The Catholic Church
In its fight against heresy the Church did not find the preachers of the order of Franciscans and Dominicans effective. The Church created a special system for discovery of cases of heretics, as well as their forensic investigation – Inquisition (from the Latin word Inquisitio – investigation). It is the ecclesiastical court, which attracted the participation of the secular government.
The duty of carrying out Inquisitions
In the 13th century, assigned with the duty of carrying out inquisitions were the local bishops, until 1209, where Pope Innocent III – gave right to the papal legacies of the monastic order of Cistercians, to act independently from the local clergy. From 1231-1235 the inquisition was subordinated directly to the Pope, and its functions in certain places were given mostly to the Dominican order.
The Inquisition also appeared uncontrolled, widely introducing in practice spying and denunciation, securing the secrets, the names of their providers, and their statements. From their victims, inquisitors extracted confessions using the rack torture, stretching them until they confessed. The commitments of the Inquisitors and their agents were stimulated by the separation of part from the property between them, which was confiscated from the convicted. As a way of punishment, to which the victims were condemned by the inquisition more often than not was the burning at the stake, which was performed publicly and often on a massive scale (so-called auto da fe – meaning ‘act of faith’). The 1578 edition of the “Directorium Inquisitorum” spelled out the purpose of inquisitorial penalties: “For punishment does not take place primarily for the correction and good of the person punished, but for the public good in order that others may become terrified and weaned away from the evils they would commit.”
The Opposition to the Inquisition
The Inquisitors encountered much opposition from the population. Fierce collisions between the people and the inquisitors took place in Germany, France and as well Spain. But the liquidated executioners were just replaced with new ones that were even more severe. In the XIII century, along with heretics, the Inquisition began to haunt scientists, philosophers – representatives of medieval broad-mindedness, looking at them also as enemies of the church.
The Spanish Inquisition
The Spanish Inquisition founded in 1478, was the court of the Catholic Church supported by the Spanish kingdom to protect the faith against heretics and sundry heretics in order to embrace the Catholic faith. After some time the Jews became a part of this group of heretics, and they were forced (in 1492) to move from the Iberian peninsula to the eastern regions.The Inquisition generally acted in the Middle Ages in all countries of Western Europe from 1289, where a particularly bloody and relentless inquisition was the notorious Spanish Inquisition. Many advanced minds were victims of the Inquisition, such as John Huss, Giordano Bruno and others. One of the most famous inquisitors was Tomás de Torquemada. In modern times, his name has become synonymous with the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition and religious intolerance. He held the position of Supreme Inquisitor for fifteen years, until just before his death in 1498. During this time the Spanish Inquisition tribunal has increased from one to two tenths of Holy service. His desire was to purify Spain from heresy.The Spanish Inquisition was abolished in 1834.