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Inquisitions were ecclesiastical investigations carried out by the Catholic Church or by secular authorities with the support of the Church. These investigations were undertaken at varying times in varying regions under the authority of the local bishop and his designates or under the sponsorship of papal-appointed legates. The purpose of each inquisition was specific to the circumstances of the region in which it was held. Usually, investigations involved a legal process, the goal of which was to obtain a confession and reconciliation with the Church from those who were accused of heresy or of participating in activities contrary to Church Canon law.[2]

Most people know about the Spanish Inquisition, but there were many other inquisitions, such as those carried out by the Romans and the Portuguese. What was it that motivated these diehard religious zealots to squash all contrary views from their midst? Inquisitions took place in many regions, including Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, and Latin America.

Purpose and Nature
The inquisitions were a series of institutions within the Catholic Church that were established to combat heresy and enforce religious orthodoxy. The best-known of these was the Spanish Inquisition, which operated from the late 15th century until the early 19th century, and which has become notorious for its use of torture and its persecution of Jews and Muslims.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. The martyrdom of San Pedro de Arbués (1664).
Attribution: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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The earliest inquisition was the Medieval Inquisition, established in the 12th century, which was primarily concerned with rooting out the Cathar heresy[3] in southern France. The Medieval Inquisition was largely conducted by local bishops and was relatively mild compared to what followed later.

The Process of Inquisition
The Catholic Church used Inquisitions to enforce its teachings and suppress dissent, often resulting in the persecution and punishment of those accused of heresy or other crimes. How inquisitions were carried out varied depending on the specific inquisition, the time period in which it took place and the political context.

However, in general, the following will assist in understanding the process involved:

  • Inquisitors would arrive in a town or city and announce their presence, giving citizens a chance to admit to heresy. All the accused were forced to testify, but if the heretic refused to recant or confess, torture and execution were imposed. Heretics weren’t allowed to face accusers, received no counsel and were often victims of false accusations.
  • The inquisitors were usually members of the Catholic Church, often Dominicans or Franciscans, who were appointed by the pope or local authorities. The accused could be anyone suspected of heresy, including Jews, Muslims, Protestants, and even Catholics charged with various crimes.
  • Inquisitions typically began with an accusation, which could come from a variety of sources, including a denunciation by someone who had a personal grudge against the accused or an anonymous letter. The accused would then be summoned to appear before an inquisitorial court, where they would be interrogated and asked to confess their sins or crimes. The interrogation could involve torture to extract a confession, although this varied depending on the inquisition and the case’s specific circumstances.
  • If the accused were found guilty of heresy, they could face a range of punishments, including enforced pilgrimage, imprisonment, fines, forced labour, or even death. Those who recanted their beliefs and confessed their sins could receive more lenient sentences, while those who refused to confess could face harsher penalties.
  • Appeals were possible, but the process varied depending on the inquisition. In some cases, appeals could be made to higher authorities within the church or to the secular authorities. However, the appeals process was often complicated and could take a long time, and many accused people could not successfully appeal their convictions.

Where Did They Take Place?

The Spanish Inquisitions were established in 1478 by Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic monarchs of Spain. Its main targets were Jews and Muslims who had converted to Christianity but were suspected of secretly practising their old religions. The Spanish Inquisition was also used to suppress other forms of dissent, such as Protestantism and witchcraft, and its methods included torture, imprisonment, and execution. The Spanish Inquisition was a dominant force for over 200 years, resulting in 32,000 executions[4]. Under the supreme council of the Spanish Inquisition were 14 local tribunals in Spain and several in the colonies; the tribunals in Mexico and Peru were particularly harsh.

The Roman Inquisition was established in 1542 by Pope Paul III in response to the Protestant Reformation. It was focused on rooting out Protestant heresy within the Catholic Church and was responsible for the persecution of several prominent Protestant thinkers, including Giordano Bruno and Galileo Galilei. The Roman Inquisition also targeted other forms of dissent, including Jewish and Muslim communities.

The Roman Inquisition was known for its use of torture and its harsh punishments, which included imprisonment, fines, and execution. In addition to the Roman Inquisition, several other Inquisitions operated in Italy:

  • The Venetian Inquisition, established in 1289, was responsible for suppressing heresy and dissent in Venice and its territories.
  • The Roman and Venetian Inquisitions were eventually merged in 1588 to form the Congregation of the Holy Office, which continued to operate until the late 18th century.

