Many silly things have been written about the Inquisition, but none sillier than the charge, recently repeated by Mr. G. G. Coultin, leaning heavily upon the researches of Lea, that no verdict of acquittal was ever given by the tribunal. The Inquisitors did not use the term “acquit,” but they certainly did grant the equivalent, as many famous historical cases demonstrate. Eymeric gave two special forms for making out a certificate of innocence, which the Bishop and the Inquisitor signed together, and presented at the end of a trial to an accused person against whom nothing had been proved…

What is obvious in all this legal machinery, however, is that the Inquisitors were not the sadistic ogres they have been made to appear in the Protestant-Liberal traditions, but conscientious judges, trying to be both just and merciful according to the best legal standards of their time – standards far higher, it must be repeated, than those of the secular courts.

William Thomas Walsh, Characters of the Inquisition (1940)


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