14 May 2013

Secret Files of the Inquisition (PBS Documentary)

Based on previously unreleased secret documents from European Archives including the Vatican, the 4-part series, Secret Files of the Inquisition unveils the incredible true story of the Catholic Church's 500-year struggle to remain the world's only true Christian religion.

Links to the official websites of the documentary:
The last person to be officially executed by the Roman Catholic Church under the Roman Inquisition (discussed in Part 3 of this documentary series) on charges of apostasy from the Catholic faith is the Italian priest, scientist and philosopher, Giordano Bruno. He was accused of Copernicanism, infinite universe and the possibility of other habitable worlds besides earth. He refused a full and unconditional recantation at his trial, and the Inquisitor, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, S.J., pronounced the guilty verdict and handed him over to civil authorities for execution in 1600. The last person to be executed by the Spanish Inquisition on charges of heresy and apostasy is Cayetano Ripoll, who was accused of renouncing Catholicism for Deism, and executed on 26 July 1826. Infamous for its ferocious persecutions of Jews (discussed in Part 2 of this documentary series) and Moors (Muslims), the Spanish Inquisition was only abolished in 1834. The Roman Inquisition went into decline in the aftermath of the scandal involving the young Jewish boy, Edgardo Mortara who was secretly baptised and forcibly removed from his Jewish parents and placed under the protection of Pope Pius IX (discussed in Part 4 of this documentary series).

More on the Inquisition:

PART 1: The Land of Terror - France

France 1308 - High in the Pyrenees in the southwest of what is now France, in a time when the Church of Rome proclaims itself the one true religion, heresy has taken hold. Inquisitors are sent to exterminate the heresies by hunting down the condemning believers to burn at the stake. In 1308 the entire village of Montaillou is taken prisoner of the Inquisition. No one is safe - not even the village priest and the chatelaine of its castle. From the secret files - the extraordinary revelations of village life under the Inquisition.

PART 2: The Tears of Spain

Spain 1468 - A land where Christians, Muslims and Jews have lived in tolerance for centuries. That time is ending. A young King and Queen proclaim themselves Catholic Monarchs and start an Inquisition. Jews who had converted to Christianity are accused of secretly sabotaging the Christian faith. They become the pawns in a game of chess with dire consequences. Thousands perish in a ritual called the act of faith. In Zaragossa, the inquisitor is assassinated - setting off a wave of reprisals. Mothers will die to protect their children - and the highest in the land will pay the ultimate price. It is the beginning of the Spanish empire and a long dark night that will last for centuries.

PART 3: The War on Ideas - Italy

Italy 1522 - The decadence of a Medici Pope in Rome outrages the devout priest in Germany named Martin Luther. In the face of the Protestant Reformation, a fanatical monk sets out to exterminate the heresy. On his path to power he will create the Roman Inquisition. And he will become the most hated Pope in history. Powerful leaders of the Catholic Church are arrested and imprisoned, accused of reading books banned by the Church. Free-thinking students are silenced. Darkness descends on the centers of learning and Renaissance. The Roman Inquisition leaves a legacy that lasts into the twentieth century.

PART 4: The End of the Inquisition

The secret files of the Inquisition are locked away for centuries. A Spanish priest devotes his life to exposing the brutal records of the Inquisition. Napoleon spreads the ideas of the Enlightenment. He conquers Italy, abolishes the Inquisition and orders its files sent to Paris. Spain's greatest painter, Goya, will depict the Inquisition for the first time - and then run for his life. The kidnapping of a young Jewish boy secretly baptized will be one of the desperate last attempts at exerting the power of the Inquisition. A devoted father fights to get back his son. The boy becomes a symbol for a Pope who is about to lose his dominion on earth.