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HOME > Library > Books > The Spanish Inquistion: It's Heroes and Martyrs, by Janet Gordon
"The Spanish Inquistion: It's
by Janet Gordon
HAIL & FIRE REPRINTS 2008
I. IT'S ORIGIN AND NATURE.
The Inquisition, recently abolished in Spain, was a tribunal established for the discovery and punishment of all who might hold opinions, or shades of opinion, differing in any degree from those religious dogmas which the Church of Rome has imposed upon all the peoples subject to her sway; and any deviation from which she has never failed, where she had the power, to punish with the utmost severity. Rejoicing in the name of the Holy Office, ostensibly Christian, and having its origin in a pretended zeal and love for the Christian faith, the Inquisition habitually in its procedure set at nought and trampled under foot, alike the natural impulses of human justice and compassion, and the obligations of that religion of love taught to men by Jesus. A mighty unseen engine of oppression, it brooded like an incubus over the land, repressing all progress and freedom of thought, and menacing prince and peasant alike with its pitiless invisible arm. Sitting in secrecy, its judges exercised in effect an irresponsible despotism, unchecked save by the feeble remonstrance of consciences seared by the perpetual commission of cruelties which seem almost incredible. Its arrests were made secretly, and at midnight; and its conduct to the prisoners in its power was systematically pitiless and unjust. Under a pretended mask of law and justice, it falsified facts, and kept back or concealed circumstances which might have proved the innocence of its wretched victims, so that it was almost impossible to obtain an acquittal, particularly if the suspected person were rich; wealth being found, under the jurisdiction of this tribunal, which had no revenues except what it drew from the confiscation of heretics, to be a frequent provocative to the imputation of that crime. A facility for making these false accusations was afforded by the secret nature of the tribunal. An impenetrable curtain of the deepest gloom veiled from the eyes of the public the dread inner world in which the inquisitors perpetrated their deeds of cruelty and injustice. One after another, the busy merchant, the eloquent preacher, the enlightened savant, the noble,
The principle, as it may be called, of the Inquisition - the dogma that religious error is a crime to be punished by the State - existed from a very early age in the Christian Church. Officers, whose duty it was to discover and punish heresy, were appointed by the Emperors Justinian and Theodosius; but it was not until the eleventh and twelfth centuries that an attempt was made to institute a special tribunal for this purpose. In the thirteenth century, Pope Innocent the Third, uneasy at the spread of the sect of the Albigenses in the domains of Count Raymond of Toulouse, instituted a general Inquisition against heretics in the provinces of Provence and Narbonne, in France.
The monks from whom the first inquisitors were chosen, were members of the recently established and fanatical order of the Dominicans. No permanent form was given, however, to the Inquisition in France until 1233; and in 1232 the tribunal was introduced into Spain. The first Spanish Inquisition was founded in that year in the diocese of the Bishop of Lerida, where its youth, at first feeble and sickly, was cherished with pious care by the sovereigns of Arragon, who obtained the canonization of some of the earlier inquisitors, who had fallen victims to the popular hatred which their office inspired. Of these questionable saints no special mention need be made; it is enough to observe that the Inquisition grew and flourished under their care, while in every other country of Europe it declined. In France and in Germany it languished, and became gradually weaker, until it was finally abolished; in Poland, its career was so brief as scarcely to deserve mention; and in England it was never received at all. It was in Spain, Portugal, and their dependencies, principally, that its gigantic prisons were reared, bristling like so many fortresses over the groaning land. There, pomp and glory waited at its judgment-seats; there, kings delighted to do it honour; and there, even the blood-royal was found but an insufficient guard against its encroaching tyranny. In 1478, Ferdinand the Fifth of Arragon, the husband of the celebrated Isabella the Catholic, the heiress of Castile, hankering after the great wealth possessed by the Jews, who had settled largely and acquired extensive power and influence in Arragon and Castile, obtained a bull, or papal decree, from Pope Sixtus the Fourth, introducing the Inquisition into Castile, and remodelling the whole institution, bestowing upon it that constitution and those tyrannical powers which it ever afterwards retained.
