Vatican to Catalogue Inquisition Documents

Unprecedented Project to Involve Italy and University of Trieste

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 9, 2004 ( The Holy See announced that it will undertake an unprecedented project to catalogue the historical documentation on the Inquisition.

Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls announced that, in addition to the Holy See, the Italian government and the University of Trieste, in Italy, are collaborating in the endeavor.

Navarro Valls in today’s announcement said: «Bishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Dr. Maurizio Fallace, director general of the Archives of the Italian Ministry for Cultural Goods and Activities; and professor Andrea del Col, director of the Research Center on the Inquisition of the University […] of Trieste, will sign an accord of collaboration to carry out a census of the archives and Inquisition documentation in Italy.»

«Such a project,» the Vatican spokesman said, «regards not only the documentation concerning the Roman Inquisition, preserved in ecclesiastical, state and private archives, as well as in Italian and foreign libraries, but also the documentation of the Spanish Inquisition on Italian territory and that of the secular authorities that instituted processes for heresy, witchcraft and other crimes against the faith.

«Such a vast operation, never before attempted, is of great importance in answering the new orientations of international research on the control of religious ideas in medieval and modern Europe.»

The purpose is «to make more readily available a great documentation patrimony that is little known today and is dispersed throughout multiple places,» the Vatican press office director’s statement added.

«The census, carried out according to the criteria established by common agreement and with the most advanced technological instruments, will not only seek to safeguard this cultural patrimony, unique in its nature, but will also facilitate knowledge in many fields of research, from the history of religious and scientific doctrines, to that of popular cultures, of ‘spontaneous holiness,’ of censorship, in addition to the systems of social control between the medieval age and modern times,» Navarro Valls reported.

Recently, the Vatican Apostolic Library published the book «The Inquisition,» which includes the minutes of the October 1998 international symposium of historians, convoked by the Vatican.

In the 788-page book, some of the scholars presented new discoveries on chapters of these tribunals. The volume is already the basis for new doctoral theses on the Inquisition.

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