their pay will be the torture, saying that they are very weak and they will lose their life, and women protesting about infirmities of their own sex, to prolong the beginning of the torture and deceive the inquisitors.

The ninth trick is to feign mad.

The tenth, to affect modesty in dress, in the face and in every action.

To counteract this picaresque, Eymeric proposed the inquisitors other measures, equally capable and prepared to let them fall into the confession, paying the heretics with the same coin. The main gear that the inquisitors must use against heretics are:

First, they must be urged with repeated questions to respond openly and categorically to the questions that were done.

Secondly, if the inquisitor presume that the apprehended accused is resolved not to declare his offence (which he finds out before taking statements by the warden or as undercover spies have much), he will speak with great softness, by giving to understand that he knows everything and saying these or similar reasons: Look, my son, I am very sorry, they misled your candor and you are lost miserably. No doubt you have erred but more than you are to be blamed who deceived you; do not charge for the sins of others or try to be a master being a disciple; confess me the truth, as you see I know all, to keep your good reputation and I may put you early in release, pardon and peace you and return to your house; tell me who tricked you when you lived innocent. So must speak the inquisitor to him, paying him with kind words (bona verba), undeterred ever, assuming the fact is true, without taking any statement but on the circumstances.

As shown, the trick of using alternatively the friendly and hard tone used for the police is far older than we imagined. It also happens with the trick, we thoughtit was the invention of the German Gestapo or the Soviet GPU, of pretending to have written evidence of the crime of which he is charged. Let us see now the third trick.

When the statements of witnesses against the heretic is not full of proof but they present vehement evidence and he goes negative, he will appear in front of the inquisitor who will ask vague things and when the accused refuses anything, the judge will browse the orders where are the previous interrogations, saying: It is clear that you do not report the truth, no more hide. Thus the defendant believes he is convicted and thinks the file is in evidence against him.
The inquisitor can also browse any bundle and, when the defendant denies something, pretend to be stunned, saying: How can you deny such a thing, being so true? Then he will read his paper, turning the leaves and added: Did not I say so? Confess the truth.

But in all this the inquisitor has to escape to explain suspicious circumstances where the defendant can suspect he does not know anything, he has not to leave general terms. 

Knowing that one of the greatest anguish of the prisoner is not knowing how long his confinement is going to be, Eymeric advised to keep the suspense on the subject:
Fourthly, if the defendant insists on denying the crime, the inquisitor will tell him he's going to make a long journey and not know when he will return, that he feels very much being forced to leave him in prison, that what he most wants is to know the truth from his mouth to complete his cause, but he is still determined not to confess, he must stay in jail until he returns, which gives him much compassion, as the prisoner of delicate complexion will undoubtedly fall ill.

And of course, insist again and again in questions without letting them breathe...
Fifth, if the defendant is negative, the inquisitor will multiply interrogations and questions and then either he confess, or the inquisitor will vary his questions. If he varies, it's enough, to give him torment, the experts' opinion and previous evidences and thus he will be urged to tell the truth, since the questions have not to be multiplied when the defendant is not very reticent, because when the statements are very common on the same matter, at different times, it is very easy to get the answers vary and everyone can fall into the trap.

The sixth trick reaches the summit of cynicism. After flattering the defendant, the inquisitor will promise forgiveness, knowing that it will never arrive, but relying on the incredible claim that "everything is forgiveness and penance and remedies are favors".

If the offender persists in the negative, the Inquisitor can talk with softness and treat him less stringently in terms of food and drink, making people go to visit him, talk to him, they inspire confidence and advised him to confess promising the Inquisitor will forgive him and that they will work towards his favor. The Inquisitor can also give the accused word that he will forgive him and in fact he is being forgiven (because in the conversion of heretics, all forgiveness and penance are favors and remedies). So when the offender apologizes to confess his crime, will be answered in general terms that it will be done with him more than he might desire, so as to learn the truth and convert the heretic, saving at least his soul.

The suggestion is so severe that the same Eymeric wondered how far it is permissible to deceive to humans but, relying on authors of the same ilk, he answers himself affirmatively.

may wonder about the word of the inquisitor to use mercy and forgiveness with him by confessing his crime; first, if the inquisitor can lawfully use this trick to find the truth and, secondly, whether, given the word, is bound to it. The first question is made by the doctor Jerome Cuchalon by approving this fails and justifying it with the example of Solomon, when he judged the two women. Well that Julio Claró and other jurists disapprove this fiction in regular forum, I think that it can be used in the courts of Inquisition and the reason for this difference is that an inquisitor has much wider powers than the other judges and can dispense at will of penitential and canonical penalties. So that if he does not promise total impunity to the accused, he can give words of forgiveness and keep his word to decline some of these canonical penalties, which depend entirely on him. About the second question there are two opposing views. Many serious doctors feel that the inquisitor who promised impunity to the accused is not obliged to keep his word, besides this fraud to be useful and helpful for the public good, if it is justifiable to extract the truth of the accused with torture, "a fieri" it will be reasonable to use dissimulation and pretense, and this is the opinion of Propósito, Geminiano, Pelyn, Hugocio, Soto, Cycco, etc..

There is a certain logic in his argument: if accepted to harass a defendant to extract the truth, why not also lying?
... truth is that others have the contrary sentence; but these two options, saying the words that give the inquisitors only be interpreted from the penalties that can dispense, which are the canonical and penitential, not the law, so that whatever slight remission of the canonical sentence granted by the inquisitor to the prisoner, plays the first his promise, since for more security of conscience the words that gave the inquisitors must be in vague terms, without promising more than they can deliver.

He can also enter into the cell a spy, as will be in much closer time in the Nazi or Communist jails... 
The seventh trick the Inquisitor will have gained a friend of the defendant, or another subject alone and draw out his secret. If necessary, he will just pretend to be of the heretic opinion, saying that for fear of the Inquisitor he abjured and misled, and one night, extending the conversation late, tell him that it is no time to go home and will keep with him in jail, having in a site on purpose hidden witnesses who heard the conversation and if possible, a notary who certifies what the heretic says, ensuring that the bribed subject discovers the defendant's chest. Note that who is charged with ferreting out the defendant, under color of friendship, the confession of his crime, can pretend to be of the same sect, but not to speak it, because if he says it at least is committing venial fault and it is known that this is not to commit for any reason, whatever it may be. In a word, in the tricks that are used it is to avoid saying a lie.

Here rightly notes the translator Marchena: It is difficult to determine the difference between that the spy pretend to be of the sect of the accused, or that he says it. It was one of the many contradictions impossible to resolve in which religious institutions fell trying to achieve, even by immoral means, the salvation of a soul.

Obtaining a confession is so important that the interrogator must sacrifice his daily routine to give no occasion to change the defendant's mind.

By these and other similar media inquisitor must get the confession, even delaying lunch or dinner, or even not eating or dinning that day, because interrupted confessions are never enough to learn the truth and there are repeated examples of defendants who, having started to confess, they retract in the following statement, returning to their past reluctance. [32]

Eymeric ends this chapter by recalling that this system can be applied to obtain the truth "without having recourse to the rack and torture," which is always welcome.

The systems of the inquisition, as we have just seen, left nothing to chance, everything was coldly calculated and the set-up was perfectly structured. The poor wretch who fell on it had little or no chance to succeed. It was an infernal machine, conceived and planned by very special minds.

The interrogation was conducted in the presence of two priests and a notary, who used to be a religious, who would write the report of the statements. The religious interrogators induced to confessions by promising leniency of the court and they accumulated evidence by introducing a so-called friend or other person appearing to be from the same sect or doctrine, and living him in the same cell in order to pump him for his secrets.

The simple report was accepted, accompanied by the testimony of witnesses. The really surprising is that the defendant never knew what he was charged with or why he was there, so that, when they tried in vain to defend themselves, usually saying more things than the Court knew, they further complicated the situation. Neither would ever know who had accused him, to avoid possible reprisals, in the unlikely event that come out innocent. The judicial anomaly of not knowing neither the content of the report, nor the identity of the informers or their confrontation, further complicated the plight of the detained and it precluded any kind of defense; the secret that the inquisitors kept in these areas was almost sacramental.

The accused would never face the witnesses, whose names were kept in strictest confidence. At this time, both civil and criminal justice in the courts of the Inquisition, they move from a legal approach based on the presumption of guilt. After filing the report, the defendant is guilty and has to defend his innocence, which is very unlikely, for his disastrous mood, for total ignorance of the report and witnesses, and for the absence of lawyers.

The panic of the Church towards heresy was so great that often it accepted as valid the testimony of infamous persons: bullies, thieves, excommunicated and perjury. It seemed that the end justified the means, even if they were intrinsically evil. For example Alexander IV, in 1261, granted permission for the heretics witness testimony could be considered. Innocence III, in the bull Si adversus vos, barred lawyers and notaries to defend those accused of heresy.

The Council of Valence, in 1248, also rejected the presence of lawyers. Bernardo Gui, the writer of the famous manual Practica Inquisitionis Hereticae Pravitatis, 1320, flatly refused to listen to them. However, Nicholas Eymeric agreed to let the defending of the accused in judicial hands of prosecutors or lawyers, unless they were suspected of heresy. The truth is that their role in defending the accused was very poor, they used to be appointed by the Inquisitor or at least required his approval. A lawyer who speaks only to the accused in open court, when the accused had confessed his crimes in the torture room and could not communicate with him alone, could do little more defensive role than merely ask the court a reduction in sentence for his client.








Inquisition torture chamber. "

The pulley,storm water and the brazier. Inquisitors and executioners.

Eighteenth-century engraving by Bernard Picart.








Partial plan of torture chamber..


The Inquisition preferred the confessions of the accused to the evidence of witnesses, because they considered them more convincing, but if the defendant was stubborn in his refusal, which is quite normal, the inquisitors could use two means of violence, preventive detention and torture.

The issue of torture created endless questions and produced streams of charges against the Church, that boldly strayed from Jesus' preaching of the Gospel and the Beatitudes. Jesus himself had been a victim of intolerance. The first centuries of Christianity were of persecution and violence that Christians suffered in the flesh, even with martyrdom. These early communities of love and brotherhood called and demanded for themselves and for their Church the freedom to live, believe and think, according to their beliefs and according to their consciences. A few years later, after the constantinization of the Church, at the beginning of the fourth century, that same institution, or perhaps already another once installed on the civil and religious power, becomes intolerant and persecutes dissidents. The Church soon forgot that itself had been a sect within the Judaism, as a dissident, and that its members had been persecuted and massacred by the Roman Empire.

The Church inherited religious prejudices from various sources. From the Mazdaism they take the idea that matter, body and everything that has to do with it is evil and sinful; while the spirit, the soul, the afterlife, are the supreme values. From the Platonism they take the theory of universals, in which they support the right doctrine, the true orthodoxy and the autosuggestion according to which the Church is the sole possessor of truth. Such prejudices are the greatest treasure that the Church must keep with all its might and by all means.

The Church, once installed in power, became obsessed with its magnetism, its privileges and prebends: tithes, first fruits, rents and profits, grants. It was the great golden calf, the Power, whom it worshiped. It developed dogmas, invented laws, justified lifestyles and developed a theology of great subtlety and speculations.

The theologians established theories, they judged scientific, on the divine nature such as transcendental relationships, with intrinsic foundation in re, in the Trinity, three distinct persons and one divine nature; theories on Jesus Christ, of the same nature as the Father, possessor of two intelligences, divine and human, two wills, divine and human, but only one person, which is the second of the Trinity; theories on grace, that is the participation of the divine nature in human beings; on the salvation of souls; on the resurrection; on the revelation... and on many other topics and themes, all unintelligible, but about what the accused was examined, with dire consequences if he did not know them or made mistakes.

We have tried to clarify the impossibility of orthodoxy. The terms used, such as substance, nature or person were unintelligible and not correct. The concepts and universal ideas of Platonic origin are philosophical fictions are unreal, nonexistent; any idea originates in the human senses and is made in the intelligence and only exists in it. The terms, always limited, can not contain physical reality or be the essence of things, which is impossible to lock. The divine reality, the spiritual, exceeds and escapes from the human mind, as it happens with the words or terms invented by the theologians. The assumption of a spiritual soul, as the form of matter in the human beings, apart its no viability, it turns us into a species of Minotaur or Centaur. The soul does not exist; what exists is the human brain that exerts its functions. Orthodoxy, then, becomes a logical impossible. We know nothing of the divinity and our terms are not applicable to it, but it is a practical postulate that the Church created to easily move in it, to create and build its ideology, to define its living space and exert its dominance and power.

All the philosophers of the world, had told us Marsilius of Padua, are unable to prove the immortality by demonstration. And we add that the same is for the existence of God, for the divinity of Jesus and the divine origin of the Church, the soul or revelation. What we recognize is that there have been many myths about all these issues, but not true science. Those statements are not verifiable or testable; they are beyond our intelligence.

Well, and all these, what for? To simply say that if there is no orthodoxy, neither is the heterodoxy, by means of which the Church appropriated the right to detain, interrogate and torture the dissident, who thinks and believes differently, and he is called heretic. The thinking and the believes belong to the realm of freedom of conscience. They are primordial and paramount rights that the human being own by birth and that no institution, human or divine, may violate, without exceeding its authority and rights; it would do that ultra vires, beyond its jurisdiction and powers, as the Inquisition did.

When the Church perceived that its ideology is weakened and consequently its power is broken, turn to violence to produce the pedagogy of fear, of the terror, and thus be able to restore control over its flock. It is a sociological phenomenon, typical of closed and totalitarian societies. To dissent or to innovate are perceived as dangerous and destabilizing, so the Church becomes intolerant. When proclaiming the divine foundation of the institution, heresy is a deadly threat, which is classified as a serious offence against God, but what they really fear is their survival as an institution, so they attack with all available weapons.


One could even think that the barbarity of torture was something unique to a deranged mentally, to a psychopath, sometimes sociopath, to a sadistic, a sadomasochistic, or a practice in a particular time, but no, it was the work of the Church and it lasted many long centuries. The torture sessions the victims of the Inquisition were subjected to, have led to a unanimous indignation any time and anywhere. "A no does not have more letters than a yes"( Un no no tiene más letras que un sí), say Cervantes by the mouth of Ginés de Pasamonte, that is the same difference between guilty and innocent, between a convicted and a free man.

According to Simancas, in his De Catholicibus institutionibus, 1552:... the inquisitors should be more inclined to torment than other judges because the crime of heresy is hidden and difficult to prove. Earlier, Bernardo Gui, in his Manual, defended the use of such procedures and said that, if well dosed, they open the spirit.

Pope Innocent IV, by the bull Ad extirpanda, 16th, May 1252, authorized the use of torture, that Alexander IV, 1259, and Clement IV confirmed some years later. At first, judges could choose between flagellation, torture rack, the strappato (in Italy) and garrucha (in Spain) and the embers; then it will be added other more sophisticated tortures, that the inquisitors exchanged to cause the most intense pain to the prisoner and so they had to incriminate themselves, as the pulley, the stocks, the crushing thumbs, the torment of water, the tablets and the iron maiden.


The following is a slight allusion to two of these horrific practices.


The foal. It consisted of a long narrow wooden table on which the accused was tied with ropes around the wrists and ankles. The strings of the dolls were fixed to the table and those of the legs were rolling to a rotating wheel. Every movement of the wheel meant a tension of the members. The pain caused at stretching the muscles and stretching the bone structure was very deep and insufferable, which increased with the spinning wheel, that could lead to dismemberment. It stopped, at half torment, to require the defendant to tell the truth; if he did not, the torment went on.


The pulley. The accused was tied around his wrists to the back and he was dropped from a height. The length of the rope was so far that he did not hit the ground, but the jolt left him dislocated.



A more detailed exposition can be found in the Supporting Documents.

The accused, as if all this was not enough, could be subjected to torture not only to confess to his detriment (tormentum in caput proprium), but also to the detriment of others (tormentum in caput alienum).

When given the torture, the confession was not obtained, the logical conclusion, if torture proved anything, was that the accused was innocent. According to the legal phrase, he had purged the test and deserved an acquittal, but the reluctance of the inquisitors to be unauthorized by the facts made them to find excuses to avoid it. The 1561 Instructions tell the inquisitor that, in such cases, must consider the nature of the evidence, the degree of torture applied and the age and condition of the accused; if it seems clear that the accused has fully purged, should be acquitted without reservation; but if he believes the defendant has not been sufficiently tortured, he may be required to abjure of mild or strong suspicion, or subject to any pecuniary penalty, although this should be done only with great consideration.[37]












 The torment of water.






