Jacques Maritain Center : On the Church of Christ


A Look at History (Continuation)


The Medieval Inquisition

1. Let us remark from the outset that the establishment of the Inquisition depends on the complex conjunction between spiritual and temporal characteristic of the sacral regime{1} of the Christian Middle Ages. At its first origin there was, in actual fact, the royal power more than the Papacy. It arose as a phenomenon of Christendom as much as a phenomenon of Church. And it is only at the end of the curve that it reabsorbed itself into the sphere of the ministerial "services" or ministerial organs brought into play by the spiritual power for its sole proper ends.

In short, in the drama of the Inquisition one has to deal with four personages: the Faith of the Church (which was not only faith of the Church, but also the most intimate and most exalted principle of the unity of the temporal city); Heresy (which was not only error against the faith, but also profound principle of dissociation from the temporal city); the personnel of the Church, above all the Papacy; and the personnel of the temporal City, above all the Kings or the Emperor, with their political solicitudes, their covetousnesses and their ambitions. And in the drama in question it was the Kings who at the outset held the first role; Robert the Pious is the first to have lit in France the funeral-pile against the heretics.

It was the kings of France who, from this eleventh century in which the idea of the holy war came to the front, took the initiative of the struggle against the Catharians. To tell the truth, they pursued a double end: to protect the sacral body politic against a heresy of Manichaean inspiration particularly dangerous for it; and at the same stroke to settle their account with the velleities of independence of the people of dialects spoken south of the Loire, whose culture rivalled that of the North, -- they perfectly succeeded moreover in annihilating this delicate and refined culture.

Let us not forget that in the sacral regime the leaders of the temporal were masters in their own house for the affairs of the earth, but, to the extent that the latter were also the affairs of Christianity, subordinated to the supreme leader of the spiritual, and, on occasion, his instruments; whereas, on the other hand, the spiritual power was the supreme guarantor of the temporal power and of the temporal city ruled by it, so that it had itself a duty of high protection with regard to the temporal, without hesitating to "get its feet wet," if I may say, to this end. There were there the elements of an internal dialectics pregnant with conflicts, sometimes latent, sometimes clamorous, between the two powers. The very Christian kings of France did not fail, in the affair with the Catharians, to recall to the spiritual power its duties toward the body politic such as they understood them themselves, and in a manner which implied, at bottom, a kind of blackmail: either the Pope would assume the head of a pursuit of the heresy which was ravaging the South of France (not without spreading also into the North and even into Flanders), or it was the bishops of the kingdom and the royal magistrates who would undertake to defend the Catholic faith in spite of the Pope, and to lead the holy war against the enemy of the interior. The Popes at first tried to resist, feeling indeed that the mission of the Church is to convert souls rather than to burn bodies. Then they quickly yielded to the blackmail, and quickly judged themselves that the strong method was the good one, their great care becoming then to keep between their hands the chief direction of the enterprise. It was thus that the mediaeval Inquisition came into being.

2. It was a misfortune for the Church. At the same time, while serving the interests of the Crown in France, it protected Christendom from the menaces of a highly seductive and all the more pernicious heresy. But at what a price (and with what consequences for the future) the operation was conducted!

In the eleventh century and in the first half of the twelfth, those had not been lacking, among the saints and among the high ecclesiastical authorities, in whose eyes it was solely by preaching and by sanctions of the spiritual order that the struggle against heresy was to be conducted. Capiantur non armis, sed argumentis, St. Bernard said.{2} And even after the second Council of Lateran (1139), Alexander III declared still in 1162: "It is better to absolve guilty persons than to attack by an excessive severity the life of innocents. . . . Indulgence suits Churchmen better than harshness."{3}

The same Pope, however, assailed by difficulties, and yielding to the pressures of Louis VII the Younger, already the following year appealed to the means of force by prescribing the princes to condemn the Catharians to prison and to confiscation. It was the first step.

Some twenty years later, in 1184, the Council of Verona, presided over by Pope Lucius III, and which the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa attended, was to mark the real beginnings of the Inquisition, whose status was decidedly established in France, in 1232-1235, by the Bulls of Gregory IX.4 Alexander III had opened the door to the use of temporal punishments. This was now becoming institutional. And once the juridical machine was established, certain ones, perhaps a great many of those who, aside from madmen like a Robert le Bougre or a Conrad of Marbourg, would be assigned to make it function, were going to be men attached in their inner life to the evangelical precepts, who would serve it in all innocent candor. The machine itself was not evangelical.

3. I am well aware that there is associated with the word Inquisition a whole popular imagery in which (with regard especially to the juridical precautions,{5} protecting somewhat{6} the accused, to be observed in the trials) historical exactitude is neglected for the benefit of horror, and in which the old anticlerical zeal has full sway. This does not prevent however things from being that which they are.

The proper domain of the Church is the interiority of souls in their relationship with God, -- in which what counts essentially is that they open themselves freely to divine truth and to the divine gifts. It is here that the common good of the Church resides. If there is needed surgical measures cutting off from the Church those of her members whose errors threaten this common good, there is excommunication. But the means which in themselves are proper to Caesar, the means of material force and of physical constraint, are means foreign, unadapted, disproportionate in themselves to the primary end to be pursued with regard to those stray ones who are members of the Church: namely, their cure. With regard to such an end they have in themselves no efficacy, except through the intervention of a grace of exception.

From the moment that an institution created by the personnel of the Church caused the cudgel, the dungeon, the rack and the funeral-pile to pass into the service of the spiritual, one was caught in a fatal mesh, in which violence increased endlessly: one seized heretics in order to chastise them in their bodies or in their earthly goods; then they feigned orthodoxy; then one sought them, using all means in order to scrutinize their conscience and to unmask their thought; then obstinacy hardened in their hearts, together with hatred of all that which those who pursued them represented; then one pursued them and one struck them still more harshly; then they became for those of their sect martyrs whose example radiated. . . .

Short of going as far as extermination (that which happened with the Catharians and the Albigenses), the Inquisition did not succeed in really stopping any heresy; because the mind, even when it strays most gravely, is always stronger than force.

4. I have said that the Inquisition was a misfortune for the Church. I did not say that it was evil in its primary intention and in its end. The primary intention (to defend the faith) was good; and the end (to extirpate heresy) was good. It is necessary indeed however that in establishing the Inquisition a certain mistake, a certain error of practical judgment gravely culpable in itself, must have been committed. There is here a point which it is important to elucidate, while trying to be faithful to objective truth without for all that being unjust toward the human subject.

In the famous Bull Unam Sanctam, Boniface VIII declares that the Church has "the two swords." What are these two swords possessed by the Church? According to the free interpretation which I permit myself to propose, let us not say that it is the spiritual sword and the temporal sword; let us say that in the Church the first sword is the teaching authority, the authority of the Word, which says: "this is a truth revealed by God," consequently my faith adheres to it, and: "God forbids one to do this," consequently I refrain from doing it, or I go to Confession if I do it? And let us say that the second sword is the constraining or coercive authority,{8} whether it uses spiritual sanctions which belong properly to the kingdom of God (and which can be either purely spiritual -- spiritual as to their immediate end and spiritual intrinsically or in themselves -- like excommunication, or spiritual as to their immediate end but in themselves and intrinsically temporal),{9} or whether even, as is the case in every sacral regime, it uses also temporal sanctions which belong properly to the terrestrial political body and to the civil power, the spiritual power being then the supreme guarantor and protector of these latter, and being able to require their service in the name of spiritual ends and values, which, in such a regime, are themselves integrated in the common good of the terrestrial city.

