Rome’s Inquisition in Venice?

An Inquisitorial Interrogation, by Adrian Schoonbech (1692), Public Domain
An Inquisitorial Interrogation, by Adrian Schoonbech (1692), Public Domain

“The Church created the Holy Office of the Inquisition to protect God’s people from wrong ideas about God and the Church.”

The priest’s words sounded comforting when I was seven years old in Catechism class, but I learned to fear them a few years later.  Thanks to the Inquisition, my beloved father lost his position as a professor of medicine and went to prison for several years.

When we moved to Venice, I thought we had escaped the Inquisition’s reach.  After all, Venice is far from the Church’s home in Rome and has a reputation for independence.  The city has even stood up to the pope more than once.

But times have changed.  Even before I was born, Venice began to cooperate with the Church.  Three members of the local Inquisition are nobles from our city, so they’re involved in the Inquisition’s trials (and my friends have told me rumors about the gruesome things that go on there).  As if Venice didn’t employ enough workers to keep the city safe!

When I asked my father if I should fear the Inquisition, I wished I hadn’t.  His face turned pale as chalk, and he walked away.

Now I wonder why Venice needs the Inquisition.  Does it protect us or force us to constantly look over our shoulders?




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