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Inquisition et pouvoir

Gabriel Audisio

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1Charles de La Roncière

2Was the Inquisition perceived as an abuse of power in the Middle Ages?

3Our contemporaries’ moral sense makes it a principle to condemn the inquisition as a crime. But in the Middle Ages only a few isolated thinkers, inspired by the sole Gospel, had the same conviction. They were not so much opposed to the stake penalty as to its management by the Church. Being sentenced to the stake for heresy fitted into an atmosphere of increasing penalization of all offence, a principle the Roman law, among other factors, had introduced into rules and customs. As time passed (13th-15th centuries), penalties became more severe, with the support of everyone: States, humanists, prelates, down to Calvin himself, thought it in conformity with justice to punish heresy by a suitable afflictive penalty as any other crime. Such is the first result the author is submitting to critical appraisal.

4Bartolomé Bennassar

5Inquisition and secular powers in the Crown States of Castile and Aragon. A tentative synthesis

6Taking into account the long lifetime of the Spanish inquisition and the various roles it played, I have distinguished three possible scenarios whose applications can be found in the institution’s history:

  1. a confusion of powers or, to put it another way, the supreme secular power, i.e. the Crown, and the inquisitorial power being made identical;
  2. a collaboration between secular powers at the highest levels (king, viceroy, audiences) and the inquisitorial power;
  3. jurisdictional conflicts between secular and inquisitorial powers.

7In the first two scenarios the concept of a “denominationalization” of monarchy seems adequate. The concept is of German origin, but has been applied to Spain by several Inquisition specialists for about twenty years. The reign of Philip II would correspond to the concept’s validity at its highest, since the political orientations Philip II gave the Spanish monarchy are in keeping with the concept’s main features. Our present study develops such ideas and gives many illustrations of them. The third scenario, however, implies two very different aspects: the first aspect is about jurisdiction conflicts, which were inevitable especially in the kingdom’s outlying territories (Sardinia, Sicily); the second aspect emphasizes the fact that in an Age of Enlightenment and increasing secularization of society the royal power could no longer stand the Inquisition as “a State within the State” or “a law unto itself”.

8Francesco Beretta

9Congregation of the Inquisition and doctrinal censorship: power strengthening of an institution devoted to intellectual control in the first half of the 17th century

10The analysis made on three records from the Roman Holy Office, our interpretation taking the style of that court into account, has allowed us to see how theological censorships were set up and how the Congregation of the Inquisition used them to strengthen its own power. At the same time, the documents allow us to pose the problem of how Rome’s doctrinal decisions were received or how resistance cropped up, relying on the support of local powers. Consequently, we are led to wonder about the role played by doctrinal censorship in helping the Congregation of the Inquisition strenghthen its power of intellectual control in the Catholic sphere of influence.

Inquisition et pouvoirs civils

11James B. Given

12The Inquisitors of Medieval Languedoc: Societal Facilitators and Societal Constraints

13This paper, drawing on the records of the inquisitors of Languedoc in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, examines the techniques the inquisitors used in their campaign against heresy. The paper also argues that the success of the inquisitors was the result not only of their own efforts, but was both facilitated and constrained by the nature of Languedocian social structures. Certain aspects of Languedocian social organizations, such as the existence of characteristic tensions and cleavages among important social groups, facilitated the work of the inquisitors; other aspects of those same social organizations, which at times made certain groups reluctant to cooperate with them, constrained their behavior.

14Kathrin Utz Tremp et Georg Modestin

15A pass for the inquisitor. The relationships between inquisition and other powers in French-speaking Switzerland in the 15th century

16The inquisition came relatively late into French-speaking Switzerland. Its coming as a permanent institution was due to a first case against Waldensian heretics in Fribourg in 1399, that was followed by a second case in 1430. Soon, the Dominican inquisitors from Lausanne were to deal with a new sect, that of the supposed worshippers of the devil, hence the emergence of trials for witchcraft at a particularly early time in Western Switzerland. Yet, ecclesiastical judges did not work in an empty space; they were confronted with other powers such as the city of Fribourg, the bishop of Lausanne, and his cathedral chapter, that conditioned their sphere of activity.

