The Spanish Inquisition and Early Protestant Persecutions

What was the Inquistion?

Was it simply an efficient way to attain justice or a murderous and hateful form of persecution?

Who was affected?

How do Roman Catholics try to portray the Spanish Inquisition?

Could it have ramifications in the future?

The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition as Posted by the Catholic Education Resource Center

Here are excerpts from a Roman Catholic apologist's article titled The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition:

The medieval Inquisition began in 1184 when Pope Lucius III sent a list of heresies to Europe's bishops and commanded them to take an active role in determining whether those accused of heresy were, in fact, guilty. Rather than relying on secular courts, local lords, or just mobs, bishops were to see to it that accused heretics in their dioceses were examined by knowledgeable churchmen using Roman laws of evidence. In other words, they were to "inquire" — thus, the term "inquisition."

From the perspective of secular authorities, heretics were traitors to God and king and therefore deserved death. From the perspective of the Church, however, heretics were lost sheep that had strayed from the flock. As shepherds, the pope and bishops had a duty to bring those sheep back into the fold, just as the Good Shepherd had commanded them. So, while medieval secular leaders were trying to safeguard their kingdoms, the Church was trying to save souls. The Inquisition provided a means for heretics to escape death and return to the community.

Most people accused of heresy by the medieval Inquisition were either acquitted or their sentence suspended. Those found guilty of grave error were allowed to confess their sin, do penance, and be restored to the Body of Christ. The underlying assumption of the Inquisition was that, like lost sheep, heretics had simply strayed. If, however, an inquisitor determined that a particular sheep had purposely departed out of hostility to the flock, there was nothing more that could be done. Unrepentant or obstinate heretics were excommunicated and given over to the secular authorities. Despite popular myth, the Church did not burn heretics. It was the secular authorities that held heresy to be a capital offense. The simple fact is that the medieval Inquisition saved uncounted thousands of innocent (and even not-so-innocent) people who would otherwise have been roasted by secular lords or mob rule. (Madden, Thomas F. "The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition." Crisis. October 2003. Catholic Education Resource Center-CERC, http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/the-inquisition/the-truth-about-the-spanish-inquisition.html, accessed 03/26/17)

The above contains a lot of error. Many of the accused were not interested in being part of the Church of Rome and the Church of Rome intentionally turned them over to civil authorities for murder and torture.

Notice that 'questioning' by the Catholic clergy included torture:

Introduction to inquisitorial manuals

Latin treatises on heresy and inquisition

Conducting an inquisition was a complicated business. First inquisitors had to have some sense of their underlying theological justification and legal authority, both of which might well be challenged by hostile local forces. Then they had to be able to identify the various and often subtle types of heretical or otherwise sinful behavior which fell under their jurisdiction. Finally they had to know how to proceed in the practical exercise of their functions, from initial denunciation and arrest to questioning (including torture), judgment and punishment—all ideally subject to formal documentation. (Introduction to inquisitorial manuals. University of Notre Dame. https://inquisition.library.nd.edu/genre/RBSC-INQ:Inquisitorial_manuals/essays/RBSC-INQ:ESSAY_InquisitorialManuals accessed 04/05/17)

In 1252, following the murder of Peter of Verona, the Bull Ad extirpanda prescribed the means which Italian states should adopt to root out heresy; these included the appointment of a commission to root out heresy; the adoption of laws against heresy; the us e of torture and confiscation; and a tripartite financing arrangement whereby proceeds were divided between the local commune, the officials of the inquisition and the inquisitor and the bishop. While these arrangements were intended for Italy torture was subsequently adopted by all inquisitors. (Hill. p. 71)

Torture and thievery were tools often used by the Inquisitors.

The Roman Catholic priest and scholar Richard McBrien wrote about Pope Innocent IV (1243-1254):

Innocent IV was the first pope to approve of torture in the Inquisition to extract confessions of heresy. (McBrien R. Lives of the Popes. HarperCollins, 2000, p. 215)

It should be noted that although the early Church was against military service, in the fourteenth century the Roman Pontiff Boniface VIII later decreed:

Both, therefore, are in the power of the Church, that is to say, the spiritual and the material sword, but the former is to be administered for the Church but the latter by the Church; the former in the hands of the priest; the latter by the hands of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest. However, one sword ought to be subordinated to the other and temporal authority, subjected to spiritual power...Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff (THE BULL UNAM SANCTAM , 1302. English translation taken from a doctoral dissertation written in the Dept. of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America, and published by CUA Press in 1927. In Medieval Sourcebook, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/b8-unam.html 01/16/06).

Furthermore, we declare, state, define, and pronounce that it is altogether necessary for salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff. (Bull Unam Sanctum, 1302, as cited in Bettenson H, ed., Documents of the Christian Church. London: Oxford University Press, 1943, pp. 126-127).

Thus, Roman leaders endorsed killing and the use of the military under the authority of church leadership. This is basically what happened during the Spanish Inquisition.

The Bible tells of a power based on the city of seven hills was involved with human government that was responsible for the murder of Christian saints:

1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication."

3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written:

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

7 But the angel said to me, "Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

9 "Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. (Revelation 17:1-10)

18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:18).

This is a reference to Rome. Even Roman Catholic scholars acknowledge that:

9. The seven heads are the seven hills, on which the woman sits. That is, the city of Rome. (Victorinus (died circa 303 and a Catholic saint). Commentary on the Apocalypse, from the seventh chapter. Translated by Robert Ernest Wallis. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0712.htm>)

"The Church that is in Babylon saluteth you, and so doth my son Mark" (1 Peter 5:13). That Babylon stands for Rome, as usual amongst pious Jews, and not for the real Babylon, then without Christians, is admitted by common consent (cf. F.J.A. Hort, "Judaistic Christianity", London, 1895, 155) (Wilhelm J. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. Apostolic Succession. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I. Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

The seven headed city is probably Rome (septicolis-- seven hills) (Dupont Yves. Catholic Prophecy. TAN Books, 1973, p.24).

The woman sits on a scarlet beast, which is full of blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns (illustrating the close relationship between the historical city of Rome and the beast, the symbol of the Roman Empire, see Revelation 17:3). This woman (Rome) has been called Babylon the great and is drunk with the blood the saints and martyrs (see 17:5-6)...Another code for the symbols of the beast is announced in Revelation 17:9: "This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven mountains on which the woman is seated" (an obvious reference to the city of Rome built on seven hills).(Kurz, W. What Does the Bible Say About the End Times? A Catholic View. Servant Books, Cincinnati. Nihil Obstat: Kistner H., Schehr T.P. Imprimi Potest: Link F., Paul J.M. Imprimatur: Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxillary Bishop, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004, pp. 165,166)

St. Malachy (12th century): During the persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit upon the throne, Peter the Roman…the City of Seven Hills (Rome) will be utterly destroyed and the awful Judge will then judge the people. (Culleton, R. Gerald. The Prophets and Our Times. Nihil Obstat: L. Arvin. Imprimatur: Philip G. Scher, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno, November 15, 1941. Reprint 1974, TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 138)

...the Apocalypse was an inexhaustible quarry where to dig for invectives that they might hurl then against the Roman hierarchy. The seven hills of Rome, the scarlet robes of the cardinals, and the unfortunate abuses of the papal court made the application easy and tempting (Van den Biesen, Christian. Apocalypse. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 5 Oct. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01594b.htm>).

Nor must we look for order in the Apocalypse; but we must follow the meaning of those things which are prophesied. Therefore in the trumpets and phials is signified either the desolation of the plagues that are sent upon the earth, or the madness of Antichrist himself, or the cutting off of the peoples, or the diversity of the plagues, or the hope in the kingdom of the saints, or the ruin of states, or the great overthrow of Babylon, that is, the Roman state (Victorinus. Commentary on the Apocalypse, Chapter 7, Verse 8. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

There was a strong anti-Roman tradition in the early Church. Rome was the harlot city soaked in the blood of the saints, the centre from which spread out wave after wave of persecution. The Book of Revelations' gloating vision of the coming ruin of Rome, 'Fallen, fallen, is Babylon the great' (Revelations 14:8), remained a persistent strand so long as the empire continued to persecute the church, and survived even into the Middle Ages (Duffy, Eamon. Saints & Sinners: A History of the Popes. Yale University Press, New Haven (CT), 2002, pp. 16-17).

