The Inquisition Once Again….and there is a poem in this pile.

“Nobody expects the Inquisition”….. Monty Python

But what is it we do expect with the Inquisition?

When I speak of the Inquisition, I am not speaking of the rack, torture (sort of….) or autos de fe (originally “articles of faith” but that meaning fell by the wayside, and autos de fe became the burning of ‘heretics’.)  I am thinking of intolerance and some other nasty stuff that goes along with the behavior of fundamentalists, or maybe their world view.

I have an extreme dislike of fundamentalism, be it Christian, Jew or Muslim.  Actually, I fear them.  Perhaps because I have had dealings (too many years) with a political cult that allowed no room for deviation from the ‘plan and politics.’ Perhaps because there was a definite stratification of peons and princes.  I was not a prince. This cult functioned in the real world much like fundamentalists:  there was no room to breathe.

Lock step applied.

Recently I have been reading Matthew Fox, the former Dominican priest who became an Episcopalian priest.  Funny, to think he stepped into this pile of manure rotating through the Episcopal Church over the issue of ordination of gay priests.  But as a gay Episcopal priest told me very recently when I asked about the exodus of Episcopalian members:  “If it wasn’t about gays, it would be about the ordination of women.”  And it probably was, too.

Matthew Fox is an interesting theologian.  He is very much involved in Creation Spirituality, a broad ecumenical movement that starts with Original Blessing, rather than Original Sin.  Original Blessing regains the understanding that our original and true nature, the original and true nature of all things, is “very good.” That’s encouraging. Although stuff happens, we do bad and sometimes terrible things in life–  it is still our authentic self.  It’s very much the opposite of the fall/redemption thing.  With that we are born rotten.

Creation Spirituality is nothing if not ancient: it harkens back to the great mystical traditions of Hasidic Judaism, Sufism, Buddhism, Taoism, mystics  like  Hildegarde of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, St. Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, etc.

There is much out there about Creation Spirituality, and I’m not going into a blow by blow here. I’m learning myself.  People can read where they are interested and intrigued.  I know I was and it was a theological/spiritual answer to many decades of dismay as to what I saw in the Christian theology of the fundamentalists.

But for some reason, and probably a good one, I will forever think of the Inquisition when I think of fundamentalists:  the same issues of power and control, the same patriarchal behavior, the lock down on expanded theological thoughts and ideas,  ‘evolutionary’ ones, because for fundamentalists, if it ain’t in the Bible, it doesn’t belong in your head.

Let the rest of us get on with building a less mean humanity.

Lady Nyo

(Some readers have asked me to write about our Christmas: Perhaps it is best to relate our Christmas dinner, something that was a ‘first’ for us, and now I realize how really extraordinary.  Seven guests around the table: a Hindu, a lasped Catholic, ex-Jevohah’s Witness, a Mormon, a child raised (ours) in the Quaker faith and then the Episcopal Church, and two going towards Creation Spirituality. Two guests gay.  An unexpected blending of religions that made our Christmas dinner a joyful one.)

The Rites of Spain 

Canto 1

Sharp azure skies

Rusty brown earth,

Black women’s shawls,

Goat dung flung by boys

At passing soldiers,

The Inquisition churns onward

Like the great mandala

Crushing bodies under wheels

Burning witches in great pyres

Ignited by ignorance

Of blessed padres.


Time of terror,

overtime superstition.

Of hidden manuscripts

under floor boards,

and investigations

Seeded by the envy of neighbors.


Goya colors flung in

the black of night,

Red of Blood

White of Death

Green of decay

Duller grays of corruption

Shiny blues of greed

Exchanging favors,

Cardinal to Cardinal–

Madrid to Rome,

And back again.

These are the colors

Of the Inquisition.

Holy-Terror-of- God in

Man’s hands

where nothing is safe,

Humanity defiled.


Soldiers force Rabbis

to spit on the Torah,

A diversion,

for the net holds much room,

All ‘thought’ is open to this furor,

For terror reigns.

The banality of evil,

Which words belie the results

Fashions such existence.


Dark shawls drawn

Over frightened faces,

only the

Whites of eyes

gleam outward like hooded lanterns,

faces cast downward

when the Cardinals pass.