17Albrecht Burkardt

18The Inquisition and civilian authorities: Casale Monferrato in 1628

19Starting from a report of 1628 by the inquisitor of Casale, this contribution analyzes the working conditions of the Holy Office in the capital city of Monferrato. The conditions were poor, it seems, since the civilian authorities controlled the court by manipulating men-at-arms and through the activities of a Dominican collaborator. The problems are partly linked to the inquisitor (which was to be dismissed the following year); but they illustrate structural conflicts, with civilian authorities (which tried to control the Inquisition for reasons of state), as well as with the convent housing the court, the latter being, in the monks’ opinion, an obstacle to the good relations within the community.

20Lucien Faggion

21Holy Office, families and conflicts in Vicenza: the example of Alessandro Trissino (1550-1560)

22A second reading of some legal proceedings taken by the Holy Office, may give an inkling of a backstage often covert reality going beyond plain religious dissent: families and their dissensions, rivalries degenerating into violent settlings of scores at the risk of toppling familial inner harmony, the determination of people in dispute to follow the institutional way – i.e. appeal to the Holy Office – to eliminate tough opponents or at least made out to be such. For example, the proceedings started in 1563 against Alessandro Trissino a nobleman from Vicenza reveal the social and familial stakes about honour and lineage purity, the existence of a powerful network of warring noblemen in Vicenza, as well as pressure groups vying for power in Venice.

Inquisition et pouvoirs ecclésiastiques

23Ignasi Fernández Terricabras

24Should the power of Spanish inquisition be called into question? The Holy Office and the third stage of the Council of Trent (1562-1563)

25It would make sense to think that the Inquisition’s power must have been analyzed by the Council of Trent. The bishops never would have missed an opportunity to give a ruling on an institution that encroached upon some of their former attributions. And yet the Council issued no decree on the Inquisition. King Philippe II’s watch prevented any conciliar decision from interfering with the Spanish Holy Office. Even though there was no official debate on the Inquisition in the conciliar records, diplomatic correspondance confirms the existence of an underground debate within sessions around the problem on several aspects such as: the 1558 revision of the Roman Index; issuing a safe-conduct for Protestants to go to Trent; the orthodoxy of Carranza’s catechism; the bishops’ power to absolve in conscience all doubtful cases, including heresy; the decree imposing the pope as the only competent judge in criminal affairs involving bishops; the patriarch of Aquilea’s case, etc.

26José Pedro Paiva

27Bishops and the Portuguese Inquisition (1536-1613)

28Our paper will analyze the relationship between episcopal power and Inquisition during the period of establishment and consolidation of the Portuguese inquisition, that is to say from the pope’s bull Cum ad nihil magis in 1536 until the first Regimento printed according to the action of inquisitor general Pedro de Castilho in 1613. I willl try to defend the thesis that in Portugal, in spite of some punctual misunderstandings, chiefly in the first years after the Council of Trent, the relationship between Inquisition and diocesan prelates was, in general, one of good cooperation and even complementarity. This means that the Portuguese case, as it appears in recent enquiries, seems to be different from what happened in other modern Inquisitions.

29Gigliola Fragnito

30Censorship of books between bishops and inquisitors

31I am trying to investigate certain aspects of the control on production and circulation of books between the foundation of the Congregation of the Inquisition and the last years of Clement VIII’s pontificate, which is a crucial period for the setting up of a centralized system of censorship. The necessity for Rome to deploy efficient instruments and means to implement the norms of the Index and execute instructions from the center of command clashes with a reluctant Inquisition determined to maintain a firm grip in the field of censorship through its courts. Such a determination, emerging in the role bestowed upon bishops and inquisitors in the first three Roman Indexes, was at the start of conflicts with the Congregation of Index and the papacy and of an incidence of censorship that proved very different in the Italian peninsula.

