Thursday 17 May 2007

The Inquisition Myth Perpetuated

Not much blogging these last days since things have been busy in the parish and archive, plus I've had a priest friend staying.

On Monday night (the beginning of my day-off) I went to the cinema - the only film which looked mildly interesting was Goya's Ghosts, which I hadn't heard of before. Set in 1790s/1800s Spain, it is a lavish costume drama with some impressive set-pieces but weak characterisation. Weakest of all is the perpetuation of the myth of the Inquisition:
  • torture is used indiscriminately and with the slighest excuse (in actual fact there was a strict code regarding its use and it was heavily restricted, especially by the late eighteenth century)
  • torture (or being 'put to the question') is presented as part of the Church's teaching: if the accused is innocent God will give surely him the strength to stick to the truth; therefore a person who confesses is infallibly guilty. This is, of course, complete rubbish
  • the dungeons are dire - in actual fact Inquisition prisons compared favourably to secular ones
  • all the clergy and religious in the film are corrupt and tyrannical

As well as basing its depiction of the Inquisition on post-enlightenment anti-Catholic literature, the film also attacks the tyranny of rationalism and the French Revolutionary forces, which at least restores some balance!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miles Jesu publish a booklet about the myth of the Spanish Inquisition. We Catholics need to be educated as to what really happened..thankyou for this post.

6:06 pm  
Blogger Sharon said...

Father, what have you read to give you the correct information bout the Spanish Inquisition?

6:54 am  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Sharon, Henry Kamen's books are a good starting piont - he's a highly respected historian and his arguments can't be ignored. You might also care to read my article on the subject:
Thanks for your query.

7:47 pm  

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