DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     October 29, 1998     vol. 9, no. 212

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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VATICAN SYMPOSIUM ON INQUISITION TO OPEN

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- A long-awaited international symposium on the Inquisition will convene in Rome this weekend, with 30 scholars from different disciplines participating in the discussions.

          This will be the second symposium of its kind organized by the special Vatican committee charged with preparations for the Jubilee Year 2000. Last year the Vatican hosted a conference on "the Christian origins of anti-Judaism." These discussions are a response to the challenge issued by Pope John Paul II, in Tertio Millennio Adveniente, for an "examination of conscience" regarding the history of Christianity.

          Father Georges Cottier, the theologian of the pontifical household, will be among the first people to address the symposium. He told a Vatican Radio interviewer that a primary purpose of the meeting will be to establish a factual basis for the discussion, setting the Inquisition in the proper historical context. The Inquisition, he added, was a reaction to a real menace: the heresies which threatened to destroy Christian unity. In that regard, he said, the problem was not unlike the dangers posed by "dangerous ideas" in today's world; he mentioned in particular the threat of anti- Semitism.

          However, Father Cottier continued, it is legitimate to raise the question of whether force-- including torture and the death penalty- - can be reconciled with the Gospel. Over time, Christians concluded that they could not. But that understanding had not been developed at the time of the Inquisition, he observed.


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October 29, 1998       volume 9, no. 212
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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