Inquisitions were particularly active in France during the 13th and 14th centuries, with the primary target being the Cathar heresy in southern France. The Cathars (also known as the Albigensians) were a Christian sect that rejected the authority of the Catholic Church and believed in dualism, the idea that good and evil were equal and opposing forces. The Cathars were seen as a threat to the Catholic Church and the French monarchy. Inquisitions led to a brutal crackdown that included torture, burning at the stake, and other forms of punishment.

In the 14th century, the Inquisition shifted its focus to suppressing the Waldensians[5], a Christian group that rejected the Catholic Church’s authority and emphasised poverty and simplicity. The Inquisition accused the Waldensians of heresy, leading to mass arrests, torture, and executions.

The Knights Templar[6] were accused of various crimes. It was a powerful and wealthy Catholic military order accused of multiple crimes, including heresy, blasphemy, and homosexuality. The Inquisition’s investigation of the Templars led to their suppression and the seizure of their assets.

The Inquisition in France was eventually abolished in 1772.

Inquisitions were active in Germany during the 15th and 16th centuries and were primarily concerned with combating the spread of Protestantism. German Inquisitions were established by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1542 and were initially under the control of the Spanish Inquisition. The German Inquisition was responsible for the persecution and execution of thousands of people, including Protestant reformers and suspected witches.

The most notable example of inquisitions in Germany was the trial of Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms[7] in 1521, which led to his ex-communication from the Catholic Church and the start of the Protestant Reformation. Inquisitions were eventually replaced by the Holy Office in the late 16th century and finally abolished altogether in the late 18th century.

Luther at the Diet of Worms, by Anton von Werner, 1877. Attribution: Anton von Werner, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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Latin America
The Inquisition was introduced to Latin America by the Spanish in the late 16th century and was primarily focused on combating the spread of Protestantism and indigenous religions and enforcing Catholic orthodoxy. The Inquisition was particularly active in Mexico, Peru, Colombia and other Spanish colonies, where it was responsible for the persecution and execution of thousands of people. It was known for its brutal tactics and use of torture.

The Inquisition in Latin America was officially abolished in the early 19th century following the Latin American Wars of Independence.

The Portuguese Inquisition was established in 1536 and lasted until 1821. It was originally created to deal with Crypto-Judaism (the secret practice of Judaism by converted Jews) and later extended to include the prosecution of Protestants, witches, and other supposed heretics. During its nearly 300-year history, the Portuguese Inquisition was responsible for the arrest, torture, and execution of thousands of people.

A 19th-century depiction of Galileo before the Holy Office, by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury
Attribution: Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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The Portuguese Inquisition was known for using the “auto-da-fé,” a public ceremony where those convicted of heresy would publicly confess their sins and be punished. It was also notable for its focus on the censorship of literature and ideas. The Inquisition maintained a list of banned books, known as the “Index of Forbidden Books,” which included works by Galileo, Descartes, and Voltaire.

In addition to the religious persecution carried out by the Inquisition, it also served as an instrument of the Portuguese monarchy’s power. The Inquisition had broad authority and could investigate anyone for any reason, making it a powerful tool for maintaining political control.

The Portuguese Inquisition was officially abolished in 1821 following the liberal revolution in Portugal. However, its legacy of religious and intellectual repression lasted for centuries.

The Context, Impact and Legacy of the Inquisitions
Inquisitions did not exist in a vacuum, and the social and political context in which they operated was complex and varied. For example:

  • The Spanish Inquisition was established during the period of the Reconquista[8] when the Catholic monarchs of Spain were consolidating their power and seeking to create a more homogenous society.
  • Similarly, the Portuguese Inquisition was established during a time of political instability and insecurity.

The Role of the Inquisitions in the Early Modern State
The Inquisitions were not just institutions of the Catholic Church but were also closely intertwined with the emerging early modern state.

The Inquisitions had their own courts, judges, and prisons, and they were responsible for enforcing the law and maintaining social order in their respective territories.

The Impact of the Inquisitions on Intellectual History
The Inquisitions had a profound impact on the intellectual history of Europe and the Americas. The Index of Forbidden Books (see below), maintained by the Inquisition, was a key tool in controlling the dissemination of new ideas and suppressing dissenting voices.

The Inquisitions also played a role in developing scientific and philosophical thought, with figures like Galileo and Bruno being prosecuted for their ideas.

