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.
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Critical History of the Inquisition of Spain.
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