Let us turn now toward the Gospel, and let us ask the words of the Lord Himself to guide us.

We read in St. Luke (22, 38): "They said, 'Lord, here are two swords!' He answered, 'Enough.'" Yes, therefore: the Church has the two swords.

But it is the second sword, that of constraint, which Simon Peter drew from the sheath, when at the moment of the arrest of Jesus he cut off the right ear of the High Priest's servant.{10} And what does Jesus say to him? "Put back your sword where it belongs. Those who use the sword are sooner or later destroyed by it"{11}

The spiritual power possesses the two swords. But when it uses the second, -- and above all when, as in the Middle Ages, it uses it while having recourse to the temporal means of force, -- it must put it back in the sheath without delay. It is a sword which it is necessary to use only occasionally, and as little, and as moderately as possible (to cut off an ear, -- it is the least that one can do, is it not, in wielding a sword).

Thus in the primary intention of the Inquisition (to defend the faith) and in the end (to extirpate heresy) there was no mistake. But in drawing the sword so as not to be able to put it back there was a mistake, an error, -- without doubt entailed almost inevitably by the sacral regime and the mentality of the time, -- but in itself injurious to God and terribly grave. The mistake, the ill-omened error of practical judgment committed by the Popes of the twelfth and of the thirteenth centuries,{12} was to erect into permanent ministerial service or organ of the spiritual power, in short into institution , constituted in order to last, and of capital importance, the use of force and of the means of force in spiritual matters, and a confidence in these means which forgot of what spirit is the Church and of what spirit are her servants. And, thereby, they put for several centuries the personnel of the Church on a path which was not the right one.

As I indicated above, such an institution placed in the first rank a prophylactic action which, by the very means which it employed, destroyed the normal conditions required in order to attain the primary end pursued by the Church: the cure of heretics, and also the conversion of non-Christians. It was itself incapable of attaining really its own end, except by mass expulsion (which was never sure), or by extermination thanks to some crusade (which could only be rare). And while striving to be just (there were canonists for this), it owed it to itself to be implacable: failing thereby in an absolutely primary exigency which corresponds to the expectation of men and proceeds from the will of Christ with regard to his servants: namely, that in the manner in which the personnel of the Church acts, and in that even in which the judiciary and administrative wheels which it employs function, there appear always that divine charity and that fraternal love which are the very life of the Church. In itself, the Inquisition was an evil staining human history and a great insult to God.

That is what, considering things in a purely objective manner, and according to what they are in themselves, I reply to the question: what to think of the Inquisition?

But considering now things from the side of the human subject, and of the concrete conditions in which he finds himself, I think that it would be absurd and pharisaical to regard as morally culpable the Popes of the twelfth and of the thirteenth centuries for having done what they did. I am persuaded that in doing what they did their conscience was pure. The stupid mistake constituted by the institutionalization of the temporal means of force, and the reasons for which it was a mistake, they did not see them. First, because in order to see this as we see it today, the historical experience which has instructed us was lacking in the Middle Ages; in other words because they were men of their time. The Popes are of their time, as to the ideas commonly received and in which they have trusted without examining them. In the eyes of the men of the Middle Ages, nothing was more natural than the use of force. And then because they found themselves in a tragic situation: at one and the same time in struggle with the kings and the Emperors who were besieging the independence of the Church, in struggle against the internal troubles which ensued in the latter, and in struggle against the heresy which threatened Christendom. All that which they saw was that the primary intention of the Inquisition was good, and that its end was good. The rest did not count. The affair was for them an affair of public safety; and one knows that to take measures of public safety entails always a certain blindness, which does not necessarily sully the conscience of the one who takes them.

5. All that which I have just said about the Popes of the twelfth and of the thirteenth centuries, both as to the mistake or error of practical judgment which objectively speaking they committed in instituting the Inquisition, and as to the innocence with which, considering the human subject, they committed this mistake, it is clear that it is necessary to say it also of the diverse Councils which in the course of the same centuries likewise prescribed the institution.

These Councils, even if ecumenical like those of Lateran, did not cause us to hear in this the infallible voice of the Church of the earth and of Heaven, did not give us a teaching -- valid for all times -- in matter of faith or of morals, as they did in some others of their decrees. It was in contingent and particular matter, as to that which was fitting in a given time and in given circumstances, that they produced the decrees in question, as also, for example, those which concerned the situation of servitude of Jews with regard to Christians, or a crusade to be undertaken.{13} The Fathers of these Councils, and the Popes who ratified their decisions, acted then as proper causes, not as instruments of the person of the Church; they could err.

One was obliged to obey them as one is obliged to obey any legitimate authority, even if it errs (except in the case in which conscience would invincibly object, whatever sanctions one would thus expose oneself to, and which it would be necessary tosuffer willingly). But with regard to the decrees to which I have just alluded it was not the person herself of the Church whom one obeyed; it was the men -- causing then their own voice to be heard, and acting by their own sole initiative -- charged by God to govern the Church of the earth; in other words, it was with the personnel -- with the highest personnel -- of the Church, acting then as proper cause, that one had to deal and it was they whom one obeyed.

6. A last point remains to be discussed. It concerns the manner in which the tribunals of the Inquisition behaved in practice. There are, in this respect, two things in particular which scandalize us and are inadmissible in themselves. I think first of the procedure followed by the Inquisitors in the case in which the sentence declared by them on the enemy of the faith involved the condemnation of the latter to the death penalty, that is to say, to the stake. They took care to note first that the Church prohibits herself from shedding blood; in consequence of which they abandoned the guilty person to the secular arm, which did not prohibit itself from shedding blood and from sending people to the stake. Thus the trick was played; the enemy of the faith was burned; and the theologians acquitted themselves of their double duty of Inquisitors and of Churchmen.

I think in the next place of the use normally made of torture (the rack, the strappado, the fiery torch; later, in Italy and in Spain, the ordeal of the boots and that of water) as means of extracting confessions upon the validity of which one based oneself in order to decide concerning the conduct to be maintained toward the accused himself or toward those whom he denounced.

Here again it is fitting to distinguish between that which things are in themselves or on the side of objective truth, and that which they are on the side of the human subject.

Considering things according to that which they are in themselves, or on the side of objective truth, there is no need to insist upon the moral value of the two procedures in question: they constituted grave faults.

The use of torture in order to extract confessions, -- and confessions held to be valid, -- was in itself a grave fault against justice.

The abandonment of the guilty person to the secular arm was, in itself, a hypocrisy.{14} For it was the theologians who were the judges, conducted the inquiry, and declared sentence of formal heresy or of sorcery for example. It was therefore they who had full responsibility for the death penalty involved by the sentence; the secular arm was in reality only an instrument. One did not fail, moreover, to ask the latter, in a pious formula, to spare the guilty person from death. And if once in a while it happened nevertheless that a prince took seriously this pious formula, he was himself excommunicated. In itself this procedure was besides a grave fault against the Church. For after having recalled that it is unworthy of her to shed blood, it was upon her that in spite of their legal subterfuge the judges of the Inquisition made fall the responsibility of the blood shed, since the Inquisition was a Church tribunal,{15} and inasmuch as one took an act of this tribunal for an act "of the Church" (which is false, moreover, so that the stain launched against her did not at all attain the face of the person of the Church, of the Bride of Christ; they had however launched it). In delivering over a heretic to the secular arm, in order to send him to death, what they did was in itself a betrayal of the spirit of the Church, who does not shed blood, committed by the personnel who wished to serve her.