No one wants to be noticed,

There is Death in the

Very air,

A pox of hopelessness.


Gossip is gone

From the full rose lips

Of  women.

They huddle


Though no safety

In numbers.

Wearing an early shroud

To cover their


A slight sway of

Curvaceous hips

Could draw the Holy Terror

Upon their innocence

Condemned by black lipped priests-

Whores worthy of fire.


Cruelty and censure is the mantra of the day.


Breathe in the

Moisture of the drowned

Catch the blood

Flayed from bodies

Hear the sharp screams from

Those tortured,

And the

Sharper silence to follow.


Hope is gone

From the heart

Of Spain.


Now fear is the mantra of the day.


The disdainful eye

Of the Church


Circling the

Spanish masses,

Like herding goats

From a horse,

Whip held easy

In the hand,

Ready to strike,

And strikes when not.


How many died

Who could give


To Enlightment?

Fear replacing

The Intellectual future of Spain.

How many aborted

By this

Scourge of Mankind?

Compassion forgotten

Humility distorted.

Lies the particular coin of the day.


The Inquisition

Rolls onward,

Tearing up

Soil watered by

Clotted blood.

Black tentacles

Of Power


The heart

Of Spain



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2012, revised

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

25 Responses to “The Inquisition Once Again….and there is a poem in this pile.”

  1. Katie Says:

    The Inquisition is always going on, in one form or another. Man is to Man, a beast-I forgot what poet wrote that but It is one of the things that saddens me the most.
    It seems that no matter what century we are in, there will always be those humans who need desperately to inflict pain on other humans. We all had to deal with bullies in school-well, most of us. The bullies were most likely dealing with bullies at home. When they are allowed to do as they please-and most are-they become the implements of Inquisition-no matter the date.

    I have no hope for the human race. We are unsuccessful organisms. Oh, we make plenty of babies, but we fowl our own nest, we torture and murder our own, we walk on the backs of those who cannot get up once they fall. In nature, the strong survive; decisions are made for the benefit of the group, not one or two. Sometimes what we see as nature’s cruelty (a baby being left behind when the group flees a predator) is simply nature making sure the group makes decisions that take everyone into account. If one or two are lost it is the price of survival.

    We won’t be here in a few hundred years. We are selfish and greedy and care only for our own momentary pleasures. We try to make ourselves feel better by having charity benefits or passing laws that say we can’t hurt each other. We all know the charity benefits the wealthy by giving them somewhere to wear theoir designer outfits. The money, by the time it actually makes it to a chidlren’s hospital, has gone from hundred dollar bills to pennies. And the women who clean the houses of those rich people who made such a splash at the charity event are still making minimum wage with no health benefits.

    Prisons are full of people who pay no attention to those laws that say we can’t hurt each other. Businessses are full of bosses who harrass, intimidate and abuse their employees every day-even though the law says they can’t do that. If you’re poor, where are you going to get the money for a lawyer when your boss puts his hand on your ass? Especially when you lose that job. And if no one else sees it, no lawyer will take the case even if you have the 25,000 retainer. So the law says he can’t do that. So?

    AAhh, how people treat each other has almost stopped making me angry-it mainly saddens me because I know it will never stop. The Trail seems more and more inviting every day. If there is a way to stay there, I’m going to find it.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hello Sweetie!

    I understand, and I agree with so much of what you write. I’m not to the point where I don’t have any faith in humanity anymore. This blog, if not some of my family, gives me great hope. And reading and knowing that there are people in the world who are pointedly kind, tolerant and merciful…well, that gives me hope!

    The Inquisition rolls on…..but there are courageous people who will stand in opposition to this, especially to the narrowness of all fundamentalism. There are some who engage you (infrequently, when it suits their ultimate purpose) but for opportunist reasons. They want only to ‘make you believe as they do.: They have no real regard for your own life experiences and where you are: I have one in my family who we call ” A Headhunter for Jesus” LOL! This person has no respect for your own path, just wants your head for their collection…which, is not what it’s all about. I think this is just more ‘power and control’ (but on a poor level…) expressed through a perversion of ‘faith’.