It was not morbid curiosity but to register any expression, even the most common, that could indicate persistence or regret. So does the person in charge of registering the torture given to Rodrigo Mendez Silva, who was paralytic, in 1659.

While in the torture chamber he was told to tell the truth or the minister (executioner) will come. He was told to download his consciousness or the minister will come. He said tell everything, ow!, I do not even have the strength to hold the hat in my hand. The minister entered and swore. He was told to tell the truth or will order to take out his clothes. He said: I am telling the truth, please read again what has been already read, all of that is true, please read again, maybe I could remember. He does not undress, he throw in on the floor saying kill me. And then he said look here, I am naked, and say to me what I have to say, I do not say yes. He was told to tell the truth or he will be sent to the rack. He said he was ready to talk. He was told then told it [...]. He was told to tell the truth or he will be placed on the rack. He said everything is true; said: tell the truth, you do not want to see you in so much work. He said he will tell the truth, I do not remember, some people were found and yes that is true, but he does not remember and he does not want to condemn his soul. He was told: tell the truth or you will be tie around the neck. He said: Kill me, those two who are not called gentlemen. I deny that this is something worthy to put me in this way, ow!, sirs this, ow!, await your grace, oh, my God, Don Gregory, who I remember, ow!, wretched me, a wretched paralytic, ow!. He was told: tell the truth, if you do not want to see you in so much work [...] He was told: you must download your consciousness or the torture will continue [...]. Bind the left arm was ordered [...]. He was told: tell the truth, do not want to see you in so much work [...]. His right foot was tied [...]. His left foot was tied [...]. He was told: tell the truth or you must be tied by your fleshy parts [...].His left fleshy part was tied [...].His right fleshy part was tied [...]. He said for God's sake, tell me what is missing [...]. He was told: tell the truth or you will be sent to the line for the rack [...]. He was put the rope [...]. Handed it the first round of the rack [...]. He said: I do not know, God's righteousness, God, for God's sake, I do not know, gentlemen, oh, Lord, have mercy on a sad man, I do not know, I do not know, Mr. Don Gregorio, ow!, ow!. It was done. He said, ow!, ow!, I do not know, I do not know, Lord, have mercy. He was told: tell the truth, you do not want to see you in so much work. He said: Sir, I do not know, I cannot remember, sir, I do not know, for the high God, if I know, condemn me, Don Juan de Vallejo, remember this paralytic, I do not know who they are, there entered a lot of people, they brought me, I'm dying, gentlemen, if something is needed I will say it. He was told: tell the truth, you do not want to see you in so much work [...]. I no longer feel my legs [...]. Second round on the rack [...], ow!, ow!, ow![...]. This diligence was completed at twelve o'clock as signaling the small clock. And it seemed that the said Rodrigo Mendez Silva did not received any injury. [38]


Kafka, in his novel The Trial, masterfully narrates the plight of the person who accepts being a criminal but who has no idea of his crime.


Cervantes, in the chapter entitled Of the freedom Don Quixote gave many
unfortunates who, against their will, where taken to where they did not want to go,
presents, with musical humor, an obvious reference to this nothing humorous practice of making someone sing.

"The Don Quixote asked the same question to the second, which did not reply, so sad he was and
melancholy, but the first answered for him, and said:
-This, sir, goes as a canary, I mean, musician and singer.
But how? Said Don Quixote. For being musicians and singers is people also going in the galleys?
-Yes, sir, replied the galley slave, there is nothing worse than singing under suffering.
-Before I have heard say, said Don Quixote, who sings scares away his woes.
-Here is the opposite - said the galley slave, he who sings once weeps all his life.
-I do not understand, said Don Quixote.
But one of the guards said,
-Sir, to sing in the anxiety it is said among these non holy people to confess under torture. To
this sinner they gave the torture and confessed his crime, which was to be a bandit, which is to be a thief of beasts,
and on his confession they sentenced him to six years, to galleys, besides two hundred lashes, which he carries on his
(Don Quixote de la Mancha. Part I, Chapter XXII)

In all these tortures, the general rule was stripping the victims. Regardless of being men or women they were completely naked, except those minimal clothing to cover their "shame", regardless of age or physical condition of tortured. Many who were tortured were in deplorable condition, some with broken limbs hopelessly, sometimes with wrecked health and reason, and, in some cases, they came to die as a result of torture.








Prison of the Inquisition of Cuenca, remodeled.




If I were in a civilian prison, then you could at least come to see me, weep, sigh with me [...], but here it is not permitted to enter any living soul, as if our real or supposed crimes were of greater consequences than those of a thief, those of a murderer, of a bandit... Happy, oh, you prisoners in public prisons! [...] That you know who accused you, which allows you to defend. (Cornelia Bororquia to his father from the prison of the Inquisition). [39]

It's classic the creepy scene of the prisons of the Inquisition, with emaciated prisoners shackled in dark and dismal dungeons, with icy sadomasochistic monks, hooded in their monk robes, while a clerk or notary took notes of the statements of the prisoner, who was unaware of why he was there and who had denounced and betrayed him. At the bottom, hooded executioners, surrounded by their instruments of torture, prepared to take action, if so requested by the inquisitor, the investigator of the mind and feelings of the accused of heresy, of misconduct, adultery, bigamy, bestiality or blasphemy. The whole surreal scene was chaired by a crucifix, always visible.

Several authors, according to their beliefs and ideologies, they immersed themselves in sterile diatribes, if the prisons were as they are painted, if they were more or less inhospitable than civilians, if the justice of the Inquisition was more or less soothing, more or less cruel than the civil or secular.

There is a clear premise. The mission of the Church, as deduced from Scripture, was not imprison, torture and kill, so never had that right. The only clear text of the New Testament, that of Paul to Titus: the sectarian, after two warnings, avoid him, does not included that right. Forcing them to enter, compelle eos intrare, is taken from the parable of the wedding feast, which can not be source of legal right and neither are the allegories of the branches or the barren fig tree; furthermore, although the New Testament said it, which does not happen, someone would have misspelled it when writing or interpreting it.

Faith, it is entirely clear, comes from the word, from preaching; the word is the only sword and the consent is free. The human being is free to believe or not to believe, to enter the Church or get out of it. The apostles were not going with a praetorian guard forcing to believe, or imprisoning those who failed to believe, or persecuting other religions. They would not have made a single step in their apostolate, they would have been entirely dismissed. They openly preached a religion of promises: the Kingdom of God, the imminent coming of the end or love as a way of life.

Neither the Church was repressive and punitive in the first three centuries. The Inquisition had no right to deprive of liberty, to torture or kill human beings in God's name, what kind of god could be that one who was not worthy of condemnation and reproach? There is no creation, from mud or from nothing, nor hypothetical divine delegations, which justify the creation of prisons for those who simply question invisible things.

Juan Antonio Llorente, a former secretary of the Holy Inquisition, distinguishes three categories of prisons: public, family and secret. Into the first are going those who "without being accused of crimes against the faith, they are accused of crimes that, by secular privilege, fall under the jurisdiction of the Holy Office." In the second, are the employees of the Inquisition who had legal or administrative offences in the development of their roles, as helpers of the Inquisitor, who were called family, and other secular or religious members of that institution, but they had not reached the heresy. In both prisons, detainees had privileges, such as communication with outsiders.

The third one, the secret prison, is intended to heretics or to those suspected of being. In this case the isolation was complete, the suspect could only speak with the judges and only when they required it. One of the peculiarities of the inquisitorial procedure that raised so much criticism was the refusal to disclose the reasons for detention. The detainee did not know why he had been detained and he could spend years in court cell without ever knowing it. The inquisitors, instead of accusing the prisoner, came to him and admonished him to confess the truth and trust in the mercy of the court. In the end, it was the warning that if he did not confess the truth, the prosecutor would presented the charges, which should be worse. The inquisitors tried to incriminate the accused and to make it possible depress and break his morale. It was all a trick to confess alleged crimes they did not know, because the defendant was totally confused and distressed, and to confirm those of which he had already been charged.

Finally, when the warnings had not taken the desired effect, the prosecutor read the articles of impeachment and required that the defendant, without counsel, replied to the charges immediately. Any response, in such circumstances, could finished as a personal indictment. The lawyers were not admitted in the middle Ages, but in the Spanish Inquisition. They ended up being members of the Inquisition, with no effective defense role, except the appearance and the mere fulfillment of requirements. The witnesses were anonymous and their names were deleted to avoid reprisals, and their information, without factual and circumstantial, could be freely manipulated by the inquisitor at his will and convenience.

Besides the physical part of the punishment, in those infamous dungeons, it is the prisoner's psychological and moral part, the intimate pressure that goes through the accused hardly he crosses the threshold of the prison. To begin with, in addition to freedom, he loses his reputation and his social prestige. Before the public opinion, for the simple fact of being arrested by the Inquisition, the person becomes an enemy of faith and of the church, and he is doomed to eternal damnation in hell. Not only him, but his family also suffers from the stigma of being contaminated with heresy and their souls poisoned. If the alleged heretic was the head of household, the economic poverty that entailed his arrest caused a deep family chaos.


To this stigma of heresy it binds total solitude, physical and moral, as the accused is completely isolated, without knowing anything about neither his family nor the progress of his process. This loneliness and isolation is the worst torture of prisoners in the secret prisons of the Court, considered one of the greatest misfortunes that could suffer a human being, taking into account, as an added value, the indelible stain that made it to the prisoner, to his family and his descendants.

Not only the prison is secret, the prisoner is also kept in the utmost secrecy, deprived even of spiritual aid, because it was thought that the mere fact of being suspected of heresy made him, ipso facto, excommunicated, and that he could have access to the sacrament of penance and the Eucharist only in danger of death. In fact the constant claims of Fray Louis de Leon, to receive the sacraments, were denied in his five years of confinement in the prison of Valladolid.

The cruelest feature was to ban the prisoner the communication with the outside world. He could learn nothing about his family, the loved ones, and they could not hear of him until, perhaps years later, appeared in an auto-da-fé in which he was to be burned at the stake, or that he would be assigned to the galleys or life imprisonment. The prisoner felt himself buried alive. Based on the presumption of guilt, the total isolation was the excuse offered by the Holy Office to prevent that the communication with friends could help him in his defense, what, according to its legal perception totally distorted, would be a fraudulent defense.

Pedro Ruiz, forty years old and with a large family of five children, and his wife waiting the sixth, was arrested by the Inquisition and, after fifty days of confinement, June, 22nd, 1524, he wrote to the inquisitor Mariana a letter in which he says: Look, your grace, how you got me here with such hard prison and five children that I have and my wife that is waiting to give birth and she has no other income than that I win. The letter, if it reached its destination, fell on deaf ears. The inquisitors only cared about Catholic orthodoxy and power. Individuals, families, the economic position, they did not mind about it, and, intentionally and as punishment, they aggravated their situation by the confiscation of all their properties, which passed into the hands of the Inquisition and the Crown.

The misery and hunger knock at the door of the heretics and their families day after day, and, if that was not enough, they had to suffer the terrible shame that the children were disqualified for the exercise of charges or benefits and honors of any kind, "because they retain the stain of infamy from their parents".

Are disabled children of heretics to the possession and acquisition of all kinds of trade and profit; thing most just, because they retain the stain of infamy from their parents and these are withdrawn the criminal act of fatherly affection. Some authors think that this sentence does not include children born before his father incurred the heresy, but this distinction has no solid foundation, as imagined knowing this punishment in order to restrain the parents through the bonds of parental love, should reach everyone, because parents love the same way those born before and after the crime. [40]

They think that punishment to the children will deter to engage in heresy. It is not enough for them to arrest the father and stigmatize him, the children, in an inhuman and anti-evangelical manner, shall be deprived of any type of work, what will lead to hunger and misery, both moral and physical. If the heretic was the mother, the children also were disqualified. In the case of heresy of the father, he lost parental custody and his wife was relieved of conjugal rights and children also were disqualified. As it clearly appears, the Church not only believes itself as the owner and the guardian of the faith, but of human life itself in all its facets. With the excommunication it frees the vassals from personal contract they had with their master. With heretics, it disposes of their freedom, their property, their children, their marriage, annulling the marriage intimate promises that spouses had sworn.

The prison rules controlled the use of light, which was banned from four in the afternoon until seven o'clock the next day, and the use fire, that it was banned to light it in the cold and long winter nights.

And if at the end of the auto-da-fé, the few prisoners set free, were subjected to notices of prisons, where they were interrogated, under oath, about what they had seen and heard in the prison; and compel them, under severe penalties, not to reveal anything about their personal experiences.

defendant was rarely declared innocent. The possible ratings ranged in order of severity: mildly... very seriously suspect of heresy -"levi... vehementer suspectus haeresis"- or formal heretic.

As for the convicts, said Egido López, can be said that they die several deaths before reaching the fire. The uncertainties of the anomalous process without knowing who or why they had been betrayed; the helplessness and the impossibility of contradiction; the systematic presumption of guilt; the application of torture to extract confessions; the loneliness of solitary confinement and fear to auto-da-fé, produced the first fatality suffered in secret prisons. [41]

In the case of Agustín de Cazalla, it is written: According to eyewitnesses, the night before the fulfillment of his sentence, Agustín de Cazalla, who had spent six hours confessing, on hearing his sentence to death, "he fainted and was transposed for an hour and, after he returned in himself, with the true color of the deceased, said to the father if there was any remedy for not to die".

It is very possible -continued Egido López- that the fact of appearing in an auto-da-fé constitutes the most subtle punishment, if not the most inhumane. At least for those fully integrated into the structures of social value. [42]

ne of the worst problems, from the standpoint of the accused, was the interminable length of trials, which not only took away years and health, but they resulted in the seizure of property, retained to ensure the costs that might arise. Another very important problem was the useless effectiveness of the defense, which came to mean that, in fact, the inquisitors were both judge and jury, prosecution and defense, and, according to Henry Kamen, the fate of prisoners depended entirely on the mood or character of the inquisitors.

Many prisoners, unable to endure the hardships of prison, died in it, but this did not save them of being judged, convicted and their bodies burned at the stake, if they were declared heretics. All that happened everywhere for centuries.










Sanbenito of a penitent with the Cross of St. Andrew.





Drawing of Goya, Museo del Prado

They put gagged on him because he spoke and gave him sticks in the face.





Drawing of Goya, Museo del Prado.

For having loved a donkey, bestiality.




Penitent women with sanbenito.



 The "sanbenito", a corruption of the word "sack benito", from the Latin "saccus benedictus", because it is blessed before it is put on, was a penitential garment already used by the medieval Inquisition and adopted by the Spanish inquisition. It was a very feared punishment, since it represented the condemned to contempt and humiliation.


The cross, a sign of infamy. At first, the crosses of sanbenito were yellow felt and had two and a half feet long and three inches wide. They should be worn very visible on the dress, one on the chest and the other on the back.

The relaxed, those intended to be burned after the auto-da-fé, wore black sanbenitos with drawings of flames and demons, clearly alluding to the end that awaited the accused. When it was used as a penance, sanbenito was yellow with one or two crosses of St. Andrew on the back and on the chest.

In the early decades of the Inquisition, the damned to wear it had to take it every time he left the house, which meant the mockery and derision of all.

The use of such infamous habit involved a punishment for the offender, for the embarrassment caused not only to him, but to his entire family and even his offspring. Since the early sixteenth century there was led the custom of wearing sanbenitos in churches and the custom became widespread by the "Instructions" of 1561: All of those sanbenitos of the convicted living and dead, present or absent, are placed in churches where they are neighbors,... to always have memory of the infamy of the heretics and their descendants. That was a way to perpetuate the punishment. They were placed in cathedrals and parish churches, in highly visible locations and, when deteriorated, they were replaced by others, in which it appeared the name, lineage, guilt and punishment of the offender. Of course, the descendants tried to make them disappear, which led to establish as one of the obligations of the Inquisitor to verify that the sanbenitos were at their place and in good condition. Already in the nineteenth century, according to Martin Walker, they could still be seen, hanging in some churches, these shameful garments.

The pointed hood is the indispensable complement of sanbenito, consisting of a miter or hood, of paste paper, which was put on the head of the prisoners, as shame and punishment, decorated with scenes from the penalty.

