Inquisition Torture room by Picart (1673-1 733),
Victims after being stripped of their clothing had their arms tied behind their backs with a hard cord. Weights were attached to their feet. The action of a pulley suspended them in mid-air or dropped and raised them with a jerk, dislocating joints of the body. While such torture was being employed, priests holding up crosses would attempt to get the heretics to recant.
Ridpath's History of the World includes an illustration of the work of the Inquisition in the Netherlands. Twenty-one Protestants are hanging from the tree. A man on a ladder is about to be hanged, below him is a priest holding a cross.3
"In the year 1554 Francis Gamba, a Lombard, of the Protestant persuasion, was apprehended and condemned to death by the sentence of Milan. At the place of execution, a monk presented a cross to him, to whom Gamba said, 'My mind is so full of the real merits and goodness of Christ that I want not a piece of senseless stick to put me in mind of Him.' For this expression his tongue was bored through and he was afterwards burned."4
Some who rejected the teachings of the Roman church had molten lead poured into their ears and mouths. Eyes were gouged out and others were cruelly beaten with whips. Some were forced to jump from cliffs onto long spikes fixed below, where, quivering from pain, they slowly died. Others were choked to death with mangled pieces of their own bodies, with urine, or excrement. At night, the victims of the Inquisition were chained closely to the floor or wall where they were a helpless prey to the rats and vermin that populated those bloody torture chambers.
The religious intolerance that prompted the Inquisition caused wars which involved entire cities. In 1209 the city of Beziers was taken by men who have been promised by the pope that by engaging in the crusade against heretics they would at death bypass purgatory and immediately enter heaven. Sixty thousand, it is reported, in this city perished by the sword while blood flowed in the streets. At Lavaur in 1211 the governor was hanged on a gibbet and his wife thrown into a well and crushed with stones. Four hundred people in this town were burned alive. The crusaders attended high mass in the morning, then proceeded to take other towns of the area. In this siege, it is estimated that 100,000 Albigenses (Protestants) fell in one day. Their bodies were heaped together and burned.
At the massacre of Merindol, five hundred women were locked in a bam which was set on fire. If any leaped from windows, they were received on the points of spears. Women were openly and pitifully violated. Children were murdered before their parents who were powerless to protect them. Some people were hurled from cliffs or stripped of clothing and dragged through the streets. Similar methods were used in the massacre of Orange in 1562. The Italian army was sent by Pope Pius IV and commanded to slay men, women, and children. The command was carried out with terrible cruelty, the people being exposed to shame and torture of every description.
Ten thousand Huguenots (Protestants) were killed in the bloody massacre in Paris on "St. Bartholomew's Day", 1572. The French king went to mass to return solemn thanks that so many heretics were slain. The papal court received the news with great rejoicing and Pope GregoryXIII, in grand procession, went to the Church of St. Louis to give thanks! He ordered the papal mint to make coins commemorating this event. The coins showed an angel with sword in one hand and a cross in the other, before whom a band of Huguenots, with horror on their faces, were fleeing. The words Ugonot-torum Stranges 1572 which signify "The slaughter of the Huguenots, 1572", appeared on the coins.
An illustration from Ridpath's History of the World, as seen on the next page, shows the work of the Inquisition in Holland. A Protestant man is hanging by his feet in stocks. The fire is heating a poker to brand him and blind his eyes.5
Some of the popes that today are acclaimed as "great" by the Romish church lived and thrived during those days. Why didn't they open the dungeon doors and quench the murderous fires that blackened the skies of Europe for centuries? If the selling of indulgences, or people worshipping statues as idols, or popes living in immorality can be explained as "abuses" or excused because these things were done contrary to the official laws of the church, what can be said about tin it qm-ifhm ' If cannot b< cvplaimd awd\ P'teily, fin tUonph sometimes toiUne was carried «id he/ond wb it n,is u tualiy pn'isfihwi, ihp fai t remains thai flu fn v'd sition was ordered by papal decree and confirmed by pope ufwt t '!>,•' I'd» any belifvi» thai such a< tiom wine n present 1-I ive of Him who said to turn ti ;ivr our ene mies and to do good to lit« in thi e us"'
Inquisition scene in Holland,
Inquisition scene in Holland,
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