Saturday, June 2, 2018

Vatican Archives Show a Just & Good Inquisition

Catholic accountability

Twenty years ago, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, decided to open up to scholars the secret Vatican archives on the Inquisition, including records of the Index of Forbidden Books. It was the last Vatican secret archive never opened, supposedly because it was filled with many “bogeymans” the Church was hiding.

What courage and openness on the part of the Church! This is how the news media raved back then in 1998 over the decision to make this ominous chest of bad deeds public. For the results would undoubtedly reveal the abuses of power, arbitrary judgments and cruel unjust sentences made by fanatical Inquisitors . Research would divulge a shameful past demanding reparation, which would justify the formal apologies for the Inquisition issued by John Paul II, along with the many informal ones made by the Popes after him.

The decision to open the 4,500 volumes of documents dating from 1542-1903 was also made as one way to repair the Vatican's supposed suspect image of secrecy . "We know all the sins of the Church,'' Card. Ratzinger dryly said at the time. ''And I hope more will not be added to them."

The clear insinuation was that, to the known “sins of the Inquisition,” others would be added, no doubt shaming the Church but also showing the Church's willingness to undertake the general "examination of conscience" that John Paul II had demanded. Another step in a "purifying the Church" and bringing her up to date with the modern world. When the news was released that the archives would be opened, there was little doubt in the mind of most churchmen and scholars that the investigation would produce a dismal fallout for the Vatican.  (more...)

The Protestants would protest, naturally:

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