The author of the Commentaries upon the Apocalypse set forth in St. Ambrose name, writeth thus: This...sometime signifieth Rome, specially which at that time when the Apostle wrote this, did persecute the Church of God. But otherwise it signifieth the whole city of the Devil, that is, the universal corps of the reprobate. Tertullian also taketh it for Rome, thus, Babylon (saith he) in St. John is a figure of the city of Rome, being so great, so proud of the Empire, and the destroyer of the saints. (Annotations on Chapter 17 of the Apocalypse. The Original And True Rheims New Testament Of Anno Domini 1582. Prepared and Edited by Dr. William G. von Peters. Ph.D. 2004, copyright assigned to VSC Corp. Page 583).

So, while there are sometimes differences in timing, even Catholic scholars admit that Revelation 17 is talking about Rome.

Getting back to the Catholic article, The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition, it immediately continued with:

As the power of medieval popes grew, so too did the extent and sophistication of the Inquisition. The introduction of the Franciscans and Dominicans in the early 13th century provided the papacy with a corps of dedicated religious willing to devote their lives to the salvation of the world. Because their order had been created to debate with heretics and preach the Catholic faith, the Dominicans became especially active in the Inquisition. Following the most progressive law codes of the day, the Church in the 13th century formed inquisitorial tribunals answerable to Rome rather than local bishops. To ensure fairness and uniformity, manuals were written for inquisitorial officials. Bernard Gui, best known today as the fanatical and evil inquisitor in The Name of the Rose, wrote a particularly influential manual. (Madden, Thomas F. "The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition." Crisis. October 2003. Catholic Education Resource Center-CERC, http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/the-inquisition/the-truth-about-the-spanish-inquisition.html, accessed 03/26/17)

As far as Bernard Guidonis goes, yes, he wrote a manual-and authorized torture with some limits:

Gui states the legal position that inquisitors could use torture as long as there was ‘no damage to limb or danger of death : citra membri diminutionem et mortis periculum ’ , a formula which stems from Ad extirpanda. (Bernardus Guidonis, Practica Inquisitionis Heretice Pravitatis, ed. by Célestin Douais, Paris: Picard, 1886, p. 313; as cited in Hill DA. Change in the Fourteenth - Century Inquisition s een through Bernard Gui’s and Nicholas Eymerich’s Inquisitors’ Manuals Ph.D. Thesis. Birkbeck College, University of London, 19 October 2015, p. 180 http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/183/1/Fullversion-2016HillDAphdBBK.pdf accessed 04/05/17)

Eymerich, who integrated torture fully and explicitly into h is interrogation regime, re-used Gui’s wording on interrogation in the Directorium, with a few changes; he clearly saw Gui’s wording as consistent with the use of torture, about which he was entirely open. 84 In one area Gui is as open as Eymerich about torture. In his memorandum to the Pope complaining about Multorum querela and Nolentes, Gui discussed the use of torture explicitly, and without any indication that it might be a last resort ...

Gui’s argument, which is still advanced nowadays for the use o f torture (the ‘ticking bomb’ scenario), was that often the messengers and special guides of heretics were caught, who could most easily lead to heretics if they wished to reveal where they were. They never wished to do this spontaneously but delayed as much as they could so that ‘heretics who are somewhere in a nearby place can get away through this time delay: hæretici qui aliquando sunt in propinquo loco ex ipsa mora temporis se valeant absentare’. In such cases the fear of torture often led messengers to reveal heretics. The requ irement to consult a bishop would lead to injurious delay. Distances we re often quite great and inquisitors work ed in remote locations. Torture could be used for lesser crimes than heresy, and it was illogical that it should be effectively prevented in heresy cases. The argument here is pragmatic; torture should be used readily where it can give results, and breaking up Cathar and Waldensian networks was a key inquisition aim. This immediate torture of suspects who are likely to have useful information is directly attested in the 1272 - 80 register.There is every reason to believe from Gui’s memorandum that he authorised torture readily in such cases, which is the first limb of the purposes for which Ad extirpanda permits the use of torture. Indeed the broadly contemporary De officio goes a little further by saying that in line with Ad extirpanda the secular authorities are required (‘teneantur’) to torture captured heretics to get the names and hiding - places of ot her heretics.(Hill, pp. 181-182)

While much about Gui’s practice on torture has to be the subject of inference and surmise, doubt is entirely absent in Eymerich, who specifies in considerable and prescriptive detail what Gui leaves vague. ... Eymerich’s default way of eliciting the truth is the use of torture ... Eymerich correctly, in line with the requirements of Multorum querela, describes how the decision to torture must for both bishop and inquisitor ... There is also a discussion of how to build up to torture and pose questions in the right way to maximise the chances of a confession. ... As well as creating a low threshold for torture Eymerich seemingly moves away from the safeguards that were supposed to be in place to limit the impact of torture. (Hill, pp. 190, 191, 195, 198).

It is not the use of torture itself that distinguishes Eymerich from the earlier manual authors - both Gui and Ugolini allowed its use - but the fact that his system is mechanical and precise, with a series of rules to follow. ... Eymerich’s threshold for using torture is lower than his predecessors ; it can be applied effectively on the basis of giving rise to suspicion during questioning, once a suspect has come to the notice of the inquisition. Eymerich is also prepared to repeat torture until he secures a result; we do not kn ow definitely whether this was part of Gui’s or Ugolini’s practice (Hill, p. 225)

Most inquisitors in the 14th century used torture (Hill, p. 225)

Ad extirpanda means "in uprooting" (or to uproot), whereas Multorum querela means "many complaints."

Getting back to the Catholic apologist article The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition:

The power of kings rose dramatically in the late Middle Ages. Secular rulers strongly supported the Inquisition because they saw it as an efficient way to ensure the religious health of their kingdoms. If anything, kings faulted the Inquisition for being too lenient on heretics. As in other areas of ecclesiastical control, secular authorities in the late Middle Ages began to take over the Inquisition, removing it from papal oversight. In France, for example, royal officials assisted by legal scholars at the University of Paris assumed control of the French Inquisition. Kings justified this on the belief that they knew better than the faraway pope how best to deal with heresy in their own kingdoms.

These dynamics would help to form the Spanish Inquisition ...But it was perhaps inevitable that the waves of anti-Semitism that swept across medieval Europe would eventually find their way into Spain. Envy, greed, and gullibility led to rising tensions between Christians and Jews in the 14th century. During the summer of 1391, urban mobs in Barcelona and other towns poured into Jewish quarters, rounded up Jews, and gave them a choice of baptism or death. Most took baptism. The king of Aragon, who had done his best to stop the attacks, later reminded his subjects of well-established Church doctrine on the matter of forced baptisms — they don't count. He decreed that any Jews who accepted baptism to avoid death could return to their religion.

But most of these new converts, or conversos, decided to remain Catholic. There were many reasons for this. Some believed that apostasy made them unfit to be Jewish. Others worried that returning to Judaism would leave them vulnerable to future attacks. Still others saw their baptism as a way to avoid the increasing number of restrictions and taxes imposed on Jews. As time passed, the conversos settled into their new religion, becoming just as pious as other Catholics. Their children were baptized at birth and raised as Catholics. But they remained in a cultural netherworld. Although Christian, most conversos still spoke, dressed, and ate like Jews. Many continued to live in Jewish quarters so as to be near family members. The presence of conversos had the effect of Christianizing Spanish Judaism. ...

By the mid-15th century, a whole new converso culture was flowering in Spain — Jewish in ethnicity and culture, but Catholic in religion. ...