    The world is so much better and kinder, Katie. I have a dear friend, Dr. RK Singh, in India, and we discuss this issue when we write. It’s the same all over, religious bullyism, intolerance, but that is just what is pushed in our faces It stems from a profound ignorance. He’s Hindu, Katie, and we have the greatest communication about faith and the beauty of life and poetry. Our different beliefs seem to melt away; they certainly aren’t any barrier to our laughter and love of each other.

    RK is a marvelous poet and is publishing in a month I think his 40th book. To be a great poet, your heart must beat with great love for Life, Nature and humanity. His does…so much more than most. The beauty of innocence, real charity, respect for differences, and especially differences in spiritual belief…well, I think that is really the “River of Good” that supports humankind.

    It’s just these ‘others’…who are loud and demand so much ‘respect’ though their actions don’t garner it….that overwhelm us.

    The Trail sounds lovely and supportive, Katie. But don’t give up on humanity. It has so much good in it. We haven’t come this far on the feet of the mean. They are just a rather warped part of humanity, but still human.

    Love and Blessings on your Head this morning, Katie…and thank you…always…for reading and your very insightful comment.



  3. Steve E Says:

    Heloooo, Lady NYO! I feel inward pressure to share this short story with you–it IS on topic. I’m copying from writings of one of my FAVORITES, Anthony De Mello in “One Minute Wisdom” page 95:

    To the disciples’ embarrassment the Master once told a bishop that religious people have a natural bent for cruelty.

    “WHY?” asked the disciples after the bishop had gone.

    “Because they all too easily sacrifice persons for the advancement of a purpose.” said the Master

    Jane, your writing, especially this poem “The Rites of Spain”, is excellently crafted, and a joy to read and understand (and agree totally!!!

    Steve E


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hellloooooo Steve!

    Well, you hit the very meat of the matter! That’s an excellent story and illustrates exactly what is going on here. I’m going to look up your author. Thank you!!

    “Because they too easily sacrifice persons for the advancement of a purpose”. Wow…that is exactly what I am dealing with with family. Smack on.

    More, they left the Epis. Church (I don’t think they ever really were comfortable there with the ‘liberal’ Epis. theology) because of the ordination of gays. They try to cover it with “Epis. were flouting heresy, but that is the root issue…this “Great Issue” that one of their ideologues have written. Pure and simple and to lie about it is more sin.

    Big lawsuit over the church property and I don’t understand why they and their group would claim the church property unless the word “Pharisee” fits…which I think does.

    I have this issue with my brother and sister in law for 30 years at least. They are fundamentalists, and what I have found is both beat you over the head with their Biblical ‘learning’ and beliefs. THEY HAVE NO RESPECT FOR YOUR OWN PATH, HOWEVER LAGGING IN THEIR OWN OPINION. For 30 years I stayed away from God and religion because of this hard hearted and line issue.

    Recently I have been reading what the Bible says about homosexuality and talking to Epis. priests and have formented my own ideas here. Who in hell are we to judge? Isn’t this of God’s doing? Or are we to consign 8% of humanity to the garbage pile?

    A natural bent towards cruelty. Exactly, or so my experience has shown me with these people. One is Spanish in heritage, LOL!…so maybe the Inquisition is in the DNA?? I hope not, but I am left wondering here.

    My sisterinlaw only wanted another “head for Jesus” and then when she didn’t get it….and I didn’t allow her advertisement for the split from her church vs. church as a comment on my blog….she stopped writing. I knew this would happen because they don’t proceed from love or respect…they are religious bullies.

    We call her “A Headhunter for Jesus”. LOL!

    The Inquisition fits….then and now. Lord Help Us.

    Peace and love, which is more important, as you well know.



  5. Steve E Says:

    Ros! SEE???!! We don’t even have to comment, or communicate. We already know how the other thinks. Kinda scary if ya ask me…so, don’t ask–grin!

    Now–seriously: Thank you for responding to my comment.

    And yes…Love and PEACE!


  6. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Steve,

    Not scary, just rational…and humane, thought. Something fundamentalists don’t actually have much of. And I am talking of Christian, Muslim, Jewish fundamentalists here….

