What about the Spanish Inquisition?

In reference to the article “What’s the Deal with Witches and Broomsticks?”

Cecil, you didn’t even mention that thing about the Spanish Inquisition, or other folklore like using the broom to sweep away unwanted energies. I’ve heard that during the Inquisition, a witch would disguise her magical staff as a broom so she would appear to be merely a simple housewife when the inquisitors came to her door. Is this so? By the way, any idea what the REAL number of ACTUAL ‘witchcraft’ practicioners was that were executed? I’d like to put an end to all this debate of whether or not the witches’ saying, “We will never burn again” has any validity. I’d love to know if any of the real witches, if any, that burned, had used any real occult abilities or practices.

Welcome to the SDMB, xanaxjj.
Link to the article you referred to:
What’s the deal with witches and broomsticks?

<< I’d love to know if any of the real witches, if any, that burned, had used any real occult abilities or practices. >>

I can practically guarantee that there were no witches who used any “real” occult abilities.

Spanish Inquisition? Doesn’t anybody actually study history?

Check out this:


This is from a neopagan web site.

The most salient sections:

It is also necessary to point out that the Inquisition (the RC Church’s tribunal for heresy) and the Spanish Inquisition (an organization set up by the Church at the insistence of the King of Spain to track down Jews and Moslems – to which Protestants were later added) were two different bodies.

“NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise… Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency… Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope… Our four…no… Amongst our weapons… Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise… I’ll come in again.”

Cardinal Ximinez of Spain

And the Roman Inquisition, started by Pope Paul III in 1542 in part as a reaction against the Protestant threat, was yet a 3rd different body.

And, to muddy matters further, the Roman Inquisition is probably more responsible for developing what we would consider “fair trial” practices than any non-religious court of its day. They insisted upon little things like “evidence” and “corroboration”. Perhaps the paperwork that went along with a punishment was more than what went along with a dismissal or acquittal.

The witch phenomenon is important because it reveals the total lack of divine insight by the Roman Catholic Church establishment, which claimed to have the sole authority of god on earth. If there had been validity to this claim, the truth about witches would have been revealed: that they do not exist and never did. History is rife with examples of lack of divine guidance in the RC. (crusades, oppositiion to scientific inquiry and results, murder of dissidents, etc)

Umm… welcome to the Board, fp, but really that’s not the issue being discussed here. The question is about the factuality of some commonly-held notions about how, why, by whom, and to what extent, the witch-hunts of the so-called “burning times” were carried out. The RCC for purposes of this question is just a very powerful multinational sociopolitical organization, the one with the widest geographic and temporal range of action – and that is hard to dispute. As is that they were not the only ones to get it all wrong.

…which is exactly what the RCC has insisted for nearly all its history. For some reason or other, during the Renaissance, the ancient pagan “witch” superstition sprouted up in RCism for a couple of centuries. To make it worse, Protestantism picked up the ball and ran with it.

Typical newbie post–didn’t even bother to read any bit of the thread. Here, junior, take a gander at this and see if that might impede your screaming ignorance:


Five research projects are finished and a Spanish Inquisition thesis is next. Excellent work!

Was that a quote or what? SO many elipses make almost any quote meaningless. I’d love to see a source better than “Cardinal Ximinez of Spain MP”
(Was he a Member of Parliament)
Inquisition trial were never by surprise.Inquisitors anounced their arrivals and proclaimed a special time (usually 30 days) in which anyone could turn himself in and he would be let go with minimal penalty.
The purpose of the inquisition was, at least in hteory and also for the most part in practice, to get people to repent,not to burn or kill (which they did, no one is denying that)

Rodrigo, that is a quote from the Monty Python Spanish Inquisition sketch. Next thing, you’ll say that you’ve never seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail!

Yes, it was a quote, but not from any serious source. It’s from a Monty Python skit, who (in case you’re not familiar with them), are a comedy troupe in England. The ellipses are there in the original; the inquisitor in the skit is fumbling his introduction, to the point that he has to start over.

Just some minor quibbles:

  • How can you suggest Monty Python are not a serious source? They are the only reason I ever learnt amount things such as the Spanish Inquisition, SPAM, Lumberjacks and “What did the Roman’s ever do for us?”.

  • Sadly they must be refered to in the past tense as they are no more although it’s great to still see a few of them on telly every now and again.

Anyway, slighty off topic. Apologies.
“And now for something completely different”

Oh, I never said they weren’t erudite, or educational, or intellectual. They are all of those things. But serious, they’re not. No insult or slight intended by that.

I dropped the ball completely.
In my defence I’ve got to say we don’t get much Monty Python in South America, and the only MP I’ve seen was one on Columbus.

Still…MY BAD

this seems more on witchhunts than the inquisition, so I’ll contribute 2 bits. There are 2 graves in Scotland for women supposedly burnt as witches. The problem is, if you look at census records, they continued to live many years after their ‘burial’. (unlike many Southern (US) voters, they continued to breathe and have families, too)