“Xavier was aware of the brutality of the Inquisition”

One of the darkest chapters in Indo-Portuguese history, ‘the Inquisition’ deserves far more comprehensive research to bring out the truth from an Indian perspective, says historian Teotonio R de Souza.

Francis Xavier called for an Inquisition tribunal in Goa in a letter to the King of Portugal.
Francis Xavier called for an Inquisition tribunal in Goa in a letter to the King of Portugal.

This is quotes from an articles published in Deccan Herald in Bangalore in 2010:

The Inquisition was established in Goa in 1560 at the behest of St Francis Xavier. Was he aware of the brutality of the Inquisition tribunal?

Francis Xavier and Simão Rodrigues, two founder-members of the Society of Jesus were together in Lisbon before Francis Xavier left for India.

Both were asked to assist spiritually the prisoners of the Inquisition and were present at the very first auto-da-fé celebrated in Portugal in September 1540, at which 23 were absolved and two were condemned to be burnt, including a French cleric.

Hence, Francis Xavier could not have been unaware of the brutality of the Inquisition.

Historian Teotonio R de Souza supports the establishment of an Inqusition Museum in Goa.
Historian Teotonio R de Souza suggest an  Inquisition Museum in Goa.

There was a debate a few years ago about excavating the well of the Inquisition that lies buried under the lawns of the See Cathedral in Old Goa. The issue was never pursued for fear of hurting religious sentiments. Is historical truth not obscured by such an attitude?

All research related to the Inquisition that played havoc in the lives of Goans needs to be welcomed. The fears are generally unfounded.

The Inquisition was not a religious institution, but essentially a political institution for disciplining all colonial subjects. I have more than once proposed the creation of an Inquisition Museum that could be a wonderful instrument of education and would even add to the income of cultural tourism. I think only a prolonged debate over this issue could clear the minds from unwarranted fears and sectarian prejudices.

Published by Ivar

Source: Deccan Herald.

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