Also known as The First Inquisition or The Medieval Inquisition, The Papal Inquisition was instituted by Pope Gregory IX in 1231 for the arrest and trial of heretics. The word inquisition is derived from the Latin verb inquiro (inquire into). The crime of heresy was defined by the church to be the denial of an article of truth of the Catholic faith in a publicly persistent manner. The tightly knit Roman Catholic society saw heretics as enemies that threatened life itself.

Pope Gregory IX's original intention was to organize the trials of heretics because the mobs tended to overtake such preceedings and deny the accused any manner of trial.

The inquisitiors were originally taken from the Franscian and Dominican sects. They began by seeking out the heretics, then they abandoned this practice and called them to the Inquisition centers which were mostly in southern France and Italy. The Papal Inquisition was not employed to such a large extent in Northern Europe.

Contrary to its original intent, the inquisition soon lapsed into a greater state of disorganization than had ever existed before. Local control varied widely across districts, and no pope fully suceeded in getting complete control over it. The climax of the horror of The Papal Inquisition came around the second half of the 13th century. By this time, inquisitiors were completely free of authority which led into The Spanish Inquisition.

Abuse reigned.

I choose not to list the proposed methods of torture employed by the inquisitiors here. A list of them can be found at this site:

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