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Order of Dominicans and Inquisition Formally Established

Dominic, a Castilian priest, founded the Order of the Dominicans around 1216, and it was legalized by Pope Honorius III in the same year. The Dominican priests later became leaders in the Papal Inquisition after it was authorized by Pope Gregory IX through a papal bull in 1233 which is where it is recorded on the Bible Timeline Poster with World History.

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Saint Dominic and the Order of Dominicans

Dominic was born in the Spanish town of Calaruega around 1170. He studied at the University of Salamanca before he became a priest in Osma. He became a chaplain when he came with the bishop of Osma to the south of France. There they preached against the Albigensian heresy. They were later allowed to set up the first Dominican convent for women at Prouille in Languedoc, France. For the next seven years, Dominic worked hard in France to bring back the Albigensians under the influence of the Catholic Church.

The first Dominican monastery was established in Toulouse in 1215. Pope Honorius III legalized the Order of the Dominicans in 1216. He established Dominican monasteries in France, Spain, and Italy in the years that followed. He died in the Italian city of Bologna in 1220. He was later canonized by Pope Gregory IX as a saint in 1234.

Honorius III”

The Inquisition

The Dominicans were great students and preachers which made them valuable to the Pope each time he wanted them to preach the Crusade. Since their Order depended on alms, they were also useful when the Pope needed to collect donations and taxes. In 1233, Pope Gregory IX authorized the Inquisition and allowed the Dominicans to get rid of the Albigensian and Waldensian heretics in southern Europe.

The Dominicans initially used teaching and preaching to win over the people they knew as heretics. They convinced them to confess to the Dominicans and those who did were punished lightly. Those who did not confess were brought to the priest and then interviewed by the church authorities. In 1252, Pope Innocent IV allowed the use of torture to get the suspected heretics to confess. As the years passed, the punishment for heresy became more brutal. Many people the Inquisitors suspected as heretics were tortured, imprisoned, or worse, burned to death. “Lesser” penalties for heretics included whipping, prayer, pilgrimage, and confiscation of properties.

Douglas, J. D., and Earle E. Cairns, eds. The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub., 1978.
Graves, Dan. “Dominicans Became Dreaded Inquisitors.” N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.
Kibler, William W., Grover A. Zinn, John Bell Henneman, Jr., and Lawrence Earp, eds. Medieval France: An Encyclopedia. New York: Routledge, 1995.
McDonald, James. “Inquisition against the Cathars of the Languedoc.” Cathars and Cathar Beliefs in the Languedoc. Accessed November 16, 2016.
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