I am writing in response to the book review by Neill Brown of the Rodney Stark book, For the Glory of God (TOPIC, May). The review contains statements which I must take exception with, as they seek to redeem the irredeemable. Coming hot on the heels of a film which apparently hopes to rehabilitate the bloody work of the Crusades, it is another example of a trend to whitewash the Church’s historical warts.
Our spotted history is cause for penitence and reflection; not an occasion for historical revision and renewed triumphalism. By all means, may we be proud of what we’ve done right. By the same token, may we recognize our wrongs and repent.
The problematic portion of this article has to do with the Spanish Inquisition. The author’s claim that the Spanish Inquisition was “not that bad” is patently false. His attempt to place the atrocities of the Inquisition in the realm of the civil is ridiculous, and does not acknowledge the political realities of the day.
The Spanish Inquisition’s very existence was a matter of royal edict. Ferdinand and Isabella asked the
Their targets were the “secret” Jews who had converted to Christianity. That they had made outward conversion was not good enough for the royals. As a result, the Inquisition held 25 autos-da-fe in the City of
During the long history of the Spanish Inquisition, it was responsible for the burning of almost 32,000 people in
This attempt to rehabilitate the Spanish Inquisition is profoundly insulting to Jews, particularly Sephardic Jews and also to the memories of all those who perished and were persecuted by it. My husband is a Sephardic Jew whose family was driven into
As a Christian, I am repelled by any such rehabilitative project, as it points to a failure on the part of the Church to acknowledge and fully internalize its own errors. As an institution that calls people to repentance and reconciliation, it is inexplicable that we continually refuse to answer this call ourselves.