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I surely could have chosen a more politically correct expression, like calling it a "Convention for Apostolic Quality Assurance"!
Seriously, the word "inquisition" is not at all necessary, and it is quite possible that I'll eventually remove it. For example, my mirror web site is called www.jesus-eucharistie.org. On the other hand, several arguments currently support the use of the word "inquisition":
Yes, these days the word "inquisition" spontaneously brings forth to the mind horribly bad things like burning heretics at the stake, or obtaining confessions using torture, or religious obscurantism, etc.
But it is simply false to claim that an inquisition necessarily implies these horrible and condemnable things. It's simply not true that all inquisitions have been bad, and history shows that many bad inquisitions were firmly condemned by the Popes. It is our duty to defend the reputation of the Church against calumny.
Yes, the word "inquisition" isn't popular. But when the Church is attacked from the inside by some of its own members, you have a gloomy reality which, by whatever name you call it, will have negative connotations:
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and
they will not spare the flock. And from your own group, men will come forward
perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them.
It's the same thing for other words. We started out with "undertakers", who became "embalmers", then "morticians", and so on. The problem is that death is a gloomy reality, not that we need to change the word. Even the Catholic Church can succumb to such fashions. What used to be called the "The Sacred Congregation for the Holy and Universal Inquisition" later on became known as the "Holy Office", and today goes by the name of the "Congregation for the doctrine of the Faith" [Integrae servandae].
Even if we could find another word to mean "ecclesiastical enquiry aimed at finding the heretics who are hidden inside the Catholic Church", this new word would quickly become just as unpopular as "inquisition". Let's just use the proper English word in the dictionary!
Priests these days are afraid of using expressions like "mortal sin", "eternal damnation" or "papal infallibility", which are just as much a part of today's Catholic religion as are homily buzz-words like "solidarity", "tenderness" and "sharing".
The Church in Quebec is sick because among other things its official teachings are diluted by some religious leaders who are afraid of speaking clearly. But the hardest word to "swallow" is surely "inquisition"! If we make the effort of pushing that one through, we might create an opening through which priests could have an easier time passing all the other expressions essential to the transmission of the Catholic Faith.
Let's take a real anecdote. I was chatting with an American lady about her large SUV (Sports-Utility Vehicle), and I was trying to make her understand that her large vehicle polluted a lot and contributed to the Greenhouse Effect. She answered: "Well I don't believe in that Greenhouse Effect thing". How can you even start to talk about the Kyoto Protocol and the fight against pollution, if people are not even aware of the existence of greenhouse gases?
This looks a lot like the situation of the Catholic Church in Quebec. The Church is sick, almost agonizing in certain dioceses, but many Catholics don't even suspect that it is their own behaviors that are causing this destruction. They choose to ignore the symptoms of the disease, or to dismiss them by saying that "young people" are naturally less religious, or that Modern Society is less receptive to Catholicism. Some even claim that the official teachings of the Church are the cause of the problem, a bit like that American lady that claimed scientists were the cause of the Greenhouse Effect!
By daring to use the word "inquisition", we start to sow in people's minds the idea that the problems of the Church in Quebec are quite real and severe, that their cause can be identified, and especially that these problems are curable!
The teachings of the Catholic Church are actually quite easy to defend, once you do the hard part, which is to get people to admit they don't really know what those teachings are.
By using the word "inquisition", I often get people with a closed mind to abruptly condemn this web site, often without even taking a few minutes to read the FAQ. I can then call their attention to their behavior, and say something like: "See, that is what bad inquisitions are all about, i.e. condemning somebody without giving them even a chance to defend themselves." Often this is a strong enough argument to get these people to open their minds.
One of my favorite bumper-stickers says: "If you haven't changed your mind lately, how do you know you still have one?".
You're not the first person to have reservations about the word "inquisition". Relax. Honestly, it took me over twenty years to see the obvious solution to a very serious problem. Most of the people I meet need several weeks to get over the initial shock, and a second more serene reading of the FAQ, before starting to give the idea serious thought.
Say what you want, you'll never forget the name of a web site called www.inquisition.ca!
Isn't it strange that the word "inquisition" is so taboo these days in Quebec? Isn't it strange to see some religious leaders, who are normally very calm and sensible, start to howl against the very idea of talking about an inquisition? If it was a bad idea, all we would need to do is discuss it publicly and calmly, and then decide to try something else. That's all!
Isn't it curious that it's so frowned upon to even pronounce the name of the medication that could cure the Church in Quebec?
Strange! Sounds like somebody has been working hard to spread lies about inquisitions!
I'm trying very hard to keep this site as bilingual as possible. It's difficult to find a domain name that is good in both English and French. For example, "ecclesiastical inquiry" doesn't work ("enquête ecclésiastique"), etc.
So far, I've been well served by the idea of calling this web site www.inquisition.ca, and telling people I reserve the right to make public their comments. Wolves run like Heck when they see me coming (either physically, or electronically).
Of course, as is said in FAQ #1, we all agree bad inquisitions are bad, and we all agree the Church is filled with sinners who can do bad things. But what happens if inquisitions are intrinsically bad, if it's by definition impossible to have a good inquisition?
Catholics claim that God has founded the Catholic Church, and that He guides its infallible Magisterium. But the Catholic Church has ordered many inquisitions, in the most official way (i.e. engaging her ordinary Magisterium). So if inquisitions are intrinsically bad, then God would have guided the Church to perform bad acts, which is a contradiction. So God would not exist, or God would not have founded the Catholic Church.
In fact, we can see that inquisitions can (at least theoretically) be well conducted, while respecting human laws and divine Charity.
Even the most outspoken anti-Catholics will agree that all other social institutions can defend themselves against their internal enemies (see FAQ#4). Why, then, do they refuse to the Catholic Church a right that they grant to all other institutions?
Marketing experts know that to give a good image to a product, you have to build "mental associations" between the product and something attractive. For example, commercials often involve beautiful, athletic and happy twenty- somethings, not fat, ugly and jobless fourty-somethings. (Of course I agree with you that using such tricks to give a good image to bad products, like beer or cigarettes, is not good!).
Some people have told me that the content of the www.inquisition.ca website was excellent, but its name was horrible. I claim that is exactly what I'm trying to do! I want to associate the name "inquisition" (which currently, unfortunately, has an extremely bad image), with good things, in order to create new mental associations.
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