Undoubtedly, the infamy was the worst punishment it could be imagined in those days. In the ordinary criminal courts, the punishments entailed embarrassment or public ridicule were more feared than death sentence themselves, for ruining one's reputation in the community forever, bringing shame on the family and other relatives. Similarly, in the court of the Inquisition, the "honor" of an individual could be tainted by humiliating punishments received (as flogging), but the most serious of all punishments was sambenito, as its duration was perpetual and carried the dishonor both the family and the community. When the young Anne Enriquez, daughter of the Marquis de Alcañices and sister in law of Francisco de Borja, was condemned by the Inquisition in 1559 to keep sanbenito, for participating in the activities of the Protestant group in Valladolid, Borja used all his influence to ensure not to comply with the ruling as it related to the use of sanbenito: with it, he got the honor of the family safe.


We are again faced with a mark, a sign or an an iron with which certain black sheep of the flock were marked by shepherds. This idea is reflected by Gazir Sued in these words: "As in ancient times, the stigma, the power to make a distinctive and differential sign with other human beings, remains as always: by the resort to a higher power in force but not in reason".






Enlarge the image

Auto-da-fé, in the Plaza Mayor of Madrid, 1680,

by F. Rizzi, Museo del Prado.

This Auto, the best known and spectacular, was organized in honor of the French wife of King Charles II, newly incorporated in the Court.



"All this makes one think that this great machine for the punishment of a few beggars is rather a desire to flaunt the inquisitors that a true zeal for religion". (The French ambassador, Marquis de Villars, writing on the auto-da-fé in de Madrid, 1680.)

In the early history of the Court, the audience almost did not attend the autos-da-fé. Instead of an elaborate ceremonial, it was little more than a religious act in which heretics were condemned to certain sentences and it could be hold on any day, though it was not a holiday. The painter Peter Berruguete, invented a picture representing an auto-da-fé, which is Saint Dominic of Guzman, chairing a session of the medieval court. Dominic, founder of the Order of the Dominicans, 1215, although he had died almost ten years before the founding of the Inquisition, 1231, he certainly had participated in the evangelization effort of the Cathars and in the the death of some of them. The picture, though not historic, served as a model to follow in subsequent autos-da-fé.

At mid-sixteenth century, the Inquisitor General Fernando de Valdés drafted a set of rules for representing a dazzling public ceremony, with the premeditated intention to note the presence of the Holy Office and reassert its power. It seems that the first of this kind was held in Valladolid, before the Court in 1559. Philip II had witnessed an auto-da-fé held in Toledo in 1550, but of modest size and spectacle. It was determined that the auto-da-fé was to held on holidays, to ensure maximum public participation. Both civil and ecclesiastical high officials were asked to take an oath of loyalty to the Inquisition; that fact caused immediately conflicts between the authorities.

There is no doubt that the autos-da-fé ended up being popular, their novelty attracted high levels of assistance, looking for morbidity and entertainment, at a time devoid of them. The inhabitants of remote regions flocked. In 1610, the auto of Logroño, population of about 4,000 inhabitants, attracted, according to officials of the Inquisition, about thirty thousand people from France, Navarra and the Basque Country.

Juan Antonio Llorente defined the autos-da-fé thus:

The public and solemn reading of the offences and penalties by the Court, in the presence of the defendant or his effigy, respectable corporations, people and secular authorities to whom it was given, in the spot, the person or effigy meant to be relaxed, so they decide and implement "ipso facto" punishment, in accordance with the laws of the kingdom, against heresy. [44]

Theophanes Egido López, in 1986, writes:

... The Inquisition, a court first of all, not confined to legal "entity" : it was much more complex.., it became the triumphant apotheosis of faith from the assaults of heresy, in manifestation, as an act of affirmation of the orthodoxy, the state, of the social order of the Inquisition itself (which was tied around then). It was the exaltation of a pedagogy of fear, as he had seen Bennassar, for "criminals" and hesitant; medicine for the regretful survivors, deterrent instrument; occasion of grace, to win some more indulgences, of pilgrimage for some, of special holiday for all. Despite the preference of Hispanics comparison, the auto-da-fé was more and distinct than the function of the Bulls, despite the death and blood. [45]

In contrast to the simplicity and efficiency of the autos-da-fé in the early years of the Inquisition, we have the example of the great auto-da-fé, held on 30th, June, 1680, in the Plaza Mayor of Madrid, in the presence of the King and his Court. The scene was collected in a huge canvas by Francesco Rizzi, whose work now hangs in the Prado Museum. In 1748, it was published in London a very condensed version of the account of this auto-da-fé, which reads as follows:

A gallery of fifty feet long was erected in the square, being raised at the same height of the balcony where the King was sitting. In the end and along the entire width of the platform, right from the balcony of the King, rose an amphitheater, which amounted to 25 or 30 steps for the Council of the Inquisition and the other councils of Spain. On these steps, under a canopy, was placed the "rostrum" of the Grand Inquisitor, so that it rose to higher than the balcony of the King. To the left of the platform and of the balcony, one second amphitheater was erected the same size as the first, where criminals were to appear.



It continues in the Supporting Documents


...In this auto-da-fé, 11 people abjured their errors and 56 were reconciled, two of them in effigy because they had died in prison. There were 53 relaxations, of which 19 were in person, including a woman over 70 years of age. [45b]


The 53 relaxations were the people they burned at the stake. The detailed description reflects all the details and pomposity of the autos-da-fé. It is a fully sociological and revealing picture.











Message of a prisoner who tried to send it out of jail.

Mending a piece of cloth, eighteenth-century.

Symbol of loneliness and isolation of prison.






The mechanism of the secret: The accused is in court without knowing yet what they will ask; he is asked to swear on the truth of his own statements; he is questioned about his habits and behaviors and, finally, he is asked if he knows why he was summoned to that place. The accused can only imagine, fight against the ghosts that creates his personal imagination. He knows nothing about the cause by which he has been submitted, he does not know his accusers or informers; and he has no contact at all with friends and family.


The memory of infamy: It requires wearing the sanbenito to perpetuate the memory of the conviction and infamy, that falls on their families and their children. Once the defendants returned to the community or were executed, their sanbenitos were hung in the churches. This shameful practice continued until the nineteenth century and the Inquisitors watched over their implementation.


The declaration of unfitness: That is the deprivation of all civil rights and the inability to develop professional civil or religious, extend to the descendants of those sentenced to death.


The threat of poverty: It is an obvious consequence of previous point - entire families at risk of being unexpectedly in the street-, but often it was the coup de grace given to people who were already poor. The family of the heretic is doomed to further destitution and helplessness, which is surprising and grabbing the attention, because this is not a mistake or ignorance of the Inquisitors, as they are fully aware of the economic situation in which the family remains. They care less about the person than about the deterrent power of punishment, albeit unfair and unjust.


Listen to Peña, doctor of canon and civil law in his comments to Directorium Inquisitorum: "Nothing so glorious to holy faith as to confuse the heresy publicly. And for that, there is no doubt that educate and terrify the people with the proclamation of the sentences, the imposition of sambenitos,... is a good act". Here, from the pen of one of the most experienced theorists of the Holy Office, the inquisitorial system foundation: to terrorize. The action of the Inquisition does not intend so much to reconcile the heretic as to impress the masses. Again is Peña who affirms: "the primary purpose of prosecution and death sentence is not to save the soul of the accused, but to seek the public good and terrorize the people. "


More clear, impossible: win better than convince. From "militat gladio militat spiritu (fight with sword, fight with the spirit) of Scripture, he only retains the first part. And what finally perfects this organization of terror was built in the complete secrecy system that came with no one, nor members of the Holy Office, or reconciled, or witnesses, no one could tell what was happening inside the court of the Inquisition. That was how the Inquisition in Spain and abroad, achieved a mythic dimension that even today, despite the best efforts of historical research, is far from having lost it.









Heretics at the stake in Lisbon.

The Penitents carrying the sanbenito; monks by giving them the crucifix, the rosary and offer of pardon to save their soul, as it is not possible to save the body to be eaten on the pyre in flames.

Auto-da-fé. by Bernard Picart, eighteenth-century engraving.



The conclusion can only be the fire. The absolute and final act of the inquisitorial action, as the imaginative act each one represents it on his way. The fire, as a simple stack of firewood or burning ground, which consisted of a stone platform, hollow inside, filled with firewood, with two side ports that act as an oven; on that platform they lean four statues, those of the great biblical prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel). The statues are hollow and their function is atrocious: they must contain the living bodies of the damned, they will die slowly, suffering the torments of hell in advance.


Heretics, witches, murderers, Moors or hogs are released from prison, as the crowd, attracted by the cries of the messengers and the news spreads quickly around, squeezes in the way of the cross and around the scaffold. Defendants appear, upset by the last days, by the repeated promises, by the lies they had to rely on; the faces of some, unrepentant and proud, continue straight and tall, while climbing to the cart, bound hand and foot and are preparing the last voyage: they do not wear modest clothes, but the signs of the Church, embroidery sambenitos, together with their crimes, which the tunic narrates, and with of fire and dragons. A rope keeps their hands at their sides and it closes around the throat.


The procession starts. In front they walk the soldiers of faith, followers of Peter of Verona, martyr of the Cathar madness, protector of the Inquisition; it follows the green cross, of the color of the wood that does not burn, shrouded in a black veil, tragic as the destiny of those who certainly will burn. Then they come four carriers with a scarlet hand chair -the color of the Passover and Christ's saving blood-, where is sitting the priest who will celebrate the Mass while he takes the monstrance with the host. A fifth man marks the time with a bell: it is the pace of progress and undergoing genuflections to the faithful, crossing themselves, terrified. After passing the host, pass the other victims: the contrast is evident between the glorious God and the poor human monstrance that follows it. The crowd, first shouting, now is impressed.


Beside the damned, another glory, the brothers; their white robes and the black cloaks describe the contrast between life and death. They looked serious, noble, austere. In the stunned silence, their voices resonate inviting anyone who still has not confessed: grace time is short, and narrow is the way of life.


Among the procession and the crowd there are a few troops of the Church and secular, allies in the carnage; their armor is shining, they are shining the swords, on their side, and halberds, alongside their shoulders. The children see and understand: yes, at adult age they will be like them and defend the faith. The procession is long, the impression remains unchanged: still the effigies of those convicted in absentia. Shameful, grotesque, ironic and cruel. Those who escaped the burning process do not escape the satire: these straw figures wave - they will burn before the damned-, awful in their sambenitos. The children understand: these are the creatures that disturb their dreams, the faith and peace of those who believe.


The inquisitors close the procession. Seated on asses, a donkey female and her colt, as Christ in Jerusalem. To them belongs the color of mourning, adorned with a white cross. It follows a banner that does not change: Exsurge, Domine, et tuam causam Judica (come up, Lord, and judge thy cause). On the banner are the signs of forgetfulness, a peace that the judge has looked with all his might, the sword, which hurts those who do not want peace. The procession continues through the crowd and smoothly goes to the cathedral. The strees are crowded, the mass increases, the smell of burning flesh expands in the air and penetrates the soul, before the nose can smell it.


They lower the convicts from the cart and take them to the gallery in order: a convict and two Dominicans on his sides; an effigy of a stubborn and two Dominicans. The lighted candles with flickering flame in the wind. An omen. The smell of incense is preparing the Holocaust.


The priest takes his place, prepared for his homily, in which he shows to all the people how the faith is the salvation of the soul and body, while the error is the sentence of man pronounced against himself. The names of the criminals are mentioned for eternal disgrace, accompanied by the list of their crimes, so that everyone knows. To each name corresponds a man, to each man a conviction. The Church makes the gesture that rejects the sinner and trust him to the secular arm. The homily is concrete, well constructed and appropriate for the audience. Everyone is aware there is no room for distraction.


Finally, the condemned is tied to a pole on top of the pile that they lighten. The square is surrounded with cries and another light in the metallic light of day. The tongues of fire surround the meat, the tongues of the preachers surround the crowd; example and prayer appear as associate partners. In the eyes of the condemned arms and crosses are waving, invitations to confess, to repent. The fire reaches the bare feet, surrounds the clothes, goes up the waist, wraps the body. The smoke release of convulsed demons, leaving the body of the condemned and precede to hell.


Children see and understand: there is evil to be defeated. The well should be followed. Tomorrow they will play as Inquisitors, of fellows of darker skin.


 The fire and smoke cover of screaming men, while they have used the silent ones of the puppets, the stubborn. Some have screamed their conversion, others the final blasphemy. The flames have consumed the worthy and unworthy.


It only remains to return home. [47]


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Impact of the Inquisition in Literature and Science
Under the eyes of Bruno, Copernicus and Galileo
The case of Galileo and the Pope John Paul II


The Inquisition is still a contentious issue and a subject of countless studies devoted specifically to analyze the impact of its decrees for the banning or expurgation of books in the development of Spanish culture. Finally the winds are favorable to an objective and unbiased reflection.

The Galileo case has been for over three centuries a constant source of controversy between the world of science and the Catholic Church. In 1992 John Paul II publicly acknowledged the mistakes made by the ecclesiastical court that tried Galileo's science teaching. The case has been settled for many. Others, however, we think that there still remain many questions to answer in this dark side of the Church.





List of authors and works cited in the text, which are included in the Index of Books banned by the Church.




We must get rid of all forms of prejudice and we must doubt everything before having any certainty of knowledge, Cartesian proposition formally condemned in 1691.

The Inquisition expressed an obsessive concern for keeping Europe at its orthodoxy, closed to any ideology and social movement that did not fit into their Christian scheme. It self-perceived as the incarnation of morality, of the norms and of scientific parameters; it regarded the Bible as the only source of science and the Church as the exclusive carrier of the faith, of the knowledge and salvation. During these centuries, it tried to restrict and to close Europe to every wind that smelled of Reform and scientific progress, to everything which did not agree with the Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy.

The Inquisition systematically opposed the freedom of research, publication, discussion and education in the chairs and Universities. It anathematized if the researched, published or taught, did not agree with its orthodoxy, with its dogmas, taboos and prejudices held by the Holly Fathers, by councils and by the laws of each historical moment created by the ecclesial establishment. All this in defense of its ideological positions and its dominant social class, before cultures totally ignorant and defenseless. They were aware of the immense power of knowledge, that was provided to the priesthood while the faithful people were deprived of it.

The Church has never facilitated the culture and the knowledge to the people, except its religious doctrines. It appears always as an indefatigable seeker of tithes and first fruits, and of unpaid labor of its subjects and vassals. These were taught in the contempt of the worldly pleasures to get the reward of this valley of tears in a promising heaven, with the beatific vision of God face to face. Meanwhile, they enjoyed all the honey and sweets of power without scruples or remorse, from the wealth accumulated without having to go through the effort of producing it. No investing to produce wealth and paid sources of employment, they only accumulated wealth, that they parked in the sidings of a train, in the words of Mendizabal, on the occasion of the Spanish confiscation. The capitalism, emerged from the Protestantism, could never spring from the Catholicism.

Not only they had to maintain the status quo, but it should be perpetuated until the “parousia”, the end of the world, which was reluctant to appear, despite all the prophecies and belief that spread from Jesus and his apostles. They had managed that heresies and deviations, with the timely help of Roman Law in fashion in newly established universities, were classified as crimes "laesae majestatis" (crimes of high treason), that consists of the aggression against the person or authority of the sovereign, the highest felony. In the case of heresy, the attack, that was going against God, covered to think, to pray or to live differently from the way of Holy Mother Church, of its priests and of its inquisitors.

Since the beginning, the Inquisition was interested in literature. If in the hands of the converts was found the Talmud or other Hebrew book, it was confiscated and destroyed. There are references, in the late 1480s, to the burning of large quantities of books from the University of Salamanca. With the printing press in operation across Europe and the knowledge each time more accessible to scholars, the state and the church authorities were very aware of the danger that ideas would have, and they pointed their guns against them, to control their production and distribution.

On July, 8th of 1502, Ferdinand and Isabella enacted in Castile, but no in Aragon, a Pragmatic,  which imposed the need for licenses to print books in Castile, also for the import of books from abroad, by fear of being contaminated by the Lutheran doctrines and those of other reformers. Those authorized to grant such license were the presidents of the Chanceries of Valladolid and the Granada, and the bishops of Toledo, Seville, Granada, Burgos and Salamanca. In the rest of Spain, publishing firms were free from state control.