Inquisition et contrôle social

32Michèle Janin-Thivos

33Commissaries and familiars in Portugal. The Inquisition in the village 18th century

34After being installed very lately in Portugal, the network of local agents of the inquisitorial power was strengthened during the first half of the 18th century. The need to control the population was still prominent as the repression against New Christians provided by a hierarchical network of commissaries and district notaries was maintained throughout the whole period. On the contrary, familiars were little involved in this matter. Reaching the rank of familiar was a supplementary element of social distinction in a quest for honours which affected the social classes seeking nobility. The purity of blood, which was a fundamental criterion in order to become a minister of the Holy Office, could be forged and thus did not systematically exclude the lineage of the New Christians who could afford long and costly enquiries until they were eventually rewarded.

35Luiz Mott

36Inquisitorial power and the repression of the sin of sodomy in the luso-brazilian world

37After new-Christians, sodomites were the most persecuted group by the Portuguese Holy office, proportionally more frequently and more heavily punished than other heterodoxies. In this paper, drawing on documents in the Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo (Lisbon), inquisitorial power used to persecute those practicing sodomy will be tackled from three angles: its reflection in social imaginary through myths touching on homosexuality, accusing it of being the cause of divine hatred; pointing to the responsibility of foreigners, above all Moors and Italians for its dissemination in Portugal; the power of supervision by setting up efficient means of denunciation and persecution.

38Marina Caffiero

39A three-cornered relationship. Roman Inquisition, popes and Jews in the 17th and 18th centuries

40The rich documentation about Jews in the Roman Holy Office’s records shows that the attention paid to matters concerning conversions was on the increase. The purpose of this paper is to define the manifold and interlocking competences of jurisdictions, conflicts for power, ideological choices and practices induced by the Jewish issue between the 17th and 18th centuries in Rome, where the most important Jewish community lived. The inquisitorial casuistry concentrated on more or less forced baptisms and conversions, which had to be obtained at all costs. This is clearly an important question in a theological and juridical viewpoint, but also on the making of « borderline » cultural identities, such as those of neophytes. About forced christenings, we witness a process in which the Roman court gradually blurred the function of safeguard it had at the level of cases against Jews and ended up legitimating almost any means of conversion. The evolution became obvious in the middle of 18th century and that happened at the behest of popes. This a very important phenomenon if we are to understand the Christian origin of Catholic anti-Semitism in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Inquisition et contrôle ideologique

41Jörg Feuchter

42The Inquisition’s power through its penalties. The case of Montauban (1241)

43Our contribution analyzes the power of Languedocian inquisitors of the first generation (starting in 1233-34) through their penalties, by examining a local case, a mass punishment that happened in Montauban (Tarn-et-Garonne) in 1241 AD. The inquisitor imposed very different penances according to offences. A close investigation of municipal sources allows us to suppose that at least the harshest penalties were never carried out. Furthermore, one may safely exclude a social stigmatization of penitents, even the most harshly affected. As it happens, the penal power of « l’Inquisition » seems really restricted. In the framework of a collective « negociation » strategy with the penalizing church, the penalized group, largely identifiable with urban elites, seems to have got a relatively lenient penalty and then a favourable commutation of sentence.

44Peter Biller

45Umberto Eco and Bernard Gui’s Interrogations

46Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose popularised an image of a fictional « Bernardo » Gui’s engaged in dialogue with a suspect who resisted with verbal trickery. This is rooted in Bernard Gui’s Practica inquisitionis, particularly its three chapters on questioning Waldensians. Two of these look unreal and very literary, informed by the theological-literary topos of the heretic as cunning, while one is transparently a practical and sober question-list intended for real use. But this opposition fiction: reality is wrong. Some of Gui’s remarks in the « literary » section arose from Gui’s experience. Where Gui copied from a previous source he chose what he copied. Most importantly, his comment that Waldensians were difficult and that they used veiled words is paralleled in Gui’s culpe and sentences: the end of almost each of these note the fact of reluctance to confess, and several note the use of veiled words.

47Maria Pia Fantini

48Power of images, power on images: devotional rites and censorship strategies by the Roman Inquisition (16th-17th centuries)

49What is to be understood as « power of images » ? The documents produced by the Roman Inquisition open a new and twofold perspective for us: that of the inquisitors and that of those who make images and believe in their power. The analysis specifies the three levels of intervention of censorship and the knowledge of the common practices of the holy image they are pointing at and revealing. First we investigate the iconographic details whose deviant character makes the power of an image to the believers’ eyes. Secondly, we study the local manipulating of images that assess their heterodox efficiency, and thirdly, we place the whole picture on the backdrop of the new theory of representation developed in the post-Tridentine treatises. The Catholic church outlines in them the new space of legitimacy in which those images are relocated and which « ignorant » persons credit with miraculous powers.

