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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


Your opinion in the Guestbook


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


Your opinion in the Guestbook



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. (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












Castle of the Inquisition of Cuenca,

seat of the Tribunal of the Inquisition,

from the early seventeenth century.




Most people does not understand how, for so many years, true or supposed dissidents could be put to death for religious reasons. Llorente counted, from 1481 to 1788, 34,382 burned at the stake, which must be added 17,690 burned in statue (escaped convicts or dead) and 291,450 sentenced to imprisonment.

All these figures are questionable, but the fact is that their numbers abounded over what one might expect from a Christian entity.

We will monitor the atrocities the Templars had to suffer before their unjust dissolution. We will see the humiliation they had to put up with the ethnic minorities of Arabs and Jews. We shall enter the intellectual and moral meanness underlying the processes of Fray Luis de Leon and others.

Servetus, Giordano Bruno and Galileo are paradigmatic cases for science, and they need special consideration.








Beaucéant, the famous Templar banner, bipartisan black and white.

Upon it is read this austere motto:

 "Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomine tuo da gloriam"

(Not us, Lord, not us, but unto thy name give glory).



The Knights Templar or the Order of the Temple was founded in Jerusalem in 1118 by nine French knights. Of military and religious character, its official name at the beginning was the Order of the Poor Knights of Christ. After the first crusade that culminated in the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099, they settled in the palace of the newly elected King Baudouin I, when he left it to set his throne in the Tower of David in 1100. This had once been the palace of Al-Aqsa Mosque, located in what had once been the site of Solomon's Temple. The facilities became the property of the Poor Knights, known by a name forever associated with their original residence enclave: The Templar.

The nine gentlemen who had participated in the crusade, led by Hugh of Payens, a relative of the Count of Champagne, they expressed the king their desire to stay to defend the Holy Places and Christian pilgrims, who were going there. Baldwin sent letters to the most important kings and princes of Europe asking for support to the new order that was well received by the civil and ecclesiastical powers; the same Patriarch of Jerusalem was the first to adopt it canonically.

With the help of Bishop Bernard of Clairvaux, nephew of one of the nine founding knights, André of Montbard, a small delegation led by their Grand Master, Hugues de Payens, toured European courts for assistance and support. It was Bernard of Clairvaux who dictated its rule and who wrote De laude novae Militiae (In praise of the new militia). He summoned the Council of Troyes (France), during which drafted the rule of the Order, based in San Benito's rule reformed by the Cistercians, of which they also adopted the white habit, which was added a red cross later. Pope Honorius II gave the papal approval in 1128.

The privileges of the order were confirmed by the bulls Omne Datum Optimum, 1139, Milites Templi, 1144 and Militia Dei, 1145. They gave to the Knights Templar formal and real autonomy, not depending of the the Bishops, they only responded to Pope's authority. They were excluded from the civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, were allowed to have their own chaplains and priests belonging to the Order, could raise money and obtain goods of various shapes and forms. They had, for example, the right to mite, which were handouts that were given in all the churches once a year. They had rights to the conquests in the Holy Land. They could build fortresses (castles) and churches of their own. While at first these gentlemen were devoted solely to escort pilgrims in the Holy Land, would soon begin a vast expansion of the pauvres chevaliers du temple (poor knights of the temple). Fifty years later they had spread throughout France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal, with an unquantifiable wealth and power, which would have a multiplier effect as the years passed. One hundred years after its founding, towards the year one thousand two hundred and twenty, it was the largest organization in the West in every way; from military to economic, with more than nine thousand commands scattered across Europe.

The command was a kind of bank or a bank branch, where the traders who were in the Holy Land, for example, entering their money in a branch and a document of the Order, a sort of bill of exchange or check, could withdraw their money in other different command, and thus avoided the risk of being stolen on the tracks and paths the went and that were not sure at all at that time. For this service the Order charged a commission, as do the Banks today. Pilgrims also did that same. They deposited money in one branch and collected it in another; in exchange for payment of the respective commission. Soon the number of knights arrived at the figure of thirty thousand, plus servants, servants artisans and dependent peasants. It was more than fifty the number of castles and fortresses in Europe and the Middle East. Even more, they had their own fleet, anchored in their own ports in the Mediterranean and La Rochelle, on the Atlantic coast of France. They were moneylenders to the European kings and princes, of their own abundant treasury.

The Templar did not pay tributes, or taxes, or tolls.

They became the richest owners in Europe thanks to the assets of each brother, which went to the common heritage. By the year 1244, it was estimated that they possessed nine thousand properties between bailiffs (knight of special rank), commands, priories, houses and castles. It became fashionable, among the powerful people, to make the Order legacy of lands and riches; Alfonso the Battler donated them the entire kingdom of Aragon, but the nobility opposed to it.

At first they were divided into three classes: Knights (miles), Squires (armigieri) and serving brothers (customers). Subsequently, they were overlaid by the priests (clerici). They wore a linen girdle, to remember the vow of chastity. The priests wore white and the laity, in black or beige. The Knights, who predated the other brethren in the precedence and disposal of assets of the Order, were distinguished by the white cloak of linen or wool with the cross "pattée" gules, invitation to shed their blood in the battle, they also wore a ring with the same cross.

Among the gentlemen in Chapter meetings were prominent: the Grand Master, who held the title of Prince, the Seneschal, the second dignitary of the Order; the Marshal, who was the commander in war, the Drapier, responsible for the equipment; the Great Priors, Priors, Commanders and other officers. [...]

The battle in the Holy Land lasted for two centuries, with its triumphs and defeats, the faith sometimes firm, sometimes hesitantly, in hope of miracles and of a final triumph that was dissolving before their tired eyes. Jerusalem bells called them a thousands times to a fruitless battle. Disillusioned soldiers, lost cities, will they be accused of having doubted, of having dropped their arms in the twilight of that secular and barren struggle?

The courtier privileges, pomp on their trips made them to be judged as vain persons. It was said that Richard Coeur de Lion, at the end of his life, he would have said: "I leave the Cistercian monks the greed, the lust to the Greek monks and the pride to the Templar." [...]

famous flagship, the Beaucéant, "ex albo et nigro bipartitum (bipartite black and white), never had to fall into enemy hands. On it is read this austere, but not always respected motto: "Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomine tuo da gloriam" (Not to us, Lord, not us, but unto thy name give glory). On the battlefield, their motto was win or die ( "vincere aut mori"). [49]

Much has been talked about the political ambition of the Templar. It is said that in Castile, the Templar, the Hospitallers of St. John and the Knights of Santiago established a pact against the King. In Aragon and Valencia they had claims of sovereignty. That even in the Languedoc they had consensus and rapport with the Cathars. It is talked about their possible alliances with Aragon and their hostilities against the house of Anjou, who persecuted the Cathars. They say that they had fought in open battle against the Hospitallers of Palestine and against the kingdoms of Cyprus and Antioch. But perhaps the only "crime" committed by the Templar was to have accumulated that immense wealth, immense power and immense prestige.

Militarily, however, they have a major setback: the loss to Saladin of Jerusalem, in 1244. The kingdom disintegrates and the Templar along with the other two great monastic orders, the Hospitallers and the Teutonic Knights, have to move their headquarters to St. John of Acre (Akko in Hebrew and Akka in Arabic, at the shore of the Mediterranean, in northern Israel)

In 1248, Louis IX of France calls and directs the seventh Crusade, which is directed not to the Holy Land, but to Egypt. The military errors and the plague led to the defeat of Mansura and the subsequent disaster in which Louis IX is taken prisoner. The Templar were who negotiated peace and who gave the king a fabulous sum in payment of his ransom. Also Acre fell in 1291, forcing them to move their headquarters to Cyprus, the isle they bought.The change of the historical circumstances made Europe not to be more interested in the conquest and possession of the holy places, so that the Templar are alone now and unmotivated, but their finances and banking techniques evolved and were articulated in their two characteristic institutions: the command and banking.

The command is an immovable land property, located in a particular place, which was formed through donations and subsequent purchases and whose head was a Preceptor. Thus, from a mill (for example) the Templar bought the surrounding woods, then a land, after acquiring the rights to a people and so on. With all that they formed a command, by way of a classic feud. Commands could also be formed by collecting, under a single preceptor, several donations more or less dispersed. We know of rural commands (Mason Dieu, in England, for example) and urban commands (the "Vieux Temple, fully walled in the inner French capital).

As for the Bank, it must be said here that the Templar were the founders of modern banking. Thanks to the confidence that inspired, many people and institutions trusted them with their money, from the merchants to the kings themselves (in fact, the Treasurer of the Temple was that of France as well...). Because they had an extensive network of outlets, they could build up the first bill of exchange, giving travelers the opportunity to not travel with cash, at a time when the roads of Europe and the Middle East were anything, but safe. This banking system and abundant wealth made the Order become a big lender, which provided the funds, even when the various European kings needed money: loans are registered to kings of France and England, among others. The Templar would become one of the wealthiest institutions of their time, with vast lands and lordship, many commercial advantages, great treasures, commercial fleets departing from Marseille...

However, their economic operations have always had the goal of providing the Order of sufficient funds to maintain an army in the Holy Land in constant warpath. And, therefore, the motto of the Order: "Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomine tuo da gloriam". [50]











 The Templar Cross they worn on their monk's habit.



The Christian world, which accentuates its spiritual and political breakdown, in a word, its ideology, conspires against the Order of the Templar through two important historical figures, Philip the Fair, king of France, and the Pope, also French, Clement V. The rival jealousy and the shameless desire of the alien allied against the Order with intrigues and dastardly attacks, which eventually will snatch their privileges, their material goods and even the lives of some. It starts a process, skillfully engineered by the ambition and cunning, that go against the historical truth. The King of France, ruined by the wars against the English, needed money urgently; Jewish bankers had been imprisoned and tortured. They had to act on behalf of the purity of religion and the triumph of law by way of confiscation by the courts.

Philip IV of France, the Fair, hoping for a strong state that concentrated all power in the king, knowing that France had a debt owed to the Templar, by the loan that his grandfather Louis IX had received as a ransom for his release on account of the seventh crusade, convinced the Pope, Clement V, to initiate proceedings against the Templar.

This took him on the task of inventing heretical good reasons, undoubtedly the most efficient. Clement V was very close to France and his king, because he was French too. The heresies were easy to invent, as it was easy to get the incriminating confessions through the inquisitorial torture, that forces to say whatever the torturers want to hear, even if it is the most absurd and contradictory thing. That was the inquisitorial dynamic. Here are some possible heresies: sacrilege to cross, several heretical theories, sodomy, pagan idol worship, to deny Christ by pagan rites and so on.

The chancellor of the kingdom, William of Nogaret -famous for the incident at Anagni, where Sciarra Colonna had slapped the Pope Boniface VII-, the Inquisitor General of France, William Imbert, better known as William of Paris and Eguerrand de Marigny, all were slavishly serving the King and against the Templar, whose crime was that of being too powerful and rich as an Order and to shade the king of France, Philip the Fair. The charges were in charge of a certain Floyran Esquieu, famous spy of the French crown and of that of Aragon.

Clement V had called the Grand Master, who, rejecting the charges, asked for legal evidences; but all had fallen into mere words. Philip the Fair did not disclose his intentions: he chooses Jacques de Molay as godfather to one of his children.

The barely concealed vilification reached the ears of the court, where they had always been considered fully honest; yet with a perfidy of which there are few examples in history, on 12th, October, 1307, Philip the Fair gave Jacques de Molay the honor of supporting, with the most illustrious personages of the kingdom, the pall at the funeral of her sister-in law, in a ceremony of sad omen.

The next day, Friday the 13th, Jacques de Molay was arrested with his retinue, that comprised one hundred and thirty nine elderly gentlemen, aged in the struggle and adversity; over sixty Templar were arrested in Beaucaire and many others in the rest of kingdom. From that day, the popular superstition attributed to the "Friday the 13th" the character of disastrous day.

It was missing only the judicial process to legalize the arbitrariness. The Government had followed the procedures of the Inquisition: insistence, contradictions and finally torture to extract confessions of imaginary crimes no less imaginary. Recently, the Government had stated that the violence of pain removes all value from the confession and had proclaimed the principle that the accused should be in prison "ad custodiam non ad poenam" (to be retained not to be punished) and however, the old procedure was adopted in its most cruel and immoral manner, and the furthest from the right.

On Friday 13th, October 1307, Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the order, and 140 more Templar, were imprisoned in a joint operation simultaneously throughout France and tortured; under pressure, most defendants pled guilty of some secret crimes. Some made similar confessions without the use of torture, since, for fear of it, the mere threat was enough. Such was the case of the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, who later admitted he had lied to save his life.

This investigation, conducted without the authorization of the Pope, who had the military orders under his immediate jurisdiction, was radically corrupt in its purpose and procedures. Clement V not only introduced a strong protest, but entirely annulled the trial and suspended the powers of the bishops and their inquisitors. However, the offence had been admitted and remained as the irrevocable basis of all subsequent processes. Philip the Fair took advantage of the discovery to be granted by the University of Paris the title of champion and defender of the faith, as well as raising public opinion against the horrendous crimes of the Templar in the General States of Tours. Moreover, managed to be confirmed before the Pope the confessions of seventy-two Templar alleged accused, who had been specifically chosen and trained in advance.

In view of this research in Poitiers, June 1308, the Pope, who had hitherto remained skeptical, finally showed interest and opened a new commission, which addressed the same process. He booked the cause of the Order to the papal commission, leaving the trial of the Templar, as individuals, at the hands of diocesan commissions, whose powers were restored.




WARRANT OF THE Templar, 14th, SEPTEMBER 1307



Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Order of the Templar.

He was burned as relapsed, with Geoffroy de Charnay, at the stake,

 before the doors of Notre Dame, in Paris.

The18th March,1314.



In a bizarre statement, shyster, hollow and empty, smelling of libel, written by a perverted mind, but emanated from the absolute power with the connivance of the Pope Clement V, also French; on behalf of Philip the Fair, King of France self-proclaimed defender of the faith and the Church, supported by public rumor confirmed by confessions extracted under torture... determining the order of arrest of the Templar to get, legally, the theft of their immense wealth and at the same time, get rid of a power that overshadows and threatens his absolutism.

Its style and content deserves to be in an "Anthology of vacuous political texts". The only concrete paragraph is the last one, where, in a few words, everything is perfectly defined so that nothing of those cleanly confiscated goods could scatter. Movable and immovable properties.

Philip, by the grace of God king of France, to our dear and faithful Lord of Onival, to the gentleman Joan of Torville and to the bailiff of Rouen, health and dilection.
A bitter thing, a deplorable thing, surely something horrible to think, terrible to hear, a detestable crime, an execrable crime, an abomination, a terrible disgrace, something quite inhuman, indeed alien to all humanity, has come to our ears thanks to the reports of many people worthy of faith, not without a great shock move us and make us tremble with violent horror and, given its gravity, a huge pain grows in us all the more cruelly since there is no doubt that surpasses the enormity of the crime to be an offence to the divine majesty, a disgrace to humanity, a pernicious example of evil and a universal scandal....

[...] the wolf hiding under the guise of the lamb, under the habit of the Order, they miserably insult to the religion of our faith and, in our day again, they crucify our Lord Jesus..... stripped of clothing worn in secular life, naked, placed in the presence of the one who receives them or his replacement, they are kissed by him, according to the odious manner of their order, first below the spine, second in the navel and finally in the mouth, to the shame of human dignity....

[...] with their obscenities, they eliminate dew benefits (sic), they corrupt the purity of air and they determine the confusion of our faith...

[...] And although we had pain... After talking to our most Holy Father in the Lord, Clement...

[...] Therefore, we who were laid by the Lord on the lookout for real eminence to defend freedom of faith of the Church....

[...] That is why we charge and carefully prescribe in regard..... to seize their properties, movable and immovable and to retain very carefully under your hands such seized properties, without cost and no devastation, according to our orders and instructions that have been sent to you under our password, until you receive there a new order from us.... [52]



Full text in the Supporting Documents


The papal commission, assigned to review the cause of the Order, had taken up their duties and gathered the documentation, that should be submitted to the Pope and the convened General Council, to decide on guilt and fate of the Order. Although the defense of the Order was made poorly, they failed to prove that the Order, as a body, professed any heretical doctrine or practiced any secret rule, distinct from the official one. Accordingly, the General Council of Vienne, in Dauphiné, on 16th, October 1311, the majority was in favor of maintaining the order; but the Pope, irresolute and harassed by the French crown, mainly adopted a Solomonic solution: he decreed the dissolution, not the condemnation, of the Order; and not by a criminal sentence, but by an apostolic decree, bull Vox clamantis, 22nd, March 1312.

The Pope reserved to his own devices the cause of the Grand Master and his three first dignitaries. They had confessed their guilty and there was only a question of reconciling them to the Church, once they should testify their repentance with the customary solemnity. To give this solemnity more publicity, a platform was erected in front of the cathedral of Notre-Dame for the reading of the sentence. But, in the supreme moment, the Grand Master recovered his courage and proclaimed the innocence of the Templar and the falsity of his own alleged confessions. In compensation for this deplorable moment of weakness, he said he was prepared to sacrifice his life, and he was immediately arrested as a heretic recidivist, relapsus, along with another dignitary who chose to share his fate. By order of Philip he was burned along with Geoffroy de Charnay at the stake, before the doors of Notre Dame, L'ile de Paris, the day of Candelaria, 18th, March, 1314.







Printed form for the ascertainment of the purity of blood.

Questions asked the witnesses to determine the cleanliness of the lineage.




Then I replied: Sir, to satisfy this question I will need a similar case to that of a new and somewhat roasted Christian, rich and powerful, who living glad, fat, fresh and very happy in a house of his own, it happened that an Inquisitor came to be his neighbor and just by seeing him so close he began to slim down so much, that it put him in a few days at the same bones. (Matthew German, Guzman of Alfarache).

It seems that the Jews are in the Iberian Peninsula from the third century, engaged in trade and farming, by themselves or through the work of slaves. Under the reign of the Visigoth kings they were object of various persecutions, until the Muslim invasion (711) freed them from the yoke of the Visigoths. From that moment, at early eighth century, colonies were established with Jewish merchants and Muslim garrisons, as in Granada, Seville, Cordoba, Toledo.., making the Hebrews to reach an estimable degree of culture and welfare. From the tenth century, they abound documents related to the properties of Jews in Barcelona, Aragon, Navarra and the existence of numerous Jewish communities in Castile and Leon. At this time, when land and livestock were the backbone of the economy, the Jews showed a tendency to the emerging trade and urban markets.

They enjoyed equal rights with Christians, rights that were established by the privileges that the Kings granted to aljamas, ghettos, Jewish quarters. The Kings, while they received their tributes, granted the Jews a great number of privileges, because they were aware of their ability to trade and to organize the administration of lands reconquered from the Arabs, and because they felt that the Christian society had no experience or inclination for business and administrative bureaucracy, preferring to engage in the noble profession of war.

Alfonso VI, in 1085, takes Toledo, a city in which many Jews and Muslims lived, and, in 1091, he signed the capitulations, in which both ethnic groups were granted the right to remain in their homes, governed by their laws and preserving their religions, yet there was a certain kind of discrimination.

The truth is that the Hebrews, more talented than Christians in business matters, were able to climb the highest offices of state administration, becoming the kings courtiers. They were, at the same time, lenders of kings, nobles and bishops, to whom they lent large sums of money; in return for that, they were placed in charge of tax collection, hateful profession, that would beat them with the hatred and animosity of Christians, in the not too distant future.

They also stood out much in the successful cultivation of the sciences: Law, Medicine, Philosophy, Accounting, Administrative Theory and Astrology.

Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, El Cid (Arabic Sayyid, sir), whose exploits are celebrated in the Cantar de Mío Cid (c. 1140) is the most famous military hero of his time. He was a Castilian nobleman, who served the Christians and the emir of Zaragoza, and who ended as an independent warrior and as the ruler of Valencia, a Muslim city he had conquered in 1094; he was the archetype of the Christian warrior, despite his alliance with Muslims.


El Cantar de Mío Cid (The Poem of the Cid), in one of its chapters, reflects the people's antipathy to Jews, when Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar deceives two Jews, Raquel and Vidas, rich and greedy merchants, stereotype that applies to all Jews without distinction. El Cid urgently needed cash, because he should leave Castile for the exile that King Alfonso VI imposed to him, in retaliation for the oath he had to pay in Santa Gadea de Burgos, at the demand of Don Rodrigo, of no involvement in the death of his brother Sancho. The loan will be guaranteed with some coffers full of gold and silver; the rich Jews, impressed by the request of the famous knight, gave him the money without checking the coffers, that were filled only with sand. It was a vile fraud and a cruel hoax, but, when the bards recited what happened, Christians celebrated it, because now the deceived were the Jews and not the Christians. The Jews had found the mold of their shoes.

While the Mudejar of Castile and Aragon were farmers or manual workers in the city, the Jews remained in the big cities, engaged in trade. The Christian majority treated the Jews and Muslims with equal contempt and envy even tolerating their religion.

Jewish society was divided into two classes: the aristocracy, a few very wealthy families, and also the mass of artisans and shopkeepers humble workers, though, for Christians, all Jews were rich and usurers.

Of course the Jews had a different culture, but also were Spanish and not a separate race and their number at any time was due to increased immigration from abroad. Their language was largely the same as other citizens. They did not speak Hebrew, as this was reserved only for religious ceremonies or for written language. They spoke Arabic in the Muslims territories and spoke the Castilian in Castilla. [53]

During the reign of Alfonso VIII, on the eve of the famous battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, 16th, July 1212, there were anti-Semitic riots that ended the life of the beautiful Jewess Rachel, a lover of Castilian King, accused of influencing the real will for her brethren, together with other innocent victims.

Ferdinand III the Saint, King of Castile from 1230 to 1252, was proclaimed king of the three religions of Christian, Jewish and Muslim. A beautiful and unique claim in an era increasingly intolerant, because it is precisely in this period when the papal Inquisition (c. 1231)was born in Europe. Mutual tolerance between members of the three religions that coexisted in the Iberian Peninsula, with its cyclical swings, reached its zenith with Ferdinand III and his son and successor, Alfonso X the Wise, who allowed the Israelites to enter any honors and public offices, but, pressed by the spirit of that age, contrary to the Jewish cause, dictated some provisions against them on the famous Siete Partidas (Seven-Part Code).

The situation of the Jews was gradually getting worse in the fourteenth century. In Navarra, 1328, a group of fanatics, encouraged by the Franciscan friar Pedro Olligoyen, launched their assault on the Jewish communities or Jewish quarter, which ended with thousands dead. Authorities of Navarre arrested the instigator Olligoyen and imposed heavy fines on the locations where anti-Semitic violence broke out.

At mid-fourteenth century, the worst century of the Middle Ages, with its plagues, famines, wars and calamities, the Black Pest arrived. They blamed it on the Jews, both in Spain and the rest of Europe. Absurd, but anti-Semitism was aggravated because almost everyone presented the Jews as responsible for this calamity and they were used as scapegoats. However, the Jewish became sick and died of fever as the Christians. France, Germany and other countries joined the hysteria against the Jews massacred by thousands, burning them or putting them in barrels which were thrown into rivers. On 17th, May 1348, it was attacked the Jewish quarter of Barcelona, with a high death toll, although Peter IV, the "Ceremonial", tried to prevent these disturbances.

During the turbulent reign of Henry III, John II and Henry IV, there were frequent disturbances against Jews and people against jewish converts. The sermons against the "greedy and powerful Jews" of the Archdeacon of Ecija, Fernando Martinez, had created a climate of hostility towards those who followed the Mosaic rite. The people, irritated and inflamed by the speeches delivered by Fernando Martinez from the pulpit, began to fill with insults to Jews, who suffered persecution by the angry mob. The killings stretched from Seville to Cordoba, Toledo, Zaragoza, Valencia, Barcelona, Lleida and other cities. Just when Queen Elizabeth came to the throne, sad events took place in Cordoba and other cities against those of Jewish origin. [...]. [54]

There were many Jews who were forced to be baptized to avoid persecution and opt for jobs and state benefits. They were not aware at least of the problems and dangers this would bring them with their own consciousness and culture and the rest of their group who remained in Judaism and who would qualify them of apostates. And the worst thing is that, for baptism, they fell within the jurisdiction of the Inquisition, that would slaughter them. They would also be call of new Christians and would be rejected by the Old Christians.

The status of these newcomers to the Christian faith was truly paradoxical: they were rejected by the Old Christians and, in turn, were mocked by the Jews who reproached them their sin of apostasy, to the extent that some Jewish converts could no longer live in her family home, situated on the old "ghettos", and they were also rejected in Christian neighborhoods. [...] [55]



More about Jews identity problems, in Supporting Documents


"The Suffering", King of Castile and Leon, so named for the many diseases that when a child he had suffered, died in 1406, at age 27. Mayr, his doctor, a competent Jewish physician highly appreciated by the king, was indicted, for malice and envy of the courtiers, of poisoning the king. Being tortured he had to confess that he had poisoned the King, although it was not true. All these slanders and inventions were the occasion for the masses to hate and defame the Jews.

The preachers, whose model was the Valencian Dominican Vincent Ferrer, preached throughout Spain to convert Jews to Christianity, getting -it is said - the conversion of more than fifty thousand Jews in Spain. For the Jews there was no choice: either conversion or loss of life and property. Wisely applying the epikeia (a benign interpretation of the law), they complied with the circumstances and were baptized, but without ceasing to be Jews with their beliefs and customs. This was not the point of view of Vicente Ferrer neither of the bishops nor the rest of the preachers; they demanded that, being baptized, they abandon their culture and assume the Christian one, although many Christian customs were odious and repulsive to them.

Benedict XIII, born Pedro Martínez de Luna, the
"Papa Luna", 1415, advised by his doctor Rabbi Joshua Halorki, convert christened with the name of Hieronymus de Santa Fe, published an anti-Jewish Bull, which, for its fiery content and threats, does the conversion of many Jews who would still remain Judaizers ( crypto-Jews) and secretly practice Jewish faith.

There is no doubt that Jewish scientists and scholars had a great period. The medicine was almost monopolized by them, to the extent that the royalty and aristocracy blindly trust them. The popular hostility to them was based more on financial matters, for they acted as tax collectors and tax officials in the service of kings and nobles. Demographic and economic crises and social instability, affecting Castile in the fifteenth century, further complicated the problem of Jewish converts who were given the opprobrious names, like "pigs", of obscure origin. The atmosphere between old and new Christians became increasingly unbearable.

Jews also played a significant role in culture, as translators of Arabic, that Christians ignored. Many prelates were leasing their properties to the Moors and Jews to collect rents and tithes that belonged to them, to the outrage of Christian taxpayers. After the attacks and massacres in the communities in the late fifteenth century, the Jews cease to be a significant middle class. From a wealthy position they passed to a social situation extremely fragile; traders, shopkeepers, jewelers, tailors and cobblers become farmers and peasants. These Jew peasants could be found throughout Spain, but especially in Castile, where relations between Jews and Christians remained extremely cordial throughout the century.

Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic Monarchs, from the beginning of their reign, 1474, were willing to maintain between Christians and Jews the same peace that they wanted to start among the cities and among the nobility.

"All Jews of my kingdom, told Elizabeth in 1477, are mine and are under my protection and my protection as part of their defense and protection and maintaining justice". However, the actual policy should address existing social tensions, where anti-Semitic groups of municipalities required the Jews to wear a distinctive symbol on their dress and restrained them in the exercise of usury. The Cortes of Toledo, 1480, legislated and implemented a policy of separation, confining Jews to the ghettos.

But the real problem was made up of converts who were practicing the faith, rites and ceremonies of Jewish law. For them it would be created the New Inquisition.

Although the Inquisition only had authority over the Christians, the Jews soon would realize that they too would fall under its inhuman machinery, origin of their misfortunes to come.

It was generally felt that the conversions were not sincere and that if the Jews did consented to be baptized it was only to access charges that were forbidden before to them. The idea for the New Inquisition was sold to the Kings for anti-Semitic groups and some sad famous characters, confessors of Kings, as the Dominican from Valladolid, Fray Tomas de Torquemada (1420-1498), of Jewish origins, nephew of Cardinal Juan de Torquemada and prior of the convent of Santa Cruz in Segovia. He will be responsible for the final organization of the New Inquisition, which will become the most hated symbol of the more disgusting hypocrisy and the most fierce sadism. He himself, in 1468, attended the execution of some Jews unjustly accused of having murdered a Christian child. The Torquemada family managed with the Holy See the introduction of an Inquisitorial Tribunal for Castilla, where never had been, although it was in Aragon. In Castile, until now, the responsible for the suppression of heretical deviations were the bishops and the ecclesiastical courts.

Some converts, especially those who were clergymen, became bitter persecutors of their former colleagues. In some communities, a gap was visible between Jews and converts. There emerged a tension that boded ill to the point that some Jews, in revenge, had no problem about cooperating with the Inquisition against the converts to settle old scores and grudges. When a Jew testified falsely, he was arrested and tortured by the Court. The Inquisition itself, according to Rabbi Capsili, demanded that the synagogues impose the Jews the mandatory reporting of false converts.

Although Ferdinand and Isabella had intervened repeatedly to protect Jews from abuse, they were eventually convinced by the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada, first, to isolate them and then, to take the most drastic measure of all: the total expulsion of the Jews. But Ferdinand and Isabella established the New Court not only for religious reasons, but clearly for political and financial ones. 


Why was it created this Spanish Inquisition? It is sometimes said that it was created as an instrument conducing to the achievement of national religious unity. Such an explanation is unsatisfactory, because the Inquisition had no jurisdiction over the not-baptized, that is, on the people of other religions. Some Jewish historian have said that, under religious pretext, the real cause was the attempt to seize the assets of the wealthy converts, or the claim of Ferdinand "the Catholic" to organize an institution of political control that would act in the different realms beyond the shackles of political legal peculiarities... [56]



More about the creation of the New Court in the Supporting Documents


Even if the New Inquisition was approved, given the economic pressures and influence of the communities on the Kings, they passed two years without the obnoxious and hated Court assumed its duties. It is on September, 17th, 1480, when the new statutes are published and Kings, under the papal concession, name the first inquisitors of the Holy Office in Medina del Campo. The Dominicans Miguel de Morillo and Fray Fray Juan de San Martin are ordered to move to Seville to solve the problem of false converts. They were installed first at the convent of St. Paul and then in the fortress of Triana, where they organized the Court to purge the Sevillian society of the bad Christians, those men and women, apostates and heretics who take only the name of Christian in appearance, but still follow the "cult, superstition and treachery of the Jews".

was born the most detestable and attacked work of the Catholic Kings, to be used skillfully by the monarchs in the civil and religious affairs. A very valuable weapon and, politically speaking, a clever return to the policy of Constantine and the Church, when it was used as an instrument of political unity, social cohesion and repressive coercion under the guise of saving orthodoxy by the stifling of heresy.

The Pope Sixtus IV gave up to the request of the Catholic Kings: "Let us do things our way". The two powers, the two Gelasian swords mutually agreed to save Spain and the Church, ignoring both how much they lose: the state would lose its Jewish banking, excellent administrators and tax collectors, and the Church would lose its sense of evangelization.










Massacre of Jews in Barcelona, 1391.





Never be defeated evil with evil. The more a man knows the truth, he should be least likely to condemn others. The only remedy against murder is to stop to kill. Killing a man for an idea, it is not to defend a doctrine, it is simply to kill a man. Castellion.

The attempt to defend the converts of Seville before the inquisitorial terror begins with a conspiracy against the tribunal, which was discovered and brutally punished. The daughter of Diego de Susan, the "fermosa fembra" (beautiful woman), who maintained an affair with an old Christian betrayed her father and other conspirators against the Court, by telling her sweetheart what was being planned. This one gave them away at the brand-new Inquisition. The conspirators were arrested, interrogated, tortured and sentenced. This first auto-da-fé was hold on February, 6th, 1481. Who preached was the fanatical convert Fray Alonso de Hojeda who died a few days later, a victim of the plague that began to rage in Seville. Six people, accused of Judaizing, were relaxed, dead at the stake, in La Tablada field.

Cardinal Mendoza, shortly after, published an Edict of Grace, whereby those they believed guilty of Judaizing, practicing Jewish rites, should appear before the Tribunal that only would imposed canonical penalties. Between 17,000 and 20,000 people showed up, including canons, friars, nuns and state officials, all converts. Then would come the Edict of Faith, which threatened with excommunication for not turning in the Judaizings or crypto-Jews. Many were betrayed, tortured and burned. The cruelty of that initial stage of the New Inquisition is attested by the chroniclers and poets of that era, such as the anti-Semitic Anton de Montoro.

Given these facts and the phenomenon of the plague, that was raging in Seville, thousands of families, including women and children, fled the city. So great was the work of the judges that they demanded more for the fight against crypto. A papal Brief, February, 11th, 1482, appoints seven more inquisitors, all Dominican friars, among who there was one from the convent of Santa Cruz in Segovia, the famous Tomás de Torquemada. New courts were created and it was established the Supreme Council of the Inquisition, whose first Grand Inquisitor was that friar from Segovia.

They talk of another conspiracy by the Judaizing, which was held on the feast of Corpus Christi in Toledo, 1485. According to the sources, the development of events followed the pattern of Seville, with betrayals, accusations, arrests and executions. It is also suspected that the conspiracy was invented to justify the violent acts that would serve as a warning and punishment.

The Supreme, such was the name by which the Supreme Council of the Inquisition was known, was composed of four members, three clergy members and a chairman. Torquemada, with the title of Inquisitor General, had the honor of being its first president.


In Aragon, the New Inquisition was a simple continuation of the old court, with the difference that the Crown now controlled appointments and payments, so that, in practice, it was more in the hands of King Ferdinand than in the hands of the Pope. Its courts were in Barcelona, Zaragoza and Valencia. Its work began focusing on Judaizing converts, who became alarmed and fled en masse. The courts acted with excessive zeal and not always guided by religious motives.

On April, 18th, 1482, Pope Sixtus IV promulgated the bull Ad Perpetuam Rei Memoriam, that the historian Henry Charles Lea describes as the most extraordinary bull in the history of the Inquisition, in which he complained that in Aragon, Valencia, Mallorca and Catalonia the Inquisition were acting not by zeal for the faith or the salvation of souls, but by greed for wealth. Many true and faithful Christians, because of enemies, rivals, slaves, and the testimony of other lower and even less appropriate persons, with the no evidence of any kind, they have been locked up in secular prisons, tortured and condemned as relapsed heretics, deprived of their property and assets and they were delivered to the secular arm for execution, with the peril of their souls, giving a pernicious example and causing scandal to many. [57]



Ad Perpetuam Rei Memoriam. You can read it in Latin in the Supporting Documents


The Pope himself acknowledges the sad reality of the prosecutorial action of the Inquisition, in arbitrary and criminal detriment of those falsely accused, and the scandal that all these produces. In view of this, he should have crowned that Bull with abolishing of the newly released court, but this would seriously harm his relations with the Catholic Ferdinand, who had in the Tribunal the perfect political tool, more effective than he could ever dream of.


Ferdinand, surprised and disappointed by the unexpected reaction of the Pope, who in his Bull attacks the abuses of the Inquisition, tells the Pope: I've heard things, Holy Father, which, if true, certainly deserve the greatest of the astonishments. And the weak and indecisive Pope Sixtus IV folds up the sails and withdraws the bull.


Accordingly, hereinafter Episcopal officials would act jointly with the inquisitors; they would communicate the name and testimony of the accuser to the accused, who will be allowed legal assistance; only were to be used Episcopal prisons and it would be allowed to appeal to Rome. The bull was extraordinary, because, in the words of Lea, it was the first time that heresy, like any other crime, was declared a creditor of a fair and righteous justice. Apart from this, there is no doubt that the Pope took the opportunity to reassert his authority over an Inquisition which was once papal and then had fallen entirely in the hands of the Aragonese king. Moreover, the bull was so favorable to the claims of the converts that they undoubtedly used their influence to get it. Ferdinand was outraged by the act of the Pope and questioned the authenticity of the bull, on the grounds that no reasonable man would have enacted such Pontiff document. On May, 13th, 1482, he writes to Pope :

"I've heard things, Holy Father, which, if true, certainly deserve the greatest astonishment. It is said that His Holiness has granted to converts a general pardon for all errors and crimes they have committed... But I have not given credence to those rumors, because they seem in no way things would have been granted by His Holiness, who has a duty to the Inquisition. But if by chance concessions had been made by the persistent and clever persuasion of the converts cited, I will not ever allow them to take effect. Be careful therefore not to let the matter go further and to revoke any concessions, entrusting us the care of this issue".

Sixtus IV hesitated before such decision and in October announced that he was suspending the bull. The way was thus quite clear to Fernando. Cooperation was definitely secured with the papal bull on the October, 17th, 1483, in which Torquemada was appointed Inquisitor General of Aragon, Valencia and Catalonia, so the Spanish Inquisition was united under one command. The new court was depended directly in the crown, becoming the only institution whose authority covered all the kingdoms of Spain, a fact of vital importance for future occasions, when the ruler of Castile would interfere in other provinces where his sovereign authority was limited. [58]

the Inquisition in Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia, the privileged classes, not converts protested using an argument that the charters (Fueros) stipulated that the most important positions should be from the region. This requirement is not met the newly appointed inquisitors, since as Torquemada as Gaspar Juglar and Pedro Gaspar Arbués of Épila were Castilian.

The activities of the new court deeply disturbed not only converts, but also all those who remained loyal to the Aragonese charters. As reported by the chronicler of Aragon, Jeronimo de Zurita:

" They began to alter and stir those who were newly converted of Jewish lineage and with them many knights and chieftains, proclaiming that this manner of proceeding was against the liberties of the kingdom, because of this crime their goods were confiscated and they were not given the names of the witnesses who deposed against the defendants that these two things were very new, never used and very damaging to the kingdom ".

As a result, continued Zurita, the converts had the whole kingdom in their favour, including people of higher rank, including Old Christians and nobles.