The expansion of converso wealth and power in Spain led to a backlash, particularly among aristocratic and middle-class Old Christians. They resented the arrogance of the conversos and envied their successes. Several tracts were written demonstrating that virtually every noble bloodline in Spain had been infiltrated by conversos. Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories abounded. The conversos, it was said, were part of an elaborate Jewish plot to take over the Spanish nobility and the Catholic Church, destroying both from within. The conversos, according to this logic, were not sincere Christians but secret Jews.

Modern scholarship has definitively shown that, like most conspiracy theories, this one was pure imagination. .... It is common today to hear that the conversos really were secret Jews, struggling to keep their faith hidden under the tyranny of Catholicism. Even the American Heritage Dictionary describes "converso " as "a Spanish or Portuguese Jew who converted outwardly to Christianity in the late Middle Ages so as to avoid persecution or expulsion, though often continuing to practice Judaism in secret." This is simply false.

But the constant drumbeat of accusations convinced King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella that the matter of secret Jews should at least be investigated. Responding to their request, Pope Sixtus IV issued a bull on November 1, 1478, allowing the crown to form an inquisitorial tribunal consisting of two or three priests over the age of 40. As was now the custom, the monarchs would have complete authority over the inquisitors and the inquisition. Ferdinand, who had many Jews and conversos in his court, was not at first overly enthusiastic about the whole thing. Two years elapsed before he finally appointed two men. Thus began the Spanish Inquisition. ...

Ferdinand was convinced that the problem of secret Jews was real.

In this early stage of the Spanish Inquisition, Old Christians and Jews used the tribunals as a weapon against their converso enemies. Since the Inquisition's sole purpose was to investigate conversos, the Old Christians had nothing to fear from it. Their fidelity to the Catholic faith was not under investigation (although it was far from pure). As for the Jews, they were immune to the Inquisition. Remember, the purpose of an inquisition was to find and correct the lost sheep of Christ's flock. It had no jurisdiction over other flocks. (Madden, Thomas F. "The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition." Crisis. October 2003. Catholic Education Resource Center-CERC, http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/the-inquisition/the-truth-about-the-spanish-inquisition.html, accessed 03/26/17)

That last statement was totally false. The Inquisition most definitely did impact those that did not consider themselves to be Roman Catholic. People were terrorized by what was happening.

Plus, being an inquistitor could lead to promotions in the Church of Rome.

Notice also the following about two popes:

Pius V's {1566-1572} intense commitment to stamp out heresy (a throwback to his earlier years as an inquisitor, including grand inquisitor, or commissary general of the Roman Inquisition) led to an inordinate reliance upon the Inquisition and often inhumane methods. ... He was also unusually severe on the Jews. (McBrien, pp. 289-290)

Benedict XII had come into office {1335 - 1342} with a reputation as a learned theologian and indefatigable {tirelessly persistent} inquisitor, skilled at extracting confessions from alleged heretics, some of whom were burned at the stake. (McBrien, p. 239).

Going back to the apologist article, The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition, it also had the following:

Well-publicized burnings — often because of blatantly false testimony — justifiably frightened other conversos. Those with enemies often fled town before they could be denounced. Everywhere they looked, the inquisitors found more accusers. As the Inquisition expanded into Aragon, the hysteria levels reached new heights. Pope Sixtus IV attempted to put a stop to it. On April 18, 1482, he wrote to the bishops of Spain:

In Aragon, Valencia, Mallorca, and Catalonia the Inquisition has for some time been moved not by zeal for the faith and the salvation of souls but by lust for wealth. Many true and faithful Christians, on the testimony of enemies, rivals, slaves, and other lower and even less proper persons, have without any legitimate proof been thrust into secular prisons, tortured and condemned as relapsed heretics, deprived of their goods and property and handed over to the secular arm to be executed, to the peril of souls, setting a pernicious example, and causing disgust to many.

Sixtus ordered the bishops to take a direct role in all future tribunals. They were to ensure that the Church's well-established norms of justice were respected. The accused were to have legal counsel and the right to appeal their case to Rome.

In the Middle Ages, the pope's commands would have been obeyed. But those days were gone. King Ferdinand was outraged when he heard of the letter. He wrote to Sixtus, openly suggesting that the pope had been bribed with converso gold:

Things have been told me, Holy Father, which, if true, would seem to merit the greatest astonishment. To these rumors, however, we have given no credence because they seem to be things which would in no way have been conceded by Your Holiness who has a duty to the Inquisition. But if by chance concessions have been made through the persistent and cunning persuasion of the conversos, I intend never to let them take effect. Take care therefore not to let the matter go further, and to revoke any concessions and entrust us with the care of this question.

That was the end of the papacy's role in the Spanish Inquisition. It would henceforth be an arm of the Spanish monarchy, separate from ecclesiastical authority. It is odd, then, that the Spanish Inquisition is so often today described as one of the Catholic Church's great sins. The Catholic Church as an institution had almost nothing to do with it. (Madden, Thomas F. "The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition." Crisis. October 2003. Catholic Education Resource Center-CERC, http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/the-inquisition/the-truth-about-the-spanish-inquisition.html, accessed 03/26/17)

To claim that the Church of Rome "had almost nothing to do with it" is absurd. The Church of Rome started it, the inquisitors were normally members of the clergy of the Church of Rome, and the inquisitors attempted to determine how "Catholic" the accused were. The Church of Rome caused pain, suffering, and thievery. Yes, it was nice that a letter from a pope questioned that, but because of the history of Roman pontiffs themselves being into money and avarice in the Middle Ages, this probably also influenced the inquisitors.

Going back to the earlier Catholic apologist article, The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition, the author immediately continued with:

In 1483 Ferdinand appointed Tomás de Torquemada as inquistor-general for most of Spain. It was Torquemada's job to establish rules of evidence and procedure for the Inquisition as well as to set up branches in major cities. Sixtus confirmed the appointment, hoping that it would bring some order to the situation.

Unfortunately, the problem only snowballed. This was a direct result of the methods employed by the early Spanish Inquisition, which strayed significantly from Church standards. When the inquisitors arrived in a particular area, they would announce an Edict of Grace. This was a 30-day period in which secret Jews could voluntarily come forward, confess their sin, and do penance. This was also a time for others with information about Christians practicing Judaism in secret to make it known to the tribunal. Those found guilty after the 30 days elapsed could be burned at the stake.

For conversos, then, the arrival of the Inquisition certainly focused the mind. They generally had plenty of enemies, any one of whom might decide to bear false witness. ...

Opposition in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to the Spanish Inquisition only increased. Many churchmen pointed out that it was contrary to all accepted practices for heretics to be burned without instruction in the Faith. If the conversos were guilty at all, it was merely of ignorance, not willful heresy. Numerous clergy at the highest levels complained to Ferdinand. Opposition to the Spanish Inquisition also continued in Rome. Sixtus's successor, Innocent VIII, wrote twice to the king asking for greater compassion, mercy, and leniency for the conversos — but to no avail.

As the Spanish Inquisition picked up steam, those involved became increasingly convinced that Spain's Jews were actively seducing the conversos back into their old faith. It was a silly idea, no more real than the previous conspiracy theories. But Ferdinand and Isabella were influenced by it. ..

The first 15 years of the Spanish Inquisition, under the direction of Torquemada, were the deadliest. Approximately 2,000 conversos were put to the flames. (Madden, Thomas F. "The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition." Crisis. October 2003. Catholic Education Resource Center-CERC, http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/the-inquisition/the-truth-about-the-spanish-inquisition.html, accessed 03/26/17)

So, why did not the Pope excommunicate Tomás de Torquemada or King Ferdinand or take other bold actions for their murderous persecution? Anyway the article The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition continued with:

By 1500, however, the hysteria had calmed. Torquemada's successor, the cardinal archbishop of Toledo, Francisco Jimenez de Cisneros, worked hard to reform the Inquisition, removing bad apples and reforming procedures. Each tribunal was given two Dominican inquisitors, a legal adviser, a constable, a prosecutor, and a large number of assistants. With the exception of the two Dominicans, all of these were royal lay officials. The Spanish Inquisition was largely funded by confiscations, but these were not frequent or great. Indeed, even at its peak the Inquisition was always just making ends meet.

