One of the accusations the anti-Catholics will make is that the Church killed 120,000,000 people during the Inquisition.
Some of them will admit that is a high number so they will add in the crusades to achieve the desired number.
The purpose of making this point is their application to Revelation 17:6, "I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the holy ones and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus".
The higher the number they can accuse who were killed by the Catholic Church the better they like it.
One of the more popular influential anti-Catholics of our time, Dave Hunt states, "In his History of the Inquisition, Canon Llorente, who was the Secretary to the Inquisition in Madrid from 1790-92 and had access to the archives of all the tribunals, estimated that in Spain alone the number of condemned exceeded 3 million, with about 300,000 burned at the stake."
The following research is from Phil Porvaznik (PhilVas@PhilVaz.com)
(Dave Hunt, A Woman Rides the Beast, page 79, also 242) Notice Mr. Hunt's title? In response to growing criticism, Dave Hunt responds through his news letter:
"I relied upon a secondary source that said Llorente cited 300,000 deaths in the Spanish Inquisition. Other sources say 30,000. The apparent discrepancy could be explained by Llorente on one occasion giving figures for Spain and on another for Europe -- or including those who, though not burned at the stake, were martyred in other ways....Instead of trying to discredit my figures, these critics ought rather to admit that the Spanish Inquisition swallowed up far more than 300,000, whether Llorente said it or not....
"They are trying to disprove that accusation, but history affirms it and I will stand by it. The truth is that there is no other institution, government, organization or entity in history that even comes close to the Roman Catholic Church's slaughter of the saints!
"The horror of the Inquisition is beyond recital. Why, then, don't the Roman Catholic apologists acknowledge that horror, confess their shame and call upon their Church to repent of its centuries of unspeakable crimes against humanity! (Editors note: Pope John Paul II did in fact asked for forgiveness to anyone who Churchmen had wronged in the past! I question who from the Protestant side would voice the same?)
"Yes, we can attribute millions of deaths of true Christians to Roman Catholicism and the popes down through the centuries. No other entity in history comes close to being drunk with the blood of the saints, and that description absolutely fits the Roman Catholic Church!"
(Dave Hunt, The Berean Call newsletter, June 1998)
Dave Hunt is taking all his information from a secondary source, and it seems this "Llorente, the ex-Secretary of the Holy Office", is not the credible source that Hunt seeks, but an opportunity.
Hunt's own words betray him, "Instead of trying to discredit my figures, these critics ought rather to admit that the Spanish Inquisition swallowed up far more than 300,000, whether Llorente said it or not..." (Hunt, TBC, June/98)
Ok, Mr. Hunt, is it 300,000,000, maybe 300,000, or possibly 30,000? More like 3,000? Does it matter? To Mr. Hunt, apparently not!
Gabriel Lovett mentions in a 1966 English reprint of Llorente's book, states: "Llorente's original Spanish draft may very well have mentioned over 300,000 victims without indicating that they were all actually burned; or he may have stated that over 30,000 persons had been burned at the stake. In that case the French translator of Llorente's original draft either made a mistake in rendering this particular sentence of the Spanish clergyman in the preface or simply wrote 'three hundred thousand' instead of 'thirty thousand,' and Llorente did not notice the error upon preparing the final French version for the printer. This error was corrected in the first Spanish edition of 1822...." (Gabriel Lovett, introduction to Llorente)
Catholic Apologist, Phil Porvaznik concludes: "Regardless of the discrepancy, Dave Hunt is clearly incompetent as a researcher when he insists on defending such numbers as 300,000 or (even worse) "millions" put to death by the "Inquisition."
It is estimated by modern scholars of the Spanish Inquisition, for example, that in its entire 356 year history (1478-1834), the grand total executed range from 3000-6000 persons which, though not entirely defensible either, is far lower than sensationalist writers like Dave Hunt would have us believe. Perhaps 50 percent of those who perished did so in the first 20 years of the institution, an estimated 200(or less) under the Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada -- though he was not the "cruel monster" as popular "Inquisition myths" portray him.