What that constitution and these powers were, will be best seen by examining into its modes of procedure. A process before the Inquisition was generally founded upon the denunciation of some informer; such
The witness or witnesses of the circumstances, more or less suspicious, which formed the basis of the accusation, were summoned; and having first taken an oath not to reveal any of the questions put to them, were interrogated as to all they knew concerning the accused, who meanwhile, not yet arrested, and in utter ignorance of the deadly peril to which he was exposed, was going unsuspiciously about the ordinary avocations of his life.
In these preliminary inquiries, the witnesses were not informed of the precise subject on which their depositions were expected to bear: they were only required in general terms to tell all they knew, and in especial, to reveal anything that they had either seen or heard, which might seem to them to militate in any degree against the dignity and rights of the Catholic Church or of the Holy Office. The result of this was the introduction of a great mass of irrelevant and idle gossip into the depositions, which might be, and often was, useful in furnishing hints upon which future accusations were based. When the witnesses had revealed all which they had to tell, their depositions were written down by the notary, and then delivered into the hands of certain monks, who examined them, and, on the faith of their contents, declared the accused person more or less violently suspected of heresy, according as their ignorant fanaticism or avarice prompted them to a greater or less degree of spite against their intended victim. These monks were called qualifiers; and when their qualification was completed, the procurator-fiscal, obeying that law which placed all the civil magistrates of Spain at the disposal of the inquisitors, demanded, in accordance with their secret instructions, the immediate arrest of the accused person, and his committal to the secret prisons of the Inquisition.
These seizures were generally made at night, by servants of the tribunal, who were called familiars, or alguazils. Robed in black, and often men of high rank, these familiars executed their commissions in such secrecy and silence, that the nearest neighbours of the accused could only guess at the dread cause of his otherwise mysterious disappearance.
Dragged from his bed at the dead of night, bewildered, confused, without having had time to conceal his effects or destroy his papers, ignorant of the crime laid to his charge, ignorant of his accusers, it can scarcely be a
To return, however, to the prisons of the Inquisition, these were of three kinds, and were called, according to their varying degrees of rigour, the public, the intermediate, and the secret prisons. The first, which were airy and well-lighted apartments, were reserved for prisoners not suspected of heresy, but of other crimes, such as bigamy and smuggling, which the Inquisition, through the decrees of several successive monarchs, acquired the privilege of punishing. The second series of cells, also well lighted, and tolerably comfortable, were used for those servants of the Inquisition who, although guiltless of the taint of heresy, had committed some breach of their contract. The third, which consisted of damp, foul, underground vaults, were for those unhappy individuals who, suspected of heresy or of heretical leanings, formed, so to speak, the natural prey of this tribunal. The wretched occupants of these foul, unwholesome dungeons were often chained to the wall, where they dragged away the slow days in bleak, blank isolation, with no light except such faint glimmers of heaven's sunshine as could struggle through a slit in the thick walls, and fall upon them where they sat in utter solitude, which was unbroken, save when an inquisitor came on one or other of what were fitly called the three audiences of monition. In these the prisoner was advised to speak the whole truth, without attempting to conceal anything which he might have said or done against the Catholic faith. Until then, the accused would in all probability have been ignorant of the crime laid to his charge; and when he had gleaned something of its import from the inquisitor's words, he might either confess it, which some did, or delay his answer until the act of accusation was read to him. His visitor then proceeded to examine him rigorously as to his parentage and genealogy; and if he was so unhappy as to have Moorish or Jewish blood in his veins, as a great proportion of Spaniards had, or to have an ancestor suspected or accused of heretical leanings, the fact was put down, to be afterwards used against him, apparently on the supposition that a corrupt fountain cannot send forth anything but impure waters. He was then ordered to repeat the Pater and Credo; and if he had forgotten them, or through excitement made any mistake in repeating them, it was also noted down, and remembered to his detriment in the subsequent trial.
After these examinations were completed, the final act of accusation was framed by the procurator-fiscal, any admission which the prisoner might have been drawn in to make against himself being carefully embodied in it. In this act every varying statement of each several witness was put down as a separate fact, although every witness called might be deposing to the same conversation or action; so that an accusation which ought truthfully to have been confined to one charge, was made apparently to embrace five or six.
The purpose, or one of the purposes, of this ambiguity, was to confuse the prisoner, who, if he had not a very clear and logical mind, often imagined that several distinct crimes were imputed to him; and in striving to clear himself from them, contradicted himself, and so gave excuse for the charge that he had departed from the truth in his answers, - thus justifying, in the opinion of the inquisitors, the application of torture.
