(Rome) The historian Anna Foa, former Assistant Professor of Modern History at the Roman University of La Sapienza, recently spoke in the media on the subject of Inquisition, including the essay "Inquisition without a Monster" in the business daily Il Sole 24 Ore. The occasion was a historic conference to open the Vatican Secret Archives 20 years ago.
Foa recalled that the latest state of research refutes all "black legends" of the Holy Inquisition. The numerous allegations against the Inquisition have indeed entered into the collective memory, but only in recent times. They have little to do with historical reality.
The charges brought against the Church in connection with the Inquisition are genuine "fake news".
The collective memory, which obviously has a very clear idea of what
the Inquisition was, does not go back to direct knowledge, but is an
anti-Catholic construct whose origins date back to the eighteenth
century. Many sides have worked on the caricature.
The problem, Foa says, is, as with much fake news, that false claims can be "louder" than the truth. This has to do mainly with who controls opinion, but also with the fact that some want to believe the fake news.
"Passions and prejudices," Foa said regretfully, "are a myth-factory" that seem to nourish themselves.
So it is in connection with the Inquisition and the Church. The historical facts are now known and researched, but the false stereotypes in people's minds are stronger.
The historical reality is so different that it not only is dominated by every form of sensationalism, but suffocates demands for love of truth and
intellectual honesty for a fundamental revision of the previous picture
According to Foa, it is appropriate and urgent to revise the extent of the charges against the Church and its condemnation. But above all, the actual role of the Inquisition should distinguish between actual and alleged persecution.
There is a gigantic abyss between scientific certainty and "popular opinion" lay on the subject of Inquisition. The Internet has so far brought no improvement in the situation. Rather the widespread distorted image is widely disseminated further in the global network. It was daunting to see, says Foa, how truthful many people are against the Fake News Inquisition implanted in their minds. It turns out to be very difficult to break up absolutely baseless, but solidified prejudices. Unfortunately, it is difficult to pave the way for the truth while fake news are always new and rapidly spreading.
Anna Foa, graduated in 1968 with distinction at the University La Sapienza, where she later taught herself.
She is a great-granddaughter of the anti-Zionist chief rabbi of Turin,
Giuseppe Foa (1840-1917) and daughter of a founding father of post-war
democratic Italy, the left-wing, atheist party leader and Member of
Parliament Vittorio Foa (1910-2008). 1)
His daughter Anna Foa returned to her Jewish faith. Most recently, she was a visiting professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Youtube (screenshot)
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