The Spanish Inquisition
21. Ignatius is questioned about his orthodoxy
Iñigo and his companions came to the notice of those charged with maintaining Catholic religious orthodoxy in Alcalá. He had the misfortune to arrive in the town a year after there had been a major trial and condemnation of a group known as Alumbrados who felt they were personally inspired by the Holy Spirit and so were free to do whatever the Spirit told them. Sometimes the freedom they took in enjoying the delights of the flesh was considered extremely sinful by the general population of Alcalá and the clerics of the Inquisition.
Iñigo’s emphasis on the importance of individual conscience and the need to be in touch with the movements of the spirits was considered suspect. He was imprisoned, though rules were not imposed so rigorously as to stop him from continuing to give his spiritual help to others who visited him.
Figueroa, the Dominican inquisitor, complained that as uneducated lay men Iñigo and his companions were presumptive to teach about the Catholic Faith. Iñigo was cleared of heresy and freed. However, there was a proviso that the companions were not to look like members of a religious order wearing the clothes that looked like a religious habit, and that they shouldn’t teach the faith at least for three years in Alcalá. Choice of clothes was unimportant to Iñigo, but refusing him permission to carry on his pastoral work was too much to bear.
To avoid the limitations imposed by the Inquisition Iñigo moved to the University of Salamanca, but within weeks had again attracted the attention of the Inquisition in that city. So the group of friends split up and Iñigo decided to leave the country and move to the University of Paris.
A thought to ponder
Have you the confidence to go against the traditions of your religion like Peter did in this passage from Acts? What changes do you think ought to be made in your church today?
Scripture for the Day
As a way of praying today’s Scripture we suggest Imaginative Contemplation.
Acts 15:5-11 NRSVACE
(For the first Christians there was a great debate as to whether followers of Christ needed to follow all the Jewish customs. The custom which proved most of a barrier to the conversion of gentile men was circumcision.)
But some believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and said,
‘It is necessary for them to be circumcised and ordered to keep the law of Moses.’
The apostles and the elders met together to consider this matter.
After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them,
‘My brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that I should be the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the message of the good news and become believers. And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us.
Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear?
On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.’
Music for Today
Amazing Grace sung by Judy Collins written by John Newton (silent beginning)
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