This barbarous mode of eliciting the truth, or of forcing the wretched sufferer to utter such falsehoods as his examiners deemed suitable to their purpose, was in very common use among the inquisitors. It was held, indeed, in so much favour by this tribunal, which professed to be guided in all things by zeal for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, that although the accused might have confessed himself guilty, in the first audiences, of all that had been laid to his charge, the procurator-fiscal nevertheless ended his requisition by declaring that he had been guilty of falsehood and concealment, that he was contumacious and impenitent, and that he demanded therefore that torture or the question should be applied to him.
The forms of torture in use in the dungeons of the Inquisition were various. I shall merely describe two of them, known by the names of the rack and the pulley, - making choice of them because they were perhaps the two in most common use, not because there were not a variety of others, causing, if possible, still more prolonged and exquisite torment.
The chevalet, or rack, was a machine of wood, shaped like a hollow groove. It was made large enough to hold the body of a man, and had no bottom, only a bar of wood across it.
The pulley, the second variety of torture in most common use, might be described as a vertical rack. The person condemned to it had heavy stones or weights of wood or iron attached to his feet. His hands were bound behind his back, and he was hoisted up to the roof of the torture-chamber, by means of a rope attached to them. This rope was then suddenly slackened, and he was allowed to drop within a few inches of the ground with a violent jerk, which sometimes wrenched every joint from its socket, and dislocated every limb. The inquisitor meanwhile stood by, and in the name of religion urged the executioner to tighten the murderous cords, protesting all the time, in smooth-set hypocritical phrase, that in the case of death, injury, or fractured limbs, the wretched victim writhing before him in unutterable torments had only himself to blame.
Many instances are recorded, in which every variety of anguish that human ingenuity could devise, failed to wring from the sufferer one incriminating word, either against himself or others; but such high-souled endurance was comparatively rare. More generally - and who can wonder at it? - the wretched accused confessed the crime often falsely laid to his charge. He was then compelled next day to ratify or retract this confession upon oath; and the usual effect of this was, that every prisoner confirmed the confession, however false, which had been wrung from him by pain, because to have denied it would have been to have subjected himself to a repetition of the torture.
Sometimes a prisoner of bold and resolute character would demand that the requisition or act of accusation should be furnished to him in writing; but this was seldom done. It was generally withheld from all prisoners, in order that they might not have time to ponder over it, or to prepare their replies. All that the justice of the Inquisition demanded, was that judges, whose interest it was to find the prisoner guilty, should read over in his hearing the articles of accusation as quickly as possible, so as to embarrass him to the utmost, and should then ask him if he wished to make any defence. If he said 'Yes,' garbled extracts of the act of accusation and of his replies were made, and a list of the lawyers belonging to the Holy Office was handed to him.
From these prejudiced and interested advocates he was forced to choose a defender, whom he was not personally allowed to see, or communicate with in any way. The mode of proceeding when the prisoner demanded and had chosen an advocate, was for one of the notaries of the Inquisition to give a garbled, mutilated copy of the case to the lawyer selected, who read it over, and was then ordered to defend the prisoner if he thought it just to do so. If he did not, he was requested to advise the accused to solicit his pardon from the Inquisition, to confess his crimes sincerely, and humbly ask to be reconciled to the Church.
If the advocate, on the contrary, determined to defend the prisoner, he generally advised his client to challenge the witnesses. What a poor chance of success he had in this attempt may be judged, when it is remembered that he was ignorant of the names of the witnesses; that he could only encounter his accusers at haphazard, and in the dark, as it were; and that, in effect, he often challenged people who had never been summoned as witnesses against him.
When the advocate had made his defence, such as it was, judgment was privately pronounced upon the prisoner. The sentences passed were various, and comprised a great variety of penances, confiscation, imprisonment, and death; but whatever the punishment was, it was not communicated to the prisoner until the morning of the auto-da-fé.
These autos-da-fé, or acts of faith, were the great gala days of the Inquisition, and were surrounded with all that imposing pomp of circumstance with which the Church of Rome delights to invest her solemnities.
They were held periodically in each of the twelve cities in which the Inquisition had established her tribunals; and a Sunday or holiday of the Church was always chosen, in order to mark the religious nature of the ceremony.
