Comments on Foxe's Book of Martyrs

jwmcmac's picture

Hogndog, You are correct in


You are correct in some of what you say . . . and wrong in some of what you say . . . this being my opinion . . . and neither side of this disagreement can find evidence which will convince the other . . . without the common understanding that people are sinful and do wrong things in the name of otherwise good and necessary institutions . . . sometimes against the very things in which they supposedly Believe.

The text which concludes the tragic story of Mr Lithgow in the Martyrs Book is a good example of what I said about these being stupid and sinful peoples who though they have some affiliation with the Church or with the State of Spain . . . are mostly just doing their own thing . . . in spite of the Church or Spain.

These are like the KKK or any other wrong-minded group. They have power in the local affairs and perhaps even beyond . . . but they misuse their power in this instance and use the Church or the State to disguise their own sinfulness.

And once these go beyond their proper bounds, as you see in this story, they try to disguise and hide what it is they are doing from those around them . . . or to trump up false accusations.

There were many who have now been declared Saints or Doctors of the Faith who were likewise abused by some of those of wrong-mind who were Inquisitors of the Inquisition. Saints Teresa of Avilla and St John of the Cross I believe were both very muchly abused by some of these Inquisitors, who likewise tried to use the guise and mis-application of the Faith and of Civil authority to abuse these future Saints.

I previously mentioned Joan of Arc . . . likewise abused in similar manner and style by wrong-minded and sinful peoples seemingly under the guise of the Church and Civil authority . . . but in this case against members of their own supposed Faith.

As Forest Gump says . . . __it happens.

When such as these get ahold of a wrong-mindedness about you or me . . . they are nearly impossible to shake loose or to get them straight again. These have such bad-will and wrong-mindedness that it feeds itself and they turn everything toward the bad . . . doubting you, thinking you are lying, accusing you of all kinds of far-fetched and outlandish motives . . . all being wrong and in and of their own imagination and according to their own fears and desires.

You know the type . . . the Bush haters . . . the haters period . . . for whatever false 'reason' they come up with in their own mind and for their own agenda.

When we start doubting the other guy’s veracity . . . and . . . we also fear for our own safety or for the safety of those we Love . . . anything can happen . . . if we don’t reach out in Love to even our enemies.

Actually, every last one of us can easily fall into this trap . . . either as the persecutor or as the victim. It doesn't take being Catholic or Protestant or Moslem to be this wrong-minded. It only takes being human, sinful, and just plain having some bad-will or fear or such toward the other.

In your recalling the 'devotions' or the 'religious' celebrations and such of these wrong-minded peoples in this case . . . you play into the same game and the same wrong-minded 'general' attack to suit your own agenda. These ‘used’ and ‘abused’ the ‘devotions’ and ‘religious’ celebrations . . . even mis-applying their ‘Faith’ or lack there-of to suit themselves and harm others. But your making the ‘devotions’ and ‘religious’ celebrations themselves to ‘appear’ in a bad light is totally wrong in and of itself. The devotions and Faith has nothing to do with the wrong actions of these abusive authorities.

Not meaning to white-wash the Inquisition . . . but . . . not every aspect of the Inquisition was uncalled for . . . and perhaps the original motives were even good and necessary . . . as some sort of civil law and order are necessary in this world. But even with good things, they can be mis-applied and gotten out of hand from the original intention.

I have read that modern exegesis of the evidence shows that the Inquisition, as bad as it was and as much abuse as happened in its' name was the much less abusive than any of the legal authorities of its' day with much fewer deaths (as little as 50,000 overall) than civil authorities in any country of its' day. Many accused were ‘desirous’ of getting into the court of tribunal and into the justice system of the Inquisition because they had a much better chance of survival and of being treated with some Grace as a defendant or prisoner in that system than in any of the ‘civil’ systems of the day.

Now if one wants to see some real abuse and tragedy and death . . . in the name of justice . . . take a look at the ‘enlightenment. Of course, I could be skewed there . . . but the guillotines employed by the courts of that group were rightly famous . . . or is it infamous . . . but still don’t get the bad press given to the Inquisition . . . which the wrongs of the Inquisition actually pales in comparison to the wrongs of the enlightenment . . . at least to my understanding. And I understand there is evidence for abuses of the enlightenment.

There are other no end of examples of abuse on every side of either civil or religious authority. Does this make them bad of themselves? Perhaps not. It means there is a devil in the works . . . and there is sin in the works.

One of the concluding statements from the 'Book of Common Martyrs' as to the 'deaths' for which the Inquisition was attributed as the cause . . .

"Of the multitudes who perished by the Inquisition throughout the world, no authentic record is now discoverable."


But we just 'know' that all that was said is absolutely true as to the hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions who were reported to be killed?


Not according to the true records. This not to excuse those who actually were unjustly killed/murdered.

But to blame the Church for the abuses is simply wrong.

An example:

In the final paragraph of the story of Mr. Lithgow . . . it shows that even the power of kings and such had little effect on the local authority which had done harm to Mr. Lithgow, they thinking/imagining him to be a spy . . . though they never came up with one shred of real evidence . . . yet they pursuing this wrong-mindedness almost to the very end of him . . . even to the effort to trying to trump up newly imagined charges to cover the wrongs they had already done rather than apologize and let the innocent man go free to ‘tell’ on them.

The book saying . . .

“Notwithstanding that every effort was used, Mr. Lithgow could never obtain any part of his money or effects, although his majesty and the ministers of state interested themselves in his behalf. Gondamore, the Spanish ambassador, indeed, promised that all his effects should be restored, with the addition of 1000 Pounds English money, as some atonement for the tortures he had undergone, which last was to be paid him by the governor of Malaga. These engagements, however, were but mere promises; and although the king was a kind of guarantee for the well performance of them, the cunning Spaniard found means to elude the same. He had, indeed, too great a share of influence in the English council during the time of that pacific reign, when England suffered herself to be bullied into slavish compliance by most of the states and kings in Europe.”

We can blame all of that on the Church too . . . but it would be just as much a travesty as what happened to Mr Lithgow.

GOD Bless you and me and us all . . . to not be so unjust toward any . . . as in the examples of this book.