When public opposition became so important that it was thought to convene the four estates of the realm, Fernando was quick to send a letter to the principal nobles and the deputies in which he justified his position:

"There is no intention to infringe the charts, but rather to strengthen their enforcement. It can not be imagined that vassals such Catholics as those of Aragon would ask, or that kings so Catholic would grant privileges and freedoms adverse to faith and pro-heresy. If the old inquisitors had acted conscientiously in accordance with the canons, there would have not been cause to bring these new, but they were unaware and were corrupted by bribery. If there are so few heretics as they say, no need to fear the Inquisition. Do not stop it to kidnap, seize, or do any other act necessary to ensure that no cause or interest, however large, will be allowed to interfere with its procedures in the future, as now." [59]

Fernando, cleverly and supported by faith, seeks to justify the violation of the charters, but they do not believe him and it follows the hostility towards the Holy, yes, the Holy Inquisition. Ferdinand had sworn to respect their rights, but political in the end, does not fulfill his oath. The Catalans were outraged and wrote to Ferdinand, saying that such appointments were against freedom, constitutions and chapters, by His Majesty solemnly sworn.

Spain as a nation was born in 1479, when Ferdinand becomes king of Aragon. Elizabeth, his wife, is already Queen of Castile since 1474. The two realms seem to retain their own sovereignty ("Tanto monta, monta tanto, Isabel como Fernando"), but in fact, the marital union is a political union. The latter one will be made administratively in the Cortes of Toledo in 1480, where four Councils shall be established to govern the future Spain: Council of Castile, Aragon Council, Council of State and Treasury Council.

From an ideological standpoint, the Spanish nation will be forged with the defense of Christian values in its most exalted expression: the Crusade. With its dual dimension: outside (against the infidels of the war of Granada) and inside (against the Jews until their expulsion). In 1492, these two facets of the internal crusade are reached: Granada surrenders and the Jews must leave Spain.

But a new form of internal crusade was opened in the very heart of the Christian community, since, in 1481, the New Inquisition was established in Seville: the crusade against the heretical Judaizers. [60]

The converts opposition had not been in any way destroyed. On one hand, it grew in strength with the passive support of the old Christians who had suffered from the introduction of the new court in Aragon, on the other, the resistance was becoming more desperate because of its obvious failure, as it can be seen in cases like that of Teruel. In the higher circles of the converts, the idea of killing an inquisitor was gaining strength. It was an idea also supported by some Christians and old converts as eminent as Gabriel Sanchez, treasurer of the king, and Sancho Paternoy, national teacher of the kingdom of Aragon. The turning point came the night of 15 September 1485, when the inquisitor Pedro Arbués prayed kneeling before the altar of the Cathedral of Zaragoza. Under his robe, the inquisitor was wearing a chain mail and a steel helmet, due to warnings about the danger to his life. The night in question, eight conspirators recruited by converts entered the cathedral trough the chapter door and stood quietly behind the inquisitor. Having found that it was Arbués, one of them stabbed him in the back through his neck causing him a fatal wound. While Arbués was staggering, two others also inflicted him wounds. The murderers escaped while the canons of the cathedral came hurriedly and found the Inquisitor dying. Arbués died a day later, on September, 17th.[61]













Martyrdom of St. Peter Arbués
Etching of Francesco Cecchini.
Archive of La Seo, Zaragoza






The impression caused by this murder brought some consequences that the converts certainly should have foreseen. When it was discovered that the murderers were converts, the whole mood of the city of Zaragoza was reversed and, with it, that of all Aragon. Arbués was declared a saint, with his blood were performed miracles, the mob roamed the streets hunting for converts and a national assembly voted for the suspension of charts while searching for the murderers. In this atmosphere, the inquisitors were able to prevail. Autos-da-fé were held by the reformed Inquisition on 28th, December 1485 and murderers expiated their crime in successive autos that lasted from June, 30th, 1486, to December, 15th of that year. To one of them they cut off his hands and dug them into the door of the county council, after which he was dragged to the market square, where he was decapitated and dismembered and pieces of his body were hung in the streets of the city. Another committed suicide in his cell a day before the torment, breaking a glass lamp and swallowing the fragments; the same punishment was inflicted on his body.[62]

Torquemada, which accumulated in his person the office of Inquisitor General for Castile and Aragon, set the Inquisition and its operation in his famous instructions of 29th, October 1484, that Ferdinand imposed by force and that the Aragonese Cortes had to recognize in Tarazona, May 1484. However, the Aragonese kept reiterating that the Inquisition was contrary to their charters, as it was with the procedures.

The conspirators gave the Inquisition a martyr that would be beatified by Pope Innocent II in 1664. It sparked mass hysteria, skillfully manipulated by the Inquisition, and some two hundred people paid, with their lives and finances, their participation in the conspiracy. The acts of almost all processes are in the National Library in Paris from in 1820, when they bought them from Juan Antonio Llorente, who first had discovered them in 1813 in the archives of the Inquisition.

The Pope, at the request of the Catholic Kings, confirmed Torquemada as Grand Inquisitor in the kingdoms of Castile and Leon and Aragon and Valencia, in the principality of Catalonia and in all the territories belonging to Isabella and Ferdinand, in spite of and against their charters. The combined power of the Papacy and the crown was too powerful, and with God on their side. This way, the court of the Holy Office became a supranational body.

In Fernando's decision to impose the Inquisition it prevailed political, economic and religious reasons, intimately connected and inseparable. The greed of wealth, equal to the Papacy and to the Crown, and the lust for more power of the two powers were the main reasons; that's the conclusion of Juan Antonio Llorente in his Critical History of the Inquisition in Spain at the beginning of the nineteenth century, 1822. The Holy Office was for the Crown the most effective means to uphold the absolute authority of the monarchy, to establish an absolute and totalitarian regime. Karl Joseph von Hefele, famous author of the History of Councils, said that the Inquisition was the most effective means to subjugate to the Crown all subjects and especially the clergy and nobility, in benefit of the absolute power of sovereign authority.

Few people can resist the overwhelming impact of this triple combination: terror, mass indoctrination and propaganda. Do not think that the Inquisition was established to perform religious unity in Spain, because in 1481 nobody thought of forcing the Arabs to convert to Christianity or to give them and the Jews to choose between expulsion or conversion. The truth is that the converts, on their merits, preparation and skills, not only occupied high positions in state administration, but also they held them in the church, as nuns, monks, priests, abbots, bishops or cardinals; they also accumulated great wealth stemming from their work, business and privileged position. In all this lies the Gordian knot of the question: it generated an immense jealousy in the old Christians, who consider the wealth of the converts as illegal appropriation of national wealth and they think that those positions belonged exclusively to them.

These old Christians were convinced that Christianity had saved the converts from theJewish status of aliens, which is not true (because they had lived for centuries in the Peninsula) and that it had given them all the advantages they enjoyed. Therefore conclude that the dechristianization, considering them as crypto-jews converted only in appearance, could deny them those benefits and put them back where they should be. Hence the racial laws, not against Jews, but against the converts, dating back to the reign of John II of Castile, when the Constable Álvaro de Luna, 1449, wanted to raise in Toledo, contrary to the privileges of the city, a tax of one million maravedíes to finance the war against Aragon, but the people, led by Alonso Cota, a wealthy merchant of Jewish origin, took up arms.

It was proclaimed a Sentence Statute by which the converted and not converted Jews were assimilated and, therefore, they were excluded from any important post. But a Brief (1449) of Pope Nicholas V strongly condemned this Sentence, saying it had to respect the sacred Scriptures, where Paul says that "For there is no respect of persons with God," Romans 2, 11; an if Paul did not distinguish between Jews and Greeks, less should be made between old and new Christians. The Brief was prohibiting discriminatory tendencies against the converts, but the Spanish Pope Alexander VI, 1495, by a problem in the Order of Jeromes, annulled the decision of his predecessor Nicholas V and provided for the total exclusion of any person of Jewish ascendant to join the Order of St. Jerome.

The Grand Inquisitor Tomas de Torquemada, always of Jewish ascendant, obtained from the Holy See the approval to include a statute of purity of blood in the rules of the monastery of St. Thomas Aquinas, which he founded in Avila. Many universities required their students a certificate of purity of blood, Jewish blood could not enter their classrooms, as it would be required to play any position in the cathedrals. To study at a famous school, to obtain a substantial stipend, it will be left well established that none of the ancestors of the applicant, to the fourth generation, had been convicted by the Holy Office and that his entire family was composed of old Christians. This concept of purity of blood, which is not found anywhere else in Christendom, fulfills and clears one of the specific roles, besides politics, of the Spanish Inquisition: to pursue the Judaizers.

The purity of blood was the social security of not descended from Jews, Moors or Arabs, heretics or processed by the Inquisition. The purity of blood, from the late sixteenth century, became a kind of obsession or psychosis in Spain. The documents certifying the purity of blood, called blood purity statutes, were necessary to enter many colleges, universities, military and even religious orders.

The Catholic Kings, said Netanyahu, realize the Shakespearean phrase: "There is a tide in the affairs of men". Yes, the Kings felt near the high tide of anti-Semitism and instead of resisting it, they decided to climb it. This is essentially what was behind the founding and maintaining of the Spanish Inquisition. Pure, hard and raw antisemitism. It's true what Netanyahu says, but not the whole truth. Political motives, of which the Inquisition was an ideological instrument essentially controlled by the Church and State, played a crucial role in shaping the principles on which was supported the Renaissance State, which after are consolidated by the Absolutist State of the Baroque period.

For Machiavelli's The Prince, the first element of a drive system is unity: the juridical unity and unity in the faith. In a sacred society, the religious unity is fundamental and basic. The Inquisition was established as a mechanism of political control, and social control. It was established as a repressive apparatus, "a machine that overwhelms and overpowers," says Tomas y Valiente. The inquisitors, their familiar and curators live within the parameters of a hierarchical society marked by dominant laws of status, heritage, lineage and also money and wealth. But anti-Jewish motivation of Netanyahu is obvious and clearly stated by the Inquisition, when it was said that the main reason for the Inquisition were the crypto-Jews or false converts.

Ferdinand and Isabella hesitated for some time about the idea of expelling the Jews. The Crown would lose the income it received from a community that paid their taxes directly and, moreover, had helped to finance the war of Granada. In Spain, many were eager to get rid of the Jews because of social and economic reasons; the old elite and several Christians municipalities saw in them a source of conflict and rivalry. But the expulsion was decided by the crown, apparently guided by exclusively religious reasons. There is no basis for holding that the government planned to take advantage of it -Ferdinand himself admitted that the measure will hurt their finances-. No doubt the king and queen were encouraged in this policy by the fall of Granada in the hands of their troops in January 1492, which was interpreted as a sign of divine protection. On March, 31st, while they were in town, was issued that edict of expulsion, which fixed the Jews of Castile and Aragon the date of 31st, June to accept baptism or leave the country. [63]

Karl Marx, also Jewish, said that the economy determines ideologies, true and proved. Also the economy of the Church conditioned its religious ideology. And Max Weber is also right to argue the reverse thinking: ideologies, the religious in this case, affect the economy. Max Weber in his "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" advocates the thesis that capitalism comes from the theory of predestination of Calvin, as one of the main signs of being predestined is the economic success; thesis contrary to that advocated by Karl Marx, but both are true and complementary.

When the news broke, a delegation of Jews led by Isaac Abravanel went to see the king. Their requests were ignored and, in a second meeting, it was offered a considerable sum of money if he revisited the decision. It is said that when Torquemada learned of the offer, he burst into the royal chamber and threw thirty pieces of silver on the table, asking what price would be sold Jesus again to the Jews. In the third meeting between Fernando and Abravanel, Seneor and other Jewish leaders it became clear that the king was willing to go forward. In desperation, they turned to the queen, who explained that the decision, which she strongly supported, came from Fernando, that the Lord had put it into the heart of the king. [64]

Religious fanaticism of the friars confessors and advisers of the Crown, led by their prejudices and ignorance socioeconomic, oblige the Catholic Kings to commit a great injustice, with dire consequences for the country, bypassing that the Jews were Spanish and that they lived on the peninsula since the third century. The fanaticism and religious intolerance were to blame for this catastrophe for the Jewish people, which so much they had contributed to the Iberian Peninsula and to the State, which would be deprived of the wisdom of the Jewish people. The magnitude of the historical fact is impossible to measure and quantify; everything in God's name, who, according to Catholic doctrine, was also Jewish.

Marchena cites the praise that Father Francisco Peña makes of the deportation of Jews that the Catholic Kings ordered, to pleas from Grand Inquisitor Torquemada; a name that has come to symbolize the Spanish Inquisition. According to a legend, probably apocryphal but that reflects a full possibility in the tense atmosphere that preceded the expulsion, the communities (local groups of Jews in the country) offered the monarch a high amount of gold and silver If he canceled his anti-Semitic plans. The Kings, it is the legend, burdened by the costs, hesitated to accept the offer. Just then Torquemada stormed indignantly into their cabinet and throwing a crucifix on the table, booming his voice said: "You can your Highnesses sell Him as Judas did".





Fray Tomas de Torquemada, dominican, Inquisitor General.

Archetype of the inquisitors and architect of the Spanish Inquisition



The phrase so that impressed Ferdinand and Isabella that they rejected the Jewish offer and immediately they signed the edict of expulsion.

In his defense of the measure, Francisco Peña admits that it sparked protests even among good Catholics who considered it inhumane. This is his reply:

"It is true that some theologians disapproved these edicts from the King of Spain, based mainly in that we should not violate the infidels to embrace the Christian faith, resulting violence in disparagement of our religion. They are, however, frivolous reasons and I argue that those edicts were righteous, pious and commendable, because the violence with which they urged the Jews to their conversion was not absolute violence, but conditional, since they could avoid it leaving their homeland. In addition they could ravage the newly converted Jews and even the old Christians because, as Saint Paul says, "What communication can mediate between justice and lawlessness, between light and darkness, between Jesus Christ and Belial?"[65]

The speech of Francisco Peña, Eymeric's commentator, is the quintessence of inquisitorial discourse, replete with stereotypes, prejudices, inaccuracies, historical and anthropological ignorance, which leads to not understand nor respect the Semitic culture, origin of Christianity. The mentioned Belial is a demon from Hebrew mythology, and it appears in the Old Testament.

Christianity was not just a set of beliefs, but a way and very peculiar lifestyle. When Jews are required and forced to convert to Christianity, not only were imposing them beliefs that were offensive to them, but they were required to renounce their habits in addition to their belief, their lifestyle in dressing, eating and even in death rituals. It means to ask too much, to ask the impossible and, besides, it constituted a contempt for their culture, their religion and customs.









Forced baptism of Muslims, imposed by Cardinal Cisneros in 1502.

Relief of Philip Vigarny. Choir of Granada Cathedral.

The baptism was a way to avoid expulsion, but with it they fell within the jurisdiction of the Inquisition.


"We were taken to the Inquisition, where, for no more than to follow the truth, we were stripped of life, of our properties and of our children". A Moorish in exile in Tunisia, in the seventeenth century.

The Arabs arrived in the Iberian Peninsula in 711. On the night of 28th, April 711, the Muslim Tarik stepped Iberian land in Gibraltar and, with his army, defeats the Visigoth King Don Rodrigo at the battle of Guadalete, where the king dies. A year later the muslin Muza landed in Algeciras and, in a lightning campaign, they took the whole Iberian Peninsula.

In a short time the muslins occupied most of Spain and they were fed by successive waves of invaders from North Africa. Some parts of the peninsula remained under Muslim rule for nearly seven centuries; it seemed that all Spain would end up being Muslim, due to their fundamental part of social structure. The Arabs brought with them all the cultural wealth they had acquired in Syria, Persia, Alexandria and other places where Greek thinkers were very well known, who, through the School of Translators of Toledo, were introduced in the Peninsula. In addition to philosophy, they were very keen on agriculture, astronomy, mathematics, physics and Rhetoric. Among the thinkers highlighted Avicenna as physician and the philosopher Averroes, with his theory of the double truth: one thing is the religious truth and quite another that of science. They also excelled in medicine and architecture. Their agricultural irrigation systems indelibly marked patterns in the new agronomic techniques. Still in force today is the Water Court that they created. Their knowledge generally far exceeded that of Christian Europe, and a bit more that of the inhabitants of the Peninsula, ignorant Christians dedicated to the art of war.

The Reconquest began in Asturias with King Don Pelayo, seven years after the muslim arrival, and it ended with the conquest of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs, in 1492. It was a period marked by battles, conquest and reconquest, whose initial goal was not religious, a crusade, but simply to regain the stolen lands. The notion of crusade was absent for long in the beginning of The Reconquest. Christians, from the ninth century, cultivated the myth of the apostle James, whose body, it was said, was discovered in the Star field, Compostela; they began to name the apostle as Santiago "Matamoros" (arabs killer) and so he became the patron saint of Spain. In the late twelfth century, the Almoravids, coming from North Africa, arrived to al-Andalus; more rigid in their beliefs, they intensify the fight against Christians. In Las Navas de Tolosa, 1212, the Almohads suffered the biggest setback at the hands of a combined army of Christians. Their fate, from that moment, was done; in mid-thirteenth century they retained only the kingdom of Granada.

The Mozarabic were Hispanic minorities living together with Muslims, tolerated as tax-payers by Islamic law. They retained their Christian religion and their judicial and ecclesiastical organization, which shows that Muslims were tolerant of Christianity. Over time the minority was formed by the Mudejar, the Muslims who lived among the Christians with their religion, with their Islamic rites and customs, in exchange for tax payments. Also here and now the Christian religion was tolerant, but it had not yet taken place the Holy Inquisition.









Chronicle of the Moors from Spain

 By Jaime Bleda, preacher of the Order of Preachers and assessor of the Inquisition of Valencia, 1618


The Muslin calendar is the most accurate division of time held so far, thanks to mathematical calculation. Experts on Algebra and Trigonometry they build astronomical observatories in Baghdad, Cairo and in Cordoba. They even admit the possibility that the earth revolve on its axis and around the sun in anticipation to Copernicus and Galileo, all of them preceded by Aristarchus of Samos. In medicine, Avicenna found the contagious nature of tuberculosis and pleurisy, he diagnosed cancer and prescribed antidotes for poisoning cases. Alerted about the contagious nature of plague, the Arabs prevent disease and organize health centers and hospitals.

Worthy of mention are their great innovations in agriculture: large scale agricultural development, preference for the fragmentation of landholdings, the introduction of minor crops and amazing irrigation procedures.

In terms of livestock, they introduced their own system of transhumance very effective, practiced by them for centuries.

In industry, they obtained surpluses that they exported to import other products needed. Trade is growing remarkably, allowing them to create a rich infrastructure of the tertiary sector, services, bringing the rise of standard of living and the generation of new capital.

In the tenth century, the Muslim "Cordova" is the most populated city of all in the West, rivaling Constantinople, Damascus and Baghdad. Today we can visit the wall of seven gates and inside the Fortress and the famous Mosque, masterpiece of worldwide admiration, and other mosques and public baths, some just for women, with sewers still in use today.

Within walking distance of the city, it is the residence of the Caliph, Medina Az-Zahara, built by Abd ar-Rahman III, in 936, provided with all the luxuries of the East: big halls covered with gold leaves and precious stones, the roof of gold and marble. In the center there was a large pond filled with mercury, which, when it was shaken by a slave and with a lights play, produced a flash like lightning that overwhelmed the illustrious visitor. According to the chronicles of the time, Abderraman III had a harem of 6,300 women.

In medieval feudalism, the power structure rests and resides in the nobility, rooted in the richness of their lands that they used in the protection of their castles, of their privileges and of their tax exemptions. It will be from the thirteenth century, with the philosophy of Aristotle and with the help of Roman law, when the peninsular states strengthen their own identity, while defending their own interests with the figure of the monarch.

There is a third element, after the monarchy and the nobility, which enters into the political world with great force, the Church, which is consolidated after the Gregorian reform and it achieves the monopoly on cultural creation.

The transition from feudalism to the territorially based community lasts about three hundred years, ending with a final invigorated with the law and doctrinal formulation of Alfonso X of Castile(1252-1284) with las Siete Partidas, with the Ordenamiento de Alcalá, 1348 and with Las Conmemoraciones en las Cortes de Monzón, 1470. The mission of binding or catalyzing such diverse structures, both territorial and legal, for them to become kingdoms, is an extremely complex and difficult task, as it is to establish the legislative and judicial power, the military leadership and the coinage. All that would establish the dependence of the feudal lords on the king, and it would establish the universality of Law upon the particular rights in particular places.

In the cities, burgos, they lived Christians, Muslims and Jews, what created the need for organizations to ensure their coexistence. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, those living in the town used to meet in an open council, the General Assembly of all the neighbors. The feudal lords remain a serious problem for municipalities and for the monarchy, but their mutual fights weakened them.

The Capitulation of Granada's surrender were generous with the Muslins in Granada: they could retain their customs, their property, their laws and religion; permission was granted to emigrate who wanted to, so some, considering unbearable a life under the Christian law, migrated to North Africa.

Hernando de Talavera was named the first archbishop of Granada and dedicated himself, body and soul, to try to convert Muslims to Christianity. His method was a breakthrough in Christian ministry, by using persuasion and respect for Arab culture and using the Arabic as a liturgical language.

But the Arabs in general, felt a tremendous rejection - according to Henry Kamen- of the doctrines of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus. Muhammad was not God, but a prophet and so they regarded Jesus. They felt special aversion to the sacrament of baptism. The families, after receiving baptism, getting home, they used to wash their hair to get rid of the sacramental chrism and performed, instead, a Muslim ceremony, especially when they had been baptized under pressure or force. The same aversion they felt for penance, the Eucharist and, therefore, by the mass. It was not possible for a Muslim to become truly Christian. The acculturation was virtually impossible in a such short time.

In Granada and Valencia they practiced their religion and worship, which were those of their parents and their people. They practiced their rituals, prayers and ablutions and they were led and guided by their priests, Alfaquis. Their dress, their language and their meals were also different to those of Christians. They did not eat pork, that was the food more common among Christians, nor did they drank wine. They cooked everything with olive oil, while the Christians did it with butter or lard and they had a special ritual to the sacrifice of animals they would eat.

Force them to change their religion was to force them to relinquish their own culture, their traditions, their ancestors, their idiosyncrasies, what presupposes an enormous cultural and psychological problem. That is why they sought advice on their North African leaders, who rendered opinions, fatwa, on the situation of Muslims in Spain. One of them was that in times of persecution, the Muslims could accommodate virtually all external standards of Christianity, but without leaving the beliefs in their Muslim faith. They are allowed to dispense with their religious practices, when they were persecuted, but not with their beliefs. This allowed them to continue living in Spain, being Muslims and Christians at the same time.

Cardinal Cisneros, aware of the slow conversion of the Moors, requested the Kings permission to implement a tougher policy of proselytism, which led to mass conversions and to situations like a mosque to be turned into a church. This provoked riots in Albaicin, 1499, a Moorish quarter of Granada. According to Cisneros, the rebellion of the Moorish nullified all rights granted at the time of Capitulations and, therefore, they had only two ways for Muslims to follow: the baptism or expulsion. He advised further that the Mudejar shuld be converted and enslaved, because as slaves they would be better Christians and the land would be forever secure. So thought the Kings adviser, Cardinal Cisneros, one of the most illustrious and enlightened at the time. In the following months, the Moorish of Granada were converted in large numbers and others had to emigrate.

A royal decree of 1501 ordered the burning of Arabic books in Granada. A similar beginning of that of St. Dominic with the Cathars, in an attempt to burn the ideas and thought. It was the end of the Capitulations and of the Moorish al-Andalus. The Arabs were wondering: if the King, who signed the Capitulations, does not respect them, what can we expect from his successor.

Isabel demanded the same to Mudejars in Castile, in 1502: or baptism or exile. They chose baptism as the conditions for the exile were virtually impossible. In the Crown of Aragon Mudejars were tolerated, what means that the religious unity - Kamen warns- was not intended by the Catholic Monarchs to create the New Inquisition.

1511, it was attempted, through various decrees, that new converts changed their cultural identity and left Muslim practices. These decrees culminated in an assembly which was summoned by the authorities of Grenada in 1526; in this assembly, all the peculiarities of Moorish civilization -the use of the Arabic language, clothing, jewelry, ritual that accompanied the slaughter of animals, circumcision- were under attack. To combat these practices it was decided to transfer to Granada the local Court of the Inquisition, which originally was in Jaen.

In the Crown of Aragon there was no comparable pressure on the Mudejars. The main reasons for this difference were the great power of the gentry and the authority of the Courts. In the lands of the nobles, the Mudejars were a source of abundant labor, cheap and very productive, hence the expression "the more Moors, more profit." Whether it was to placate the nobility or prefer a moderate policy, the fact is that Fernando warned repeatedly the inquisitors of Aragon for not pursuing the Mudejar population nor to resort to forced conversions. Therefore, the Mudejars continued their independent existence until the outbreak of the uprising in 1520 of the comuneros. [66]

The Revolt of the Germanies took place in the Kingdom of Valencia at the same time as Padilla, Bravo and Maldonado in Toledo rose to defend their freedoms against Charles I and his nobles flamingos. (The Revolt of the Communards that took place in Castile between 1519 and 1523).

In 1520, The Germanies pushed social revolts against the nobility who had fled the city before an epidemic plague, in a moment of a severe economic crisis. The gremial middle classes took over the government until they established the Board of Thirteen. Charles I was in Aachen for his coronation as emperor. The Board of Thirteen tried to establish a system in which every worker must be enrolled in the guilds. In the progressive radicalization, it was declared open war against the Arabs by the assault and burning of the Moor communities of Valencia, who were accused of collaborating with nobles.

Valencia, after Granada, was the second region of Spain in number of Mudejar inhabitants, the third was Aragon. Most belonged to a rural community that was subject to large landowners in the kingdom. The rebels, grouped in Germanies, seeing the problem from another perspective - that of their struggle against the landed nobility-, decided to force the Muslims to be baptized in order to free them from allegiance they owed to their lords. Thousands of Mudejar, between 1520 and 1522, were baptized by force in Valencia. Once defeated the rebels, they studied the possibility that the Mudejar baptized by force returned to their Muslim religion, but the Inquisition opposed to it and preferred to keep the Mudejar within the terms of their baptism.

It is then that the existence of Mudejar seemed incongruous in the Crown of Aragon. Charles I of Spain and V of Germany issued a decree, 1525, which ordered the conversion of all Mudejar first in Valencia, and then in all other realms. Since 1526, the Muslim religion no longer officially existed in Spain.

The main Moorish community was in Granada, newly subdued, with very thriving upper class which preserves its culture and religion. They were an integral Islamic civilization, normally Arabic speaking, which was called algarabía by Christians.

The language of the Mudejar in Aragon, because they had long lived among Christians, was rather the Castilian in which they wrote their Moorish literature. Most of them worked in the land, but there were also carpenters, blacksmiths and tailors. They produced swords and weapons for sale, and the merchants invested their profits in land. A few ones would practice liberal functions like surgeons, clerks or lawyers. They lived integrated into their communities, (aljamas).


The Valencian Mudejar mostly belonged to the rural proletariat and they constituted one third of the population. They succeeded also in retaining most of their customs, religion and language.

In January 1526, the leaders of the Moors of Valencia obtained a secret agreement between the Crown and the Inquisitor General Manrique, which stated that if they submitted to baptism would be free of persecution of the Holy Office for a term of forty years; that was time calculated to abandon their customs and traditions and accept the Christian ones. The agreement was made public in 1528, when the Cortes of Aragon, grouped together in Monzón, demanded Charles V to prevent the Inquisition persecutes the Moors until they were instructed in the faith. It was the same as in Granada, the Inquisition did not accept and did not fulfill the agreement.

When the Inquisition moved from Jaen to Granada, December 1526, it was issued a regulation forbidding the Moriscos of this city to use the Arabic language, Muslim garments and even to take Muslim names. Protest after protest, including papal interventions, they reach an economic agreement and in 1571, in exchange for an annual payment of 2,500 ducats to the Inquisition, Tribunal agrees not to confiscate or seize property of Moors on trial for heresy. The deal benefited -according to Kamen- first the Inquisition, because it provided a source of regular income, and then the Moors, because it protected their property to members of their families; thirdly it benefited the Lords, because there were preserved the lands leased to their vassals.

The tensions accumulated during two generations finally exploded in the revolt that began on Christmas Eve 1568, in Grenada, and soon it spread to the Alpujarras. It was a savage war in which atrocities were committed by both sides, and military repression was brutal. Thousands of Moors were killed and more than 80,000 were expelled from Grenada by force and were forced to settle in Castile. The end of the rebellion did not solve the problem. The Grenadians introduced in the Castilian communities an Islamic presence previously unknown in Castile, where the population went from 20,000 to 100,000 Mudejars of Arabic language and Muslim culture. Moreover, the military threat became very clear: some 4,000 Turks and Berbers had come to Spain to fight alongside insurgents in the Alpujarras. Moorish Banditry peaked in southern Spain during the 1560s, they had millenarian hopes and they wanted freedom from oppression. Inevitably, seeing the obstinacy of the Moors, the authorities turned a repressive policy. [67]

Most of the Moors in Spain, were very proud of their religion and fought to preserve their culture. In 1602, the Moriscos sought help from Henry IV of France. In 1608, the Valencian Moriscos called Morocco for help. This raises the issue of their expulsion. Many thought that they should not be dismissed, because once baptized, they would become Muslims. The nobility of the Crown of Aragon, with all its strength opposed to any measures that deprive them of their very useful work force. Others said that the Moorish population was growing in an uncontrolled and threatening manner.

Finally, the expulsion was issued on April, 4th, 1609, and was carried out in stages until 1614. Operations started in Valencia, where lived half of the Moors of the peninsula and, therefore, it was the region that ran more danger. In total some 300,000 Moriscos were expelled from a mainland population estimated at 320,000. Although human losses of the expulsion represented just over 4 per 100 in Spain, the real impact of the measure in some areas was very severe. In areas where the Moors had been a large minority, such as Valencia and Aragon, the result was an immediate financial catastrophe, but even in places where there was a small number of Moors, the fact that among them the majority was an active population, without knights, not clergy and soldiers, meant that their absence could lead to economic dislocation. The tax revenues fell and agricultural output declined. The Inquisition was also facing a dark future. In 1611, the courts of Valencia and Zaragoza complained that the removal had resulted in their bankruptcy, since they lost that 7500 ducats a year they received before from the census. At the same time, the Court of Valencia recognized they were receiving some compensation, but they said the government would have to pay them a sum of nearly 19,000 ducats to compensate what they had lost. An income statement read to the court of Valencia just before the expulsion of the Moors, shows that 42.7 per 100 of its revenue came directly from the Moorish population. A similar statement drafted for the Inquisition of Saragossa in 1612 showed that, since the expulsion, their income had decreased by over 48 per 100. [68]

Cardinal Richelieu reflected in his memories that the Moorish expulsions were the most barbaric act of human history. If the Arabs, submissive people, hardworking and loving their religion and their customs and tolerant with Christians, became a danger it was due to intolerance and fanatical persecution decreed against them by the Catholic monarchs, the Church and the Tribunal of the Inquisition. The Arab threat was an appropriate response to the repression that they were unjustly subjected.

Christian religious fanaticism, catholic and apostolic, removed, blood and fire, two vital cultures of the three existing in Spain, Jewish and Arab; two peoples who forged modern Spain and were so Spanish as the descendants of the Goths or of the Visigoths, that one day had also come to Spain looking for a home and home form.

Intolerance made Spain to lose rich cultures, vast human and economic wealth; in addition it made to commit irreparable injustices, producing endless human suffering, that religious myopia could not envision and less avoid it. Henry Kamen closes his article "The end of Moorish Spain" with these words: "The coexistence had disappeared from Spain. But it was achieved the unity and religious peace". Faith, religious unity and the Church were used by the authorities on duty as carte blanche to justify everything unjustifiable. 

That religion has caused myopia to so many great minds is nearly impossible to explain. We would need the help of those teachers from "The School of suspicion" of Paul Ricoeur, composed by Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche, experts of discourse and of the complex hermeneutics, to understand a little more concepts like: the power, the power of ideologies, the dynamic unconscious and sexual obsession. Their help would allow us to understand better what went on in the minds of those monks, separated from the world in their doctrinal formation. Those monks that returned, after their retirement in convents, to the society to impose the silence of their God, that they interpreted infallibly. Those who, keeping themselves as plenipotentiary ministers of the Lord, acted criminally against innocent and defenseless Christians, Jews and Muslims, whose only sin was not to believe what they believed. Let those teachers come and clarify us those dogmas that mean absolutely nothing, but which were the pretext to entrench and perpetuate their power of terror for centuries.

Certainly there should be known the historical context to understand the events that happened long ago: "Distingue tempora et concordabis iura". In that sense we exonerate those preachers, because they were acting in accordance with their believes an because they had not horizons of an intellectual openness with more lights. No one doubts the courage, dedication and sincerity of the majority. But the phenomenon of unreason is there and we must find its roots in the ideology in which they were educated. It is precisely for this reason that it is necessary to expose the religious ideology in its monolithic, dogmatic side, which belongs to the unique thought and the unique culture that the Church did prevail for many centuries in Christian society, without any pluralistic openings, without critical thinking and without the slightest tolerance for other religions and other cultures.

With the help of these authors, we found that there are hidden principles of conscious activity to be discovered and interpreted.
The iceberg is submerged for the most part, the reality has another deeper meaning than the obvious one at first glance. The symbols have meanings far more complex and imperceptible that their simple perception. We must be wary of conscience, because it cheats; we must have to make epistemological and anthropological archeology so that we can understand a bit more of the reality: the human one because the divine does not enter into our field of perception and understanding. Only personal experiences and suggested perceptions related to mythical symbolism of the divine can be studied, that is the subject of the sociology of religion.










Fray Louis de Leon.

Imprisoned in the dungeons of the Inquisition at Valladolid, in March 1572.



The discord between the religious orders, their fightings on exegetical and theological problems, the envy between the monks, who were university professors, led Fray Louis de León to the prisons of the Inquisition at Valladolid, where he remained from 1572 to 1576.

The malicious report against three professors of the University of Salamanca was made by León de Castro, a professor in the same university, and by a colleague, also a Dominican, Bartolomé de Medina. The report said that professors Fray Louis de Leon, Gaspar de Grajal and Martin Martinez had taken heretical liberties in their studies of scripture and theology. The three were Augustinians and of Semitic origin.

The enemies of Fray Louis de Leon accused him of defending the Hebrew text of the Old Testament against the Latin versions of the Vulgate Bible; Fray Louis was very familiar with Hebrew because his mother was of Semitic origin. Famous as a theologian and celebrated as a great poet, he was object of envy for his glittering career. When he was 34, he was elected as professorship of theology at the University of Salamanca, where he had been a student, a chair he obtained after a fierce dispute with Dominican Diego Rodriguez, who also wanted it, which may have been the start of his subsequent misfortunes. Fray Louis was Augustine, but the Dominicans were dominants at the University, and their theological, philosophical and exegetical ideas were diametrically opposed to those of the Augustinians, more Platonic these ones and more Aristotelian the others.

The Council of Trent adopted as official the Vulgate Bible, the one St. Jerome, in the fourth century, had translated into Latin; but Fray Louis read the original in Hebrew, and as a good philologist and a good exegete, found many errors, not only in translation, but also theological. But the Vulgate was the official text and disdain it was considered heresy. Trent also prohibited that the sacred books were translate into the vernacular, or philosophically discussed in the classroom, which he did not do, and due to his impetuous character, he publicly expressed its repudiation of the Vulgate. Fray Louis had translated the Song of Songs of King Solomon, the love poem, the erotic book of the Bible, and commented it. His version smelling a profane love song, rather than a divine song, and his thesis that Scholastic was harmful for the study of the Scriptures turn on the alarms.

For many authors the process responded to deeper instances in which the basis of the Bible as a divine source were at work, it also was very important the matter of accepting or rejecting the interpretations given by the rabbis of the Old Testament, but especially, and as a background curtain, it was the Jewish ancestry of the reported three: Louis, Gaspar and Martin.

The theological and speculative building of medieval scholasticism was collapsing, and the Conservatives, as Hispanics, tried to support it, but its foundations, which were severely damaged, began to sag and threaten to be ruins. Erasmus wrote his Antibarbari against the scholastics of Paris, as Louis Vives wrote his In Pseudodialecticos, and, before them, in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, many Franciscans and Augustinians theologians, not Dominicans, considered unnecessary and counter- productive the complicated syllogism of the scholastic philosophy and the rationalization of theology. These theologians were seeking the evangelical truth, focused according to them on the purity and voluntary poverty.


Fray Louis de Leon was accused for preferring the interpretations of the Jewish on the sacred texts, and for saying that the Vulgate could be improved from the best philological knowledge of the text. It is another example of the great controversy existent between theologians, philologists, grammarians and humanists. His Jewish lineage, his mystical fervor in some of his works, his Platonism, grudges and envy, rushed him unjustly to the prisons of the Inquisition, in which he spent four long years and eight months. Completely isolated from the outside world, accompanied by the torture of loneliness, he got an exceptional license: writing paper, from which came his classic treatise of devotion Of the Names of Christ.

We know that the accusations were secret, so Fray Louis writes: "I have great suspicion that they have raised me a false testimony, I know that from two years now they have been saying lies about me, and I know I have many enemies.”

Once the suspect entered the terrible prisons of the Inquisition, besides not knowing for why he was there, nobody knew how long it was going to be the trial, even though the prisoner requested it, always with the hope of getting out of those dungeons.

Fray Louis was humiliated in jail and suffered despair and fevers. The climate of confrontation and envy is well reflected in the poem he wrote during his imprisonment:


"Here the lie and the envy

 Had locked me.

Happy the humble state

of the wise who retires

from this evil world,

and with poor table and home

in the delightful countryside,

with God only encompasses,

and spends his life alone,

Nor envious nor envied.”

"Aquí la envidia y mentira

Me tuvieron encerrado.

Dichoso el humilde estado

del sabio que se retira

de aqueste mundo malvado,

y con pobre mesa y casa

en el campo deleitoso,

con sólo Dios se compasa,

y a solas su vida pasa,

ni envidiado ni envidioso".


Once free, at the middle of December 1576, it is said that he started his first lesson with these words: "We were saying yesterday...” But he was a fighter, not easily moldable, and his enemies returned to their attacks twisting and criticizing his propositions as reckless. Fortunately, the matter only cost him a warning from the Inquisitor General Gaspar de Quiroga, that he should avoid future disputes on the subject.