The scene was generally some large square in the centre of the town. There, on a platform covered with rich tapestry, seats were placed for the inquisitors, for the principal nobility, and for such members of the royal family as might be in the
First came a division of mounted troops, bronzed veterans, who might have fought under the banners of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, or followed the victorious standard of his son Don John. After them came the condemned, marching in single file, with a familiar of the Inquisition on either side, and a couple of friars behind, who loudly, in importunate tone, adjured the heretic to repent and be reconciled; thus doing their utmost to disturb and agitate the few moments of life yet remaining to their victims.
Those prisoners condemned to the flames wore pointed caps of pasteboard, covered with grotesque representations of devils, and the sanbenito.
This robe of infamy was a loose frock, or a coarse yellow woollen stuff, divided by means of the figures painted upon it into three grades, which served to intimate to the wearer the degree of severity of the sentence about to be executed upon him. Those who were sentenced to penance, imprisonment, or confiscation, wore a sanbenito upon which a simple red cross was portrayed. Those who were allowed the favour of being strangled before they were burned, had, on the contrary, a sanbenito with busts painted on it, surrounded with flames pointing downwards; while those sentenced to be burned alive had sanbenitos reserved for them embroidered with busts consuming in flames, pointing upward, and assiduously fanned by such grotesque devils as the monkish chisels have preserved to us on the spouts and under the eaves of our ruined monasteries and abbeys.
The last prisoner, with attendant jailor and confessor, having filed out of the gates of the Inquisition, the procession was swelled by the magistrates of the city, the nobility on horseback, and a swarm of ecclesiastics on sumptuously caparisoned mules.
Then came the inquisitors, with great banners of blood-red sarcenet carried before them, having one side emblazoned with the heraldic bearings of the Inquisition, and the other adorned with the papal arms, conjoined with those of Ferdinand and Isabella of Catholic memory. The familiars, and such of the nobility as did not disdain to serve in their ranks, brought up the rear; and far behind, pushing, struggling, spreading in tumultuous waves over the country, came the heaving masses of the toiling, work-a-day crowd, brought there by their superiors to learn, in the triumph of Church and Cross, lessons even more debasing than those taught to the heathen Roman populace by the brutal games of the amphitheatre.
When the august portion of the assembly had taken their seats, and the square was filled to overflowing with the more common part of the crowd, a celebrated preacher, generally one of the court preachers, or a bishop of unusual eloquence, rose and delivered what was called 'the sermon of faith;' dividing, for half an hour or so, public attention with the haggard crowd of victims upon the scaffold. These were of every rank, for the net of the Inquisition swept far and wide; but a noticeably large proportion of them were drawn from the upper classes, the priesthood itself supplying many a victim illustrious for genius and learning, which in happier lands might have conducted him to the highest posts of honour and influence, but in Spain led only to the robe of infamy, the gag, and the stake, at the Quemadero, or place of fire. When the preacher had concluded his discourse, the grand inquisitor, who was generally either a cardinal or an archbishop, rose in his gorgeous robes of office, and stretching out his hands, administered with much solemnity an oath to the assembled concourse of people, who, falling like one man upon their knees, swore to defend the Inquisition against all assailants, and to be faithful to it alike in life and death, even should such fidelity demand sacrifices as painful as the plucking out of a right eye or the cutting off of a right hand. During the reigns of Ferdinand and Isabella, and of their grandson the Emperor Charles, this oath was demanded from the people alone: the sovereigns were not expected to take it. It was reserved for the morose and bigoted Philip to inaugurate a ceremony so humiliating to the position of the Spanish ruler. The historians of his reign tell us that he voluntarily on several occasions took this oath, drawing his sword as he uttered the words, as if he longed with his own hands to cut in pieces the enemies of his chosen tribunal.
