Catholic Dictionary




The public ceremony celebrating the official final pronouncement of a sentence of the Inquisition. Features of the ceremony included: 1. participation of those to be condemned of heresy and those to be publicly reprimanded in a procession to a designated place; 2. a religious discourse followed by swearing in of secular authorities who vowed obedience to the inquisitor in matters pertaining to putting down heresy; 3. the "decrees of mercy" relative to sentences previously imposed on those who had become reconciled with the Church; 4. pronouncement of sentence on the guilty, who were then surrendered for punishment to the civil powers. This ceremony was at its height in Spain in the sixteenth century.