Meanwhile, Gaspar de Grajal, a professor of Greek, had health problems in the dungeons of the Inquisition, where he died before being tried, in 1573.

Professor Cantalapiedra, a professor of Hebrew and a studious of the Holy Scriptures, survived the torture in prison, that he suffered for over five years, despite his constant appeals for the holding of the trial, but he was not allowed to take up an academic post. He complained that despite having devoted his life to correctly interpret the Scriptures, in the opinion of all, his prize had been: to destroy my life, honor, health and finance; and the bitter remark: it is better to be careful and cautious (sapere ad sobrietatem).

The lack of academic freedom in new researches provided a good environment for the work of undermining of those envious mediocrities.









Bartolomé de Carranza y Miranda, archbishop of Toledo.

Toledo was the most important Episcopal see, only preceded by the see of Rome.

His trial, notorious for the category of the processed, lasted sixteen years and enveloped kings and Popes,,

Jealousy was the cause of infamy. 




The process of Carranza, archbishop of Toledo and prelate of Spain, was a very special and almost unique in the history of the Spanish Inquisition, by the category of the accused, the people involved in it, and clashes between political and international pressures, between the Spain of Philip II and the Papacy of Paul IV, Pius V and Gregory XIII.


The dignity of the accused was hard to beat: Archbishop of Toledo, the highest ecclesiastical dignity in the kingdom, second only to the King himself in the richness of the income he received from the more than 180 villages dependent on the episcopacy of Toledo.

Bartolomé de Carranza was born in Navarre in 1503. He entered the University of Alcalá and subsequently in the Order of the Dominicans; he also studied in Valladolid where he soon obtained a chair of theology. When he was thirty, he went to Rome where he obtained his doctorate in theology and was already famous when he returned to Spain. He was censor of the Inquisition and had the difficult task of guiding the Catholic restoration in England, instructed for that mission by Philip II, in the company of Cardinal Pole, the papal legate in England. Driven by his burning zeal, he was distinguished by crushing heretics while he purified from them the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which earned him the title of The The Black Friar.

He was also one of the leading imperial theologians at Trent, where he was chosen to deliver the sermon which closed the interventions of the theologians, December, 29th, 1551.

Carranza was not only from modest home, but refused with humble Franciscan humility, no matter he was a Dominican, the enticements offered to him: the rich seat of Cuzco, in the Indies, the position of royal confessor, in 1548, and the bishopric of the Canaries in 1550.

In 1557, it left vacant the archbishopric of Toledo, at the death of the archbishop Silíceo, also of humble birth. The king, Philip II decided to give the position to Carranza, who, if unbelievable, he refused to accept this honor; the King is adamant and forces him to accept. Toledo went to Rome in importance and there met Carranza himself usufructing, despite himself, a veritable gold mine. That's why the miter of Toledo, except in the case of his predecessor Silíceo, had been occupied by senior churchmen and aristocrats, and it was was eagerly coveted by all, for its prestige and income of the first magnitude, among whom there was the Inquisitor Valdés, who became his most bitter enemy. No doubt that, for the ecclesiastical aristocracy, Carranza was an upstart, a parvenu.

In Flanders worked with his usual zeal to prevent shipments of heretical books to Spain. But perhaps because of his trips to England and other Protestant countries and because, as a censor, he had to read many books, he familiarized himself with the Protestant doctrine, and he was contaminated with a kind of unorthodoxy, that created in him a certain understanding and compromising attitude towards certain aspects of the Reformation. The Reform's position was anchored on solid exegetic fundamentals, at least some of the main propositions, and other were constrained by corruption, pomp and little evangelical doctrines of the Church of Rome, as its absolutist and arrogant performance, and the sale of indulgences, called simony, property of the bishop of Rome, the Pope.

In addition to the enmity of the Inquisitor General Fernando de Valdés, he had also the enmity of the famous Dominican theologian Melchor Cano, his classmate at San Gregorio in Rome, for having opposed his election to the office of Provincial, in 1557.

Another enemy was Bernardo de Fresneda, Franciscan confessor of Philip II. It was in England where it grew up the enmity between the two religious, who at first were friends. The feud began to grow, as always, by envy, natural to the clerical state. The mood of the religious was very special: the coexistence of men, immaturity by being outside the main problems of life, like family and work problems, their special education, steeped in prejudice, made them especially unstable, immature and envious.

Fresneda sensed that the opinion of Carranza in Court, in matters of government, was more welcome than that of himself, the King's confessor, and he feared for his own position, as it appeared in the testimony of the process, in which became clear the bitter personal animosity between them.

Tellechea gives unflattering phrases to the friar and confessor Fresneda:
"very fond of caring for others, a figure of gray and complex soul, winding and tortuous action man, dominated by ambition, interfered in all matters and eager for recognition of his power and his worth".

On the other hand Leandro Martinez Peñas states:
"It is undeniable that he showed to Carranza a rejection that should rub the hate, but it is also true that both, one with a grudge and malice and the other with his jokes and behavior are responsible for it, the enmity,"

The new archbishop, Kamen writes, had obvious enemies. Only lacked the weapon for the attack. And this was provided by Carranza himself with his comments about the Christian catechism, published in 1558, in Antwerp. [...]

The Inquisitor Valdés, aware of the upper echelons 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. For this he sent his nephew to Rome, with the utmost secrecy, to get from the Pope Paul IV the brief Cum Sicuti Nuper, January, 7th, 1558, which begins its rationale this way:
"Recently, not without bitterness of soul, we know that in the realms of Spain, inciting the enemy of mankind, have begun to populate the Lutheran and other heresies born in this century and appear to penetrate more widely, so that you can also probably some prelates suspected.."[...]

The prosecutor of the Inquisition drafts the relevant warrant "for preaching, writing and dogmatized many heresies of Luther." [...]

The archbishop was asked for a report in Valladolid on August, 6th. [...]

[...] - "Open to the Holy Office!".
They were allowed into the intruders and an officer went to the Archbishop saying:
- "Mr. Illustrious. I am commanded: be prisoner Your Reverend by the Holy Office."
Carranza said quietly:
- "Do you you have enough to warrant that?".
The officer then read the order signed by the Supreme Court.
Carranza protested
- "Did not know those men that they can not be my judges, I am on my dignity and dedication immediately subject to the Pope and not another one?".

This was the moment to display the trump card. Ramirez said: - "For that it will be given satisfaction to your Reverend", and showed him the Papal brief.
That day the archbishop was kept under house arrest and in the evening curfew imposed in the town.

He was kept in the dungeons of the Inquisition in Valladolid and, according to Lea, vanished off the sight of humans as fully as if it had been swallowed up by the earth.[...]


The hope for Carranza was born with the papal enthronement of Pius V, to whom he, secretly and in code, sent a message: Sir, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water. That is what the Pope did, he ordered the Spanish authorities to send the prisoner with all the documentation to Rome, under pain of excommunication. Old man, arrived Carranza to Rome and he was confined in the Castel of Sant' Angelo, where he stayed imprisoned for nine years. 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 not to hurt Spain. The Comments were condemned and prohibited and Carranza had to recant a list of errors and was ordered to retire to a monastery in Orvieto. [...]



More information on the Supporting Documents


Bartolomé de Carranza y Miranda, eighteen days after they read him the verdict, contracted a disease and he died on May, 2nd, in 1576.








Portrait of Michael Servetus

Catholic Church, which condemned him,

and the Reformers (Calvin), that burned him,

silenced his figure and work for two centuries.

Only in the eighteenth it took place his revival.


This lack of base of its alleged right to coerce the heretic forces to estimate the Inquisition as one of the top and more durables cases -perhaps the most and more durable- of the institutional corruption of the Christianity from the 4th century, and this, for having accepted the “constantinization”, process essentially contrary to the Christian principle of separation of the powers and the respect for the personal freedom of conscience, Angel Alcalá tells us, and we are in total agreement with him.[72]


Although some heretics especially enlightened, as Wicleffe or Hus, invoked the freedom of conscience, they did not formulated a coherent doctrine neither they influenced significantly this aspect in posterity. It was not until Erasmus, 1523, and the Anabaptist Hans Hubmeir, 1527, -according to Alcalá- that it started to point out that religious intolerance had neither biblical nor theological foundations and, consequently, they started to claim the individual freedom of conscience. But the subject of freedom of conscience was only consolidated with the process and the surrounding shock, led by Calvin, against Michael Servetus in Geneva, and the following discussion between Calvin himself and Sebastian Castellio.


Servetus, 1511-1553, at his twenty, claims freedom of conscience and research in a letter to the reformer of Basel, Ecolampadius, with whom he had spoke for a few months and who had rejected him by accusing him of heretic. Here a few fragments of Servetus writing to the reformer:


God knows that my conscience has been clean on everything I have written [...]. Although you know me to be wrong in something, you must not condemn me in everything else. If so, there would be no mortal who do not should be burned thousand times. I asked you to be taught by you, and you have reproved me. Of the human condition is this disease of believing the others as impostors and wicked, not ourselves, because no one recognizes his own errors [...]. I think it is serious to kill a man only because in some issue of interpreting Scripture he is in error, knowing that the more learned people also fall into it. And you know that I not defend my ideas so irrationally that you have to reject me in this manner.


And Servetus wrote to Calvin:

 Kill? It is God’s truth that whenever there is hope of correction it has been abolished by Christ that old rigid judgment that easily condemned to death [...]. In other crimes we prefer the banishment, as approved by him as the excommunication by the Church. When initially there remained traces of the apostolic tradition, the schisms and heresies were punished with it. [73]


Michael Servetus accepts the excommunication, even the banishment, but to kill? Christ abolished that rigid old judgment... More clear, impossible. Servetus was naive and reckless by daring to write on the Trinity, dark metaphysic as Voltaire classifies it, and by sending the work to the Bishop of Zaragoza, at a time when to think and to write freely was a crime, but he was extremely lucid and he persisted in rejecting such a crime on behalf of the genuine Christian tradition. Servetus forgot that the inquisitors would not accept the doctrine of the Apostles and of Christ, and that, according to Dostoyevsky, they represented the symbolism of Satan, loyal followers of the Pope.


To the Prosecutor in his process, he replied: in academic subjects there is no charge, in the discussions, although the adversary think he can condemn, everyone must be able to maintain his cause. It is the academic freedom. There is no point for him that Calvin and the Catholic inquisitors invoke the canonical decrees based not in biblical texts, but in imperial decrees as the Justinian Code (529, first version and, 534, second version):


Justinian- Servetus says-was not in the time of the primitive and ancient Church, in his time there were many things depraved, bishops already started their tyranny and many criminal indictments had been already introduced in the Church.

Calvin entered the discussion, but leaves unanswered the written question sent to him by Servetus:

If he does not know well that it is not office of a minister of gospel (a priest, an inquisitor) to turn into a criminal prosecutor or prosecute a man to death (…).The doctrinal issues should not be object of criminal prosecution by the doctors of the Church. [74]


In dialectic terms, the rightness was completely on his side. To say, to think, to write is the result of intellectual freedom. The doctrinal issues should not be subject to criminal prosecution because thinking is free and thinking is not to brake a law. Thinking is not a crime, neither can nor should be subject to criminal prosecution by the priests, even if they are doctors of the Church, nor by the inquisitors either Catholic or Protestant. Servetus and his irrefutable dialectic is a hymn to academic freedom and freedom of conscience. Servetus is a winner, but of the least use for him, he will be a tragic loser. The prominence was not for the ideas, but for the beliefs. His dialectic is convincing, clear and documented, but not for the fanatical believers, Catholics or Protestants, as in this case.


But the Holocaust of Servetus and his doctrine against intolerance and in favor of freedom of conscience were the starting point of the movement that, developed by Castellio and continued by Spinoza, Locke, Hobbes, Montesquieu and other theorists of politics, resulted in the democratic constitutions and human freedoms recognized as a natural right.


Michael Servetus and Conesa, from Villanueva of Sijena, Huesca, is a Spanish scientist and a theologian, whose interests included astronomy, the jurisprudence, the study of the Bible, Anatomy and medicine, he is also an expert in Humanities, Greek and Hebrew. After his stay in Toulouse to study law and where, according to Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, "his Catholic faith came to ground", he contacted for the first time the reform circles and he traveled through Europe with the Franciscan brother Quintana, confessor of Charles V, in whose service will be as Secretary. Quintana helps him in his intense and profound intellectual formation of humanist type, that is developing throughout Europe, where Erasmus had vital importance. His knowledge was vast in Patristic, the doctrine of the Church fathers, in the philosophical and theological field, especially the scholastic, and he was very keen on the doctrine of William of Ockham.


Servetus had good skills for research. In Paris he studied medicine and it is attributed to him the discovery of the pulmonary blood circulation (1546), much before the British physician William Harvey, 1578-1657, discovered the great circulation of blood. He leaves his mentor, Quintana, and he starts a journey through several Central European cities related to the nascent Protestantism, and he establishes relationships with some reformed leaders, what will be controversial, difficult and dangerous.


In 1531, he published De Trinitatis erroribus (The errors of the Trinity), that scandalized Catholics and Protestants alike. The work was published in Latin, in Haguenau, the main publishing centre at that time, near Strasbourg. It was discovered by the furious Catholic thomistic Johan Cochlaeus, who denounced Servetus, to the shame of his protector, the moderate Juan Quintana. The Nuncio in Germany, Girolamo Aleandro, who had also been Rector of the University of Paris, forwards the prosecution and soon the Inquisition decreed his capture from Medina del Campo to Toulouse, because they did not know his whereabouts.


Servetus demonstrated boldness and candor when he sends the controversial book to the Bishop of Zaragoza, who, with the pressure of the Comendador Mayor, Don García de Padilla and the pressure of Hugo Urriés, Secretary of Charles V to Aragon, pushed the Supreme to initiate another new process to the fugitive. In turbid inquisitorial move, they assigned his brother Juan, priest of the village of Poleñino, close to the native city of Sijena de Villabuena, the mission of looking for him through France and Germany and, once found, to convince him to accompany him and be submitted to the Inquisition. John found him, but "not could reduce him", that is, he could not bring him.


 Michael was deeply believer in the values of primitive Christianity, that is why he writes his summit work The Restoration of Christianity (Christianismi Restitutio), in1546, published in 1553. Restoration of Christianity, i. e., the coming back of the Church to its primitive axes, trough the knowledge of God, the faith in Christ, our justification, our regeneration by the baptism and the eating at the supper of the Lord. Finally, the restitution of the celestial Kingdom, after the breaking of the unholy Babylon and the total destruction of the Antichrist with all his followers.


Do not kid yourself; the "unholy Babylon" was the Church of Rome and the "Antichrist" was the Pope, whom also he calls "Devil" and "servant of Satan". Neither he saves epithets to the Roman Church: "The great Dragon", "old snake", the "beast among beasts" and "outrageous whore". Let us remember that already the Cathars had named the Church: " Grand Babylonian ", "Synagogue of Satan ", " Devil's Basilica " and “Cave of thieves”.


Michael Servetus rejected any external cult because it seemed to him that it was with remnants of paganism cult and completely alien to the teachings of Christ. He did not see either the need it took place on Sunday, because, according to him, "all days are Sundays or days of the Lord". To have devotion to Jesus Christ, he did not consider necessary nor mass, nor the holy water, nor monastic vows, nor confession and much less the existence of a temple. The priesthood is not required because we all are priests.


Who is familiar with the writings of Servetus, today finally accessible in Spanish, Alcalá says, he will see the greatness of his very personal system: his relationship with Valla philological tradition; his use of the data provided by wise exegetes from the oldest fathers and medieval rabbis, even by interpreters linked to the spiritualism of Savonarola, Erasmus or Lefèvre d ' Étaples and especially Sancte Pagnini; his relationships with the orientation of the extreme wings of the Reformation; his affiliation with converging contributions of the old Hellenistic wisdom and of the reborn Neo-Platonism, to achieve that very rich intellectual Ocean which is his "Restoration of Christianity", the maximum work of the Spanish culture one of a kind, which was completely unnoticed to our inquisitors, who never cite it. The same happened throughout Europe: it is known that only three copies of the original edition escaped to the destructive fury of Calvin. [75].


As we will see, it is not all true that "Restoration of Christianity" was completely unnoticed to the inquisitors.







Birthplace of Servetus in Villanueva de Sigena (Huesca, Spain).


Today's Michael Servetus Institute and research center.


France, April 1553. Servetus is under arrest in the prison of the Inquisition in Vienne, in the Dauphine. He was arrested on April, 5th, accused of being the author of Christianismi Restitutio, which had been published in the same city on January, 3rd, 1553, of heretical contents. Mathieu Ory, Inquisitor, is convinced that the real name of the arrested is not Michael Villanovanus, as he insisted on being called, but rather is Michael Servetus, who, feeling uncovered, plans his flight, because he knows what he could expect: long imprisonment, solitary confinement, torture and, after all, the fire. He knew how the Inquisition worked in Spain against Jews and Moors.

His prison has access to a fenced garden. The jailer, who left to care for his vineyard, gives him the key to access the garden. Once there, unguarded, he scales the wall and runs without problems from the city, two hours later his flight is discovered. In vain he is search throughout the region, but the inquisitorial process continues its way and, in December of that year, ends in a conviction, in absentia, of capital punishment for heresy. An image of the accused, after having strangled it, is burned to simmer in a large fire, where also are burnt most of the copies of the offending text, Christianismi Restitutio.

Michael left France in open flight and goes to Geneva, the city of Calvino, a theocratic republic, "where the Gospel and the lending at an interest, the letters of St. Paul and the spirit of the new bourgeois class, for the first time, merge into an organic and effective synthesis".

No one knows when he reached the city in search of understanding and protection, since Geneva had a reputation of being a refugee for the persecuted Catholics of Western Europe. Being in the church during a service, a group of loyal from Lyon acknowledges him. They informed Calvin, who accused him of heresy in the town council. He is arrested and jailed. A process started immediately, charged of the same as in Vienne and, especially, of his theory that negates the Trinity.

In the field of reformers, remains the same intolerance to the Spanish thinker, whom, besides being original, it is difficult to fit into predetermined categories. It is not only another process, it is the most important and nefarious case in the history of the protestant Reform, which would raise a lot of criticism, insults and recriminations.

The deplorable case of Servetus, that shook all the Europe of the time and that will be a perpetual scourge and drag to the Reformed Churches, overshadowed forever the figure of Calvin. It also shows how deep had pegged the criminal practice of the Catholic Church of getting rid of dissidents, that neither the Protestant, critics of that Church, were able to evade its horrible methods, backed by the exegetical and theological doctrines that Calvin argued against Servetus.

Michael Servetus represents the most radical expression reached by the religious thought of the Renaissance. He entrusts on humans and their possibilities and he attacks all errors whether Catholic or Protestant. He is fully convinced that the Church has betrayed itself and the Gospel with the Council of Nicaea. He advocates a return to the early Church. With the Anabaptists, he rejects the baptism of children, because they are not those who freely choose, and also shares with them his fascination for the millenarianism. Servet, scholar of astrology, places the apocalypse for the year 1585. It is true that latin adage "Aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus", that is, the geniuses sometimes are dozing.

Servetus was a profoundly religious spirit, up to the point of conceiving life and religion as overlapping phenomena that merge. Maybe for that reason he could not avoid the danger. He was pushed to swim against the tide. Servetus looks for the renewal of Christianity from a certain anthropocentrism.

It seems that he came to Geneva with the intention of moving from there to Zurich and then to Naples, to practice medicine there, but he was always aware of his possible death: I know that I will die for this cause, but I doubt if I can be a disciple like the Master. He will come, surely he will come. He will not take a long time.

"It is known that faith is not a private phenomenon, in the modern sense of the term, but public: the State, in the legal conception of the time, has the right and duty to monitor this and suppress the heresy,” that is the thought of the non-Protestant Catholic world.

Tolerance did not exist as a fact, nor was subject of conscious debate. That is why in Geneva had been intolerance, but with Servetus intolerance reaches its zenith. The accusation against Servetus is religious, but administrators are also concerned about the political motives, that explain that, with Calvin, they were interested in condemning the heretic.

The process takes place before the municipal council of Geneva, the day after the arrest, August, 14th, and lasts until 27th, October 1553, date in which the sentence is pronounced and executed. Calvin acts as prosecutor in the process. Thirty eight propositions are drawn from his work, considered as heretical. Servetus defends his theological positions in a writing. He accused Calvin of lying and called him "Simon the Magus", reproached him for having denounced him to the Inquisition of Vienne, since he had the original of the book "Institution Religionis Chistianae", which Servetus had sent him in manuscript before being published. Calvin did not return it to him and used it to accuse him before the Inquisition in France. So he becomes accomplice of the Inquisition, therefore, Servet requests the expulsion of Calvin from Geneva and that all his assets were assigned to him as a compensation for the damages he had suffered. It is difficult to explain his boldness, when he was well knowing the power Calvin had in Geneva, it was a provocation to the sentence.

The process is conducted on the basis of the Code of Justinian, the legal basis of the Holy Roman Empire, which stated explicitly the death penalty for the denial of the Trinity, the main cause of accusation against Servetus.

Michael writes notes, vehemently attacks Calvin without fear and, unafraid, defies and insults him.
















Death of Michael Servetus of Pirlo Baulas, 2004.

Servetus was burned alive by the order authorized by Calvino.

His offence: Having had doubts about the Trinity? His contempt for Calvinist reform? Or because he discovered blood circulation? Or all together?






The deciding dispute between Calvin and Servetus is theological, and it resolves around the questions posed by Calvin to the theology of the Spanish humanist. It is a shock that usually occurs at a distance, through written responses that Servetus notes in the margins of the papers of the indictment. Servetus carefully notes each statement thereto, harshly attacking Calvin whenever the opportunity presents itself, but he also recognizes many points as correctly expressed by Calvin. To give an idea of the tone of the exchange, we need only to cite a few passages in which Servetus attack fearlessly, with a candor and a hardness that baffle his opponent. Let us consider his words:

- Calvin assumes the right to write like a teacher at the Sorbonne to condemn anything as he likes without worrying about providing justifications drawn from the Scriptures. And or he does not understand my intentions, or maliciously he distorts them. Therefore I must briefly state my teaching, and provide evidence to my favor before replying to each of the comments.

- Depraved, this truth you change on the basis of your beliefs of Simon Magus.

- But you shamelessly transmit all in a distorted sense.

-You are kidding.

-You are lying.

- Are you not ashamed to close your eyes to a truth so obvious?

- Calvin is good to make claims, but without any arguments. He shines through all his ignorance, and clearly shows that he never has read Tertullian.

- Really you have no shame, as if you deny that snow is white.


The judges, as transmitted in the record, do not prevent adding harsh and ironic comments against the Spanish:

We think Servetus fears judges fail to understand what a fecund and vicious slander he is, and so from the beginning he called Calvin "murderer" and he throws up many insults against him. We, however, we will stick to the facts simply.


In reply Servetus, who answers directly to Calvin, even though in this case the Minister is who directs generally the questions to him, he writes a note very hard about the word "killer":

Is not true that you are indeed a murderer and a follower of Simon the Magician? Try you to deny you're a murderer, I'll show you it. It is true that neither you are motivated to deny you are Simon the Magician? Who else could believe you and think you're a plant able to produce good fruit? The cause for which I fight is so just that I do not feel any fear or even death.

The final sentence is perhaps illuminating the entire process and explains the attitude of Servetus, his courage otherwise incomprehensible, the fearlessness of his responses. "I do not feel any fear or even death ”. What judges should consider when reading sentences like this? What does Calvin think, in his quiet study, beset by this man who is his prisoner, and that he is the only one who has dared to challenge him so openly, so hard, showing no fear? [76]


Judges become convinced that Michael Servetus was a heretic, and after consultation with other Swiss cities, with the opposition of Calvin, they are comforted in their opinion; but what punishment should be imposed? The exile? The denial of the Trinity and the rejection of infant baptism they are the only two charges that Justinian Code punishes with the death. On October, 27th, 1553, they announced the sentence to Servetus. The text, which Natale Benazzi and Matteo D'Amico give us, deserves to be transcribed to observe the striking similarities in the structure and form with the rulings of the Catholic Inquisition of the period:

And we trustees, judges of criminal cases in this city, having witnessed the proceedings brought before us at the behest of our lieutenant against Thou, Servetus of Villanova, country of Aragon in Spain, and having seen your repeated voluntary confessions and your books, we believe that Thou, Servetus, have long propagated a doctrine absolutely false and heretic, neglecting any report and correction, and that your wicked and perverse obstinacy reported to printed books opinions against God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, in a word against the fundamental principles of the Christian religion, and that you have tried to provoke a schism and disrupt to the Church of God, so many souls may have been ruined and lost, horrible activity, upsetting, outrageous and contagious.

And you had no shame or horror to put against the Divine Majesty and the Holy Trinity, always stubbornly trying to infect the world with your foul and heretical poison. Crime harmful and detestable heresy, deserving of serious punishment.

For these and other reasons, wanting to purge the Church of God of such infections and remove withered sapling, after having advised the citizens and having invoked the name of God to deliver a fair verdict [...], having God and Scripture before our eyes, speaking in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we issue a written final decision and we condemn you, Servetus, to be bound and taken to Champel and you be put in the fire and burned along with your books so that you be not more than ash. And that will put an end to your days and will set an example to those who think of committing similar crimes...

Servetus, after hearing the sentence, had a moment of intense anxiety and weakness, then he recovered himself and he prepared to face the conclusion, for so long foretold, his way of truth, to face the ultimate consequences of his greatness and solitude. [77]

 Servetus, after his agonizing anguish, sent for Calvin to apologize for the attacks that he had addressed to him in the process. The reformer asked him to ask God for forgiveness and a retraction of his theological errors, but Servetus refused to recant. Servetus asks the court to be executed by beheading, not by the fire, he was afraid to betray himself when dying, upset by the suffering of death throes. Calvin unsuccessfully supported his request.

Tied, they lead him to Champel to be burned. He is tied to the post of the fire with an iron chain, with a copy of the book hung on his arm and a noose around his neck. The wood was wet and green and dying in the flames lasted about two endless hours. In Champel, Golgotha was repeated, but here was Michael who was heard saying: "Oh Jesus, Son of the eternal God, have mercy on me".

The scientist Servetus, the discoverer of pulmonary blood flow, had been sacrificed on the pyre of religious fanaticism in the heart of the Reformation. Religions alienate and destroy. We will become aware of this fact very late.

 After centuries under the label of heretic which hung over his figure, reached his defenders, among whom Voltaire highlights. Unlike Montesquieu, for whom the despotism was the enemy of the freedom, for Voltaire it would be the intolerance, which amounts to fanaticism. Voltaire, an enthusiastic apostle and defender of Servetus, spent more than sixty letters on his behalf, some written shortly before his death.

 Voltaire not only rehabilitated the figure of Servetus, but he chooses him precisely as standard-bearer of tolerance and the fight against fanaticism, superstition and moral and physical violence. It is true that the defense of Servetus got Voltaire many disappointments and misunderstandings and harsh criticism. But the fact remains that he gave us a splendid example of fidelity to the Servetian cause, an example of perseverance and enthusiasm which accompanied him during the most active years of his life.

The Servetus of Voltaire is presented to us, first, as an Aragonese Spaniard; a Servetus of Villanueva in Aragón, which is described as a very wise and sensible doctor, half philosopher and half theologian, whose good faith and trust in others made him to be unwise in seeking to pass through Geneva. Recklessness that cost him his life. Hence, in more than one occasion he affectionately qualified him of poor devil, or poor Spanish, whom, however, comes to canonize when he speaks of as St. Servetus or to make oaths "in Deo et in Serveto”.

In return, the portrait of Calvin for his attitude toward Servetus is a whole string of adjectives ranging from the infamous, miscreant, criminal, cowardly, intolerant, barbaric, savage, scamp, conceited, obnoxious... until the ones for murderer, cannibal, monster of pride and cruelty..., going through sentences like the atrocious and sanguinary soul and most dishonest fanatic ever in Europe.

In turn, the death and torture of Servetus are described as a great crime, reprehensible action, real murder in ceremony, criminal violation of international law, cannibal cruelty, insult to the law of nations, judicial murder, denigrating of Spanish nation, etc... [78]

Servetus’ rehabilitation begins in the eighteenth century. The Rev. Michel de la Roche published in English and French, 1717, an interesting description of the process of Servetus. Shortly afterwards, appeared in London an anonymous Impartial history of Michael Servetus burned for heresy in Geneva. In 1730, the Benedictine Fray Benito Jerónimo Feijoo in his works Letters erudite and curious and the Universal Theater Critic, defends Servetus, highlighting both the discovery of blood circulation and the "agony of the unfortunate Michael Servetus, whom Calvin, “usurping a cruel and tyrannical rule in matters of religion, made him to burn alive”.

There were many European authors who raised their voice in defense of the scientist Servetus, including the historian Edward Gibbon, who writes: "I'm much more deeply scandalized by the mere execution of Servetus than at the hundreds of people sacrificed in the autos da fé of Spain and Portugal."

"Among all the Spanish heretics- Agustín Celis tells us-, none beats Michael Servetus in boldness and originality of ideas, as orderly and consistent system, the logical force and the subsequent importance of is errors. As a character, none, except perhaps that of Juan de Valdes, attracts both curiosity and sympathy, none is so rich, varied and splendid as the Unitarian of Aragon. Theologian reformist predecessor of the blood circulation, geographer, editor of Ptolemy, astrologer pursued by the University of Paris, Hebraist and Hellenistic, vagabond student, controversialist tireless, while mystic dreamer, the story of his life and his opinions is beyond the most complex novel. Add to this that the Geneva process and the judicial murder that have been completed and are the most awful charge against the Calvinist Reformation, and you understand exactly why so numerous research and books about this unique character. Without exaggeration may be said they form a library. [79]

 Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo succeeds completely when he says of Servetus, in his usual security, the following:

"But his spirit was bold and independent, and he was not born as soldier row, he began to interpret the Scriptures for himself, and he was neither orthodox nor Lutheran or Anabaptist, but a heresiarch sui generis, with winds of reformer and prophet ". [80]

 In France, Servetus knows Calvin. Their meeting is narrated by the mentioned Menendez Pelayo:

"There he met, in 1534, the fatal man that has since joined as black shadow to his bad fortune. This was John Calvin of Noyon, the perfect antithesis of Servetus, hard-hearted, envious, petty; narrow understanding, but clear and precise; stickler organizer, inflexible and heartless, born to tyranny Spartan mode; correct writer, but dry, without eloquence and without juice; soul of ice, slave to a poor and tortuous dialectic without a generous feeling, without a spark of artistic enthusiasm, soul closed to all the enjoyments of the beautiful. With his Reformation, Geneva spread on a gloomy sadness that neither the winds of Italy, nor the voice of Sadoleto, or the voice of St. Francis de Sales managed to drive away from the beautiful shores of Lake Leman until today.

How that man could deal with Michael Servetus, frank and open spirit, a sort of errant knight of theology! Driven by his zeal for proselytism, tried to convince him and dispute with him, as he had done with Oecolampadius, Bucer and others, always desirous of attracting followers of worth to restore what he called Christianity. They agreed on the date, time and place (a house in the Rue St. Antoine) in which the theological challenge was to take place, but come the time, Calvin went alone, not without danger to his life, as he says, but we cannot suspect the cause of not having appeared Servetus, who afterwards gave much evidence that he did not know the fear and that he knew how to shatter the logic of his adversary. "

Only one question. What remains in the shadows is why did he go there, and especially what for. We'll return once again to ask ourselves what Benazzi and D'Amico are asking themselves:

"Servetus goes to Geneva fully aware of going to the meeting with his martyrdom. The journey to the reformed city becomes again a descent into a modern Jerusalem, where he knows that he will be not understood and where he knows he will find the death. Servetus, after the arrest at Vienne and the flight, he chooses not to hide again, to complete with disguises, escapes and the game of deception. He chooses, somehow, to go boldly into an exemplary death.

The choice is to sacrifice his life against one, who he believes, at that moment, the greatest danger to the Christianity, against the real enemy of his great idea of renewal of the Church: Calvin. By forcing Calvin to get his hands dirty with the process, he forces him to come to light, to shed the mask, to show the violent and intolerable face which resides in the depth of his doctrine. If we do not accept this hypothesis, it becomes very difficult to explain the courage, daring, sometimes violence, which characterized Servetus in the defense of his process in Geneva.

Servetus attacks Calvin freely, as if he was not his prisoner and his life was not at stake, but as if he was writing a controversial treaty or as if he was developing an academic dispute: this is the greatness of Servetus, his impressive moral force that emerges, that makes him a martyr. Probably, in a way that we cannot know or rebuild, the Spanish debater perceives that with his death he can inflict a vulnus (wound), a mortal wound to Calvinist Protestantism. Like a fine game of chess, Servetus makes a sacrifice of quality, and he attracts Calvin into a death trap”. [81]

 Voltaire devotes to the case of Servetus for the first time in 1733, in a letter to Jacob Vernet, Genevan pastor, in which he speaks specifically of intolerance:

"In matters of religion, you and me, I believe, we have tolerance. I endure everything of the men provided that they are not pursuers; I would love Calvin if he had not burnt Servetus; I would support the Council of Constance without the stake of Huss.

In his Poem on Natural Law, 1752, Voltaire says: Calvin and his followers, stalked by justice, they were put to the execution in Paris, but only in effigy. However, Servetus was slain in person by Calvin himself.

In 1756, Voltaire published in Geneva his famous Essay on the customs and spirit of nations and on the main facts of history, from Charlemagne to Louis XIII. When speaking of the Inquisition and its importance, he calls it transient in France, restricted in Venice, null in Naples, mediocre in Aragon, abominable in Spain (Castile and Leon). And he adds:

Servetus was in such good faith in dark metaphysics, that from Vienna, in Dauphine, where he lived for some time, he wrote to Calvin on the Trinity. They played by correspondence. In the dispute, Calvin went from the insults to the injuries and from the injuries to theological hatred, the most implacable of all hatred. Calvin scored for treason the leaves of a work that Servetus made print secretly. Calvin sent them with other letters he had received from him to Lyon, an action that would be enough to dishonor him in society forever, for the so-called spirit of society is more honest and more severe than all the synods.

Calvin accused Servetus by an emissary. What a role for an apostle! Servetus, who knew that in France was burned without mercy any innovator, fled while his trial was being instructed. Servetus, unfortunately, passed through Geneva. Calvin knew it, he denounced him and made him stop at the Hospice of La Rosa when he was preparing to depart. Servetus was stripped of 97 pieces of gold, a gold chain and six rings. No doubt it was contrary to international law to detain an alien who had committed no crime in the city, but also in Geneva there was a law that should be imitated. This law mandated that the informer should be put in jail with the defendant. Calvin made the report by one of his disciples that served as an office boy. [82]

John Calvin changed his mind since he surrendered to the fury of theological hatred. He asked for tolerance, that he needed in France, and he was arming of intolerance in Geneva. Calvin, following the execution of Servetus, published a book that claimed to prove that it was necessary to punish heretics. When his enemy was captured, he lavished the injuries and ill-treatment inflicted by cowards when they are the owners. In short, by dint of pressure on judges to use the credit for which he headed, by screaming and shouting that God required the execution of Michael Servetus, he burned him and enjoyed his torment, he who had raised his voice so high against the persecutions.

Moreover, this barbarism, which was strengthened with the name of justice, could be regarded as an insult to the rights of nations: a Spanish passing through a foreign city, could be executed in that city for having published his feelings without having dogmatized neither in this city nor anywhere else? "

What still increases more the anger and the pity is that Servetus, in his published works, clearly recognized the full divinity of Jesus Christ; he declared during his trial to be firmly convinced that Jesus was the Son of God, begotten from all eternity by the Father and conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. [...]

This deplorable catastrophe happened in 1553, eighteen years after Geneva had given its decree against the Roman religion, but I place it here to raise awareness of the character of Calvin, who became the apostle of Geneva and the Reformed France. Today they seem to be asking for forgiveness to the ashes of Servetus [...][83]

Voltaire, as a historian, only respected the truth, as he said, so he condemned the murder of Servetus, as the result of intolerance and fanaticism. Speaking of Geneva and of Calvin, he says:
Calvin can be judged by the persecution that arose against Castalion, wiser man than him, and that his jealousy expelled him from Geneva, and for the cruel death, long after, with which he destroyed the unfortunate Servetus.


Castalion or Castellion was Sebastian Castellio, considered a champion of religious liberty. He replied to the writing of Calvin entitled: Defense of the Orthodox faith of the Trinity against the prodigious mistakes of the Spanish Michael Servetus.



That answer can be found in Supoorting Documents.













 Giordano Bruno at the stake by Andre Durand (2000).
"He averted his face from the crucifix they offered him and died in silence"



We are experiencing hard times; you cannot speak or be silent without danger. Juan Louis Vives to Erasmus, 1534.


In 1548, in the shadow of Vesuvius, in Nola near Naples, Filippo Bruno sees the light. His father is Giovanni, modest gentleman, soldier to the service of the Viceroy of Toledo, and his mother is Fraulisa Savolino. He proudly describes himself as " the Nolan", born under the "most benign sky", lover of nature by growing up there in the full enjoyment of liberty.

When he was
sixteen, he entered the monastery of San Domenico Maggiore of the Friars Preachers of St. Dominic, in Naples. At twenty four he was ordained priest, and at 27 he leaves the convent and heads for Rome, not being adaptable to convent life, which he describes as "narrow and dark prison".

From 1503, Naples was a Spanish conquest incorporated into the Crown since the time of the Catholic King to the Empire of Charles V. It was for the monarchy of great strategic value in the Mediterranean, that is why the Emperor sent there as viceroy the powerful nobleman Pedro de Toledo, who played his roles with remarkable success for over two decades, until 1553. Earlier, in 1547, there had been a violent popular and nobility uprising against the establishment of the Inquisition in Naples.

Filippo changes his name to Giordano, the name of his teacher of metaphysics, although his Philosophy teacher, Teofilo da Vairano, would be the most remembered, according to his letter, of December, 7th, 1586, to William Getín: " Teofilo, the main teacher that I had in Philosophy ".

