The Inquisition

The devil, even if he is a fact, has been an indulgence;… while he exists, there is always something to which we can be superior.

One might think that the phrase of Lord Acton (that “it cannot really be held that in Rome sixteen centuries after Christ men did not know that murder was wrong”) might be held to apply [to the Inquisition]; it cannot be that men did not think such methods doubtfully holy. It was not so. Deep, deeper than we believe, lie the roots of sin; it is in the good that they exist; it is in the good that they thrive and send up sap and produce the black fruits of hell. The peacock fans of holy and austere popes drove the ashes of burning men over Christendom.

Charles Williams
'The Descent of the Dove'
Longmans, Green and Co (1939)

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