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INQUISITION

In Spain the papal Inquisition could gain no solid footing in the middle ages. Spain had been, in turn or simultaneously, Arian under the Visigoths, Catholic under the Hispano-Romans, Mussulman by conquest, and under a régime Spain. of religious peace Judaism had developed there. After the reconquest, and even at the height of the influence of the Cathari its heresies had been of quite minor importance. At the end of the 12th century Alphonso II. and Peter II. had on principle promulgated cruel edicts against heresy, but the persecution seemed to be dormant. By the bull Declinante of the 26th of May 1232 inquisitors were sent to Aragon by Gregory IX. on the request of Raymond of Penaforte, and by 1237-1238 the Inquisition was practically founded. But as early as 1233 King James I. had promulgated an edict against the heretics which quite openly put the Inquisition in a subaltern position, and secularized a great part of its activities. The people, moreover, showed great hostility towards it. The inquisitor Fray Pedro de Cadrayta was murdered by the mob, and in 1235 the Cortes, with the consent of King James, prohibited the use of inquisitorial procedure and of the torture, as constituting a violation of the Fueros, though they made no attempt to give effect to their prohibition. In Castile Alphonso the Wise had, by establishing in his Fuero Real and his Siete Partidas an entirely independent secular legislation with regard to heretics (1255), removed his kingdom from all papal interference. At the opening of the 14th century Castile and Portugal had still no Inquisition. But at that time in Spain orthodoxy was generally threatened only by a few Fraticelli and Waldenses, who were not numerous enough to call for active repression. The Spanish inquisitor Nicholas Eymerich, the author of the famous Directorium Inquisitorum, had rarely to exercise his functions during the whole of his long career (end of 14th century). It was not against heresy that the church had to direct its vigilance. A mutual tolerance between the different religions had in fact sprung up, even after the conquest; the Christians in the north recognized the Mahommedan and Jewish religions, and Alphonso VI. of Castile took the title of imperador de los dos cultos. But for a long time past both the decisions of councils and papal briefs had proclaimed their surprise and indignation at this ominous indifference. As early as 1077 the third council of Rome, and in 1081 Gregory VII., protested against the admission of Jews to public offices in Spain. Clement IV., in a brief of 1266, exhorted James I. of Aragon to expel the Moors from his dominions. In 1278 Nicholas III. blamed Peter III. for having made a truce with them. One of the canons of the council of Vienne (1311-1312) denounces as intolerable the fact that Mahommedan prayers were still proclaimed from the top of the mosques, and under the influence of this council the Spanish councils of Zamora (1313) and Valladolid (1322) came to decisions which soon led to violent measures against the Mudegares (Mussulmans of the old Christian provinces). Already in 1210 massacres of Jews had taken place under the inspiration of Arnold of Narbonne, the papal legate; in 1276 fresh disturbances took place as a result of James I.’s refusal to obey the order of Clement IV., who had called upon him to expel the Jews from his dominions. In 1278 Nicholas IV. commanded the general of the Dominicans to send friars into all parts of the kingdom to work for the conversion of the Jews, and draw up lists of those who should refuse to be baptized. It was in vain that a few princes such as Peter III. or Ferdinand of Castile interfered; the Spanish clergy directed the persecution with ever increasing zeal. In the 14th century the massacres increased, and during the year 1391 whole towns were destroyed by fire and sword, while at Valencia eleven thousand forced baptisms took place. In the 15th century the persecution continued in the same way; it can only be said that the years 1449, 1462, 1470, 1473 were marked by the greatest bloodshed. Moreover, the Mudegares were also subjected to these baptisms and massacres en masse. From those, or the children of those who had escaped death by baptism, was formed the class of Conversos or Marranos, the latter name being confined to the converted Jews. This class was still further increased after the conquest of the kingdom of Granada and the completion of the conquest by Ferdinand and Isabella, and after the pacification of the kingdoms of Aragon and Valencia by Charles V. The Mahommedans and Jews in these parts were given the choice between conversion and exile. Being of an active nature, and desiring some immediate powers as a recompense for their moral sufferings, the Jewish or Mussulman Conversos soon became rich and powerful. In addition to the hatred of the church, which feared that it might quickly become Islamized or Judaized in this country which had so little love for theology, hatred and jealousy arose also among laymen and especially in the rich and noble classes. Limpieza, i.e. purity of blood, and the fact of being an “old Christian” were made the conditions of holding offices. It is true, this mistrust had assumed a theological form even before the Mahommedan conquest. As early as 633 the council of Toledo had declared heretics such converts, forced or voluntary, as returned to their old religion. When this principle was revived and, whether through secular jealousy, religious dislike or national pride, was applied to the Conversos, an essentially national Inquisition, directed against local heretics, was founded in Spain, and founded without the help of the papacy. It was created in 1480 by Ferdinand and Isabella. Sixtus IV. had wished the papal Inquisition to be established after the form and spirit of the middle ages; but Ferdinand, in his desire for centralization (his efforts in this direction had already led to the creation of the Holy Hermandad and the extension of the royal jurisdiction) wished to establish an inquisition which should be entirely Spanish, and entirely royal. Rome resisted, but at last gave way. Sixtus IV., Alexander VI., Innocent VIII., Julius II. and after them all the popes of the 16th century, saw in this secular attempt a great power in favour of orthodoxy, and approved it when established, and on seeing its constant activity. The Inquisition took advantage of this to claim an almost complete autonomy. The decisions of the Roman Congregation of the Index were only valid for Spain if the Holy Office of Madrid thought good to countersign them; consequently there were some books approved at Rome and proscribed in the peninsula, such as the Historia pelagiana of Cardinal Nores, and some which were forbidden at Rome and approved in the peninsula, such as the writings of Fathers Mateo Moya and Juan Bautista Poza. The Spanish Holy Office perceived long before Rome the dangers of mysticism, and already persecuted the mystics, the Alumbrados while Rome (impervious to Molinism) still favoured them. “During the last few centuries the church of Spain was at once the most orthodox and the most independent of the national churches” (Ch. V. Langlois). There was even a financial dispute between the Inquisition and the papacy, in which the Inquisition had the better of the argument; the Roman Penitentiary sold exemptions from penalties (involving loss of civil rights), such as prison, the galleys and wearing the sanbenito, and dispensations from the crime of Marrania (secret Judaism). The inquisitors tried to gain control of this sale, and at a much higher price, and were seconded in this by the kings of Spain, who saw that it was to their own interest. At first they tried a compromise; the unfortunate victims had to pay twice, to the pope and to the Inquisition. But the payment to the pope was held by the Inquisition to reduce too much its own share of the confiscated property, and the struggle continued throughout the first half of the 16th century, the Curia finally triumphing, thanks to the energy of Paul III. Since, however, the Inquisition continued to threaten the holders of papal dispensations, most of them found it prudent to demand a definite rehabilitation, in return for payments both to the king and the Inquisition. As a national institution the Inquisition had first of all the advantage of a very strong centralization and very rapid procedure, consisting as it did of an organization of local tribunals with a supreme council at Madrid, the Suprema. The grand inquisitor was ex officio president for life of the royal council of the Inquisition. It was the grand inquisitor, General Jimenez de Cisneros, who set in motion the inquisitorial tribunals of Seville, Cordova, Jaen, Toledo, Murcia, Valladolid and Calahorra. There was no such tribunal at Madrid till the time of Philip IV. The inquisitor-