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Jonathan Ward wrote:

Hi, guys —

Someone told me that the office of the inquisition just changed its name and our current Pope Benedict used to head that office.

  • Is that true?

The horror of the inquisition is something no one would ever want to be affiliated with.
I don't understand.

  • Why do we still have that office?

Even if the name has been changed, I heard there were approximately 500 million people killed because they disagreed with the Roman Catholic Church.

We destroyed the Dixie Chicks because of something that was true but better left unsaid.

This really bothers me. Please respond.

Jon W.

  { Did the Office of the Inquisition just change its name and does our current Pope head it? }

Bob replied:


I hate to say it, but sounds like you have been getting too much information from conspiracy minded thinkers who have an axe to grind with the Catholic Church. You are pulling too many disparate things together as if there is an implied sinister-ism. Slow down and breath!

The inquisition was a reality at a different time in history, when frankly, the whole world was different. The inquisition was certainly guilty of wrong doings, but you can't give it a fair evaluation without fully examining the total context — the political players, etc.

Keep in mind that enemies of Catholicism never talk about the Protestant mass killings of history, in many different contexts, or the Islamic invasions that killed many Christians.

  • That there were bad Catholics, Protestants, Moslems, etc., is not unusual.
  • That Catholics get singled out and are held singularly responsible is.

Study the whole history and then think about it.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is the office that Cardinal Ratzinger
(now Pope Benedict) did run and it is responsible for maintaining the authenticity of Catholic doctrine. Some people think of it as a Catholic CIA or some conspiracy tank, but the reality is,
it is simply in charge of clarifying and promulgating the authentic [doctrine/faith] of the Catholic Church.

In a Church that covers the globe, somebody has to oversee the general teaching of the Church so that it stays consistent with the Gospel that has been given to us. Because Protestants have no such principle of unity they are free to create new churches whenever there is a disagreement about doctrine. They are never forced to reconcile themselves with the teaching that has been handed on to them from Jesus and the Apostles. They believe that each can interpret the Bible in their own inspired way and therefore create their own church. In the few centuries that Protestantism has been around they have created literally thousands of churches.

There is only one Catholic Church. Jesus gave authority to one Church, founded on Peter, with the Twelve Apostles. There is still one Church carrying out that ministry. The Catholic Church, while it has always been flawed, in as much as its personages are flawed, is still Christ's Church, with Christ as The Head — 2000 + years attests to that. The CDF is not an inquisition burning heretics at the stake, but an extension of the teaching office of Christ, ensuring that the faithful don't get handed rubbish. The attempted connection to a historical, sensational, controversy may be sexy for conspiracy thinkers, but it is simply ignorant.

  • Lastly, the Dixie Chicks?

They lost the heart of the American people because they disgraced their country while on foreign soil. Their words went beyond politics and became personal to the American people. It was much like when Jane Fonda sat on a tank (of the enemy, criticizing the American war effort) during the Vietnam war. Many Americans were ambivalent about the war in Vietnam, but that kind of political stumping could not be brooked.

So, in short the Chicks brought the backlash on themselves, and it has nothing to do with Benedict or the Catholic Church. That you brought it up in this context is just a misplaced analogy that doesn't work.

Don't listen to negative voices that have no light in them. Try reading one of Benedict's books and see the light of Christ shining through.

When you turn off the critics and listen to those who are calling us to follow Christ more deeply and lovingly you will find greater joy and happiness. There is nothing greater than knowing Christ and living as his follower in his Church and bringing His Love to the world.

God bless,

I hope you listen to more light filled voices.

Bob K.

Maryellen replied:


You may wish to check out this article on New Advent on the Inquisition:

God bless,


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