The pre-printing censorship was new. The Church, through its councils, Lateran, 1515 and Trento, 1564, granted to the bishops of Europe the power to grant print licenses. England enacted laws regulating the licensing, in 1538, and Italy adopted similar edicts.

The Inquisition, between 1520 and 1550, issued few licenses of printing and informally. After the 1550s, it merely relied on the censure after the publication of the book. A papal order, that the Grand Inquisitor Cardinal Adrian of Utrecht enacted in 1521, was the origin of the first banning of books in Spain. From 1540, the Court of the Inquisition issued lists of banned books regularly, giving rise to the infamous Index of Forbidden Books which did much harm to the science. It is unfortunate that the church aimed to establish itself as the arbiter and censor of issues, which exceeded it by far, and to become a powerful brake on scientific progress, being all branches of knowledge under its censure and stigma.

In 1558, to everyone's surprise, Protestant books were discovered in Spain. This fact prompted the Regent, Dona Joanna, to promulgate a decree of strict scrutiny, which banned the entry of books in Spanish that would have been published in other realms, and that required to submit all published in the kingdom to the approval of its content. Repressive censorship.

The first Spanish Index appeared in 1551 (it was a re-edition of the one published in Louvain, 1546). The Index of Valdes, all its own, regardless of that of Louvain, takes into account the special Spanish circumstances. This new Spanish index appeared in 1559, anticipating the Tridentine or papal Index, published in 1564.

The Spanish index, unlike the Roman, makes distinction between works totally reprehensible and works that were reprehensible only partially, that is works totally banned and works that could be published and read by removing only objectionable fragments. In
Expurgatorius Index, first published in Antwerp, 1571, under the supervision of Arias Montanus, were compiled partially censored works.

Chronology of Spanish Index: Index of Valdes, 1559; Index of Quiroga, 1583-1584; Index of Sandoval, 1612; Index of Zapata, 1632; Index of Sotomayor, 1640; Index of Valladares-Marin, 1707; Index of Perez Prado, 1747; Index of Rubin de Ceballos or last index, 1790. [102]

The violation of any of these provisions is punishable by death penalty and confiscation of property.

Philip II was in Brussels, where he passed all the measures taken by his sister. And he corroborated them by forbidding his subjects from the Netherlands to study in France, and by forcing his subjects of the Crown of Castile who studied or taught abroad (except in the schools of Bologna, Rome, Naples and Coimbra) to return within four months to Castile. There was no precedent for such measures which, fortunately, only affected Castile. So that these measures might have validity in other realms, he was forced to convene the Courts, which he chose not to do at that moment, but he would end doing so: in Catalonia since 1573, in Valencia since 1580, and in Aragon, in 1592.

Although sometimes they printed without a license, we are not aware of any author or printer, except those convicted of Protestants, who were punished by death.

Humanists and the university people saw how the academic freedom was crumbling and, with it, the dream of a republic of letters from international areas crumbled as well. The scholars were forced to stay within their borders and not to write in Latin for the rest of the Europe intellectuals, but in their native languages. Protestantism was being firmly felt in the religious, political and in the economical affairs. This last aspect is the starting point of the capitalism, that emerges in this territory as a result of those ideologies.

The Index of Valdes is accompanied by the Index of the University of Paris, 1542, the Index of the University of Louvain, 1546 and that of Italy, that had been done in the 1540s. In those years, entered in Spain a large number of Bibles and New Testaments without a license. The Inquisition ordered, in 1552, to collect all the units that were found. The Inquisitor Fernando Valdes, in 1554, to confront these sacred texts without licenses, issued a general censorship of Bibles and New Testaments, that were identified in 65 editions of the Scriptures, that had been printed in Lyon, Antwerp, Paris..., and should be banned.

The question of Erasmus of Rotterdam, eminent humanist thinker of undeniable influence, as it reached all schools of thought of his time, provoked many headaches to his advocates and to his detractors. Francisco Sanchez, the Brocense (from Brozas, Cáceres), in an academic event, in 1595, said: Whoever speaks ill of Erasmus is a friar or a donkey! This, obviously, brought him a lot of trouble with the friars who were in the Inquisition.


The Spanish Index of 1559 included fourteen titles of Erasmus, including the Enchiridion. From this, his name fell in disgrace. The index of 1612 of Bernardo Sandoval y Rojas, archbishop of Toledo and Inquisitor General, completely banned all his works in Spanish and included him in the category of “auctores damnati”.

Among the literary writers affected by the index, there were Gil Vicente, Hernando de Talavera, Bartolomé Torres Navarro, Juan de la Encina and Jorge Montemayor. It was forbidden to read the Lazarillo de Tormes and the Cancionero General.

The inquisitors distrusted Protestant currents, the Illuminati and their possible mutual relationship. Precisely because of this, there were banned spiritual masterpieces, such as Audi Filia of Juan de Avila, the Prayer book of Fray Louis de Granada and the Christian Works of Francisco de Borja. Melchor Cano, a Dominican and a declared enemy of the Jesuits, attacked the book of Borja, former Duke of Gandia and former Viceroy of Catalonia, the most distinguished member who had entered to the Society of Jesus. The Inquisition also banned the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Company of the Society of Jesus.

The Index of 1559, Kamen said, opened an era of repression of Spanish culture. The Indexes controlled the literary creation in general and that of science in particular, while they showed signs of hostility and censorship towards the elements of indigenous spirituality.

Censorship led a practice that later became commonplace: the burning of books. This was, of course, a traditional remedy used by Christians against their enemies: for example, the Emperor Constantine had used it against the Arian books, and in 1248 the clergy of Paris had burned four cars full of Jewish writings. The medieval Inquisition was thus set the example, that, in the sixteenth century, became common practice in Italy and France. At the time, Torquemada had also organized a book burning in his monastery of Salamanca, while books considered sacred by the Jews had been reduced to a pile in Toledo in May 1490, when "they burned in the public square many books of the mentioned heretics".

In October 1501, under a royal decree it was ordered the burning of Arabic books found in Grenada, for which they mounted a huge fire under the supervision of Cisneros. Since March 1552, the Inquisition ordered that heretical books should be publicly burned. He ordered to burn about 27 books at a ceremony held in Valladolid in January 1558.

By mid-century, the Spaniards turned to burning books, because it was the easiest method to get rid of the offending material. An enormous amount of work was so destroyed. "For seven or eight times we burned here at home heaps of books," said a Jesuit priest serving in the Holy Office in Barcelona in 1559.

In 1561, an officer in Seville asked what should be done with the many books he had collected. Among them were a number of books of hours, he said, that could be easily censored. "Burn them", replied the Inquisition. What about the Bibles? "Burn them." And the medical books, many of then with superstitious contents ? "Burn them". Not always was applied this drastic solution. Later, when the court had made a new expunged system replacing the conviction, the books were stored in a warehouse and, generally, not destroyed. [103]

The scope of the Index of 1583 was apparently overwhelming. In its immense volume was included the entire European intellectual world, past and present: editions of classical authors and Church Fathers, the complete works of Peter Abelard and Rabelais, the collected works of William of Ockham, Savonarola, Jean Bodin, Machiavelli, Juan Louis Vives, Marsilius of Padua, Ariosto, Dante, Thomas More (vir alius pius et catholicus, as admitted the Index itself, but whose
Utopia was banned until it was purged), all were among those affected. At first glance it seemed that the Inquisition was declaring war on the whole European culture. [104]

Saint John of the Cross was examined whether he sinned of enlightenment or illumination, and there were expunged works like the Spiritual Canticle, formerly known as Songs of Christ and the soul, of an overwhelming mystic lyricism. The same thing happened to St.Teresa, of Jewish origins, with the work of His Life, in which she reflected her very special experiences. A campaign against Teresa was unleashed, in 1573, induced by the monastic frustrations of the Princess of Eboli when she was rejected by Teresa. In that campaign they criticize the book on His Life and make fun of her ecstasy. Even she, a remarkable and learned woman, could not manage to escape the Inquisition, but she obtained an acquittal. After, she
wrote The Way of Perfection and The Lodgings (Las Moradas). The Inquisition, by his fear of the Enlightenment, suppressed spiritual spontaneity and free literary expression. As for Teresa, see the comment of Llamas:

Mother Teresa wrote his biography in mind of the Court [...]. Indeed, the Inquisition sinned sometimes of over-concern [when] these censors lacked sufficient doctrinal, spiritual or theological preparation. They had no humility and honesty to recognize that a mere novice or an anonymous friar could be an excellent teacher in terms of spirit. This defect resulted in many processes, that today we judge substantially absurd and inexplicable. The misogynist environment played its trump card here. [105]

We know nothing of what that repression resulted in self-censorship. No doubt it existed and it is logical to assume it, due to the nagging fear that should lift the sentences imposed by the ominous, omnipresent and abominable Inquisition.

Then it would be Miguel de Molinos, 1628-1696, whose doctrine would be condemned, and he would be sentenced to life imprisonment in the Castel of Sant' Angelo in Rome, where he died; all by the grace of envy, in this case of some Jesuits. His Spiritual Guide is a model of language and spirituality, but the Roman Inquisition condemned him in an embarrassing public event, and also condemned his doctrine: "quietism," which was disparagingly called "the molinosismo" by allusion to M. de Molinos. Today it would be very difficult to find heresy in his doctrine, says Alcala.

The Inquisition set up a monitoring system in culture, becoming a supervisor and controller, first of literature, then of the writings around the Enlightenment and Quietism, and always looking for traces of the Reformation in all kinds of books, including the scientific ones. Nobody, absolutely nobody, is beyond its control. Even Lope de Vega appeared in the Index, but a century after his death.

Besides these obvious and overt attacks against freedom of thought, there were other more difficult to detect and to qualify, such as self-censorship, hidden damage, that should be imposed for authors to avoid the terrible encounter with the cold Inquisition. They were forced to use coded language with words of double meaning, like Don Quixote who says: “with the Church we have come across, friend Sancho”, this sentence was not in the open and pejorative sense, which we rightly attribute it today. Authors, like Kamen, criticize the Inquisition of having created and practiced a system of thought control, which has fossilized academic culture for three hundred years.

It has been argued that the literary renaissance has been excellent despite the Inquisition, but we shall never know what would have happened if there had been freedom to choose topics that should not revolve necessarily around the conceived Catholic orthodoxy. One thing is the shape, style, meter, and another is the thematic richness of ideas that could have fed and born fruit in Human, Political, Economic and Technical Sciences.

The Inquisition, as an institution of the Church, marked the roads, installed the rails, imposed blinders, threatened and punished those who walked out of its ways and who dared to glimpse beyond the horizons set by it previously. If it did not completely eliminate the freedom of research and publication was because it could not. The truth is that it conditioned and limited academic freedom and scientific research and it delayed the development in all fields of knowledge in hundreds of years, while they humbled reason and intelligence, by subjecting them to the trial and test of faith of ignorant monks and fanatics friars, members of the Holy Office, who were lacking the watchdog right on other sciences different from their theology and ecclesiastical sciences. The Church wasted, for many centuries, great minds that devoted to supposedly sciences, which cannot be verified, and put all other sciences and arts to the old prejudices that religions originated. It was not only a loss of talent but a great disservice for the rest of human knowledge, by damaging the natural right to think freely and to investigate for the people and not at the service of preconceived religious ideas. The Church was a real ballast on Culture and Science. The Indexes with their two hundred and fifty years of existence proclaim it from the rooftops.

It is clear that English and Dutch intellectuals had become pioneers of the scientific and medical research. And because they were Protestants, their works, which fell automatically in the banned area of "auctor damnatus", were beyond the reach of Catholic European intellectuals. Kamen brings the reports of the young doctor, John of Cabriada, who echoing the view of his generation, 1687, on this subject, said:
That is a pathetic and yet shameful thing, that, as if we were Indians, we had to be the last to receive the news and the public light already scattered throughout Europe. The Holy Office would continue blocking the dissemination of the new knowledge, which, besides being very detrimental to mental and physical health of Christians, it was still a tyranny.

No doubt the negative impact of inquisitorial censorship in the dynamics of science. Works of great scientific value were banned because their author was convicted as a Protestant, even if it was not touched any religious issue. Censorship created insurmountable borders between peoples, caused misgivings in the spirit of free inquiry and a silent opposition to new methods of science, which, for the simple fact of their rising in Protestant countries, were considered synonymous with Protestantism and heresy, what discouraged the intellectuals to follow those paths, preferring to avoid inquisitorial problems and to follow the beaten tracks in the humanities. The editorial production in Catholic countries was much poorer than that of protestant ones.

In the case of Spain, Angel Alcalá, in his book Literature and Science before the Spanish Inquisition, among other things, writes:

This means that the focus, the perspective from which the inquisitors censored scientific works was not scientific, that is, they did not prohibit the science as such, but because,  in their opinion, those works provided data, assumptions or trends that did not add up in their interpretation of what they believed dogma or common theological opinion. However, the inquisitorial censor mechanism was not only painfully slow, with consequent detriment of scholars and booksellers, but a priori it was ballasted with prejudices, that, maintained over two centuries, brought very indirect serious consequences for the scientific activity in Spain.

There are several elements that contribute to this final conclusion. More than half of those scientific works, 349 were published by Protestant writers between 1560 and 1630, key stage of the momentous scientific revolution that made possible the technical and economic development of Europe. As Protestants and mostly German, Swiss, Flemish and English (respectively, 191, 32, 25 and 20), each one of their authors was automatically qualified as "damnatus auctor". This meant that the Inquisition took towards their work an attitude of preventive banning in accordance with the First basic Rule of practicing control:

In the first [class] it does not put the books but the writers and authors who were suspected of heresy or heretics, for it is understood that all their works are banned, not just those that they have written and make known, but also those they will publish ahead except those in the same first class are declared to be allowed, without purging or with it [...].

With them (the Rules), the Holy Office stood as police in every book that arrived in Spain, although not concerned with religious themes (hence the constant surveillance of borders, ships, bookstores and libraries) and as guarantor of the total orthodoxy, sacrificing everything needed, as encroaching on the freedom of study and research: only would be permitted "without purging or with it" books whose circulation the Inquisition considered helpful, as they say in this other rule of the Index of 1640:

Banning books is, or because they have not reached us, or because it is no evidence of their utility and, although it was, it is not well to allow them to all subjects; and to observe the style of the Church which, in penalty for their crime, does not allow to run and read even those that do not contain heresies.

The impact of inquisitorial censorship in the march of Spanish science was immense. Live or direct impact in a few instances, but mostly indirect. For banning in principle any book only by the religious affiliation of the author, and for its inability to examine scientifically and to allow scientific works, in theory, prohibited by the mere religious affiliation of the authors. Then, sometimes dozens of years later, in the few cases that were allowed, it was enough to attach the note of "damnatus" to move further away or to frighten the scholar.

The inquisitorial censorship apparatus caused a serious injury that hampered, even more than the royal prohibitions by own ideological reasons, the normal movement of European books in Hispanic territory... without making of that its main objective, the Holy Office made extraordinarily difficult the free movement of the printed work of these scientists and the communication between the Hispanic growers and those of the Protestant Europe [...] If we add an undeniable distrust of ideas, innovations or "curiosities" coming from outside the peninsular borders, we shall understand better the true extent of the impact that the inquisitorial censorship could have on the scientific communication of Spain with the rest of Europe.

The trouble is that, in addition to this purging preventive attitude, the Inquisition was officially infusing wariness into the spirit of free inquiry; and that oppressive atmosphere, father of fear, along with many other social factors, whose specific detail is beyond the spirit of these pages, parched the scientific creation initiative, that could germinate and give better results in countries where it flourished
what, through the mouth of the Moor Ricote, Cervantes called "freedom of conscience." [106]


“Currently, the only vestige of the former Inquisition is the Congregation of the Saint Office, established by Paul III, in 1542, to combat the Reformation. In 1965, after the Council Vatican II, it was renamed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose object is to safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals. Lost its repressive and inquisitorial character, it acquired a tone for positive promotion of Catholic doctrine”, Joseph M. Walker.

Joseph Ratzinger, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is the current Pope Benedict XVI.








Giordano Bruno

Experts reconstructed the face of someone who, supposedly, is Copernicus.





