One of the notable elements about the history of the Roman Catholic Church is the inquisitions. It refers to a former tribunal of the church that was created to discover and suppress heresy, which was a belief that rejected the orthodox tenets of the religion (Kamen 13). The ecclesiastical courts had the mandate of punishing anyone who attempted to take a personal view of God that was considered to conflict with the Catholic dogma. In existence from 1184 to 1820, the inquisitions are arguably one of the most controversial periods in the history of the Catholic Church. Over the years, I have noted that fundamentalists use the inquisitions to base their attacks on the church. As the head of the Roman Catholic Church, it is my duty and responsibility to defend the inquisitions because they were done with a good motive. I know that many Catholics struggle to defend the inquisitions because they do not understand their history. This confusion is necessitated by the propaganda spread by Protestants with regard to the way the inquisitions were conducted. The ecclesiastical courts never forced anyone to be a member of the Catholic Church, and they did not sentence heretics to be burnt because the main intention of the inquisitions was to bring people closer to God.
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Honestly, the inquisitions were a painful chapter that did not bear the intended results because heresy was not adequately repressed. There were three major inquisitions, namely the Medieval, Roman, and Spanish (Kamen 25). I believe that the intolerance and extreme use of violence in the name of serving the truth ought to have had better results because this period will always have an effect on supporters of Catholicism for many more years. According to Protestants, the inquisitions led to many people being unlawfully imprisoned, while those who did not support Catholicism were tortured. However, this was not the case because the violence used did not cause any harm to the victims. This mainly happened during the Spanish Inquisition, where people were being forced to give out information about those that promoted heresy (Kamen 51).
I strongly condemn the actions of the Fundamentalists because they gave the world a wrong impression about the inquisitions. They ought to understand that Catholicism is founded on the principle of promoting the common good as stipulated in the Ten Commandments. Without the inquisitions, I believe that the Roman Catholic Church would have seized to exist hundreds of years ago. The ecclesiastical courts only tried baptized Catholics for their heresies against the church and did not force anyone to convert. In addition, they helped to introduce sanity to the secular courts by promoting justice, giving people more rights, and offering the accused individuals all the necessary legal representation through due process (Kamen 80). I strongly support the inquisitions because they shaped the process of making decisions within the church.
I believe that one of the main positive impacts of the intrusions is the manner in which the structure of the ecclesiastical courts influenced the development of the court system in the United States. They had an advanced legal system compared to the secular courts. Contrary to the propaganda spread by Protestants, the courts showed more respect to humanity by ensuring that people were not wrongly convicted for mistakes they did not commit. Catholicism is characterized by the need to promote justice and equality in societies across the world. In my opinion, the inquisitions provided a strong foundation for the growth of the Roman Catholic Church because they eliminated the threat that was coming from Protestants.
The Vatican epitomizes the values of unity, good governance, and promoting the common good. Like the pope, I have a huge task of ensuring the unity of all the people that support Catholicism across the world. In addition, I strive to show people the need to accommodate other religions. This concept of inclusiveness was first tested during the inquisitions, which created a sense of national unity in Spain. During the Spanish Inquisition, the monarchy considered religion as one of the effective agents for uniting its citizens (Kamen 109).
Like the pope, I like the positive effect that the inquisitions had on the supporters of Catholicism with regard to the value of forgiveness. During the Medieval Inquisition, the people that were found guilty of heresy were often asked to confess their sins and would be accepted back to the church. Those that failed to repent were excommunicated from the church and surrendered to the secular authorities. I ask all Catholics to disregard the claims made by Protestants who believe that heretics were often tortured and burnt. The inquisitions marked a turnaround for several people who managed to avoid harsher punishment given by the secular courts for heresy (Kamen 179).
The guiding principle of the inquisitions was the need to promote the ideals and values of the Catholic Church in a respectable manner without necessarily compromising the value of human life. All the false accusations raised against the Catholic Church due to the inquisitions were motivated by the ideologies of the Protestants who thought that creating negative propaganda about the inhumane treatment of the people would earn them more followers. This was evidenced during the Spanish Inquisition, where the Protestants lost on the battlefield but won when it came to misinformation.
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Kamen, Henry. The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision. Yale university press, 2014.