It deals with the reading of the works of Erasmus of Rotterdam, fully condemned by Paul IV, in 1559, and excised by the Tridentine Index of 1564. He reads with intensity and he thinks without pause or measure, he is attracted by religious consistency of Arianism and begins to criticize the iconography, the worship of saints, which he considered pagan residues in Christendom and that the Reformation also rejected.

Returning to Naples, he is an eyewitness to the revolt of 1564 and he witnesses, at the Market Place, the burning at the stake of two relapsed heretics, judged by Cardinal Santori, who, with Robert Bellarmine, lead himself to the burning of Campo dei Fiori in Rome, a few years later.

Once in Rome, he visited Pope Pius V and Cardinal Rebiba, who, aware of his mnemonic resources, asked him for the artificial memory and and he recites for them the psalm Fundamenta in Hebrew. They were surprised by his prodigious memory and he gives Cardinal Rebiba some lessons about the resources of his art.

In Rome, in an obscure process, he is accused of throwing to the Tíber, without fatal consequences, a Dominican brother, that Giordano suspected he had denounced him to the Inquisition. The truth is that he leaves the habits and goes to Genoa, then to Turín, Venice and Lyon, in a wandering walking, and always in search of answers to the endless questions that came to his mind. Among them there were the immortality of the soul and especially, following the theory of double truth of Averroes, the separation of the Philosophy from Religion, different sciences that Thomism was determined to unify. They pretended to reach it this fusion, as impossible as mixing water with oil, by creating a theology which rationalizes the faith. The scholastics and Thomas Aquinas tried to present the faith as a rational gift, that is, by basing it on the reason, and they consider the theology as the science of God. God, investigation subject.


Today we know that this is completely impossible. They dared to define God as a pure infinity act. On this basis, only an infinite intelligence could capture that essence, to call it in some way. God cannot be verified or demonstrate. They base on the myth of creation so that, if they are raised to infinity all the perfections of the universe, we could get an idea of the infinite essence of God. But such idea cannot bear the principle that matter neither is created nor destroyed. The creation is nothing but a myth, and doing theology is to create mythology, what is far from thinking and doing science on the religious phenomenon, in the societies of each period of history, which is the subject of the Sociology of religion.

From Lyon, the "front of the catholicity", where his thinking did not fit with the dogmatic positions there, he goes to the Geneva of Calvin, the "new Rome," now governed by Theodore Bèze. Geneva was a free republic since 1533, and Giordano was received by the evangelical Italian community and he thought it would be the right place for his free thinking. He became Calvinist -in the process he said that it was a requirement to get a work- and gets a job as editor of press. Two months had not gone when Giordano wrote a pamphlet against the Antorine Faye, school principal and professor of philosophy, which concerns the teacher's mistakes in his statements of Aristotle; that causes his excommunication on August, 27th, 1578. Bruno acknowledges his fault, but for Bruno, as it had been for Servetus, Geneva becomes a serious mistake, because in his indictment he was accused of Calvinist; then he would say "he was invited by the Marquis of Vico and that he only wanted to live in freedom and security ".

He walks to Toulouse, where he remained about twenty months as a teacher of arts (magister artium), and he teaches De anima of Aristotle and other matters of Philosophy, Physics and Mathematics.

In the fall of 1581, Giordano leaves Toulouse, with its civil wars, and goes to Paris, where he teaches mnemonics that catapulted him to such fame that King Henry III called him to ask if his memory was natural or was the result of magic. Giordano offered him some lessons to show that it was not magic but science.

Highly acclaimed, Giordano is encouraged to write De umbris Idearum (From the shadows of ideas) and Ars memoriae (The art of memory), setting out in detail the fundamental rules of the art of memory with a complex combinatorial, based on a series of http://boriken.info/images divided into five concentric and mobile circles. These circles explained the three elementary mnemonic procedures -short arts-, which were the ones he forced to test the King of France, to whom he dedicated his work, and for what he was appointed extraordinary reader of the Royal College Readers. Thus he achieved, in addition to his subsistence, a great social and intellectual credit, and from the Court, he attacked the Aristotelian conservatism of the Sorbonne and advocated religious tolerance as opposed to the intransigence of the League.

In his work Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast, with tragic consequences in the process, he praises the King:
This crown belongs to the invincible Henry III, King of the magnanimous, powerful and courageous France [...], very Christian King, holy, religious and pure, who can surely say 'tertio coelo manet' [...] he loves peace, he maintains as much as possible his beloved people in peace and devotion, he appreciates all the detours through which justice and holiness are the right path and lead to the eternal kingdom [...] let others try to fill the Lusitania vacant throne [...] others to covet Belgian territory [...].

These last words
refer to the ambition of Philip II on Lusitania, i.e., Portugal, and on the Belgian territory, where Philip II pressures to prevent the secession of the Netherlands to the Spanish Crown.


This work will do immense damage to him when it is presented at the end of the process, it is violently anti-papal. With the Triumphant Beast he wants to symbolize Sixtus V dethroned, and the figure of the pig in the Cantus Circeus (singing circus), work that he completes in the French court, represents the Pope. He also wrote in the French court: De compendiosa arquitectura et complementa artis Lulii, inspired by the Lullism. Raymond Lull had tried to develop a universal system of letters and ideas to convert the infidels.


At this time, Giordano Bruno fully developed his idea of freedom of philosophy, that, for him, was not a slave science of theology (ancilla theologiae) neither of the religious thought. Following Copernicus, he states that the function of religion is to rule the ignorant masses and that theologians should be restricted to their field and not interfere in matters of philosophy, autonomous science.

The Nolan faces the geocentric conception of Aristotle and Ptolemy. As far back as Aristotle there were heliocentric advocates, as Aristarchus of Samos, but Aristotle imposed his theory and scholasticism adopted it. Giordano ends up developing a infinitely cosmological conception, inspired by Copernicus. For Giordano, the world, against Aristotle, is uniform. That freedom of philosophical thought, says Rogelio Pérez Bustamante, will never be shared by the Inquisition or the Church, and it ends up costing his live, and the theory of the infinity of the world also will be frowned upon as a direct attack on the Scriptures what will drag him to death.

The Nolan personal and intellectual process was progressive. It replaces religious and theological ideas with the philosophical ones, more rational and related to his way of thinking and feeling, which will lead to political ideas, in line of Machiavelli, to strengthen the state, which will be illustrated by philosophy, and where religion will not bring more than division and conflict. New states will be led by new men, devoted to the public good, trained as technicians, experts in many disciplines in which peace will be the absolute value. This political thought is very much against the political interests of the papacy and contrary to Spain. It promotes the hegemony of the French crown in Europe, but Henry IV, the Huguenot, would become a Catholic and this will not help him at his trial in the Roman Inquisition.

Bruno goes to England, 1583, after Michel de Castelnau was appointed secretary of the emperor of the King of France. It is there, under the Castellanau friendship, where his metaphysical vision is totally developed and where he wrote his major works, later published in Germany: The Ash Supper, The infinite universe and the world, Of the cause, The beginning and the one and the heroic fury. This latter is a kind of Platonic dialogue that describes the path to God through wisdom.

He returned to France but he leaves it after the disputes in the College of Cambrai, where he was mocked, physically attacked and expelled from the country. Then he goes to Maguncia, Wiesbaden, Marburg, where he is prohibited to teach and finally he arrives at Wittenberg the most importance university of the empire, where the Lutheran and Calvinist theories dominated. There he stays for two years and he says goodbye with an Oratio valedictorian, a farewell speech, expressing admiration and praise for Luther and Germany, for the philosophical freedom that he had found among the Germans.

next destination would be Prague, run by Rudolph III, patron of the arts and sciences, who ends by establishing religious freedom and to whom Giordano devoted several articles. Back to Germany he settles in Helmsted, where the pastor Gilbert Voet, superintendent of the local Lutheran church, excommunicated him, for personal reasons according to Bruno. He leaves the city and now he settles in Frankfurt, from where he is cast, and goes to Zurich, where he teaches lessons of philosophy, to return to Frankfurt again. There he received some letters of the Venetian patrician Giovanni Mocenigo, who invited him to move to Venice to be instructed in the art of memory and there starts the beginning of the end.


Venice, tolerant state, is the first power that has recognized Henry IV in 1589, and his patrician people is close to the Reformation and,therefore, opposed to the interference of Rome in their affairs. He joins to the Academy run by Andrea Morosini, devoted to Literature and Philosophy. There he is dedicates to teaching the art of memory and invention, as manifested by the bookseller Ciotti, a witness for Bruno in Rome.

Meanwhile, surprising fact, Bruno takes the decision to return to the Church, what he aims to obtain with the permission from the new Pope, Clement VIII, to whom he plans to devote the work titled Seven Liberal Arts, but with the intention of teaching in Rome, without having to return to his Dominican order, as manifested a fellow Dominican, Domenico da Nocera. We are in 1591, when Bruno is installed in the house of Mocenigo at San Samuele. Mocenigo is a very complex man, member of an illustrious Venetian family.

Giovanni Mocenigo want to make fast progress, in order to influence the minds of others, in the art of memorizing and in the art of magic influence; but he is not satisfied with his learning and he thinks that what he learned was not responding adequately to what he paid. The situation was precipitated when Bruno expresses the intention of returning to Frankfurt to publish a new work, because he thinks he has fulfilled the commitment to his host. Mocenigo is frustrated and angry and the night of May, 22nd, enter to his bedroom with a servant and five gondoliers, hold and drag him to a barn where they lock up him. Moncenigo goes to blackmail to make him desist, if he decide to go, he will denounce him to the Inquisition. The Nolan greatly bothered but could not regain his freedom. Mocenigo denounced him to the Inquisition and he was imprisoned on May, 23rd. Thus begins a process for prosecution, on the basis of counts of a report, enlarged two days later, and the court's performance begins. He is charged with:

Having opinions contrary to the Holly Faith and purposes against it and its ministers.
Holding misconceptions about the Trinity, the divinity of Christ and the Incarnation.
Holding misconceptions about Christ.
Holding misconceptions about transubstantiation and the Mass.
Maintaining the existence of multiple worlds and their eternity.
Believing in metempsychosis and transmigration of human souls in animals.
Dealing with the art of divination and magic.
Not believing in the virginity of Mary.
Yielding to the sin of the flesh.
Having being in heretical countries living according to their customs.


On 26th, May, 1592, four days after his arrest, Bruno first appears before the tribunal of the Inquisition. He gives the judges a hand-written list of all his books and he responds with a statement that summarizes and illustrates all his future conduct in the process:

"The subject of all these books, generally speaking is philosophical, as evidenced by the titles themselves and diverse, as can be saw in all my works. The conclusions I have reached are always of a philosophical basis, based on the principles of natural light, without particular consideration of what should be taken by faith. It cannot be found in these books I wanted to attack religion rather than exalt philosophy although there have been many unholy things, based on my own natural light".

In these words is one of the key elements of the whole process, that would make understand the terrain, always slippery and ambiguous, of Bruno's position before the court. So we witness the staging of a conflict that, as a few years later in the case of Galileo, faces the theology and philosophy, faith and natural light, although Bruno always affirms the freedom of thought and autonomy of philosophical speculation against the intrusion of theologians. [84]

Kneeling down
, he asks for forgiveness from God and the Court of all the mistakes he has committed, and calls for the punishment due.

Giordano defends itself from accusations by distinguishing two kinds of truth, one philosophical, which is where he acts, and the theological, where some mistakes may be found. As a philosopher he defends his right to make philosophy and, in the theological field, he refuses to have any willingness to go against the church doctrine and, if there were any errors, he expressed his clear intention to withdraw.

With the information they have and with only one witness - testes unus testes nullus (one witness is no witness) said the inquisitorial manuals, the Venetian Inquisition realizes that the conviction is not easy, so it requests information from Rome, whose response is that of Cardinal Santori requesting extradition. Such a request becomes a political issue between the Holy See, the Inquisitorial Tribunal of Venice and the Venetian Senate which has important political and jurisdictional objections.

The Holy See presses saying that Bruno is of "Neapolitan condition", that he is a public heretic and he attacks the fundamentals of the Church. The Senate of Venice after a vote of 142 votes for and 30 against, as a sign of "reverence and filial obedience to His Holiness," decides to send him to Rome. He sails from Venice to the port of Ancona on February, 19th, 1593.


On February, 27th, he entered the building of the Supreme Court that was next to St. Peter, this building construction was recently completed in 1569. There he will remain locked up seven years and he will only go out to go to the Campo dei Fiori. The Nolan fed certain, but vague hopes that, as he approached the papal Curia, could be offered the opportunity to present his expected defense, to convince and be fully rehabilitated, aware of his considerable wit and preparation; he thought he could also find in the Pope understanding, magnanimity and mercy.


Then he begins to suffer the torture of loneliness and the overwhelming sense of time dilation. He cannot talk or communicate with the interior and less with the outside world, he cannot read or write unless it's something concerning the cause. For an intellectual being unable to read or write, as he had been doing for years, was an unbearable torture. Not to teach, not to travel, not to know anything new. All the "noes" crushed him as a heavy slab. And his freedom, where was he walking? He had committed no crime. Well, he was accused of thinking freely and to dissent, but if he did all these with the natural light of intelligence, why was he forbidden of thinking, of having his own opinion and dissenting?, he asked himself many, many imes. He fears for himself, for his ability to resist the terrible intensity of the pressure exerted on him by the Court. He fears about the possibility of torture and to crumble with the possibility of becoming a human wreck.


All inquisitorial machinery is well oiled and geared to break all the schemes, mental and psychological, to destroy his self-esteem, to make him aware of what they think you are, human scum. Everything is maddening, a test to Hercules, but not to humans. And the Pope, the Vicar of Christ, the August princes, the cardinals, wrapped in their royal robes, carrying rich and colorful rings and pectorals, in their luxurious mansions, are in front of a genius, much wiser than them, but helpless and caged in his Christian and Catholic gulag. Delays and downtime make a dent in Bruno, who hopes on the benevolence of the court of the Serenísima (very serene), so euphemistically was called this court.


The Nolan is torn in the hope of his acquittal: only one witness, his testimony is not enough, more witnesses are needed, a single witness is no witness, but he is not entirely convinced, no longer sees all clear. In so many long nights and insipid days, there is so much to think, especially people like him with fast speech and bountiful imagination.


But his hope suffer a silent and unexpected attack by the appearance of a new witness, a fellow of the Venetian prison, a Capuchin friar, Celestino of Verona, who also would be burned alive in the Campo dei Fiori, five months before Bruno. Celestino de Verona "deposed against Giordano, because he suspects he has been falsely reported by him, and made all the charges against Giordano in a written text: Dixit se deponere contra Iordanum, quia suspicatur se calumniose delatum fuisse ab ipso, et detulit omnia contra Iordanum in scriptis. Detulit dixisse.



These allegations and the outcome of this Nolan case, one of the most intricate that Inquisition found, for the breadth and depth preparation of the accused, can be read in the Supporting Documents.


...On a page of the Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast, Bruno, the hero of a Renaissance defeated by the obscurantism of the Counter Reformation, with prophetic intuition, he seemed to have sensed what world had condemned him; is one of his most beautiful pages and more bitterly true:

The darkness will be preferred to light, death will be judged more useful than the life, nobody will look up to heaven, the priest will be considered insane, the wicked will be judged prudent, strong mad, the bad good. And believe me that it will be decided the death penalty for anyone who is devoted to the religion of the mind, because they will find new justices, new laws, nothing will be find holy, nothing religious: it will not be heard anything worthy of heaven or celestial. There will only rest pernicious angels that mixed with men will force the wretched to the audacity of all evil, as if it was justice; they will give matter for wars, robberies, fraud and all other things contrary to soul and natural justice: and this will be the old age and disorder and irreligion in the world. [88]


And it was delivered to the secular arm. Miguel Angel Granada reproduces the description of a witness of the execution, on February, 17th, 1600, in the Piazza del Campo dei Fiori where: "stripped of his clothes and undressed and tied to a stick... with the tongue anchored in a wooden press so he could not speak... was burnt alive…"









Nicolaus Copernicus.

His heliocentric model is considered one of the most important theories in the history of Western science.






The Philosophy is written in that great book, which is continually open before our eyes (I call it universe). But you cannot decipher if you have not understood the language and know the characters in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language, whose characters are triangles, circles and other geometric shapes... without which we grope in a dark labyrinth. Galileo.

Theologians fail to distinguish between religious truth and scientific truth and they unit them into one; they regard the Scriptures as the book par excellence of Science and they subject all other sciences to the approach and the content of the Bible as its servants or slaves. They also conceive Philosophy, Astrology and modern cosmology submitted to the sacred texts. As if all knowledge was contained in the Bible. But the Scriptures do not build science, they could teach, in the words of a Christian believer as Galileo, how to go to sky (heavens ), but not how the sky moves. The Scriptures deal with symbols, Cosmology, with geometric shapes.

Psalm 93 (92) sets a geocentric cosmology:
You have fixed the earth firm and immovable. A similar idea is in the biblical passage from the Book of Joshua 10, 12-24, where Joshua stops the movement of the sun and the moon:
When the Yahweh brought the Israelites into the hands of the Amorites, Joshua spoke to God and cried in the presence of Israel: Stop, sun, in Gibeon and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ayalon. And the sun and moon stood still motionless, until he took revenge on people from their enemies. This is stated in the book of Joshua: The sun stopped in midair and it took a full day to get dark. Neither before nor since has there been such a day when the Yahweh obeyed the voice of a man, because the Yahweh fought for Israel. Joshua 10, 13, 14.

Cardinal Bellarmine, in his letter to Foscarini, also quoted Ecclesiastes 1, 5:
The sun rises the sun sets and returns to its place (Oritur sol et occidit, et ad locum suum revertitur). And Tycho Brahe, to support his intermediate cosmological theory, quotes Psalm 104: My God, how great you are!... You settle the earth, forever unmoved

In the Middle Ages it prevailed the geocentric theory of the heliocentric. The strength of geocentric theory was supported in the biblical texts and the authority of Aristotle, that prevailed on the theory of Aristarchus of Samos and other Greek sages, Hindus and Muslims, who had defended the heliocentric one.

Nicolaus Copernicus, 1473-1543, Polish priest, initiates the study of modern astronomy. He definitively replaces the geocentric by the heliocentric theory in his great work, published the year of his death, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (From the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres). His work, thanks to the wisdom of Osiander, editor of his famous preface, is presented as a mere hypothesis, which saved Copernicus from the Inquisition in the early stages. Copernicus will be followed by three astronomer scientists: Tycho Brahe, 1546-1601, which outlines the elliptical trajectories of comets, not circular. Johannes Kepler, 1571-1630, who became famous for his formulation of the laws of planetary motion and Galileo Galilei, 1564-1642. He was in constant polemics against the Aristotelian physics, which was replaced by experimental physics, using his research method of three phases: observation, hypothesis and verification. Galileo also said that Nature is written in mathematical language. The thesis “that makes the sun moving and the earth unmoving in the middle of the universe” collapses and gives way to a new science understood, not as mental speculations, but as systematic observation of facts and rigorous scientific proof, based upon hours and hours of observation and mathematical investigations to draw conclusions in science. The new scientific method greatly shook the foundations, on which was based the science of that time. The heliocentric model was a revolution both in the field of astronomy and of science, as well as in the metaphysical and theological fields.

In the scientific field, it was the thesis of the Ptolemaic system which prevailed in most of the universities, that, instead of investigating, they repeated the same errors century after century. In the metaphysical and theological field, the heliocentric model is a breakdown of the geocentric worldview with all the implications that this entails.

It is the hardest blow that Sacred Scriptures might receive, because the new observations are not allegorical texts, which are susceptible of multiple valid interpretations, or dogmas that are beyond the realm of science, and that each theologian may interpreted from different angles and with different nuances. Here, the physical reality and its response are not supported by nuances or poetic flourishes: between the Sun and Earth, which one is the center? The Bible also was wrong, as had happened to Zeus, in Meconah, invited by Prometheus to choose between the two parts of a slaughtered bull; Zeus, led by appearance, chose the worst part, bones covered with fat, that Greeks did like a lot. The gods, well, the sacred writers, also sometimes are wrong.

These discoveries, with the scientific method, cracked the biblical foundations. For exegetical reasons also, Luther and the Reformation rejected the Copernican thesis. The Catholic and Protestant Christians could not accept it, although they were forced, even in the nineteenth century, to reassess the exegesis and interpretation of the Old and New Testament, not always in the literal sense. Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical Providentisimus Deus, 1893, shows the ruling on biblical studies in the future.

Copernicus had begun, in 1514, his Commentariolus (Small remark), in which he described his ideas about the heliocentric hypothesis and it already hinted that the Earth has three motions: daily rotation, annual revolution, and the annual tilt of its axis. Interestingly, he cements part of his theory on philosophers, but he does not mention Aristarchus of Samos, 320-250 BC, who first conceived, according to some scholars, the
heliocentric vision.

For his groundbreaking work De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, Copernicus used only these three instruments: the Quadrant, the Astrolabe and the Parallactic instrument; with them, from his tower, he patiently observes the sun, the moon and the stars for twenty years. He missed what Galileo would have, the Telescope.

Copernicus, by replacing the medieval religious ideology, what meant to contradict the largest of medieval ideals, namely the magnificence of God through his creative work of human nucleus, was afraid of the Inquisition. So the publication of his work was postponed, despite twenty five years of work (1507-1532) and it was only published posthumously in 1543, the year he died. De Revolutionibus would be prohibited with the passage of time, despite the long introduction dedicated to Pope Paul III and despite the explanation that it was only a scientific hypothesis.









Geocentric Theory





The universe is a system of concentric spheres: that is the general conception; the various views are intended to the number and nature of these areas. Bede, in the eighth century, said that seven heavens were surrounding the Earth: air, ether, the Olympian, the inflamed area, the firmament of the stars, the heaven of angels and the sky of the Trinity, (yet today we speak in familiar language, that someone has been transported to the seventh heaven). The Greek heritage, even the terminology, is very clear in Bede. The Christianization of this concept ends up with a simplification according to the testimony served in the twelfth century in the Elucidarium of Honorius of Autun, which distinguishes three heavens: the corporal sky we see, the spiritual sky in the living spiritual substances like the angels and the intellectual heaven where the blessed contemplate face to face the Holy Trinity. More scientific systems take the scheme of Aristotle, that made the universe a complex arrangement of fifty-five areas to which the Scholastics add an additional outer area, the "prime mover", from where God sets in motion the whole system. Some, like the Bishop of Paris, William of Auvergne, in the first half of XIII century, imagines over the first engine another sphere, an immobile empyrean, the residence of the saints.

The point is that, despite the care taken by the theologians and the Church to affirm the spiritual nature of God, vocabulary allows Christians to have a concrete representation of God. The same concern exists to safeguard this divine immateriality on the one hand and, on the other, not to clash with the naive belief in a reality of God called substantial, (which is quite ambiguous, to satisfy both doctrinal orthodoxy and the mental habits of the mass). [89]






Galileo by Leoni


While attempting to prove the Earth revolves around the sun, Galileo adopted a mode of reasoning that not only led the Church to prosecute him, but it also led to the new scientific method of statistical hypotheses. Owen Gingerich.

Let us return to Aristotle's Physics, that distinguishes between the sublunary and the celestial world. The sublunary world covers the Earth and everything that lies between the earth and the moon, everything here is imperfect and changing.
The supralunary world covers the moon and beyond it, everything is perfect there. Geometric shapes are perfect spheres and regular movements are circular and unchanging. The Superlunary world is composed by the incorruptibility of the ether, matter or quintessence.

Galileo, by observing the stars through a telescope, also verifies that the heavens are corruptible. The stars are born and die, explode, filling the intergalactic space of chemical elements. For the first time there is a fundamental test of homogeneity of the universe.

Copernicus in his De Revolutionibus had spoken of a world that was two thousand times larger than that of Ptolemy, but not infinite, although he spoke of infinite distances. Giordano radicalized this thesis when developing metaphysics centered on the idea of infinity. Galileo continues to Copernicus theory, but not yet with sufficient and irrefutable scientific evidence to convince skeptics of its revolutionary value.

In the fall of 1609, fitted with an optical tube, a perspicillum, as he called it and that he himself had built, observes the sky and its magnificent vision causes him a huge psychological impact. A few months later he published a book setting out his observations: Sidereus nuncius (the Sidereal Messenger). In addition to the Mountains of the Moon, finds that the moon is similar to Earth and was not ethereal glass globe that his predecessors had imagined. But it was not clear evidence to prove the falsity of the Ptolemaic system; this would happen when he discovered the phases of Venus, from 1609 to 1610.

In January 1610, Galileo discovered three small stars on the periphery of Jupiter; after observing other nights, he found four. They are Jupiter's satellites that he named Io, Callisto, Europa and Ganymede. Today, in his honor, they are called Galilean satellites. With this crucial and vital discovery shows that not all heavenly bodies revolve around the earth, a terrible blow to the Aristotelians and also to some Copernicans.

On 4 March 1610, he published in Florence his findings in Sidereus Nuncius. For a time, he called the satellites of Jupiter "mediciens planets " in honor of his former pupil and friend, Cosme II, duke of Tuscany. So he was torn between Cosmic (Cosme) sidera and Medicea sidera.

A year later, 1611, he was invited by Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, future Urban VIII, who in the future becomes part of his process, to present his findings at the Accademia dei Lincei. It is admitted as the sixth member, and thereafter, the academy lynx will adorn the frontispiece of all publications. The honor, prestige and fame are his entourage wherever he goes. A Roman committee, composed of Jesuits, produces a report to Cardinal Bellarmine which justifies that Galileo's observations are accurate. He is then received by Pope Paul V.


Natale Benazzi and Matteo D'Amico thus described the first use of the telescope:

The scientist from Pisa immediately sensed the potential that the instrument possesses and directs it to the sky, in long night-time observations that will soon unveil a set of phenomena that so far no one had noticed. First of all Galileo makes important observations on the lunar surface, the satellites of Jupiter, the difference in shape and brightness of the planets and stars. In the Siderus Nuncius, the work in which he collects the first results of his observations and published in January 1610, describes, in a deservedly famous page, how is the surface of the moon seen with the new powerful tool:

"[...] We conclude that the surface of the Moon is not smooth, uniform and precisely spherical as a great number of philosophers believe in this and other celestial bodies, but on the contrary, uneven, rugged, full of cavities and prominences, it not different from the face of the earth which differs by chains of hills here and there through the depths of the valleys".

The consequences implied by the observations described by Galileo in the Siderus Nuncius are extraordinary in scope: it all makes way for the recognition of the identity of the nature of the earth and moon, and thus to overcome the distinction
between celestial and sublunary world governing all the Aristotelian physics building. But perhaps the most important discovery is that of the satellites of Jupiter. These witness a celestial movement whose center is a different planet from Earth, thus destroying the most important basis of Ptolemaic astronomy, that is, the thesis that placed the Earth as the only possible center of the orbital motions of heavenly bodies. [90]

The telescope powers the astronomy as a science and makes Galileo to be considered the father of Science, Physics and Astronomy. He falls squarely in the establishment of the modern scientific method of science.

On August, 21th, he introduced his second telescope to the Venetian Senate. In the Campanile of St. Mark's square he makes a demonstration: Murano, which is two and a half miles away, appears to be a thousand feet far. Galileo bequeathed his rights to the Republic of Venice. In return, he is confirmed as a professor at the University of Padua, his revenues are doubled and his financial difficulties are over. It seems that Galileo did not dominate the optical theory and some telescopes had problems, there was some mediocrity in the first ones, but he steps up his efforts to improve them.

In the court of Tuscany, he makes it easier to astronomical observers the discovery of these stars and he gives courses on it at Padua. Johannes Kepler supports and confirms his own findings in September, thanks to a telescope, with which Galileo presented him personally. The success and the compliments showered him everywhere: first Mathematician of the University of Pisa, without charge; first Mathematician and Philosopher of the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

The same year, he focuses his lens toward Saturn and discovers, without specifying, its strange appearance. It will take about fifty years and more powerful tools in order that Christian Huygens discover Saturn's rings.

In the Sun he discovered sunspots and explains them. He discovers also the phases of Venus, easier to explain with the heliocentric system than with the geocentric.

By observing the phases of the moon, he discovers that this star is not perfect, as claimed by the Aristotelian theory, and found that there were mountains on the Moon higher than those on Earth, he says that in his book Sidereus Nuncius, but really they are equivalent.

He discover the nature of the Milky Way, our galaxy, he counts the stars in the constellation of Orion and he notes that certain visible stars are clusters of stars.

A former pupil of his, Benedetto Castelli, made Galileo remark that, in the Copernican system, Venus should show all the complete series of stages: from a dark disc, passing through the first quarter and the convex shape, to the full shape, fully illuminated. What did not happen in the Ptolemaic system, because, being between the Earth and the Sun, Venus would show only waxing, as it would never pass behind the Sun and it could not be seen fully illuminated. And indeed Castelli and Galileo were right: Venus revolved around the sun, so it had the phases. In 1611, began to appear the crescent of Venus. It was discovered that Venus had the same phases as the Moon. Galileo noted that would never sufficiently admire those who had adopted the heliocentric system against the evidence of the senses.

He became embroiled in a dispute over sunspots with the Jesuit Schneider. Galileo was known to defend his findings with ardor and passion, precisely and with attacks not devoid of some sarcasm or condescending. They argued which of the two had been the first to discover sunspots. Scheider believed that the Sun is spotless and that the spots were clouds that stood in the way. Galileo proved the opposite showing some bite against the Jesuit. Giorgio de Santillana, in his book The Crime of Galileo, hints that the Jesuit did not ever forgive him and that he led later the revenge of the Jesuits against Galileo in Rome.

Copernicus and Bruno had launched the Earth at a dizzying flight around the sun and the Moon with it. All this was seen as ridiculous and absurd in the context of Aristotelian physics. Everything has collapsed, there is no coherence, John Donne said. And the coherence is the touchstone and the darling of science, which allows to reject wobbly theories.


The Dane Tycho Brahe had introduced an intermediate cosmological system: the planets orbit the Sun, but this and the accompanying planets revolve around a stationary Earth. Thus Tycho saves traditional physics keeping the earth at rest when he says: the earth, this lazy body, slow and not suitable for moving and, above all, he is not inconsistent with the biblical texts, Psalm 104: "My God, what great you !"... You settle the earth, unmoved, forever ".

At that time, was a widely shared view that the truth was not in astronomy but in the Bible, which was believed to be inspired literally by God. Galileo also accepted as a believer that the Bible was a sacred book, but that should not be interpreted literally and, moreover, could be ambiguous and confusing, while The Divine Book of Nature could be tried and tested. Paul II in his speech on the Galileo case, to mark the 350th anniversary of his death, 31/10/1992, reminds us:
"But it must be remembered 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 (heavens), not how the sky is structured).

For the theologians, as well as the reality of the Copernican system, there was another point of peak dispute in the battlefield: it was the same method, the path that leads to the reliable knowledge of world. The question was whether the Book of Nature could rival the Scriptures in finding the truth. For Bellarmine and other Catholic theologians, Galileo's proceedings were primarily inductive and, therefore, they did not exclude the possibility of error, and they thought that these contingent arguments were insufficient to force a reinterpretation of the Scriptures, which could erode its inerrancy -that the Bible does not make a mistake nor is wrong-, such was the argument used against the Reformers.

Galileo, still aware that he cannot do it, tries to prove the heliocentric theory with the deductive method, from highest to lowest, what earns him a reprimand from Kepler and the Aristotelian Thomists.


Here is his syllogism:

A.- If the planetary system is heliocentric, Venus shows phases.

B.- Venus shows phases.

C.- Therefore, the planetary system is heliocentric.


In my opinion, the syllogism could also be formulated thus:

A. - If Venus shows phases, the planetary system is heliocentric.

B.- In fact, Venus shows phases.

C.- Then, the planetary system is heliocentric.

 The problem is the major premise, in A, "If Venus shows phases, the planetary system is heliocentric", since only from the phases it could be inferred that Venus revolves around the sun, but not necessarily the earth has also to do it, as Tycho had argued in his theory, in saying that Venus revolved around the sun and the two, the Sun and Venus, revolved around the Earth, which is not true. This you cannot deduct, but induce as a contrasted and verified hypothesis, what Galileo would do. It was the beginning of the now called hypothetical-deductive method, the "contrasting" of a hypothetical model, which, as it is successfully overcoming each test, acquires a more convincing verisimilitude. Today, in science, it is used the term model instead of the term truth”.

With this method, it would be entirely logical the syllogism:

If Venus shows phases, revolves around the sun.
In fact, Venus shows phases.
Then Venus revolves around the sun.

The Galileo case, besides the conflict between Science and Faith, arouses the dispute between Research and Science, between the words investigate, search, find, discover, speculate and terms like verify, compare, contrast, test, evaluate, qualify.

In 1613, he publishes Letters on sunspots, a new and powerful argument for the Copernican system. The father Niccolò Lorini, that same year, attacked publicly and openly Copernican system Galileo.

Father Castelli, a student of Galileo, wrote him saying that in the Medici court there were doubts, especially by the Grand Duke's mother, Christine of Lorraine, on the new astronomical concepts that appear to contradict the Scriptures.

Galileo, protected by the Medicis, is aware of the importance that all this entails for him and for the expansion of his new scientific theories. Thus he writes two letters, the first to Castelli, 1613, and the second to the Grand Duchess, 1615. The very first one is the document used by his accusers in the first process.

Galileo's letter to Castelli is a masterpiece of exegesis. The genius Galileo teaches the Pope, cardinals, theologians and exegetes, at that time, which the Popes will admit centuries later: that the Bible cannot always be interpreted literally, and that the Church should seek the salvation of souls and allow the scientists to do their work.


In this letter to Castelli, Galileo, by nature confident in the strength and powers of persuasion of accurate and precise reasoning, develops some arguments that dangerously go beyond the scientific field and go into the exegetical and theological field. It is a decisive step; the scientist, who is also a man of strong faith and honest, thinks he can argue for his scientific efforts and show how his findings cannot be challenged based on some passages of Scripture.
Galileo begins the letter with sweeping and of great impact statements :

"[...] While Scripture cannot err, its interpreters and commentators may fail in various ways: among these one would be very serious and very common, when they want to stop at the pure literal sense, because so many contradictions not only appear but grave heresies and blasphemies, as it would be necessary to give to God feet, hands and eyes, as well as corporeal and human affections, such as anger, regret, anger and sometimes the oblivion of past things and the ignorance of the future. As in the scriptures there are many false propositions if one takes the bare meaning of words, but it happens so because they fit well the inability of the large crowd, and it is necessary, for the few who deserve to be separated from the stolid crowd, the wise speakers produce the true senses and indicate the specific reasons why those words have been uttered". "The Scripture should not be taken to the letter. When you interpret it you can be wrong. It is written this way for the masses. But scholars can and should offer a free interpretation of the possible errors”.

Galileo adds further arguments. Nature is God's work as the Scriptures, its laws are important and should be respected as those identified by theological reflection, but above all:
"I thought the authority of the sacred books was only intended to persuade men of the articles and propositions which, being necessary for salvation and exceeding all human discourse, could not by other sciences or by other means be credible, but by the mouth of the Holy Spirit".

This is the turning point of the Galilean argument: the main purpose, if not unique, of the word of God is the salvation of men; other truths are entrusted to the intelligence and investigation, or in a word, to the science, which must be supported and followed on its way to the truth.

The positions of Galileo are bold and revolutionary and they create -after Castelli disseminate the letter- a profound confusion in the minds less open to new or influenced by the oppressive cultural climate that Council of Trent is creating slowly. He does not realize that, by leaving the strictly scientific field to move to theological issues, he is more easily exposed to attack by the opponents of the new. [91]

We are in Florence at the end of 1614, the friar Tommaso Caccini, belonging, in language of Lorini, to the black and white dogs of the Inquisition, the Dominicans, preached violently against the heliocentric ideas of Copernicus and Galileo, relying solely on the well known passages of the Scriptures.

Niccolò Lorini makes a comeback with a letter full of false obsequiousness, not surprisingly, but masterful, February, 7
th, 1615, addressed to Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfrondati, Prefect of the Congregation of the Index and the Holy Office, accompanied by a copy of Galileo's letter to Father Castelli. Professor Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's former student and one of his colleagues at Pisa, is commissioned by the Duchess Christina of Lorraine to prove the orthodoxy of the Copernican doctrine. Galileo, with his letter to Castelli, 21st, December 1613 (Galileo, Dialogues and letters selected), comes to help Castelli and reports, among other things, the relationship between science and religion.

















Paolo Antonio Foscarini




Paolo Antonio Foscarini, superior of the Carmelites of Calabria, was a friend of Galileo and, like him, defender of Copernicus. To defend himself or defend the Copernican theory, he sends a letter, unknown to us, to the powerful Cardinal Bellarmine, one of the seven members of the Inquisition. The short answer to Foscarini, died a year after it was drafted, 12th,April 1615, allows us to know the real thinking of Bellarmine on the subject of the Copernicans.

To the very Reverend Father Master Fray Paolo Antonio Foscarini, Provincial of the Carmelites in the province of Calabria.

Very Reverend Father:

I read with pleasure the letter written Italian and Latin that Your Paternity has sent to me: I thank you again and again and confess that they are all full of wit and doctrine. But since you ask my opinion, I will do it very briefly, because you have little time to read and I have little time to write.


First. I say that I think Your Paternity and the Lord Galileo made cautiously content to speak "ex supositione" and not absolutely, as I have always believed Copernicus spoke. Because the words, of course, that the earth moves and the sun is still all the appearances are saved better than to put the eccentric and epicycles, is well told, and no danger whatsoever, and this is enough for the mathematician: but really want to say that the sun is in the center of the world, only stir itself without running from east to west, and that the land is in the third heaven and turn with great speed around the sun is very dangerous not only to irritate all scholastic philosophers and theologians, but also to damage the Holy Faith by returning false the Holy Scriptures; that Your Paternity have well demonstrated many ways to present the Holly Scriptures, but you have not applied them in particular, that certainly you would have found very great difficulty if you wanted to expose all those places that you yourself have cited.