Today, the knowledge of astrophysics and the planetary science confirm the theories of Copernicus, Giordano Bruno and Galileo. We know that dark matter curtains prevent us from observing a very important part of the over three hundred billion of stars that inhabit our galaxy, the Milky Way. We know not only that the earth is not the center, as it was believed in the Middle Ages, but neither is the solar system, that is not in the center of our galaxy, which is a million times larger than the solar system. We know the Sun, along with other bodies that make up the solar system, was formed in one of the outermost spiral arms of the Milky Way, which is located about twenty seven thousand light years from the galactic halo or center, and about which revolves around, taking two hundred and thirty million years to complete one galactic year. We know that to cover the distance of our galaxy, from one extreme to another, we need a hundred thousand light years, at a speed of light, three hundred thousand kilometers per second, and that there are more than fifty billion galaxies of similar dimensions as ours.


Here the mind is troubled and the figures are beyond normal human comprehension. The omnipresence of God would be easier to understand the astrology of Ptolemy and Aristotle and the heavens are easier to visualize in medieval concentric spheres than in these galactic dimensions with not apparent proportion and apprehension, inconceivable. All beliefs collapse. We cannot hold on to the mythical-religious explanations to answer our questions and feed our fantasies and hopes.


In this context we encounter one of the basic principles of the Church's theological framework, an endless source of inspiration for the inquisitors. It is the dogma of God's creation, hard to maintain in the biblical interpretation supported by the classical theologians. Something remains, that "we are dust and to dust we shall go back '.

Astrophysics tells us that we are star dust. From them, by the explosion of supernovae, it is created the carbon and the oxygen, foundation on our constitution, the calcium that forms our bones, the iron in our red blood cells... The elements of the periodic table are born of dead stars, that give us life. Helium (He) and hydrogen (H) were the elements of the early universe, which were generated in what is called core-primary synthesis. The earliest galaxies were huge clouds of hydrogen and helium that, under gravity, were compressed to form millions of stars. The supernova explosions and the chain reactions were the other elements, like the oxygen, which served to form the waters, and from them the beginning of the human life, already in our planet.


Thus it fades the myth of creation, the paradise and the first couple, including their sin, the disobedience for them, and the original sin for us: we are children of the stars. All those simple myths of creation, sin, guilt, reward, punishment... of ancient religions, are light years away.













Monday February, 16th, 2009
The Vatican Mass dedicated to Galileo for the first time in 445 years






 View full text in the Supporting Documents


In 1992, 31st, October, Pope John Paul II, to mark the 350th anniversary of Galileo's death, in a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, said it was "a fair recognition of errors whatever the part from which they proceed.” The Galileo affair, "is not a case filed for a long time and there have not been yet recognized the mistakes made? Certainly, this is true," says Pope.

The truth is that the Galileo case is not closed and never it will be. The Pope, political and polite, speaks on the defensive, accepting without admitting completely and carrying the water to his mill. The speech, with sleek and polished style, acknowledges the mistakes "whatever the part from which they proceed," and highlights the key points of the Galileo case, but not with the impartiality expected.


The section 9, states:

If contemporary culture is marked by a tendency to scientism, the cultural horizon of the time of Galileo was unitarian and bore the stamp of a particular philosophical training. This unitary character of culture, which in itself is positive and desirable even today, was one of the causes of the condemnation of Galileo.

Obvious contradictions are hidden in the text. We read that the unitary culture of the time "was one of the causes", but the truth is that the cause of the condemnation of Galileo was only one: the Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy and its theocracy. That was the unitary culture of the time.

The unitary character of culture, "positive and desirable even today", it sounds like nostalgia for the lost theocratic power. Cultural unity is the essence of religious fundamentalism which is also in essence obscurantist and unscientific. And it was the cause of the Galileo case. That's why we see contradictions between apologizing for the Galileo case and, at the same time, to desire as optimum the circumstances that produced it, "the unitary nature of culture", typical of medieval times.


In the same section 9, we read:


Indeed, as recalled by Cardinal Poupard, Robert Bellarmine, who had caught what was really at stake in the debate, defended by his part that, before any scientific evidence about the Earth's orbit around the Sun, anyone had to "walk with consideration in explaining the Scriptures that seemed contrary to the mobility of the earth, and rather say that we do not understand them, than to say that is false what is proved" (Letter to Fr. A. Foscarini, 12th, April 1615 cf. Op.cit. vol. XII, p. 172).


This paragraph seems to be intended to support the clairvoyance of the Church, in the person of Cardinal Bellarmine. From Bellarmine's letter to Foscarini, Paul II extracts this wise and prudent phrase: " it would need to walk with consideration in explaining the Scriptures that seemed contrary to the mobility of the earth, and rather say that we do not understand them, than to say that is false what is proved." But it ignores the immediately following: "But I do not believe there is such a demonstration, until it is shown me." These words would also be prudent and wise, if not for the number of free statements that fill the following fifteen lines: Solomon ("the wisest and most learned in human sciences") said it; the appearances are deceptive when believe that the ship is still and the seashore is moving away,  but they are not deceptive when we watch the sun rise and set, etc..

Bellarmine clairvoyance is not true. His letter blindly insists that the truth is only well understood by Solomon and the Holy Fathers. It is not a faint opening but a resounding stubbornness. This letter can be read entirety above. Judge by yourselves the content that follows the pope's quote:


But I do not believe there is such a demonstration, until it is shown me: it is not the same thing to prove that the sun is in the center and the earth in heaven, because I think that the first demonstration may exist, but about the second I have a very great doubt, and if in doubt you should not leave the holy Scripture, explained by the Fathers. I would add that the one who wrote: Oritur sol et occidit, et ad locum suum revertitur, etc. [Ecclesiastes 1, 5] was Solomon, who spoke not only inspired by God but was a wise man above all others and most learned in human sciences and the knowledge of created things, all this was God's wisdom and hence it is unlikely that affirm one thing that was contrary to the truth that was proven or could be demonstrated. And if I shall say that Solomon speaks, according to appearance, seeming to us that the sun rotates, while the earth revolves, as one who turns away from the coast thinks the coast goes away from the ship, I will answer that who turns away from the coast, although it seems that the coast goes away from him, however he knows that this is wrong and corrects it, seeing clearly that the ship is moving and not the coast: but with regards to the sun and the earth, there is no wise man who needs to correct the error, because he clearly experiences that the earth is stopped and that the eye is not deceived when it judges that the sun moves, nor is deceived when it judges that the moon and the stars move. This is sufficient for now.

With that cordial greetings to Your Paternity, and I pray to God all happiness.


In section 10 it is said:

From the century of the lights to this day, the Galileo case has been a kind of myth, in which the image of events that was built was quite unrealistic. In this perspective, the Galileo case was the symbol of the alleged rejection of the Church of scientific progress, or even the 'dogmatic' obscurantism opposed to the free search for truth.

This myth has played a considerable cultural role; this myth has helped to establish in many bona fide scientists the idea that there would be an incompatibility between the spirit of science and its research ethics, on the one hand, and the Christian faith, on the other. A tragic mutual incomprehension has been interpreted as reflecting a constitutive opposition between science and faith. The clarification given by recent historical studies enables us to state that this sad misunderstanding now belongs to the past.

From a kind of myth, first paragraph, they pass into myth, in the second. The funny thing is that the Galileo case and its aftermath are not myths, but historical and sociological realities verified and contrasted.

There is a constitutive opposition between science and faith. The faith rests on myths: the divinity, the creation, the revelation, the sin, the redemption, the soul, the immortality, the existence of heavens and hells. Its method is speculative, metaphysical and deductive. Its blocks are the beliefs and the dogmas. Its foundations are the Revelation, the authority of the revealing and its intermediary bridges. They believe under an authority: God, the Council, the Pope; it is a mere gesture of consent. Its thinking is symbolic, metaphysical, mythical..., because the reality of faith is mythical, metaphysical, symbolic...

Science is based on verifiable and testable. The scientific method starts from the hypothesis covered by scientific theories, that, with the collection of verified and contrasting data, empirical method, become new theories. The whole of theories make up the science. The method begins as empirical and inductive; once the theory is established it can also be deductive. The new evidence make change the earlier theories, science is never dogmatic. The research method, which Galileo initiates and that was condemned, consists of three phases: observation, hypothesis and verification. Its blocks are the ideas. Its foundation is the evidence that results from the investigation. Its thinking is rational. The method of Cartesian doubt, accepted by science, was also condemned by the Church. The School
of the suspicion of Paul Ricoeur would never have space in the field of faith.

 The faith uses the universals for its absolute dogmas and morals that transcend the times and that adapt to any type of society. It does not accept the historicism nor the moral of situation, which conditions the truth and morality to social situations and historical concrete personal moments, and to a change in assumptions: cultural relativism. The faith only knows of absolutes that do not exist. However in science everything is relative: the principle of relativity.

From the foregoing follows that the faith and the science are constitutively opposed.

The misunderstanding, that the Pope referred to, will never belong to the past. We understand the desire of being so, but that's not the reality. The misunderstanding with Galileo is the thorn in the heart of the Church and, though they dream of disguising, it belongs to the historical memory.

Late, too late, an apology and an admission of error is no more than a nice symbolic gesture, art in which the Church is an undisputed master, since its entire liturgy consists of symbolic gestures, but they cannot correct or remedy the damage to people, towns and science. The lives, suffering and humiliation are irrecoverable, as it is the social, economic and scientific damage committed against the society. The Galileo case is for the Church, which was the case of Servetus for the Reformed churches with Calvin at the head: a death trap. The Church lost its scientific reputation and with it its arguments settled in the Bible and in the Holly Fathers. If to the Galileo case, we add the many thousands cases that the Inquisition produced in its deplorable history, the result cannot be more stark and revealing.


We respect the desire of John Paul II in wanting to heal that historical wound. Perhaps someday the Church goes beyond and recognizes all the miseries of the past. Only then, with a new exegesis of the grazing of Catholic flock through the centuries and a new interpretation of the Bible, outside the dogmas born in minds immersed in a world of darkness, it may reborn a new institution, with a credible role in today's society.



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Presentation by Dr. Antonio M. Trivino at the University of Puerto Rico

The Grand Inquisitor
Order Of Arrest Of The Templar, 14th, September 1307
Defence of the Orthodox Faith against the Errors of Servetus. (Writing of Calvin refuted by Castellio)
Discourse of John Paul II on the Galileo
Excerpts from the Malleus Maleficarum
Legends of Witches
Torture techniques
Auto-da-fé in the Plaza Mayor of Madrid, 30th, June, 1680.
Identity issues of Jewish People
New Court, Reasons for its creation by the Catholic Kings
Ad perpetuam Rei Memoriam
Archbishop Carranza
Process of Giordano Bruno













SECTION II OF THE SPEECH OF HIS HOLINESS Pope JOHN PAUL II on the occasion of the presentation of the conclusions of the papal study commission on the Ptolemaic-Copernican controversy in the XVI-XVII Centuries (Rome, CdV, 31-10-1992). (…)


4. I was moved by similar concerns, the 10th of November 1979, on the occasion
of the celebration of the centenary of the birth of Albert Einstein, when I expressed to the same Academy the desire that theologians, scientists and historians, animated by a spirit of genuine collaboration, press ahead with the examination of the Galileo case, in a fair recognition of errors whatever the part they could proceed, do away with the distrust that this case is still facing, in many minds, respect a fruitful concord between the science and the faith (AAS 71, 1979, pp. 1464-1465). A study committee was formed to this effect on 3rd, July 1981. And now, in the same year that marks the 350th anniversary of Galileo's death, the committee presents, at the end of its work, a series of publications that I  vividly esteem. I express my sincere gratitude to Cardinal Poupard, who coordinated the research of the Commission in the final phase. To all the experts involved in various ways in the work of the four groups that have carried out this multidisciplinary study, I express them my deep appreciation and my gratitude. The work carried out over ten years reflects an orientation suggested by the Second Vatican Council and allows better illuminate several important points of the issue. In the future, you can no longer ignore the findings of that Commission.

Perhaps anyone be surprised that by the end of a week of study at the Academy, on the theme of the emergence of complexity in the various sciences, I return over the Galileo case. It is not a case filed for a long time and have not been recognized the mistakes already made?
Certainly this is true. However, the underlying problems in this case affect both the nature of science and the message of faith. It cannot be excluded therefore that we find ourselves one day before a similar situation, which require everyone a conscious awareness of the bounded field and the limits of the respective competences. The approach to the issue of complexity could provide an illustrative example.

5. A double issue is at the heart of the debate whose center was Galileo Galilei.

The first is epistemological and concerns the biblical hermeneutic. In this respect there are two points to underline: First of all, like most of his opponents, Galileo does not distinguish between what is scientific analysis of natural phenomena and the reflection on the nature, of philosophical feature, that it claims. So he absolutely rejected the suggestion that was made to him to present as hypothesis the Copernican system, while not confirmed by some irrefutable evidence. This was, moreover, a requirement of the experimental method which he himself was the brilliant founder.

Furthermore, the geocentric representation of the world was commonly accepted in the culture of the time in full accordance with the teachings of the Bible, in which some expressions, taken at face value, appeared to be geocentric assertions. The problem raised by theologians of that time was that of the compatibility of heliocentric theory

 and Sacred Scriptures.

Thus, the new science, with its methods and freedom of research they entail, compel the theologians to question about their criteria for interpreting Scriptures. Most of them did not know how to do it.

Paradoxically, Galileo, sincere believer, was more circumspect on this point than his theologian opponents. "While the Scripture cannot err -he wrote to Benedetto Castelli-, they could, however, err,  may be, some of its interpreters and exhibitors, in various ways "(letter of 21st, December 1613, in Edizione nazionale delle Opere di Galileo Galilei, dir. A.Favoro, reprint 1968, vol. V, p. 282). It is also known the letter to the Grand Duchess (1615), which is like a small treatise on Biblical hermeneutics (ibid., pp. 307-348).

6.  At this place, we are already able to make a first conclusion. The irruption of a new way to study natural phenomena requires some explanation of all the disciplines of knowledge. That irruption forces them to better define their own field, their angle of approach, their methods, and the exact scope of their conclusions. In other words, this innovation forces each of the disciplines to take a more rigorous awareness of its own nature.

The shift caused by the Copernican system demanded, therefore, an effort of epistemological reflection on biblical studies, an effort that later was to bring abundant fruits in the modern exegetical works and it has found in the Council Constitution " Dei Verbum" its consecration and a new impetus.

7. The crises that I hardly have evoked are not the only factor that had an impact on the interpretation of the Bible. We touch here the second aspect of the problem, the pastoral aspect.

Under the proper mission, the Church has the duty to be attentive to the pastoral implications of its word. Let it be clear, first, that this word must correspond to the truth. But the question is how to take into account a new scientific fact when it seems to contradict truths of faith. The pastoral that required the Copernican theory was difficult to express in so far as the geocentric one seemed part of the same teaching of Scripture. It would have been necessary under the circumstances to overcome the habits of thinking and invent a pedagogy able to enlighten the people of God. Say, in general, that the pastor has to show to be willing a real courage, by avoiding the dual pitfalls of unsafe attitude and hasty judgment, both being able to do great damage.

8. It can be evoked here a crisis analogous to that which we are speaking about. In the last century and at the beginning of ours, the progress of historical studies permitted to acquire new knowledge about the Bible and biblical environment. The rationalist context in which, typically, those acquisitions were made could make them appear as ruinous to the Christian faith. Some, worried about defending the faith, thought they should be rejected some historical conclusions firmly based. That was a hasty and unhappy decision. The work of a pioneer as the Father Lagrange was able to make the necessary discriminations on the basis of certain safe criteria.

It is necessary to repeat here what was said above. It is a duty for theologians to be informed regularly on the progress in science to examine, in each case, to what extent it is necessary to take it into account in their thinking or to make revisions in their teaching.

9. If contemporary culture is marked by a tendency to scientism, the cultural horizon of the time of Galileo was unitarian and bore the stamp of a particular philosophical training. This unitary character of culture, which in itself is positive and desirable even today, was one of the causes of the condemnation of Galileo. Most theologians did not perceive the formal distinction between Sacred Scriptures and their interpretation, which led them unduly to transpose into the field of doctrine of faith a matter that, in fact, belonged to scientific research.

