As with the Crusades and the Galileo case, any mention of the Inquisition sets off a series of preconceived judgements against the Catholic Church in the minds of those who hear about it today. Yet few today can give a really accurate description of what the Inquisition really was - why it came about, its aims, its methods, the number of persons involved in it, the true record of its history, and the long-term results it acheived.
To settle this matter and to set forth the facts about the Inquisition, the eminent Catholic historian William Thomas Walsh has drawn for us a detailed historical sketch of six prominent Inquisitors - "Characters of the Inquisition," as he calls them - and in the process has explained for the modern reader as well the background of the Inquisition, how it operated and the major historical lines of its progress.
In doing so, he has laid to rest the standard myths accepted by most people today, for example, the lie that the Inquisition was ruthless and unjust, that it sent thousands to merciless torture and undeserved death, and that it was administered by unbalanced and sinister minds - the chief victim of this calumny being the Grand Inquisitor Tomas de Torquemada, the "most notorious" of all the "notorious" Inquisitors General.
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