CÔNG GIÁO HẮC SỬ III (kỳ 2)
[The Dark History of Catholicism]
Trần Chung Ngọc
Ki Tô Giáo cũng ủng hộ chế độ nô lệ ở Bắc Mỹ. Anh Giáo, vào thế kỷ 18 khẳng định rõ là Ki Tô Giáo giải thoát con người khỏi sự đầy đọa vĩnh viễn chứ không phải khỏi những trói buộc của nô lệ.. Tuy nhiên, nô lệ nên cải đạo vào Ki Tô Giáo, vì họ sẽ trở thành ngoan ngoãn và vâng lời hơn.
Những Tòa Hình Án Xử Dị Giáo cũng như chế độ nô lệ đều dựa trên cùng một biện minh tôn giáo. Để giữ niềm tin chính thống của Ki Tô Giáo vào một Thiên Chúa duy nhất và đáng sợ như là đấng cai trị cao nhất của hệ thống giáo quyền, quyền năng nằm trong giới có quyền, chứ không nằm trong cá nhân. Vâng lời và tuân phục được đánh giá cao hơn là tự do và tự quyết. Những Tòa Hình Án Xử Dị Giáo đã thực hiện những kết quả đen tối của một niềm tin như vậy qua việc cầm tù và giết hại thể xác cũng như tinh thần của vô số người – và không chỉ trong một thời gian ngắn. Những Tòa Hình Án Xử Dị Giáo kéo dài qua nhiều thế kỷ và vẫn còn tồn tại ở vài nơi cho đến năm 1834. 7
Trên đây chỉ là một số tài liệu lịch sử, lẽ dĩ nhiên không phải là tất cả, về những Tòa Hình Án Xử Dị Giáo của Giáo hội Công Giáo thánh thiện, tông truyền. Theo một số trí thức Công Giáo Việt Nam thì rất có thể những Tòa Hình Án Xử Dị Giáo đó là cơ quan thực thi "công lý Công giáo", "ý niệm về công bằng, bác ái, nhân quyền" của Công giáo (theo giáo sư Đỗ Mạnh Tri trong cuốn Ngón Tay và Mặt Trăng), hoặc đó là "ý niệm tiến bộ của văn minh toàn thế giới" và "sứ mạng cao cả của Giáo hội: mang sự thật đến cho nhân loại" của Công giáo (theo Lý Chánh Trung trong cuốn Tôn Giáo và Dân Tộc). Tôi không hiểu tại sao những bậc trí thức Công Giáo như Đỗ Mạnh Tri hay Lý Chánh Trung có thể trơ tráo đến độ có thể viết lên những điều hoàn toàn sai với những sự thực về lịch sử cũng như bản chất của giáo hội Công giáo như vậy. Viết như vậy không hiểu họ có biết ngượng hay không, ngượng vì chính cái lịch sử ô nhục đẫm máu của Công Giáo, hay ngượng vì chính sự ngu dốt của mình đã tin theo những lời lừa bịp của giáo hội. Thật là khó hiểu, Công giáo đã không từ một hành động tàn ác bất nhân nào để vinh danh Chúa và Mary Đồng Trinh và làm cả tượng “Đồng Trinh” để tra tấn và giết hại con người. Làm sao mà Giáo hội có thể gột sạch được những vết nhơ như thế. Hay là Giáo hội nghĩ rằng, nếu các tín đồ không biết đến những vết nhơ này thì sẽ không có vết nhơ nào trên khuôn mặt Giáo hội? Tôi không hiểu các tín đồ Công Giáo Việt Nam, khi đọc những tài liệu về những hành động vô cùng ác độc của giáo hội Công Giáo đối với con người như trên, sẽ nghĩ sao về cái “giáo hội thánh thiện” của họ, và họ có còn dám ngửng mặt lên nhìn những người ngoại đạo và huênh hoang ca tụng Công Giáo láo như Đỗ Mạnh Tri và Lý Chánh Trung như ở trên hay không?
Về sau những Tòa Hình Án Xử Dị Giáo cũng được Tin Lành áp dụng ở khắp nơi mà Tin Lành nắm quyền, kể cả ở Mỹ, nhưng thường ở mức độ thấp hơn. Qua một số sự kiện lịch sử kể trên, tôi xin để cho quý độc giả tùy ý nhận định về ảnh hưởng và thực chất của một tôn giáo thường được rêu rao vào tai con người bằng những danh từ hoa mỹ như "cao quý, thiên khải, thánh thiện, cứu thế, bác ái, mang tới "tin mừng", tôn trọng nhân quyền, tự do, duy nhất chân thật v...v..." Tiếp nối tinh thần của những Tòa Hình Án Xử Dị Giáo là những cuộc Săn Lùng Phù Thủy không kém phần dã man của giáo hội Công giáo thánh thiện, tông truyền. Đây là đề tài của “Núi Tội Ác Thứ Tư Của Công Giáo” trong loạt bài về “Công Giáo Hắc Sử”.