Indeed, as recalled by Cardinal Poupard, Robert Bellarmine, who had caught what was really at stake in the debate, defended by his part that, before any scientific evidence about the Earth's orbit around the Sun, anyone had to "walk with consideration in explaining the Scriptures that seemed contrary to the mobility of the earth, and rather say that we do not understand them, than to say that is false what is proved" (Letter to Fr. A. Foscarini, 12th, April 1615 cf. Op.cit. vol. XII, p. 172). Before him, the same wisdom and the same respect to God's word had led St. Augustine to write: "If to a self-evident and safe reason someone pretended to oppose the authority of the Scriptures, who does this does not understand anything and opposes the truth not the genuine sense of Scripture, which he has failed to penetrate, but the very personal thought, that is, not what he found in Scripture, but what he has found in himself, as if he was in them.” (Epistle 143, n. 7: PL 33, col. 588). A century ago, Pope Leo XIII echoed this thought in his encyclical Deus Providentissimus: "Since the true cannot in any way contradict the truth, it is can be sure that a mistake has been made or in the interpretation of the sacred words, or elsewhere in the discussion "(Leonis XIII Pont. Max. Acta, Volume XVIII, 1894, p, 361)

Cardinal Poupard has also reminded us that the sentence of 1633 was not irrevocable and that the debate, which had not ceased to develop, was closed in 1820 with the imprimatur given to the work of the canon Setteke (cf. Pontificia Academia Scientiarum, Copérnico, Galilei e la Chiesa. Fine de la controversia
(1820). Gli atti of Sant'Uffizio, a cura di W. Brandmuller e E.J. Greipl, Firenze, Olschki, 1992)

10. From the century of the lights to this day, the Galileo case has been a kind of myth, in which the image of events that was built was quite unrealistic. In this perspective, the Galileo case was the symbol of the alleged rejection of the Church to the scientific progress, or even the "dogmatic" obscurantism opposed to the free investigation of truth.

This myth has played a considerable cultural role, this myth has helped to establish in many bona fide scientists the idea that there would be an incompatibility between the spirit of science and research ethics, on the one hand, and the Christian faith, on the other. A tragic mutual incomprehension has been interpreted as reflecting a constitutive opposition between science and faith. The clarification given by recent historical studies enables us to state that this sad misunderstanding now belongs to the past.

11. From Galileo's case it can be drawn a lesson that remains topical in relation to similar situations occurring today ; in times of Galileo it was inconceivable to imagine a world that was devoid of an absolute physical reference point. And since the known cosmos at that time, so to speak, was contained only in the solar system, you could not locate this reference point anywhere else than in the Earth or in the Sun. Today, after Einstein and in the perspective of Contemporary cosmology, none of these benchmarks is so important as it was then. This observation obviously does not concern the validity of Galileo's position in the debate, it  seeks rather to indicate that often, beyond two partial and contrasting visions, there is a broader vision that includes both and exceeds them.

12. Another lesson to be drawn is that the various disciplines of knowledge require a variety of methods. Galileo, who practically invented the experimental method, understood, thanks to his great physical intuition and relying on different arguments, why only the sun could have the role of center of the world, as it was then known, namely as a planetarium system. The error of the theologians of the time, arguing the centrality of the Earth, it was to think that our knowledge of the structure of the physical world was, somehow, imposed by the literal meaning of Scripture. But it must remember the famous statement attributed to Baronius: "Spiritui Sancto mentem fuisse nos docere quomodo ad coelum eatur, nom quomodo coelum graditur." (The Holy Spirit's purpose was to teach us how to go to sky ( heaven), not how the sky is structured). In fact, Scripture does not see to the details of the physical world, whose knowledge is entrusted to the experience and human reasoning.

There are two fields of knowledge, that which has its source in Revelation and the one that the reason can discover alone with its strength. To the latter belong the experimental sciences and philosophy. The distinction between the two fields of knowledge should not be understood as an opposition. The two sectors are not fully strangers to each other, but they have meeting points. The methodologies of each one allow to highlight different aspects of reality. [107]







Fragments of Malleus Maleficarum


The woman is a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger, a delectable detriment, an evil of nature painted with bright colors! Therefore, if divorce is a sin when we should keep her, it is indeed a necessary torture. Then or we commit adultery when we divorce, or should we endure a daily struggle.


In his second book The Rhetoric, Cicero says: "The many man's desires lead them to one sin, but the only appetite of women leads them to all sins, because the root of all female evil is greed ”. And Seneca says in his tragedies: "A woman loves or hates, there is no third alternative. And the tears of a woman are a deception as they may arise from a real penalty, or a trap. When a woman thinks alone, she thinks evil."


Regarding the first question, why is there a lot of witches in the fragile feminine sex, a greater proportion than men, it is indeed a fact that it would be idle to contradict and experience confirms that, apart from verbal testimony of trustworthy witnesses [...].

Then some wise men propose this reason: that there are three things in nature: the Language, an Ecclesiastic and a Woman, which know no moderation in goodness or vice and, when they exceed the limits of their capacity, they reach the largest heights and the deepest depths of goodness and vice [...].

And from the evil of the women they spoke in Ecclesiasticus xxv: "There is no higher thing than the head of a snake and there is no greater anger than that of a woman. I prefer to live with a lion and a dragon than to live with a wicked woman". "I found that the woman is more bitter than death and a good woman is subjected to the carnal appetite”.

Others have suggested other reasons why there are more superstitious women than men. And the first is that they are more gullible and as the main objective of the devil is to corrupt the faith, prefers to attack them. See Ecclesiastucus, XIX: "Who is quick to credulity, is weak-minded and will be diminished". The second reason is that by nature women are more impressionable and more ready to receive the influence of a disembodied spirit and that, when they use well this quality, they are very bad. The third reason is they have a mobile tongue, unable to conceal to other women things they know by evil arts and, as they are weak, they find an easy and secret way of holding on witchcraft. See Ecclesiasticus, as quoted above: "I'd rather live with a lion and a dragon than dwell with a wicked woman".

"That, as they are weaker in mind and body, no wonder they fall further under the spell of witchcraft". St. Jerome in his Contra Loniniann says: "This Socrates had two wives who endured with much patience, but could not discharge their vociferous and vituperative contumelies. So one day when he complained, left the house to escape their harassment and sat before it and then the woman threw boiling water on him. But the philosopher did not bother with it and said: "I knew that after the thunder comes the rain".

And there is the story of a man whose wife drowned in a river, and when he was  searching for the corpse out of the water, walked upstream. And when they asked why, since heavy bodies do not rise but fall,he was he seeking against the current of the river, said: "When this woman lived, both in words and in deeds, she contradicted my orders, so I am looking in the opposite direction, as if now, even dead, she retains her contradictory provision.

If we investigate, we see that almost all the kingdoms of the world have been overthrown by women. Troy, a prosperous kingdom, was destroyed by the rape of a woman, Helena, and many thousands of Greeks were killed. The kingdom of the Jews suffered great misery and destruction caused by the cursed Jezebel and her daughter Ataliah, Queen of Judea, who made the children of his son be dead, so that, at their death, she could come to reign; but each of them was killed.

The kingdom of the Romans endured much evil because of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, the worst of women. And so with others. So no wonder the world is suffering now from the malice of women. And then examine the carnal desires of the body itself, of which there have been extensive damage to human life. We can justly say with Cato of Utica: "If the world could be free of women, we should not lack of God in our relationships".

For indeed, without the malignancy of women, to say nothing of witchcraft, the world would remain safe from many dangers. Listen what Valerio said to Rufino: "You do not know that woman is the Chimera, but it's good youknow it, because this monster had three forms, its face was that of a radiant and noble lion, it had the foul womb of a goat and it was armed with the virulent tail of a snake".

It means that a woman is beautiful in appearance, she contaminates the touch and it is deadly to live with it. More bitter than death, i.e, the devil: Apocalypse, VI, 8: "It was named Death". For, though the devil tempted Eve to sin, Eve seduced Adam. And as the sin of Eve had not brought death to our soul and body, unless the sin passed to Adam, who was tempted by Eve and not by the devil, then she is more bitter than death. And more bitter than death, too, because it  is natural and destroys only the body, but the sin which arose from woman destroys the soul, by stripping it of grace, and delivers the body to the penalty for sin. And more bitter than death because the body death is an open and terrible enemy, but the woman is a whiner and secret enemy. And the fact that she is more dangerous than a snare does not refer to the snares of the hunters, but of demons'.


For men are caught, not only by their lust, when they see and hear the women, because St. Bernard says: "The sterile matrix". Therefore, to satisfy their appetites, they bind even the demons. Many more reasons should be presented, but for the mind it is clear that it is not surprising that there are more women than men infected by the heresy of witchcraft. And because of that, it is better to call the heresy of witches than of wizards, since the name comes from the most powerful group. And blessed be the Almighty, who until now protected the male sex from a so great crime; for He was ready to be born and suffer for us and therefore granted this privilege to men. [48]



Legends of witches


Milan, 1384. Women Sibilla and Pierina, confess having participated in a grim game: the game of Diana (or Herodiade) that presided over a certain Madonna Oriente, who confided the participants the mysteries of the future. Ahead of this Oriente nobody could pronounce the name of God. Moreover Oriente teaches how to cure diseases, to find stolen goods and to break spells. The two women were sentenced to death in 1390.


Zion, 1420. The devil appears to a sectarian group in the form of bear or mutton; the followers of the sect massacre men, children and animals. The investigations lead to the discovery that some 700 men set up the group. One hundred of them are burned alive after having made a full confession under torture.

Rouen, 1430. On March, 18
th, she is sentenced to death Joan of Arc. The accusation is both of heresy and of witchcraft. The process is obviously political.

Arras, 1459. Robinet de Vaulx, hermit, is tried for the crime of witchcraft. Before dying he reports a prostitute, Demiselle, and a painter, Jean Lavit: again two marginal. Interrogated and tortured, they burned both of them at the stake in 1460. In turn, they
have confessed and reported other accomplices: the chain of Inquisition can continue its work of purification.

Fie, 1506. A woman, Anna Jobstin, confessed under torture that she is responsible for the hail that destroyed the neighboring fields. Finally, her mind is clouded: she blamed herself of all the disasters that recently affected the whole Tyrol.


Derneburg (Rheinstein), 1555. It is again two women: Groebesche and Gisserlche, who confess having had sex with the devil; Groebesche admits that these practices lasted 11 years. The demonic connection is thus extremely strong: when they carry her to the fire, Satan materializes before the people, assembled under the gallows, and kidnaps on a flight both sentenced ; it is the 1st October. Two days later, Gisserlsche appears in the house of her husband, who dies of fright at the time; the episode is witnessed by a neighbor who claims to have seen her dancing around the dead, as in a cloud of fire. The 12th, October, Groebesche's husband is arrested, accused of having copulated with his woman's sister. The inquisitorial investigation continues and the 14th of that month, a third woman named Serckschen is jailed on charges of producing paralysis to the neighbors, and of burying frogs at the entrance to their homes. With no demonic relief she is burned a few days later.

Paris, 1565-1640. In seventy-five years, 1119 persons were prosecuted; the number testifies to the wild work of the inquisitors. Hundreds of these people will find death at the end of the process. Unlike other cases, here it is almost always about men and women of a certain social category, guilty of magical practices.

Lucerne, 1517. A midwife confesses having killed several babies at birth, piercing them with a pin. When they prolonged the wait for the fire, hoping to wrest other faiths, it happens that the guards do not find her in the cell: instead, only her skin, swollen like a pimple. The popular rumor says that the devil flayed her away.

Genf, 1571. A horrendous
women carnage: twenty-one were burned during the month of May.

Zurich, 1571. A woman living in squalor, Varena Keretzin, who needs basic things like food and clothing, she sees a gentleman who
is coming and introduces himself as one of the richest and most powerful of all in the earth. The terrified woman hears the proposal he makes her: if you join carnally to me, I will fill you in goods, you will be strong and respected. The mind of the woman hesitates, while she does not know what to answer, although inwardly she is very tempted to respond in the affirmative way. The man expects no more and seal the pact biting her arm and then he copulates with her. Since then Varena feels that she has not fear any more; a new force seizes her. Armed with a cane she starts wandering through the fields where she pursues cows and pigs to death. She produces disease in men that in the past refused to give her protection or alms ; she makes hail to destroy crops throughout the area. Finally they caught her. The 10th of September she is condemned to the stake.

Lorraine, 1576-1606. The judge Nicholas Remy boasts to have sent to the stake, in this period of time, from two to three thousand witches.

Bordeaux, 1577. The inquisitor Pierre de L 'Ancre in a report on achievements in legal proceedings, said that the sovereign Court of Bordeaux has sent to death four hundred witches.


Val Mesolcina, 1593. Not even the most famous pastors evade ritual condemnation of witches: Cardinal Carlo Borromeo makes his contribution to the hunting favoring the conviction upside down of several women; witnesses say they probably died reconciled, since many of the listeners heard them invoke, in the flames, "the most holy name".

Pitoia, 1593. Some prostitutes, between these Fiore di Francesco da Crispoli, avoid the fire by forcing them into exile.

Bazuel (Cambrésis), 1599-1627. An elderly widow, Reine Percheval, ends at the stake after confessing to witchcraft practices with which she would have got the death of her granddaughter,
to affect with a serious illness a notable, to cause birth deformities in cows. Before the fire, it is repeated a miserable rite: Reine takes revenge on her accusers by identifying them as accomplices of her own crimes. One of these, Aldegonde of Rue, will follow her in the violent death after a trial that lasted two years and ended up finding in her body insensitive points to pain, which testified her diabolical treatment. Three other women suffered the same end.

Jura, 1600. Rolanda and Claudia di Vernois confess the judge, Henri Boguet, have caused hail, mixing their urine with green branches. The devil
defends them in the fire, making rain several times, which puts out the flames. Finally, the ritual of death takes place the 7th of September.

Aix-en-Provence, 1609. This time it's a nun: after the rite of exorcism which was applied to her because it was obvious she was possessed, she accuses the priest of Marseille, Don Gaufridy, of having bewitched her. The priest, tortured, resists for two years before
admitting Sabbath practices and sexual violence in the nun. He died burnt on 30th, April, 1611.

Zugarramurdi (Basque Country), 1614. After an interrogation that affects 300 people and lasts four years, are pleaded guilty 12 witches. Seven are condemned to the stake, of the other five, died during the procedure, are burn that represent them.

Paderborn, 1631. Lisa Tutka, arrested on the accusation of witchcraft, confessed under torture that her father (killed in his turn by the violence of the judges in previous proceedings) has taught her to do spells since she was young, delivering her to a man who sexually abused her: that the man could be the devil is witnessed by the fact that during the relationship, Lisa felt no heat, but cold. Lisa reported six other people.

Oppenau, 1631-1632. A process that marks a record, led to the stake the 8 percent of the population.

Palermo, 1640. The Holy Office condemned Caterina Bunia "who was going out with women at night and promised to bring people to her and that she wanted them to ride a goat, as she did".

Auch, 1644. Régine, woman of the village, is captured and thrown into the river Gers with a stone around her neck. The vigilantes, this time without trial, are soldiers who, at the instigation of the people of the city, accuse her of evil practices.

Monthéliard, 1646. Thirty-two statements accuse the widow, Adrienne d'Heur, of having caused the death of a child by offering him bread; of having made lose sight to a man, a woman and two children; of having spoiled milk from a cow; of having caused the death of a horse; of having tried to abduct a child; of having threatened many others; of having introduced herself at night into houses without opening the doors; of being transformed into a cat, irritating the cat of the house. Like Percheval, she is pinned to the whole body: the needle enters the bone and stays there, without pain and without blood flow, for a quarter of an hour. Adrienne, however, denies everything and she is hung from the rope. At that point confesses: Sabbath, intercourse with the devil, spells, transformations. They burn her on September, the 11th.

Juergensburg, 1692. A man of eighty, Thiess, confesses being a werewolf, but of the good ones, who chase and fight against devils and witches. The judges sentenced him to ten lashes.





Techniques of Torture


The foal. It consisted of a long narrow wooden table on which the accused was tied with ropes around the wrists and ankles. The strings of the dolls were fixed to the table and those of the legs were rolling to a rotating wheel. Every movement of the wheel meant a loosening of the members. The pain caused at stretching the muscles and stretching the bone structure was very deep and insufferable, which increased with the spinning wheel, which could lead to dismemberment. It stopped, at half torment, to require the defendant to tell the truth; if he did not, the torment continued.

