Circa 1520, The Spanish Inquisition at work on suspected Protestants and insincere Christians in a torture chamber. All their gruesome work was carried out in the name of Christianity; note the altar and officiating monks on the right. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

Canada: The Spanish Inquisition Makes a Comeback

Think back twenty years and imagine that someone then had told you that developed Western democracies would spend the first decades of the twenty-first century introducing new blasphemy laws. “You mean ‘repealing’ surely?” your wise younger self would probably have said. And if you had been persuaded that, no, new blasphemy laws really were going to be brought into effect in the not-too-distant future, doubtless your follow-on question would have been, “So how did the Spanish inquisition manage to make such a comeback?”

h/t Waffle

  • Waffle

    When I saw this piece in my In-Box this morning, I almost feel off my chair. I have been ranting and railing about the similarity of Canada’s HRCs to the Spanish Inquisition for the past few years — ever since I started studying Spanish history at U of T.

    What is so fascinating (and ironic) about Quebec’s proposed blasphemy law to be administered through an extra-judicial body (just like the Office of the (un)Holy Inquisition) is that it turns the concept of heresy on its pointy little head. Rather than speak or act against the dogma of the Roman Catholic church, heresy, in the opinion of the Dominican inquisitors, speaking the truth about Islam is the new heresy. The irony, to me at least, is the French Canadians after throwing off 350 years of Jesuit domination seem all too willing to embrace Islamic Sharia in all its glory.

    This move will effect not only Queckers (Exodus, Pt. 2 coming up) but will set a dangerous precedent for the ROC. This must be nipped in the bud. NOW!!

    • John the Mad

      There are differences, of course. Whatever its faults, the Inquisition had more legal protections imbedded in its legal process than the secular courts of the day. Most charged were found innocent. Truth was an actual defence and an actual effort was made by Inquisitors to determine the truth of the matter. Torture was indeed used (with a doctor present and for a maximum of 15 minutes duration), as it was in the secular courts of the day (only with fewer restrictions) – and in many jurisdictions today. With today’s human rights commissions the process itself is the punishment and truth is not a defence.

      But why just pick on the Catholic Church? In the days of the Inquisition any Protestant German aristocrat could execute peasants almost at will. In the 700 years of the Inquisition’s existence about 1% of the 125 thousand accused were executed (about 178 per year). Contrast that with the thousands executed under Henry VIII in his efforts to become the head of the Church of England -estimated to be between 57-72 thousand over 37 years of his reign.

      I’ve never heard of any French residents of New France (Quebec) being brought before an Inquisition (there were two).

      All that said, I oppose Quebec’s proposed blasphemy law.

      • Waffle

        John, I referred to the Spanish Inquisition because a) that is the subject at hand and b) it is the inquisition I happened to study. I am also aware, that whatever Inquisition it was (Papal or Spanish) relatively few were burned at the stake although that horrific means of execution seems to be the aspect that almost everyone gravitates to. There are several aspects, however, that get short shrift: the censorship of learning and the introduction of the Index (list of prohibited books), the destructive effect on social relations and the method by which the Inquisition financed its offices. BTW, the records of the Sp. Inquisition are now open and considerable research has been done in the past few decades.
        Subject: Re: Comment on Canada: The Spanish Inquisition Makes a Comeback

        • John the Mad

          Waffle, I think we both agree the Inquisition was not a good thing. Again, though, I ask for balance. Whatever the effect of the Inquisition on censorship of learning we have to acknowledge the Church’s central role in establishing the great universities of Europe (e.g., Oxford, Sorbonne, Cambridge, Paris etc. Not to mention the great teaching orders bringing education to the general public. (The Protestant church also has a creditable place in this achievement.

          Additionally, we should place the Spanish Inquisition within the context of a reaction to the wars brought on by the Protestant Reformation and the harsh Islamic rule of Spain. It does not excuse what happened, but it goes some way to explain it.

          Let’s wait a bit and observe the reaction to the current European Islamic Jihri before passing judgment.

          • Waffle

            John, I certainly have no dispute in acknowledging the role of the church in establishing the great universities of Europe, however I suggest you recheck your dates — the Protestant Reformation did not start until 1517 (approx) 35 years after the Spanish Inq. went into effect. And yes, the Sp. Inq must be considered against the backdrop of the reconquista. At the time it went into effect, the Muslim occupiers were on their way out. The last stronghold, Granada, fell on Jan. 5, 1492. The Sp. Inq. was confined to the areas of the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) and New Spain But best of luck with your essay/thesis and don’t forget to recheck your historical facts and dates.
            Subject: Re: Comment on Canada: The Spanish Inquisition Makes a Comeback

  • WalterBannon

    govt nazis

    • Frances

      Not Nazis; Communists.

  • Xavier

    Here in the lower 48, there would be no discussion or knowledge of this. They’d just do it.

    So you’ve got that going for you.

  • disqusW6sf

    I cannot believe this. Surely people have gone to battle over less. Insanity!

  • Justin St.Denis

    La Belle Province


    La Province Soumise

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