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Research on Novel Habit of Despair

(Until indifference sets in,) …Intolerance is the very breath of religion….and intolerance expresses itself in persecution.

Love one Another….Christianity is the greatest of paradoxes

Pagan: Behold how these Christians love one another.

Christians intolerance for the views of others is what brought down on them the persecution of Rome.

Church and state identified together….state became the instrument of enforcement the church hides behind. State lost its capacity for independent existence.

Civil law based upon spiritual law…standards of morality on it’s doctrines.

Church kept itself separate so when convenient could continue to operate when the state was defeated or collapsed.

This is my teaching…this must you accept or you are no child of mine.

Compelled followers…”Be my brother or I will kill you.”

Pope Innocent III canonically established the Inquisition as a tool of enforcement of the true faith.

Saint Francis of Assisi: Christ’s injunction of poverty, self abnegation and ministry to the afflicted. Established brotherhood.

Saint Dominic: Barefoot, denial…yet gloried in the victories of Simon de Montfort…yet regretted the means employed. The Dominicans become powerful through control of Inquisition. Heretics turned over to the secular arm for punishment. A piteous tribunal…Doctrine of exclusive salvation.

Honorius III conferred on both Brotherhoods. Both orders became powerful….poverty ended outside the convent gates.

Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. Ferdinand brought with Aragon, Sicily, Sardinia and Naples….Isabella brought with Castile, Leon and the rest of the Spanish territory saving Grenada and that portion of the coast still in Moorish hands. Still required consolidation and subjugation.

Nobility tainted by general lawlessness…chief offenders…each a law onto themselves…extorting vassals…lords of life and death…abusing power…little better than highway robbers, caring nothing for the monarchy as long as left undisturbed…ready to rebel if the status quo threatened.

Isabella’s first task was to crush these and other unruly elements. But first she had to secure her power…Portugal under Alfonso V invading frontiers to dispute on behalf of his niece Juana, Isabella’s right. Victory at Toro in 1476 secured Isabella’s power. 25 Years old. Fair shapely woman of middle knight clear complexion eyes between green and blue, gracious winsome countenance, habitually serene. Self control, concealed anger ceremonious in dress, quick whittled, ready of tongue, hard worker, learned Latin, zealous catholic, charitable, inclined to rigor rather than mercy. Fidelity to her word. Reproached for being wanting in generosity but inherited a deplorable financial sate from her brother.

Upon establishing her right against external forces turned her attention to those at home.

In his Herculean labor she was assisted by Alonzo de Quintanilla, her chancellor and Juan Ortega the King’s Sacristan…(Juan Ortega de Quintanilla) .

To subjugate turbulent and insubordinate Nobility she bestowed offices of state on men of merit regardless of birth here to fore the only qualification. The career of law was thrown open to the burger classes and every office under the crown was made accessible to lawyers…who became staunch supporters of the crown.

The Nobles protested but dared not revolt…they were materially weakened by the changes and suffered a loss of prestige. That instituting the Hermadad was a lack of trust in the “Faithful Nobility.” and implored that four members of their order should be appointed as a council of supreme direction of affairs of state.

The sovereigns replied that the Herman dad was a tutelary institution which was in sore need and welcomed in the country which it was their pleasure to maintain…as for offices of state the Sovereigns would appoint men based upon qualifications. Nobles were told they could remain in court or return to their estates as they saw fit.

The Nobles realized the lawless days of Henry IV were at an end. And Isabella pursued this policy vigorously.

Three religious military orders
Knights of Alcan Tara, The celibate Knights of Calabria (Knight’s Templar’s) and The knights of Santiago. ( Protected Pilgrims) Great source of revenue…Got Ferdinand elected head and Alonso de Cardenas chosen as royal deputy.

She established law and order, got the mintage of coins under control.

She loved the King and was jealous and got rid of women in the court she saw as competitors.

She extended her moral reforms to the convents which were no less in need of them than the court and she punished the great depravity that was permeating all the Conventional orders.

