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Halley’s Bible Handbook and the Inquisition


I had read, from cover the cover, “Halley’s Bible Handbook” thirty years ago. With its focus on the Bible and the way the Bible was central for America’s patriotism, Halley helped me understand the history of the Church and cherish the evangelical foundations of America.

According to Halley, Bible and patriotism walked hand in hand in the American history. One of the many prominent patriotic references in Halley was the first U.S. President George Washington saying, “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”

The patriotic evangelical handbook had also other U.S. presidents praising the Bible:

President U.S. Grant: “The Bible is the sheet anchor of our liberties.”

President Andrew Jackson: “That book, Sir, is the Rock upon which our republic.”

President John Quincy Adams: “So great is my veneration for the Bible, that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hopes that they will prove useful citizens to their country and respectable members of society. I have made it a practice for several years to read the Bible through in the course of every year.”

halleys-bible-handbookI loved this Bible-centered patriotism!

The edition available to us in Brazil then was a translation from the American edition published in 1962 by Zondervan. The original English handbook had already sold over a million copies in America in the early 1960s.

Some time ago I needed its informative resources, because some Brazilian Catholics, active in the conservative and pro-life movement, began to downplay the horrors of the Inquisition and preach a strange revisionism to sanitize it.

In my view, Catholics today have no culpability for the crimes of their church centuries ago. But the advocacy of the revisionism of the Inquisition, which committed many of those crimes, is fully incompatible with the conservative and pro-life movement and unity.

One of the most strident revisionists is a Brazilian who is an immigrant in the U.S. who has said, “The myth of the Inquisition has been the most extensive and lasting campaign of slander and defamation in history to this day, with multi-million dollar funding, and it seems this campaign will have no end. Those who created it were not Illuminatis or communists. It was created by Protestants, who keep promoting it even today, and the irradiant center is U.S. churches.”

Downplaying the horrors of the Inquisition, he also said, “Even in the popular image of the Inquisition fires, lies are predominant. Everybody believe that condemned individuals ‘died burned,’ amid horrible suffering. The flames were high, more than 16 feet high, to hinder suffering. The condemned individuals (less than ten a year in two dozen nations) died suffocated in a few minutes, before the flames could touch them.”

Of course, honest pro-life Catholics would never agree with this misrepresentation. Conservapedia, owned by Catholic homeschool teacher Andrew Schlafly, said, “Many [Catholic] inquisitions are known to have used brutal torture to extract confessions from accused heretics. While many of these accused heretics would be allowed free after repenting their views and stating their loyalty to the Church, a significant number — consisting almost entirely of those who refused to repent — were executed by a variety of deliberately painful methods including burning at the stake while alive, boiling in oil and the ‘breaking wheel.’”

To confront the emergence of a strident revisionist movement in Brazil, I acquired the latest U.S. edition of Halley’s Bible Handbook, thinking that it could bring more information on the Inquisition than the much older Brazilian edition I had read decades ago. But how surprised I was when I verified the modern Bible handbook (Zondervan, 2000) had only one reference on the Inquisition. In this solitary mention, Halley said that the Catholic Church “formed the Inquisition to persecute Protestants.” Nothing else.

Besides, the new American edition removed all the references of U.S. presidents praising the Bible. No more the Bible and patriotism together. No more condemnation of the Inquisition.

How different from the old edition that has 24 mentions! Fifty years ago Zondervan was a real evangelical publishing house, but in 1988 Zondervan was bought by a secular publishing house, HarperCollins, which publishes demonic books, including the Satanic Bible.

Does this explain why the current edition of Halley’s Bible Handbook is fully sanitized (or Satanized?) from its many historic references on the Inquisition? Why an evangelical publishing house would cut off significant information on the Inquisition while its parent organization does not cut off blatantly satanic books is a mystery. But to please Satanists and pro-Inquisition radicals is not the evangelical way. To censor U.S. presidents praising the Bible is not the evangelical way.

Instead of censoring, a new Halley should add Ronald Reagan praising the Bible. In fact, it should make a prominent display of Reagan proclaiming 1983 as the Year of the Bible in the United States. But the new edition has no U.S. president praising the Bible and no condemnation of the Inquisition.

While Halley’s latest edition (published in 2000) has only one mention of the Inquisition, the 1962 Brazilian edition published by Edições Vida Nova has 24 references of the Inquisition, including:

The horrors of the Inquisition, ordered and sustained by the popes, over a 500-year period, when untold millions of people were tortured and burned, represent the most brutal, bestial and demonic picture in all the History. (Page 645.)

Pope Innocent III, 1198-1216: Banned Bible reading in the vernacular. Ordered the extermination of heretics. Established the Inquisition. Had Cathars massacred. More blood was shed in his papacy and his close successors than in any other time in the Church’s History, excepting the papal effort to smash the Reformation in the 16 and 17 centuries.

The Inquisition, named “Holy Office,” was established by Innocent III and perfected under the next pope, Gregory IX. It was the ecclesiastical court charged to imprison and punish heretics. It required everyone to give information on heretics. All suspects of heresy were liable to tortures, without knowing who had accused. The procedure was led secretly. The inquisitor gave the sentence and the victim was delivered to civil officials to be imprisoned for life or burned. His possessions were confiscated and split between the Church and State.