Second. I say that, as you know, the Council prohibits exposing the Scriptures against the common consensus of the Fathers, and if your Paternity desire to read not only the Holy Fathers, but the modern commentaries on Genesis, on the Psalms, on Ecclesiastes, on Joshua, you'll find all [except Diego
de Zuniga, we nuance] agree to expose ad litteram that the sun is in the heavens and revolves around the earth with great speed and the land is far-away from the sky and it is in the center of the world, still. Now consider you, with your wisdom, if the Church can support to give Scripture a sense contrary to the Holy Fathers and all Greek and Latin exhibitors. Nor can be argued that this is not a matter of faith, because if is not subject of faith ex parte obiecti [i.e., while not a matter of faith as regards the subject in question], it is a matter of faith ex parte dicentis [ that is, is matter of faith as regards the person who says it], and so he would be heretical to say that Abraham had not two sons and Jacob twelve, as if to say that Christ was not born of a virgin, because the Holy Spirit says it by the mouth of prophets and apostles.

Third. I say that where there is real proof that the sun is at the center of world and earth in the third heaven, that the sun does not circle the earth but the earth circles the sun, then it you must go with consideration to explain the Scriptures seemed contrary, and rather to say that we do not understand than to say it is false what is shown. 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.

Di Casa, 12th, April 1615.

From Your Paternity very Reverend.

As a brother.

Cardinal Bellarmine.


Important paragraph, the third point: "I have a very great doubt, and if in doubt you should not leave the Holy Scripture, explained by the Fathers." It is based on guiding phrases of the thinking of the time. Thus: In dubio, standum est pro traditione: If in doubt, you should be in favor of tradition, though not in an exclusive mode, certainly in preferential one. Another classic principle: In dubio, melior est conditio possidentis: In case of doubt, the best solution is the usual one.

It may be important to recall a Bellarmine thesis: In the interpretation of Scripture, the fact of divergent options claims a judge of disputes. This court [in the Catholic Church] is the Pope, properly assisted, as successor of Peter. [Problem: was it, in this case, an interpretation of Scripture, or rather a more or less reasoned opinion that only indirectly affected one of the interpretations of Scripture, the literal, certainly not the most important, and perhaps most exciting, or perhaps the most suggestive,.. but which, in law, should be the first to be considered in the “status quaestionis”, without prejudice to the other? St.Augustine had called
"Regula Fidei" the literal interpretation, though he often did not consider it as the most important or the most interesting, although certainly always considered it as the first to be addressed and studied in his exegetical considerations.]

"They also belong to these closing years of the seventeenth century several manuscripts of the Valencian Corachán on mathematical, physical or astronomical subjects, recently studied by Victor Navarro. In all of them, as in those he wrote later, his fundamental limitation facing the modern ideas was, of course, that relative to astronomical systems. He publicly defended Tycho Brahe, but we do not
know if he was another "secret Copernican", but speaking of the doctrine of Copernicus he uses the same over-elaborate distinction we have seen in the Jesuit Zaragoza, and even he is supported by the authority of this one:"... [92]






The letter of Lorini is a true masterpiece of its kind, as perhaps no other document of the process, that brings us into the climate created by the Inquisition in Italy:

Illustrious and Reverend Sir:

Because, besides the common duty of every good Christian, infinite is the obligation of all the brothers of St. Dominic, as the Holy Father instituted the black and white dogs of the Holy Office, and especially all the theologians and preachers, therefore I, the lowest of all and most devoted servant and particular of His Grace, having come into my hands a letter, which is held by all, made by the so called Galileans and who argue that the Earth moves and the sky is still, following the position of Copernicus, where, according to our Fathers of this most religious convent of S. Marco, there are many propositions that seem suspicious or
reckless, as to say that some ways of speaking of the Holy Scripture are inconvenient, and that in the disputes of natural effects the same Scripture comes the last, and the commentators are often wrong to expose it, and that from the Scripture itself should not be considered anything other than the articles relating to faith, and that in natural things have more power the astronomical or philosophical argument than the sacred and divine, whose proposals His Grace will see pointed out by me in the letter, of which I send you the true copy; and finally that when Joshua commanded the sun to stand still it does not mean that the order was given to other than the prime mover, not the sun itself; I, therefore, seeing that this letter does not just run through the hands of everyone, without any upper dignity stop it, that they want to present the Holly Scriptures in their own way, and against common opinion (f.7v) completely contrary to the Scripture, being that they speak little honorably about ancient Holy Fathers and about St. Thomas, and it is trampled the whole philosophy of Aristotle (which so much uses the scholastic theology), and in addition that, to appear ingenious, there are said a thousand impertinences which are planted all over our city, maintained so Catholic both for its good nature and for the surveillance of our most serene Princes; which is why I have decided to send it, as I said, to His Grace, so that full of holy zeal and done the degree that corresponds you, with your illustrious colleagues, to keep your eyes open in such matters, may, if it appears that there is need of correction, make the repairs that you deem necessary, so that "parvus error in principio magnus non sit in fine" (a small error in the beginning not be great at the end). And while I could send you a copy of some notes made on certain statements in this convent, I abstained from modesty, as I wrote to you, who know so much, and wrote to Rome, where, as St. Bernard says: "Sancta Fides linceos oculos habet "(the Holly Faith has eyes like a lynx). But I mean that I consider these Galileists good men and Christian men, but a little stiff and conceited in their opinions, as I say again that this service will not move me but the zeal, I beg to His Grace that this letter of mine (and not the letter [of Galileo]) be kept, as I am sure you will do, secretly, and not be regarded as judicial testimony, but only as affectionate notice between me and you, as between server and eminent master; and making you also know, that the opportunity of this writing were two or three public lectures given in our church of St. Maria Novella by the master Brother Tommaso Caccini, who presented the book of Joshua and the Chapter X of that book. Thus I end, asking for your sacred blessing and kissing your robe, and asking for any particle of [your holy prayers].

Despite its unctuous and obsequious style, moreover understandable if one thinks to what authority the letter is addressed, it shows how Lorini has great insight to grasp the real nature of the problem and to plan an effective prosecutorial strategy: firstly he never speaks of Galileo, but always of the "Galileans", which can be read in two ways: first it may be a sign of some fear on the part of the complainant to demonstrate himself directly against Galileo, the famous scientist protected by the Grand Duke of Tuscany and very estimated by many cardinals to the Roman Curia, but, on the other hand, speaking generically of a group of "Galileans" can be seen as an aggressive movement against Galileo, which runs the risk of appearing as the leader of a sect somehow heretical. And the sect, as we have understood, is an enemy that must be faced.

Lorini does not want to submit his letter as a report (not regarded as judicial testimony "), but it is well known that even a simple anonymous letter could make an inquisitorial trial began. And finally he asks, however in a veiled way, the court action. Lorini reaches the point of coarser duplicity when he stresses that the Galileans he is reporting are good Christians, "but a bit stiff and conceited in their opinions," where the use of "a little" evokes the image of a stern and worried father by reprimanding some unruly children, but not really bad at the bottom. No verification is requested, but it occurs as true the fault at any point; finally, it is not entered in any way the subject of scientific issue at stake. The apparent condescension toward people who are being accused, the stress that he was not decided to act for personal reasons, but only for a healthy and proper Christian scruples, they are not random elements, but precise caution, because the motive that easier could invalidate an accusatory procedure of the Inquisition was the demonstrated hostility of a witness to the accused.

But the fact is that the allegations raised from the theological point of view are expressed with remarkable efficiency and clarity, and they reach the target. At stake are foremost Galileo's claims concerning exegetical criteria that should guide the interpreters of Scripture, especially when confronting the claims of the sacred text with data arising from the scientific research. The Copernican doctrine, in the letter of Lorini, passes into the background. This is the turning point.

In Rome, the Inquisition Tribunal must make a difficult choice, but it will be fruitful in consequences.
On February, 25th, 1615, the congregation of the Holy Office decides to open the case and therefore to follow the usual procedure, in this case helped by the fact that the letter-report of Lorini does not fail to cite at least one witness more than credible, the father Caccini.

Galileo, after being informed of the commencement of proceedings, senses the real risk that must conjure with all his forces, i.e., that the Church comes to an explicit condemnation of the new scientific conception, paralyzing at birth its huge potential of developmen. The first major scientific effort in this direction is the letter to Madame Christina of Lorraine, 1615, in which he very effectively clarifies the relationship that should exist between the theological true and the scientific true, in other words, between the faith and reason.

Meanwhile, the congregation of the Holy Office has seen the letter of Lorini and decides to open investigations, ordering to find the original of the letter to Castelli. Less than a month later, on March, 19
th, Pope Paul V, who usually chairs the meetings of the congregation, orders Father Caccini to be heard as a witness, who is called the next day and makes a long statement:

[...] I say then, that in my reading on the fourth Sunday of Advent of this year in the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, where this year I have been destined for obedience as a reader of Scripture, I followed the, by I started, story of Joshua; and just that same Sunday I read the passage in chapter X of that book, where the sacred writer refers to the great miracle that, because of Joshua's prayers, God did by stopping the sun, that is: "Sol, nec movearis against Ghanbaon", etc.. (Sun, do not move against Ghanbaon). I took therefore an opportunity at that time, [...] of disapproving, with the modesty that befits the office that I fulfilled, a certain view of Nicholas Copernicus, and in these times of great public fame in the city of Florence, sustained and taught, what they say, by Mr. Galileo Galilei, a mathematician, that is, that the sun being, according to him, the center of the world, therefore it has not local progressive movement, I mean, from one term to another; [...] after that speech I realized that it was unlawful for anyone to interpret Holy Scripture against the sense in which all the Fathers agree because this was forbidden by the Lateran Council with Leo X and the Council of Trent.

Caccini thus confirms everything said by Lorini, highlighting the contrast between the Copernican theory and the biblical statements. He stresses then, fearing the reaction of the Galilean, that he had gone to the inquisitor of Florence, "warning him that they should be curbed some petulant wits, disciples of the said Galileo." He adds a further series of extremely violent accusations addressed to Galileo, of the great theological significance and probably unfounded. They are statements certainly more serious than those on the Galilean subtle exegetical claims.

The inquisitorial machinery is starting again. You can hear the testimonies cited in the letter-report of Lorini, Attavanti and Ximenes. Their remarks, made in Florence on 13th and 14th, November 1615, do not worsen the situation of Galileo and even in different points they resized Caccini`s claims. Attavanti, among other things, when asked about how he judged Galileo in terms of faith, he replied without hesitation: "I consider him as a really good Catholic." [93]

Galileo is aware of his great international prestige, that the heliocentric theory is revolutionary and that the scientific and religious impact is devastating, a real bomb. He is reassured by the support he receives from the high ecclesiastical hierarchy, but he fears that the rancor and obstacles, that they begin to put in his way, make difficult the dissemination of his proven and obvious theories.

Galileo remains optimistic believing that he can convince the Inquisition, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine being the key piece of evidence of his postulates. Galileo, as Servetus -geniuses often are naïve- underestimates the dogmatism of the Church, that especially after the Council of Trent, to attack the Reformation, establishes dogmatic propositions with threats of anathemas or excommunications on everything. Imbued with a large dose of naivety, Galileo is intended to Rome with the intention of clarifying the dark points and directing on the right track the results of his discoveries.

He starts checking that the dogmatist exegetes are not opened naturally to scientific dialogue or to modernity, and, since February 1616, we can find a formal censure of some Galilean propositions.
Propositio censuranda (proposition to be censored):


 That the Sun is the center of the world and, therefore, still of local motion.

· That the Earth is not the center of the world, nor immovable, but it moves according to the daytime movement.

These proposals are forwarded to the eleven theologians of the commission to grant the judges of the Inquisition their scientific and theological arguments to reach a conclusion on the cause. On 24th February 1616, the commission issued the opinion on the proposals that have been entrusted:


1. The proposition that "the sun is at the center of the world and therefore it is still of local motion" is foolish and absurd in philosophy and formally heretical, as it expressly contradicts the statements of Holy Scripture in many places, both in its literal sense, as in the common exposure and significance, given by the Holly Fathers and the learned theologians.

2. The proposition that "the Earth is not the center of the world nor immovable, but moves according to itself all (sed secundum se totam movetur), also in a daytime movement", deserves the same censure in philosophy; and, from the point of view of the theological truth, it is at least erroneous in faith.

The charge of "foolish and absurd proposition in philosophy" (to give as true a question falsely doubtful), as it is a philosophical view, not properly entered in the inquisitorial jurisdiction, that is probably why the judge Bellarmine did not take it into account. The charge of "formally heretical" is theological and it fell within the jurisdiction of the court, although Bellarmine does not refer to it.

Problem: Formally heretical. In the Aristotelian sense, formal grievance is more severe than material and it would be as to say that the proposition was severely or profoundly heretical. But in a legal sense (which we believe is the one mainly used by the accused), the formal significance can be seen in an example: if I say with irony, sarcastically: "You are very smart," I am making a formal grievance, not material (materially is a compliment to call someone smart). The indictment censured Galileo that his grievances: irony, satire, etc..., were formally heretical, perhaps not physically. Galileo was a clever and caustic dialectical, and that irritated them.

On the 26.2.1616, it arrives the Reprimand of Bellarmine to Galileo, who accepts and agrees to obey: from now may well continue talking about the heliocentric, but as a mere hypothesis awaiting confirmation. He cannot attack or insult the system of Tyco Brahe. Since insult amounts to establishing the proposition as a thesis, not as a hypothesis, although rhetorically they keep calling so, or even "materially" it looks like it is done. On 26/05/1616, Bellarmine issued a certificate for the private reputation of Galileo to counteract defamatory claims against him.

Seventeen years later, in 1633, before the test, by three independent surveys, of the rebel failure of his oral commitment in 1616, it is initiated a disciplinary action and he was punished with several penalties as "vehemently suspected of heresy" (vehementer suspectus). Of the three cases mentioned by the inquisitorial procedure this was the intermediate case between “leviter suspectus” and “violenter suspectus”. [94]

The objective of the inquisitorial research, rather than Galileo, too famous and protected at that time, are his scientific thesis and the need to demonstrate the absolute right of the Church to intervene in scientific matters, illuminating them with its already well-known doctrines. What they could not understand or predict the Popes Paul V, Urban VIII, neither the famous Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, much less the Court of the Inquisition, was the scope of this game: to bet the complete theological, doctrinal and scientific prestige on just one card. They lost the game, and, with it, all the knowledge they boasted to have, but that they had not. The Bible was not a book of science, dogmas are not scientific, faith and reason are violently opposed, the Church's strength rests on the power and the overwhelming terror through the Court of the Inquisition. The fulcrum of religion is not rational, despite the insistence of the Dominicans in wanting to prove that faith is a rational gif. The conflict between church and Science is openly declared. Later, the conflict will be with modernity, where the Church will find its worst enemy: the Enlightenment
























Cardinal Bellarmine.



Pope Paul V ordered Bellarmine to call before him Galileo and entreat him to abandon those views, and if he refuses to obey, the Father Commissioner, before a notary and two witnesses, will intimidate him with the order to abstain completely and in all the ways to teach or defend this doctrine and opinion, or deal with it; and if he do not accept it, he will be imprisoned.

On February, 26
th, 1616, in the private residence of Cardinal Bellarmine, in the presence of five witnesses, the authorized theologian complies with the order and sends a stern admonition to Galileo intimidating him "to totally abandon the view that the Sun is the center of the world and motionless and the earth moves, and then not to sustain it in any way, or defend or show, both verbally and in writing; otherwise the Holy Office will proceed against him.” Galileo subjects himself to this precept and promises to obey.

In addition to the admonition inflicted on Galileo, they issue a "decretum" of condemnation by the Inquisition, in which they are attacked Copernicus and his De Revolutionibus orbium coelestium, Astunica and his study of the Book of Job and the Carmelite Antonio Foscarini, author of a text of Copernican orientation. All these works are banned and placed in the Index.

Indeed, many doubts remain about a process rich in anomalies: first of all, it was particularly rapid compared to the average of the procedures performed by the Inquisition's courts, and secondly, "how to clear, legally, that the introduction start against Galileo and conclude with the inclusion in the index of the works of Copernicus, Foscarini, Astunica and not those of Galileo himself? " They are important anomalies that demonstrate how the Church, at least at that time, was not so interested in condemning Galileo as in condemning the new idea of scientific method, the new Copernican idea of truth. It is, in fact, an ideological process, where the principles of the
Council of Trent collide with the emerging modern science, and where the fundamental problem at stake is not so much the accuracy of a new scientific theory as the certainty that the Church maintains an undisputed primacy in the interpretation of the Scripture.

Galileo emerged substantially unscathed from the process. Although warned, none of his works was convicted and his name did not appear in the decree that sets out which authors and works should be included in the Index. More serious is, in any event, the defeat suffered by his cultural project; confidence in the ability to convince the Church to embrace the new scientific vision comes inexorably affected at the conclusion of the story. As he stays in Rome, a week after the publication of the decree of the Index, Galileo has a meeting with Pope Paul V and walks with him for nearly an hour. Galileo himself recounts the subject of that meeting:

"He told me to live with a tranquil mind, because I continued in such capacity before His Holiness and all the congregation that they would not even vaguely give listening to the slanderers and (while he lived) I could be sure; and before I left, he often repeated that he was well prepared to show me (all times) his good inclination to help me".

Curiously reassuring words, which are actually part of a strategy well known by the same inquisitors alternately threatening and soothing, to show protective whit those
under their power.

But meanwhile Galileo received information about his supposed recantation that his enemies spread, especially among Jesuits and Dominicans, or those groups of people that will be very happy with his total humiliation. The scientist goes to Cardinal Bellarmine to get an official denial of the rumors, and Cardinal promptly granted him, and at the same time reassures Galileo in a letter that states that he has not renounced or received penance of any kind, "but he was only notified a declaration [...] in which it is stated that the doctrine attributed to
Copernicus is contrary to Scripture and therefore cannot be hold or defended". [96]

"We, Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, having heard that slander is noised that Mr. Galileo has reneged on our presence and that he has been imposed a healthy sentence and that he has been punished... we declare that Mr. Galileo has not abjured any view or doctrine held by him; nor he was imposed any healthy penance; but it only reported the statement by the Pope and promulgated by the Sacred Congregation of the Index, in which it is stated that the doctrine attributed to Copernicus... is contrary to Scripture and therefore it cannot be hold or defended ".

Under these conditions Galileo was silenced for the moment. For seven years he stayed in Florence and he was subject to the advice of Cardinal Bellarmine. He continued as intriguing and lively as ever, but he reserved his aggressive thoroughness in other areas, for example, the comets. In his book on comets, iI Saggiatore (The Assayer), 1618, he avoids the Copernican system, but included so many comments about the nature of science that this book has sometimes been called his scientific manifesto.

The admonition from Bellarmine to Galileo is ambiguous, but he knows he is hurting Galileo. He has been humiliated as a scientist and as a human being. He is prohibited to research and teach his investigations and discoveries. It is the gag that the Church offers to avant-garde intellectuals and dissidents. Galileo knows that the Church has an immense spiritual, political, economic and educational power, as it manages much of the educational equipment of the time, and that with its opposition to the new world view, this will be an uphill struggle and it will take many decades to be accepted.

In 1623, rises to the papa throne, with the name of Urban VIII, the Cardinal friend of Galileo, Maffeo Barberini, who had always been particularly favored to new ideas and to whom Galileo himself had devoted an ode in Latin, Adulatio perniciosa (Pernicious flattery), 1620. At this time Galileo publishes Il Saggiatore a veritable Summa of the new scientific method. The book, which he dedicated to the new Pope who liked it, had great success because of its literary qualities and controversies. Arguing with a Jesuit scholar, Horazio Grassi, who had attacked the scientific considerations with perverse mix religious overtones, Galileo established the principle that truth can only emerge from the fusion of "wise experience and certain demonstrations." And he insists on separating the reason from the faith, on rejecting in the scientific research all authority except that of the same nature. Galileo became the representative, in some way, of the Roman intellectual circles, in rebellion against the scientific and intellectual conformity imposed by the Jesuit order, founded by Ignatius of Loyola under the name of the Society of Jesus, in 1534; hence the name Jesuits, who were already famous at the time of Galileo and to whom they stubbornly opposed in Rome.

Urban VIII will also encourage him to write his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (iI dialoghi sopra e due massimi sistemi dei mondo, tolemaico e copernicano), which was approved with the ecclesiastical "imprimatur". Before its publication there were two years of uncertainty and reflection on the part of ecclesiastical authority, because below the impartial protection of the two astronomical hypothesis it seems to be hidden an overwhelming defense of the Copernican theory, what seems to be the most logical and natural thing. On 21 February 1632, Galileo, also protected by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand II de Medici, published in Florence his Dialogue, which implicitly mocks the geocentric vision of Ptolemy and it is openly pro Copernicus. So it was a great revolutionary work and a great scandal. The Pope, in person, authorized the book, but on condition that the Copernican theory appeared only as a hypothesis.

The Dialogue takes place in Venice for four days between three partners: Filipo Salviati, a Florentine follower of Copernicus, Giovan Francesco Sagredo, a Venetian illustrated that does not take sides for either scenario and Simplicio, a mediocre defender of Aristotelian physics in whose character may well be reflected the Pope Urban VIII, which obviously is not supported by Galileo, who responds that it is Simplicius of Cilicia.

In July of that same year, Rome sends instructions to the inquisitor of Florence to prevent the distribution of the book, because there were to be made some changes. The Pope himself is aligned with the view of opponents of Galileo, as the Pope's condition had been imposed was a factual statement of the two hypotheses. But the objective exposure was defended by Copernicus and Galileo himself, that was what the Aristotelians and exegetes thought they saw. It was a dead end. The Pope, now it is he who is guilty of naivety, encouraged Galileo to make the comparison. Naive, because the end could be known beforehand, to think it was a trap is inadmissible because of the friendship and admiration that the Pope felt by Galileo.

The authority of the Pope was going through a critical situation: the triumph of the Reformation, the endless wars of religion, France and Spain, both countries supporters of Catholicism, were in intense conflict and the Pope cannot help resolve the conflict. Besides all this we cannot forget the pressure of the Inquisition, and especially of Cardinal Borgia, the future Pope Alexander VI, aware of the special attention of the Pope to Galileo. Moreover, the Pope is reflected in the character of Simplicio, the Aristotelian defense, despite the denial of Galileo. And they think that attacking Galileo, also considered illustrious figure in the Protestant camp, was to reaffirm the hegemony of the Church as the defender of Scripture and its uncompromising at all costs against heresy. The Pope in person coordinates the phase of the investigation, which can be regarded as formally initiated.

Galileo was summoned again by the Holy Office, on 1st, October 1632. He was sick, here the
medical certificate:

We, the undersigned physicians -says the certificate sent by the scientist in December 1632- attest that we have visited Mr. Galileo Galilei and have encountered intermittent pulse every three or four beats: by which it is conjectured that the power life can be quite hindered and weakened in this declining age. He says he suffers from frequent dizziness, hypochondriac melancholy, weak stomach, insomnia, vague pains in the body, such as we certificate. We have also recognized a severe carnal hernia with peritoneum relaxation: all are conditions of consideration that, by any small external cause, could provoke obvious danger of life.

Despite the medical certificates, the response of the Holy Office is very hard and does not leave any room for maneuver: or Galileo goes to Rome immediately or after an inspection visit, if there was not actually life threatening, he will be hosted by strength, carceratus et ligatus cum ferris (jailed and bound with chains). The tone of confrontation is growing dramatically: the scientist, who until a few years before was received at the papal court and could talk to the highest ecclesiastical authorities, is threatened as a vulgar villain. [97]

Aware of the changing situation, Galileo is intended to Rome by muddy and dangerous roads. He arrives, on 13 February, 1633, and he is staying at the home of the ambassador of Grand Duke Niccolini. After two months of agonizing and debilitating expected, increasing the state of prostration of the Pisano scientist he begins to feel increasingly alone and abandoned in front of the overwhelming power of the court of the Inquisition. If the process of 1616 was fundamentally ideological, this one seeks to reaffirm the inviolability of the figure of the Pope and to give strong indications that Rome is still able to defend the orthodoxy of faith without being carried away by ruthlessly fame or friendship. Galileo is the scapegoat.

At the trial of 1633, it appeared a memorandum which neither Galileo nor the Pope had idea it existed. This document, filed in the Holy Office, told of a promise of obedience that prevented Galileo "... hold, teach or defend in any way, either verbally or in writing" the two propositions censured in 1616. Galileo would have accepted this in the private meeting he held with Bellarmine on 26 February 1616. However, Bellarmine can not testify about the accuracy of the memo or what happened at that meeting. He had already died.

The morning of April, 12th, Galileo comes to the palace of the Inquisition, where he remains detained, in an almost complete isolation, for the duration of interrogation. The General Commissioner, father Maculano, summons him at length. He asks Galileo if he knows the reason why has been summoned. Galileo replied that he
believes it has been for his book, Dialogo dei Massimi Sistemi. Maculano presented the supposed memorandum of Bellarmine, but without signatures, under which, Galileo agreed not to defend the Copernican hypothesis. Galileo replied:

Since February 1616, the Lord Cardinal Bellarmine told me that the opinion of Copernicus, taken in an absolute sense, was contrary to the Sacred Scriptures, and no one could maintain, or defend it, but ex suppositione [i.e. as hypotheses ] could be taken and used. [98]

Father Maculano asks him if he had been warned that it could not "support in any way (quovis modo), defend or teach" the Copernican theory; this was a key passage of the process. Galileo had fully consented to abandon the Copernican view, of what it follows that he very probably had not been warned by Bellarmine, as it tried to assert the appeared document so he could be accused of disobedience to court.

The publication of the Dialogue provoked a strong backlash that prompted the formation of a special committee appointed by the Pope. It is this backlash that discovers the memorandum and makes the disobedience the central point in the trial of Galileo. No longer is at issue, as in 1616, the truth of Scripture, nor it is debated whether the Church cannot err in matters of faith and the salvation of the soul, but if it could err in practical judgments or philosophical speculations. With the decree, this possibility was also canceled and, this way, the Church, from Rome, decreed a principle of specific authority over the new astronomy. This is the opinion of Zuraya Monroy Nasr.

Another version of events: Galileo was summoned by Maculano, general commissioner of the Holy Office (Bellarmine had died and Seghizzi too). Galileo's inquisitors showed him a copy of his dialogue. He glanced it and recognized himself as the sole author. They also showed him a strange document, unsigned, dated in 1616, which completely prohibited him to devote to teaching of the heliocentric theory. Galileo denied that this paper, lacking of firms, faithfully reflected the interview he held in 1616 with Bellarmine. He recalled that then he was allowed to continue dealing with the issue, if only hypothetically, that is, without insulting other advocates of opposing positions still likely (remember that the compromise of 1616 was only oral, without any papers or signatures). The inquisitors threatened him with torture if he continued to deny the terms of that strange writing. Various hypotheses have been raised on the issue of this document without signatures, and perhaps the most probable is the conjecture of Stilman Drake, which interprets it as a draft act that hoped to be revised, amended or ratified, and signed in a second session of view, session that never took place due to a quick Galileo's acquiescence to an agreement in the first and, procedurally speaking, the only interview of 1616.

From all this arises for our consideration, at least two serious wrongful procedural flaws: first, although they did not come to torture him, they should not have threatened him, because no one over 60 should be tortured or threatened with torture, according to the inquisitorial law then in force, and, secondly, the inquisitors of 1633 and the commission of cardinals, that ordered the decrees of 16th and 22nd of June, 1633, prefered an old document without signatures to the testimony of the only actor, witness still alive, albeit he was one of the parties. Let us see some classic statements:
Contra scriptum testimonium, non scriptum testimonium non fertur (against the written testimony, unwritten testimony has no efficacy), Codex Iustinianus 4, 20.1. It is understood that the testimony or witness evidence must be signed. But the document was unsigned, so the testimony or oral evidence of Galileo, despite being an interested party, was more valid than a document without signatures. Another saying: Fraus numquam praesumitur (the fraud is never presumed). And finally: Omnis praesumitur bonus nisi probetur malus (Everything is presumed good unless it is proved wrong).

Finally, Galileo confessed having disobeyed, whether the order was formulated in terms of the unsigned document as if it was formulated according to the version of his memory, of which we have no right to doubt. Following this, he was sentenced to publicly renounce, on his knees, of his heliocentric error, which was described much the same way that the charge of the year 1616: not to be "formally heretical" but being "vehemently suspected of heresy”, a formula indicating the combination of two of the three experts referred. To make matters worse, Galileo, an old man for that time, was sentenced to house arrest, that he served under surveillance at his home in Arcetri near Florence. The arrest lasted eight and a half years, till Galileo's death in 1642 at the age of 78.






I am here in your hands, do as you please. Galileo


In a room of the convent of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, there is a meeting of the judges of the Inquisition and before them, kneeling and wearing the humiliating sanbenito, stays a man of seventy, a great scientist and great person who has dedicated his whole life to the observation and the reading of the Book of Nature, written in mathematical language, and to the understanding of the laws written on it. Galileo Galilei, who never deserved this sad end, this embarrassing epilogue of having to be judged by his achievements and scientific progress, for his great discoveries in physics, astronomy and the new scientific method itself, very far away from philosophical and theological speculations. Galileo, even a Christian believer, opted for the Book of Nature, but the power was in the Inquisition, requiring him to abjure, curse and detest in his errors and heresies, and especially he is forced to go through the humiliation of having to lie :... I had, as I have yet, as certainly true the opinion of Ptolemy, that is, the earth stability and the mobility of the Sun.

This is the greatest humiliation possible for a scientist who used his long and productive life in overcoming the "opinion of Ptolemy," and that, old and at the end of his days, superhumanly pressed, he had to lie against all the evidence in his favor. He was forced to pass under the yoke, the yoke as a sign of humiliation and subjugation, as the Romans had done to Samnites. Tragic epilogue, that neither Galileo, nor Science, nor Liberty deserved.












Galileo Galilei facing the Roman Inquisition (Cristiano Banti, 1857)


All the great truths begin as heresies. George Bernard Shaw




We say, pronounce, sentence and declared that you, Galileo, for the things derived in the process and you confessed previously, you have made yourself to this Holy Office vehemently suspected of heresy, namely of having held and believed a false doctrine and contrary to Sacred and Divine Scriptures, that the Sun is the world center of the universe and it will not move from east to west, and that the earth moves and it is not the center of the world, and that you can sustain and defend as likely an opinion after having been declared and defined contrary to Holy Scripture; and consequently you have incurred all the censures and penalties imposed and promulgated by the sacred canons and other general constitutions against such offenders. So we are pleased that you are acquitted, but before, with a sincere heart and unfeigned faith, you will abjure, curse and detest the errors and heresies, and any other error and heresy contrary to the Catholic and Apostolic Church, in the manner and form that will be given by us. [99]

They labeled him with the stigma of criminal: "against such offenders." Galileo, despondent, desperate, and just sunk to the most powerful repressive apparatus of Europe, the Inquisition, after hearing the reading of the sentence, still on his knees, before the Court, his voice trembling and uncertain, pronounces the solemn abjuration that Tribunal had made for the occasion:

I, Galileo, son of Vincenzo de Florence, seventy years old, made in person at trial, and kneeling before you eminent and reverend cardinals throughout the Christian Republic against heretical perversion general inquisitors; having before my eyes the Holy Gospel, that I touch with my hands, I swear I have always believed and believe now, and with God's help I shall believe in the future, all that holds, preaches and teaches the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. But as this Holy Office has legally intimated to me that I should abandon the false opinion that the Sun is the center of the world, and moving, and could not accept, defend or teach in any way, either orally or by writing, that false doctrine, and after notifying me that this doctrine is contrary to Scripture I have written and given to print a book in which I deal with such theory already sentenced and that I give effective reasons for it, without providing any solution, I have been considered vehemently suspected of heresy, that is, to have held that the Sun is the center of the world and motionless and that the Earth is not the center and it is moving. Therefore, wanting to remove of the spirit of Your the Most Reverend Eminences and of all faithful Christians this vehement suspicion, rightly conceived by me, with sincere heart and unfeigned faith I abjure, curse and detest the errors and heresies, and generally all and any other error, heresy and sect contrary to the Holy Church.

[...] And I swear that in future I shall never say or assert, orally or in writing, such things that may make me suspicious, and if I know any heretic, or suspected of heresy, I will denounce him to this Holy Office, or to the Inquisitor or to Ordinary of the place where I find myself [...] and if I contravene any of my promises and oaths, God forbid, I will submit to all penalties and punishments in Sacred Canons and other general and particular constitutions against similar offenders have been imposed and promulgated. So help me God and these Holy Gospels which I touch with my own hands.

I, Galileo Galilei, who signed at the bottom, have abjured, sworn, promised and bound as I indicated before, and as witness whereof, I agree with my own hand this card in my retraction and I read it word by word in Rome in the convent of Minerva, this June, 22nd, 1633. Galileo Galilei I have abjured as indicated before, on my own hand.

Not by chance the sentence and the text of the recantation are then sent to all most important dioceses, to the inquisitors, to be read and disseminated in all the cultural sites, universities, between groups of mathematicians and physicists, so the culture of the time stayed frightened and paralyzed, recovering a total respect for the Church and its doctrine. The retraction has led to perhaps a more profound effect than it would be if it achieved with a bonfire, with an exemplary implementation, such as Bruno, what inevitably would have created an aura of prestige and heroism to the victim. Not by chance in the later tradition, the martyr of free thought would be Bruno more than Galileo. The recantation testimonies the violence that deeply characterizes the Church and the fragility of Galileo, wounded, if not destroyed, by the process.

The scientist from Pisa will spend the last years of his life in the small town of Arcetri where he had been permitted to retire near the monastery of his daughter Sister Maria Celeste, who is always at his side and comforts his bitter old age. Soon affected by a kind of almost total blindness, he is devoted to the composition of his new work, probably the most important, "Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche intorno a due nuove scienze, attinenti alla meccanica e i movimenti locali", published in Leiden, Netherlands, in 1638.

He died in 1642 surrounded by a few faithful friends. With him died the last great figure of the Italian Renaissance, the man who gave birth to modern science, he, misunderstood, announced the reasons for critical and rational inquiry of nature; the precursor of the Enlightenment and of modernity.

But the Galileo case is not closed with his death, on the contrary it remains live and open, constantly demanding a new effort to understand, showing increasingly that is not only a trivial case among others, but one of the eternal figures to accompany still long spiritual journey of the Occidental culture. [100]

Galileo pronounces the formula of abjuration which the Holy Office had prepared for him, therefore he could never say, although he had thought it a thousand times, the famous saying: "And yet it moves" (Eppur, si muove). He thought and practiced it with the composition of his new book, noted above. Certainly he did not go to fire to die as a martyr, like Giordano, reaffirming his findings. He is above all and thinking beyond that. And swears what they want, he does not care. What he wants is not to be burnt alive because it would be very painful and it would shut his mouth forever. He preferred to pretend, since for him an oath proposed by those illiterate was not subject to compromise, and continued to research, even blind.







In the days of Bruno "it was extremely dangerous to think by oneself", Shettino

During the second half of the sixteenth century, the Catholic Church and the new Copernican astronomy coexisted without conflict. The sentence and execution of Giordano Bruno, the post mortem condemnation of Copernicus in the early seventeenth century and the lengthy process followed with Galileo, are part of a change in the relationship between Catholic authority and knowledge of the world.

In this context, my purpose here is to examine René Descartes’ decision not to publish his book The World or treatise on Light. This has been motivated by the interpretation which says Stephen Gaukroger, in Descartes: an intellectual biography, which he contends that the condemnation of Galileo led him to a change of direction in his work, relegating natural philosophy, keeping unpublished his work in this regard and looking for a metaphysical foundation of his physics. This view has been challenged by Daniel Garber, who says that it was not the condemnation of Galileo, but internal considerations about his work that made Descartes do so.


On the decision of Descartes not to publish The World, it is eloquent the letter he sent to Mersenne in November 1633, apologizing for not having ready his copy of the treaty he was to give him as a New Year's gift, and adds:

"But I must say that in the meantime, I gave myself the task of asking in Leiden and Amsterdam whether Galileo's World System was available, I thought I heard that was published in Italy last year. They said it had doubtless been published, but all copies had been burned at once in Rome, and that Galileo had been convicted and penalized. It impressed me so much that I almost decided to burn all my papers, or at least prevent anyone to see them. But I cannot understand that him an Italian, I think, enjoying the favors of the Pope, to be turned into a criminal for no other reason than to have tried, as no doubt he did, to prove that the Earth moves. I know that some cardinals had already censored this concept, but I have heard that yet he publicly taught even in Rome. I must admit that if this view is false, so are all the basics of my philosophy, because it can be shown clearly from them. And this view is so closely interwoven with every part of my treatise that I could not remove it without doing all the work deficient. But under no circumstances I should like to publish a speech in which it could be found a word that the Church disapproved: so I prefer to delete it to publish it maimed."

Now, it is worth emphasizing two ideas in this letter: 1) whether the design of Galileo is wrong, "so are all the basics of my philosophy" and 2) "under no circumstances I should like to publish a speech in which it could be found one word that the Church disapproved".

In the first statement, referring to the moment of the Earth, conception censored by the Church, one must keep in mind all that this entails. It is not only the Copernicans but also the legacy of Bruno, who, from the heliocentric theory, proposed an infinite universe (for Descartes unlimited or indefinite, but certainly open) and a homogeneous physics. Descartes does not doubt the veracity of his work. What he is stating is the deep commitment and inseparability of his foundations with a design so similar to the one that made of Galileo an "offender." Therefore, the only hesitation of Descartes is that of destroying or only hiding the treaty. But the decision not to publish, in fact, devastated by the condemnation of Galileo, is clearly expressed in the letter.

Regarding the second claim, about Descartes’ total unwillingness to publish something that the Church disapproved, it is worth pausing a little.
S. Gaukroger argues that the condemnation of Galileo was what decisively influenced Descartes for not publishing The World. D. Garber said he was not convinced that Descartes had been affected by the condemnation of Galileo in 1633. What is behind these statements is the conviction of Gaukroger, that external political considerations make Descartes seek the acceptance of his physics through its metaphysical foundation. Garber, however, is convinced that the Cartesian reasons are internal and prior to the condemnation of Galileo. I think both, in a sense, are right.

If, as Schettino said, in times of Bruno, "it was extremely dangerous to think for oneself" in the days of Galileo and Descartes, which are immediate, it still is dangerous. Three decades after the death of Bruno, Copernicans were condemned and they tried to commit Galileo not to think in heliocentric way. Three decades after the execution of Bruno, Galileo, persistent, stubborn and disobedient, published the Dialogue. Also between 1630 and 1632, Descartes was elaborating his ambitious project: The World and Treaty of the Man.