The Legacy of the Inquisitions
The Inquisitions had a lasting impact on the societies and cultures in which they operated. The legacy of the Inquisitions can still be seen today in how certain groups are treated and in the lingering effects of religious and intellectual repression.

The Three Main Inquisitions
The three main Inquisitions were the Episcopal Inquisition, the Legatine Inquisition, and the Papal Inquisition. Here is a brief overview of each:

  • Episcopal Inquisition: The Episcopal Inquisition was established in the 13th century under the local bishop’s authority. It was primarily used to investigate and prosecute heresy and other religious crimes within the bishop’s diocese. The bishop appointed inquisitors to carry out the investigations and trials. The punishments were generally mild, and the accused were often allowed to confess and repent.
  • Legatine Inquisition: The Legatine Inquisition was also established in the 13th century and was under the authority of a papal legate, a Pope representative. It was used to investigate and prosecute heresy and other religious crimes across a wider area than the Episcopal Inquisition. The legate appointed inquisitors to carry out the investigations and trials. The punishments were generally more severe than those of the Episcopal Inquisition, and the accused were often denied the chance to confess and repent.
  • Papal Inquisition: The Papal Inquisition was established in the late 12th century and was under the direct authority of the Pope. It investigated and prosecuted heresy and other religious crimes across Christendom. The inquisitors were appointed directly by the Pope and were often drawn from the Dominican and Franciscan orders. The punishments were severe, and the accused were often tortured to extract confessions.

Overall, the main differences between the three types of inquisitions were their jurisdiction, the severity of the punishments, and the level of authority of the inquisitors.

  • The Episcopal Inquisition was limited to the bishop’s diocese, had mild punishments, and was under the bishop’s authority.
  • The Legatine Inquisition covered a wider area, had more severe punishments, and was under the authority of a papal legate.
  • The Papal Inquisition had the broadest jurisdiction and the most severe punishments and operated directly under the authority of the Pope.

The Index of Forbidden Books
Title page of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (1711)
Attribution: Drw1, CC BY-SA 4.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons

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The Index of Prohibited Books, Index Librorum Prohibitorum, established in 1557 by Pope Paul IV, was a list of books Catholics were prohibited from reading on pain of ex-communication. The books were forbidden because they contained material deemed heretical or contrary to morality by the Sacred Congregation of the Index (a former Dicastery of the Roman Curia). The 20th and final edition of the Index appeared in 1948; the Index was formally abolished on 14th June 1966, by Pope Paul VI.[9]

There were attempts to ban heretical books before the 16th century, notably in the ninth century Decretum Glasianum[10]; the Index of Prohibited Books of 1560 banned thousands of book titles and blacklisted publications, including the works of Europe’s intellectual elites.[11]

The Index condemned religious and secular texts alike, grading works by the degree to which they were seen to be repugnant to the church.[12] The list aimed to protect church members from reading theologically, culturally, or politically disruptive books. Such books included:

Editions of the Index also contained the rules of the Church relating to the reading, selling, and preemptive censorship of books.[13]

The canon law of the Latin Church still recommends that works should be submitted to the judgment of the local ordinary if they concern sacred scripturetheology, canon law, church history, religion or morals.[14]

Unusual Things About the Inquisitions
During the Inquisition, people who were accused of heresy or other religious crimes were sometimes forced to wear a yellow marker as a sign of shame and to make them easily identifiable to others. This marker was often in the form of a piece of yellow cloth sewn onto the person’s clothing or a yellow hat or veil.

The use of yellow markers was not unique to the Inquisition, as other medieval societies also used similar markers to denote outcasts or social pariahs. However, the use of yellow markers by the Inquisition is often cited as a precursor to the yellow Star of David that Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis during World War II.

The Nazis required Jews to wear the yellow Star of David to stigmatize and isolate them from society. The star was typically made of yellow cloth and had the word “Jude” (German for “Jew”) written on it in black. The use of the yellow Star of David was part of a broader campaign of discrimination and persecution against Jews that ultimately led to the Holocaust, in which millions of Jews and other minorities were systematically murdered by the Nazi regime.

The use of yellow markers to identify and stigmatize religious and ethnic minorities is a disturbing reminder of the dangers of discrimination and prejudice.