7. Is it necessary to say after this that considering things on the side of the human subject, the judges of the Inquisition, in committing, in the two cases of which I speak, what in itself constituted a grave fault, were themselves morally culpable and sinned themselves before God? Let us take care here not to commit ourselves a stupidity. There were saints{16} among the Inquisitors. And even those who were not saints, -- to suppose that they were all hypocrites and savages would be to fall into an error analogous to theirs.

What it is important to take into consideration here is the total and invincible naivete of the men of the Middle Ages (a naivete of which a trace appeared still in the people of the seventeenth century, when they sent unhesitatingly all non-Catholics to Hell); and it is, in particular, the invincible and total ignorance or indifference in which, -- however true may have been in other respects their views on the faculties of the soul philosophically analyzed, -- they found themselves with regard to the universe of the subjective as such, or of the things which in the intimacy of the subject escape their objective description and belie the representation which one makes for oneself of them according to this sole description. (It is thus, for example, that they imposed on the Jews or on the Mohammedans living in Christian territory to hear regularly sermons on the Christian truths, without seeing that this itself was fit to enrage them against the latter. These Jews and these Mohammedans were in error: the Word of truth had to deliver them from it.)

With regard to the abandonment of the guilty person to the secular arm, it is necessary for us to take into account both the medieval naivete and the optics proper to the sacral regime. According to this optics (and the belief of the codes of all times in the legitimacy of capital punishment), it was fitting to the secular order, to the body politic in its proper sphere, to shed the blood of heretics, who threatened its common good. The judges of the Inquisition belonged to another sphere, that of the Church, who prohibits herself from shedding blood. Once they had rendered their judgment, and declared: "Such or such a man is a heretic," they had accomplished their task in their proper sphere. The rest did not concern them (and there we have the naiveté, for in actual fact this concerned them eminently, since they were the judges); they closed their eyes on the condemnation to death, they ignored it (whereas in reality they did not ignore it and could not ignore it: but they took an abstract line of demarcation, -- between declaring someone a heretic and sending him to the stake, -- for a wall of real separation). How could the idea that their procedure was a hypocrisy, and that it wronged the Church, have been able to penetrate their mind?

With regard to torture, there was similar naiveté: if a man who knew the truth concerning something refused obstinately to reveal this truth to judges exercising their full rights of investigation, it was because there were in him powerful obstacles: fear of chastisement, or perverse will, attachment to his sect and fear of harming it, to say nothing of the empire of the devil, which prevented him from confessing the truth in question. To the men of law, therefore, to shatter these obstacles! Torture was a particularly energetic, but necessary, medication in order to untie the tongue of the interrogated man and to bring out the truth from his mouth. In the end, while causing the inquiry to progress, it delivered him himself from an otherwise incurable paralysis. How could men who wear such blinkers have been able to see that in torturing this man they did not give only an example of cold cruelty, but did violence to a sacred domain: the dignity and the personality, the interior universe, requiring in itself absolute respect, of a being made in the image of God, and animated even to the slightest fibrils of its body by a soul which is spirit? and that instead of the truth it was most often words confessing anything and consenting to anything in order to make the torment cease that they caused to emerge from his mouth panic-stricken by the suffering?

Our modern civilization is more enlightened on all of this than the Middle Ages, but in all latitudes it does not deprive itself of practicing torture also.{17} In this four kinds of difference distinguish it however from the Middle Ages: today one tortures with bad conscience and while hiding oneself, through the means, according to the countries, either of the State police or of "parallel" police forces and of secret services; today one has at one's disposal much more perfected techniques, -- and moral torture{18} shows itself to be as frightfully effective as physical torture; today one knows that extracted confessions sometimes give exact information under the threat of the worst, but also that one can make the tortured person say all that one wishes, -- which is very profitable in order to deceive opinion or to deal low blows; today a man who has confessed under torture is a degraded man, whereas in the Middle Ages he was someone whom one had enabled forcibly to do his duty, and who, if after this he converted to the true faith, could aspire to become himself an Inquisitor. . . .

There is finally a fifth difference, and one of great value this time: today a Churchman no longer plays this game.

Have I succeeded (in spite of repugnances tinged with sentimentalism which I confess in my turn) in showing that the people of the Middle Ages and the judges of the Inquisition, when they practiced torture,{19} and when they delivered over the heretic whose blood they did not shed to the secular arm which reduced him to ashes, could do innocently what in itself was a grave fault, and that thus one explains to himself that there were saints among the Inquisitors? The saints also are men of their time, who do not see that which the commonly received opinions of their time, and which no one thinks of submitting to examination,{20} prevent them from seeing. It is not pleasant to have to state this; it is true nevertheless.

8. The mediaeval Inquisition lasted four centuries (twelfth to the fifteenth century), which is not much if one considers that the Church will last until the end of the world, but which constitutes just the same a considerable duration. And after the passage of just a little more time it still weighs heavy upon us, because we are beings endowed with memory. And it has been followed by other inquisitorial periods, about which I shall say later a few words. . . . The fact remains that each of us, whatever repugnance he may think of this terrible mediaeval adventure, feels himself obscurely tormented and troubled by the idea that nevertheless God permitted this.

Why did God permit this? To such a question one can certainly reply only by humble stammerings. Let us stammer therefore one more time, since we are thinking heads.

One can say, it seems to me, that if God permitted the Inquisition, -- this evil which in itself offended Him gravely, and which was one of the stains of a Christendom by so many other aspects dear to His heart, -- it is because it was necessary that at a given moment of history there enter into human consciousness, and down to the depth of our flesh, the sense of the absolute Transcendence -- implacable, too high and too divine for any created mind to be able to form for itself an idea of it -- of supernatural Faith in its indivisible unity and in its immaculate rigor. It is not here a matter of true propositions merely read in a book; it is the matter of a truth which must burn us to the bones.

Behind the juridical pretences and the tortures of the Inquisition there was a divine mystery infinitely more terrible -- and infinitely merciful: that of the exigencies of the Faith which saves in him who has received this gift, exigencies total, unconditioned, absolutely inflexible, of which men had at any cost to acquire the sense, even though God were to let unfold for this a terrible mistake of the personnel of His Church, and a merciless game in which evil and good, fault and innocence shuffled the cards of her ministers as well as of their adversaries. With regard to this mystery of the divine order, the victims of the Inquisition were pale figures and bloodied symbols. I hope that God has received them all in his Heaven. They were sacrificed in order that there be sunk once and for all, with branding iron, into the members of the Church of the earth, -- into all those who would come after the apostolic times (they had had the blood of the martyrs) and the high Middle Ages, -- a treasure of eternal life: the sense of the absolute Transcendence of theological Faith.

Until the end of time the Church will keep and will cherish this treasure. Let us pity the feebleminded ones who today would like to dissipate it to the four winds.