    “Because they too easily sacrifice persons for the advancement of a purpose”. Those words, Steve, are so resonate in my heart and experience….and I have had a lot of experience with people who are opportunists….

    That’s what is scary! LOL!

    I will always respond to your comments, Steve. Love them, and you.

    Peace and love, again.



  7. claudia Says:

    the middle age….it was a horrible time….Madrid to Rome,
    And back again…europe at it’s darkest probably (if you don’t include the terrors of WW II)… a catholic church who bound people instead of setting them free…and terrible things happened..thank god for martin luther and his reformation…who knows what direction it had taken without him… love your poem jane…very well penned


  8. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Claudia…

    Yes, the Middle Ages were a terrible time, but today, the religious fundamentalists (this time the Protestant fundamentalists here in the US) are trying to turn back the clock with their own particular brand of intolerance. Anti gay mentality, the brohaha in the Episcopal Church, where thousands are leaving because of the ordination of gay ministers, and even the anti-woman issue here…the same intolerance. That my own family is feeding off of this is shameful for me.

    I was reading something about the Inquisition in the “New Yorker” last week, where the Inquisition actually retarded the intellectual life of Spain and made the ground fertile for what happened in the 1930’s. Such an inheritance that led to Fascism.

    We need a new reformation! Well, I am going to leave all of this so=called theology to the religious bent. I’ll retreat into a ‘kinder’ Shintoism. LOL!

    Thank you, Claudia, for reading and your comment. Much appreciated! Glad you liked the poem.

    Jane…and the terrors of WWII are neck and neck here.


  9. hedgewitch Says:

    This feels as if I’ve read it before–still, with my memory I’m not making any assertions. An excellent, terrifying treatise on mob mentality, religious intolerance(another name for vicious hate of all different) and other things that make the gorge rise. Fine poem.


  10. ladynyo Says:

    Yep, You are right, Hedge….I posted it before, but it so fit this little post on the Inquisition. Actually, I wanted to go farther with Monty Python, but then again, the issue was just too close and personal.

    Yep, my gorge rose, too. Thanks, Joy, for reading and your comment. Dverse Poets have a special place in my heart. The older I get the less intolerant I think I am becoming. And that is a reversal of what I thought would happen. LOL!



  11. brian miller Says:

    i have very little patience for this type of thing actually…funny having worked int he church too, though we tried to be something a bit different…had a young man i work with turn really fundamental all of a sudden, completely intolerant and called him on it and the hypocrisy of his actions to his belief…that is what it is you know…ugh…went through it a bit as a young man myself…or was the target of…i care for it little…though you pen it well…smiles.


  12. marousia Says:

    A chilling poem – I wonder when people will stop torturing each other in name of religion!


  13. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Marousia….I just don’t know. And those who are the most intolerant have the most ‘sins’ on their heads. This I know to be true. They are hyprocrites..more interested in postering before man and God than inclusion.

    I am deeply saddened by what I have seen recently.

    Thank you, Marousia…..I actually toned down this poem because I was in such a rage.



  14. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Brian….it seems to me that some fundamentalists, especially those involved in the events with the Episcopal Church, are more interested in the property …and using their particular brand of intolerance towards gays (and women) as a spring board to getting the goods. I think the word is “Pharisee”?

    Well, I agree….it’s hypocrisy plan and simple. A violation of all this “godly” posturing….

    Yes, this poem I wrote about two years ago, and revised it a bit for this posting….but it was so …’on the mark’ here….and timely….fundamentalism (and that is ALL religions that are fundamentalistic…) and the Inquisition….partners in crimes against humanity I think.

    Next week…I will lighten up…I promise! I have a new poem of the Lady/Lord Nyo series…and it’s hysterical. Hopefully. LOL!



  15. leah J. Lynn Says:

    Sad things happen when people use God’s words for there own purpose. to force anyone to believe in in by fear. Is not a true believer. sometimes I my self you other christens am not a true tbeliever so, I might have been prosecuted though we believe in the same God and Christ. So happy to have read this. Thank you, for allowing me share. Blessings and universal Happiness


  16. ladynyo Says:

    Leah, I so agree with your words…..intolerance goes hand in hand with ignorance. Fear is terrible way to try and get someone to agree with you. It’s power and control…not respectful of other people’s experience and beliefs.

