Despite protests from dissidents in Catalonia, the Roman Catholic Church in Spain has voted by a large majority to retain the Inquisition, citing its cultural importance and its popularity with the people.
While it has been said that victims of the Inquisition do not get a fair crack of the whip, adherents point to the relatively low numbers actually tortured and executed and the low levels of re-offending.
‘To be fair,’ said Grand Inquisitor Cardinal Torquemada, 41, ‘the victims are given every chance to recant, and it’s only the ones who won’t see sense and survive the initial torture rounds that are actually put forward to the final auto-da-fé stage.
‘In that respect it’s very similar to the treatment handed down in English-speaking countries in so-called talent shows, but far more dignified. And we would never victimise the mentally ill like you do with ‘I’m a Celebrity’ or did with ‘Big Brother’. And have you seen how the French inflict misery on millions with their political discussions?’
The Inquisitors say that the autos-da-fé are extremely popular cultural events, so much so that they usually take place on major feast days and attract crowds of many thousands. The crowds join in denouncing the accused and cheering the Inquisitor who, protected only by a red cape and a small cross, is regarded as a brave and charismatic figure.
‘Even then, the majority recant and are garrotted mercifully before being burnt at the stake, which is more humane than bullfighting,’ said Torquemada. ‘The burnings take place at a separate event, so if you buy both tickets together it’s good value for money too.’
While the Inquisitor said that he was pleased at the way Spain currently led the world at football, he warned that controls would have to be introduced if too few men trained for the priesthood. ‘We may have to consider outbidding Barcelona for Cesc Fabregas and giving him the chance to see the error of his ways.’