After the reforms, the Spanish Inquisition had very few critics. ...

What about the dark dungeons and torture chambers? The Spanish Inquisition had jails, of course. But they were neither especially dark nor dungeon-like. ...

The Spanish people loved their Inquisition. (Madden, Thomas F. "The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition." Crisis. October 2003. Catholic Education Resource Center-CERC, http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/the-inquisition/the-truth-about-the-spanish-inquisition.html, accessed 03/26/17)

The Spanish who 'loved' this were supposed Roman Catholics--torture is not love. By trying to say people loved it and that there were few (surviving public) critics is NOT justification for the horrific acts that were performed.

As far as the Spanish loving the Inquisition, notice the following:

Catalonia effectively became part of the Castilian state, although it jealously guarded its own institutions and system of law. Rather than attack this problem head on, Fernando and Isabel sidestepped it, introducing the hated Spanish Inquisition to Barcelona in 1487 (a local, milder version of the Inquisition had operated on Catalan territory since 1242, with headquarters in the Palau Episcopal). The local citizenry implored them not to do so as what was left of business life in the city lay largely in the hands of conversos (Jews at least nominally converted to Christianity) who were a particular target of Inquisitorial attention. The pleas were ignored and the conversos packed their bags and shipped out their money. Barcelona was reduced to penury. Fernando and Isabel’s successors, the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Carlos V (Carlos I of Spain), and his son, Felipe II, tightened Madrid’s grip on Catalonia, although the region long managed to retain a degree of autonomy. Impoverished and disaffected by ever-growing financial demands from the crown,

Catalonia revolted in the 17th century in the Guerra dels Segadors (Reapers’ War; 1640–52) and declared itself to be an independent ‘republic’ under French protection. The countryside and towns were devastated, and Barcelona was finally besieged into submission. (Barceloa: History. Lonely Plaent. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/barcelona/history#ixzz4cRLINXpd)

So, no, not all Spanish loved the Inquisition. It was terrible. Attempting to justify the unjustifable does not change that.

Another bad consequence of the Inquisition was the it seems to have caused the Spanish to increase their consumption of the biblically unclean (The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats) pig:

... in 1480 the Spanish Inquisition was created by Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile with the aim of maintaining Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms and rooting out ‘false’ converts from Islam and Judaism. The new converts became known respectively as moriscos and conversos, or, in the insulting term of the time, marranos (pigs). Paradoxically, this is the time when Spain’s love affair with the pig begins, as a righteous affirmation of one’s religious credentials. (Llyod N. The call of the past. Barcelona Metropolitan, October 28, 2011: http://www.barcelona-metropolitan.com/in-the-city/the-call-of-the-past/#sthash.7aMiXb3d.dpuf)

Here is some of what Catholic.org says about one of their leaders they refer to as “St. Pope Pius V”:

Pope from 1566-1572 and one of the foremost leaders of the Catholic Reformation…As pope, Pius saw his main objective as the continuation of the massive program of reform for the Church, in particular the full implementation of the decrees of the Council of Trent. He published the Roman Catechism, the revised Roman Breviary, and the Roman Missal…

In 1571, Pius created the Congregation of the Index to give strength to the Church’s resistance to Protestant and heretical writings, and he used the Inquisition to prevent any Protestant ideas from gaining a foot hold in Italy…His reign was blemished only by the continuing oppression of the Inquisition; the often brutal treatment of the Jews of Rome; and the ill advised decision to excommunicate Queen Elizabeth I http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=5515

The Inquisition and brutal treatment of Jews are more than blemishes, they help demonstrate that Pius V was not a successor of Peter or the other apostles. It also shows that claims that the brutality of Inquistion was over prior to his reign are not accurate. That is The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition.

Perhaps it should be mentioned that in modern times, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the direct successor of the department created in the 16th century to manage the Inquisition. Former Pope Benedict XVI once headed it.

Bernard Guidonis Also Documented Doctrinal Issues

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes this about one of its inquisitors:

Bernard Guidonis
Inquisitor of Toulouse against the Albigenses and Bishop of Lodève, b. at Royères (Limousin) in 1261, d. at Lauroux (Hérault), 30 December, 1331. He was one of the most prolific writers of the Middle Ages (De Moreira M. Transcribed by Albert Judy, O.P. Bernard Guidonis. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Here are some of the beliefs he found that those he persecuted held:

Nevertheless, attention should be called to the fact that among the Beguins are found some who know, accept and believe many or all of the errors listed below. These are more steeped and hardened in them. Others can say less about these errors yet are sometimes found to be worse in holding and believing them than are others. Still others have heard or remember less and yield to valid reason and saner counsel. Others obstinately persist and refuse to recant, choosing to die rather than abjure their errors, saying that in this matter they defend the gospel truth, the life of Christ, and evangelical and apostolic poverty…

Again, they say that the prelates and inquisitors who judged and condemned them as heretics – and indeed all those who consented or now consent knowingly to their condemnations – have by this action become heretics (if they persevere in it), and by this action have lost the ecclesiastical power to bind, loose and administer the ecclesiastical sacraments…

Again, they say that prelates and members of religious orders whose clothing is too abundant or too costly violate gospel perfection and Christ’s precept, according instead with the precept of Antichrist. Such clerics who go around in pompous fashion are of the family of Antichrist…

Again, they say they are not required to take oaths, nor should they be made to reveal under oath the names of their fellow believers, accomplices and associates, because, as they say, this would violate the command to love one’s neighbor and would on the contrary injure one’s neighbor…

they say the carnal church (by which they mean the Roman church as it exists, not only in the city of Rome, but throughout the whole area under Roman jurisdiction) is Babylon, the great whore of whom John spoke in the Apocalypse. Thus they apply these passages to the Roman Church and attribute to the church all the evil things written there, such as that it is drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus Christ…

Again, they distinguish between two churches, the carnal church which they say is the Roman church which contains the multitude of rebrobate, and the spiritual church which contains those people they describe as spiritual and evangelical, who emulate the life of Christ and the apostles. They say the latter is their church…

Again, some of them claim that on those elect spiritual and evangelical individuals through whom a spiritual and benign church will be founded in the seventh and last period, the Holy Spirit will be poured out in greater or at least in equal abundance as on the apostles, the disciples of Jesus Christ, on the day of Pentecost during the time of the primitive church. And they say the Holy Spirit will descend on them like a fiery flame in a furnace, and they take this to mean that, not only will their souls be filled with the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit will live in their bodies as well.

Again, they claim that there is a double Antichrist, one spiritual or mystical and the other the real, greater Antichrist…

Again, they say that both in the time of persecution by Antichrist and in that of the aforesaid war carnal Christians will be so afflicted that, despairing, they will say, “If Christ were God, he would not permit Christians to suffer so much and such intense evil.” Thus despairing, they will apostacize from the faith and die. But God will hide the elect spiritual individuals so that they cannot be found by Antichrist and his ministers. Then the church will be reduced to the same size as the primitive church when it was first founded…

Again, they say that after Antichrist’s death these spiritual individuals will convert the entire world to the faith of Christ; and the whole world will be so good and benign that there will be no malice or sin in people of that period, except perhaps for venial sins in a few of them; and all things will be common as far as use is concerned; and there will be no one who offends anyone else or encourages another to sin. For there will be the greatest love among them, and there will be one flock and one pastor. According to some of them this period and condition will last for one hundred years. Then, as love fails, malice will creep back in and slowly increase until Christ is, as it were, compelled to come in universal judgment because of it.