Descartes is not a masked or simulator. This aspect is enlightened by L. Benitez, referring to what was suggested by Descartes in his letter to Regius, January 1642:

"From the basic recommendations, Descartes goes to some tips that can be placed in the field of a moral of pretense '. This is a position that recommends not to show what you are or what you think, at least not fully. Of course, not to pretend to be what you are not, which would be morally reprehensible, but to let see, with measure and carefully, what you are or you think, so do not bring about serious problems that could cost you your life or at less your imprisonment."

What Descartes proposes and follows is a strategy of limiting the truths and present them, as he himself said, "imperceptibly", to convince (the theologians) without fighting.

I have no doubt that the work of Descartes is committed to the truth. Within its metaphysical foundation, the epistemological aspect of demonstrating the possibility of true knowledge is a basic part. Therefore, Garber also is right: there are domestic considerations, and to his arguments I would add the failure of the methodological way, from the Rules for the Direction of the spirit, to seek a metaphysical foundation. Moreover, we must not forget that the "soulless" Cartesian physics was only possible thanks to the metaphysical dualism. This means, for Descartes, that physical knowledge, which already included the astronomical, could justify its independence from theological constraints and be developed with mechanistic explanations.


In his life, the wisdom of Descartes was favorable to him. But during the second half of the eighteenth century the Cartesians (predominantly Jansenists and oratorians) were persecuted in France. They were convicted several fundamental propositions of corpuscular and mechanical philosophy. For example, it was condemned the Cartesian theory of matter, the doctrine of the extension as a key attribute of matter, the indefinite extension of the world and the rejection of the vacuum.

In 1663, thirteen years after his death, Descartes’ books were placed on the Index of Forbidden Books, “donec corrigantur (until they are corrected). In France it was published, in 1671, a condemnatory decree of the king, partly adopted by the universities in the city. The continued defense of the Cartesians led the University of Paris, in 1691, to formally condemn eleven Cartesian propositions, including that:
"We must get rid of all forms of prejudice and we must doubt everything before having any certainty of knowledge."




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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.



Your opinion in the Guestbook






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





Presentation of the book at the University of Puerto Rico.


The Inquisition

Religion as a power structure

Antonio Mansilla

We could hardly find a phrase that can best summarize the contents of this publication, such as that used in the Quijote of Cervantes, to alert his illustrious squire Sancho: "With the Church we have met, friend Sancho".

The book we are presenting today contains a very suggestive, yet very comprehensive subject. The subject of the Inquisition has always been an issue that has attracted great interest not only among historians but also in other sectors of society. Religious sociologists, psychologists and politicians, among others, have made the subject matter of their research and analysis, as it involves matters of great impact and interest in the human, social and religious fields. Even in the field of culture, of the economy and science, the institution of the Holly Inquisition had significant and serious consequences and implications.

The reading of the book on the Inquisition by Primitivo Martinez offers a broad amalgam of views of great interest and above all is a fantastic opportunity for discussing the sensitive topic of religion, which for many and broad sectors of society represents a real taboo. To those ends has reached the influence of religion with its remarkable pedagogy of fear, which has proved to be extremely effective, not only in the individuals but also in social, political and cultural sphere. It represents a real power structure. The work is well documented from the historical, philosophical, theological and biblical standpoint and it offers broad prospects for the analysis of religion as an instrument of control and power.

Due to the wide and varied content of the book, I am compelled to synthesize as much as possible, trying to insinuate and make suggestive reading to come later in the analysis of the issue I think is the basis of the contents of the work. This, organized in thematic sections and illustrated with a number of suggestive photographs, begins with a discussion of the ideological foundation with which Inquisition justified his execution. Based on the concept of revealed religion as the source of Judeo-Christian beliefs, on which are based its fundamental ideas, the author presents critically the broad similarities between those and other earlier religious beliefs, mainly Oriental, which make questionable that such religion own the condition of being revealed. Primitive states as examples the ongoing conflict between good and evil, light and darkness, and the belief in a supreme god, Lord of Wisdom. These and other ideas are clearly marked in the Judeo-Christian religion. Similarly, the author says, Zoroaster already announced the coming of a Messiah or savior (Saoshyant). Moreover, the narrative of Genesis is only a recount, not complete, of the cosmogonic myths of Mesopotamia, of Chaldea and of Egypt. Amenemope, high priest of ancient Egypt, where they were common the constructions based on mud and straw, has a very revealing sacred maxim to define the greatness of God: "Man is clay and straw and God is his craftsman". Expression that holds a strong resemblance to the creative function of the Hebrew God, who created man from the mud of the earth. Many of the myths and legends about the Jewish people in the Bible, never cease to be mere plagiarism. All this calls into question the originality as a revealed religion of these Judeo-Christian beliefs. Moses is another major figure in the biblical narrative, which also has a track record. There is a legend relating that Sargon, Sumerian ruler, had also been placed in a reed basket and left on the river Euphrates. It is also interesting to consider the role of Moses in his hometown. He serves as an intermediary between Yahweh, the Hebrew God, and his people, thus becoming its leader. The dramatic scenes of his investiture as an intermediary among thunder and lightning, and the divine voice rumbling those words: "You have no God but me," projecting fear and terror, can not be more revealing. The intermediary role has been particularly prevalent in the religious traditions. Zoroaster, Buddha, Ahura Mazda, Jesus of Nazareth, Mohammed, are examples. The mission of intermediary entitles him to speak and act in God's name, which invests him with divine authority. And, in Martinez's words, "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." Moreover, the Hebrew people, usually nomadic, historically insignificant and small, felt compensated its smallness by considering itself as a people chosen by God. This condition led it to see itself as a single people and, what's more, exclusive. Even today, in the XXI century, it is still regarded as a chosen people and powerful in all aspects, even the only one, by excluding its neighbours. We do not know if the function of patronage, exercised by the U.S. on the modern Jewish State today, is interpreted by the Jews as a continuation of the protective hand of God.

This is the reason why the author believes it is necessary to consider the sources on which Christianity feeds, because  beliefs and practices are based on them. Many of these beliefs have been managed and manipulated by certain groups, so they managed to become institutions and structures of power.

The sources that gave the origin and development to Christianity are called New Testament  biblical narratives or Gospels. These, according to researches that have been made, were written long after the death of its founder, Jesus of Nazareth. These texts were written in the late first century and early second century. Most of their writers were not eyewitnesses to what they narrate. This situation raises serious doubts about their authenticity and integrity. According to these sources, Saul of Tarsus is the key character in understanding the spread of Christianity beyond the borders of Israel. Saul, better known by the name of Paul, was not an apostle, he was proclaimed himself apostle to the Gentiles. He was not a direct witness of the events and teachings of Jesus. Contradictorily, Saul, a fanatical Jew, is who seals a covenant with the Gentiles, who in the Jewish tradition have always been criminalized and rejected. This is a New Partnership. "Since there is neither Jew nor Greek, nor Roman, but one in Christ" says Paul. Even after his conversion to Christianity, he never denied his Jewish beliefs, thereby maintaining the Mosaic prescriptions. Because of their influence, he printed in  the gospel message a shade, which highlights more justice than human compassion and love, provided by the new message of Jesus. Paul was the one who highlighted, above love, the idea of justice and sin. This influenced largely in promoting prejudices and doctrinal aberrations that abound in the Christian doctrines. We are slaves of the law and sin. True Christian stigma of 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"  (Romans 5:12). It is very important to highlight this concept of sin, for the negative and morbid consequences it has had subsequently among believers. It was and it is the secret weapon of all monotheistic religions to intimidate and stigmatize, primarily the Christian religion. The pedagogy of fear. Sin was also the religious stigma that the Inquisition used to streamline its procedures and justifying its abuses and crimes. This stigma carries a such guilt complex that it becomes a continuous remorse. It's a psychological torment. It's like an inner fire that burns without consuming consciences.

Another cornerstone of Christianity is the papacy. Its origin is found in the celebrated confession of Peter, whose text is seriously questioned because of later additions. "You are the Christ" and later added "the son of the living God" (Mat.16, 13-16). This text, expanded with the addition indicated, is only found in one of the four evangelists. According to renowned performers, it was added for reasons of apologetic and dogmatic kind. This information was, in part, which served as the ideological basis for the origin and development of the Christian Church and it gave the theologians the base for the whole ecclesiology.

The author presents some historical data, interesting, I think, for better understanding of how Christianity was developing and spreading rapidly beyond the borders of Palestine. After suffering long persecutions by the Roman Empire, it managed to acquire legality with the Edict of Milan (313) of Constantine, in the fourth century. Later, in 380, with the edict of Thessaloniki of Emperor Theodosius , it became the official religion of the empire, by establishing as State law all the agreements of the Council of Nicaea (325), while ordering off the Sacred Fire, symbol of pagan religion. Here begin the grim consortia, through history, that the Church has cleverly established with diverse political structures, while getting great economic and political benefits of all kinds. With the famous Donation of Constantine, the church managed to become a theocracy, for it gave the legal basis for the founding of the Papal States. The Donation of Constantine is an apocryphal imperial decree, attributed to Constantine, according to historians. In this document it was donated to Pope Sylvester I the city of Rome and the provinces of Italy and the rest of the Western Empire, while he was recognized as sovereign. This document, later exposed as false by the papal secretary Lorenzi Vall (1440), came to light in 1519. It was not made public previously for fear of the Pope. However, during this stage the Catholic Church has accumulated economic such wealth and power, that it still lives on the income of that grand and infamous crime. Until recently it has been very famous the powerful Vatican Bank, known as the Bank of the Holy Spirit, of which one of its executives, the director of that bank, was found hanging in one of the bridges over the River Thames.

The Pope and the Church were gaining power and prestige. Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne, during the Mass of Christmas Eve the year 800, as Emperor of Holy Roman Empire. The Frankish troops in return, handed to the Pope a strip of land of 42,000 km ²., in central Italy. Moreover, the Dictatus Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) is the official proclamation of the papacy as a universal and absolute theocracy. The Pope determines that his power is absolute and not subject to any other power. You can not forget that all these processes took place in a social vacuum. It is a medieval society, feudal. A Christianized society where the Church controlled a captive and fertilized society to accept its teachings. A society in which both, the knightly and stately class as the huge population, were subject to servitude and slavery in a complex web of mutual dependencies. This society, also sheltered by ignorance, superstition, poverty and with significant limitations, easily accepted the promise and hope of a better life that the Church  offered with its steady preaching in the other "life" beyond. The true human values are those of the soul, "because at the end of the day, who is saved knows everything and  who is not saved, he knows nothing" according to a traditional saying. The church planted in all sectors of society all forms of prejudice and counter-values. In these circumstances, the pedagogy of fear reaches deep and profound areas of the personality.

Martinez brings us information of how Pope Boniface VIII, based on the Donation of Constantine and with the help of Roman law, became head of state and as an expression of the new range, adds a third crown to his tiara, the symbol of the three distinctive powers of the papacy. The Church, vested with such powers, takes another step in its ecclesial dynamic: to suppress any idea or practice that does not agree with the official doctrine of the Church.

Primitivo analyzes one of the most vigorous campaign the Church developed. This was against the Cathars, who were considered heretics and social rebels. For their extermination conspired both the Church and the State. In these circumstances, and in order to maintain the "purity of faith and dogma," they laid the foundations for the start of the Inquisition. In the year 1223 Pope Gregory IX issued a bull which establishes the "Holy Inquisition", whose main task would be "rooting out heresy wherever found" and he entrusts this mission to the Order of Preachers of the Dominicans, who were known as "Domini Canes". The campaign against the Cathars became a real hunt, whose end was the extermination of the sect. The seizure of multiple assets, increased significantly the church property. The author describes in detail the entire process. Here some historical examples. In the sacking of the city of Beziers (France) were killed 20,000 people, and when they asked the papal legate, Arnaud-Amaury, Abbot de Citaux, how they could distinguish the Cathars from the Catholics among the population, he replied: "Kill them all. God will know how to recognize those of his." In Bram, a town near Carcassonne, they ordered to cut the lips and noses and to empty the eyes of all the defenders of the population, except one, who was left only one eye so he could guide them in this region.

Pope Innocent III goes one step further in the organization of the Inquisition. He won a decisive goal in the legal process: "The question of the ethical-religious struggle against heresy would become a legal issue. So the persecution of heresy would be a matter of public as well as ecclesiastical law." The crime against the faith should be considered a sin so serious that should be pursued beyond the death. For this reason, it should proceed to exhume the body of those condemned as heretics to exhibit their bones which, placed on a rough platform, were displayed in a macabre procession through the streets of the city. The purpose of these atrocities can not be clearer: "Ad majorem Dei gloriam". In 1231, Pope Gregory IX also added, in the organization of the Inquisition, a network of courts in all major cities of Europe. An additional step was taken in the year 1252, when Pope Innocent IV issued the Bull "Ad extirpanda", with which he formally establishes the use of torture by the Inquisition. In one of its manuals, we find this rule: "Better a hundred innocent people die than a single heretic is freed." With these mechanisms the Inquisition was perfectly organized with full divine, ecclesiastical and political powers, and also armed with all sorts of ways and means to achieve his goal: "The purity of faith and dogma."

Of particular interest is the chapter that Martinez devotes to witchcraft , whose main objective were women, preying on them until it flows into the famous "witch hunt". The discrimination of women is a characteristic theme in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Its origin is already at the time of "creation" of women by Yahve. This discrimination was subsequently promoted in Christianity, mainly by the misogynistic attitude of Paul. Following that, all evil is blamed on the woman, witchcraft, pacts with the devil, superstition and other macabre practices. These prejudices against women made them victims of indignities, humiliation, suffering, anguish, persecution, and of the most terrible marginalization in society. The Church, moreover, encouraged the belief in the devil and its relationship with witchcraft, blaming the woman for morbid practices. All this led to a real witch hunt that lasted three centuries and produced between 70,000 and 300,000 dead or relaxed at the stake, according to statistics presented in the book.

Torture is another interesting point that Primitivo brings in its publication. The Dominican friar Nicholas Eymeric wrote the famous Inquisitors Handbook, written in Avignon in the year 1376. It is a treaty that collects detailed inquisitorial laws and regulations in force, which all inquisitors should know and practice. The Church, once installed in power, became obsessed with its magnetism, its privileges and perks and assumed the right to detain, interrogate and torture, highly consistent with the pedagogy of fear. Jesus had ruled: "the truth shall make you free" and as a logical sequence, in interpreting the practice of the Church, it could be stated, according to Martinez, "the lie will make you believers."

In the work they are described in detail the procedures of the Inquisition. The process begins with the report, common practice used in church confessionals. Every Christian had the duty of reporting. Once the report was made, it began the torment of the interrogations, in which the inquisitors used all sorts of tricks and ruses. As we see, they are very common practices used today by the police and repressive class. Well known were those used by the German Gestapo, the Soviet GPU, and today used by the CIA and many others. All they had a good model in the Inquisition. The Dominican Eymeric understood that the interrogation system they used, was sufficient to obtain the requested true "without having recourse to the rack and torture." If the defendant was stubborn in his refusal, the inquisitors could use two violent means: the imprisonment and torture.

From Pope Alexander IV, the judges began using all sorts of torture: the flogging, the rack, the strappato (tourniquet) and the brazier. Then they added other, more sophisticated, like the pulley, the trap, the crushing thumbs, the torment of water, the tablets, the iron maiden and others.

Another form of torture that Primitivo describes was the imprisonment, which could precede or follow the confession of the accused of heresy. The grim picture that showed the prisons of the Inquisition was one of horror. Emaciated prisoners shackled in dingy cells, in the presence of undaunted sadomasochistic monks dressed in monastic robes. At the bottom of the scene, the hooded executioners, surrounded by all the instruments of torture, invented by sick minds, that seemed come straight out of the forge of horror. Juan Antonio Llorente, a former secretary of the Inquisition, distinguishes three types of prisons: public, where they were locked up those who, "without being accused of crimes against the faith," were simple social delinquents. Familiar were used for employees of the Inquisition for having committed administrative offences. The secret. This was intended to heretics or to those suspected of being it. As we can see, the use of secret prisons, spread across different countries, is not new to American CIA agents. Well recently we have the shameful cases of Guantanamo, Abu-Ghrail (Baghdad) and others that remain a secret. All this could invite to believe that these horrific events were the product of deranged minds of some psychopath or sociopath, or of some sadistic, sadomasochistic, however, all this came from the mind of the Holy Church, of the Popes, of Bishops, of the Inquisitors, of the Religious members.

Another means of punishment mentioned in this publication was the famous Sanbenito (from the word "saccus benedictus"). This consisted of two crosses of yellow felt cloth, which were placed visibly on the clothing of the accused, one in front and one behind. It was an eminently social punishment and was much feared, as it was constantly accompanying the accused, exposing him to public scorn and derision.

Special mention is deserved by the famous Autos-da-fé. These usually took place during holidays to ensure better attendance. The Holy Office made public and solemn reading of the offences and corresponding penalties the heretic was accused of. They were held in the presence of the defendant or his effigy, in case he was not present, in the presence of the he people, of the respectable corporations, and of the secular authorities, to which they were given the accused or his likeness, to be executed the sentences. The ceremony of the Autos-da-fé was a real show, which was preceded by a solemn procession through the streets of the city, during which the prisoner, mounted on a cart while proclaiming his crime, was subject to ridicule, insults and expressions of contempt by the people. It really was a lesson that served to terrorize the people as well. In one of its pages is narrated in detail one of the Autos-da-fé, held on 30 June 1680, in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, in the presence of the king and his court.

It is difficult to understand how for so long  and so many people could be put to death. Martinez asserts that only in Spain and only for religious reasons, were burned at the stake, according to statistics from Juan Antonio Llorente, secretary of the Inquisition, 34.382 people, between 1481 and 1788, to add 17.690  "burned in statue (because they had absconded or died) and 291.450 sentenced to prison.

Michael Servetus, Giordano Bruno, Galileo are prominent cases in the history of the Inquisition, since the intervention of the Inquisition against these people, represented the most furious attack against science by the Church.

A high profile case the author comments, was that of the Order of the Templar, who fell victim of the Inquisition.  This Order is of religious-military nature. It spread rapidly through France, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, while accumulating great wealth and power. It was the largest organization of the West in every way. Their Commands were equivalent to modern bank branches. In fact, they were the creators of modern banking. Perhaps the only offence committed by the Templar was to have accumulated immense wealth, power and prestige. Without evidence of the heresies with which the Templar were accused, an alleged statement, on behalf of the French king, Philip the Fair and in mutual agreement with Pope Clement V, ordered the arrest of the Templar Order  with the consequent confiscation of their vast wealth. This was intended to attack their power, which competed with that of the Church. In the year 1307, 140 Templars, with their Grand Master, were imprisoned and tortured. On 16 October 1311, the Pope, irresolute and harassed, ordered the dissolution of the Order. And on March 18, 1314, the Grand Master, together with the President Geoffroy de Charnay, were burned at the stake before the gates of Notre Dame in Paris.

Other victims of the Inquisition were the Arabs, Jews and other ethnic minorities, to whom the author devotes a few pages of interest. Both Jewish culture and Arabic were especially an important basis for the development of Spain in all respects. "The religious, Christian, Catholic and apostolic fanaticism  removed, blood and fire, two major cultures of the three existing in Spain at that time, two cultures that had forged modern Spain. A Moorish exiled in Tunis, in the seventeenth century, confesses: "We were taken to the Inquisition, where, for no more than to follow the truth, we were stripped of life, of our properties and of our children"

The Church's constant indoctrination fostered serious prejudices in the people, which resulted in practices and negative attitudes towards those cultures, especially against Jews. During my childhood I was reproached when spitting, "because that was just a matter of the Jews." And they also pointed at, reproached and cursed the person with a miserly reputation  by saying "he was a Jew." Until recent years, in the solemn liturgy of Good Friday echoed, both through the vaults of the great cathedrals and in the churches in the humble villages, even in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, a solemn singing of the prayers of the liturgy in which it could be heard the following plea: "Oremus et pro perfidis judeis." Pope John Paul II removed the paragraph of that prayer. The end was reached by the Grand Inquisitor Tomas de Torquemada, of Jewish descent, who got the Holy See's approval to include a statute of purity of blood in the Rule of the Monastery of St. Thomas Aquinas, which he founded in Avila. Many universities required their students a certificate of purity of blood. The purity of blood was the social security that the applicant did not descended from Jews, Moors or Arabs, heretics or processed by the Inquisition. Intolerance made Spain lose rich cultures, vast human and economic wealth, says the author.Nobody better to expose the ideology of the unique culture than Marx, Freud and Nietzsche.

The author describes in his book the persecution, by the Inquisition, of numerous religious figures, scientists and politicians among others. We can mention the case of Fray Luis de Leon, an Augustinian monk and professor at the University of Salamanca. He was imprisoned in Valladolid for allegedly not very orthodox biblical interpretations, according to the mind of the Church. Jealousies, intrigues and quarrels in the chair he exercised in Salamanca led to his imprisonment. Poetically expresses his feelings in a poem that he wrote in his prison stay:

"Here the lie and the envy
 Had locked me.
Happy the humble state
of the wise who retires
from this evil world,
and with poor table and home
in the delightful countryside,
with God only encompasses,
and spends his life alone,
Nor envious nor envied.”

Servetus, who is considered the most radical expression of religious thought of the Renaissance, was another victim of the Inquisition. He, the discoverer of pulmonary blood flow, a lover of astrology study, seeks the renewal of Christianity from an anthropocentric angle. For defending the freedom of conscience, he ended his life tied to the post of the fire, with an iron chain, a rope around his neck, and a copy of his banned book on his arm. The wood was wet and green and dying in the flames took two endless hours. This happened in 1553. Voltaire, enthusiastic defender Servet, said he was "a standard-bearer of tolerance and the fight against fanaticism, superstition and moral and physical violence."

Giordano Bruno suffered the same fate. He was accused of holding wrong theories about the Trinity, the divinity of Christ and the Incarnation. In 1600, Pope Clement VIII ordered the issuance of a death sentence. Bruno listens silently and knelt before his judges. He gets up and looking proud and fiery, he pronounced his last words: "Maybe you are more afraid of pronouncing my sentence, than me of receiving it." On 17 February 1600, in the Piazza del Campo dei Fiori, stripped of his clothes and tied to a stick, his tongue anchored in a wooden press so that he could not speak, was burnt alive.

Copernicus, Ticho Brahe, Kepler, Galileo were also persecuted by the Inquisition. Primitive describes in great detail the case of Galileo. It is a very special case which is of great interest. It was premised on the belief that all knowledge is contained in the Bible and all other sciences are subject to the test and contents of the Bible as servants or slaves. But the scriptures do not do science, Galileo said, they could teach "how to go to sky (heaven), not how the sky moves." The attack on Galileo by the Inquisition, represented the sharpest attack against science. The process was rather rough and planted with hypocritical tactics by the Church. The objective of the research Inquisition was not so much against the person of Galileo directly, because he was considered a Christian believer and a reputable scientist in all environments, but rather against his scientific claims. The primary purpose was to make it clear the absolute right of the Church to intervene in scientific matters. Galileo enjoyed great respect and even admiration from the Papal Court, including Pope Urban VIII, whom he had even devoted a poetic ode. On 21 February 1632, Galileo published in Florence his work "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems ", which implicitly mocks the Ptolemaic geocentric system, standing openly in favour of the Copernican system. Galileo was summoned by the Holy Office on October 1, 1632. He was sentenced to house arrest. In a room of the convent of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva and before the meeting of judges of the Holy Office, on his knees and wearing the humiliating Sanbenito, is a man of 70 years, a great scientist, who had dedicated his life to observing and reading the Book of Nature, written in mathematical language. The Holy Office required him to abjure, curse and detest in his errors and heresies and especially forced him to spend the humiliation of having to lie saying the following words: "... I had, as I have yet, as certainly true the opinion of Ptolemy, that is, the stability of the Earth and the mobility of the Sun. " This was his required answer. The greatest humiliation that a scientist can be subjected to. His arrest lasted eight and a half years, since he died in 1642, at the age of 78.
The Church has tried lately to reclaim and clean up the reputation of Galileo, especially this year, the International Year of Astronomy, but in a lukewarm way, blaming that both parties involved in the process caused errors. On 31 October 1992, Pope John Paul II, in a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, said it was "a fair recognition of the errors whatever the part from which they proceed." "The cultural horizon at the time of Galileo was unitary and bore the stamp of a particular philosophical education. This unitary character of the culture, which is in itself positive and desirable even today, was one of the causes of the condemnation of Galileo." The expression of "the unitary character of culture, still positive and desirable" is interpreted by Martinez, as a longing for lost theocratic power. The cultural unity is the essence of religious fundamentalism, which is extremely dangerous. The apology from the Church has come too late and it is no more than a nice symbolic gesture.

Another important issue discussed in the publication is the subject of censorship. A papal order, that the Inquisitor General, Cardinal Adrian of Utrecht, enacted in 1521, started the banning of books in Spain. Subsequently, extended by the name of Index of Forbidden Books, caused a big damage to science. Multiple works of famous writers came under censorship. William of Ockham, Luis Vives, Thomas More, San John of the Cross, Santa Teresa de Jesus, Lope de Vega, etc. are some examples. This criticism led to a very common practice: the burning of books. It would be needed another publication  to be able to understand and analyze the damage and atrocities committed by the Inquisition in our Latin America.

All these historical events of so sad memory, that Martinez exposes in a well-structured way, leads us to ask serious questions about the religious phenomenon, so ingrained as effective, through history in both individual and collective behaviour of humanity. An eminently human phenomenon which also has reached a perfect control on both individuals and society. It is precisely on this topic that specifically I'll try to display some points of interest for reflection and discussion. At the beginning of the work, Primitivo brings to our consideration the scene of the "Grand Inquisitor", taken from "The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoyevsky, in which the old inquisitor has a very revealing statement that overwhelms the depths of human beings: "..because, who is going to dominate people, but those who master the consciences of men and have the bread in their hands." There is no doubt that there is not a more absolute control on a person than to take possession of his conscience.

In the preface of the book, tells a real story, but full of symbolism about the life of Primitivo. The story is narrated by Michael, a fellow student and author of the foreword. It tells us that in an allegorical representation of the philosophical movements, Primitivo was transported in a wheelbarrow in which sat quietly, representing Parmenides of Elea. I do not know what might have happened, but Primitivo got off the wheelbarrow and walked on his own feet. The significance of this scene, makes me think, it is my personal interpretation, that Primitivo learned in time to get off the device of immobility in which he was sat and learned to walk on his own feet, through the channels of the future, the only way to understand life from a right perspective. A subject somewhat traumatic for those of us who, due to historical circumstances, have had to breathe and experience the atmosphere of the one-dimensionality of life without having the opportunity to breathe the atmosphere of the multi-dimensionality, from where you can view and analyze the complexity of the somewhat irrational while dialectic life.

No doubt that through the development of the central theme of this publication, clearly underlies a discourse of transcendental importance on religion, which in turn sets out various issues to us. I shall try to present some points that I consider very appropriate for reflection and that can also generate broad discussion about them.

Religion is an anthropological phenomenon that has accompanied mankind since far back, we can say almost from its inception. Human beings, gifted with great abilities, always saw himself as being limited, fragile, to whom continuously are presented many great questions and difficulties. However, gifted with great imagination, they could create myths, fantastic beings of divine nature, which could give meaning to their life and a response to the endless questions that constantly raised their daily live. But this human-religious phenomenon was collected, compiled, structured and deliberately transmitted by institutions of various kinds, distorting and mythologizing such religious phenomenon. However, the study of religion, as a human phenomenon, is itself a matter of science, particularly that of anthropology.

Religion is a phenomenon that is inserted into the culture and tradition. In Marx expression "man makes religion, religion does not make the man." (Marx: "Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right"). Religion plays a distorted view of the real world, peoples the universe with imaginary beings, provides fanciful explanations for natural events and puts people in a paradise of fantasy, which is both an escape and a prison. According to Marx: "Religion is not only distorts the world view of man... but also the feelings of man, his emotional relationship with reality, it provides him a false comfort, an illusory hope." (Id.) María Zambrano expressed herself in the same direction: "Philosophy and religion are competing for the realization of human hopes." Religion immerses human beings in a dream, a chimera perhaps comforting, but also completely sterile and harmful in the transformation of reality. All the various forms of religion have had their origin in humans and have been developed to meet the needs that have arisen in their socio-economic development through different historical processes. His features were as varied as the circumstances under which they have achieved their development, but always responding to their needs. Thus, groups have emerged with religious beliefs more or less simple or complicated, but within the structures in which humans were organized according to their own interests and needs. In fact, the different forms of religion have been as a reflection of the ways of that organization.

The origin of the religious phenomenon was gradual and conditioned by the socio-economic situation of human beings and their development was in line with changes in that situation. The first steps, still hesitant, of this phenomenon remained only a crude fetishism, magic, totemism, animism, or of some early sketches of nature worship. The expressions in this first stage were somewhat prosaic, which is explained by the socio-economic plight of those helpless human beings. Its origin should not be attributed to a mysterious religious sentiment of reverence before the majesty, the sacred and the immense. The ignorance of natural forces, the impotence against them, the feeling of being crushed by a hostile environment, drove these people to try to complete their work with magical manipulations. Comte has his own explanation on this point, when he compares, in his Theory of the Three States, those first stirrings of humanity to the stage of childhood. This imaginative and overflowed childhood brought credulous faith in the supernatural, and "faith in the supernatural, carries a social harm," because the forces that the human being wasted looking forward to a fetish, would have been more useful by looking for other mechanisms in their struggle with the environment. Their prayers and supplications to fictional beings robbed them of a precious time in the searching for food and tools to improve their living conditions. The imaginary security in a conducive spirit was a poor consolation for impotence of the primitive human being, because it weakened his inquisitive and inventive effort and reduced his self confidence. Raising hands of supplication to the gods , is a way to keep crawling indefinitely. The hands of human beings are needed to support themselves in the earth, they are not to raise them to heaven in supplication. The evolution of mythical ideas are also closely linked to socio-economic transformations in primitive communities.

The legends about the gods or heroes reflect in the imagination the real life of human beings at that time. In this respect Feuerbach writes: "As a man thinks and feels, so is his god; what a man is worth, it's worth his god and not more... you know the man by his god and vice versa, you know your god by man". The people mythologies are one of the most tangible evidence that humans built the religion from their own substance. Xenophanes (sixth century BC) made fun of religions and their gods that revealed their exclusively human origin: "The Ethiopians represent their gods flat and black, and the Thracians say they have blue eyes and red hair. But if oxen, horses and lions had hands and they could draw and make work as men, horses would draw figures of gods like horses, and oxen like oxen and would form their bodies in imitation of themselves. " If religion is by nature a great reflection of reality, it is evident that it is the product of the unbridled imagination of man to explain the world around him. Either way, the mythical has been the inseparable companion of religion and will remain so.

All forms of social consciousness more or less precisely reflect reality. Religion, however, as a form of social consciousness, is the only one that reflects the surrounding world in a fantastic and distorted way. Marx said that religion is "the fantastic realization of human essence", it is an inverted world view, it is the "general theory" of this inverted world, "its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, its general reason for consolation and justification. " ("Franco-German Annals").

Religion is an integral part of humanity's spiritual culture, a component of mental activity of humans. It is presented as one of the fundamental forms of social consciousness. It not only reflects the reality, the social being, but it guides human beings to the execution of differential acts. Therefore, religion as a form of social consciousness has the same function. Engels in Anti-Duhring states that "religion is nothing but a reflection, in the brains of men, of the eternal powers that dominate their daily lives: a reflection in which earthly forces are gaining strength of extra earthly ones."

Religion, moreover, is not just a specific explanation, though distorted, of reality, but also includes the emotional and sentimental part of the human being, it is a particular experience of the world. From this religious representation of the world, it also comes off an emotional bond of the human believer, even with certain hopes, dreams, aspirations, desires and ambitions. These emotional states produce, too, a sense of helplessness, weakness and fear, and even they encourage feelings of an illusory hope; they are a false consolation.

From this perspective, religion appears as a very complex social phenomenon, in which you can distinguish certain levels related to both human consciousness as to its activity. This is the reason that religion, once it has invaded the human structure with its indoctrination, brings a kind of addiction to its needs, that creates a new type of human being with the mentioned characteristics. Thus, taking advantage of these circumstances, the various religious institutions gain control of society and become a real power structure. Again it is worth remembering that there is no greater control of a person, that the control of his consciousness. The various degrees of mastery of such consciousness are climbed by fostering fear, fright and terror, which reduces the radius of human freedom and as Nietzsche says in the Genealogy of Morals: "This instinct for freedom, which by force became  latent, suppressed, removed, imprisoned in the interior, and that ends up taken out and let off steam just against oneself: that, only that is, initially, the bad conscience. "

Religious movements have transformed the phenomenon of religion in various religious forms, from the more simple to the most complex. In fact, some of them have been able to effectively utilize this human condition to become a real power structure, to the point of defying the various social and political structures. This is the case of Christianity, which is that the most directly concerns us now. It began with the fundamental beliefs of Judaism, keeping the basic belief of a unique God, Creator of all, whose figure projected an image rather of fear and terror, than one of love. This environment is reflected in human consciousness in a state of fear that will guide individual and social behaviour. A very effective tool of subjugation. The pedagogy of fear. A methodology that all religions have used to a greater or lesser extent and intensity. Its effectiveness is well known to those who in one way or another have experienced this religious phenomenon in our consciousness. Christianity, according to its founder, wanted to give a tone of love and compassion to his movement, however, as it was gaining power, it was forgetting this important contribution.

The Christian movement had its beginnings and subsequent development within a political and administrative structure perfectly organized, like the Roman Empire. We can not forget that Rome was the creator of law and government, from which the Church learned its administrative and structural scaffold. Following this model, Christianity was able to organize itself as a religious institution. A structure with absolute power, clad in divine character. The power of the Pope went so far as to define his infallibility as a dogma in the nineteenth century. Thus, the Church was establishing its administrative machinery. First, organized the so-called councils, assemblies convened by the Pope to refute any teaching that was not consistent or against any of the truths which the Church considered "revealed". It condemned such doctrines as heretical, and defined the true meaning of the official truth, declaring them as "revealed truth" or dogma. The person who stubbornly continued to defend a doctrine against such revealed truth, he was declared heretic. As the Christian church was becoming conscious of its power in society, was simultaneously developing a criminal justice system, in order to convict and impose penalties on those who questioned or denied any of these dogmas. It established, for example, excommunication, which, as the word itself  means,  deprives that person of the ties linking him with other members by refusing him all privileges of the community. To this penalty there were added other more punitive actions, even physical, even going so far as to be condemned to the stake. The Church created, as we have seen, a very powerful institution, which was responsible for ensuring the "purity" of faith: the Inquisition, true intelligence system with absolute legal and judicial powers, also equipped with a powerful research equipment which, as we have seen, included a terrible and varied set of techniques, such as torture, to extract a confession and proceed with the corresponding penalty.

All this control system the Christian church has been able to develop through its history, is based primarily on indoctrination, in the technique of fear, fright and even terror. A fundamental concept in this moralizing process was the idea of sin, which was closely linked to the terrible idea of the devil and hell, (a supposed place of torment of all kinds), chaired by him and by great number of evil spirits. This, with some other, has been the taboo the Church has tried to instill persistently in its faithful. It is interesting to explain some moral aspects of sin. Every sin, in addition to guilt, carries a penalty. According to Catholic morality, there is a class of sins that, although forgiveness of guilt is reached immediately through confession, it is not cleared the penalty, which paradoxically prolonged and deepened the sense of shame. To clean this sense of shame, the person had to continue making a long series of penitential actions, including those of masochistic nature, as self-flagellation, with which he could achieve atonement and clean it off. This meant extending the terrible feeling of guilt and remorse. In this sense Nietzsche puts it admirably: "The bad conscience sits, eats, spreads and grows like a polyp so wide and so deep, that together with the endless feeling of guilt you conceive  atonement to be endless as well. " This is the reason for the Holy Years and Jubilees, that periodically sets the Pope, in order to expiate the sins, by means of certain practices, as visiting the basilicas of Rome, Santiago de Compostela and other designated locations. In fact, what remains behind all this "invention" of atonement is an economic issue. With the practice of the pedagogy of fear the Church has achieved excellent results. All this unintelligible terminology (penalty, guilt, atonement...) is a strong point of the Inquisition. It bases on it to separate orthodoxy from heterodoxy, to separate the righteous from the heretics. Primitivo clearly helds that, in this semantic field, orthodoxy is impossible: "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."

In the name of God and for His greater glory they committed the worst atrocities in the course of history. Shouting "God wills it," medieval Crusades were organized with their terrible consequences. As Holly Crusade was considered by the Catholic Church the coup of General Franco in Spanish Civil War. And the war ended, there were erected monuments chaired by the cross on every facade of churches and public places in Spain, praising only those who succumbed to his side with the slogan: "Fallen for God and for Spain."

The myths and mythologies, said Primitivo, talk about gods and paradises. Human beings, by contrast, are free to believe, dream and imagine all they want or they like. What is unethical, because it is inhumane and barbaric, is to convert these myths into absolute truths and to kill and subjugate human beings for not accepting them as such; pure myths and pure mythical truths our ancestors originally created simply to satisfy their feelings and intellectual concerns. To sacrifice defenseless humans in the name of a vain Orthodoxy, invoking the name of God, is a barbarism, a devastating and revealing blow to humanity .

"Currently, the only vestige of the former Inquisition is the Congregation of the Inquisition, established by Pope Paul III, 1542, to combat the Reformation. In 1965, after Vatican II, was renamed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose aim is to safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals. Lost its repressive and inquisitorial nature, it acquired a tone for positive promotion of Catholic doctrine." This was expressed by Joseph M. Walker in his History of the Spanish Inquisition. Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, presided that Congregation.

With this presentation I have tried to instill into you concern and curiosity to reflect on the topic I have just presented and that Primitivo extensively describes in detail in his work, because possibly more than one of us may be caught by religious networks that were present in the culture and family environment of our childhood, with the consequences of being deprived of breathing deeply the air of freedom.
It recently appeared, in the outer side and back of city buses in London, Barcelona, Paris and other cities, a surprising announcement in large letters, with the following slogan: "God probably does not exist, why live in fear?
Enjoy your life. " Thanks!