An epoch in which the flames of the funeral-piles everywhere lit illuminated in the sky the sovereign image of the Faith, founded on the absolute truth and the absolute indivisibility of the Word of God, was certainly greater than that in which in the obscurity of their alcove poor young men who imagine themselves to be Christians pass their flashlight over the Decalogue and the Credo in order to make their choice there, and to declare then, while feeling their pulse: I believe in the Gospel but not in Original Sin or in Hell, and I doubt very much the resurrection of Jesus, I believe that it is forbidden to me to kill but I do not believe at all that it is forbidden to me to fornicate, etc.

Will such an epoch last a long time? It does not have the naiveté of the Middle Ages, but it has stupidity, which the Middle Ages was far from having. And stupidity is not a good assurance against the accidents of history.

Da mihi intellectum . . .
Viam veritatis elegi . . .
Si non credideretis, non permanebitis.{22}

The Spanish Inquisition

1. It has been said, very justly, that Philip the Fair and Nogaret were in France, in the fourteenth century, the precursors of Torquemada and of Philip II. The Spanish Inquisition began in the following century (in order to last a long time! It was officially and definitively abolished only in 1820, by the Cortes of Cadiz).

In proportion as the fifteenth century advanced, the sacral regime in dissolution made way in Spain for a regime of permanent rivalry between two powers enchained to each other by common interests (and by the holy Christian faith) which struggled unceasingly against each other for supremacy: a royal power more and more intoxicated with absolutism, and a pontifical power whose spiritual arms still caused fear but were despised at the bottom of one's heart and easily reduced to inefficacy by the Catholic Kings. These latter thought only of taking possession of the Inquisition -- and they nearly succeeded in doing so -- in order to put it at the service of their regalian politics and of their grand design to create a perfect national unity established on a perfect unity of religious faith.

If the eye cannot easily endure the historical picture of the Spanish Inquisition, it is not only because of its cruelty, it is also because of the constant mixture of the political and of the religious of which it offers the spectacle: political ambitions, political trickeries, and political ferocity inextricably mingled with the somber religious ardor which served them as instrument. The great trials of this Inquisition were political trials magnified into trials for the defense of the faith. The Jews, who had long lived in Spain in complete security, passed now in the eyes of the monarchy for a national danger: in 1492, after the capture of Grenada and their definitive victory over the Mohammedans, the sovereigns decreed the general expulsion of all Jews from Spain, within four months: after this time, they would be prosecuted by the Inquision. . . .

The Popes "advised moderation" (that which was not lacking in a kind of pious humor: to advise moderation to men such as Torquemada or Ximenes, and wholly draped with virtues!). And they did all they could in order to prevent excesses, cruelties and an inexorable unfolding of violence which dishonored Christianity, as also in order to keep or retake in hands the inquisitorial institution. They succeeded in this very poorly, and their interventions, however numerous they were, ended in general in compromises saving only the appearances. The Holy See obtained to name itself the first general Inquisitor in Spain (he was Torquemada, requested by Isabella and by Ferdinand); but Sixtus IV accepted at the same time that all the successors of this first general Inquisitor be named by the civil power. It was also the civil power which designated the members of the Royal Council of the Inquisition created by the sovereigns of Castille and of Aragon, and charged with assisting the general Inquisitor, -- by making him feel the vigor of the royal hand.

We know indeed that the Papacy was then confronted with a multitude of perils which put its anxious prudence to a rude test. The fact remains that in general the weakness of the Popes of that time is painful to see. The only one who showed the necessary energy was, in the sixteenth century, Pius V when, apropos of the lawsuit brought by the Inquisition against the primate of Spain, Carranza, he threatened Philip II with excommunication and with a sentence of interdict upon the whole of Spain. But he died a little afterwards, before having obtained satisfaction.{23}

2. In order to conclude these remarks on the Spanish Inquisition, it seems to me important to note that everyone, -- I do not say only the persecuted, the tortured, the expelled, the imprisoned, the burned alive; I say also the persecutors themselves, the Inquisitors feeling themselves impelled by the zeal of God, and the sovereigns persuaded that they were fulfilling a duty of their office and were performing their function of kings, -- everyone was in it a victim of two vampire-ideas, which had then their historical chance and manifested themselves in full light.

The first is the idea that the unity of the nation or of the temporal city must be, with regard to the relations of each man with God as also his fidelity to the political order, an absolute unity, all the members of the body politic comprising from this point of view but a single man, loyal subject of the sovereign; and that consequently this unity in the temporal domain presupposes and requires unity of religious faith.

Consequently, to be a Spaniard was necessarily, and as if by definition, to be a Catholic. And the duty of the kings of Spain was to impose by all means the Catholic faith on their subjects.

Such an idea was in itself a false idea: for the unity of a nation is essentially unity in diversity, and what it requires and presupposes is common devotion to the temporal city, not at all the same and unique religious faith in all. Moreover, for whoever turns toward the first Cause, it appears clearly that in the entire world the diversity, among the people of the earth, of the conceptions of life and of religious beliefs is in actual fact a thing which God permits (which He "wills-permits," in His respect for human liberty, whereas He missions His Church to spread everywhere the preaching of divine Truth). And for each country it is the same as for the world. God gave the earth to all men; and each man, without distinction of race or of religion, has a fundamental right to existence in any point of the earth, as citizen of any country by birth or by naturalization (or also, but this is another question, as stranger respecting the laws of this country). In each country of the earth the service of human life in each of the citizens, whatever be the religion of the latter, is the common good of the country. The kings of Spain thought the contrary; they knew better than God what was necessary for Spain. . . .

And the false idea of which I speak had for inevitable effect that the Catholic faith became, in practice, a means for the temporal end to be attained (the absolute unity of the nation). What one proposed to oneself was, in reality, a temporalization of the spiritual which ignored practically the transcendence of faith as also the supreme dignity and the supreme independence of the Church. It was in order to be truly a Spaniard that it was necessary to be truly a Catholic.

Let us add that today an analogous phenomenon (of a reversed analogy) is observable with Marxism, which is a kind of purely temporal religion.{24} Being itself of the terrestrial and temporal order, not of the sacred order, it is conformable to its nature to be ordered to the temporal. But being a religion, it is not only in a nation or in a country that it asks to spread; it tends in itself to universality. And wherever it has gained power, it is necessary for it, in order to unify minds under its Weltanschauung, to make use, along with modern improvements, of means renewed by those of the Spanish Inquisition.

3. The other vampire-idea -- long since reigning and held as incontestable in the system of commonly received opinions -- was the idea that in the service of the spiritual the temporal means of force, of physical constraint, of threat and of intimidation are normally to be employed and are necessary in themselves. I have already spoken about this. The sword which Jesus commanded Peter to put back in the sheath , -- it is it which flashed in the hands of the royal Inquisitors, and which, in actual fact, had the first role in the defense of the faith.

Hence the Baptism by aspersion of thousands of Jews and of Moors, -- and at the same stroke the doubtful and subject-to-suspicion character of the faith professed by mouth by these thousands of baptized ones. Twenty to thirty thousand Marranos were judged false Christians and sent to the stake by the Spanish Inquisition. The fact that the latter, not content with converting by force, threw the weight of its sword above all upon the Marranos ("the violated," this is the name which one gives to them in Hebrew) and the Moriscos was sufficient proof that considered in itself, and speaking objectively, the idea in question is false and pernicious.

