The Inquisition was a set of rules developed to prosecute anyone accused of anything related to religious doctrine (any thing against the Church’s beliefs). They made sure to do their best.
The famous incidents in the history of The Inquisition were two brilliant individuals.
The first was Copernicus, a brilliant astronomer. Up to that point everyone had this idea that the Earth was the centre of the universe and everything else is revolving around Earth. It was not just a scientific view of the universe but it was thought to be supported by the Holy Book. Copernicus confirmed (but he was not the first in history to discover) that the Earth is not the centre but it is the sun and even the Earth is rotating around the sun. He wrote a book about this and all the educated people in Europe were excited about it. But Copernicus was not as excited as they were. He was rather afraid. His work is contradicting one of the basic fundamental theories in the Catholic Church. He was sure that the Church was not going to be happy about this. At that time, The Inquisition was not created yet. So, he published his work right before his death. No controversy was aroused back then. But the Church saw that if they let this through, many others will get the courage to come up with more theories that contradict their holy beliefs. Three years after the book was published, The Dominican Tolosani denounced the theory and in 1616 (after 70 years), the Roman Inquisition confirmed that this theory is foolish and therefore the book of Copernicus “De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium” was added to the list of “Forbidden Books”.
The other incident was that of the Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher and mathematician, Galileo. Galileo was a brilliant scientist. His works were an important part in the scientific revolution that took place at the end of the Renaissance period. Some call him “The Father of Science”. Galileo was born at 1564 (about 20 years after Copernicus died). In his studies he came to the same conclusion as Copernicus and he publicly announced his total support of the heliocentric view of the universe that Copernicus started decades before him. This time it was too dangerous to let any of this go on more. In 1615, the Church warned him against his thoughts. In 1633, The Inquisition made a trial for Galileo in which he was found suspect of heresy. He was forced to recant his beliefs, his book “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” had the same fate as Copernicus’s and Galileo spent the rest of his life under house arrest in his villa in Arcetri near Florence.
The Inquisition even moved further and started a severe war against witchcraft. They started a continent wide hunt for all witches. Of course, there was a reward for any help or clue for a witch. You just needed to say something like “I saw that woman doing this or that” and they needed almost no more proof. Executions were by setting the convicted on fire after torturing them in a non-human way until they confess. Many efforts were made to determine the number and we have a range between 100,000 and 9,000,000 executions. Europe went crazy with this witch-hunt thing and most of the time it was a false accusation to seek money or revenge from someone.
The Church was very happy with The Inquisition (or should we say ‘The Abyss’) because everyone was back under the umbrella of the Church again (mostly of fear more than loyalty or faith). In the 19th century, they took a 6-year old boy from his Jewish family because they were informed that his nursemaid secretly baptised him. The Church didn’t approve that a Christian kid was to be raised by a Jewish family. His father wasted his life trying to seek any help but no one could help him against the absolute power and authority of the Church.
But as always, the end was coming and it was near.