Next, I have provided examples of the many unusual aspects of the Inquisitions that people may not know about. Overall, the Inquisition was a complex and multifaceted institution that played a significant role in the religious, social, and political history of Europe and the Americas.

  • The Inquisition was not solely a Catholic institution, as Protestant countries also used inquisitorial courts to prosecute heretics.
  • Sometimes, the Inquisition targeted people accused of witchcraft or other forms of sorcery.
  • During the Inquisition, inquisitors sometimes used torture to extract confessions from suspects.
  • The Inquisition kept detailed records of its proceedings, including transcripts of interrogations, which are still available for study today.
  • Some of the punishments handed out by the Inquisition included public flogging, imprisonment, and being forced to wear a yellow cross as a mark of shame.
  • The Inquisition had a system of informants who reported on suspected heretics in their communities.
  • Inquisitors often relied on anonymous denunciations to identify potential heretics.
  • The Inquisition sometimes used “autos-da-fé,” or public acts of faith, to demonstrate its power and intimidate potential heretics.
  • The Inquisition sometimes targeted musicians and artists suspected of spreading heretical ideas.
  • Jews and Muslims, who had converted to Christianity, were sometimes targeted by the Inquisition on suspicion that they had secretly reverted to their former faiths.
  • The Inquisition sometimes targeted women accused of practising witchcraft or other forms of sorcery.
  • The Inquisition sometimes targeted dissenting Catholic groups, such as the Spiritual Franciscans.
  • The Inquisition sometimes used inquisitors who were members of the Dominican and Franciscan orders.
  • Inquisitors were often appointed by secular rulers, who had the power to remove them if they overstepped their bounds.
  • The Inquisition sometimes collaborated with secular authorities, such as the Spanish monarchy.
  • The Inquisition sometimes targeted people accused of blasphemy, such as those who denied the divinity of Jesus.
  • The Inquisition sometimes targeted people accused of sexual deviance, such as homosexuality or adultery.
  • The Inquisition sometimes allowed suspects to confess and repent in exchange for leniency.
  • In some cases, the Inquisition granted pardons to suspects who cooperated with its investigations and showed remorse for their actions.

Paper Recap
Although the inquisitions had a reputation for extreme violence, they aimed to convert people to their way of thinking, not to execute them. Thus, inquisitors questioned suspects about their beliefs before explaining deviations by the suspects from orthodox Christian teachings. If the accused recanted and pledged to remain true to orthodox teaching, they were generally given light penances, such as prayers, and allowed to leave.[15]

Studies of the records have found that the overwhelming majority of sentences consisted of penances, but convictions of unrepentant heresy were handed over to the secular courts[16], which generally resulted in death by execution or life imprisonment.[17]

Until the mid-15th century, the inquisitorial courts are together known as the Medieval Inquisition. Other groups investigated during the Medieval Inquisition, which primarily took place in France and Italy, include the Spiritual Franciscans, the Hussites, and the Beguines.[18]

Starting from the 1250s, inquisitors were generally chosen from members of the Dominican Order, replacing the earlier practice of using local clergy as judges.[19] During the Late Middle Ages and the early Renaissance:

The Inquisition also expanded to other European countries,[20] resulting in the Spanish Inquisition and the Portuguese Inquisition focused particularly on the New Christians or Conversos, as the former Jews who wanted a better social position, the anusim (people forced to abandon Judaism against their will) and Muslim converts to Catholicism. In Spain and Portugal, many converted Muslims and Jews were persecuted because it was suspected they had secretly reverted to their original religions. Religious minorities were more common there than in other parts of Europe, and there was also a fear that they might rebel and start uprisings, as had happened previously.

During this time, Spain and Portugal operated inquisitorial courts in Europe and throughout their empires in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, resulting in the Goa Inquisition, the Peruvian Inquisition, and the Mexican Inquisition, among others.[21]