When the ceremony of the oath was concluded, the secretary of the Inquisition read aloud a roll of the prisoners, declaring their several offences, and the sentence pronounced against each. Those condemned to penance and confiscation then knelt down, each in his turn, when his name was pronounced; and having confessed, and deplored his guilt in a loud voice, he humbly demanded pardon, and was solemnly absolved by the grand inquisitor; and consigned back to his jailors, with what poor comfort he could glean from having his sins forgiven by a fellow-creature, equally or even more guilty than himself. For there still remained to the absolved man what we Protestants would consider very heavy penalties indeed. He had escaped, to use the words of the ancient patriarch, with the skin of his teeth;
When those who, in inquisitorial language, were reconciled, were all removed under a strong guard to their prisons, there remained only the martyrs destined to the flames, and all eyes were turned towards them, generally with hatred and loathing. The words of Jesus to His earliest disciples, 'Ye shall be abhorred by all men for my name's sake,' were literally true of these Spanish victims of this dread institution of the Romish Church. Regarded as enemies alike of God and man, as more accursed than the hated Jew or infidel Moor, there was no eye to pity them as they stood, pallid and prison-worn, with limbs scorched and torn by fiery pincers, and distorted by the pulley and rack, each wasted brow serene with more than mortal courage, each hollow eye gleaming with an inspiration caught not from the earth which had been so evil to them, but from the heaven that, far beyond the torments of the Quemadero, opened for them its shining gates. Thus they stood, a spectacle to all men, defying with the unquenched, unquenchable might of the soul, all the array of worldly power that sought in vain to quell their convictions; and below them the multitude reeled and swayed, and the notary read their sentence, and the grand inquisitor delivered them in all kindness and mercy to the secular magistrate; and the secular magistrate, bound hand and foot to the Inquisition, prepared to do its cruel bidding.
A few minutes more, and the pile was kindled, the flames crackled and roared, the cries of human anguish mingled with the fierce shouts and yells of the multitude, the smoke of their burning ascended to the sky, and God, we cannot doubt, hearkened and heard it. For in the course of years it was ordained that, through spectacles such as these, and the wide and ruinous emigration of Jews and Moors consequent upon them, Spain, from being the wealthiest and most prosperous of all the European peoples, has sunk to be the poorest and meanest among nations.
An idea of the power of this tribunal, in the palmiest days of its glory, may be formed from the estimate given by historians of the number of its victims during the sway of its two first chiefs, appointed by Ferdinand and Isabella.
The first of these grand inquisitors was Father Thomas de Torquemada, a fanatical and pitiless Dominican monk, who showed such zeal in executing the cruel duties of his office, that during the sixteen years in which he filled it, he committed, according to Llorente and other historians, more than 9000 of his fellow-creatures to the flames. So great a number of persons were condemned to be burned at Seville, that Andrew Bernaldez, a contemporary writer, tells us that the prefect of the city was compelled to erect, in a field outside the walls, a broad scaffold of stone. On this platform, being apparently a prefect of artistic tendencies, he erected four statues of plaster, which he named the four prophets; but whether the condemned were enclosed in them, and slowly roasted to death, or chained to them with the fuel composing the pile heaped around them, Signor Bernaldez does not make clear.
Mariana, another historian, tells us that in the province and diocese of Cadiz, not fewer than two thousand wretched creatures were consumed in the fire, besides an almost incredible number of others who were declared infamous, and were cast upon the world, enfeebled by long imprisonment in foul dungeons, tortured, maimed, beggared, to die by the slower processes of cold and hunger. Verily the tender mercies of the Inquisition were cruel.
Diego Deza, who succeeded Torquemada, and who was Bishop of Zaen and Archbishop of Seville, was also a member of the fierce, intolerant Dominican order, and so far as cruelty went, was not unworthy to tread in his predecessor's steps. During his eight years of office he condemned 1600 people to the same terrible doom; and to him belongs the questionable glory of having incited Ferdinand and Isabella to expel the Moors from their dominions, as Torquemada had before incited them to expel the Jews.
These two edicts of banishment procured to Ferdinand and Isabella the loss of almost two millions of their most able and industrious subjects, and dealt the true prosperity of the country a blow from which it has never recovered. The annals of the world contain no records of a similar exodus, except such as on a smaller scale followed the shortsighted revocation of the Edict of Nantes. And the same consequences in both countries resulted from the tyrannical measure. The French refugees brought with them to England the knowledge of certain manufactures of which France had hitherto held the monopoly; and in Spain, the harassed, distressed multitudes, who sold their houses and vineyards for an ass or a small piece of linen, and fled dismayed, fugitives from the rack and stake, carried with them, although Diego Deza and the fanatics of his school knew it not, the prosperity and wealth of the fertile land from which they were cast sorrowing forth.