The men of the fifteenth century were (except the Popes in a certain measure) scarcely accessible to this proof. The commonly received opinions held everybody under their sway. One cannot be astonished that the greatest number in the personnel of the Church, and above all the Inquisitors of Spain, succumbed in good faith to the vampire-idea of which we are speaking, and did -- innocently for the majority (when politics did not spoil everything) -- what it presented to them as necessary in itself, and which objectively speaking was not good. Certain ones perhaps did it reluctantly (such as, for example, Manrique, the friend of Erasmus), but they felt themselves obliged to it because history had so embroiled things that the mechanism of repression by violence, once put together and established, demanded to function under pain of seeing furious reactions -- against the faith itself -- explode in minds.

The use of force in religious matters knew again a glittering fortune in the second half of the sixteenth century, at Rome this time. The idea which caused it to be believed normal and necessary in itself, and first required, was always there. It was later that the use of material force gave way to that of purely spiritual sanctions. But at the time in question the idea of which I am speaking (and which in other circumstances would have perhaps begun to grow weak) found itself reinforced by the simple and brutal summons due to the historical conjuncture.

The Roman Inquisition

1. It was at the epoch when the Protestant Reformation was making enormous progress, even among the members of the high clergy, that, under the impetus of Pierre Caraffa, Nuncio at Venice (then Cardinal, then Pope under the name of Paul IV), Paul III instituted in 1542 a supreme Congregation of the Inquisition (the Holy Office) of which the Pope reserved to himself the presidency and which had jurisdiction over the entire world. At the same time there were revived, in the diverse kingdoms of Italy, the local Inquisitions that had more or less fallen into lethargy. Soon, under Paul IV, in 1557-1558, there was also established, following the example of what had been done in Spain, an Index of Forbidden Books. The Inquisition was charged with prosecuting above all heretics, but also blasphemers, Sodomites, Simoniacs, men who lived off the prostitution of their daughters or of their sisters. On the 11th of January, 1566, it was the grand Inquisitor Ghislieri who was elevated to the Papacy, and took the name of Pius V. And under his direction the Inquisition redoubled in energy.

The punishments inflicted were above all imprisonment or the galleys. Capital punishment seems to have been more rarely inflicted, and in general the ones condemned to death were burned at the stake only after decapitation.{25} One prosecuted and condemned also the authors of slanderous denunciations against the accused who were recognized to be innocent.

The Council of Trent (1545-1563) had approved the measures taken by Paul III and Paul IV. The mentality of the epoch considered still as entirely normal the use of the means of force, of torture, of the galleys, of the putting to death for the defense of religion (The Protestants thought likewise: Calvin, in his Ordonnances of 1541, organized the pursuit of the heretics of the new faith, with denunciations, spying, torture, and condemnations to death. Michel Servet was burned alive at Geneva in 1553.). As a matter of fact, in the sixteenth century the Catholic clergy, to say nothing of many laymen, was gravely tainted by the Protestant influences; and for Pius V as for the Popes of the twelfth and of the thirteenth centuries, it was a question of an affair of public safety, in which it was necessary to proceed quickly and forcibly. Moreover it is important to take into account, here again, the common mentality in which the saints themselves participate,{26} and above all the fact that, sanctioned by four centuries and a half of historical functioning, the Holy Inquisition had long since established itself as the sole and sovereign resource of the spiritual power in time of crisis. In my opinion, this does not at all excuse the means, considered in themselves, employed by the latter, but this excuses entirely the Grand Inquisitor who had become Pope. He was a great saint whom I venerate (less however than St. Philip Neri). He had enormous love of God; and his rigors, even if excessive (cf. the last lines of note 6), issued only from a fiercely pure fidelity to serve the supreme norms of justice of the kingdom which is not of this world.

2. The wars of religion bloodied France during more than thirty years (1562 to 1598). The Massacre of St. Bartholomew took place on the 24th of August, 1572. After the Edict of Nantes (1598) minds calmed down; it was necessary indeed that Catholics and Protestants accept the historical fact that each other existed. This was not yet religious tolerance, and still less that search for a real fraternal friendship in the clear consciousness of dogmatic differences which manifested itself under more or less pure forms after the second Council of the Vatican, and which is in itself an immense progress. But the idea of sending the heretic to the stake had lost its attraction; one contented oneself with the eternal flames to which one judged him deputed. Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685, many Protestants expatriated themselves then, but those who remained were not massacred, nor were their goods confiscated. The Age of the Enlightenment was near, with the candle-ends which reason would carry about while one still believed in it (not for long), and which, in actual fact, were going to do better than faith in the Gospel and in the true Light of the world could do for the growth-in-awareness of the liberties to which man has a right in the natural order, -- they also announced by the Gospel message together with supreme and deiform liberty.

With regard to the Roman Inquisition, things changed also. The combat for the defense of the faith still kept its urgency. The struggle against Jansenism was very difficult, and it was to be followed by the struggle against the multitude of incessantly renewed errors which were going to confirm the personnel of the Church in its defensive position, as in a besieged city. But two new facts seem to me to have here to retain our attention. On the one hand there had ended the melange of temporal interests pursued by the civil power and of religious interests pursued by the Papacy which one notes at the time of the medieval Inquisition and indeed more still at the time of the Spanish Inquisition. And the Roman Inquisition had also relieved itself of the care of dealing severely with certain misdemeanors of common law over which it had jurisdiction in the sixteenth century. Its end henceforth was purely and exclusively the defense of the faith.

On the other hand it did not take long until there ended likewise the recourse to the secular arm as also the use of the means of physical constraint and of material force. The sanctions and the means of constraint to which the Holy Office had recourse were henceforth only the means and the sanctions of the spiritual order proper to the Church.

Does this mean however that the old idea that the use of force in religious matters is normal and necessary had completely disappeared? It had faded from the scene, it no longer played any visible role in the universe of consciousness. But I think that it continued all along the centuries to make its way underground in the unconscious, under rampant forms. I wrote above that the medieval Inquisition and its confidence in the means of force put for some centuries the personnel of the Church on a path which was not the right one. What I mean by this is that under the unconscious pressure of the still active vestiges of this old idea, it happened that the high personnel of the Church, in particular the Holy Office, trusted too much for too long a time in the purely spiritual sanctions and in the purely spiritual means of constraint proper to the Church, in other words in the second sword when it is normally applied (but then its use can only be occasional, and as little frequent as possible, and as moderate as possible). It is not good to rely principally upon this sword. It is not good to install oneself in exclusively defensive positions. It is not good to have recourse in a regular and permanent manner, in the name of an institution which in the juridical structure holds the altogether first place, to harsh means because they are the easiest and the most expeditious, and to measures of coercion (which are those which lend themselves best to routine, as also to the neglect of the healthy concerns of the intellect): putting books on the Index, condemnations or threats of condemnation affecting books or compelling authors to silence, and which irritate without enlightening. It is not good that a habitual climate of suspicion weigh upon people, -- especially upon people who rightly or wrongly devote themselves to the works of the intelligence, and of whom a great many are upright minds and admirably disinterested seekers, wholly dedicated in spirit of faith to the service of truth, but of whom a great many also are minds intoxicated with themselves, and endowed with the most susceptible vanity.

It seems to me that a particularly dangerous situation was to develop thus in the course of the nineteenth century and in the first half of the twentieth. Without a vast accumulation of long repressed silent resentments one would not understand that so many theologians and exegetes, -- among those who would have the most need of being put back again in the paths of truth, greedy as they are to show themselves of their time and to espouse its errors, -- as also so many poor ecclesiastics who do not know much but follow the current of the day all the more passionately, saw in the second Council of the Vatican only an occasion to liberate a kind of morbid rage against Roman authority.

