The Corner

Peter Robinson On The Inquisition

Our friend Peter Robinson from the Hoover Institution writes:

Dear Jonah,

Can’t let this one pass: In asserting that the Inquisition merged the church with the Spanish state, your correspondent is mistaken. Explicit lines of authority always separated the two, as witness that the Inquisition made judgements on accused persons, but always considered itself powerless to impose punishments, instead handing the accused over to the civil authorities to do so. And it’s worth bearing in mind that at a time when justice in much of Europe was peremptory and crude, the Inquisition enforced strict rules of due process, permitting the accused to face his accusers in most cases, insisting on evidentiary procedures, and so forth. I’m not volunteering to stick up for the Inquisition, God knows, but it’s abuses can easily be overstated, and usually are.

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