[The following is an extract from M. Dostoevsky's celebrated
novel, The Brothers Karamazof, the last publication from the pen
of the great Russian novelist, who died a few months ago, just as
the concluding chapters appeared in print. Dostoevsky is
beginning to be recognized as one of the ablest and profoundest
among Russian writers. His characters are invariably typical
portraits drawn from various classes of Russian society,
strikingly life-like and realistic to the highest degree. The
following extract is a cutting satire on modern theology
generally and the Roman Catholic religion in particular. The idea
is that Christ revisits earth, coming to Spain at the period of
the Inquisition and is at once arrested as a heretic by the
Grand Inquisitor. One of the three brothers of the story, Ivan, a
rank materialist and an atheist of the new school, is supposed to
throw this conception into the form of a poem, which he describes
to Alyosha--the youngest of the brothers, a young Christian
mystic brought up by a "saint" in a monastery--as follows:
(--Ed. Theosophist, Nov, 1881)]

The scene of action is placed by me in Spain, at Seville, during
that terrible period of the Inquisition, when, for the greater
glory of God, stakes were flaming all over the country.

Burning wicked heretics,
In grand autos-da-fé.

"This particular visit has, of course, nothing to do with the
promised Advent, when, according to the programme, 'after the
tribulation of those days,' He will appear 'coming in the clouds
of heaven.' For, that 'coming of the Son of Man,' as we are
informed, will take place as suddenly 'as the lightning cometh
out of the east and shineth even unto the west.' No; this once,
He desired to come unknown and appear among His children, just
when the bones of the heretics, sentenced to be burnt alive, had
commenced crackling at the flaming stakes. Owing to His limitless
mercy, He mixes once more with mortals and in the same form in
which He was wont to appear fifteen centuries ago. He descends,
just at the very moment when before king, courtiers, knights,
cardinals and the fairest dames of court, before the whole
population of Seville, upwards of a hundred wicked heretics are
being roasted, in a magnificent auto-da-fé ad majorem Dei
gloriam, by the order of the powerful Cardinal Grand Inquisitor.

"He comes silently and unannounced; yet all--how strange--yea,
all recognize Him, at once! The population rushes towards Him as
if propelled by some irresistible force; it surrounds, throngs,
and presses around, it follows Him.... Silently and with a smile
of boundless compassion upon His lips, He crosses the dense
crowd and moves softly on. The Sun of Love burns in His heart,
and warm rays of Light, Wisdom and Power beam forth from His
eyes and pour down their waves upon the swarming multitudes of
the rabble assembled around, making their hearts vibrate with
returning love. He extends His hands over their heads, blesses
them and from mere contact with Him, aye, even with His
garments, a healing power goes forth. An old man, blind from his
birth, cries, 'Lord, heal me, that I may see Thee!' and the
scales falling off the closed eyes, the blind man beholds Him...
The crowd weeps for joy and kisses the ground upon which He
treads. Children strew flowers along His path and sing to Him,
'Hosanna!' It is He, it is Himself, they say to each other, it
must be He, it can be none other, but He! He pauses at the portal
of the old cathedral, just as a wee white coffin is carried in,
with tears and great lamentations. The lid is off and in the
coffin lies the body of a fair-child, seven years old, the only
child of an eminent citizen of the city. The little corpse lies
buried in flowers. 'He will raise the child to life!' confidently
shouts the crowd to the weeping mother. The officiating priest
who had come to meet the funeral procession, looks perplexed and
frowns. A loud cry is suddenly heard and the bereaved mother
prostrates herself at His feet. 'If it be Thou, then bring back
my child to life!' she cries beseechingly. The procession halts,
and the little coffin is gently lowered at his feet. Divine
compassion beams forth from His eyes and as He looks at the
child, His lips are heard to whisper once more, 'Talitha Cumi' -
and 'straightway the damsel arose.' The child rises in her
coffin. Her little hands still hold the nosegay of white roses
which after death was placed in them and, looking round with
large astonished eyes she smiles sweetly.... The crowd is
violently excited. A terrible commotion rages among them, the
populace shouts and loudly weeps, when suddenly, before the
cathedral door, appears the Cardinal Grand Inquisitor himself....
He is tall, gaunt-looking old man of nearly four-score years and
ten, with a stern, withered face and deeply sunken eyes, from
the cavity of which glitter two fiery sparks. He has laid aside
his gorgeous cardinal's robes in which he had appeared before the
people at the auto da-fe of the enemies of the Romish Church and
is now clad in his old, rough, monkish cassock. His sullen
assistants and slaves of the 'holy guard' are following at a
distance. He pauses before the crowd and observes. He has seen
all. He has witnessed the placing of the little coffin at His
feet, the calling back to life. And now, his dark, grim face has
grown still darker; his bushy grey eyebrows nearly meet and his
sunken eye flashes with sinister light. Slowly raising his
finger, he commands his minions to arrest Him....

"Such is his power over the well-disciplined, submissive and now
trembling people, that the thick crowds immediately give way and
scattering before the guard, amid dead silence and without one
breath of protest, allow them to lay their sacrilegious hands
upon the stranger and lead Him away.... That same populace, like
one man, now bows its head to the ground before the old
Inquisitor, who blesses it and slowly moves onward. The guards
conduct their prisoner to the ancient building of the Holy
Tribunal; pushing Him into a narrow, gloomy, vaulted prison-cell,
they lock Him in and retire....

"The day wanes and night--a dark, hot breathless Spanish night
--creeps on and settles upon the city of Seville. The air smells
of laurels and orange blossoms. In the Cimmerian darkness of the
old Tribunal Hall the iron door of the cell is suddenly thrown
open and the Grand Inquisitor, holding a dark lantern, slowly
stalks into the dungeon. He is alone and, as the heavy door
closes behind him, he pauses at the threshold and, for a minute
or two, silently and gloomily scrutinizes the Face before him. At
last approaching with measured steps, he sets his lantern down
upon the table and addresses Him in these words:

"'It is Thou!... Thou!'... Receiving no reply, he rapidly
continues: 'Nay, answer not; be silent!... And what couldst Thou
say?... I know, but too well Thy answer.... Besides, Thou hast no
right to add one syllable to that which was already uttered by
Thee before.... Why shouldst Thou now return, to impede us in our
work? For Thou hast come, but for that only and Thou knowest it
well. But art Thou as well aware of what awaits Thee in the
morning? I do not know, nor do I care to know who thou mayest be:
be it Thou or only thine image, to-morrow I will condemn and burn
Thee on the stake, as the most wicked of all the heretics; and
that same people, who to-day were kissing Thy feet, to-morrow at
one bend of my finger, will rush to add fuel to Thy funeral
pile... Wert Thou aware of this?' he adds, speaking as if in
solemn thought and never for one instant taking his piercing
glance off the meek Face before him."....

"I can hardly realize the situation described--what is all
this, Ivan?" suddenly interrupted Alyosha, who had remained
silently listening to his brother. "Is this an extravagant fancy,
or some mistake of the old man, an impossible quid pro quo?"

"Let it be the latter, if you like," laughed Ivan, "since modern
realism has so perverted your taste that you feel unable to
realize anything from the world of fancy.... Let it be a quid pro
quo, if you so choose it. Again, the Inquisitor is ninety years
old and he might have easily gone mad with his one idee fixe of
power; or, it might have as well been a delirious vision, called
forth by dying fancy, overheated by the auto-da-fé of the hundred
heretics in that forenoon.... But what matters for the poem,
whether it was a quid pro quo or an uncontrollable fancy? The
question is, that the old man has to open his heart; that he must
give out his thought at last; and that the hour has come when he
does speak it out and says loudly that which for ninety years he
has kept secret within his own breast."

"And his prisoner, does He never reply? Does He keep silent,
looking at him, without saying a word?"

"Of course; and it could not well be otherwise," again retorted
Ivan. "The Grand Inquisitor begins from his very first words by
telling Him that He has no right to add one syllable to that which
He had said before. To make the situation clear at once, the above
preliminary monologue is intended to convey to the reader the very
fundamental idea which underlies Roman Catholicism--as well as I
can convey it, his words mean, in short: 'Everything was given
over by Thee to the Pope and everything now rests with him alone;
Thou hast no business to return and thus hinder us in our work.'
In this sense the Jesuits not only talk, but write likewise.

"'Hast thou the right to divulge to us a single one of the
mysteries of that world whence Thou comest?' enquires of Him my
old Inquisitor and forthwith answers for Him. 'Nay, Thou has no
such right. For, that would be adding to that which was already
said by Thee before; hence depriving people of that freedom for
which Thou hast so stoutly stood up while yet on earth....
Anything new that Thou would now proclaim would have to be
regarded as an attempt to interfere with that freedom of choice,
as it would come as a new and a miraculous revelation superseding
the old revelation of fifteen hundred years ago, when Thou didst
so repeatedly tell the people: "The truth shall make you free."
Behold then, Thy "free" people now!' adds the old man with sombre
irony. 'Yea!... it has cost us dearly.' he continues, sternly
looking at his victim. 'But we have at last accomplished our
task and--in Thy name.... For fifteen long centuries we had to
toil and suffer owing to that "freedom": but now we have
prevailed and our work is done and well and strongly it is done.
....Believest not Thou it is so very strong?... And why should
Thou look at me so meekly as if I were not worthy even of Thy
indignation?... Know then, that now and only now, Thy people
feel fully sure and satisfied of their freedom; and that only
since they have themselves and of their own free will delivered
that freedom unto our hands by placing it submissively at our
feet. But then, that is what we have done. Is it that which Thou
has striven for? Is this the kind of "freedom" Thou has promised

"Now again, I do not understand," interrupted Alyosha. "Does the
old man mock and laugh?"

"Not in the least. He seriously regards it as a great service
done by himself, his brother monks and Jesuits, to humanity, to
have conquered and subjected unto their authority that freedom,
and boasts that it was done, but for the good of the world. 'For
only now,' he says (speaking of the Inquisition) 'has it become
possible to us, for the first time, to give a serious thought to
human happiness. Man is born a rebel and can rebels be ever
happy?... Thou has been fairly warned of it, but evidently to no
use, since Thou hast rejected the only means which could make
mankind happy; fortunately at Thy departure Thou hast delivered
the task to us.... Thou has promised, ratifying the pledge by Thy
own words, in words giving us the right to bind and unbind... and
surely, Thou couldst not think of depriving us of it now!'"

"But what can he mean by the words, 'Thou has been fairly
warned'?" asked Alexis.

"These words give the key to what the old man has to say for his
justification... But listen--

"'The terrible and wise spirit, the spirit of self annihilation
and non-being,' goes on the Inquisitor, 'the great spirit of
negation conversed with Thee in the wilderness and we are told
that he "tempted" Thee... Was it so? And if it were so, then it is
impossible to utter anything more truthful than what is contained
in his three offers, which Thou didst reject and which are
usually called "temptations." Yea; if ever there was on earth a
genuine striking wonder produced, it was on that day of Thy three
temptations and it is precisely in these three short sentences
that the marvelous miracle is contained. If it were possible that
they should vanish and disappear for ever, without leaving any
trace, from the record and from the memory of man and that it
should become necessary again to devise, invent and make them
reappear in Thy history once more, thinkest Thou that all the
world's sages, all the legislators, initiates, philosophers and
thinkers, if called upon to frame three questions which should,
like these, besides answering the magnitude of the event, express
in three short sentences the whole future history of this our
world and of mankind--dost Thou believe, I ask Thee, that all
their combined efforts could ever create anything equal in power
and depth of thought to the three propositions offered Thee by the
powerful and all-wise spirit in the wilderness? Judging of them by
their marvelous aptness alone, one can at once perceive that they
emanated not from a finite, terrestrial intellect, but indeed,
from the Eternal and the Absolute. In these three offers we find,
blended into one and foretold to us, the complete subsequent
history of man; we are shown three http://boriken.info/images, so to say, uniting in
them all the future axiomatic, insoluble problems and
contradictions of human nature, the world over. In those days, the
wondrous wisdom contained in them was not made so apparent as it
is now, for futurity remained still veiled, but now, when fifteen
centuries have elapsed, we see that everything in these three
questions is so marvelously foreseen and foretold, that to add to,
or to take away from, the prophecy one jot, would be absolutely

"'Decide then thyself.' sternly proceeded the Inquisitor, 'which
of ye twain was right: Thou who didst reject, or he who offered?
Remember the subtle meaning of question the first, which runs
thus: Wouldst Thou go into the world empty-handed? Would Thou
venture thither with Thy vague and undefined promise of freedom,
which men, dull and unruly as they are by nature, are unable so
much as to understand, which they avoid and fear?--for never was
there anything more unbearable to the human race than personal
freedom! Dost Thou see these stones in the desolate and glaring
wilderness? Command that these stones be made bread--and mankind
will run after Thee, obedient and grateful like a herd of cattle.
But even then it will be ever diffident and trembling, lest Thou
should take away Thy hand and they lose thereby their bread!
Thou didst refuse to accept the offer for fear of depriving men
of their free choice; for where is there freedom of choice where
men are bribed with bread? Man shall not live by bread alone--
was Thine answer. Thou knewest not, it seems, that it was
precisely in the name of that earthly bread that the terrestrial
spirit would one day rise against, struggle with and finally
conquer Thee, followed by the hungry multitudes shouting: "Who is
like unto that Beast, who maketh fire come down from heaven upon
the earth!" Knowest Thou not that, but a few centuries hence and
the whole of mankind will have proclaimed in its wisdom and
through its mouthpiece, Science, that there is no more crime,
hence no more sin on earth, but only hungry people? "Feed us
first and then command us to be virtuous!" will be the words
written upon the banner lifted against Thee--a banner which
shall destroy Thy Church to its very foundations and in the
place of Thy Temple shall raise once more the terrible Tower of
Babel; and though its building be left unfinished, as was that of
the first one, yet the fact will remain recorded that Thou
couldst, but wouldst not, prevent the attempt to build that new
tower by accepting the offer and thus saving mankind a
millennium of useless suffering on earth. And it is to us that
the people will return again. They will search for us catacombs,
as we shall once more be persecuted and martyred--and they will
begin crying unto us: "Feed us, for they who promised us the fire
from heaven have deceived us!" It is then that we will finish
building their tower for them. For they alone who feed them shall
finish it and we shall feed them in Thy name and lying to them
that it is in that name. Oh, never, never, will they learn to
feed themselves without our help! No science will ever give them
bread so long as they remain free, so long as they refuse to lay
that freedom at our feet and say: "Enslave, but feed us!" That
day must come when men will understand that freedom and daily
bread enough to satisfy all are unthinkable and can never be had
together, as men will never be able to fairly divide the two
among themselves. And they will also learn that they can never be
free, for they are weak, vicious, miserable nonentities born
wicked and rebellious. Thou has promised to them the bread of
life, the bread of heaven, but I ask Thee again, can that bread
ever equal in the sight of the weak and the vicious, the ever
ungrateful human race, their daily bread on earth? And even
supposing that thousands and tens of thousands follow Thee in the
name of and for the sake of, Thy heavenly bread, what will
become of the millions and hundreds of millions of human beings
to weak to scorn the earthly for the sake of Thy heavenly bread?
Or is it, but those tens of thousands chosen among the great and
the mighty, that are so dear to Thee, while the remaining
millions, innumerable as the grains of sand in the seas, the weak
and the loving, have to be used as material for the former? No,
no! In our sight and for our purpose the weak and the lowly are
the more dear to us. True, they are vicious and rebellious, but
we will force them into obedience and it is they who will admire
us the most. They will regard us as gods and feel grateful to
those who have consented to lead the masses and bear their burden
of freedom by ruling over them--so terrible will that freedom at
last appear to men! Then we will tell them that it is in
obedience to Thy will and in Thy name that we rule over them. We
will deceive them once more and lie to them once again--for
never, never more will we allow Thee to come among us. In this
deception we will find our suffering, for we must needs lie
eternally and never cease to lie!

"Such is the secret meaning of "temptation" the first and that
is what Thou didst reject in the wilderness for the sake of that
freedom which Thou didst prize above all. Meanwhile Thy tempter's
offer contained another great world-mystery. By accepting the
"bread," Thou wouldst have satisfied and answered a universal
craving, a ceaseless longing alive in the heart of every
individual human being, lurking in the breast of collective
mankind, that most perplexing problem--"whom or what shall we
worship?" There exists no greater or more painful anxiety for a
man who has freed himself from all religious bias, than how he
shall soonest find a new object or idea to worship. But man seeks
to bow before that only which is recognized by the greater
majority, if not by all his fellow-men, as having a right to be
worshipped; whose rights are so unquestionable that men agree
unanimously to bow down to it. For the chief concern of these
miserable creatures is not to find and worship the idol of their
own choice, but to discover that which all others will believe
in and consent to bow down to in a mass. It is that instinctive
need of having a worship in common that is the chief suffering of
every man, the chief concern of mankind from the beginning of
times. It is for that universality of religious worship that
people destroyed each other by sword. Creating gods unto
themselves, they forwith began appealing to each other: "Abandon
your deities, come and bow down to ours, or death to ye and your
idols!" And so will they do till the end of this world; they will
do so even then, when all the gods themselves have disappeared,
for then men will prostrate themselves before and worship some
idea. Thou didst know, Thou couldst not be ignorant of, that
mysterious fundamental principle in human nature and still thou
hast rejected the only absolute banner offered Thee, to which all
the nations would remain true and before which all would have
bowed--the banner of earthly bread, rejected in the name of
freedom and of "bread in the kingdom of God"! Behold, then, what
Thou hast done furthermore for that "freedom's" sake! I repeat to
Thee, man has no greater anxiety in life than to find some one to
whom he can make over that gift of freedom with which the
unfortunate creature is born. But he alone will prove capable of
silencing and quieting their consciences, that shall succeed in
possessing himself of the freedom of men. With "daily bread" an
irresistible power was offered Thee: show a man "bread" and he
will follow Thee, for what can he resist less than the attraction
of bread? But if, at the same time, another succeed in possessing
himself of his conscience--oh! then even Thy bread will be
forgotten and man will follow him who seduced his conscience. So
far Thou wert right. For the mystery of human being does not
solely rest in the desire to live, but in the problem--for what
should one live at all? Without a clear perception of his reasons
for living, man will never consent to live and will rather
destroy himself than tarry on earth, though he be surrounded with
bread. This is the truth. But what has happened? Instead of
getting hold of man's freedom, Thou has enlarged it still more!
Hast Thou again forgotten that to man rest and even death are
preferable to a free choice between the knowledge of Good and
Evil? Nothing seems more seductive in his eyes than freedom of
conscience and nothing proves more painful. And behold! instead
of laying a firm foundation whereon to rest once for all man's
conscience, Thou hast chosen to stir up in him all that is
abnormal, mysterious and indefinite, all that is beyond human
strength and has acted as if Thou never hadst any love for him,
and yet Thou wert He who came to "lay down His life for His
friends!" Thou hast burdened man's soul with anxieties hitherto
unknown to him. Thirsting for human love freely given, seeking to
enable man, seduced and charmed by Thee, to follow Thy path of
his own free-will, instead of the old and wise law which held him
in subjection, Thou hast given him the right henceforth to choose
and freely decide what is good and bad for him, guided, but by
Thine image in his heart. But hast Thou never dreamt of the
probability, nay, of the certainty, of that same man one day
rejected finally and controverting even Thine image and Thy
truth, once he would find himself laden with such a terrible
burden as freedom of choice? That a time would surely come when
men would exclaim that Truth and Light cannot be in Thee, for no
one could have left them in a greater perplexity and mental
suffering than Thou has done, lading them with so many cares and
insoluble problems. Thus, it is Thyself who hast laid the
foundation for the destruction of Thine own kingdom and no one
but Thou is to be blamed for it.

"'Meantime, every chance of success was offered Thee. There are
three Powers, three unique Forces upon earth, capable of
conquering for ever by charming the conscience of these weak
rebels--men--for their own good; and these Forces are: Miracle,
Mystery and Authority. Thou hast rejected all the three and thus
wert the first to set them an example. When the terrible and all-
wise spirit placed Thee on a pinnacle of the temple and said unto
Thee, "If Thou be the son of God, cast Thyself down, for it is
written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in
their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash
Thy foot against a stone!"--for thus Thy faith in Thy father
should have been made evident, Thou didst refuse to accept his
suggestion and didst not follow it. Oh, undoubtedly, Thou didst
act in this with all the magnificent pride of a god, but then men
--that weak and rebel race--are they also gods, to understand
Thy refusal? Of course, Thou didst well know that by taking one
single step forward, by making the slightest motion to throw
Thyself down, Thou wouldst have tempted "the Lord Thy God," lost
suddenly all faith in Him and dashed Thyself to atoms against
that same earth which Thou camest to save and thus wouldst have
allowed the wise spirit which tempted Thee to triumph and
rejoice. But, then, how many such as Thee are to be found on this
globe, I ask Thee? Couldst Thou ever for a moment imagine that
men would have the same strength to resist such a temptation? Is
human nature calculated to reject miracle and trust, during the
most terrible moments in life, when the most momentous, painful
and perplexing problems struggle within man's soul, to the free
decisions of his heart for the true solution? Oh, Thou knewest
well that that action of Thine would remain recorded in books for
ages to come, reaching to the confines of the globe and Thy hope
was, that following Thy example, man would remain true to his
God, without needing any miracle to keep his faith alive! But
Thou knewest not, it seems, that no sooner would man reject
miracle than he would reject God likewise, for he seeketh less
God than "a sign" from Him. And thus, as it is beyond the power
of man to remain without miracles, so, rather than live without,
he will create for himself new wonders of his own making; and he
will bow to and worship the soothsayer's miracles, the old
witch's sorcery, were he a rebel, a heretic and an atheist a
hundred times over. Thy refusal to come down from the cross when
people, mocking and wagging their heads were saying to Thee--
"Save Thyself if Thou be the son of God and we will believe in
Thee," was due to the same determination--not to enslave man
through miracle, but to obtain faith in Thee freely and apart
from any miraculous influence. Thou thirstest for free and
uninfluenced love and refuses the passionate adoration of the
slave before a Potency which would have subjected his will once
for ever. Thou judgest of men too highly here, again, for though
rebels they be, they are born slaves and nothing more. Behold,
and judge of them once more, now that fifteen centuries have
elapsed since that moment. Look at them, whom Thou didst try to
elevate unto Thee! I swear man is weaker and lower than Thou hast
ever imagined him to be! Can he ever do that which Thou art said
to have accomplished? By valuing him so highly Thou hast acted as
if there were no love for him in Thine heart, for Thou hast
demanded of him more than he could ever give--Thou, who lovest
him more than Thyself! Hadst Thou esteemed him less, less wouldst
Thou have demanded of him and that would have been more like
love, for his burden would have been made thereby lighter. Man is
weak and cowardly. What matters it, if he now riots and rebels
throughout the world against our will and power and prides
himself upon that rebellion? It is, but the petty pride and vanity
of a school-boy. It is the rioting of little children, getting up
a mutiny in the class-room and driving their schoolmaster out of
it. But it will not last long and when the day of their triumph
is over, they will have to pay dearly for it. They will destroy
the temples and raze them to the ground, flooding the earth with
blood. But the foolish children will have to learn some day that,
rebels though they be and riotous from nature, they are too weak
to maintain the spirit of mutiny for any length of time. Suffused
with idiotic tears, they will confess that He who created them
rebellious undoubtedly did so, but to mock them. They will
pronounce these words in despair and such blasphemous utterances
will, but add to their misery--for human nature cannot endure
blasphemy and takes her own revenge in the end.

"'And thus, after all Thou has suffered for mankind and its
freedom, the present fate of men may be summed up in three words:
Unrest, Confusion, Misery! Thy great prophet John records in his
vision, that he saw, during the first resurrection of the chosen
servants of God--"the number of them which were sealed" in their
foreheads, "twelve thousand" of every tribe. But were they,
indeed, as many? Then they must have been gods, not men. They had
shared Thy Cross for long years, suffered scores of years' hunger
and thirst in dreary wildernesses and deserts, feeding upon
locusts and roots--and of these children of free love for Thee,
and self-sacrifice in Thy name, Thou mayest well feel proud. But
remember that these are, but a few thousands--of gods, not men;
and how about all others? And why should the weakest be held
guilty for not being able to endure what the strongest have
endured? Why should a soul incapable of containing such terrible
gifts be punished for its weakness? Didst Thou really come to,
and for, the "elect" alone? If so, then the mystery will remain
for ever mysterious to our finite minds. And if a mystery, then
were we right to proclaim it as one and preach it, teaching them
that neither their freely given love to Thee nor freedom of
conscience were essential, but only that incomprehensible mystery
which they must blindly obey even against the dictates of their
conscience. Thus did we. We corrected and improved Thy teaching
and based it upon "Miracle, Mystery and Authority." And men
rejoiced at finding themselves led once more like a herd of
cattle and at finding their hearts at last delivered of the
terrible burden laid upon them by Thee, which caused them so much
suffering. Tell me, were we right in doing as we did. Did not we
show our great love for humanity, by realizing in such a humble
spirit its helplessness, by so mercifully lightening its great
burden and by permitting and remitting for its weak nature every
sin, provided it be committed with our authorization? For what,
then, hast Thou come again to trouble us in our work? And why
lookest Thou at me so penetratingly with Thy meek eyes and in
such a silence? Rather shouldst Thou feel wroth, for I need not
Thy love, I reject it and love Thee not, myself. Why should I
conceal the truth from Thee? I know, but too well with whom I am
now talking! What I had to say was known to Thee before, I read
it in Thine eye. How should I conceal from Thee our secret? If
perchance Thou wouldst hear it from my own lips, then listen: We
are not with Thee, but with him and that is our secret! For
centuries have we abandoned Thee to follow him, yes--eight
centuries. Eight hundred years now since we accepted from him the
gift rejected by Thee with indignation; that last gift which he
offered Thee from the high mountain when, showing all the
kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, he saith unto Thee:
"All these things will I give Thee, if Thou will fall down and
worship me!" We took Rome from him and the glaive of Caesar and
declared ourselves alone the kings of this earth, its sole kings,
though our work is not yet fully accomplished. But who is to
blame for it? Our work is, but in its incipient stage, but it is
nevertheless started. We may have long to wait until its
culmination and mankind have to suffer much, but we shall reach
the goal some day and become sole Caesars and then will be the
time to think of universal happiness for men.

"'Thou couldst accept the glaive of Caesar Thyself; why didst
Thou reject the offer? By accepting from the powerful spirit his
third offer Thou would have realized every aspiration man seeketh
for himself on earth; man would have found a constant object for
worship; one to deliver his conscience up to and one that should
unite all together into one common and harmonious ant-hill; for
an innate necessity for universal union constitutes the third and
final affliction of mankind. Humanity as a whole has ever aspired
to unite itself universally. Many were, the great nations with
great histories, but the greater they were, the more unhappy they
felt, as they felt the stronger necessity of a universal union
among men. Great conquerors, like Timoor and Tchengis-Khan,
passed like a cyclone upon the face of the earth in their efforts
to conquer the universe, but even they, albeit unconsciously,
expressed the same aspiration towards universal and common union.
In accepting the kingdom of the world and Caesar's purple, one
would found a universal kingdom and secure to mankind eternal
peace. And who can rule mankind better than those who have
possessed themselves of man's conscience and hold in their hand
man's daily bread? Having accepted Caesar's glaive and purple, we
had, of course, but to deny Thee, to henceforth follow him alone.
Oh, centuries of intellectual riot and rebellious free thought
are yet before us and their science will end by anthropophagy,
for having begun to build their Babylonian tower without our help
they will have to end by anthropophagy. But it is precisely at
that time that the Beast will crawl up to us in full submission,
and lick the soles of our feet and sprinkle them with tears of
blood and we shall sit upon the scarlet-colored Beast and
lifting up high the golden cup "full of abomination and
filthiness," shall show written upon it the word "Mystery"! But
it is only then that men will see the beginning of a kingdom of
peace and happiness. Thou art proud of Thine own elect, but Thou
has none other, but these elect and we--we will give rest to
all. But that is not the end. Many are those among thine elect
and the laborers of Thy vineyard, who, tired of waiting for Thy
coming, already have carried and will yet carry, the great fervor
of their hearts and their spiritual strength into another field,
and will end by lifting up against Thee Thine own banner of
freedom. But it is Thyself Thou hast to thank. Under our rule and
sway all will be happy and will neither rebel nor destroy each
other as they did while under Thy free banner. Oh, we will take
good care to prove to them that they will become absolutely free
only when they have abjured their freedom in our favor and submit
to us absolutely. Thinkest Thou we shall be right or still lying?
They will convince themselves of our rightness, for they will see
what a depth of degrading slavery and strife that liberty of
Thine has led them into. Liberty, Freedom of Thought and
Conscience and Science will lead them into such impassable
chasms, place them face to face before such wonders and insoluble
mysteries, that some of them--more rebellious and ferocious than
the rest--will destroy themselves; others--rebellious, but weak
--will destroy each other; while the remainder, weak, helpless
and miserable, will crawl back to our feet and cry: "'Yes; right
were ye, oh Fathers of Jesus; ye alone are in possession of His
mystery and we return to you, praying that ye save us from
ourselves!" Receiving their bread from us, they will clearly see
that we take the bread from them, the bread made by their own
hands, but to give it back to them in equal shares and that
without any miracle; and having ascertained that, though we have
not changed stones into bread, yet bread they have, while every
other bread turned verily in their own hands into stones, they
will be only to glad to have it so. Until that day, they will
never be happy. And who is it that helped the most to blind them,
tell me? Who separated the flock and scattered it over ways
unknown if it be not Thee? But we will gather the sheep once more
and subject them to our will for ever. We will prove to them
their own weakness and make them humble again, whilst with Thee
they have learnt, but pride, for Thou hast made more of them than
they ever were worth. We will give them that quiet, humble
happiness, which alone benefits such weak, foolish creatures as
they are and having once had proved to them their weakness, they
will become timid and obedient and gather around us as chickens
around their hen. They will wonder at and feel a superstitious
admiration for us and feel proud to be led by men so powerful
and wise that a handful of them can subject a flock a thousand
millions strong. Gradually men will begin to fear us. They will
nervously dread our slightest anger, their intellects will
weaken, their eyes become as easily accessible to tears as those
of children and women, but we will teach them an easy transition
from grief and tears to laughter, childish joy and mirthful song.
Yes; we will make them work like slaves, but during their
recreation hours they shall have an innocent child-like life,
full of play and merry laughter. We will even permit them sin,
for, weak and helpless, they will feel the more love for us for
permitting them to indulge in it. We will tell them that every
kind of sin will be remitted to them, so long as it is done with
our permission; that we take all these sins upon ourselves, for
we so love the world, that we are even willing to sacrifice our
souls for its satisfaction. And, appearing before them in the
light of their scapegoats and redeemers, we shall be adored the
more for it. They will have no secrets from us. It will rest with
us to permit them to live with their wives and concubines, or to
forbid them, to have children or remain childless, either way
depending on the degree of their obedience to us; and they will
submit most joyfully to us the most agonizing secrets of their
souls--all, all will they lay down at our feet and we will
authorize and remit them all in Thy name and they will believe
us and accept our mediation with rapture, as it will deliver them
from their greatest anxiety and torture--that of having to
decide freely for themselves. And all will be happy, all except
the one or two hundred thousands of their rulers. For it is, but
we, we the keepers of the great Mystery who will be miserable.
There will be thousands of millions of happy infants and one
hundred thousand martyrs who have taken upon themselves the curse
of knowledge of good and evil. Peaceable will be their end and
peacefully will they die, in Thy name, to find behind the portals
of the grave--but death. But we will keep the secret inviolate,
and deceive them for their own good with the mirage of life
eternal in Thy kingdom. For, were there really anything like life
beyond the grave, surely it would never fall to the lot of such
as they! People tell us and prophesy of Thy coming and triumphing
once more on earth; of Thy appearing with the army of Thy elect,
with Thy proud and mighty ones, but we will answer Thee that they
have saved, but themselves while we have saved all. We are also
threatened with the great disgrace which awaits the whore,
"Babylon the great, the mother of harlots"--who sits upon the
Beast, holding in her hands the Mystery, the word written upon
her forehead; and we are told that the weak ones, the lambs shall
rebel against her and shall make her desolate and naked. But then
will I arise and point out to Thee the thousands of millions of
happy infants free from any sin. And we who have taken their sins
upon us, for their own good, shall stand before Thee and say:
"Judge us if Thou canst and darest!" Know then that I fear Thee
not. Know that I too have lived in the dreary wilderness, where I
fed upon locusts and roots, that I too have blessed freedom with
which thou hast blessed men and that I too have once prepared to
join the ranks of Thy elect, the proud and the mighty. But I
awoke from my delusion and refused since then to serve insanity.
I returned to join the legion of those who corrected Thy
mistakes. I left the proud and returned to the really humble and
for their own happiness. What I now tell thee will come to pass,
and our kingdom shall be built, I tell Thee not later than
to-morrow Thou shalt see that obedient flock which at one simple
motion of my hand will rush to add burning coals to Thy stake, on
which I will burn Thee for having dared to come and trouble us in
our work. For, if there ever was one who deserved more than any
of the others our inquisitorial fires--it is Thee! To-morrow I
will burn Thee. Dixi'."

Ivan paused. He had entered into the situation and had spoken
with great animation, but now he suddenly burst out laughing.

"But all that is absurd!" suddenly exclaimed Alyosha, who had
hitherto listened perplexed and agitated, but in profound silence.
"Your poem is a glorification of Christ, not an accusation, as
you, perhaps, meant to be. And who will believe you when you
speak of 'freedom'? Is it thus that we Christians must understand
it? It is Rome (not all Rome, for that would be unjust), but the
worst of the Roman Catholics, the Inquisitors and Jesuits, that
you have been exposing! Your Inquisitor is an impossible
character. What are these sins they are taking upon themselves?
Who are those keepers of mystery who took upon themselves a curse
for the good of mankind? Who ever met them? We all know the
Jesuits and no one has a good word to say in their favor, but
when were they as you depict them? Never, never! The Jesuits are
merely a Romish army making ready for their future temporal
kingdom, with a mitred emperor--a Roman high priest at their
head. That is their ideal and object, without any mystery or
elevated suffering. The most prosaic thirsting for power, for the
sake of the mean and earthly pleasures of life, a desire to
enslave their fellow-men, something like our late system of
serfs, with themselves at the head as landed proprietors--that
is all that they can be accused of. They may not believe in God,
that is also possible, but your suffering Inquisitor is simply--
a fancy!"

"Hold, hold!" interrupted Ivan, smiling. "Do not be so excited. A
fancy, you say; be it so! Of course, it is a fancy. But stop. Do
you really imagine that all this Catholic movement during the
last centuries is naught, but a desire for power for the mere
purpose of 'mean pleasures'? Is this what your Father Paissiy
taught you?"

"No, no, quite the reverse, for Father Paissiy once told me
something very similar to what you yourself say, though, of
course, not that--something quite different," suddenly added
Alexis, blushing.

"A precious piece of information, notwithstanding your 'not
that.' I ask you, why should the Inquisitors and the Jesuits of
your imagination live, but for the attainment of 'mean material
pleasures?' Why should there not be found among them one single
genuine martyr suffering under a great and holy idea and loving
humanity with all his heart? Now let us suppose that among all
these Jesuits thirsting and hungering, but after 'mean material
pleasures' there may be one, just one like my old Inquisitor, who
had himself fed upon roots in the wilderness, suffered the
tortures of damnation while trying to conquer flesh, in order to
become free and perfect, but who had never ceased to love
humanity and who one day prophetically beheld the truth; who saw
as plain as he could see that the bulk of humanity could never be
happy under the old system, that it was not for them that the
great Idealist had come and died and dreamt of His Universal
Harmony. Having realized that truth, he returned into the world
and joined--intelligent and practical people. Is this so

"Joined whom? What intelligent and practical people?" exclaimed
Alyosha quite excited. "Why should they be more intelligent than
other men and what secrets and mysteries can they have? They
have neither. Atheism and infidelity is all the secret they have.
Your Inquisitor does not believe in God and that is all the
Mystery there is in it!"

"It may be so. You have guessed rightly there. And it is so and
that is his whole secret, but is this not the acutest sufferings
for such a man as he, who killed all his young life in asceticism
in the desert and yet could not cure himself of his love towards
his fellowmen? Toward the end of his life he becomes convinced
that it is only by following the advice of the great and terrible
spirit that the fate of these millions of weak rebels, these
'half-finished samples of humanity created in mockery' can be
made tolerable. And once convinced of it, he sees as clearly
that to achieve that object, one must follow blindly the guidance
of the wise spirit, the fearful spirit of death and destruction,
hence accept a system of lies and deception and lead humanity
consciously this time toward death and destruction and moreover,
be deceiving them all the while in order to prevent them from
realizing where they are being led and so force the miserable
blind men to feel happy, at least while here on earth. And note
this: a wholesale deception in the name of Him, in whose ideal
the old man had so passionately, so fervently, believed during
nearly his whole life! Is this no suffering? And were such a
solitary exception found amidst and at the head of, that army
'that thirsts for power, but for the sake of the mean pleasures of
life,' think you one such man would not suffice to bring on a
tragedy? Moreover, one single man like my Inquisitor as a
principal leader, would prove sufficient to discover the real
guiding idea of the Romish system with all its armies of Jesuits,
the greatest and chiefest conviction that the solitary type
described in my poem has at no time ever disappeared from among
the chief leaders of that movement. Who knows, but that terrible
old man, loving humanity so stubbornly and in such an original
way, exists even in our days in the shape of a whole host of such
solitary exceptions, whose existence is not due to mere chance,
but to a well-defined association born of mutual consent, to a
secret league, organized several centuries back, in order to
guard the Mystery from the indiscreet eyes of the miserable and
weak people and only in view of their own happiness? And so it
is; it cannot be otherwise. I suspect that even Masons have some
such Mystery underlying the basis of their organization and that
it is just the reason why the Roman Catholic clergy hate them so,
dreading to find in them rivals, competition, the dismemberment
of the unity of the idea, for the realization of which one flock
and one Shepherd are needed. However, in defending my idea, I
look like an author whose production is unable to stand
criticism. Enough of this."