3. The fact remains that the Church has an imprescriptible duty to defend the faith against error; -- and that error abounds today.

The fact remains also that she has received from God the two swords, that of the teaching authority, which she must constantly bring into play, and that of the constraining authority, however quickiy it is required of her to put back this second sword in the sheath when it has been necessary for her to employ it; the fact remains finally that an authority which does not act runs the risk of becoming forgotten or scorned.

There is no longer today any Sacred Congregation of the Inquisition or any Holy Office. What bore this name is now the Congregation for the defense of the doctrine of the faith. We must pity the Churchmen who in the present conjuncture are in charge of the latter, their job is not easy. It seems that a great effort of imagination is above all required of them, in order to find new ways of action. It is the affair of the Holy Spirit to aid them in this. It is perhaps permitted however to a mere layman to meddle in what does not concern him, by saying humbly what he thinks on this matter.

On the one hand is it not desirable that at the summit of the ecclesiastical administration there be not a single one, but two supreme Congregations, the first (therefore purely and simply supreme) charged with all that which concerns the evangelization of the earth, the teaching of the faith and the radiance of divine truth in the world, as also with that which concerns research to be aided and to be enlightened; the second one charged, like the Congregation which replaced the Holy Office, with defending the faith against error? For in principle the positions of conquest and of progression are more important still than positions of defense.

On the other hand, and in that which concerns this second Congregation, can one not dream that it unfold its activity on two different planes, the first one relating also to the teaching authority? On the occasion of the errors launched through the world by such or such author of renown, capable of exerting upon minds a real influence, eminent theologians would be then charged with setting forth in a wholly objective manner, and with the sole care to enlighten, not to condemn, the truths ignored by the author in question. And these doctrinal expositions, aiming only at truth, would be distributed officially to seminaries and to Catholic universities by courtesy of the Congregation, before being published in book form if need be.

The second plane would be that of the constraining authority, in the cases in which it would become necessary to exercise it, while having every sanction preceded by personal contacts and talks with the person concerned, so that even there the mode of approach remains above all fraternal. I understand well that in fraternal dialogue there are two parties involved, and that on the side of certain interlocutors, above all when they are haunted by the care of publicity, the fraternal charity of the Roman Congregation renewed in its spirit as well as in its name would run the risk of encountering wholly different sentiments. Then, so much the worse, it has the second sword in hand; and however rarely, however moderately this be, it would be necessary indeed for it to use it. As Karl Rahner says," "the Church would betray the Gospel, and the magisterium its mission, if she had not, in certain circumstances, the courage to say a categorical 'No' to a doctrine which surges up in the Church and wishes to acquire in her freedom of the city."

The Great Renewal

1. Laymen also are to be pitied in the present circumstances. There are many more of them than one thinks who, profoundly disconcerted in that which is most dear to them by the behavior and the verbal deluge of "in-the-know" clerics, -- and on the other hand accepting willingly the liturgical reform as well as the other reforms, and the use of the vernacular, but disgusted by the unworthy translations which one obliges them to listen to at Mass,{28} -- hold in like aversion the bitter zeal of an integrism in the eyes of which "everything has been said" and the outrageous fatuity of a neomodernism in the eyes of which "everything is to be redone" and which no longer wants the supernatural and the sacred. They ask themselves with anguish where "the Church" is leading them (not the Church, indeed, but a personnel of the Church a little drugged for the moment).

These laymen scarcely find any comfort in the optimism officially professed by many of their pastors, or in the diverse "organizations" in which one would like to enrol them. They have however the Pope, who prays, who teaches, who suffers, who has solicitude for all and for everything, and who has given to them a profession of faith recalling to them clearly that which they must believe, and which they can repeat after him and with him. And they have the Holy Spirit, Who does not cease to assist the people of God, and they have the angels (those angels of whom St. Ambrose speaks to us in the Matins of Christmas){29} and the saints of Heaven along with their queen, -- the Church of Heaven who is but a single Church with that of the earth, and who asks only to aid them. And if they desire him with enough perseverance, they are sure to find a priest worthy of the name in order to counsel them. The Lord Jesus during his earthly life led a little flock whom He told to have no fear: nolite timere, pusillus grex.{30} It is little flocks living in prayer and in the love of the Cross who have today to assume the relief. (There are some admirable ones behind the Iron Curtain, who are abandoned by all and are at each instant exposed to persecution, they make one think of the Church of the catacombs, they attest on earth the graces of the Holy Spirit.)

2. The great renewal to which the second Council of the Vatican has called the Christian people, -- it seems to me that in the perspective in which the present chapter places us we understand better the amplitude of its dimensions. The Council made itself heard at the term of a long process which led to a complete reorientation, to a revolution with regard to ten centuries of history. To tell the truth, what is called for there is simply to return in an explicit prise de conscience to that which in the real life itself and the profoundly lived experience of the Church has always held the first place: has she not for soul grace with its free gifts, for life the love of charity? But the profound life of a human being and the consciousness which he has of the rules which he uses is one thing; a quite different thing is the profound life of a city and that which holds the first rank in its juridical structures and in the concerns of those who govern it. It is the major concern with which since the eleventh century the personnel of the Church has been occupied in the government of the latter, and it is the scale of values which, consequently, it used 'in juridical practice, which have henceforth changed.

The defense against heresy, which remains always for the Church a supreme duty, has ceased to be the purely and simply supreme and absolutely first concern. That which, according to the teaching of the Council, must henceforth be for the personnel of the Church the absolutely first concern is the love of Christ (His love for us, and our love for Him) to be manifested to men, and the truth of Christ to be communicated to them.

It is not surprising, taking into account human fragility, and the turbid desires and the resentments which torment our nature, that the immediate result of a change of such great bearing is in thinking heads less anxious about truth than about the fashions of the day, and in a number of young clerics ill-prepared for the event, a vast doctrinal and moral confusion, and a rush toward a so-called Christianity which knows nothing but the earth. We must believe that such a phenomenon is in itself short-lived. The generations which will come, perhaps sooner than one thinks, will have doubtless other needs, and ones more worthy of the vocation of beings created in the image of God; the problem will be then to be ready to give to them that which they ask.

Meanwhile, it remains nevertheless singularly desirable that when they touch upon things where nothing has sense except through the love of Christ, -- which caused Him to die on the Cross, -- and through the truth of Christ, -- that truth in order to bear testimony to which He came into the world, -- men, and especially Churchmen, know a little of what they are speaking. The great renewal called for by the Council is first and above all, and in an absolutely necessary manner, an interior renewal, in living faith. In its absence there is nothing to be hoped. Such is the terrible sign which the Council has inscribed upon the wall.

It is by the soul, in which God dwells secretly, that it is necessary to begin, and for this it is necessary first to believe in the soul. It is to the plenitude of supernatural charity that it is necessary to aspire, and for this it is necessary first to believe in the supernatural order and in grace. It is to the truth hidden in the transcendent God, and revealed by Christ to His Church, that it is necessary to adhere with all one's heart, and for this it is necessary first to believe in the transcendence of God and in the Church of Christ. It is to prayer and to the life of prayer that it is necessary above all to give oneself, and for this it is necessary first to believe truly in prayer. It is the Cross of Jesus that it is necessary to embrace, and for this it is necessary first to believe truly in the Incarnation of the uncreated Word, and in redemption through the Cross.