Twines and clubs. There were the ropes and clubs, whose implementation was one of three ways: the turn of trap, the "handrope" and to hang the accused on the rack. They prepared the defendant for the torment by putting him a belt with which he was balanced from the ground; both arms were tied to his breast and bound with ropes to rings on the wall. For the trap or big-trap, the ladder of the rack had one of its steps removed, to allow the legs pass trough it; there was another bar of sharp edge underneath it, and through this narrow opening legs were forced by a rope tight around the fingers with a turn around the ankle. Each turn or twist given to the string represented about three inches and a half, three were ordinary practice, even with the most robust ones. Leaving him stretched in this position, the next step was the "handrope": They passed a rope around his arms and the executioner, after tying them around his body, drew back, dropping all his weight and pressing his feet against the rack. The rope came then to cut the skin and muscles to the bone, while the patient's body was stretched like in a rack, between this and the strings of the feet. The belt, being subjected to such alternative forces, it also moved back and forth, with which the suffering was greater. This was repeated six to eight times with the "hand-rope", in various parts of the arms, and patients often faint, especially women.

After that
the rack came into play. The patient was saved from the trap and from the "hand-rope" and he was put on the eleven sharp steps of the rack, with the ankles tied to the sides and his head in a depression, where it was immobilized by a rope across the front. The belt was loosened so he could turn, three ropes were passed around each arm, tying the ends into rings or the sides of the rack, using sticks to keep them tight; two others similar ropes were put on each thigh and one in each calf, resulting in a total of twelve. The ends were tied to a master club, with which the torturer could control them all at once. They worked not only for compression, but also sliding on the members, in which they tore skin and flesh. Each half turn is considered a return, the maximum being six or seven, but generally they did not exceed five, even with strong men. In the early days they did the same with the rope around their forehead, but the practice was left since they saw that it could expel the eyes of their orbits. All this, concludes the court of Cordoba, is very violent, but it is less dangerous than the methods already abandoned.

The pulley. The accused was tied around his wrists to the back and he was dropped from a height. The length of the rope was so far that he did not hit the ground, but the jolt left him dislocated.  [33]

The first, known in Italy as the
strappato, consisted of tying the patient's arms behind his back and then, with a rope around the wrists, they lift him from the ground, with or without weights at his feet, keeping him suspended for the time that is desired and occasionally dropping a short distance at a stretch. By 1620, one author recommends that the lifting motion be slow, because, if it is fast, the pain does not last enough, the patient should be kept some time on the toes, so they barely touch the ground; when lifted, he should stay like that the time it takes to repeat three times slowly and silently the psalm Miserere, while admonishing him repeatedly to tell the truth. If this fails, he will be taken down, he will be tied with weights to the feet and he will be fixed up by the time of two Miserere (prayer timely if any), repeating the operation, with increasing weights, as long and repeated as it is considered appropriate. [34]


The brazier. The accused was hung by his arms from a rope attached to a ring. He was risen, they greased his feet and put a brazier under him. Some judges approached coals to the body of the prisoner.

The torment of water. The person was holding down and they placed a piece of iron so he could not close his mouth. They introduced a strip of linen through the mouth into the interior of the throat and with a pitcher they were pouring water through the strip of cloth, slowly. The tortured gasped and choked. Torment was measured by the number of jugs of water that were being introduced.

Another version of water torture. The patient should be placed on a ladder or rack, a kind of easel with sharp steps, across, like a steep staircase, so that the head was lower than the feet; at the lowest point there was a dip in which they placed the head, while an iron strap around the forehead or throat kept the head still. The strings, which penetrated the flesh, held the arms and legs to the sides of the rack, and others, known as clubs, sticks put into them and that were twisted like a tourniquet until the lines were going deep into the flesh, were tied to the arms and forearms, thighs and calves. An iron head distended the mouth and a veil, or strip of linen, was introduced through the throat to put in slowly flowing water from a jug, which generally contained a little more than a liter. The patient gasped and, at intervals, removing the veil, he was conjured to tell the truth. The severity of punishment was measured by the number of pitchers used, which sometimes reached six or eight. [35]

Splints. In each foot and each hand they placed a narrow table with five holes in which fingers were introduced by force.

The iron maiden. It consisted of an iron sarcophagus whose interior was covered with spikes. There were few sarcophagi of this type (the most famous was that of Nuremberg) and in fact it was an element intended to produce terror. Any of the previous tortures, albeit of more modest appearance, allowed an application of variable intensity, as required, while the maiden did not allow adjustments.

The trap. The prisoner stayed for a long time with his feet (and sometimes his hands) subject to a board with several holes of different section for different sizes of ankles or wrists.

The crushing thumbs. It was an instrument which, by turning a screw, was used to tighten the fingers or toes. There were greater variations for other body joints: elbows, knees and so on.

Friend's foot. Another instrument of punishment was the friend's foot, an iron fork attached to the chin and secured by a bandage around the prisoner's neck or waist, so it kept his head up and rigidly fixed. Its regular use was with inmates whipped in the streets or with those who were forced to parade in shame. [36]





Auto-da-fé, held on 30th, June, 1680, in the Plaza Mayor of Madrid



...After a month of having been made the proclamation of the auto-da-fé, began the ceremony with a procession [that took place the day before, June, 29th] in the church of Santa Maria, with the following order: the march was preceded by a hundred colliers, all armed with pikes and muskets, as they provided the fuel with which criminals were burned. They were followed by Dominicans, preceded by a white cross. Then came the Duke of Medinaceli, carrying the banner of the Inquisition. Then came a large cross draped in black, followed by several large and some quality people who were familiar of the Inquisition. The march was closed for 50 guards of the Inquisition, clad in black and white and commanded by the Marquis of Pova, hereditary protector of the Inquisition. Having gone this order the procession in front of the Palace, then it went to the Plaza, where the banner and Green Cross were placed in the gallery, where there were only Dominicans, retiring others. These monks spent most of the night singing psalms and held several masses at the altar from dawn till six in the morning. An hour later appeared on the balcony the Kings of Spain, the Queen Mother and many ladies of quality.

At eight o'clock the procession began, following the same order of the day before, with the Society of Colliers, which were placed to the left of the balcony of the King and with the guards to its right (the rest of the balconies were occupied by the ambassadors, the nobility and gentlemen). Then came 30 men, carrying life-size cardboard portraits. Some of these represented those who had died in prison, whose bones were also brought in crates, where they had painted flames; and the rest of the figures represented those who had escaped the hands of the Inquisition and they were outlawed. These figures were placed at one end of the amphitheater.

After them came a dozen men and women, with ropes around their necks and candles in hand, with cardboard pointed hood three feet high, on which there were written their actions, or represented in various ways. They were followed by another 50, who also carried candles in their hands, dressed in a yellow sanbenito or in a sleeveless green jacket, with a large red cross of St. Andrew in front and another behind. These were criminals, who (having been this the first time they were incarcerated), had repented of their crimes; they are usually sentenced to several years in prison or to wear the sanbenito, which is the greatest misfortune that can befall a family. Each of these offenders was carried by two familiar of the Inquisition. Then came twenty more offenders of both sexes, who had relapsed three times in their earlier errors and who were condemned to the flames. Those who had given some signs of repentance would be strangled before being burned, the others, having persisted obstinately in their errors, they would be burned alive. These wore sambenitos of fabric, on which were painted devils and flames, as in their pointed hoods. Five or six of them, who were more stubborn than the rest, were gagged to prevent them uttering phrases with blasphemous doctrines. Those sentenced to die were surrounded, in addition to two familiar (members of the Inquisition), by four or five monks who prepared them for death as they walked.

They passed these criminals in the order above, under the balcony of the King, and, after going around the platform, they were placed in the amphitheater on the left, each surrounded by the familiar and monks in attendance. Some of the Great, who were familiar, sat on benches that were ready for them at the bottom of the other amphitheater. Officials of the Supreme Council of the Inquisition, the Inquisitors, the officials of all other boards and several other distinguished personages, both of the regular clergy and of the secular clergy, all of them on horseback, came after with great solemnity and placed themselves in the amphitheater to the right side, on both sides of the rostrum where he was to sit the Grand Inquisitor. This was the last to arrive, dressed in purple, accompanied by the President of the Council of Castile and, once he was seated, the President retired. Then began the celebration of Mass...


At about twelve o'clock they began to read the sentence to convicted criminals. First they read that of those who died in prison or were banned. Their figures of cardboard were uploaded to a small platform and stuffed into small cages made for that purpose. Then they continued reading the sentence to each offender, who, straight afterwards, were stuck singly into cages so that they all knew them. The ceremony lasted until nine o'clock at night and, when it was finished the celebration of Mass, the king went away and criminals, who were condemned to be burned, were delivered to the secular arm and, being mounted on donkeys, they were taken through the so called Foncaral door and, near this place at midnight, all they were executed.







The Jews: Identy problem


... In medieval society, each group (each ethnicity, each class within an ethnic group, each of the multiple and fluid subdivisions within the class, each sex, of course) had its own value of a sign and it was into this sign where the individual found his own social reality; outside the group, his existence was merely physical.
The Jewish converts always lived a life of distress, precisely because they were not built either in the group who had left or in the new group they had chosen. Wanting to break free from the bondage of their parents, they fell into a disturbing and unexpected servitude. Already in Las Siete Partidas of Alfonso X, we read the terrible fate that always chased the Jews:

"Et (and) the reason why the Church, et emperors, et kings et the other princes suffered the Jews living among Christians is this: because they would live forever as in a captivity, et it would be to remember the humans that the parents they come from are the lineage of those who crucified our Lord Jesus Christ."


The persecutions of 1391, with the sudden creation of a new and controversial social group nominally Christian, the "New Christians", converted by force or by calculated convenience, open a new stage: the problem of converts.These mass conversions will occur specially in the days preceding the expulsion in 1492. Prior to these new unfortunate stages, the existence of the "convert" (some of sincere conversion) was culturally border, as it combined, in one subject, old and new parameters of ethnic definition and the difficulty in finding a new place in society, a new entity. The Jewish converts of the Middle Ages, having left, so false in most cases, the religion of their parents, not having been fully integrated into the new Christian faith, they lived apart from social constituted groups and outside the function these groups performed. Their walk was uncertain and anguished their existence. Their life and property was in constant danger and their religious attitude was dubious for some and questioned by others. In the Christian society the convert was an impostor and a hypocrite and neophyte, and before his former blood brothers he was an negligible apostate. Many of them, to expel from their interior the remains of guilty, to forget everything they had lived and to provoke a total rupture with the past legacy, had to suppress certain memories (motivated forgetting, as Jose Louis Pinillos says) so that the access to their memory did not cause them major conflicts. The human drama of jewish converts was essentially a moral drama. Man lives primarily under the sign of guilt. Faced with the moral failure, the puzzled convert looked for an acquittal and it is well known that the sense of frustration, of guilty, becomes a struggle against oneself, against others or against life. Although some leaders and some powerful noble families tried to protect them, the hatred of ordinary people had been sharpened so that it led to different pursuits. This hostility to the enriched convert, and sometimes lofty, crystallized in scenes of violence, both in Toledo (1449 and 1467) and in other cities.

The converts, upon receiving a new religion, were obliged to delve into it. They all had to became "a little theologians." This search, attempting to penetrate the mysteries and rituals, made their spiritual world be peopled with deep spiritual questions and concerns of inner peace yearnings and regrets... These religious concerns were, certainly, more intense than those of old Christians who had inherited the rituals of their elders and that they hardly raised the origin of these external ceremonies.

Faced with the intellectual concerns of the descendants of Jewish blood, the old Christians flaunted a "carelessly living," staking their obsessive concerns in motives of honor and reputation, which were linked to a sense of honor, opinion and purity of blood. The dominant society of Old Christians opposed an attitude of contempt for science. The important thing for the old Christian was gentry, which was acquired when there was no Hebrew or Moorish mark; that is why Sancho tells the
hidalgo (lesser nobleman) Don Quixote:

- "For God's sake that I am an old Christian, and to be a count that is enough."
- "And yet you've got enough, said Don Quixote, and even if you were not Christian, the case would not matter at all because, being me the king, I am certainly able able to give you nobility without you purchase it or serve me with nothing".

And that is why, in The Alcalde (Mayor) of Zalamea, Pedro Crespo reminds his son the caste to which he belongs, the clean seed:

"As long as he fits
Mr. Don Lope, son,
in front of your cousin and your sister
listen what I say to you.
By the grace of God, John,
you are clean in lineage
more than the sun, but villain "...


-"En tanto que se acomoda

el señor don Lope, hijo,

ante tu prima y tu hermana

escucha lo que te digo.

Por la gracia de Dios, Juan,

eres de linaje limpio

más que el sol, pero villano"...


The grievance was washed with blood, "because a well-born man, If he is offended, he does not live", says Clotaldo in La Vida es Sueño (Life is a dream); that is why he brings the sword (symbol) to Rosaura (dressed as a man) so she can cleanse her honor:


"Take the polished steel
you brought; that I know
that, in blood-stained of your enemy,
it is sufficient to avenge you;
because a steel that was mine
will know how to revenge you. "


"Toma el acero bruñido

que trajiste; que yo sé

que él baste, en sangre teñido

de tu enemigo, a vengarte;

porque acero que fue mío

sabrá vengarte".



The confrontation between the Church and the Synagogue was dating back to medieval times of the Middle Ages. For centuries, there were predictions that the Antichrist would be a Jew from the tribe of Dan and this idea had spread so much in the Middle Ages, that it was even accepted by scholars of a certain prestige. Like the Antichrist, it was thought that Jews were demons of destruction, whose only goal was to kill Christians and Christianity... [55]



The New Tribunal. The reasons of the Catholic Kings


...Given the antiquity of anti-Semitism in Spain, it would be of no concern -in a sense, at least- the replacement of an inquisition by other to address exclusively the problem of Jewish converts; on the other hand, when between 1391 and 1420 mass conversions occurred, it's then when the new inquisition should have been established and not so many years later: Therefore, the religious factor -specifically the Jewish problem- does not seem decisive, concludes Garcia Carcel, for the establishment of the modern Inquisition.

In these and other considerations, it appears that the fundamental difference between the two Inquisitions was the political role, for the Crown service. The modern Inquisition had a role that the medieval one did not have and otherwise it was somewhat discredited by its ineffectiveness. Its use as a political tool by the monarchy, especially between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, is indisputable (it even came to persecute money crimes), being the only body of state administration which allowed the monarch to skip jurisdictional boundaries of the charters of the Crown of Aragon. If the king was able to name the general inquisitors, to control the resources of the Holy Office and to decide on jurisdictional litigation, the Pope, meanwhile, was the final repository of the legitimacy and he always claimed the spiritual base of that power.

Interestingly, in France, ruled by an absolute monarchy, the Inquisition never existed, corresponding to the Parliament to initiate proceedings against heretics. In Portugal it was not until 1533. In Italy there were no similar courts until the late sixteenth century and in Rome, Paul III, founder of the Reformation, created in 1542 a tribunal, with the name of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that has survived until today. In their turn, the countries where Protestantism took root also had their own inquisitions.

This new Court had little in common with the Aragon or European model, as it was, in fact, an instrument of the Crown, although ecclesiastical, serving sovereigns. This way it was achieved the whole implant of the royal power in every corner of the kingdoms of Spain, kingdoms that until then, done their foral rights, escaped the action of the Crown. Because of this power of territorial jurisdiction, monarchs had no remorse to resort to them when other coercive means failed.

Anti-Semitic writers of the time claimed that the converts were still Jews in secret. The Dominican Alonso Hojeda branded them as rebels and said they were about to preach in the law of Moses and they could not hide being Jewish, which was not true, relying for that claim in the attachment that they were showing to the customs and traditions of their ancestors, as if it was possible to change in a few years the habits acquired and preserved for centuries. At this point lies, then, one of the causes of the creation of the Inquisition, as requested from some sectors of society not so much for a clean and religious feeling but for the desire of the old Christians, with interest in government and the Church, to avoid having to share power with men of mixed blood, in addition, they were more successful in public and commercial life.