"....the Spanish Inquisition, in spite of wildly inflated estimates of the numbers of its victims, acted with considerable restraint in inflicting the death penalty, far more restraint than was demonstrated in secular tribunals elsewhere in Europe that dealt with the same kinds of offenses. The best estimate is that around 3000 death sentences were carried out in Spain by Inquisitorial verdict between 1550 and 1800, a far smaller number than that in comparable secular courts." (Peters, page 87, emphasis added)
The idea of "millions" tortured and killed is pure fantasy. Edward Peters gives us a more accurate picture:
"If sufficient evidence accumulated against an accused who did not confess, the Inquisition had torture at its disposal, as had all ecclesiastical and secular courts -- except in England -- since the 13th century. Although torture as an incident of legal procedure was permitted only when sufficient circumstantial evidence existed to indicate that a confession could be obtained, inquisitorial torture appears to have been extremely conservative and infrequently used.
"There is enough inquisitorial literature on torture contained in -Instrucciones- intended only for the eyes of inquisitors, for us to conclude that the Inquisition's use of torture was well under that of all contemporary secular courts in continental Europe, and even under that of other ecclesiastical tribunals....
"In a trial before the Spanish Inquisition, the very fact that the accused had been charged and arrested at all indicated that sufficient evidence for guilt had already been accumulated on the basis of denunciations by others, the testimony of other tried heretics, evidence from neighbors or local clergy, or self-incriminating evidence from one's own household. But the aim of the Inquisition remained penitential rather than purely judicial."
(Edward Peters, page 92-93, emphasis added)
An issue of the scholarly Catholic Dossier magazine (Nov/Dec 1996), edited by Ralph McInerny, was dedicated to the history and "myths" of the Inquisition, with articles by noted Catholic historians that analyzed the work of the most recent Inquisition scholarship, including a review of a 1994 BBC/A&E documentary "The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition" which has been replayed on the History Channel.
James Hitchcock, a professor of history at St. Louis University, summarizes the conclusions of the best of modern Inquisition studies:
(1) The inquisitors tended to be professional legists and bureaucrats who adhered closely to rules and procedures rather than to whatever personal feelings they may have had on the subject.
(2) Those rules and procedures were not in themselves unjust. They required that evidence be presented, allowed the accused to defend themselves, and discarded dubious evidence.
(3) Thus in most cases the verdict was a "just" one in that it seemed to follow from the evidence.
(4) A number of cases were dismissed, or the proceedings terminated at some point, when the inquisitors became convinced that the evidence was not reliable.
(5) Torture was only used in a small minority of cases and was allowed only when there was strong evidence that the defendant was lying. In some instances there is no evidence of the use of torture.
(6) Only a small percentage of those convicted were executed -- at most one or two percent in a given region. Many more were sentenced to life in prison, but this was often commuted after a few years. The most common punishment was some form of public penance.
(7) The dreaded Spanish Inquisition in particular has been grossly exaggerated. It did not persecute millions of people, as is often claimed, but approximately 44,000 between 1540 and 1700, of whom less than two percent were executed.
The above is not to say that the Catholics were totally innocent of wrong doing, that there were abuses. However, the fabricated numbers by the anti-Catholics are for their purpose to identify the Catholic Faith to Revelation 17:6.
That is not so. There are other anti-Catholics such as Jack Chick and Tony Alamo who makes similar claims. Religions such as the Seventh Day Adventist make this their creed. It is important for the Catholic to understand the truth about these accusations.
In reality, the Catholic Faith has suffered 2,000 years of persecutions. Many were killed by the Romans. St. Peter was crucified upside down at Vatican Hill in 67 A.D. St. Stephen was the first martyr of the Catholic Faith.
Today many are being killed in the Middle East.
The text from Revelation 17:6 points to the Roman Empire as well as the Jews. With the killing of St. Stephen, "On that day, there broke out a severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem, and all were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him. Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the Church,entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment" (Acts 8:1-3).
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