The Inquisition conducted its last execution in 1826—the victim was a Spanish schoolmaster convicted of heresy. But not only did its offices survive into the twentieth century, in the modern world its spirit is more influential than ever.
Established by the Catholic Church in 1231, the Inquisition continued in one form or another for almost seven hundred years. Though associated with the persecution of heretics and Jews--and with burning at the stake--its targets were more numerous and its techniques more ambitious. The Inquisition pioneered surveillance and censorship and "scientific" interrogation. As time went on, its methods and mindset spread far beyond the Church to become tools of secular persecution.
Tracing the Inquisition and its legacy, God's Jury ranges from freshly opened Vatican archives to the detention camps of Guantánamo to the filing cabinets of the Third Reich.
I encourage your thoughts and ideas on these topics, and look forward to the conversation. - Cullen Murphy '74