Again, these insane heretics seriously and ignominiously rail against the Lord Pope, the vicar of Jesus Christ, calling him the mystical Antichrist, precursor of the greater Antichrist, preparing the way for his life (Bernard Gui: Inquisitor’s Manual, Chapter 5. Translated by David Burr, History Department, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. http://www2.kenyon.edu/projects/margin/inquisit.htm 04/05/17).

It should be pointed out that perhaps the Inquisitor slightly confused the millennium (see Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?, the first part of it (happening after the death of Antichrist), with the 100 years which happens afterwards (Isiah 65:20).

It should be also be pointed out that Albigneses and Waldenses were sometimes arrested with the Beguins. Now while most that were killed in the Inquisition were not in the Church of God, nor were the Franciscan Beguins, it is obvious that Church of God doctrines such as that ministers should not dress like the Roman clerics, Christians are not to swear oaths, and that God will offer salvation to all, were clearly condemned by the Roman Catholics during the time of Thyatira.

As far as a spiritual or mystic antichrist and a later one, that is consistent with what the Apostle John taught in 1 John 2:18 (more on this can be found in the article Some Doctrines of Antichrist).

Furthermore, Bernard Gui claimed the following about the Albigenses:

In the first place, they usually say of themselves that they are good Christians, who do not swear, or lie, or speak evil of others; that they do not kill any man or animal, nor anything having the breath of life, and that they hold the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel as the apostles taught. They assert that they occupy the place of the apostles, and that, on account of the above-mentioned things, they of the Roman Church, namely the prelates, clerks, and monks, and especially the inquisitors of heresy persecute them and call them heretics, although they are good men and good Christians, and that they are persecuted just as Christ and his apostles were by the Pharisees.

Moreover they talk to the laity of the evil lives of the clerks and prelates of the Roman Church, pointing out and setting forth their pride, cupidity, avarice, and uncleanness of life, and such other evils as they know. They invoke with their own interpretation and according to their abilities the authority of the Gospels and the Epistles against the condition of the prelates, churchmen, and monks, whom they call Pharisees and false prophets, who say, but do no.

Then they attack and vituperate, in turn, all the sacraments of the Church, especially the sacrament of the eucharist, saying that it cannot contain the body of Christ, for had this been as great as the largest mountain Christians would have entirely consumed it before this. They assert that the host comes from straw, that it passes through the tails of horses, to wit, when the flour is cleaned by a sieve (of horse hair); that, moreover, it passes through the body and comes to a vile end, which, they say, could not happen if God were in it.

Of baptism, they assert that the water is material and corruptible and is therefore the creation of the evil power, and cannot sanctify the soul, but that the churchmen sell this water out of avarice, just as they sell earth for the burial of the dead, and oil to the sick when they anoint them, and as: they sell the confession of sins as made to the priests.

Hence they claim that confession made to the priests of, the Roman Church is useless, and that, since the priests may be sinners, they cannot loose nor bind, and, being unclean in themselves, cannot make others clean. They assert, moreover, that the cross of Christ should not be adored or venerated, because, as they urge, no one would venerate or adore the gallows upon which a father, relative, or friend had been hung. They urge, further, that they who adore the cross ought, for similar reasons, to worship all thorns and lances, because as Christ’s body was on the cross during the passion, so was the crown of thorns on his head and the soldier’s lance in his side, They proclaim many other scandalous things in regard to the sacraments.

Moreover they read from the Gospels and the Epistles in the vulgar tongue, applying and expounding them in their favor and against the condition of the Roman Church in a manner which it would take too long to describe in detail; but all that relates to this subject may be read more fully in the books they have written and infected, and may be learned from the confessions of such of their followers as have been converted. (From the Inquisitor’s Manual of Bernard Gui [d.1331], early 14th century, translated in J. H. Robinson, Readings in European History, (Boston: Ginn, 1905), pp. 381-383, http://essenes.crosswinds.net/albe.html 05/27/07).

I will simply state that we in the Continuing Church of God consider ourselves to be true Christians, do not swear, do not kill any man, do consider inquisitors as non-Christians, do not consider that the “Eucharist” is the actual flesh of Christ, oppose the selling of sacraments, do not believe priests can forgive sin, do not revere instruments of death like the cross, do normally read the Bible in the Vulgar tongue (which is English in my case), and that we hold the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel as the apostles taught (this latter point is shown fairly clearly in the article Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?).

And as the inquisitor’s accounts show, our positions were also held in the Middle Ages (for documentation that our views have been held since the beginning of the Church age, please go to the History of Early Christianity page).

I would like to add here that it was not just against actual Jews in Spain, but of Christians who had practices that the Church of Rome considered to be Jewish.  The Inquisition was also against pretty much anyone that was opposed to the Church of Rome, which would include all truly in the Church of God.

One Protestant scholar noted:

The next major step in the establishment of the Inquisition was taken by Innocent III…In the West, the same pope launched a “Crusade” against the Cathars, or Albigenses, of Southern France in 1208…In the second century of the Christian Era, most Christians refused to take up arms at all.. One millennium later, Christians were not only fighting for the church against “infidels” who had conquered ancient biblical lands, but against other Christians, heretical ones, who only asked to be able to live in peace on their ancestral soil...No matter how dreadful the use of violence against the dualistic Albigenses was, it must be acknowledged that their heresy is incompatible with Christianity, indeed with biblical religion as such…Perhaps for medieval popes the crucial factor that caused them to condemn dissidents was really the dissidents’ rejection of papal authority (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 260-261).

Notice that the Protestant scholar seems to feel that murdering Cathars and Albigenses who simply wanted to live in peace (but were not Greco-Roman trinitarian) is more compatible with Catholic/Protestant “Christianity” than being faithful to the teachings of Christ and the early Christians who were against warfare. Are the real heretics those who were faithful to New Testament teachings against warfare or those who changed those teachings and killed?

Notice what a former Roman Catholic priest reported:

It has been reckoned that in the last and most savage persecution under Emperor Diocletian about two thousand Christians perished, worldwide. In the first incident of Pope Innocent’s Crusade ten times that number of people were slaughtered. Not all were Albigensians. It comes as a shock to discover that, at a stroke, a pope killed far more Christians than Diocletian (De Rosa, Peter. Vicars of Christ. Poolberg Press, Dublin, 2000, pp. 160-161).

(The entire persecution that Roman Emperor Diocletian unleashed lasted from 303-313 A.D; the inquisition-persecution that Innocent III unleashed lasted hundreds of years.)

Notice some of what Canon 3 of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 decreed:

Secular authorities, whatever office they may hold, shall be admonished and induced and if necessary compelled by ecclesiastical censure, that as they wish to be esteemed and numbered among the faithful, so for the defense of the faith they ought publicly to take an oath that they will strive in good faith and to the best of their ability to exterminate in the territories subject to their jurisdiction all heretics pointed out by the Church; so that whenever anyone shall have assumed authority, whether spiritual or temporal, let him be bound to confirm this decree by oath (Twelfth Ecumenical Council: Lateran IV 1215, Canon 3.  From H. J. Schroeder, Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils: Text, Translation and Commentary, (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1937). pp. 236-296. as cited in: Medieval Sourcebook.  http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/lateran4.html viewed 04/08/10).

Hence, persecution has been justified by many Greco-Romans.

Back in 1968, the old WCG published:

The infamous INQUISITION was then set up to complete the job by eliminating religious objections. Papal bull decreed severe punishment against any person suspected of even sympathizing with “heretics.” Confiscations, imprisonments, burnings and every imaginable form of persecution continued for more than a hundred years. Thousands died. In the city of Montsegur alone, 200 persons were burned in one day…

Gregory IX issued another bull against the Waldenses in 1231. From 1231 to 1233 a general persecution raged in Germany, cutting short the Work in Holland. By 1235, persecution on a large scale began at Milan, original seat of the Lombard Waldenses. The archbishop “razed their school” — apparently the College — but LEFT THE PEOPLE FREE! On the French side of the Alps, killing and burning reached the Valley Louise in 1238. (LESSON 51 (1968) AMBASSADOR COLLEGE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place …” Rev. 12:6).

