Maybe Pope John Paul II was not aware of what happened in "tiny Goa" in the
16th century. If the next pope comes from Portugal, maybe an apology would
be forthcoming. Be that as it may, here's an excerpt from Manohar
Malgonkar's "Inside Goa":
"The year 1560 was the golden jubilee of the beginning of Portuguese rule in
India. Almost as though to mark the occasion with the bestowal of a special
gift on the people of Goa, they brought in the Inquisition.
"It was not a weapon against the remaining Hindus of Goa, as much as against
the Goans who had already accepted Christianity. But of course, any Hindu
who was discovered practicing the religious rites of his faith and thus
indulging in "magic and witchcraft" came under its purview.
"The priests had realized that there was still a good deal of stubborn
resistance among the converts to their new faith. Many of them were not
observing its rituals with sufficient punctilio, and a few were suspected of
practicing their erstwhile faith in secret. These last were the repertidos
who were now to be rooted out and burned alive.
"The ceremony of burning these heretics was called the Auto da Fe, which
means, an Act of Faith. The Viceroy who, with a stroke of his pen, had
banned the practice of sati in Goa was powerless to stop these other
burnings. Indeed the Viceroy, with his full court actually participated in
these ceremonies, which were conducted with great fanfare and ?clat.
"It was quite true that many Christians in Goa had not been able to shake
off the ingrained taboos of their earlier faith. But even for those who
considered themselves fully committed to Christianity, it was not easy to
grasp all the intricate formalism of its beliefs and divinities, because of
the formidable language barrier that existed between themselves and their
religious teachers. For one thing, the Portuguese, as the ruling race, had
little interest in learning Konkani; indeed they had systematically burned
all Konkani written works in case some of them contained "precepts and
doctrines of idolatry". What was more, while some priests were no doubt men
of learning, the rank and file of the priestly orders of Goa was made up of
mercenaries who had joined up for the sake of the material advantages that
the profession offered, especially in Goa. If, as Mr. T.B. Cunha tells us
"every sailor who came to Goa preferred to be a monk", there could not be
many among them who were so dedicated to their calling as to go to the
trouble of learning a foreign language merely to be able to help out the
converts, and indeed there may have been a few among them who did not even
know their own language very well. And as to the Goans, even though Latin
and Portuguese were taught in the schools that the Portuguese had opened,
not many of them had attained sufficient mastery over this language, to be
able to perceive the fundamentals behind the doctrines of Christianity. They
expressed doubts, questions; they may even have, at least in private
conversations, expressed disbelief.
"These wholly natural uncertainties were now to be resolved by bludgeoning
them into insensibility, by discipline and terror. The Inquisition was a
tribunal, whose principal judge was sent from Portugal and bore the title of
the 'The Grand Inquisitor'. In his own sphere he was not answerable to
anyone in Goa. He and his two colleagues made their own rules, interpreted
them and dealt out punishments. Their codified laws ran to over 230 folio
pages, and their edicts, which sought to tell the people of Goa what they
might or might not do, to over 5,000 words. They lived in a palace of which
the people of Goa spoke in whispers as the Vodlem Gor, the Big House, where
mysterious rites were practiced and from which screams could be often heard.
Their procedures were conducted in secret and were smothered in mumbo-jumbo.
Their logic was diabolically perverse and the tortures they devised could
only have been the product of sick minds. On the evidence of the Archbishop
of Evora, in Portugal: "If everywhere the Inquisition was an infamous court,
the infamy, however base, however vile, however corrupt and determined by
worldly interests, it was never more so than in Goa."
"It went on for two hundred years, even though there was a short
interruption. In that time, there can be no doubt that many more 'heretics'
were burned alive than the number of Hindu widows saved from burning because
of the banning of the practice of sati. Aside from this, there were
thousands of others who were subjected to some of the most perversely
sadistic tortures that the Inquisitors had devised.
"The interruption came in 1774 when the Marquis of Pombal, one of the
greatest liberals of his time, became the Prime Minister of Portugal and
ordered its abolition. But it came right back, four years later when Pombal
was ousted from power. It was finally closed on 16th June 1812, as a result,
of strong British pressure and at the time when British troops were actually
stationed on Goa's soil."
----- Original Message -----
From: "Frederick Noronha (FN)" <fred at bytesforall.org>
To: <goanet at goanet.org>
Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2005 3:30 AM
Subject: [Goanet]Re: Parrikar, others mourn Pope's death
Post by Frederick Noronha (FN)
Did the Pope apologise for the Inquisition as Parrikar claims?
Post by goaworldtoday at yahoo.com (Goa's Pride)
Mr Parrikar stated that Pope John Paul II was truly
pragmatic and understood the changing scenario of
the world. Recognising the deep anguish caused by the
misadventure of inquisition, he further mentioned
that he had the grace to apologise for the same and apply
a soothing balm on festering wounds.
It doesn't seem to be the case. See the list below. The ex-CM (or his
advisors) seems to have got his facts wrong.
* On October 31, 1992, he apologised for the persecution of the Italian
philosopher Galileo Galilei in the trial by the Roman Catholic Church in
* On August 9, 1993, he apologised for Catholic involvement with the
African slave trade.
* In May, 1995, in the Czech Republic, he begged forgiveness for the
Church's role in stake burnings and the religious wars that followed the
* On July 10, 1995, he released a letter to "every woman" to apologise
for the Church's stance against women's rights and for the historical
denigration of women.
* On March 16, 1998 he apologised for the inactivity and silence of
Roman Catholics during the Holocaust.
* On December 18, 1999, he apologised for the execution of Jan Hus in
* During a public Mass of Pardons on March 12, 2000, he asked
forgiveness for the sins of Catholics throughout the ages for violating
"the rights of ethnic groups and peoples, and shown contempt for their
cultures and religious traditions."
* On May 4, 2001, he apologised to the Patriarch of Constantinople for
the sins of the Crusader conquest of Constantinople in 1204.
* On November 22, 2001, he apologised, via the Internet, for
missionary abuses in the past against indigenous peoples of the South
_/ ____\____ Frederick Noronha * Freelance Journalist * Goa
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