Dominican Seminar Focusing on Order´s Role in Inquisition

Closed-Door Meeting Follows 1998 Vatican Symposium

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ROME, FEB. 24, 2002 ( A three-day, closed-door seminar examining the Inquisition is under way, organized by the very religious order that had a key role in the tribunal: the Dominicans.

The seminar at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas has attracted 50 theologians and historians. The seminar ends Monday.

The congress comes in the wake of a 1998 Vatican symposium on the Inquisition and is part of the Church´s effort to come to grips with a controversial chapter of its history.

The initiative is the decision of the last two General Chapters of the Order of Preachers, which entrusted its Historical Institute with the task of studying the role of the Dominicans in the tribunal.

The Dominican congress, presided over by canon-law historian Arturo Bernal Palacios, is open to lay historians. The participants will study personalities of the tribunal who have inspired a number of novels, such as Bernard Gui, the Inquisitor in Umberto Eco´s «The Name of the Rose.»

The Dominicans have planned three other meetings on the topic: in 2004, on the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal (and their respective domains in America); in 2006, on the Roman Inquisition; and in 2008, on the minor institutions in the rest of the Continent that acted especially against witchcraft.

The minutes of the 1998 Vatican symposium will likely be published this year. The 800-page work may serve to recognize historical errors, but also to address the legends that arose regarding the Inquisition courts.

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