Gregory IX was the one who put the Inquisition under control of the Dominican order (McBrien, p. 212). The Inquisition, also in southern France, began in more earnest in 1231/1233 when Pope Gregory IX charged the Dominican order with wiping out Cathari (their name mean Puritan, and that is where the Puritan developed from) and others they considered to be heretics.

Orthodox seers and writers have also taken positions against those with original Judeo-Christian practices.  One example would be a 1249 A.D. vision of “Blessed Hieronymus Agathaghelos” which claimed that “the blasphemies of the Sabbatians have stained and soiled for many centuries” (Cited in Tzima Otto, p. 135; Dr. Otto herself refers to those with Nazarene/Judeo-Christian beliefs as “Christian traitors” on p. 240)–Hieronymus Agathaghelos also predicted their public execution (Tzima Otto, 134,135,240).

There is a long history of Greco-Roman church leaders attempting to eliminate those part of, or sympathetic to, the Church of God.

The Albigneses were condemned by various councils. And one, the Council of Albi (sometimes spelled Alby) in 1254 apparently stated:

They savour of Judaism…they observe the Jewish sabbath, but say that the holy Dominical day is no better than any other day; let them be accursed (Quoted in Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, p. 64).

Notice two brief Protestant-leaning accounts of the Inquisition:

torture…That it should be used by the Inquisition was a matter of course, for the crime of heresy was often one peculiarly difficult to prove; confession was sought in all cases and, from the middle of the thirteenth century, the habitual employment of torture by the Holy Office had been the most efficient factor in spreading its use throughout Christendom… In Aragon, Pefia tells us that, although it was forbidden in secular jurisprudence, it was freely permitted in matters of faith (Lea HC. A history of the Inquisition of Spain, Volume 3.  The Macmillan company, 1922. Original from Harvard University. Digitized, Apr 11, 2008, p. 2).

Now any of the Popes could have stopped the horrible Inquisition by merely affixing his name and seal to a piece of paper. But did they? No. Some of the popes that are today acclaimed to be “great” by the Romish Church, lived and thrived during those bloody days. Not one of them made a serious attempt to open the dungeon doors, to stop the slaughter of dripping blades, or quench the murderous fires that blackened the skies of Europe for decades! And now I ask you: Could such a system that instituted this horrible Inquisition of the dark ages be the true Church? (Woodrow R.  Babylon Mystery Religion.  Ralph Woodrow Evangelistic Association, 1998, p. 110)

Does anyone think torture is what Jesus would advise?

Also notice the following as it points out that most of the ‘Jews’ that supposedly killed were not actual Jews but Sabbath keepers:

“Of the many who were burned and otherwise destroyed for Judaism,” observes a Spanish author of the sixteenth century, “it is not probable that one-tenth were of the race of Israel, but heretics, who, for persisting in saying that the law of Moses was still binding, were accused of Jewish practices, such as circumcision and sabbatizing, to the latter of which they uniformly plead guilty” (Quoted in Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, p. 88).

Notice that it was the supposed Jewish practice of keeping the Sabbath, and not circumcision, that they uniformly plead guilty to (Jews would always have been “guilty” of circumcision, while not all the that profess Christ would participate in that practice).

This actually seemed to upset one inquisitor named Gregory. Notice the following account:

On the 14th of September, 1492, about thirty persons were committed to the inquisitional dungeons of Toulouse upon a charge of Judaism…Of there was Anthony Ferrar, who had been a pastor or teacher in the Sabbatarian church of that city. After remaining in prison ten days, he received a visit from an Italian monk named Gregory…

Greg.–But Anthony, you must be a liar and a deceiver, for I have been credibly informed that yourself, and all of your friends, were of the cursed race of Israel.

An.–It is false, we were honest Frenchmen, and Christians, followers of Jesus.

Greg.–Nay! but you were Jews, for instead of baptizing your infant children, you have all the males circumcised.

An.–You were very wrong to accuse us of that practice ; for it is something of which we are entirely innocent.

Greg.–Hey ! do you then baptize your children?

An.–We do not, neither do we circumcise them.

Greg.–Nevertheless, you must be Jews, since you say the law of Moses is still binding.

An.–We say that the ten commandments are still binding.

Greg.–Yes, and instead of observing the festivals of the Holy Church, and honouring the holy day of the Lord, on which he rose from the dead, you were accustomed to meet for worship upon the old Sabbath, or Saturday.

An.–We did, indeed, rest and attend divine worship upon the seventh day, even as God commanded…

Anthony, with his associates in misfortune, were subsequently burned in the marketplace in Toulouse, and all died praising God that they were worthy to suffer for his name (Quoted in Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, pp. 87-88).

So if people had original Christian practices, like the Sabbath (see The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad), they were considered to be persecuted as Jews.

What About Protestants?

While nearly everyone is familiar with the Catholic persecutions during the Inquisition, many are unaware of the persecutions by the early Protestants.

Plus, Martin Luther hated Jews. Martin Luther wrote:

My heart is fuller of these thoughts than my tongue can tell. I have come to the conclusion that the Jews will always curse and blaspheme God as all the prophets have predicted. He who neither reads nor understands this, as yet knows no theology, in my opinion. And so I presume the men of Cologne cannot understand the Scripture, because it is necessary that such things take place to fulfill prophecy. If they are trying to stop the Jews blaspheming, they are working to prove the Bible and God liars ("Martin Luther's to George Spalatin," from Luther's Correspondence and Other Contemporan, Letters, trans. by P. Smith (1913), Vol. 1, pp. 28-29).

Furthermore he wrote:

I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that those miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews and who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them…They are so blind and stupid that they see neither the words found in Genesis 17 nor the whole of Scripture, which mightily and explicitly condemns this lie…They are real liars and bloodhounds who have not only continually perverted and falsified all of Scripture with their mendacious glosses from the beginning until the present day. Their heart's most ardent sighing and yearning and hoping is set on the day on which they can deal with us Gentiles as they did with the Gentiles in Persia at the time of Esther…The worse a Jew is, the more arrogant he is, solely because he is a Jew — that is, a person descended from Abraham's seed, circumcised, and under the law of Moses. David and other pious Jews were not as conceited as the present-day, incorrigible Jews...I wanted to present this to us Germans so that we might see what rascals the blind Jews are and how powerfully the truth of God in our midst stands with us and against them (Medieval Sourcebook: Martin Luther (1483-1546): On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543)

Martin Luther advised his followers:

...to burn down Jewish schools and synagogues, and to throw pitch and sulphur into the flames; to destroy their homes; to confiscate their ready money in gold and silver; to take from them their sacred books, even the whole Bible; and if that did not help matters, to hunt them of the country like mad dogs (Luther’s Works, vol. Xx, pp. 2230-2632 as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.99).

Accordingly, it must and dare not be considered a trifling matter but a most serious one to seek counsel against this and to save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and from eternal death. My advice, as I said earlier, is: First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss in sulphur and pitch (Martin Luther (1483-1546): On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543 as quoted from Luther's Works, Volume 47: The Christian in Society IV, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971). pp 268­293).

As one raised Roman Catholic, I was aware of the fact that the Protestants were involved in persecuting Catholics, but did not realize until much later the extent of Protestant persecutions against the Jews and others.

Here is a 19th century account of some of this:

Catholics have persecuted Protestants: Protestants have pursued Catholics: Lutherans have hunted Anabaptists; Episcopalians have burned Puritans; Puritans have hanged Quakers; Calvinists have tortured Unitarians, and all have united in persecuting the heroic Infidels who have refused to believe in any of the multifarious and conflicting creeds. (Bennett RM.  The champions of the church: their crimes and persecutions. D.M. Bennett, 1878, p. 832)

Now I would like to point out that there is no evidence that there ever was any organized persecution by the Church of God. Those truly in the COG were often persecuted and never the persecutors.

