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5) What is a bad inquisition?

Santa Claus cleans up the Catholic Church the wrong way.
Santa Claus cleans up the Catholic Church the wrong way.

Basically, to be bad, all you need is one critical shortcoming. "Bonum ex integra causa, malum ex quolibet defectu".

Therefore there is almost an infinity of ways to have a bad inquisition. Here are some categories of possible defects:

- an inquisition is started up, when none is necessary;
- an inquisition is NOT started up, when in fact we really need it;
- the inquisition is incomplete (for example, people at the bottom of the hierarchy are questioned, but the ones with the real power, or the actual perpetrators, are excluded from the investigation);
- the inquisition goes beyond its limits (for example people in other churches are chased down, instead of sticking to cleaning up our own backyard);
- innocent people are condemned, or guilty persons get acquitted;
- guilty persons are condemned, but without due process;
- guilty persons are condemned after due process, but incorrect punishments are handed out (too harsh, too lenient, etc.);
- and so on...

The Catholic Church hates bad inquisitions:

Another painful chapter of history to which the sons and daughters of the Church must return with a spirit of repentance is that of the acquiescence given, especially in certain centuries, to intolerance and even the use of violence in the service of truth.

The consideration of mitigating factors does not exonerate the Church from the obligation to express profound regret for the weaknesses of so many of her sons and daughters who sullied her face, preventing her from fully mirroring the image of her crucified Lord, the supreme witness of patient love and of humble meekness. From these painful moments of the past a lesson can be drawn for the future, leading all Christians to adhere fully to the sublime principle stated by the Council: "The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it wins over the mind with both gentleness and power"
[Tertio Millennio Adveniente, #35].

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