Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Inquisition – Judicial System of the Roman Church

 Inquisition 1
The Inquisition, were a group of institutions within the judicial system or tribunal, established by the Roman Catholic Church with their aim to seek, try and sentence people which the Roman Catholic Church considered to be guilty of heresy. Their purpose was to secure and maintain doctrine and religious unity within the Roman Catholic Church as well as throughout the Holy Roman Empire, either through persecution or conversion of alleged heretics. Historian distinguished the Inquisition on the basis of four different time frames and areas in which it took place namely the Medieval or Episcopal Inquisition, the Spanish Inquisition, the Portuguese Inquisition and the Roman Inquisition.

 Inquisition 2
The word Inquisition is derived from the Latin word `inquiro – inquiro into’ and the inquisitors sought out person accused of heresy without waiting for complaints. Inquisition based in gentle term of inquiry is historically associated with extreme query with religion particularly the Catholic Church but it is also used in various forms by political parties as well as dictators. The main purpose of inquisition was to enforce an ideological or religious dogma by punishing and prosecuting heretics the purpose of which is seldom in discovering truth or in making any legal prosecution.

 Inquisition 3
The first Inquisition, the Medieval or Episcopal Inquisition refers to various tribunals which originated around 1184 which included the Episcopal, between 1184 to 1230, as well as the Papal Inquisition – 1230 which arose in response to huge popular movements in Europe and was considered by the Roman Catholic Church as heretical. The next Inquisition period, the Spanish Inquisition was set up by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain in 1478 along with the approval of Pope Sixtus IV and unlike the earlier Inquisition, this was totally under royal authority and staffed by secular clergy. It focused on Jews who had planned to be converts to Roman Catholic faith but were suspected of practicing Judaism. With the spread of Protestantism in Spain, the Inquisition began persecuting Protestants who left the Roman Catholic Church.

 Inquisition 4
The Portuguese Inquisition was established in Portugal by the King of Portugal, Jaoa III, in 1536, which operated in the same fashion as the Spanish Inquisition. Towards 1560, in other parts of the Portuguese Empire in Asia and India, the Goa Inquisition was set up in Goa – India, to deal with Hindu converts who were suspected of continuing their practice or hold on to their Hindu beliefs. The last period known as the Roman Inquisition was established in 1542 when Pope Paul III had established the Holy Office as the final court of appeals for all trails of heresy comprising of a group of cardinals and other officials with their task in maintaining and defending the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Paul VI in 1965 reorganized the Holy Office, renaming it as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which remains effective till date. Before the formation of the Roman Catholic Church and establishment of their version of Christianity and as the official state religion during the 4th century, the punishment for heresy among Christians resulted in excommunication from the church. By the 12th century the Inquisition was organized and sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church to officially deal in organized heretical groups with the Holy Roman Empire.

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