"You are, perhaps, a Mason yourself!" exclaimed Alyosha. "You do
not believe in God," he added, with a note of profound sadness in
his voice. But suddenly remarking that his brother was looking at
him with mockery, "How do you mean then to bring your poem to a
close?" he unexpectedly enquired, casting his eyes downward, "or
does it break off here?"

"My intention is to end it with the following scene: Having
disburdened his heart, the Inquisitor waits for some time to hear
his prisoner speak in His turn. His silence weighs upon him. He
has seen that his captive has been attentively listening to him
all the time, with His eyes fixed penetratingly and softly on the
face of his jailer and evidently bent upon not replying to him.
The old man longs to hear His voice, to hear Him reply; better
words of bitterness and scorn than His silence. Suddenly He
rises; slowly and silently approaching the Inquisitor, He bends
towards him and softly kisses the bloodless, four-score and-ten-
year-old lips. That is all the answer. The Grand Inquisitor
shudders. There is a convulsive twitch at the corner of his
mouth. He goes to the door, opens it and addressing Him, 'Go,'
he says, 'go and return no more... do not come again... never,
never!' and--lets Him out into the dark night. The prisoner

"And the old man?"

"The kiss burns his heart, but the old man remains firm in his
own ideas and unbelief."

"And you, together with him? You too!" despairingly exclaimed
Alyosha, while Ivan burst into a still louder fit of laughter.




 WARRANT OF THE Templar, 14th, SEPTEMBER 1307




The minutes of exculpation the Vatican to the Order of the Temple.

Processus contra Templarios:Wikipedia







Philip, by the grace of God king of France, to our dear and faithful Lord of Onival, the gentleman Joan of Torville and the bailiff of Rouen, health and dilection.

A bitter thing, a deplorable thing, surely something horrible to think, terrible to hear, a detestable crime, an execrable crime, an abomination, a terrible disgrace, something quite inhuman, indeed alien to all humanity, has come to our ears thanks to the reports of many people worthy of faith, not without being moved with a great shock and make us tremble with violent horror; and, given its gravity, a huge pain grows in us all the more cruelly since there is no doubt that surpasses the enormity of the crime to be an offence to the divine majesty, a disgrace to humanity, a pernicious example of evil and a universal scandal. Surely the reasonable spirit suffers because of those who pass the limits of nature, and suffering, he is particularly troubled because of this people, forgetful of their principles, not educated on their condition, ignorant of their dignity, rich and given to reprehensible self-feelings, does not understand why they were in honor. These people are comparable to the pack animals devoid of reason, much more, shifting their irrationality by their astonishing bestiality, they expose to all supremely abominable crimes they abhors and from which the irrational beasts depart themselves. They have forsaken God, their creator, they have been separated from God, their salvation, they have abandoned God who has given them the light, forgetting God, their Lord and creator, they have been sacrificed to demons and not to God, these people without counsel and without advice (if only God were pleased they feel, understand and foresee this that has just started).

Not long ago, under the report from credible people that have been made, we reiterated that the brothers of the order of the militia of the Temple, the wolf hiding under the guise of the lamb, under the habit of the Order, they miserably insult to the religion of our faith and, in our day again, they crucify our Lord Jesus Christ already crucified for the redemption of mankind and they heap on him more serious injuries than those who suffered on the cross, when, upon their entry into the Order and after they made their profession, his image is presented to them and with an unfortunate, what say?, a miserable obfuscation, they deny it three times and, horrible cruelty, they spit in the his face three times; following that, stripped of clothing worn in secular life, naked, placed in the presence of the one who receives them or his replacement, they are kissed by him, according to the odious manner of their order, first below the spine, second in the navel and finally in the mouth, to the shame of human dignity. And after they have offended the divine law by such abominable tasks and detestable acts, they are bound, by the vote of their profession without fear of offending the human law, to deliver to each other, without refusal, for everything they are required, under the effect of horrible vice and frightening cohabitation. And therefore God's wrath comes upon those sons of infidelity. This unclean people have left people source of living water and replaced its glory by the statue of the Golden Calf and upon which they sacrifice to idols.

And here you are, among other things, what they do not fear to do, these treacherous people, reckless and abandoned to the worship of idols. Not only for their acts and their obnoxious works, but with their unforeseen speeches, they defile the earth with their obscenities, they eliminate dew benefits (sic), they corrupt the purity of air and they determine the confusion of our faith.

And although we had pain in the beginning of paying our attention to the holders of these so fatal rumors, assuming that they were coming from the livid envy, the sting of hatred, greed, rather than the fervor of faith, zeal for justice or feelings of charity, while the whistleblowers and the aforesaid complainants multiplied and the scandal took consistency, the aforementioned assumptions, serious and legitimate arguments and likely conjectures, fill a violent presumption and an assumption that led us to investigate the truth in this. After talking to our most Holy Father in the Lord, Clement, by Divine Providence sovereign pontiff of the most holy Roman and universal Church, after trying carefully to the most useful ways to inform and the most effective ways by which it could, in this case, clearly find the truth, as more broadly and deeply we examine it like probing a hiding place, the more severe are the abominations we find.

Therefore, we who were laid by the Lord on the lookout for real eminence to defend freedom of faith of the Church and we want, rather than the satisfaction of all desires of our spirit, the growth of the Catholic faith; view the previous and diligent research on the data made on the public rumor that our dear brother in Christ, Guillaume de Paris, inquisitor of heretical depravity, deputy from the Apostolic authority; seeing the resulting strong suspicion against these enemies of God, faith and nature and against those opponents of the social (sic), both on this investigation as other diverse assumptions, legitimate arguments and probable conjectures; complying with the requisitions of the inquisitor, who has made appeal to our arm; and, although some defendants may be guilty and innocent, given the extreme gravity of the matter, considering that the truth can not be fully discovered otherwise, a vehement suspicion has spread to all and that, if there are innocent, it matters them to be tested like the gold in the furnace and purged by the trial examination which is imposed; after the discussion meeting with the prelates, the barons of our kingdom and our other directors, as it has said above, they should be arrested, without exception, held prisoner and reserved to the trial of the Church, that all their movable and immovable properties to be seized, put under our hand and faithfully preserved.

That is why we charge and carefully prescribe in regard to the bailiff of Rouen, you to go personally, all or two of you and to arrest all the brothers of the Order without exception, to keep them prisoners, reserving them to the decision of the Church, to seize their properties, movable and immovable and to retain very carefully under your hands such seized properties, without cost and no devastation, according to our orders and instructions that have been sent to you under our password, until you receive there a new order from us. In addition, we give the order, by the bearer of these, to our faithful judges and subjects to obey you in an effective way and to be vigilant in relation to things above, together or separately, and to other things related to them.

Given in the abbey of Notre Dame-la-Royale, near Pontoise, the day of the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the year of Lord one thousand three hundred and seven.



Defense of the Orthodox faith of the Trinity against the prodigious mistakes of Spanish Servetus. Calvin

The Bonfire of Servetus


While Calvin was writing his apology, which is summarized above, the group that has rightly been called the "circle of Basel", gathered under the direction of Sebastian Castellio a series of texts from their own as well as those of Lactantius, Augustine, Chrysostom and Jerome to those of Erasmus and a number of reformers (Brenz, Seb. Franck, Hedi, Schenk, Brunfels, Pellikaan, Curio and others) to show that very different should be the inquisitorial treatment to be given to the heretics.

It was printed a few months after that of the reformer of Geneva and it is the first anthology monument of the Renaissance of Christian freedom of conscience. It enjoyed wide dissemination in northern Europeans environments, though it does not contain a direct response to the arguments of the instituted churches for intolerance.

Such a response -specific and point by point to Calvin's apology- came from the pen of Castellio in the landmark discussion between them in a dialogue form which unfortunately was not published until 1612, long after the death of its author: Against Calvin libel which attempts to show that heretics should be exterminated according to law.

The vast theoretical richness of this important book can not be summarized in a few lines, or in a few pages. We will have to resign here to pick out a few points, the most significant to our purpose, to which the same Castellio, extracting them from the prospectus of Calvin, puts a number to give them a worthy response, that always heads under the ironic pseudonym of Vaticanus.

Calvin. Defense of the Orthodox faith of the Trinity against the prodigious mistakes of the Spanish Servetus.

Vaticanus. Calvin defines heresy in terms of error, as if to say: I will write against the errors of Servetus and show that those who err, or heretics, must be condemned to death, like Servetus, who erred and was sentenced to death. We will see that this is the mind of Calvin [...]. If such a thing were done, all who call themselves Christians would die, but Calvin himself.

Calvin. 17. What absurd humanity is this, I ask you, which quietly conceals the crime of a man and it prostitutes a thousand souls with its satanic traps?

Vat. If Servet errors are traps, then you prostitute a thousand souls with the wiles of the devil poking it [...]. See what happens when you pretend to be concerned about the health of souls to the point of burning the bodies.

Calvin. 21. Should Christian judges punish heretics?

Vat. Readers: I pray to put your attentive ear to what follows. What I am trying to show is that Calvin can not rely on one single reason, not one solid authority in this regard and the only reason to support what he is supporting is his desire to dominate, his unquenchable thirst for blood. If I do not try this with full evidence, I am willing to incur general condemnation.

Calvin. 27. Servet, a so good performer, prefers to destroy the faith in the hearts of men to punish those who transmute it.

Vat. He does not destroy the faith in the hearts who wants the punishment of heretics be different until the return of the Judge, unless you show me that it is Christ himself who accuses, when he himself commands to let the weeds until harvest time. Neither any idea of punishment is rejected by one who proposes that the heretics be punished by God when he decides and not prematurely by men.

Calvin. 28. What will happen to religion? What will be the signals to be recognized the true church? What will become of Christ himself if religious doctrine is uncertain and ambiguous?

Vat. Religion must be based on a surely believe in things that lie ahead, not in the ones that are known: as Abraham, who was called out and obeyed "not knowing where he was going" (Hebrews 11:8). But his faith was true, because God was faithful to his promises. The true Church must be recognized by the love that comes from that faith, whose teachings are true. "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another". The religious doctrine is to love your enemies, bless those who curse you, hunger and thirst for righteousness and endure persecution because of it.

These and similar issues are clear, no matter how dark are those concerning the Trinity, predestination, election, etc., by which some are regarded as heretics. Many saints knew nothing of them [...]. And then, nothing is true? On the contrary, it is true all that is needed for salvation, for obedience, for duty. All Scripture is true. But we neglect to its commandments: to love God and the enemy, to be patient and other such duties. We dispute too much about issues which escape us, neglecting what is within our reach. This gives rise to endless disputes. And we shed the blood of the unfortunate and the weak who do not share our views.

One of the Castelli penetrating observations concerning the use of force in intellectual discussions is always a sign of weakness: "Aware of the weakness of the word, he resort to armed force". But there is one essential difference between the position of Calvin and that of the Catholic Church. Castellio attacks Calvin because this is convinced that only his opinion, his own interpretation of Scripture, always dark in itself, is clear and safe. The question arises, then, in an area of personal competition. In the Church it is not just question of personal opinion: it is backed by the passage of the tradition, by the Bible readings that -upon the prominence of all personality- are shared by the entire Christian society.

Calvin. 41. The fact that the sword has been used to prosecute does not prevent the godly magistrates use their power to defend the afflicted Church, nor the crosses of Martyrs help prevent the just laws for the faithful to worship God in peace.

Vat. If Servet had attacked you with weapons, you would have reason to be defended by the magistrates, but as he was opposed to you with his writings, why did you respond him with iron and fire? Is this what you call pious defense of judges? Do you still dare criticize the papists? Do mention one case in which the papists had dragged into a Lutheran or a Calvinist from the Mass to jail as you did with Servet taking him from a sermon.

Calvin. 44a. A true and legitimate servant of God will fight to defend his faith and as much as his vocation push him.

Vat. No doubt, a servant of God will fight, but with his arms: justice, faith, patience and other virtues that Paul attributes to the Christian. But the weapon of Calvin is the iron.

Calvin. 46 and b. If the untimely zeal is the vicious effect of ignorance, how is not going to be laudable the zeal that ignites the children of God in a desire to affirm and witness their faith?

Vat. To affirm your faith is not to burn a man, but to be burn in it. "Chasing? No: suffering. Such is the true affirmation of faith and Calvin does not know it.

Calvin. 63. Christ sent the apostles out like sheep among wolves and are not equipped with earthly powers. The Lord had not commanded them to punish thefts, robberies, adultery and poisoning. So these crimes should go unpunished?

Vat Theft, robbery, adultery and murder are punishable not to establish the kingdom of Christ, give justice or save the men, or spawn a new creature, but to protect the bodies and possession of property.


In response to Calvin's paragraph No. 77, "Now we see that the ministers of the gospel must be prepared to bear the cross and hatred and whatever the world wants and that God only has equipped them with the gift of patience. However, kings are commanded to protect religious doctrine with their support" Castellio carved the immortal phrase that has become the ultimate motto of the condemnation of all forms of intolerance and hence of any inquisitorial activity:" Killing a man is not defend a doctrine, but to kill a man. When the Genevan killed Servetus did not defend a doctrine, they killed a man. Defending a doctrine is not the role of the judge, but of the teacher. What has to do violence with the ideas? ".

Castelli invectives on the trail of Servet, perfectly reasonable in the purest theological and biblical sense, succeed throughout this work that should circulate in schools and churches as a manual for inter-religious coexistence. "Own the wolf is devouring raw meat. There are not the wolves, then, who are killed, but those who kill", which responds to Jesus' saying "I send you in the midst of wolves." Will it be broken the whole body of Christ so that a member may be intact?, Asks Calvin 94. And he insists again Castellio: "Killing a man is not amputate a limb. When you kill a man, he is not amputated of the body of Christ, but of the life of the body. Otherwise, if the death of the body were even amputation, all who die would be amputated of the Church".

One of the most interesting sequences contradicts the inquisitorial Thomist interpretation of the parable of the tares, that Castelli, of course, explains in Pauline sense: "Christ commands to leave them until the harvest, lest the good could pull up with them, because it is better that bad to live until the trial than just a good one could miss to destroy the evil ones." Is there anyone who believes that his religion is false? The Jews were wrong in the pursuit of Christ and the apostles. The Pope is wrong to persecute Lutherans and Zwinglians. Henry of England is wrong in persecuting Papists, Lutherans and Anabaptists Zwinglians. Luther is wrong in calling the Zwinglians devils and condemned to hell. Just the Zwinglians and calvinists will be free of error? "Only they are going to sit on the tribunal of Christ, judge and condemn heretics to death?

Castellio still insisted on its dialectical struggle against theology of intolerance in other unique book, which, because of the dominant repressive mentality even in the freed predestined Protestant countries, only recently has seen the light. Theodore Beza, Calvin's successor as head of the congregation of Geneva and Calvinism, was responsible for answering the anthology directed by Castellio haereticis, reaffirming the right of churches to violently suppress heresy. Castellio, undisputed champion of the intellectual struggle for the right to freedom of conscience, wrote a long and detailed reply, very systematic and clearly written: De haereticis a civili magistratu non puniendis, "About the heretics that should not be punished by the civil magistrate". On other incomprehensible nefarious whim of history it was lost until 1938. That year, the eminent researcher Bruno Becker, 1885-1968, found it in the library of the Remontrante Church in Amsterdam. He has being preparing it to print and gracing it with many scholarly notes.

It is comprehensive in all these works the reviewing that Castellio makes of the alleged theological and biblical reasons for intolerance with which, from the fourth century, all churches sought to justify the repressive activity. The samples of just one of those works that have been culled are already excessive and more than enough to easily verify the conclusions to which we could reach. As previously noted, not even the Reform dared to criticize them or to take the plunge to deal the death blow to the long-standing intolerance of the Christian hierarchy. It took the sacrifice of Servetus and the profound theological reflection that in his brilliant work called Williams "radical reform" -Anabaptist, anti-Trinitarians, spiritualists- for the initiation of the movement to defend the natural right to freedom of conscience that we enjoy today in democratic countries and that churches have finally accepted. If it is with total conviction or not, only the future history will tell.







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 http://boriken.info/images 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.





The process of Giordano Bruno



Celestino of Verona deposed against Giordano, because he suspected he had been falsely reported by Giordano and made all the charges against him in a written text. (Dixit se deponere contra Iordanum, quia suspicatur se calumniose delatum fuisse ab ipso, et detulit omnia contra Iordanum in scriptis). ( Detulit dixisse:) He declared that Giordano had said:


That Christ sinned mortally during his prayer in the garden, by challenging the will of the Father, while he said "Father, put this chalice away from me."

 That Jesus was not put on the cross, but was hung on two boards placed at right angles, as they used to do at those times and it was named gallows.

That Christ was a dog, a bloody dog: he said that the one who ruled this world was a traitor, because he did not know how to govern well and raising his hands he gave the sky the finger.

There is no hell and no one is condemned to eternal punishment, but eventually everyone gets saved according to the prophet: Nunquid in aeternum irascetur Deus ("God's wrath does not last forever").

 There are more worlds; all the stars are worlds and to believe that it only exists this world  indicates great ignorance.

That, dead bodies, souls transmigrate from one body to another.

That Moses was a very clever magician... and pretended he had spoken with God on Mount Sinai and that the law he gave the Hebrew people was false.

That all prophets were cunning men, false and liars...

That to appeal to the saints is ridiculous and it should not to be done.

That Cain was a good man and that he rightly killed his brother Abel, who was a butcher of animals.

That if he is forced to return to be a brother of Saint Dominic, he will blow up the monastery where he is and, this done, he wants to return immediately to Germany or England among heretics to live more comfortably in his own way...

That the one who has made the breviary, or has ordered it, is a stupid dog, shameless...

That of the Church believes nothing can be proved.


The allegations are very serious, because Brother Celestino also appeals to other three detained by the Venetian Inquisition to confirm them. The new set of accusations, mostly new compared to those Mocenigo, had the effect of restarting the process, just at the moment when, after his strong and theatrically effective gesture of contrition of Venice, Bruno's hopes of a relatively painless solution were stronger. All his previous strategy and the advantages gained were canceled suddenly.


But the most serious thing is this : it collapses the pillar of the defense of Bruno, who until then had consisted in the fact that there was only a single witness: Mocenigo. The position becomes desperate when the three witnesses, called by Friar Celestino, confirm, at least in part, the charges: Fray Giulio da Salò, the Neapolitan carpenter Francesco Vaia and Mateo Silvestris. Vaia involves another potential witness, Francesco Graziano, whom the inquisitors heard in the last months of 1593. We are facing one of those typical chains of evidence and successive implications the courts of the Inquisition were so clever to assemble in their long and patient inquiries. [85]


Some of the accusations are serious. The position becomes desperate. The Court questioned Bruno for eight sessions. Giordano vehemently rejects the allegations more offensive and irreverent; others, that were said in jest, and others, without sacrilegious or blasphemous intent.


But Bruno is sinking, he feels besieged from all fronts, judges, witnesses; his situation is more than desperate. He knows that two witness's concurrent prosecutions produce an unobjectionable accusation, even if the defendant denies. He must submit his final written defense and argue against what emerges from the repetitive stage of the process.


Bruno's theory of the infinity of the universe and the affirmation of the eternity of the world contradicts the creation of the world by God, according to the Scriptures, and the theory of double truth of Averroes had already been condemned by the Church in the thirteenth century.


Bruno in the interrogations could admit the expiry of the world as composed and added of certain structures, which does not mean to admit the expiration of the constituent matter, for although the worlds are born and die, there is an immutable cosmic substance. However, this argument failed to convince the Court, according to Eduardo Vinetea.


Mocenigo attacks again in 1594. He was reported to mock of the Sovereign Pontiff, as in Circeus Cantus the pig figure represents the Pope, and the triumphant beast symbolizes Sixtus V, but dethroned. Bruno does not have other choice, adamantly refuses that all.


At the end of 1594, finishing the regular procedure, it would only be sentencing. But the commissioner draws the Court's attention, he informs that the books in the hands of the Holy Office are few and that most of them are not known by the censors and they need to get them. This turn in the trial will be deadly for Bruno.


The sovereign pontiff in person requests a list of the missing books and to pass them into the hands of the Court. When they got a list of new documents (De predicamenti Dio, Cantus Circaeus, De mínimo, De Monade, De la causa), the sentence is suspended, waiting for the new books and the teaching stated on them, which takes place between 1595-1597. The Dominican Paolo Isaresi della Mirandola, a consultant to the Holy Office, is the one who decides that Bruno's books have to be examined by theologians in order to extract suspicious proposals and to submit them to censorship.

The second censure mentioned by Schoppe refers to Bruno's accession to the preadamite belief, in which only Jews descended from Adam and Eve, while the other men would descend from two ancestors created by God: Hénok and Leviatán. This seems to have been taken from a rabbinic tradition that was echoed in the pages of Julian the Apostate.

Of these ten charges, until now, only were confirmed the fifth, on eternity and infinity of the world (censorship b and d), and, indirectly, the sixth, about the doctrine of the soul (censorship e). These censorships show clearly that the punctum dolens (trigger point) of the process is now focused on the doctrine of universal animation, both for the issue of the anima mundi (world soul) that was identified with the Holy Spirit, and for the definition of the individual soul. In any case, the defense of Bruno had shown that he could force obviously opportunistic confessions (like the denial of the eternity of the world, or the granting of future immortality of the human soul) next to contrived arguments about the human rational soul and the earth globe.


Probably the interrogations concerning censorship and the review of the responses of the accused occupied the whole year 1597. It is from that time, i.e., 1598, when they ordered the compilation of a brief systematic summary that was declared absolutum (absolute). We have one copy for Mr. Marcello Filonardi, advisor to the Holy Office, that has been identified with the Sommario (summary) found by Mercati. This summary, only useful for consultants, is not very detailed compared to the full text of the Venetian documents. It is like a summary of the charges and of great practical value to the court and, thanks to its publication by Mercati in 1942, has provided us with the core of the Roman trial, because the original documents were removed from the Vatican Archives by Napoleon and lost forever.


A new obstacle emerged in 1598, the journey of Clement VIII for the Council of Ferrara, in whose cortege was included Bellarmine. This paralyzes the activity of the Holy Office until December, 19th, when the Pope returned to Rome. It is January 1599, eighty months later from the beginning, when the process enters the final stretch. The charges of the indictment are grouped in three main sections.


Between March 1596 and December 1597 it was produced the censorship of books and he is Paolo Isaresi della Mirandola, a Dominican and consultant to the Holy Office, who decides that Bruno's books have to be reviewed by theologians in order to extract and submit proposals to censorship. It is time to end the ambiguities of Bruno and perhaps torture is necessary, confirming or denying the allegations. Bruno responses around such censorship were:


The first censorship was about the generation of things and the eternity of the world exposed in De minimo. In his statement he affirms two real and eternal principles from which all things are born, namely the soul of the world and the "materia prima".


 The second censorship plays another aspect of the same accusation: the doctrine of the infinite universe. Based on the absolute freedom and omnipotence of God it must be deduced, as De Infinito, that the first Being should carry out an infinite creation, because an infinite cause must have an infinite effect. There was also the need for the existence of innumerable worlds, containing things like gender and species of those we see in ours.


The following concerns the human soul and individuality. The individual soul follows the universal principle, that is, the anima mundi, that is why the soul doest not pre-exist the individual, it exists only with his life and after death. Here Bruno acknowledged by granting the court and for reasons of prudence the individualized existence post mortem (after death) of the human soul, excluding, therefore, the human soul of its return to the universal soul for a new animation. Already in Cabbala of Pegasus' Horse, had solved the problem of the relationship between individual souls and the universal soul, denying that the souls had absolute individuality.


 The fourth, contained in De Causa, relates to information from Bruno on the substance in the world: nothing is generated and nothing is corrupted, i.e., nihil novum sub sole (nothing new under the sun), emblem inspired in Solomon or Pythagoras. On the other hand the first species of things, spirit and light, water and land, are incorruptible and without substantial mutation; only compound beings are subject to corruption, according to the union, temperament and complexion.

Next censorship was on the movement of the earth and his enthusiastic adherence to the Copernican hypothesis presented in The Supper of the ashes and De Infinito. He claims to have demonstrated the manner and cause of motion of the earth and the immobility of the firmament, with certain arguments and authorities that do not involve injury to the authority of the divine Scriptures. A good intelligence would be able to admit the truth of both.


The sixth censorship, in relation to the previous one, is on the strange assertion that the stars are also angels, animated bodies and rational, because in heaven they reveal the glory and power of God. Angels are messengers and interpreters of the divine voice. This statement was developed in The Supper of the Ashes and in The infinite.


More serious was in the Supper, the attribution to land not only a sensitive soul, but intellective as ours. The Earth should be considered as a rational animal who gives great examples of its intelligence in moving around the sun and around the axis of its poles.


The eighth and final censorship thesis, related to De cuasa, asserts that the soul resides in the body as the pilot on the ship, objecting to the definition adopted by the Council of Vienna in 1312. He claims that as his way of philosophizing does not understand that the soul is a form, but a spirit in a body, as a resident at home or a captive in his prison. In no passage of Scripture the soul is called "form", while the fathers and the Bible say that it binds to the body in many other ways different from what Aristotle meant.


Two more censures are known from the famous letter from Caspar Schoppe, young Lutheran converted to Christianity, who writes from Rome to Conrad Rittershausen, his former law professor, on February, 17th, 1600, after attending in person on the 8th and the 16th of that month to the public condemnation and execution.


The statement that identifies the anima mundi and the Holy Spirit had already been discussed, but this time it is based on the words of Moses, who had said that the efficient intellect, called Spirit by him, covered the waters. [86]


End of March 1597. Bruno knows that there is another test to overcome, perhaps he knows it since the beginning of the process. Few days have passed since the last questioning. The minutes of the session says: Interrogetur stricte (be strictly questioned), which means: torment be applied. It has arrived the hour of the paralyzing terror, of the deep anguish, extreme pain. Since hours ago the twilight fills his cell, he heard knocks on his door that opens, voices that tell him to follow along the dark corridors leading to a staircase that leads to the secret torture-chamber, where there are numerous machines of pain.


Nolan's case is one of the most intricate with which Inquisition was found for the wide en deep preparation of the accused, who was escaping from the subtle Inquisition networks with the skill of an eel.


On January 12, 1599, Cardinal Bellarmine, a young and learned theologian, who a few years later will be the main person in the Galileo affair, has the suggestive idea to extract from the minutes and the Sommario a set of heretical propositions, on which he invites Bruno to take action and to abjure from them. It comes to making him go through a narrow path that ends with the play of subtle distinctions and evasive answers. The charges of the indictment are grouped into two main groups.


The first and most abundant group contains the whole series of libertine statements, profane words and gestures, disciplinary infractions and everything related to subversive activities in the political-religious field.


The second set of allegations is concerning the speculative novelties of Bruno's system : the doctrines of the infinite and eternal universe, the movement and circulation of souls. The doctrine of the anima mundi and the human soul as the pilot of the ship, i.e., the metaphysical foundations of Nolan philosophy.


Eight heretical propositions, extracted from the books of Bruno by Tragagliolo and Bellarmine, were read within the congregation. The answers given by Bruno will be worth in resolving the ambiguities. But the text of the eight propositions has been lost, which has led to create a myth about the intervention of Cardinal Bellarmine, despite their incorporation into the process eight years after the beginning.


Contrary to some opinions, Bruno and Bellarmine did not know themselves or had discussed theological issues in Germany. It was, therefore, their first meeting and it did not have any reason to be hostility between them.


On January, 18th, 1599, Bruno was brought before the Congregation that read the list of the eight propositions with the formal indication that within six days he should decide on the retraction. Bruno is willing to recant, and he submits a reporting. Once heard and gathered the congregation on February, 4th, it was decided that Beccaria, general of the Dominicans, Belarmino and Tragagliolo, declare that the eight propositions are heretical and contrary to the faith, not by virtue of a recent definition, but under the agreement of the Fathers of the Church, and that they are censured and condemned by the Church. [87]


Bruno clearly senses: he can accept that the recantation would guarantee his life, could receive a long sentence in prison or be relegated to a convent of his order. He knows it is not a relapsus, that means, it is the first time he gets a conviction. If, however, he does not abjure, undoubtedly he knows that they will condemn him to death as unrepentant.

He is decided to recant on the condition that his errors are considered only ex nunc (from now on), from now it implies that the Church had not previously expressed a clear opinion on the issues involved. Under this premise, his case would be much milder and with less damaging consequences for him because they would be issues the Church would speak about for the first time, which is equivalent to admit that his doctrinal position had not been against the Church, but it would be from now.


But this subtlety is not helpful. The judges insist that all errors and heretical statements are such from the beginning to Catholic doctrine. We cannot forget that the Church believes in platonic universals, which are meta-historic and momentous; historicism does not fall within its doctrinal categories. The church does not understand that good and evil can be defined socio-historically, it does not admit the truth and the moral of situation or the historical moment of each society; for her, cultural relativity is blasphemy. The church only conjugates eternal, complete and absolute ideas, which do not exist.


Bruno is called before the judges and they invited him to recant, or accept as erroneous the eight propositions presented by Bellarmine. After much thought, analysis and reflection, Giordano decided to recant, his life was at stake. He surrenders, admits his defeat.


"And you now recognize these eight propositions as heretical and be willing to hate them and recant in place and time that pleases the Holy Office, not just those eight propositions, but also you are ready to obey on the others you are reproached for."


He remembers the cold and triumphant look of Cardinal Bellarmine. Whirlwind and winds go through his mind; yes, he has escaped death, but as a thinker, actor and guidance of the spiritual and political reform, as envisioned by him, all this was dying with his abjuration. His salvation involves the destruction of his entire life as a freethinker; that is the dilemma that burns him as much as the strings of torture.

On the fifth of April he delivers a letter in which he expressed reservations on two of the eight propositions. Another pause in the proceedings. On August, 24th, in the presence of Pope Clement VIII, they go back to discuss the two proposals. The reading of Acts shows the doubts of the inquisitors and, to get out of the crisis, all they suggest the use of torture, also graviter and repeated, to obtain an admission of guilt. If Bruno, in the second graviter torture, the most terrible, does not confess, he must be considered innocent.


The Pope finally ordered to invite him to abjure new proposals and he grants him other forty days. Six days later, he shows humbly willing to admit his mistakes and to proceed with a full retraction. He delivers, at the same time, a memorial to Clement VIII, in which he argues again in favor of some of his thesis. All, Pope and judges, are deeply irritated by the stubbornness of Giordano Bruno. They grant him another 40 days for a total and unconditional retraction. The inquisitors, after eight years of pressure, interrogations and tortures designed to bring down the strongest and tallest towers, they refuse to accept that Bruno, alone and helpless, go undaunted defending his right to think freely, guided by the natural light of intelligence.


Knowing the inquisitors of his international prestige, of his intellectual capacity, of his vast knowledge and of the international scandal that lies ahead, they meet for the twenty second time with Bruno, they invite him again to repent and call on two key members of the Order of Saint Dominic to convince him. But Bruno, now, is definitely decided: there is nothing to retract; the accusations are merely the result of the misunderstanding of the judges of the Court.


On January, 20th, 1600, Clement VIII, knowing the failure of the last two attempts, ordered the issuance of a death sentence and that the prisoner be delivered to the secular justice (tradatur Curiae secularization) as a stubborn and unrepentant heretic. On February, 8th, for the first time, Bruno goes out of the palace of the Inquisition and he is brought to the home of Cardinal Madruzzi in Piazza Navona, near the Church of St. Agnes, to hear the death sentence. There is a great crowd both inside and outside, and the deafening hum stops only when they read the sentence:

"[...] we have reached the undersigned sentence. Invoked the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and His most glorious Mother ever Virgin Mary, in this and other trials that reached this Holy Office and that are opposing Rev. Giulio Monterentii, doctor in law, tax attorney of the mentioned Holy Office, on one hand and you brother Bruno, defendant interrogated, prosecuted, convicted, unrepentant, stubborn and obstinate on the other: because of all this our definitive sentence, on the advice and opinion of the reverend fathers teachers of sacred theology and doctors of both laws, our consultants, we utter in these writings, we say, we pronounce, we feel and declare that you, brother Giordano Bruno, are an unrepentant, stubborn and obstinate heretic [...] you must be delivered to secular Court and for that we deliver you to the Court of Yours, Monsignor Governor of Rome, here today, to punish you with appropriate penalties, asking him that he want to effectively mitigate the rigor of the law in the penalty of yourself, that be with not life-threatening or member mutilation".

Bruno listens in silence, kneeling before his judges. Small, thin, gaunt, with dark and unkempt beard, exhausted from nearly 2,800 days in prison for deprivation, for deprivations, for torture, for a concern that lasted seven years and never shared with anyone, comforted by no one, Bruno gets up, with proud and fiery eyes. Then he straightens up, looking round with a fierce and menacing look, filled with unbridled contempt, and he pronounces the final words of which we have a safe testimony. These are harsh words, arising from a spirit that dominates that of the judges and of the presents, which is beyond his imminent death. These are prophetic words that, although no one understand them, announce the future of the Church and perhaps of humanity. "Maybe you are more afraid of pronouncing my sentence, than me of receiving it." .


In a page of the "Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast", Bruno, the hero of a Renaissance defeated by the obscurantism of the Counter Reformation, with prophetic intuition, he seemed to have sensed what kind of world had condemned him; it is one of his most beautiful pages and, at the same tine, most bitterly true:


The darkness will be preferred to light, death will be judged more useful than the life, nobody will look up to heaven, the religious will be considered insane, the wicked will be judged prudent, the strong mad, the bad good. And believe me that they will decide the death penalty for anyone who is devoted to the religion of the mind; because they will find new justices, new laws, nothing will be find holy, nothing religious: it will not hear anything worthy of heaven or celestial. It will only remain pernicious angels that, mixed with men, will force the wretched to the audacity of all evil, as if it were justice; they will give matter for wars, robberies, fraud and all other things contrary to soul and natural justice: and this will be the old age, the disorder and the irreligion in the world. [88]


And it was delivered to the secular arm. Miguel Angel Granada reproduces the description of a witness on the implementation, on February, 17th, 1600, in the Piazza del Campo dei Fiori where: "stripped of his clothes and undressed and tied to a stick... with the tongue anchored in a wooden press so that he could not speak... was burnt alive…"








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35-Fernando Díaz –Plaja, La vida cotidiana en la España de la Inquisición, Editorial Edaf, Madrid, 1996, p. 201.

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37-Fernando Díaz –Plaja, La vida cotidiana en la España de la Inquisición, Editorial Edaf, Madrid, 1996, p. 206

38-Fernando Díaz –Plaja, La vida cotidiana en la España de la Inquisición, Editorial Edaf, Madrid, 1996, pp. 207-209.

39-José Antonio Escudero, editor. Intolerancia e Inquisición, Eduardo Galván Rodríguez, "Orígenes del secreto en la Inquisición española", Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, Madrid, 2005, tomo II, p. 57.

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45-Joseph M. Walker, Historia de la Inquisición española, Edimat libros, Madrid, 2004, p. 419.

45b- Henry Kamen, La Inquisición española. Una revisión histórica, Crítica, Barcelona, 2004, pp.202-204

46-Gerard Dufour, La Inquisición española. Aproximación a la España intolerante, Montesinos editor, Barcelona, 1986, pp. 38-39.

47-Natale Benazzi y Matteo D’Amico, El libro negro de la Inquisición, Ediciones Robinbook, Barcelona, 2000, pp. 260-262.

48-Agustín Celis Sánchez, Herejes y Malditos en la Historia, Alba Editores, Madrid, 2006, pp. 218-230, Heinrich Kramer/Jacobus Sprenger, Malleus Maleficarum (El martillo de los Brujos), Círculo Latino, Barcelona, 2005.

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56-Joseph M. Walker, Historia de la Inquisición española, Edimat libros, Madrid, 2004, p. 52-53.

57-Henry Kamen, La Inquisición española: una revisión histórica, Crítica, Barcelona, 1999, p. 53.

58-Henry Kamen, La Inquisición española: una revisión histórica, Crítica, Barcelona, 1999, pp. 53-54.

59-Henry Kamen, La Inquisición española: una revisión histórica, Crítica, Barcelona, 1999, p. 55.

60-Gerard Dufour, La Inquisición española. Aproximación a la España intolerante, Montesinos editor, Barcelona, 1986, p. 58.

61-Henry Kamen, La Inquisición española: una revisión histórica, Crítica, Barcelona, 1999, p. 58.

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63-Henry Kamen, La Inquisición española: una revisión histórica, Crítica, Barcelona, 1999, p. 26.

64-Henry Kamen, La Inquisición española: una revisión histórica, Crítica, Barcelona, 1999, p. 26.

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66-Henry Kamen, La Inquisición española: una revisión histórica, Crítica, Barcelona, 1999, p. 209.

67-Henry Kamen, La Inquisición española: una revisión histórica, Crítica, Barcelona, 1999, p. 216.

68-Henry Kamen, La Inquisición española: una revisión histórica, Crítica, Barcelona, 1999, p. 220.

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71-Henry Kamen, La Inquisición española: una revisión histórica, Crítica, Barcelona, 1999, p.160.

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73-José Antonio Escudero, editor. Intolerancia e Inquisición, ángel Alcalá, "La sinrazón de la intolerancia en Tomás de Aquino y Juan Calvino: su rechazo por Miguel Servet, origen de la libertad de conciencia", Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, Madrid, 2005, tomo I, p. 98.

74-José Antonio Escudero, editor. Intolerancia e Inquisición, ángel Alcalá, "La sinrazón de la intolerancia en Tomás de Aquino y Juan Calvino: su rechazo por Miguel Servet, origen de la libertad de conciencia", Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, Madrid, 2005, tomo I, p. 99.

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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.

83-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, p. 103-107.

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.

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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.

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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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102-Pedro Santonja, Herejía de los alumbrados y la espiritualidad en la España del siglo XVI, Biblioteca Valenciana, Valencia, 2001, pp. 279-280.

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.

106-ángel Alcalá, Literatura y ciencia ante la Inquisición española, Ediciones del Laberinto, Madrid, 2001, pp. 158-160.

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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