Why Apologise for the Spanish Inquisition?
By Very Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Maria Duran, MJ

Not everyone, however, holds such a high opinion of Queen Isabel, nor of the Spanish conquest of the new world, nor even of the Church's enormous missionary efforts there. "This situation", as one historian described it, "as annoying as unjust, is worse than a mere distraction or even ideological rejection: it is ignorance." But this void of knowledge about the Queen and Spain has been filled with vehement falsehood. Ignorance by neglect is hard enough to combat, but the truth about Queen Isabel and the history of Catholic Spain in the modern world is, yet the truth has been distorted also. The roots of these opposing opinions lie in the infamous "Black Legend". Since the mid-16th century this systematic anti-Catholic propaganda campaign has effectively twisted the truth about Catholic Spain and the Church so much so that its distorted version of history is taken for granted as the status quo almost completely by most modern history books and courses, and especially the mass media, including the movie making industry. The Spanish are always portrayed as the sinister villain opposing the cause of justice defended by gallantly buccaneers of the Erol Flynn genre. Discovery and evangelization of the New World is presented exclusively as a shameful act of tyranny and destruction that reflects nothing of the sentiments expressed above by His Holiness.

The Spanish Inquisition is one of the worst victims of the Black Legend, having been made a by-word for religious intolerance and sadistic cruelty. Whereas in 1994, the BBC aired a documentary made by modern day historians - including non-Catholics and British, who showed the terrible horrors and multitudes of victims of the Spanish Inquisition to be no more than myths and falsehoods produced by the Black Legend's anti-Spanish propaganda to turn world opinion against the victorious Spanish Empire. The documentary states that "...historians are now discovering that the common notion of the Spanish Inquisition as some horrible, fanatical, all-encompassing bloodthirsty monster could not be further from the truth... Studying the archives of the Inquisition demolished the previous image that all of us had."

So many other falsehoods and myths plague the Cause of Queen Isabel intimately linked with these objects of controversy. And so rises the question: Why push to canonize a person so much involved in controversy?

The answer to this key question is the very "raison etat" of the International Committee. To formally and officially recognize the objective truth of this historical question with recognition of the heroic virtues of the Servant of God - the great impluse responsible for the rise of Catholic Spain's Empire and the powerful support it offered the Church in both the defense in Europe as well as its expansion in the New World!

This Servant of God's canonization is the key to revisioning the history of the "Church's splendid role in the evangelization of the indigenous people of America."

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