1. It is a plausible excuse; but we must remember that it was fear of the heretic which inspired the foundation of the Inquisition; and that its victims were more likely to be rich men, whose goods were worthy of confiscation, than men whose wordly goods were few.
2. With the growth in knowledge and critical thinking, inevitably came the desire for more freedom. Both the papacy and the monarchies of Europe recognized this grave threat. It is no wonder, then, that an all-out war was declared on those who sought to free humankind from the twin shackles of king and pope. This was the true purpose of the Inquisition.
3. The accused heretics first were arrested and isolated from the outside world. They were considered guilty from the outset, and it was regarded as the God-given obligation of the inquisitor to shake loose confessions. Only in this way, it was believed, could the accuseds's souls be saved from the clutches of the devil. Defense lawyers were not allowed; the accused had to rely on his own resources.
In contrast, the prosecution was authorized to produce any number of witnesses, including blood relatives.
Testimony and hearsay by even the most unreliable witnesses, including children, were accepted as conclusive evidence of guilt. The accused was not allowed to challenge witnesses or even know who they were. The accused, however, was permitted to testify.
Not surprisingly, torture was the quickest and most effective method of obtaining a confession. The heretics first were dragged into the torture chamber and shown all the instruments of torment. If they did not confess their alleged guilt, torture was applied slowly with increasing intensity. These sessions usually lasted two to four hours, leaving the victims violated and shattered.
Often the torture instruments used in these interrogations were first sprinkled with holy water (water blessed by a priest. These numerous devices included:
THE THUMBSCREW. The accused's fingers were placed between clamps. The screws were turned until blood spurted and the bones were crushed.
THE BOOTS. This effective device was used to crush the shinbones.
THE RACK. The accused was stretched across a triangle frame, bound hand and foot to prevent movement. Wrists and ankles were secured by cords affixed to a jackscrew. When the screw was turned, the limbs were stretched execruciatingly until the wrists and ankles were pulled from their sockets.
THE STRAPPADO (Vertical Rack). The accused's hands were tied behind his or her back and raised by a rope attached to a pulley to the ceiling. The prisoner was then dropped repeatedly with a jerk to within a few inches of the floor. On occasion, weights were tied to the victim's feet to increase the shock and agony of the fall.
THE TOCA (Water torture). The accused was tied to a rack, the mouth was kept forcibly open, and a linen cloth put down the throat to conduct water poured slowly from a vessel. The severity of this torture depended on the amount of water released.
...The cruel and heartless methods used to punish persons accused of heresy indicates the depth of madness and misguided religious passion perpetrated by those who claimed to be doing God's will.
4. There is a permanent exhibition of torture instruments in Amsterdam - I once made a special point of going to see it. I think that every new recruit to Cardinal Ratzinger's Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (or Holy Office) should be required to visit the exhibition and write a study paper on it.
Here are the tools of the Inquisitions of which the Holy Office is the heir. There are headcrushers, thumbscrews, ladder racks, breast rippers, knee splitters, oral, rectal, and vaginal pears, iron maidens, heretic forks, and Spanish spiders - with woodcuts, engraving and documents to show how they were used.
5. The terror began in earnest with Gregory IX, who ascended the papal throne in the year 1227.
Two years later, at the Council of Toulouse in Languedoc, Gregory decreed that heretics had to be handed over to the secular arm for punishment. "It is the duty of every Catholic," he said, "to persecute heretics."
In the year 1232 he made his decisive move. He published a Bull establishing the Inquisition. Bishops were too lax and, in any case, they lacked the time and talent to do a thorough job. Heretics, that is, all opposed to any papal pronouncement, were to be handed over to the civil authorities for burning. If they repented, they were to be imprisoned for life. No pope ever took up the torch of terror with more enthusiasm.
In April 1233 he restricted inquisitors to members of the mendicant orders; soon, the Dominicans had the honor to themselves. The 27th day of July 1233 was a red-letter day for the pontiff: the first two full-time inquisitors were appointed - Peter Seila and William Arnald. They were the first in a long line of serene untroubled persecutors of the human race. As a curtain-raise, in 1239, two years before Gregory died, the Dominican Robert le Bougre went to Champagne to investigate a bishop named Moranis. He was accused of allowing heretics to live and spread in his diocese. On 29 May he sent 180 people, including the bishop, to the stake.
