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For 17 years, Fr. Juan Antonio Llorente worked as a "mole" in the Madrid office of the Spanish Inquisition, ultimately rising to the position of Secretary-General. With unquestioned access to centuries of Inquisition files, Fr. Llorente wrote the first-ever history of the Inquisition. After the conquest of Spain by Napoleon's forces in 1808, Lllorente seized the opportunity and published his work. Here is an excerpt from his introduction:

Listen to the words of Father Llorente

History of the Inquisition Chapter 1

The Christian religion was scarcely established before heresies arose among its disciples. The Apostle St. Paul instructs Titus, the Bishop of Crete, in his duty towards heretics, saying, that a man who persists in his heresy, after the first and second admonition, shall be rejected but St. Paul does not say that the life of the heretic shall be taken and our Saviour, addressing St. Peter, commands that a sinner shall be forgiven, not only seven times, but seventy times seven, which infers that he ought never to be punished with death by a judgment of the church. Such was the doctrine of the church during the three first centuries, until the peace of Constantine. Heretics were never excommunicated until exhortation had been employed in vain...

From the Fourth to the Eighth Century...

If the primitive system of the church towards heretics had been faithfully pursued, as it ought to have been, after the peace of Constantine, the tribunal of the Inquisition would never have existed, and, perhaps, the number and duration of heresies would have been less but the popes and bishops of the fourth century, profiting by the circumstance of the emperors having embraced Christianity, began to imitate, in a certain degree, the conduct which they had reprehended in the heathen priests.  

To read more, Download PDF.

Information regarding A Critical History of the Inquisition of Spain.
written by Juan Antonio LLorente can be found by clicking the Bibliography link.


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