Regarding peasants opposed to him and the leaders that favored him, notice what Martin Luther advised:

Pure devilry is urging on the peasants…Therefore let all who are able, mow them down, slaughter and stab them, openly or in secret, and remember that there is nothing more poisonous, noxious and utterly devilish than a rebel. You must kill him as you would a mad dog…

The authorities must resolve to chastise and slay as long as they can raise a finger…It may be that those who are killed on the side of the authorities is really a martyr in God’s cause. A happier death no man could die. The present time is so strange that a prince can gain Heaven easier by spilling blood than by praying (Luther M. Against the Murderous and Rapacious Hordes of the Peasants, May 4, 1525-Erl, 24, 287, ff. As cited in O’Hare PF. The Facts About Luther, p. 232).

Notice what Martin Luther admitted:

I, Martin Luther, slew all the peasants in the rebellion, for I said that they should be slain; all their blood is upon my head. But I cast it on the Lord God, who commanded me to speak this way (Werke, Erl. Edition, lix, p. 284 ‘Table Talk’ as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.96).

It is reported that 100,000 perished at that time.

Also notice the following:

The persecution of the Anabaptists by the “Reformed ” Church is another dark stain upon the character of the Reformation…but no mere belief ever deserved torture. They had one redeeming trait, however—the rejection of Lutheranism and the authority of Luther. This was their chief crime, although their rejection of infant baptism, and their protest against any other form of baptism but by immersion, was an argument which weighed heavily against them with the Lutherans, and one to be suitably answered only by extermination.

Lutherans hated the Anabaptists and condemned them for believing that Jesus would return and reign on the earth for 1,000 years (Revelation 20) and for holding other biblical doctrines.  Notice the following:

Article IX: Of Baptism. Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God’s grace. They condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children…

Article XII:…They condemn the Anabaptists, who deny that those once justified can lose the Holy Ghost…

Article XVI: Of Civil Affairs. Of Civil Affairs they teach that lawful civil ordinances are good works of God, and that it is right for Christians to bear civil office, to sit as judges, to judge matters by the Imperial and other existing laws, to award just punishments, to engage in just wars, to serve as soldiers, to make legal contracts, to hold property, to make oath when required by the magistrates, to marry a wife, to be given in marriage. They condemn the Anabaptists who forbid these civil offices to Christians.

Article XVII: Of Christ’s Return to Judgment. Also they teach that at the Consummation of the World Christ will appear for judgment and will raise up all the dead; He will give to the godly and elect eternal life and everlasting joys, but ungodly men and the devils He will condemn to be tormented without end. They condemn the Anabaptists, who think that there will be an end to the punishments of condemned men and devils. They condemn also others who are now spreading certain Jewish opinions, that before the resurrection of the dead the godly shall take possession of the kingdom of the world, the ungodly being everywhere suppressed. (The Confession of Faith: Which Was Submitted to His Imperial Majesty Charles V. At the Diet of Augsburg in the Year 1530. by Philip Melanchthon, 1497-1560. Translated by F. Bente and W. H. T. Dau. Published in: Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Ev. Lutheran Church. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, pp. 37-95.)

Lutherans especially hated the position that Christians were not supposed to be soldiers in this age and have written various documents opposing that biblical position (for the biblical position, please see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?).  Also notice what happened afterward the condemnations of 1530:

But Luther did not stop here. On the seventh of August, 1536, a synod was convened at Hamburg to devise the best means of exterminating the Anabaptists…Not one voice among all the delegates was raised in favor of the Anabaptists. Even Melancthon voted to put all those to death who should remain, obstinate in their errors…The ministers of Ulm demanded that heresy should be extinguished by fire and sword. Those of Augsburg said: ‘ If we have not yet sent any Anabaptists to the gibbet, we have at least branded their cheeks with red iron!’ …

From this exceedingly tolerant council emanated the following exceedingly liberal decree…

“”Whoever rejects infant baptism…shall be punished with death,…As for the simple people, who have not preached or administered baptism, but who were seduced to permit themselves to frequent the assemblies of the heretics, if they do not wish to renounce Anabaptism, they shall be scourged, punished with perpetual exile, and even with death if they return three times to the place whence they have been expelled.” (Bennett, pp. 843-845)

Thus, intolerance and persecution came from the followers of Martin Luther.

Notice the following actions taken against the Anabaptists by the Protestant "Reformers":

It is well known that the Lutheran princes and prelates practiced upon the Anabaptists all the cruelties to which they themselves had been subject by the

Roman hierarchs. The names Luther, Calvin, and Zuinglius, have been marked in this indelible stain...

Calvin, who could smile with complacency over the tortures of those who refused to be governed by his own opinions; and Zuinglius, who, when questioned regarding the fate of certain Anabaptists, replied,

"Drown the Dippers"

(Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, p. 106).

“In order to set up an effective system, Calvin used the State to inflict more severe penalties. Such penalties proved to be much to {sic}severe, fifty-eight being executed and seventy-six exiled by 1546”. These numbers are supplied by the Presbyterians themselves, and only the Lord knows how many Saints of the Lord were really executed for their faith! See- Christianity Through The Centuries, by Cairns, page 338 (Duff, Rex.  ANABAPTIST HISTORY. The Official Website of Anabaptists.  http://www.anabap.com/anabaphistory.htm viewed 3/30/08).

Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli ended up killing, often by drowning, the Anabaptists who promoted and practiced adult baptism (Bacchiocchi S. “ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED”. ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 197, 2008 ).

Zwingli (as also Luther and Calvin) had conceived of Zurich as a Christian state, a single unified Christian society… The Anabaptists were thus viewed as a threat to the stability of the social order and less as mere theological heretics (Storms S.  Zwingli and Anabaptists.  Nov 8, 2006.  © Copyright 2008 Enjoying God Ministries.  http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/19-zwingli-and-anabaptists viewed 3/30/08).

Here is another observation from a 19th century account:

” If matters of fact can establish any certainty,” says a Christian writer of half a century ago, ” then it is certain that the two principal pillars of the Reformation, Martin Luther and John Calvin, and their confederate reformers, were influenced by the self-same spirit of cruelty and injustice which had influenced the ecclesiastical tyrants of every age from Diotrephes and the Alexandrian priesthood down to the same Luther and Calvin.” (Bennett, p. 835)

These “pillars of the Reformation” did not act like the pillars of the New Testament Church. Unholy alliances between the Protestants and government help demonstrate that they are among the daughters of mystery Babylon the Great (Revelation 17:5).

As far as modern Protestant persecution goes, Protestants often refer to the Church of God as a cult (see also Is the Genuine Church of God a Cult?). Protestants have taken steps to prevent COG groups from broadcasting on radio and television stations (as has the Church of Rome in some countries). And Protestants have improperly attacked and accused the COG on the internet.

A Future Inquisition is Coming

Persecutions are not over.

Another 'inquisition' is prophesied by the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3; see also Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?).

28 While returning to his land with great riches, his heart shall be moved against the holy covenant; so he shall do damage and return to his own land...32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. 33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. 34 Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. 35 And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time (Daniel 11:28, 32-35).

The persecutions above are by one called the King of the North (Daniel 11:40; 7:25a). The King of the North will NOT like the message that the Philadelphians are proclaiming at least of part of which will likely be the Continuing Church of God identifying him to the world as the prophesied King of the North. "Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery" --like the inquisitors of old, he will try to get people to betray others. In this case, he is looking for those that know something about the Church of God, but fell away (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3; see, also,The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings ).

While it is apparently the Philadelphia Christians that are targeted for this particular persecution, it is likely that some Laodicean and other Christians will be affected at least to some degree. The Laodiceans will mainly misunderstand what is happening and not realize that their persecution is coming! This is also consistent with the persecution, accomplishments, and problems in Matthew 24:9-20 that will mainly affect the Philadelphians, but will lead to problems then for the Laodiceans in Matthew 24:21-22.

The 19th century Methodist theologian Adam Clarke, in his commentary, identifies the people in Daniel 11:32 as follows:

But the people that do know their God
The genuine Christians.

