Wednesday, June 17, 2020


The Inquisition

Régine Pernoud, Those Terrible Middle Ages: Debunking the Myths, tr. Anne Englund Nash (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000), p. 138:
What period better than ours can understand the medieval Inquisition, if only we transpose the offensive opinion from the religious domain to the political? It is even very surprising for the historian to note this rise of severity pervading all countries toward the offensive political opinion. All exclusion, all punishment, all slaughter seems justified in our times in order to punish or forestall deviations or errors relating to the political line adopted by the powers that be. And in most cases, it is not enough to banish the one who succumbs to political heresy; it is important to convince. Whence we have brainwashing and interminable imprisonment that wear down man's capacity for inner resistance. When one thinks of the appalling total, of the insane expenditure in human lives—worse even than that of the two "world wars"—by which the successive revolutions and the punishment of differences of opinion in our twentieth century have been carried out, one can wonder if in this domain of differing opinions the notion of progress has not been checked. For the historian of the year 3000, where will fanaticism lie? Where, the oppression of man by man? In the thirteenth century or the twentieth?

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