As an ecclesiastical tribunal, the Inquisition depended directly on the Holy See, though, in fact, it was the real Crown the true director of the institution. Perhaps, to understand this apparent paradox, we should remember certain details of European and Spanish history at the time of its creation, when the Papacy was not at its best moment. It could not, therefore, a nascent and strong state, as it was the Spanish one, allow its hegemony to be challenged and so it took full control since the founding of the new Court. [56]


Ad perpetuam Rei Memoriam:

Bull of Sixtus IV (May, 31st, 1484)
This solemn bull
Ad perpetuam Rei Memoriammemoriam, which unpublished, contains great historical and legal terms related to the Hebrews and to the Spanish Mudejar.
This document bears the number 27 in the first volume of the original Apostolic Briefs and bulls that belonged to the Supreme Council of the Inquisition and today is on the National Historical Archive.

Sixtus episcopus, servus servorum dei, ad perpetuam rei memoriam.

Intenta semper salutis operibus apostolice sedis circunspecta providentia, indulta sibi desuper potestatis plenitudine nonnunquam per eam concessa, suadentibus rationabilibus causis, revocat et immutat, prout negociorum personarum locorum et temporum qualitate pensata id in domino, presertim pro auimarum salute et fidei catholice conservanda puritate, conspicit salubriter expedire. Sane, sicut non sine displicentia accepimus, in Ispaniarum Regnis, et presertim in provincia Vandalie, Judei et Sarraceni insimul permixti cum christianis habitare et indistinctum a christianis habitum deferre, servos et servitores christianos ac pro eorum pueris Nutrices christianas eis cohabitantes habere, et qui ex eis Medici sunt christianis mederi, ac qui Aromatarie exercitio insistunt ordinatas a Medico hebreo medelas componere et christianis exhibere, fructus redditus et proventus etiam ecclesiasticorum beneficiorum arrendara et locationem recipere, mercimonia quecunque cum christianis facere passim et indifferenter permittuntur, et preponuntur persepe exactioni publicarum functionum, nec possunt ut asseruut ne id faciant quomodolibet impediri, obstantibus super hiis concessis etiam a sede apostolica privilegiis quibus etiam asserunt se munitos, non sine domini nominis offensa, fidei catholice obprobrio et grandi detrimento ac periculo animarum simplicium christifidelium, qui ex huiusmodi mutua conversatione nonnunquam in illorum prolabantur errores.

Nos igitur volentes super hiis et aliis, que eis utriusque iuris censura prohibita sunt, ne pretextu quorumvis privilegiorum fiant, oportunum adhibere remedium, motu proprio non ad alicuius nobis super hoc oblate petitionis insiantiam, sed de nostra mera deliberatione omnia et singula privilegia super hiis per sedem prefatam vel alias quomodolibet hactenus concessa, que hic etiam si de eis eorumque toto tenore specialis et speciffca seu quevis alia expressio habenda esset volumus pro expressis haberi, auctoritate apostolica tenore presentium revocamus cassamus et annullamus, ac volumus pro infectis et non concessis haberi, locorum Ordinariis Regnorum predictorum et temporale dominium ipsorum Regnorum obtinentibus, cuiuscunque status et conditionis existant, districte precipiendo mandantes ut in premissis omnibus et aliis eosdem Judeos et Sarracenos concernentibus faciant sanctorum patrum decreta et canonicas sanctiones, ac quatenus illis non contrariantur sacratissimas leges inviolabiliter observari, christianos et Judeos ac alios infideles ut a premissis et aliis que eis de iure comuni permissa non sunt prorsus abstineant, iuris remediis oportunis compescentes, et non permittentes eosdem in premissis uti privilegiis quibuscunque, que eis nolumus ut prefertur suffragari. Et quia difficile foret presentes litteras ad singula loca deferre quibus expediens fuerit, volumus quod earum Transumpto, sigillo alicuius Prelati ecclesiastici et publici Notarii subscriptione munito, eadem prorsus fides adhibeatur in indicio et extra, que ipsis presentibus originalibus litteris adhiberetur, si forent exhibite vel ostense.

Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostre voluntatis revocationis cassationis anuullationis et mandati infringere, vel ei ausu temerario contraire. Siquis autem hoc attemptare presumpserit indignationem omnipotentis dei ac beatorum Petri et Pauli Apostolorum eius se noverit incursurum.



Archbishop Carranza




The new archbishop -Kamen writes- clearly had enemies. They only lacked the weapon for the attack. And this was provided by Carranza himself with his Comentarios (Comments) about the Christian catechism, published in 1558, in Antwerp.

The Comments were considered completely orthodox in doctrine. The Council of Trent considered and approved the work and many distinguished theologians of Spain agreed with this decision. But apparently, Carranza was a little careful theologian. Hostile critics, especially Cano, fell on a few phrases of his work, which were denounced as heretical.

The Archbishop of Granada labeled the Comments as a work "safe, true, pious and Catholic"; The bishop of Almeria said the book "did not contain any heresy but a very good teaching". However, Melchor Cano claimed that the book contained many propositions outrageous, reckless, swearing; others taste of heresy, others are wrong and even there are a few that are heretical, in the sense they do".

Guided by Valdes, the Inquisition accepted the view of Cano. No wonder that Pope Pius V exclaimed: "The theologians of Spain have committed to make him a heretic!". If Carranza had not committed heresy, why was he regarded with suspicion by their enemies? The personal enmity was very influential, because both Valdes and Cano detested Carranza.

Others mortal enemies were Pedro de Castro, bishop of Cuenca, who had nurtured hopes of occupying the seat of Toledo and his brother Rodrigo. Both, sons of the Count de Lemos, were resentful aristocrats, because a man of humble birth had risen to positions of influence, and they would play a key role in the arrest and the final imprisonment of the Archbishop. [69]

The Inquisitor Valdés, aware of the hierarchy of the Primate of Toledo, never stopped plotting against Carranza and seeks permission from the Pope to obtain a Brief to authorize prosecution of a Primate. To get it he sent his nephew to Rome, with the utmost secrecy and he got from the Pope Paul IV the Brief Cum Sicuti Nuper, January, 7
th, 1558, which begins its justification as follows: As recently, not without bitterness of soul, we learned that in the kingdoms of Spain, inciting the enemy of mankind, they have begun to swarm the Lutheran and other heresies born in this century and they appear to penetrate more extensively, so that it may also plausibly be suspected of some prelates...

The enemy of mankind that the Pope speaks of is Satan, no doubt. The Pope believes in the devil's power to harm the Church. Prelates are the bishops, but Carranza suspects that it is about a single bishop, himself, it was a tailor-made suit by "Satan", but a human Satan. Here are some phrases culled from the charter or papal brief:
For two years, during a biennium, the board of the dear children of the Supreme Council of the Inquisition... can stop or arrest such.., whether bishops, archbishops, Patriarchs, Primates... For achieving all this it is granted full and free authority to the Supreme Council of the Inquisition...

The inquisitorial process was legally justified by a delegated authority of the Pope to the inquisitors. Nobody could imagine that the Inquisition, that was created to attack the Cathars, Jews, Muslims and heretics in general, besides being a political weapon in the hands of the Kings, could be upon the jurisdiction of bishops, archbishops and primates in this way, and, furthermore, that they should fall directly under its court to be judged by it.

With this, the Pope and the King strengthened their absolute and all-embracing power. But, according to history, once invented the guillotine, the Kings did not escape the edge of the knife. The invention of the Inquisition began to defend the orthodoxy and it ended up being very harmful to the rights of bishops, who each time have less jurisdiction and power, despite some competing explanations of the Popes. But the facts speak for themselves, rather than the speech and papal writings. Afterwards another Motu Proprio should be addressed to Philip II.

The prosecutor of the Inquisition drafts the relevant warrant:" for preaching, writing and having dogmatized many heresies of Luther." Melchor Cano stated that his work contained numerous propositions: "that taste of heresy, others that were wrong and some of them that are heretical in the sense that they do". The King gave his approval for the arrest. The archbishop was asked to turn up in Valladolid, the 6th, August.

Fearing the meaning of this subpoena, Carranza got on the road, but traveling as slowly as possible. On August, 16th, he met a Dominican fellow and friend from Alcala, who warned him that the Inquisition was seeking to arrest him. Moved by this news, the archbishop continued his journey and four days after he arrived safely at Torrelaguna, a village north of Madrid, where he met his friend Fray Pedro de Soto, who had come from Valladolid to warn him as well. But it was too late.

Carranza was unaware that four days before his arrival, the officers of the Inquisition had established their residence in Torrelaguna and were waiting for him. Carranza arrived in town on Sunday August, 20th. Early on the morning of Tuesday, August, 22th, the Inquisitor Diego Ramirez and Rodrigo Castro, a member of the Supreme, along with about ten armed familiar, made their way into the bedroom and demanded Carranza:

- "Open to the Holy Office!".

The intruders were allowed to enter and an officer went to the archbishop saying:

- "Illustrious Lord, I am commanded: be arrested Your Reverend by the Holy Office."

Carranza said quietly:

 - "Do you have enough warrant to that?" He then read the order signed by the Supreme Court.

Carranza protested:

- "Do not those gentlemen know that they cannot be my judges, for being on my dignity and dedication directly subject to the Pope and not to any other?".

This was the moment to display the trump card. Ramirez said:

- "To do that Your Reverend will be given complete satisfaction," and showed him the papal brief.

That day the archbishop was kept under house arrest and it was imposed the curfew in the town at dusk. [70]


He was kept in the dungeons of the Inquisition of Valladolid and, according to Lea," out of sight of humans as fully as if it had been swallowed by the earth". He remained there for over seven years, deprived of Mass and sacraments; those were the rules of the Spanish Inquisition and of the Roman as well, as the heretic fell in excommunication. They fumbled in his writings which were interpreted according to the censor who read them. Tellechea says: "If he appeared extolling the faith they deduced that he denied his own merits or works. If he spoke of security and confidence, it was assumed that he denied the fear of God. If he required an alive and active faith, he was accused of denying the so-called dead faith". They were looking for any Lutheran trail in his writings.

Generally speaking, Carranza ends his brilliant and laureate career and, as a human element, he becomes a mere token or a game ball between the authorities in dispute for the coveted prize, in a theatrical drama riddled with jealousy and bitterness, and with strife among the Monarchy, the Papacy and the Inquisition.

Pope Pius IV sent to Madrid a special delegation, including three bishops who would later be Popes, to negotiate, and one of them wrote to Rome:

Nobody dares to speak up in favor of Carranza for fear of the Inquisition. No Spanish would dare to acquit the archbishop, however innocent he was believed, as this would be to oppose the Inquisition. Its authority should never consent to a declaration that Carranza could be imprisoned unjustly. The most ardent defenders of justice argue that here it is better to convict an innocent person than the Inquisition suffer the least diminution. [71]

This was the cause that drew the highest number of illustrious people: kings, Popes, cardinals, bishops, aristocrats... and the longest cause of the Spanish Inquisition: the trial lasted for 16 years. It was also the most notorious of the era, not only for the quality and rank of the accused, but also by the exaggerated interest which the Inquisitors showed at all times. Whatever they did was to attack the Primate Archbishop of Toledo, whose arrest and detention was an injustice, a true scandal, and a further sign of the ideological fanaticism and the arrogance of the Inquisition.

Carranza had brave and fearless defenders, who risked a lot in his defense, and some went even up to the Pope. Martin de Azpilicueta, called doctor Navarro, took his defense, and so he sacrificed his brilliant career.

The hope for Carranza was born with the ascent to the papal throne of Pope Pius V, to whom, secretly and in code, he sent this message:
Lord, if are you, bid me come to you on the water.

That's what the Pope did, ordered the Spanish authorities to send him with all the documentation to Rome, under pain of excommunication. As an old man, arrived Carranza to Rome and was confined in the Castel of Sant 'Angelo, where he spent nine years in prison. Pius V died in 1572 without having made a decision on the case. Gregory XIII, his successor, finally issued the ruling in April 1576, made to not offend Spain.

The sentence, says Kamen, satisfied King Philip and the Inquisition, for which an acquittal would have been a serious setback; it also satisfied Rome that was vindicating its exclusive authority over the bishops, And Carranza, despite the condemnation of the Comments, had not been charged with any heresy. The justice had been replaced by a political commitment.


The Comments were forbidden and condemned, and Carranza had to recant a list of errors and was ordered to retire to a monastery in Orvieto. The Papacy would manage the rich See of Toledo.


Bartolomé de Carranza y Miranda, eighteen days after the verdict was read to him, contracted a disease from which he died on May, 2nd, 1576.










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78-José Antonio Escudero, editor, Intolerancia e Inquisición, José A. Ferrer Benimeli, "Calvino y Servet: otra forma de inquisición", Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, Madrid, 2005, tomo I, pp. 78-79.

79-Agustín Celis Sánchez, Herejes y Malditos en la Historia, Alba Editores, Madrid, 2006, p. 89.

80-Agustín Celis Sánchez, Herejes y Malditos en la Historia, Alba Editores, Madrid, 2006, p. 91.

81-Agustín Celis Sánchez, Herejes y Malditos en la Historia, Alba Editores, Madrid, 2006, pp.92-100.

82-José Antonio Escudero, editor, "Calvino y Servet: otra forma de inquisición", José A. Ferrer Benimeli Intolerancia e Inquisición, Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, Madrid, 2005, tomo I, pp. 66-68.

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84-José Antonio Escudero, editor. Intolerancia e Inquisición, Eduardo Vinatea, "El conflicto entre filosofía y teología en el proceso de Giordano Bruno", Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, Madrid, 2005, tomo I, pp. 140-141.

85-Natale Benazzi y Matteo D’Amico, El libro negro de la Inquisición, Ediciones Robinbook, Barcelona, 2000, pp. 128-129.

86-José Antonio Escudero, editor. Intolerancia e Inquisición, Eduardo Vinatea, "El conflicto entre filosofía y teología en el proceso de Giordano Bruno", Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, Madrid, 2005, tomo I, pp. 147-149.

87-José Antonio Escudero, editor. Intolerancia e Inquisición, Eduardo Vinatea, "El conflicto entre filosofía y teología en el proceso de Giordano Bruno", Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, Madrid, 2005, tomo I, p. 150.

88-Natale Benazzi y Matteo D’Amico, El libro negro de la Inquisición, Ediciones Robinbook, Barcelona, 2000, p. 140.

89-Jacques Le Goff, La civilización del occidente medieval, Ediciones Paidós Ibérica, Barcelona, 1999, p. 131.

90-Natale Benazzi y Matteo D’Amico, El libro negro de la Inquisición, Ediciones Robinbook, Barcelona, 2000, pp. 144-145.

91-Natale Benazzi y Matteo D’Amico, El libro negro de la Inquisición, Ediciones Robinbook, Barcelona, 2000, pp. 146-147.

92-José Antonio Yoldi, El caso Galileo: Elementos para una lectura postcartesiana. Conflicto entre investigación y ciencia, Instituto de Teología Fundamental, pp. 32-34.

93-Natale Benazzi y Matteo D’Amico, El libro negro de la Inquisición, Ediciones Robinbook, Barcelona, 2000, pp. 147-152.

94-José Antonio Yoldi, El caso Galileo: Elementos para una lectura postcartesiana. Conflicto entre investigación y ciencia, Instituto de Teología Fundamental, p. 19.

95-Natale Benazzi y Matteo D’Amico, El libro negro de la Inquisición, Ediciones Robinbook, Barcelona, 2000, pp. 152-153.

96-Natale Benazzi y Matteo D’Amico, El libro negro de la Inquisición, Ediciones Robinbook, Barcelona, 2000, pp. 154-156.

97-Benazzi y Matteo D’Amico, El libro negro de la Inquisición, Ediciones Robinbook, Barcelona, 2000, pp. 159-160.

98-Natale Benazzi y Matteo D’Amico, El libro negro de la Inquisición, Ediciones Robinbook, Barcelona, 2000, p. 162.

99-Natale Benazzi y Matteo D’Amico, El libro negro de la Inquisición, Ediciones Robinbook, Barcelona, 2000, p. 168.

100-Natale Benazzi y Matteo D’Amico, El libro negro de la Inquisición, Ediciones Robinbook, Barcelona, 2000, pp. 141-142; 169-170.

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103-Henry Kamen, La Inquisición española: una revisión histórica, Crítica, Barcelona, 1999, pp. 112-113.

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105-ángel Alcalá, Literatura y ciencia ante la Inquisición española, Ediciones del Laberinto, Madrid, 2001, p. 58.

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107-José Antonio Yoldi, El caso Galileo: Elementos para una lectura postcartesiana. Conflicto entre investigación y ciencia, Instituto de Teología Fundamental, Apéndice II, pp. 35-38.


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