This was a return to barbarism. ..
History does not support the view that the Catholic church has always championed the rights of man. In the 13th century, it went so far as to teach what the early church condemned: heretics have no rights. They can be tortured without scruple. Like traitors to the state, heretics have put themselves outside the mercy of the law. They must be put to death.
No one pope for over three centuries opposed this teaching which should therefore by rights be a permanent part of Catholic doctrine. By means of it, the Inquisition achieved unprecedented power. The result was wholesale intimidation of those who had no protection against the charge or even slightest suspicion of heresy.
To the medieval Inquisition, everything was permitted. The Dominican Inquisitors, being the pope's appointees, were subject to no one but God and his Holiness. They were outside the juridiction of bishops and of civil law. In the Papal States they were a law unto themselves, acting as prosecutors and judges. Their guiding principle was: "Better for a hundred innocent people to die than for one heretic to go free."
They operated arbitrarily and in secrecy. Anyone present at the interrogation - victim, scribe, executioner - who broke his silence incurred a censure that only the pope could lift. The inquisitors, like the pope, could make no mistake and do no wrong...
Torture was freely used. Only a hundred years ago, there was on display in the pope's House on the Corner the Black Book, or Libro Nero, for the guidance of
inquisitors. This manuscript in folio form was the charge of the Grand Inquisitor. Its popular name was the Book of the Death. This is part of what it said:
Either the person confesses and he is proved guilty from his own confession, or he does not confess and is equally guilty on the evidence of witnesses. If a person confesses the whole of what he is accused of, he is unquestinably guilty of the whole; but if he confesses only a part, he ought still to be regarded as guilty of the whole, since what he has confessed proves him to be capable of guilt as to the other points of the accusation...
Bodily torture has ever been found the most salutary and efficient means of leading to spiritual repentance. Therefore, the choice of the most befitting mode of torture is left to the Judge of the Inquisition, who determines according to the age, the sex, and the constitution of the party...If, notwithstanding all the means employed, the unfortunate wretch still denies his guilt, he is to be considered as a victim of the devil: and, as such, deserves no compassion from the servants of God, nor the pity and indulgence of Holy Mother Church: he is a son of perdition. Let him perish among the damned.
It would be hard to find any document so contrary to the principles of natural justice. According to the Black Book, a child must betray his parents, a mother betray her child. Not to do so is a "sin against the Holy Office" and merits excommunication, that is, exclusion from the sacraments and, if there is no amendement, exclusion from heaven...
The inquisitors never lost a single case. There is no record of an acquittal. When, rarely, the verdict was Not Proven, no one was declared innocent. If the accused was not actually guilty of heresy, no matter. Inquisitors believe that only one in every hundred thousand souls would escape damnation anyway.)
6. Efforts to stamp out heresy led to the establishment of the Holy Inquisition, one of mankind’s supreme horrors. In the early 1200s, local bishops were empowered to identify, try, and punish heretics. When the bishops proved ineffective, traveling papal inquisitors, usually Dominician priests, were sent from Rome to conduct the purge.
Pope Innocent IV authorized torture in 1252, and the Inquisition chambers became places of terror. Accused heretics were seized and locked in cells, unable to see their families, unable to know the names of their accusers. If they didn’t confess quickly, unspeakable cruelties began. Swiss historian Walter Nigg recounted:
“The thumbscrew was usually the first to be applied: The fingers were placed in clamps and the screws turned until the blood spurted out and the bones were crushed. The defendant might be placed on the iron torture chair, the seat of which consisted of sharpened iron nails that could be heated red-hot from below. There were the so called boots, which were employed to crush the shinbones. Another favorite torture was dislocation of the limbs on the rack or the wheel on which the heretic, bound hand and foot, was drawn up and down while the body was weighted with stones. So that the torturers would not be disturbed by the shrieking of the victim, his mouth was stuffed with cloth. Three-and-four-hour sessions of torture were nothing unusual. During the procedure the instruments were frequently sprinkled with holy water.”
The victim was required not only to confess that he was a heretic, but also to accuse his children, wife, friends, and others as fellow heretics, so that they might be subjected to the same process. Minor offenders and those who confessed immediately received lighter sentences. Serious heretics who repented were given life imprisonment and their possessions were confiscated. Others were led to the stake in a procession and church ceremony called the “auto-da-fé” (act of the faith). A papal statute of 1231 decreed burning as the standard penalty. The actual executions were performed by civil officers, not priests, as a way of preserving the church’s sanctity.
