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Pope Gregory IX instituted the Papal Inquisition in 1231, but couldn’t stomach
the sin of torture. It took twenty years for a pope to shoulder the responsibility and, in the
height of irony, that pontiff took the name of Pope Innocent (cough­cough) IV. In 1252
he authorized torture with the papal bull Ad extirpanda. 95 However, some of the clergy
must have wanted to get their hands dirty, up close and personal. To accommodate such
lofty Christian sentiments, “in 1256 Pope Alexander IV gave them the right to mutually
absolve one another and grant dispensations to their colleagues. With this legal and moral
issue circumvented, one inquisitor could torture and his companion then absolve him.”
So innate understanding didn’t exactly play a major role in the process.
Sympathizers might take a moment to imagine an ignorant, un­indoctrinated
individual, isolated from civilization. Imagine this individual seeking the reality of God
through a quiet life of contemplation. We can envision the foreign natives of distant
lands, the illiterate masses, the lone individual on a tropical island. How many of them, do you imagine, snapped their fingers and slapped their foreheads in spiritually
awakening and proclaimed the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
The likelihood is slim to none that Augustine’s judgment was based on a
prospective, double­blinded, controlled and randomized study. Should the millions of
“heretic” Unitarian Christians who were executed in intolerant Trinitarian judgment be
asked, they could be expected to have some very reasonable objections. In the modern
day, some of them might even reference the Qur’an: “Let there be no compulsion in
religion …” (TMQ 2:256)
But to return to the “son of God” issue, one more difficulty concerns the
following quotes:
In the Gospel of St. John, twice the title Son of God means nothing
more than Messiah. Thus Nathanael’s confession of faith, ‘Rabbi, thou art
the Son of God, thou art King of Israel!’ (Jn 1:49) regards the two as
equivalent. 97
It is not always clear what the term [Son of God] means when
spoken by the demons; it may mean only man of God. 98 *
Used by the centurion at the Crucifixion, it (Son of God) seems to
have meant only a just man.


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