Except for the Papal States, the institution of the Inquisition was abolished in the early 19th century after the Napoleonic Wars in Europe and the Spanish-American wars of independence in the Americas. The institution survived as part of the Roman Curia, but in 1908 it was renamed the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office. In 1965, it became the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.[22]  Finally, in 2022, it was renamed the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Final Words
Contrary to popular belief, the Inquisition didn’t originate in Spain and wasn’t initially aimed at Jews. In the 1200s, the Pope established the Holy Inquisition Against Depraved Heresy to deal with Christian sects that had broken away. However, secular rulers didn’t want the Inquisition meddling in their affairs, so it remained weak and didn’t burn many heretics at the stake for over 200 years. In 1481, Ferdinand and Isabella established the Inquisition in Seville, promising that confiscated assets of heretics would go to the Crown. Although many assume that the Inquisition was brought to Spain to stop Jews from influencing conversos to leave Christianity, some historians argue that Jewish consciousness was almost non-existent among conversos by 1481 and that Jews didn’t attempt such outreach. Rather, they believe the Inquisition reflected the attitudes of Spain’s Old Christian population and was “a genuine expression of the soul of the Spanish people,” as one historian put it.[23]

Though not subject to the Inquisition, Jews who refused to convert or leave Spain were called heretics and could be burned to death on a stake
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Overall, the Inquisitions were a dark period in the history of the Catholic Church, marked by intolerance, persecution, and brutality. While their methods and targets varied, they all shared a commitment to enforcing religious orthodoxy at any cost.

Sources and Further Reading

Selection of Books:

Selection of YouTube Videos:

CAUTION: This paper is compiled from the sources stated but has not been externally reviewed. Parts of this paper include information provided via artificial intelligence which, although checked by the author, is not always accurate or reliable. Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness or suitability of the information and materials covered in this paper for any particular purpose. Such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law. Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available through this paper meet your specific requirements and you should neither take action nor exercise inaction without taking appropriate professional advice. The hyperlinks were current at the date of publication.

End Notes and Explanations

  1. Source: Compiled from research using the information at the sources stated throughout the text, together with information provided by machine-generated artificial intelligence at: [chat] and
  2. Source:
  3. Explanation: The Cathar heresy was a Christian sect that emerged in the 12th century in southern France. The Cathars believed in a dualistic worldview, with a good god who created the spiritual world, and an evil god who created the physical world. The Cathars rejected the authority of the Catholic Church and were therefore considered heretics. The Inquisition was used in southern France to suppress the Cathars and other heretical groups. The persecution of the Cathars is often cited as one of the bloodiest periods in the history of the Inquisition.
  4. Source:
  5. Explanation: The Waldensians were a Christian movement that started in the 12th century as a response to what they saw as the corruption of the Catholic Church. The group, originally known as the “Poor Men of Lyon,” advocated for apostolic poverty, which was also preached by the Franciscans. However, they rejected the authority of local bishops over their preaching and the standards for who was fit to preach. In 1215, the Catholic Church declared the Waldensians heretical. While some returned to the Church as “Poor Catholics,” many were persecuted and discriminated against for their beliefs. In the 16th century, the Waldensians joined the Protestant movement under the influence of Swiss reformer Heinrich Bullinger. See further explanation at:
  6. Explanation: The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon also known as the Order of Solomon’s Temple, the Knights Templar, or simply the Templars, was a Catholic military order, one of the wealthiest and most popular military orders in Western Christianity. They were founded circa 1119, headquartered on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and existed for nearly two centuries during the Middle Ages. See more at:
  7. Explanation: The Diet of Worms of 1521 was an imperial diet (a formal deliberative assembly) of the Holy Roman Empire called by Emperor Charles V and conducted in the Imperial Free City of WormsMartin Luther was summoned to the Diet in order to renounce or reaffirm his views in response to a Papal bull of Pope Leo X. In answer to questioning, he defended these views and refused to recant them. At the end of the Diet, the Emperor issued the Edict of Worms (Wormser Edikt), a decree which condemned Luther as “a notorious heretic” and banned citizens of the Empire from propagating his ideas. Although the Protestant Reformation is usually considered to have begun in 1517, the edict signals the first overt schism. Source:
  8. Explanation: The Reconquista (Spanish, Portuguese and Galician for “reconquest”) is the historical term used to describe the military campaigns that Christian kingdoms waged from the 8th century until 1492 to retake the Iberian territories which were lost due to the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. Cited at:
  9. Sources: (a) New Catholic Encyclopedia v. 7, 2nd ed, 2003. (Cited at:, (b) Grendler, Paul F. “Printing and censorship” in The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy, Charles B. Schmitt, ed. (Cambridge University Press, 1988.  ISBN 978-0-52139748-3) pp. 45–46 (Cited at:, (c) The Church in the Modern Age, (Volume 10) by Hubert Jedin, John Dolan, Gabriel Adriányi 1981 ISBN 082450013X, page 168, (d) Kusukawa, Sachiko (1999). “Galileo and Books”. Starry Messenger, (e) “Notification regarding the abolition of the Index of books”. 14 June 1966.
  10. Explanation: The Gelasian Decree is a Latin text traditionally thought to be a Decretal of the prolific Pope Gelasius I, bishop of Rome from 492–496 AD. Source:
  11. Sources: (a) Lenard, Max (2006). “On the origin, development and demise of the Index librorum prohibitorum”. Journal of Access Services. 3 (4): 51–63. doi:10.1300/J204v03n04_05S2CID 144325885, (b) Anastaplo, George. “Censorship”. Encyclopedia Britannica, and (c) Hilgers, Joseph (1908).

