Originally posted by lucifershammer
...But, if Ferdinand had not blackmailed Pope Sixtus IV, the Spanish Inquisition would not have been established at all (1).
Now, one can argue whether the Pope should've opposed the Spanish Inquisition on principle and been more strong in resisting Ferdinand. In retrospect, I think such a strong refusal would not have been better, as Pope Clement VI's experience with Henry VIII shows (2).
While I was taking a shower I thought about these three sentences, and I think this the the
crux of your problem, LH.
I am going to use an exaggerated example for illustrative purposes. If a woman has an
ectopic, enencephalic where the mother's life is forfeit should she pursue the pregnancy and
the child will not survive post-partum and will have no brain function, the Church teaches
that the woman should not
have an abortion. It teaches that the moral evil of abortion
is greater than the benefits of preserving the woman's life for a baby that will not survive.
I assume that you do not debate this point, since it is well established by both official Church
documents and non-authoritative reports from cardinals, bishops, priests and laity.
Why is this example relevant? Because the Church teaches (in this and many other cases) that
committing a moral wrong for the sake of some other good is impermissible.
If Sixtus had been a man of faith, then he would have gone to the block before giving in to
blackmail by Ferdinand. That the English Church defected from the Roman Church, although
sad from a RC perspective, is not justification for the institution of torture. Indeed, it would
be the morally just thing to do to let Spain (and everyone) defect voluntarily than it would
be to compel them to remain in the Church through coercison, violence, and threat of death.
That would a be Church predicated on an evil, if even for a 'good' purpose.
When you state that you 'think a strong refusal would not have been better,' you mean 'better'
from a political point of view. The Church would have lost members, the Church would have
lost social prestigue, the Church would have lost power
in the world. When Henry
demonstrated that he was unconcerned with being excommunicated and the life went on, it
put great fear in the eyes of the Church.
And, yes, the Church retained some of her power by endorsing and participating in the various
Inquisitions of the past. But she did so with the stain of sin upon herself -- trying to maintain
a good through a moral evil.
This paraphrase should have meaning to who are all Biblically fluent:
For what does it profit the Church to have many members if the means by which she obtained
those members was by moral evil? Better for the Church to leave go her wayward members
than to poison herself by commiting maleficent acts.