50Juan Ignacio Pulido Serrano

51Public showing and diffuse showing of the Inquisition

52Through the reflections exposed in my contribution, i would think about the Inquisition’s capacity to influence the society of its time. Thus, I would concentrate on the two aspects that made the Inquisition’s social presence felt in Spain down to Modern Times. Those aspects can be defined as a public showing and a diffuse showing of the Court of Faith; both are linked to one another, and contribute assistance to each other to help them win and retain their power. By public showing I mean all the activities that, directly or indirectly, projected the institution’s image and its ideology towards society. As I am trying to explain hereafter, those activities helped to give a powerful visible presence to the meaning of the institution in the social sphere. The concept of diffuse showing is a reference to the extended period the Inquisition did last beyond its limits as an institution. That was made possible through a dense network of social relationships the members had at various levels, outside the proper inquisitorial field.

La France et l’Inquisition (XVIe-XXe siècle)

53Alain Tallon

54Roman Inquisition and French monarchy in the 16th century

55France, in a rather unanimous way, refused that the new inquisitorial jurisdiction set up by Paul III in 1542 be implemented, seeing that even the Ligue did not want the inquisition under its Roman form. Since 1557, when Henri II had obtained the creation of a centralized inquisition in France, the project – that was not to materialize – implied a national inquisition, autonomous from pope and king alike. Afterwards, interventions from French diplomatic circles in favour of the monarchy’s good servants that the Italian Inquisition had called into question, clearly outline the quintessential opposition between a conception of justice attached to privilege and a theoretically egalitarian jurisdiction.

56Elena Bonora

57Roman Inquisition and French bishops during the Council of Trent

58This paper tries to examine different attempts made by the Roman Inquisition under Pius IV to prosecute French bishops accused of heresy. The lawsuit case was dealt with by giving prominence to the French side and the conflicting points of view between Gallican independence and universal hegemonic pretensions of the Holy See. From the Roman viewpoint and in the light of the newly accessible records of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, its seems legitimate to place this event in a process of redefining the relationship between papacy and Inquisition started soon after the death of Paul IV. The reorganization of the Inquisition’s prerogatives and powers made by Pius IV inside the Roman Curia pinpointed the problem of heretic bishops and cardinals as the harshest motive for conflict.

59Édouard Tillet

60How the Inquisition fitted in with the penal doctrine of the Enlightenment

61The fact that the Inquisition was everywhere to be found in the 18th century can be explained by the battle the philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment had started against infamous deeds, but also, as is not well-known, by a search for historical arguments and precedents in criticising the criminal edict of 1670. Doing a work of comparison, if not assimilation, of procedural rules in use in France and at the Holy office, the doctrine exposes the damage against the rights of the defence and the extent of a judge’s magistery. Beyond simplifying criticism, the most important thing for those jurists was to search a way to strike a new balance in the relationship between a defendant and his judge before a court and, more generally, to reorganize legal actions by legalizing the rule of firm conviction in the procedures of indictment.

62Bernard Cousin et Maryline Crivello

63Television and Inquisition: from “the Cathar tragedy” to the age of Arte channel (1966-2002)

64The present study, based on thirty or so TV broadcasts on the topic of Inquisition, between 1966 and 2002, has been organized around three periods: first comes a dramatizing-the-past approach, which enhances the powerful moments of national history, typified by La caméra explore le temps, around the Cathar tragedy directed by André Castelot, Alain Decaux and Stellio Lorenzi in 1966; then comes the time of historians specializing on the subject (70’s through 90’s), like B. Bennassar or C. Ginzburg who appear personally on TV screens to present documentaries and conduct debates; finally, recent times start a reflection on the memories the Inquisition has bequeathed to us, in the wake of the Franco-German cultural channel Arte.

© Presses universitaires de Provence, 2004

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