Some inquisitors cut terrible swathes. Robert le Bourge sent 183 to the stake in a single week. Bernard Gui convicted 930 – confiscating the property of all 930 – sending 307 to prison, and burning forty-two. Conrad of Marburg burned every suspect who claimed innocence.
Historically, the Inquisition is divided into three phases: the medieval extermination of heretics; the Spanish Inquisition in the 1400s; anf the Roman Inquisition, which began after the Reformation.
In Spain, thousands of Jews had converted to Christianity to escape death in recurring Christian massacres. So, too, had some Muslims. They were, however, suspected of being insincere converted clandestinely practicing their old religion. In 1478 the pope authorized King Fernidand and Queen Isabella to revive the Inquisition to hunt “secret Jews” and their Muslim counterparts. Dominican friar Tomas de Torquemada was appointed inquisitor general, and he became a symbol of religious cruelty. Thousands upon thousands of screaming victims were tortured, and at least 2,000 were burned.
The Roman period began in 1542 when Pope Paul III sought to eradicate Protestant influences in Italy. Under Pope Paul IV, this inquisition is a reign of terror, killing many “heretics” on mere suspicion. Its victims included scientist-philosopher Giordano Bruno, who espoused Copernicus’s theory that planets orbit the sun. He was burned at the stake in 1600 in Rome.
The Inquisition blighted many lands for centuries. In Portugal, records recount that 184 were burned alive. The Inquisition was brought by Spaniards to the American colonies, to punish Indians who reverted to native religions. A total of 879 heresy trials were recorded in Mexico in the late 1500s…
Lord Acton, himself a Catholic, wrote in the late 1800s: “The principle of the Inquisition was murderous..The popes were not only murderers in the great style, but they also made murder a legal basis of the Christian Church and a condition of salvation.”
7. There has been no more organized effort by a reeligion to control people and contain (giam giữ) their spirituality than the Christian Inquisition. Developed within the Church’s own legal framework, the Inquisition attempted to terrify people into obedience. As the Inquisitor Francisco Pena stated in 1578, “We must remember that the main purpose of the trial and execution is not to save the soul of the accused but to achieve the public good and put fear into others.” The Inquisition took countless human lives in Europe and around the world as it followed in the wake of missionaries. And along with the tyranny of the Inquisition, churchmen also brought religious justification for the practice of slavery.
The unsubmissive spirit of the Middle Ages only seemed to exacerbate the Church’s demand for unquestioning obedience. The Church’s understanding of God was to be the only understanding. The was to be no discussion or debate. As the Inquisitor Bernard Gui said, the layman must not argue with the unbeliever, but “trust his sword into the man’s belly as far as it will go.” In a time burgeoning ideas about spirituality, the Church insisted that it was the only avenue through which one was permitted to learn of God. Pope Innocent III declared “that anyone who attempted to construe a personal view of God which conflicted with Church dogma must be burned without pity.”…
The Church turned to its own canon law to authenticate an agency which could enforce adherence to Church authority. In 1231 Pope Gregory IX estabhished the Inquisition as a separate tribunal, independent of bishops and prelates. It administrators, the inquisitors, were answerable only to the Pope. Its inquisitinal law replaced the common law tradition of “innocent until proven guilty” with “guilty until proven innocent”. Despite an ostensible trial, inquisional procedure left no possibility for the suspected to prove his or her innocence; the process resulted in the condemnation of anyone even suspected of heresy. The accused was denied the right of counsel. No particulars were given as to the time or place of the suspected heresies, or to whatkind of heresies were suspected…
The inquisitor presided over the inquisitional procedure as both prosecutor and judge… An inquisitor was selected primarily on the basis of his zeal to prosecute heretics. He and his assistants, messengers and spies were allowed to carry arms. And in 1245, the Pope granted him the right to absolve these assistants for any acts of violence. This act rendered the Inquisition, which was already free from any secular juridiction, unaccountable to even ecclesiastical tribunals..
Inquisitors grew very rich. They received bribes and annual fines from the wealthy who paid to escape accusation. The Inquisition would claim all the money and property of alleged heretics. As there was little chance of the accused being proven innocent, there was no need to wait for conviction to confiscate his or her property. Unlike Roman law that reserved a portion of property for the convicted’s nearest heirs, canon and inquisitional law left nothing. Pope Innocent III had explained that God punished children for the sins of their parents. So unless children had come forth spontaneaously to denounce their parents, they were left penniless. Inquisitors even accused the dead of heresy, sometimes as much as seventy years after their death. They exhume and burned the alleged heretic’s bones and then confiscated all property from the heirs…
The Inquisition was merciless with its victims. The same man who had been both prosecutor and judge decided upon the sentence. In 1244 the Council of Narbonne ordered that in the sentencing of heretics, no husband should be spared because of his wife, nor wife because of her husband, nor parent because of helpless children, and no sentence should be mitigated because of sickness or old age.