Despite her piety she stopped short of viewing the Pope as Temporal Over-lord of Castile.

Church had made inroads…amassed great wealth, taking advantage of the weak sovereigns and anarchy they allowed. They took advantage of the foolish liberality of Isabella’s predecessors.

Four Archbishops at Toledo, Santiago, Seville and Grenada 134,000 ducats and 20 bishoprics 250,000 ducats. The pope conferred on foreigners the richest benefices in Spain disregarding the prerogative of the crown to name bishops…subject to Papal confirmation.

Pope Sixtus IV: It was his he announced to distribute at his pleasure all the benefices of Christendom…where God granted him authority he deferred to no one.

Ferdinand and Isabella responded by withdrawing their ambassador to the papal court and telling all Spanish citizens to leave Rome….That they were going to settle the dispute by calling a general council to decide the matter.
The Pope blinked, Isabella won and she took from him the power of appointing benefices in Spain and began appointing men of merit as she was accustomed to do.

Having succeeded in this she was able to curb the predatory habits of her clergy and through edicts limited their powers to proper clerical confines.

Highways were purged of malefactors, new roads of communication opened, rivers were bridged, counselor tribunals established in commercial centers, maritime commerce expanded, consulates established in Flanders, England, France and Italy…laws were maintained, rights of the individual protected, Justice rigorously done, unequal and capricious taxation done away with…

You have seen the Catholic sovereigns instilling order into the Spain, enforcing the law, instituting a system of police for the suppression of brigandage., curtailing the depredations of Nobles, checking the usurpations and excesses of the clergy, restoring the public credit and quelling elements of unrest that had historically plagued the state.

But one gravely disturbing element remained…the bitter rancor pervading between Christian and Jew.

Some clerics and many laymen informed the sovereigns that there were in the Kingdom many Christians of Jewish extraction who were Judi zing again and holding Jewish rites in their homes and who neither believed the Catholic Faith nor performed the Catholic duties. They implored the sovereigns as they were Christian princes to punish that detestable error, because if left unpunished it might so spread that our Holy Catholic Faith must receive great harm…
The establishment of the Holy Office was proposed to Isabella. If she permitted the priesthood to establish such a court, not subject to temporal law it would alienate the sovereignty she so jealously guarded

Instituting the Inquisition would result in tax revenues needed in war

Isabella was on a roll….until she let the Inquisition become established.

In 1478 a bull was issued by Sixtus IV empowering Ferdinand and Isabella to set up a tribunal of Inquisition in Castile. Torquemada had withdrawn to his convent in Segovia and queen tried one last time to fix the problem through the gentler measures of the Cardinal of Spain

The provisions were galling to the Jews. A new Christian published an inflammatory pamphlet…it put an end to the queen patience. Implemented the bull giving Mendoza (Cardinal of Spain) and Torquemada authority to execute the bull.

Juan Ortega de Quintanilla….born in Valladolid….1462...Organized the Hermandad…at great personal risk organized at their risk a brotherhood (Hermandad) acting under royal sanction and guidance to procure protection of peace and property in the kingdom. Isabella approved it and a tax on those it protected was readily paid by those it supported…splendidly organized it was half military and half civil

Frey Tomas de Torquemada: Northern town Began with knighting of Lope Alonso by Alfonzo VI…Illustrious family had it’s beginnings…Most famous was the cultured Dominican, Juan de Torquemada, great grandson of Alonso….became Cardinal of San Sisto…an eminent learned, respected theologian of his day who upheld the dogma of Immaculate Conception and doctrine of Papal Infallibility. Juan’s brother was father of Tomas de Torquemada. Born in Valladolid and after a scholastic career of distinction, he followed in his Uncles footsteps, soliciting the Habit of the Order of St Dominic which he assumed in the convent of St Paul at Valladolid completing his studies with degrees in philosophy and Divinity and receiving a doctors degree. He was elected Prior of the Convent of Santa Cruz of Segovia. He never ate meat or used linen on his bed or person, He observed the rule of poverty rigorously and was unable to provide his only sister with an endowment suitable to her station.

