Bill asked:

The pope founded the inquisition in the year 1232 ... within the next hundred or two hundred years the general counsel of the Church endorsed the inquisition ... as we all know Vatican II was in favor of religious freedom. If general counsel is infallible isn't that a contradiction in the infallible category?

Patrick Madrid replied:

"...the short answer is this, the inquisition, and there was not a single inquisition, there were several different inquisitions. The Medieval Inquisition that dealt with the Catharists and Albigensians... then there was The Roman Inquisition that dealt with certain figures such as Galileo ... the most notorious of all would be The Spanish Inquisition. In general the inquisitions are largely misunderstood ... they had nothing to do with forcing people to be Catholic.

Let's take The Spanish Inquisition for example ... nobody was forced to be Catholic. What happened however was there were people who were accused of being secret Muslims or secret Jews, and in some rare cases secret Protestants - for example Lutherans. But in the case of the Muslims ... the king and queen of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella had just recently ... conquered the Iberian peninsula where we know today as Spain and Portugal, and they had driven out Muslim invaders who had been occupying that Catholic land for seven hundred years. ... they were driven out, their armies were driven away and now a relative calm has descended on Spain but yet you have people who were accusing their neighbors of being secret covert cryptic Muslims posing as Catholics but actually being in fact Muslims.

And there was a real danger to the state that perhaps there might be an attempt to come back ... so when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella realized that they did not have the wherewithal theologically to make these decisions, and people were being denounced unfairly, and unjustly, and incorrectly. So that inquisition was established as a way to find out if someone was in fact secretly practicing this religion.

... nobody was being forced into being Catholic. jews were permitted to live. They were eventually expelled in 1492. Muslims and other non-Catholics were permitted to live in peace. This is a misunderstanding which is why the document Dignitatis Humanae and Vatican II does not in any way conflict with the inquisitions because the two are dealing with two different things ..."


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2014)

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Show air date: June 24, 2014

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Patrick Madrid

Question appeared in show: 34:15

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