Ferdinand, who survived his consort Isabella, recommended the Inquisition at his death to his grandson Charles, the heir of their united kingdoms. And the recluse of the monastic retreat of Yuste, again in his turn bequeathed the care of the Holy Office as a sacred duty to his son and successor, Philip the Second.
No charge could have been more congenial to the sombre heir of the great emperor. It was in the reign of this prince, and beneath his fostering protection, that this peculiar tribunal attained its greatest power and arrogance, and prosecuted its most distinguished victims.
Philip's character, silent, dark, suspicious, loving to strike in secret, inclined him to find in it a useful and convenient engine of oppression. It was easy to get up a charge of Judaism or heresy against a man in a country where such a trifle as giving a child a Hebrew name was held presumptive evidence of the fact that he was a Jew, or the possession of a proscribed book, such as any of the works of Erasmus, Luther, or CEcolampadius, exposed their owner to the penalty of being burned alive. Accordingly we shall find that Philip used the deadly unseen arm of this tribunal as a means of gratifying jealous hatred and political animosities, as well as those religious impulses which taught him, in common with all good Catholics, to desire to stifle freedom of thought in the blood of the audacious thinker who dared to differ from any of the dogmas which he and the Church had laid down for the guidance of their subjects. It was probably the latter of those motives which swayed him in the part he took in the first of these famous prosecutions of the Inquisition which shall come under our notice. It is the story of a very distinguished, perhaps the most distinguished, victim of that pitiless tribunal - Bartholomew de Carranza, Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain.
II. ARCHBISHOP CARRANZA.
Bartholomew de Carranza was born in 1503, of an old Castilian family, who had settled at Miranda de Arga, a little town in the kingdom of Navarre.
Early in life he entered a convent of Dominicans, which was called St. Eugenius, and which was dependent upon the University of Alcala de Henares, in which his uncle Sancho de Carranza was a doctor. When he was fifteen years old he removed to the College of St. Balbinia to study philosophy, which then comprised some vague and general ideas of Logic and Metaphysics. In 1520 he took the habit of a Dominican monk, in a convent of that order in the suburbs of Guadalajara, and had no sooner made his profession, as it was called, than he was sent to study theology in the College of St. Stephen of Salamanca, which he left in 1525 for that of St. Gregory in Valladolid.
His second accuser was a monk of the same order, Brother Juan de Villamartin, who denounced him as an ardent admirer of Erasmus, and a defender of his works, even of those in which he attacked the sacraments of confession and penance.
Of these denunciations the Inquisition made no use at the time. Carranza's talents were at the moment useful to the grand inquisitor and his colleagues; but they laid them up in their archives, and produced them many years later, when the archbishop had become the victim of their hatred. In 1530 Carranza was appointed Professor of Philosophy in the College of St. Gregory, in Valladolid. In 1534 he obtained the post of Professor of Theology in the same college, and in the same year he was named qualifier to the Holy Office in Valladolid.
In 1539 an honourable testimony was borne to his talents by the monks of his order, who sent him to Rome to attend a general chapter or council of the Dominicans. In this assembly he was chosen to maintain what were called the theses, a duty only confided to such members of the order as were known to possess eloquence, discretion, and ability. The task was by no means easy, and the post was sufficiently invidious; but Carranza fulfilled its difficult duties with so much of talent and suavity, that he obtained the rank of Doctor and Master of Theology, and a reward which he valued still more - a permission from Pope Paul the Third to read the proscribed books of the German Reformers.
On his return to Spain he settled quietly down at Valladolid, teaching theology with great success in the Convent of St. Gregory, and striving, like a good shepherd, to assuage the temporal sufferings as well as supply the spiritual wants of those around him.
In the autumn of that year, 1540, the harvest had been an entire failure in the mountains of Leon and Santander, and widespread famine and suffering were the result. So great was the scarcity of food that the people at last left their villages, and feeble, hunger-stricken multitudes flocked to Valladolid, with plague and pestilence dogging their steps. Great numbers of these the charitable Professor of Theology fed at his own expense in his college; and when his slender means were exhausted, he sold his books that he might assist others in the city, retaining of his library - which had been a good one for those days - only his Bible and the Life of St. Thomas.
