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What is the history of the Inquisition?

The Inquisition has its origins in the early organized persecution of non-Catholic Christian religions in Europe. In 1184 Pope Lucius III sent bishops to southern France to track down heretics called Catharists. These efforts continued into the 14th Century.

What is the purpose of the Inquisition?

The Inquisition was a Roman Catholic tribunal for discovery and punishment of heresy, which was marked by the severity of questioning and punishment and lack of rights afforded to the accused. While many people associate the Inquisition with Spain and Portugal, it was actually instituted by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) in Rome.

Who was the Inquisition intended to target?

In 1481 the Inquisition started in Spain and ultimately surpassed the medieval Inquisition, in both scope and intensity. Conversos (Secret Jews) and New Christians were targeted because of their close relations to the Jewish community, many of whom were Jews in all but their name.

What are the different types of inquisitions?

There have actually been several different inquisitions. The first was established in 1184 in southern France as a response to the Catharist heresy. This was known as the Medieval Inquisition, and it was phased out as Catharism disappeared. Quite separate was the Roman Inquisition, begun in 1542.

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