He became the confessor of the Infanta Iswabella at that station. He extracted from her the promise that should she ever become queen she would devote her life to extirpation heresy from the realm. (So it is claimed by some)

In early 1482 he began building at Avila the Church and Monastery of Saint Thomas. It was finished in 1493 and the monies that came to him (Torquemada) afterwards went to endow the vast convent. Became his chief residence, tribunal and prison…no Jew or Moor should ever be admitted

Himself a man of the most rigid chastity, he must have been moved to anger by the unchastely so prevalent among the clergy. It was, however, beyond his power to deal with it without special authority for Rome and he would have been bold indeed to have sought such authority at the hand of that flagrant paterfamilias Giovanni Battista Cibo who occupied the chair of St Peter with the title of Pope Innocent VIII.

The most scandalous form of this unchastely was that known as “solicitation…or abuse of the confessional for he purpose of seducing female penitents. It was a matter that greatly vexed the Church as a body, since it placed a terrible weapon in the hands of her enemies and detractors….It was admittedly rampant and it is more than probable that it was responsible for the institution of the confessional box…enforced in the 16th Century which effectively separated confessor from penitent, and left them to communicate through a grill.

The utmost lenience appears to have prevailed, as we may judge by the penances imposed upon convicted offenders.

The perils and temptations to which a priest was exposed in the course of the intimate communications that must pass between him and his penitents were given full recognition and allowed full weight in the balance against the offense itself.

Later on this matter which Torquemada considered beyond his power was actually thrust within the jurisdiction of the Inquisition by a Church resolved for the very sake of its existence, the evil should cease.

Vexatious as this crime of “solicitation” had always been, it became most urgently and perilously so after the Reformation when it provided those unanswerable reason of their denunciations. It was wisely thought that the methods of the Holy Office wee best calculated to deal with it and the matter was regulated to the inquisitors.

The defilement of the sacrament was the link that connected solicitation with heresy. Moreover, in some cases there might be heresy of a more kind; as when for instance, the priest assured the penitent that her consent was not a sin….And a woman accusing a priest of solicitation before the holy Office was always questioned closely upon this particularly point.

However it was not in the interests of the church to parade these offenders and thus expose the sore places in her own body.

The church desiring to avoid publicity for such a matter or suppose that the church was in the leas blameworthy for so proceeding. At the same time however justifiable me might account this secrecy, it is almost impossible to justify the leniency of the sentences that were passed. It is above all extraordinary the usual punishment did not even go so far as to unfrock the off cheers. It inquisitors confined themselves to depriving the convicted priest of the faculty of hearing confessions in the future, and imposed a penance of some years’ residence in the seclusion of a convent.

It is possible, however, that this punishment was heavier than may at firs appear. For---to their credit be it said---the regulars into whose convent the penanced cleric was sent undertook that this penance should be anything but easy…

A capuchin brother tried in the eighteenth century by the Grand Inquisitor Rubin de Cevallos and as much in quality ad open of the offense as in the brazenly ingenious defense se up the friar, the records reads like on of the leas translatable stories from Boccaccio’s “Decameron. He was sentenced to go into retreat for five years in a convent of his order and so great a dread did the sentence truck that he pleaded to serve his sentence in one of the dungeons of the Inquisition. His petition was denied and he died three years later in the Convent to which he was sent.

In the first thirty-five years that the matter was in the hands of the Holy Office fifty-two sentences were passed upon priests guilty of solicitation…this is a shocking number in as much as the difficulty of bring these matters to trial and only those leading to conviction were undertaken to avoid scandal.

The injunction of caution are cited in “Causas de Solicitaticiones…The offenders were chiefly friars…the proportion of secular priests being only one in ten.

