Francis movingly asks forgiveness for Waldensian persecutions, killings

anyone could comment and bring moe information to this event?

Also, about Pope Innocent and his bull ordering the extermination of this group?

Thank you

 [TURIN, ITALY](           Pope Francis has movingly asked forgiveness for historic persecutions and killings the Catholic church perpetrated against Waldensian  Christians, a European evangelical movement and church that one pope  more than 830 years ago excommunicated and another 430 years ago ordered  exterminated.

Becoming the first pontiff to visit one of the denomination’s communities Monday morning in Turin, Francis directly asked pardon on behalf of all Catholicism.

[INDENT] “Reflecting on the story of our relations we cannot but grieve in front of the … violence committed in the name of our faith, and ask the Lord to give us the grace to recognize all sins and to know to ask forgiveness between each other,”
the pope said.

Then, speaking precisely, Francis continued:
“On the part of the Catholic church, I ask you forgiveness for the non-Christian, even non-human, attitudes and behaviors that, in history, we have had against you.”
“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, forgive us!”
he asked.


nice gesture. I’m sure it is appreciated by many. The hardest thing to do is apologise.

What a great gesture by the Holy Father!

The change of title doesn’t help me commenting on what happened with the Waldensians. We have other topics on it, yes, but if anyone has anything interesting on pope Innocent VIII, it would be a nice thing to understand why pope Francis felt the need to apologize.

Pope Francis did not apologize. Pope Francis asked for forgiveness. This is an enormous difference.

Apology: You made a mistake unknowingly. Therefore you admit your mistake.

Forgiveness: You admit that you knowingly and intentionally committed wrong. Therefore you ask for forgiveness. This is what we do when we go to Confession.


The Waldensians were sort of pre-Reformation Protestants. They’d been around since the thirteenth century (and are actually still around today). They were violently persecuted before Innocent VIII’s edict condemning them and ordering their suppression (or extermination) with many being burned at the stake, and afterwards.

There were several massacres of Waldensians, culminating in a brutal mass murder in the 17th century, with somewhere around 1,500 Waldensians (if I remember right) being killed in what is today Italy.

What i asked myself after reading some articles was: In other threads, some members doubted about the killings, but why would Pope Francis ask for forgiveness, if nothing had happened. Plus, I would love to know more about Innocent VIII, closely related to this news.

In my studies some time ago of that period of history, Pope Innocent VIII was not the best of Popes, to say the least. There were damaging things he instigated, and not only the crusade against the Waldensians. Talk to any neo-pagan, or feminist scholar of that period and you will hear a great deal about the Malleus Maleficarum, the text which led to the horrible persecution via the Inquisition of women accused of witchcraft. It was a fearful time for so many people, and the Church was responsible for too many murders. The Spanish Inquisitor was the infamous Tomas de Torquemada.

So having Pope Francis begin to address the things done to the forebears of the Waldensians is a true act of mercy. I sincerely hope he continues these gestures. It would mean a lot to begin setting things right.

I haven’t seen the posts where others doubted the killings, but it makes me wonder a bit. I have noticed here and in other forums that people have a difficult time looking at one’s history and seeing both the good and the hard. I have studied church history, particularly it’s relationship to the Jews. There is a lot to be ashamed of. Jews can tell you more about this than Christians can, because they were on the wrong side of power. The Inquisition, the Crusades, the massacre of heretics and women… we have to repent and seek forgiveness. But first we have to recognize our part in this dreadful history. I am very moved by Pope Francis and this first step of recognizing the culpability of the Church.

I agree with Compline. We have a lot to atone for. Much of what we accuse radical Muslims of today, our Church leadership has done in the past. Hopefully the distant past, but we should not forget that past, with all humility.

I agree: we should not forget our evil past. We have asked for forgiveness from anyone who is a descendant of the Waldensians. Therefore we are free of our collective sin.

The resurrection means that sin no longer has power to control us.

Did not pope St John Paul II already give public apologies for everything you listed above? Certainly he did for any evils committed by the various Crusaders and Inquisitions.

That being said, from my own studies the Spanish Inquisition’s sins were greatly exaggerated by English anti-Catholic propaganda - what historians call the Black Legend. More recent scholarship suggests that compared to the secular tribunals of the time the Inquisition was quite lenient. It is for that reason that we have documented cases of criminals blaspheming so they could be transferred to the Inquisition and escape the certain death of secular justice.

I just wanted to pipe in as an evangelical who has been exploring Catholicism. Even though it appears less likely that I’ll ever convert, this gesture goes a LONG way towards reconciliation. I really appreciate his honesty at admitting that these bad things happened, and shouldn’t have. If we deny what happened in history, we never learn from it, and are doomed to repeat past sins.

Although I do not always see eye to eye with this Pope, and sharply disagree with him on many things, I think his asking for forgiveness is sincere and one of the best things he has done so far as Pope. Even though I’m not Waldensian, from the bottom of my heart, I accept his apology and forgive this past wrong.

I pray this is a sign that the Berlin wall that is between Catholics and Protestants will someday come down. I don’t know how, or what that will look like. I know it will take a very humble Pope, as well as humble Protestant pastors willing to fess up to their own wrongdoings and to let go of silly semantics. Yes, there are real issues that are not mere semantics that need to be ironed out. Sadly, past atrocities committed on both sides cloud what is central. We need to ask each other’s forgiveness so we can move on to today’s doctrinal differences.

Following the great example that Pope Francis has given us, even though I’m not Calvinist, or Lutheran, etc., (you could possibly box me in as Classical Arminian) I humbly ask forgiveness for the past atrocities done during the Reformation against Catholics and anabaptists. I know many innocent people died. It was a sad time. May God forgive us all.

I pray God leads us all into Truth and cut out what’s wrong in each of us so that we can be one body. Amen.