During this period, besides his duties as a teacher, he was kept incessantly at work by the Holy Office, either as a qualifier, or an examiner of books, which were sent to his house by the Supreme Council. His eloquence also procured for him the unenviable honour of preacher at the autos-da-fé, which were frequently celebrated at Valladolid with much pomp and magnificence. About this period also, his great talents, and earnest, exemplary life, procured him the favourable notice of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, who appointed him Bishop of Cuzco, - an honour so repugnant to his humble, unambitious nature, that he declined it, saying that he would only go to South America as a simple preacher of the gospel.
The favour of the emperor for him seems to have been in no degree diminished by his refusal of the bishopric, for in 1545 we find him sent by Charles to the Council of Trent as his theologian.
He remained there for three useful, busy years; and among other honours which his talents procured for him, there was one which, many years afterwards, brought him abundant trouble. Cardinal Pacheco, the dean of the Spanish prelates, who were members of the council, appointed him to preach on justification before the fathers of the Church. He obeyed, and delivered a celebrated sermon, tainted even then, his enemies said, by the plague-spot of Lutheran heresy. Yet Carranza, at this period of his life, was as little an avowed heretic as he was at any other. He was an earnest, pious, liberal-minded Roman Catholic, anxious to do and choose the right, and to reform abuses which offered no temptation to his simple, frugal, self-denying temperament. During his residence in Germany, he published at Rome a work which he called a Summary of Councils, and one at Venice in the same year, treating of theological controversies. In 1547, two years after he left Spain, he published a book intended to reform the abuses consequent upon the non-residence of bishops at their sees, which created a vast amount of excitement and angry feeling, and procured him many bitter and influential enemies. It was publicly attacked by Brother Ambrose Caterino, and defended by Brother Dominic de Soto, both monks of his order.
On his return to Spain, the emperor offered him the post of Confessor to Philip the Second, then Prince of the Asturias, but this honour he declined; and in 1549 he also refused the Bishopric of the Canary Islands, which was offered to him by Charles. In the same year the monks of his order elected him Prior of the Dominicans at Valencia, and this office he accepted. In 1550 he was made Provincial of the Convents of Castile, and immediately set about the duty of visiting his province, earnestly endeavouring to reform the abuses which had crept into the convents in the wake of growing wealth and luxury.
In 1551 the Council of Trent was again convoked, and Carranza was again sent by the emperor to attend it. Furnished with power by the then Archbishop of Toledo, he assisted at all the deliberations until 1552; and among other duties which he performed, was the drawing up of an index, - a task for which his literary ability and comparative liberality peculiarly fitted him.
When he returned to Spain, the term for which he held the office of provincial had expired; and fatigued by the cares of public life, he gladly re-entered his Convent of St. Gregory at Valladolid, and resumed his duties of teaching.
While he was thus engaged in the simple and unobtrusive exercise of his office as a professor, Philip, the only son and heir of the emperor, having lost his first wife, Mary of Portugal, married another, his father's cousin, Mary the heiress of England. He had no sooner formed this alliance, than it seemed to his bigoted mind that it would be a comparatively easy thing to reconvert the haughty islanders to
"History of England, from the Fall of Wosley to the Death of Elizabeth"
"History of England, from the Fall of Wosley to the Death of Elizabeth"
Of noble, even of royal birth, urbane, polished, and liberal, the Cardinal had himself known what it was to be persecuted for conscience sake, and all his instincts were in favour of toleration. Although the greater part of his life had been passed abroad, he was a native-born Englishman, and understood well the temper of his countrymen. Perhaps the greater number of such conversions as were not made from interested motives, are to be ascribed to his winning urbanity and kindliness of manner; but some are also due, the Spanish historians tell us, to the eloquence of Carranza.
And now comes the great stain of his life - the fatal blot which made all his subsequent misfortunes but a returning into his bosom of that measure, heaped up and running over, which he had meted out unto others. Evil communications, it is said, corrupt good manners. It is possible that his Castilian eloquence bore but slight fruit in the form of conversions; certain it is, that this man, liberal-hearted, large-souled as he was, degraded himself to the level of Bonner, Gardiner, and the other bigots of their school, and joined with such alacrity in their odious persecutions, that he became pre-eminently hateful to the English, who called him the Black Friar, in reference alike to the deep brown of his southern complexion, and the sable hue of his Dominican gown.
In 1555, Philip, sick to loathing of his poor plain wife, and impatient of the leading-strings in which the English Parliament held him, took the road for Dover; and with ...
more to come . . .
"Others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise" Heb 11:36-39 KJV