Restating the Research

Percy Goodfellow on Economics: To understand what was happening in the Convents one must understand what is taking place in the world. The world is driven by greed. Greed is the human desire to acquire what is needed to satisfy basic needs and exercise influence over others. The engine of greed is economics and the home of economics is the marketplace. In the marketplace you have goods and services being sbought and sold. The medium of exchange is call money....money is power.

There are three ways to get money/power. These are creating, taking and earning.

The big players are the monarchy, the nobility, and the church. The lesser players are the soldiers, merchants, manufactures, farmers, accountants, lawyers, teachers, doctors and workers and everyone else.


The source of the Monarchy’s power is taxation

The nobles through rents and extortion.

The church through tithes..


The merchants through trade

The manufactures through implements

The Farmers through food.

The financiers through capital…(Bankers, Lenders, Investors, speculators)

Earning (By wages/fees.)

Soldiers through violence. (Some additional through spoils of war...plunder)

Lawyers/judges through adjudication

Teachers through teaching

Doctors through healing.

Workers fthrough labor.

One of the requirements for the orders was that they be self sufficient…

In the Male orders (Monasteries) The monks raised their own food, and through industry supported their interests.

In the Female orders (Convents) The Nuns also sought to be self sufficient through industry and teaching however beneath the surface always lurked recourse to a form referred to as the oldest of professions.

Celibacy puts a strain on a powerful human drive and the options for venting that strain are, dealing with it are suppression, discretion or perversity. One way or another human need will find expression. In some it rears it’s head as a zealous intolerance, in others it is a maternal love, in others a discreet natural remedy and in still others a perversion of one type or the other.

The zealotry of those of whom Tomad de Torqumeda is perhaps the most notable was excessive and extreme and he is by no means an isolated example….The lenghts that many of the lower clergy went to whip up predjudice and incite the masses agains the conversoes, jews and moors in the name of the “True Faith” was of a virulence not seen again until modern times. The instigators were zealots acting in the name of God and left a sad and shameful legacy. It is not for me to go into that here. I only point this out to avoid the allegation that I sensationalized a contentious issue in order to promote a novel. Readers have a right to know that there is a foundation upon which literary speculations herein are made and it is not all a contrived bunch of romantic nonsense. For that matter the problem remains still unsolved as evidenced by the never ending flow of litigation that continues against priests of the Catholic Faith.

The insistence on celibacy strains the moral character and without recourse to relief finds expression, often in perverse and unexpected ways.

It is written that Isabella…”Extended her moral reforms to the convents which were no less in need of them than the court and she punished the great depravity that was permeating all the conventional orders.”

Exactly what these “Depravities” were are not specifically addressed and I leave to the reader to decide the forms they manifested. Suffice it to say that intercourse between priests and nuns is not to be ruled out nor the full range of male and female homosexual behavior.

One can‘t really blame the church for wanting to avoid publicity, however the actions it took against convicted offenders was more to placate public opinion than a serious attempt at solving a problem. Perhaps they saw it both as insolvable and inevitable.

Finally when the foundations were threatened by the Reformation they acted. In the eighteenth century the offense was placed under the jurisdiction of the “Holy Office.“ In the first 35 years there were fifty-two sentences passed upon priests guilty of solicitation…this is almost two a year which is significant considered the difficulty of bringing these cases and only those that were certain to gain conviction were forwarded for trial. In qualifying a case the occupational hazards to which a priest was exposed... Those ”Intimate communications,” between a penitent and confessor were weighted heavily in the overall consideration of the offense. Clearly the adjudicators saw that as long as celibacy was to be required and human nature was as it was, that incidents of this sort were both inevitable and unavoidable.

The sentences the rendered not look to be that severe….a convicted offender was not necessarily defrocked but rather was denied the right to take further confessions or sent to a place to serve a penance. In some cases this was to a Convent where it might be severely administered but more commonly it was little more than a benign servitude. In either case it always appeared to outsiders as little more than a token slap on the wrist.

However as these incidents piled up they reflected badly on the institution of the catholic church and provided the reformers evidence of the need for change.