In the period immediately after Innocent III, the Inquisition executed its most deadly work in Southern France (see Cathars), but it was charged also with vast multitudes of victims in Spain, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. Later, it was the main agency of the papal effort to smash the Reformation. It is stated that in the 30 years between 1540 e 1570 nothing less than 900,000 Protestants were killed, in the war impelled by the pope to exterminate Waldensians. Imagine cruel and brutal friars and priests leading the work of torturing and burning at stake alive innocent men and women; and they did it in the name of Christ, by the direct command from their “vicar.” The Inquisition is the most infamous fact in the History. It was created by the popes and used by them, for 500 years, to maintain them in power. (Page 688.)

In the Netherlands, the Reformation was at once welcome; Lutheranism, and later Calvinism; Anabaptists were already numerous. Between 1513 and 1531, 25 different Bible translations were published in Dutch, Flemish and French. The Netherlands were part of the domains of Charles V. In 1522 he established the Inquisition in those nations, and he had Lutheran books burned. In 1546, he banned the printing and ownership of the Bible, in Vulgate or other translations. In 1535, he decreed “death, by fire,” of Anabaptists. Philip II (1566-98), successor of Charles V, issued the same decrees of his father and, with the assistance of Jesuits, advanced persecutions with bigger fury. By a sentence of the Inquisition, all the population was condemned to death, and under Charles V and Philip II over 100,000 were massacred with unbelievable savagery. Some were chained to a stake close to fire and roasted slowly until their death; others were thrown into dungeons, whipped, tortured in wooden horses, before being burned. Women were burned alive, put into narrow coffins, trampled by torturers. Those trying to escape to other nations were intercepted by soldiers and massacred. After years of non-resistance, suffering outrageous cruelty, Protestants in the Netherlands joined together under the leadership of William of Orange and, in 1572, began the great revolt. After unbelievable sufferings, they conquered, in 1609, their Independence; Holland, in the North, became Protestant; Belgium, in the South, Roman Catholic. Holland was the first nation to have public schools supported by taxes, and to make legal the principle of religious tolerance and free press. (Page 700.)

In Spain, the Reformation never made headway, because the Inquisition had already been established there. All effort for freedom or independence of opinion was implacably smashed. Torquemada (1420-98), a Dominican monk and supreme inquisitor, in 18 years burned 10,200 people and condemned 97,000 to life imprisonment. Victims were usually burned alive in the squares, creating religious feasts. From 1481 to 1808, there were at least 100,000 martyrs and 1,500,000 people were deported. “In the 16 and 17 centuries, the Inquisition extinguished the literary life of Spain, almost taking Spain from the sphere of the European civilization.” When the Reformation began, Spain was the most powerful nation in the world. Its current status of insignificancy among the nations shows what papacy can do to a nation. (Page 701.)

Halley says that millions perished in the Inquisition.

Jews talk about thousands and thousands of Jewish victims. In 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Pope Francis at the Vatican, and gave the leader of the Catholic Church “The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain,” a Jewish book that largely revolves about Spanish Catholics questioning, torturing, and punishing the Jews, exposing how thousands of them were expelled from Spain or burned at the stake.

In stark contrast, the Brazilian revisionist who is an immigrant in the U.S. assures that the numbers are not millions or thousands. He said that the condemned individuals were less than ten a year in two dozen nations… and died with no torture and suffering!

How to explain the inconsistency in the numbers of the Inquisition’s victims? Renowned Catholic historian Paul Johnson, in his book “A History Of Christianity” (published in the United Kingdom in 1976), explained: “Many countries would not admit the Inquisition at all… There was the destruction of records.”

Even though the Brazilian immigrant considers himself as a Catholic whose specialty is to fight the Soviet propaganda, which for him is advanced today by Putin’s Russia, he is equally determined to fight the “myth of the Inquisition,” which he said “has been the most extensive and lasting campaign of slander and defamation in history.”

In fact, last July he said that the elimination of myths like the Inquisition from the popular conscience is infinitely more important than removing a Marxist from the presidency of a nation.

If you thought that the Soviet propaganda was the most extensive and lasting campaign of slander and defamation in history, you are wrong, according to the Brazilian immigrant, who in a recent comment mockingly referred to the Inquisition’s enemies as “champions of faith.” He said:

“I have never seen a communist, when exercising the most ferocious and slanderous revolutionary verbiage, descending the abysses of malice and wickedness enjoyed in this country by the champions of faith.”

So is the U.S. worse than the Soviet Union because during centuries it championed anti-Inquisition propaganda?

“In this country” can only mean the U.S., where he is living right now as an immigrant. If anti-Inquisition evangelicals (and also Jews) are worse than communists, what is the Brazilian immigrant doing living in the largest Protestant nation in the world?

If the U.S. anti-Inquisition propaganda was supposedly worse than the Soviet propaganda, why is he after the U.S. citizenship?

The Soviet propaganda was actually one of the most repulsive things the world has ever seen, but the anti-Inquisition “propaganda,” including through the efforts of Halley, was one the most necessary things the United States has ever done for the world. Different from the Soviet Union, the American “propaganda” was connected to the Bible and a patriotism clearly founded on evangelical principles.

Why promote a propaganda to sanitize the Inquisition and slander and Satanize the United States for its historic opposition to the Inquisition? The result of this satanization is the current Halley’s handbook: No Bible and patriotism together. No reference to U.S. presidents praising the Bible.

Why not spend their efforts to fight the abortion propaganda?

Portuguese version of this article: Manual Bíblico de Halley e a Inquisição


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