    “Censorship of Books”. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. Robert Appleton CompanyAll cited at:

  12. Source: Lyons, Martyns (2011). A Living History. Los Angeles. pp. Chapter 2. Cited at:
  13. Source: Index Librorum Prohibitorum, 1559, Regula Quarta (“Rule 4”). Cited at:
  14. Source: “Code of Canon Law: text – IntraText CT” Cited at:
  15. Source:
  16. Explanation: During the Inquisitions, Secular Courts were courts of law that were not part of the Catholic Church’s Inquisition system. These courts had their own legal systems and procedures and were often responsible for enforcing secular laws, such as those related to crime and civil disputes. In some cases, the secular courts worked together with the Inquisition to prosecute and punish individuals accused of heresy or other crimes against the Church. However, there were also instances where the secular courts opposed the Inquisition and sought to limit its power and influence.
  17. Sources: (a) “Internet History Sourcebooks Project”., (b) Peters, Edwards. “Inquisition”, p. 67, and (c) Lea, Henry Charles. “Chapter VII. The Inquisition Founded”. A History of the Inquisition In The Middle Ages. Vol. 1. ISBN 1-152-29621-3.  Cited at:
  18. Explanations: (1) The Fraticelli (Italian for “Little Brethren”) or Spiritual Franciscans opposed changes to the rule of St. Francis of Assisi, especially with regard to poverty, and regarded the wealth of the Church as scandalous, and that of individual churchmen as invalidating their status. The Fraticelli were declared heretical in 1296 by Boniface VIII. The name Fraticelli is used for various sects, which appeared in the 13th to 15th centuries, principally in Italy, that separated from the Franciscan Order following disputes concerning poverty. The Apostolics (also known as Pseudo-Apostles or Apostolic Brethren) are excluded from the category, because admission to the Order of St. Francis was expressly denied to their founder, Gerard Segarelli. The Apostolics had no connection to the Franciscans, in fact desiring to exterminate them. It is necessary to differentiate the various groups of Fraticelli, although the one term may be applied to all.

    (2) The Hussites (aka “Chalice People”) were a Czech proto-Protestant Christian movement that followed the teachings of reformer Jan Hus, who became the best-known representative of the Bohemian Reformation. The Hussite movement began in the Kingdom of Bohemia and quickly spread throughout the remaining Lands of the Bohemian Crown, including Moravia and Silesia. It also made inroads into the northern parts of the Kingdom of Hungary (now

    Slovakia), but was rejected and gained infamy for the plundering behaviour of the Hussite soldiers. It was a regional movement that failed to expand further.

    (3) The Beguines and Beghards were Christian lay religious orders  active in Western Europe, particularly in the Low Countries, in the 13th to 16th centuries. Their members lived in semi-monastic communities but did not take formal religious vows; although they promised not to marry “as long as they lived as Beguines,” to quote one of the early Rules, they were free to leave at any time. Beguines were part of a larger spiritual revival movement of the 13th century that stressed imitation of Jesus‘ life through voluntary poverty, care of the poor and sick, and religious devotion.

  19. Source:  Peters, Edward. “Inquisition”, p. 54. Cited at:
  20. Source: Lea, Henry Charles (1888). “Chapter VII. The Inquisition Founded”. A History of the Inquisition In The Middle Ages. Vol. 1. ISBN 1-152-29621-3. The judicial use of torture was as yet happily unknown…   Cited at:
  21. Source:  Murphy, Cullen (2012). God’s Jury. New York: Mariner Books – Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt. p. 150. Cited at:
  22. Source: “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – Profile”. Cited at:
  23. Source: Adapted from –


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