Shall be strong
Shall be strengthened by his grace and Spirit (Clarke A. The Adam Clarke Commentary, Daniel Chapter 11.)

Notice also a Catholic rendering of Daniel 11:34:

And when they shall have fallen they shall be relieved with a small help: and many shall be joined to them deceitfully. (Douay Rheims)

Those associated with the 'synagogue of Satan' (Revelation 3:9), will apparently betray and assist in this persecution (see also What is the Synagogue of Satan?) which is consistent with Daniel 11:32. Daniel 8:24 shows that this same leader persecutes "the holy people," thus that is further proof that Christians in the end time are who are being persecuted.

This will be a type of inquisition with infiltrators!

In the past, as the article Persecutions by Church and State helps document, Christians were persecuted because they:

In the future, according to Catholic teachings, they ALSO will be persecuted for:

Christians have been persecuted for holding doctrines that we in the Continuing Church of God hold and are clearly expected to be persecuted in the future for holding Continuing Church of God doctrines.

The old Radio Church of God realized that Daniel 11:32-35 was talking about what happens to the faithful just before 'the end' (the start of the Great Tribulation). Notice the following:

A Prophecy for Today

Daniel prophesied: "The people that do KNOW their God shall be strong, and do exploits" (Dan. 11:32). Such a statement could refer only to God's people. Now notice what follows: "And they THAT UNDERSTAND among the people shall instruct many; yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days" (verse 33). ...

This prophecy concerns GOD'S CHURCH. Continuing "Now when they [God's people] shall fall, they shall be holpen [helped] with a little help: BUT MANY SHALL CLEAVE TO THEM WITH FLATTERIES" (verse 34). Here is the point that most people have missed. Many individuals who assemble with us on God's Sabbath, or in God's Feasts, are prophesied to cleave to us with flatteries!

Other translations make this even clearer. The Moffatt Translation states: "Many shall join them under FALSE PRETENSE." Yes, some do JOIN THEMSELVES to God's Church, with false pretenses, claiming to be true brethren, claiming to obey God, claiming to have God's Holy Spirit, and yet they are not a part of the body of Christ. God has not JOINED them to His Church!

In "The Complete Bible", AN AMERICAN TRANSLATION by Gordon-Goodspeed we read: "Many shall attach themselves in HYPOCRISY." These people who attach themselves to God's Church assemble under false pretense. They are inwardly hypocritical, and flatter or deceive others.

If you have the idea that all who come to God's Church are truly converted Christians, this scripture ought to dispel this delusion! There are some among us who are not converted. They are not a real spiritually LIVING part of the body of Christ. They are not letting Christ do His work in them. They have not truly and completely surrendered their lives to Christ in full repentance.

Notice that this prophecy continues right up to the time of the end (verse 35), to the return of Jesus Christ. Here is a prophecy which concerns us today! (Neff L. Beware of False Brethren! Good News, January 1960)

Even the Catholic saint Jerome understood that these passages in Daniel 11 were referring to the persecution of God's people as his commentary on them included the following:

But these events were typically prefigured under Antiochus Epiphanes, so that this abominable king who persecuted God's people foreshadows the Antichrist, who is to persecute the people of Christ. (Jerome. Commentary on Daniel, Chapter 11. Translated by Gleason L. Archer. (1958). This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2004. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/jerome_daniel_02_text.htm viewed 06/05/11)

This King of the North seems to be the same one that certain Catholic "prophecies" call the Great Monarch who will rule a revised Roman Empire.

Persecution is a fact of history. It has happened before and we should be prepared for the fact that it will happen again. And during the time of the final persecutions, when the man of sin and Antichrist are in power, the Bible records:

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12).

Notice that Catholic prophets have indicated that heretics will be eliminated by their Great Monarch, and that a small "sect" will have their possessions (and probably some of their bodies) burnt:

St. Francis of Paola (Born in Italy, 15th century). "By the grace of the Almighty, the Great Monarch will annihilate heretics and unbelievers. He will have a great army, and angels will fight at his side. He will be like the sun among the stars. His influence will spread over the whole earth. All in all, there will be on earth twelve Kings, one Emperor, one Pope and a few Princes. They will all lead holy lives." (Dupont, Yves. Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement. TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1973, p.38).

Capuchin Friar (18th century)..."A scion of the Carolingian race, by all considered extinct, will come to Rome and behold and admire the piety and clemency of this Pontiff. who will crown him, and declare him to be the legitimate Emperor of the Romans. He shall destroy the Ottoman Empire and all heresies" (Dupont, p. 34).

David Poreus (17th century): The Great Monarch...will crush the enemies of the Pope…(Dupont, p. 31).

Anne Catherine Emmerich (Purification day 1822) "I saw during the last few days marvellous things connected with the Church. St. Peter's was almost entirely destroyed by the sect, but their labors were, in turn, rendered fruitless and all that belonged to them, their aprons and tools, burned by the executioners on the public place of infamy. They were made of horse-leather, and the stench from them was so offensive that it made me quite sick..." (Schmöger Carl E. The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich, Volume 2. Approbation: Bishop of Limbourgh Peter Joseph. TAN Books, reprint 1976, p.292)

Annihilation and burning certainly are forms of persecution. Possession of what Catholics consider to be 'bad books' could also result in persecution:

Anne Catherine Emmerich January 27, 1822 'The non-Catholics will mislead many. They will use every possible means to entice them from the Church, and great disturbances will follow.' (Schmöger, p. 348)

Nursing Nun of Bellay (died 1820): "All these things shall come to pass once the wicked have succeeded in circulating large numbers of bad books." (Dupont, p.51)

Trappistine Nun of Notre Dame des Gardes. "Chastisement will come when a very large number of bad books have been spread" (Dupont, p 114).

The Eastern Orthodox have a prophecy that various Sabbath-keepers will be publicly executed and the time period is supposed to be when the "Great Monarch" rises up:

Blessed Hieronymus Agathaghelos (1279): And lo, an evil assembly of the crafty leader, dressed in black mourning apparel…those who were taking in a most hypocritical manner the most holy name of Christ…those were the most filthy citizens of Pentapolis…these are semi-godless men…they will have to pay the price before the public executioner of the Sabbatians. (Tzima Otto, H.  The Great Monarch and WWIII in Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Scriptural Prophecies. Verenika Press, Rock City (SC), 2000, pp. 134,135,240). 

Note “public executioner of the Sabbatians” is how that portion of the phrase is shown as a translation on page 240 and seems to make the most historical sense of the Greek being translated. Sabbatians means Sabbath-keepers. The fact that there is a "public executioner" for them, supports the idea that people like us in the genuine Church of God will be subject to execution and other likely forms of persecution.

The Book of Daniel shows a two-part persecution coming (I added the a and b below for emphasis):

25 a He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand b For a time and times and half a time. (Daniel 7:25)

First of all (a), he shall persecute certain of the saints, which is consistent with what Jesus said was coming:

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:9-14)

Much of the above will affect the Philadelphian Christians (cf. Revelation 12:13), but they will later be protected (Revelation 3:8-10) in the wilderness for a time, times, and half a time (Revelation 12:14-16; see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra). Part of why they will be persecuted is for proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and probably also for identifying the coming King of the North, who will not wish to be identified that way. This will likely result in internet and other restrictions on getting the truth of God out to the world (cf. Amos 8:11-12).

Second of all (b), the remaining saints will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. This is the portion of the COG, the non-Philadelphians, who are NOT protested in the wilderness as Revelation 12:17 shows this separation:

17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17)

While many in the Church of God have experienced economic and social persecution in their walk with Christ, future severe persecution, beginning first with the Philadelphia remnant of Christians, is expected.

The famous Inquisition should serve as a warning of what those that claim to support the Church of Rome in the end will do.

For more on persecutions, see also Persecutions by Church and State.

Thiel B. The Spanish Inquisition and Early Protestant Persecutions. COGwriter 2017 (c). http://www.cogwriter.com/spanish-inquisition.htm