{1} On the sacral regime cf. Charles Journet, L'Église du Verbe Incarné, t. 1, pp. 280-425 ("Régime de la Chrétienté sacrale"); and my book Integral Humanism, pp. 143-153.

{2} In Cant., serm. 64.

"Drive the heretics out of the Church: but do not kill them; for they are made like you in the image of God," wrote St. Hildegarde.

{3} Letter to the Archbishop of Rheims, Henri, brother of King Louis VII the Younger.

Let us quote also the letter written in 1043 by the Bishop of Liege, Wazon, to the Bishop of Châlons, Roger, who had consulted him: "God does not wish the death of the sinner but his conversion. Did not Christ give us the example of gentleness toward the heretics, whereas, omnipotent, He endured the opprobriums, the insults, the cruelties of the Jews and finally the torment on the Cross? And when, in His parable, He advised to let the cockle grow with the good grain until the harvest, did He not teach us that the wicked must live with the righteous until the Judgment of God Who alone will separate them? . . . Those whom the world considers today as cockle, can be, when the harvest will come, gathered into His barn by God along with the wheat. . . . Those whom we regard as the enemies of God, can be put by Him above us in Heaven."

However true and noble they may be, these lines, like those of Alexander III quoted in my text, furnish us a testimony of the gentleness of heart and of the elevation of thought of the one who wrote them, more than a clear principle of discernment in order to solve a practical problem. The kings and their counsellors saw in them only a testimony of weakness.

{4} These Bulls thus caused rigorously to pass into practice the prescriptions enacted by the third Lateran Council in 1179 and the Council of Verona in 1184, and repeated by Innocent III at the fourth Lateran Council in 1215.

The functions of inquisitors had first been exercised by the Cistercian legates. Gregory IX entrusted the Dominicans with them. The first general Inquisitor of the kingdom of France was Robert le Bougre (himself a converted Catharian, -- one said commonly "bulgare" or "bougre" for "cathare"). He acted both in the name of the Pope and in the name of the king.

For a detailed historical account of that which I have summed up in this paragraph, cf. Jean Guiraud, article Inquisition, in the Dictionnaire d'Apologétique, col. 823 to 853.

The Inquisition prosecuted the Catharians, the Waldenses (cf. Jean Marx, L'Inquisition en Dauphiné), the Beguin disciples of Joachim of Flora and of Jean d'Olive; and also, in the fifteenth century, the sorcerers; and even the persons guilty of certain misdemeanors of common law.

{5} Cf. Jean Guiraud, op. cit., col. 868 et seq.; and Ch. Journet, L'Église du Verbe Incarné, t. 1, p. 378, note 1.

{6} Very little: The accused were not confronted with the witnesses who accused them, and they did not know their names; at the time when one granted them lawyers, these had as their role only to advise them in their defense or to urge them to confess, and they never appeared in court; a system of informing which violated natural law forced the father and the mother to accuse their children, the husband to accuse his wife, and reciprocally. Cf. E. Vacandard, Dict. de théol., col. 2038-2041.

The Bull Cum adversus, of Innocent IV, 31st October 1243, approved "the constitution Commissi Nobis of Frederick II, in which it is said that the sons of heretics shall escape the punishments provided by the law even against them -- deprivation of goods, refusal of public offices and honours -- if they denounce the secret heresy of their own father." Later a Bull of Pius V (Bullarium romanum, Turin, 1862, t. VII, p. 430) forbade "physicians to go on visiting the sick who should not have confessed themselves within three days or were not in a position to present a certificate of confession." Ch. Journet, The Church of the Incarnate Word, Vol. I, p. 297, n. 2.

{7} What I call here the teaching authority of the Church consists above all in her "declaratory power," which makes known that which God has revealed (and which we believe on the word of God), but also in her "canonical power," when it makes known to us, in order to assure through the centuries the preservation of the revealed deposit in its integrity, that which is to be believed on the word of the Church. Cf. further on, Ch. XIV, pp. 203-206.

{8} St. Bernard, in the De Consideratione, speaks also of the two swords, but by the second sword he understands the material sword which is "in the hand of the soldier," and which can be drawn at the order of Peter, but not by his hand, tuo forsitan nutu, etsi non tua manu (IV, cap. 3, a. 7). St. Thomas takes up again the same views in in IV Sent., dist. 37. On the contrary, the second sword, such as I understand it, that of the coercive authority possessed by the Church, is normally drawn by the hand of Peter (and, in the case of the sacral regime, drawn also on his order by the hand of the prince).

If the Church possesses thus the sword of the coercive authority, as that of the teaching authority, it is because she is a society complete and master of herself (societas perfecta, in the jargon of the philosophers), and composed of human beings who are not pure spirits. The ecclesiastical authority -- in its own domain and without having recourse to the civil power -- can therefore, by reason of an immediate end of the spiritual order, impose on one of her members, especially on one of the members of her personnel, a penalty intrinsically and in itself temporal, such as "fine, restriction of liberty, privation of an office or of a benefit, etc." (Ch. Journet, L'Église du Verbe Incarné, t. I, p. 333, note 1). A priest, in the Confessional, can in certain circumstances prescribe to a penitent the payment of a fine.

With regard to the vocabulary employed by us: the coercive authority implies also legislative authority and judiciary authority (cf. Charles Journet, The Church of the Incarnate Word, Vol. I, pp. 184-185), but it is by the coercion that it finally completes itself and that it discharges decidedly the office of sword. It is therefore indeed by the words "constraining or coercive authority" that I had to designate it here.

A last remark much more general: the two "swords" of which it is a question in these pages, as also the diverse powers possessed by the Church (by the person of the Church), designate the foundation by reason of which, in the diverse domains considered, the personnel of the Church has, in the name of God, either authority in order to exercise its activity as proper cause, or role of instrumental cause when it is the person herself of the Church who through Him speaks and acts.

{9} Cf. Code of Canon Law, Can. 2213 S 1; cf. Charles Journet, op. cit., pp. 260-263.

{10} John 18, 10.

{11} Matt. 26, 52.

{12} They had perfectly the right to use the sword of coercive authority, since the Church possesses this sword, and even to use it, that which is normal in a sacral regime, by having recourse to the action of the prince and of the secular arm.

That which was, in itself and objectively speaking, a singularly grave mistake (without doubt historically almost inevitable, but in itself injurious to God) was to have, in creating the institution of the Inquisition, used the sword in question otherwise than the Lord permitted, in a manner which betrayed His spirit and which violated the first prescription of the New Law brought by Him.

{13} Cf. Charles Journet, op. cit., p. 232: "Then were held those Councils of Toledo so remarkable for their dogmatic definitions on the Trinity and the Incarnation, but of which it has been said, in respect of their practical ordinances, that they were 'less Councils than assemblies of the Spanish monarchy, content to do no more, or little more, than register the decrees of their sovereigns.'