Although the Church had began killing heretics in the late fourth century and again in 1022 at Orléan, papal statutes of 1231 now insisted that heretics suffered death by fire. Burning people to death technically avoided spilling a drop of blood. The words of the Gospel of John were understood to sanction burning: “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15: 16)
By far the cruelest aspect of the inquisitional system was the means by which confessions were wrought: the torture chamber. Torture remained a legal option for the Church from 1252 when it was sanctioned by Pope Innocent IV until 1917 when the new Codex Juris Canonici was put into effect. Innocent IV authorized indefinite delays to secure confessions, giving inquisitors as much time as they wanted to torture the accused… In 1262 inquisitors and their assistants were granted the authority to quietly absolve each other from the crime of bloodshed. They simply explained that the tortured had died because the devil broke their necks.
Thus, with licence granted by the Pope himself, inquisitors were free to explore the depths of horror and cruelty. Dressed as black-robed fiends with black cowls over their heads, inquisitors extracted confessions from nearly anyone. The Inquisition invented every conceivable devise to inflict pain by slowly dismembering and dislocating the body. Many of these devices were inscribed with the motto “Glory be only to God”. The rack, the hoist and water tortures were the most common. Victims were rubbed with lard or grease and slowly roasted alive. Ovens built to kill people, made infamous in 20th century Nazi Germany, were first used by the Christian Inquisition in Eastern Europe. Victims were thrown into a pit full of snakes and buried alive. One particularly grusome torture involved turning a large dish full of mice upside down on the victim’s naked stomach. A fire was the lit on top of the dish causing the mice to panic and burrow into the stomach…
The tyranny inherent in the belief in singular supremacy accompanied explorers and missionaries throughout the world. When Columbus landed in America in 1492, he mistook it for India and called the native inhabitants “Indians”. It was his avowed aim to “convert the heathen Indians to our Holy Faith” that warranted the enslaving and exporting of thousands of Native Americans. That such treatment resulted in complete genocide did not matter as much as that these natives had been given the opportunity of everlasting life through their exposure to Christianity…
The Inquisition quickly followed in their wake. By 1570 the Inquisition had established an independent tribunal in Peru and the city of Mexico for the purpose of “freeing the land, which had become contaminated by Jews and heretics. Natives who did not convert to Christianity were burned like any other heretic. The Inquisition spread as far as Goa, India, where in the late 16th and early 17th centuries it took no less than 3,800 lives.
Even without the formal Inquisition present, missionary behavior clearly illustrated the belief in the supremacy of a single image of God… If the image of God venerated in a foreign land was not Christian, it was simply no divine. Portuguese missionaries in the far East destroyed pagodas, forced scholars to hide their religious manuscripts, and suppressed older customs.
Missionaries often took part in the unscrupulous exploitation of foreign lands. Many became missionaries to get rich quickly and then to return to Europe to live off their gains. In Mexico, Dominicans, Augustinians and jesuits were known to own “the largest flocks of sheep, the finest sugar ingenios, the best kept states. The Church, particularly in South America, supported the enslavement of native inhabitants and the theft of native lands. A 1493 papal Bull justified declaring war on any natives in South America who refused to adhere to Christianity…
Orthodox Christianity also supported the practice of slavery in North America. The 18th century Anglican Church made it clear that Christianity freed people from eternal damnation, not from the bonds of slavery…Slaves should, howver, be converted to Christianity, it was argued, because they would then become more docile and obedient..
Both the Inquisition and those supporting the practice of slavery relied upon the same religious justification. In keeping with the orthodox Christian belief in a singular and fearful God who rules as the pinnacle of hierarchy, power resided solely with authority, not with the individual. Obedience and submission were valued far more than freedom and self determination. The Inquisition played out the darkest consequences of such a belief system as it imprisoned and killed the bodies and spirits of countless people – and not simply for a brief moment of time. The Inquisition spanned centuries and was still in some places as late as 1834.
Sau đây là vài hình ảnh điển hình về các cảnh tra tấn và hình cụ tra tấn dị giáo của giáo hội Công giáo thánh thiện tông truyền trong thời Trung Cổ. Quý độc giả có thể vào Internet đánh chữ GALLERY INQUISITION trong mục SEARCH thì có thể thấy rất nhiều hình ảnh về một trong những trang sử đen tối nhất của Giáo hội Công Giáo.
Vài Cảnh Tra Tấn và Hành Hình Dị Giáo