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6.10.2007    |    There's been a lot of that
"That" being the all-too oft used phrase, "sins in the service of the Truth." This is the Catholic Church's way of explaining away the Spanish Inquisition. Saying that the Church now condemns such officially-sanctioned terror doesn't quite cut it, but, hey, what are you going to do? Leave the Church?

Well, yes. One of the reasons I left the Church was because of the inability of many of the faithful to admit past errors, and to defend the indefensible. For example, the Spanish Inquisition. Leave it to Jesuits, a Spanish-founded order (a.k.a. "the Pope's Shock Troops"), to apply moral relativism in their flagship magazine, "America."

First, please understand that this is not a bash-everything Jesuit post. I love the order, and was catechized by Jesuits, which isn't the same as being raised in the forest by wolves but which does prepare one intellectually to defend the One True Faith.

What this post is, is an attempt to shed some light on the all-too-human desire to be forgiven for past sins. Unfortunately, to my mind, the Catholic Church, and the Jesuits who originated in Spain, have yet to properly admit their sin and condemn it.

As for the Inquisition, I well remember a Catholic colleague telling me that "it wasn't all that bad." After all, the total numbers of those burned at the stake, and tortured, was quite small as measured against the results of plagues and wars. And then he would trot out the depredations of Protestant monarchs in the 16th and 17th centuries, as if that justified the Inquisition. This is the "you're one too" argument, and it is also being used by the Society of Jesus.

The Jesuits are more refined than my old colleague, but just as blind to the sin of the Inquisition. What is written in the current issue of America is typical of those who need to establish a context, and thereby soften any criticism of the Inquisition:
the Catholic Church today regards as sinful behavior committed "in the service of the Truth"....for decades both civil and church officials, including popes, opposed the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition and attempted to limit the harm it could do.
Yes, the Catholic hierarchy just had its hands tied; what could they have done? This is nonsense on stilts. Perhaps excommunication of any who tortured and killed others in the name of the Prince of Peace? Just asking.

There is no excuse for using torture, for killing, for taking any action that is not based on peaceful persuasion against those who choose to not be Catholic. None. Not now; not in the 15th century.

Those who claim otherwise, or cite the un-Christian notion that different times require different means for defending the Church militant, I say: nonsense. Christ set the standard, for once and for all time. And He would condemn the Inquisition, and those who claimed to be His intermediaries on earth who stood by and watched.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.