From the Times of Israel:
A Portugal government committee has approved the creation of a Memorial Day for the Victims of the Inquisition.
The inquisition was formally established in Portugal in 1536. The date of the memorial day will be held on or around March 31, the official end of the Inquisition in 1821.
Reconectar, the movement to reconnect the descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Communities with the Jewish world, welcomed the decision by the Commission for Culture, Communication, Youth and Sports of the Portuguese Parliament.
“This is an extremely important step by the Portuguese Parliament and one that clearly demonstrates the Portuguese authorities’ intention to look critically at its past and show the Jewish world that it is seeking atonement for this reign of terror against our people,” Ashley Perry, president of Reconectar and the director of the Knesset Caucus for the Reconnection with the Descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Communities, said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Reconectar is assisting in the reconnection of the tens of millions of people in North and Latin America, Europe and elsewhere, who are discovering their Jewish ancestry. Modern technology, Internet, and genealogy and DNA advances have generated interest in discovering hidden Jewish roots.
Nearly 1,800 descendants of Sephardic Jews acquired Portuguese nationality in 2017 under a law enacted two years earlier, with another 12,000 still in the application process.
The tally for 2017 is six times higher than the total for 2016, during which the application of the law hit bureaucratic snags amid political changes.
The increase in naturalization under the law, which Portugal passed in 2013 and enacted in 2015 as a form of making amends for the persecution of Jews during the Inquisition, comes amid a host of initiatives by the government to strengthen the country’s ties to Jewish audiences and recognition of its Jewish heritage. (source, source)
This is a very curious statement because it is an open admission that Jews pretended to convert to the Catholic Faith in order to subvert the Church from within.
The reason this is such a scandalous admission is because the Inquisition was never directed against Jews. It was directed strictly against fellow Catholics for the purpose of rooting out heresy and subversion directed by people who claimed to be Catholic but in reality were only feigning Catholicism while secretly holding another belief for the purpose of poisoning the Faithful by their actions.
The Catholic Encyclopedia has an excellent article on the Inquisition you can read here for a short summary.
If one wants a more erudite source, then author William T. Walsh’s book Characters of the Inquisition is an excellent start, where not only does he firmly denounce any racial or ethnic basis of persecution of Jewish people, but clearly states that the Inquisition from his research had nothing to do with Judaism, but strictly of the Catholic Faith and of attacks lead against the Catholic Faith:
Now, in fairness to the Holy Office, it must be noticed that never, in its entire history, did it proceed against the Jews, either on racial grounds as Jews, or on religious grounds as members of the synagogue. Far from attacking the Law of Moses, it defended that revelation against certain sects of heretics, as an essential part of Catholic truth. Over the Jew as Jew it claimed no jurisdiction. It was a Christian tribunal, which concerned itself with Jews only when they were Christians, or when they went out of their way to commit offenses against Christians, either by deriding Christian beliefs or ceremonies, or by persuading Christians to give up the Faith. (source)
This same sentiment reflects that view given by Archbishop of Valencia St. Juan de Ribera in his Moorish Catechism, where he states that a “multiplicity of religions” is the most perfidious idea a man can promote as it is to divide the society from within by attacking the core philosophy. As Walsh notes, the few Jews the Inquisition did concern herself with were those who went to extraordinary measures to commit public crimes of an openly subversive nature against the Faith- it was never an issue of attacking somebody because he subscribed to Judaism.
The same treatment afforded to the Jews also applied to Muslims, which posed the same problem albeit on a much larger scale, particularly in Spain, where many Muslims who stayed behind in Spain following the fall of the Andalusian Caliphate, called mudejars (literally “left-behinds”), entered into the Catholic Faith in order to receive social privelages. As I note in my book Lions of the Faith: Saints, Blesseds, and Heroes of the Catholic Faith in the Struggle with Islam, there was even an Islamic edict from the year 1504 issued by Ahmad bin Boujama’a, the Grand Mufti of the major port city of Oran, Algeria, in which it actively encouraged Muslims in Spain to embrace the Catholic Faith with the sole purpose of subverting it from within, and even said to adopt all customs, even those against Islam such as eating pork, as the intention was to promulgate the religion of Islam by deception. Such Muslim converts, called moriscos, posed a much greater threat and multiple times almost overthrew the Spanish government during the 16th century, with one of the most infamous examples being the Alpujarras revolts, first from 1499 to 1501, and then from 1568 to 1571.
As such, the Inquisition was not about “the Church killing Jews and Muslims,” but rather about rooting out people in the Church who claimed to be Catholic but secretly were holding to other beliefs, intending to promulgate said beliefs within the confines of the Church in order to subvert her from within. It is neither “anti-Jewish” nor “anti-Muslim” to repeat the historical fact that many of the people who were definitively found to have engaged in such dishonest and deceitful behavior among the Catholic peoples were those secretly subscribing to either the prescriptions of the Talmud or the heresy of Mohammed.
That is why this declaration from the Jewish communities of Portugal and Spain is such a scandal, because by saying that Jews were “persecuted” in the Inquisition is to admit that the people found guilty by the Inquisition not only were fake Catholics attempting to subvert the Church or Jews openly engaged in subversive activity against the Catholic Faith and they knew it, but many other people knew it too and this commission knows it as well. It is an admission of the veracity of what the Church said for centuries and for the very reason why the Inquisition was created.
No amount of shouting, insulting, or baseless accusations of “hatred” can deny historical fact just as much as no government can legislate the laws of physics out of existence or into being. These groups can say that Portugal owes them an “apology” because of “persecution,” but the fact remains that not only was both the theory and practice of the Inquisition not to persecute Jews or the Jewish people, or Muslims and the Muslim people, but that the “persecution” would never have happened if those Jews and Muslims who were convicted were simply honest in their religious convictions instead of lying by claiming to be Catholic in order to indulge in subversive, revolutionary, and anti-Christian activity out of nothing less than the same hatred of Christ and obsession with the self that was the reason Christ was put to death. If anything, it is these Jewish groups and the government who owe the Church an apology because their own words confirm the reason for why the Inquisition existed.