At a time where Christians are killed by Muslims, copiously in the Third World and, yet and just, separately elsewhere and both without much interest from public and media, where the world got its collective knickers in a knot that the pope is Catholic, the following from the information site "Katholisches – Magazin für Kirche und Kultur" is of particular importance. "Katholisches" (which means something like "Catholic matters") introduces a book "Toleranz und Gewalt ("Tolerance and Violence") and forwards some details about the dreaded Inquisition, evil incarnate and second only to the 20th century Holocaust of the Jews (if that), in a historical context: Informationen und Zahlen über die Heilige Inquisition aus dem Buch "Toleranz und Gewalt".
According to that book, the Spanish Inquisition has, within the 160 years between 1540 and 1700, passed 44,674 sentences. Of those sentenced, 826 were executed. The book compares this to the Spanish Civil war, where Communists murdered within a time span of six years more than 7,000 priests and monastics. The Roman Inquisition had, between 1542 and 1761, exactly 97 people executed. Another example: Secular jurisdiction executed within the same time span 939 people in the city of Nürnberg alone.
Burning of witches was almost unknown and strictly rejected by the popes. In the 17th century, when all over the Protestant regions north of the Alps the stakes were burning (there is an estimation of 25,000 victims), not a single witch trial was performed. In Spain, about 300 "witches" were burnt at the stakes, in strongly Catholic Ireland 2.
The frequently traded number of 9 million victims can, interestingly, be traced back to Heinrich Himmler, the second most powerful man in the "Third Reich", who intended to fuel thus anti-Catholic resentments. In fact, even his "research team" couldn't fabricate more than 30,000 victims.
Geneva, home of Calvin, was infamous for its witch trials as well.
The article ends with a quote by Martin Luther, including a litany of supernatural evil powers witches possess and the calling to kill them.
Now my intention is not to offend all those brave Protestant Christians, my intention is to deflate official, open or implicit, Protestant smugness. A smugness, that suggests that the followers of that denomination are somehow in possession of a more advanced truth and that Catholics have to bear the brunt (better: make that "all") of Christian misdoings, real or perceived, in the past. If anything, the above ought to make clear that Luther's motives for breaking away from the Catholic Church did certainly not include the defence of freedom of individual thought of which only too many Protestants are only too proud.
At a time where a pope who dares to do away with revisionist history by suggesting that it is perhaps not necessary to "apologise" for the crusades, is branded a reactionary instead of being hailed as a truth seeker, such information is important.
At a time where a pope, who lifts the excommunication of a priest who happens to be a Holocaust denier, is branded a Holocaust denier, such information is important.
At a time where a pope who represents all Catholics worldwide, including the many victims of Nazi barbarism, doesn't, really or perceived, grovel to an extent that is expected of him -- a German -- during a visit to Israel, such information is important.
In a century, where another pope was denounced as a supporter of the Holocaust, Nazi-accomplice and antisemite by a KGB-agent, a libel that was enthusiastically taken up by the masses and their media, in a century where evidence that reveals all that is doggedly ingnored by the same masses and the same media, such information is important.
And finally: Why, I am asking myself (somebody whose egalitarian instincts are not all that pronounced), is nobody, at a time where egalitarianism is the only accepted world view, praising the Catholic church as the only powerful institution in the world on the strength of its radical egalitarianism. Where else would the son of a piss-poor policeman from the deepest Bavarian backwaters called Ratzinger be allowed to walk in the shoes of Colonnas, Medicis, Borgheses, Orsinis, Odescalchis and Pignatellis? But it isn't really about what the Catholic church actually IS, or is it? Apart from matters of family -- and thus GOD -- the Catholic church is egalitarian and leftist, and as long as they won't give up those core matters, give up itself, it will be hated by the world and any (but ANY!) libel will stick.