“The most scandalous form of this unchastely was that known as ‘solicitation‘. It was the use of the confessional for the purpose of seducing female penitents.Alonso de Ojeda: Prior of the Dominicans of Seville…a man who enjoyed great credit and was reputed “Saintly.“ Seeing her zeal to put down lawlessness and to purify and restore order to the country, Ojeda urge upon her notice the spread of the detestable Judaizing movement that was toward. He laid stress upon the hypocrisy that had underlain so many of the conversions of the Jews. He pointed out---with some degree of justice---that these men had made a mock of the Holy Church, had defiled her sacraments, and had perpetrated the most abominable sacrilege by their pretended acceptance of the Christian faith…He urged that not only muth this be punished, but that the havoc which these Judiazers were working among the more faithful New--Christians, the proselytizing which they went they went so fare as to attempt among Old-Christians must be checked. He recommended the Queen establish the Inqusition.

The Queens chronicler, Pulgar, and her treasurer were New--Christians.

Bernaldez : A priest who wrote a malicious and atrocious misrepresentation of the jews.

Torquemada: A figure in a white habit and a black cloak…The Dominican Brotherhood a man in his fifity -eighthy year, tall and gaunt and stooping slightly at the shoulders, mild eyed of a cast and contenance that is gently , noble and benign.

Ferdinand wanted the money was something of a bigot and wanted a political unity that aligned with a religious unity. Isabella wanted to use gentler means…They waited 2 years to implement the bull which contained all the powers they asked for….They appointed the Inqusitors and got all the revenues that accrued.

Alonso de Caballeria is one of the few men in history who was able successfully to defy and withstand the terrible power of that sacerdotal court.

This Vice -Chancellor was a man of great ability , the son of a wealthy Baptized Hebrew, nobleman whose name had been Bonafos, but who had changed this to Caballeria upon receiving baptism, in accordance with the prevailing custom. He was arrested not only upon the charge of having given shelter to fugitives, bu also upon suspicion of being himself, a Judazier.

Presuming upon his high position and also upon the great esteem in which he was held by the king, Caballeria showed the Inqusition an intrepid countenance. He refused to recognize the authority of the court and of Torquemada himself, appealing to the Pope and including in his appeal a strong complaint of the conduct of the inquisitors..

This appeal was of such a character and the man’s own position was so strong that on August 28 1488 Innocent VIII dispatched from proceeding further against the Vice-Chancellor, avocating to himself the case. But such was Torquemada’s arrogance that he was no longer to be intimidated by papal briefs. Under his directions the inqusitiors of Zaragoza replied that the allegations contained in Caballeria’s appeal were false. The Pope, however, was insistent, and he compelled the Holy Office to bow to his will and supreme authority. On Octoer 20th of that year the minutes of the case were forwarded to the Vatican. As a result of their perusal His Holiness must have absolved Caballeria, for not only was he delivered of the peril in which he had stood, but he continued to rise steadily in honor and consequence until he became Chief Judge and head of the Hermandad of Aragon.

The persecutions (of the Conversos/Jews) with which they were visited were chiefly procured by the monks, who went abroad preaching against them, fomenting the hatred of the Christians against a people who were largely their creditors. Even where the religious incentive was sufficient, the easy way of wiping out debts which this gratification of their piety afforded proved irresistible to people whose flagrant immorality in every sense of the term went hand in hand with their perfervid devoutness.

There was a rabid fanatic who proved altogether irrepressible. His name was Hernando Martinez. He was a Dominican friar and Canon of Ecija…Of his sincerity there can be no doubt. And their sincerity is the most terrible thing about such men, blinding them to the point of utter madness….He could not be silenced…He went forth screaming denunciations of the Jews, frenziedly inciting the mob to rise up and destroy this accursed race….He incited mobs in Seville to burn several synagogues ….brought the country to a fever pitch….penetrated the ghettoes in several cities and 50,000 people perished

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