    You are always welcome here. blessings and Universal Happiness and love to you, dear heart.

    Lady Nyo


  17. Pat Hatt Says:

    WOW don’t even no where to begin with this one. You truly seemed to have captured the times and brought them forth. Are you a time traveller or something?….wonderful verse, you really captured the spirit of the times as we see it and brought them to light.


  18. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Pat!!

    Someone said I ‘channeled’ this one. I have never before read about the Inquisition, but I must have had somewhere. This came out of the blue to me.

    However, I have written two novels (way tooooo long and unfinished….) “Devil’s Revenge and “The Kimono” which are both time warpers. LOL!

    I will say that looking at Goya’s paintings certainly fits the bill. though he was painting a long time after the Inquisition, but still when burning witches were common. Ah God, Pat, when do we get to be humane????

    Thank you, Pat for reading and your very kind comment. I’ll be making the rounds tomorrow.



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  20. Shashi (@VerseEveryDay) Says:

    It actually is not about the religion but about individuals trying to hold the religion in their own domain.. which makes it conflicting… Faith actually has no religion… I liked your verse though… thanks for sharing..


    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    At twitter @VerseEveryDay


  21. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Shashi!

    You are exactly right! “Faith has no religion”. That cuts through it all, neh? It’s about power and control after all, not faith.

    Thank you, dear friend, for your wise words and reading/comment.

    Peace and Love,



  22. Shawna Says:

    This is a particularly strong section, Jane:

    “Wearing an early shroud
    To cover their
    A slight sway of
    Curvaceous hips
    Could draw the Holy Terror
    Upon their innocence
    Condemned by black lipped priests-
    Whores worthy of fire.”


  23. Gay Reiser Cannon Says:

    They stole my youngest son, or he chose them if you listen to him..I am persona non grata and am allowed no influence on their children as I am deemed heathen, crude, and unwilling to blah, blah, blah. It has wounded me for long enough. I now give presents and don’t begrudge the time lost. In truth, I can only take the patina of a faith for so long. I’m more in tune with Ruth’s poem today. I find my cathedrals in the woods, and my God in my friends, in the beauty of God’s and man’s art and the visions given and shared. I miss you my dear Jane and only wish we lived closer. I hope to return to Dallas next week. Ron is vastly improved in the last week. It’s a danger to take him away but it’s necessary for us to try. I will see your work when I can. So little time to write, and less to read but one day soon I shall travel again! Alons, Gay


  24. ladynyo Says:

    Gay, then you understand, as Meister Eckhart said, from the 14th century (and was condemned as a heretic because of what he said….that we stand in our experience.

    I am so sorry, but it is better to be ‘persona non grata’ to this ignorance than to kowtow to this particular religious brutality. And that is what it is.

    And I would reckon that 90% of the fundamentalists who are so big on theology have never come across Eckhart….or Hildegarde of Bingen. Their loss.

    Yes, it is better for us to be deemed, condemned as heathen, crude and unwilling….than to submit to the narrowness of a ‘theology’ that goes against the compassionate nature of the Divine, regardless how we see and claim it.

    Something that Shashi said rings loud and clear to me today: “Faith isn’t religion”.

    And it is better by far to find our faith, our butts in the cathedrals in the woods and (this is so lovely, Gay!) and your God in your friends, and in our creativity. Our creativity is the straight line to our God, regardless of what we see as God. It is, ultimately, a private and individual matter, neh? It isn’t lock step as the fundies want it desperately to be.

    I am so glad that Ron is so improved now and I miss you, too, Gay, but I know that there is a particular bond between us….that goes beyond poetry. Your vast heart shines like a beacon to me.

    Just knowing that you exist has made a difference for me, Gay.



  25. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Shawna!

    I wrote that poem about two years ago….and I must have been very, very angry! LOL! Pat said I must be a time traveler, but I think I was ‘channeling’ something….LOL!

    Who knows where we get our ‘words’ for poetry? Sometimes we know, but I think mostly we just react. Perhaps that is the blessing of being a poet?

    Thank you, Shawna, for reading and your comment. I like that section, too.



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