{14} I employ this word with reluctance, and at the risk of paining theologians who are dear to me. But magis amica veritas. The hypocrisy (or "legal fiction" as E. Vacandard says) was moreover very careful to conceal itself by the words. One did not "deliver"; one abandoned the guilty person to the secular arm. And in doing this, one pushed even charity as far as to use a pious formula which I have recalled in the text, entreating the secular arm to spare the guilty person mutilation and death. But if a prince refused to burn the heretics whom the Inquisition thus "abandoned" to him, he was excommunicated and exposed to all the penalties reserved to the supporters of heresy. Cf. Vacandard, Dict. de théol., col. 2051 and 2065. -- Likewise one employed torture in order to make the accused confess, but the confessions were assumed free (ibid., col. 2043).

{15} I say "Church tribunal" as I say "personnel of the Church." The institution of the Inquisition relates to the personnel of the Church. It has nothing to do with an institution essential to the person of the Church, like that of the Sacraments for example, and which relates to Christ, caput super Ecclesiam.

{16} St. Raymond of Penafort, St. Peter of Verona (called also St. Peter Martyr), St. Pius V. . . .

{17} Cf. the courageous book of Pierre-Henri Simon, Contra la torture, Paris, ~d. du Seuil, 1957. "The practice of torture is one of the shames of humanity. . . ." However, "with the exception of the Jewish people, the nations of the Mediterranean world, in the centuries in which their most beautiful cultures flourished, knew, accepted, practiced punitive or interrogative torture. . . . Neither Plato, nor Aristotle, nor Cicero, nor Pliny, nor Seneca, protest against the principle, if they happen to deplore the excess of cruelty in the application. . . " (pp. 24-27). In 866 torture was condemned in an absolute manner by Pope Nicholas I. P. H. Simon cites this admirably just text, which did not prevent the Christian Middle Ages, from the moment they rediscovered Roman Law, from returning to the juridical use of torture with a frightful good conscience.

The book of Pierre Henri-Simon is a cry of indignation against the use made of torture by officers and soldiers of the French army during the Algerian War. Let the author be thanked for having borne witness for justice and for having protested for the honor of France.

{18} Cf. Arthur London, L'Aveu, Paris, Gallimard.

{19} With regard to the stake as a means of putting to death, it was more spectacular, but not much more cruel and barbarous than the guillotine or hanging. In my opinion it is only in the case of legitimate defense or of defensive war that the putting to death of a human being is not a sin of homicide, and capital punishment is in itself such a sin committed by society. Cf. the book of Albert Naud, Tu ne tueras point, Paris, Ed. de la Table Ronde. Apropos of this book, Julian Green writes: "Of the sufferings of the executed, we know almost nothing. It seems certain that the head separated from the body continues to live. For how long a time? One does not know. It lives and suffers frightfully, since all suffering is in the brain, and as long as the nerve centers are not destroyed, the extraordinary torture machine continues to function. One knows that hanging is sometimes, by an atrocious accident, a decapitation. The electric chair is doubtless the most ingenious and the slowest method. The Spanish garrot is the fruit of sadistic imaginations. Formerly one turned the garrot more or less quickly according to the enormity of the crime. . . . At the origin of capital punishment, there was this doubtlessly prehistoric idea that the blood of the person condemned to death will alleviate the wrath of the victim. It is as primitive and as stupid as that . . . " (Journal, t. II, Paris, Plon, 1969, p. 1473).

I am not surprised however that a multitude of persons whom I do not at all suspect of barbarism and of cruelty consider, on the faith of opinions commonly received, capital punishment and the guillotine as things normal and necessary: just as in Middle Ages one considered as things normal and necessary the stake, -- and torture.

{20} Except the theologians in order to justify them. In explaining (Sum. theol., II-II, 11, 3) why the heretics must be put to death, St. Thomas showed that the great speculatives, when they pronounce on the concrete, run the risk of being led astray by the regime of civilization and the mentality of their time.

At the time, heresy was so considered to be the supreme crime that the remains or the corpses in putrefaction of those whom the Inquisition condemned for having been heretics were exhumed, dragged in the streets through the crowd, while a town crier blared out the name of the guilty and solemnly burned persons.

{21} "Give me discernment, -- The way of truth I have chosen . . . "(Ps. 119, 34-30).

{22} "Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm" (Is. 7, 9).

{23} Let us note in passing that it is from the Spanish Inquisition, at the time of the struggle against Protestantism, that the institution came, today outmoded, of an Index of the books whose reading is prohibited. At the request of Charles the Fifth, a partial list was drawn up by the University of Louvain, in 1546. The first general Index was published by the Spanish Holy Office in 1559. "The age of Gutenberg," to speak as Marshall McLuhan, had begun a century before.

{24} This is why John Bowker, in his splendid book Problems of Suffering in Religions of the World (Cambridge, University Press, 1969), makes room for Marxism among the diverse religions which he studies.

{25} That which was new: in the fifteenth century Jean Hus had been burned alive (1415) by condemnation of the Council of Constance; Savonarola was burned alive also in 1498.

{26} In him as in the Popes of the Middle Ages there was not the slightest will or the slightest calculation to adapt themselves to the common mentality of a world conscious of sacred values but still tainted with barbarism and to this extent morally impure (world, moreover, in process of historical development). They had no need to adapt themselves to this common mentality; they were immersed in it themselves and participated in it in all candor (that is the excuse): contrary to many priests of today, they also victims of their time, but in another manner: for in general their good will leaves no doubt, but it is the good will of naive strategists anxious to adapt themselves, with a view to acting on it, to the rotten mentality of a world in full decadence and in full aversion of the sacred, to speak its language and to think like it. The internal process of self-destruction of "bourgeois society" is such that one day perhaps it will seek in Communism its last recourse; so that the intelligent Marxists would be wrong to hurry, they have scarcely but to await their hour (then the steamroller will pass over the rot. And life? It will be for a subterranean time). Would a Christianity faithful to itself have been able -- as by a miracle -- to rectify the course of history and to remedy the decadence in question? It was at least a duty to hope this. A Christianity unfaithful to itself can only contribute to aggravate the decadence of a civilization sprung from the Christian Middle Ages (as distant origin) and from the humanism of the Renaissance (as proximate origin), spoiled afterwards by materialism and by money, and entered now into the antihuman age of technocracy.

{27} In the collective volume Au service de la Parole de Dieu, Mélanges offerts à Mgr. Charue, évêque de Namur, -- Gembloux, 1969. (Cf. Revue Thomiste, April-June, 1970, p. 319.)

Is this to say that the diverse reforms to the possibility of which I have just alluded would suffice in order to resolve the present crisis? I do not think so. In my opinion, one will resolve this crisis only if, in a more or less great number of years, or of decades, the Sovereign Pontiff convokes a new Council, -- doctrinal, this one, -- which, without having need to name or to condemn anyone, would declare solemnly the incompatibility with the Catholic faith of a series (probably long) of philosophical and theological aberrations which merit this qualification.

{28} I think for example of the Gospel for the fourth Sunday of Advent, in which Mary is a young girl who is no longer full of grace but favored-by-God, and is not troubled in her heart but very upset by the word of the Angel, and does not ask him "How can this be since I do not know man?" but "How is this going to come about for I am not married?" and does not say to him at the end "Be it done to me according to thy word," but "Let it be done to me as you say." It is not permitted to change the sacred letter under the pretext of translating it, -- with a carefully sought platitude which betrays the sense and which supposes that the Christian people are stupid people.

{29} "For God has ordained as the sheperds of His flock not Bishops only, but also Angels." Matins of Christmas, 8th lesson.

{30} Luke 12, 32.

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