16 May 2004

The International Society for Sephardic Progress calls on the Vatican and the Holy See to halt the canonization of Spain's Queen Isabella, the founder of the Spanish Inquisition.



The ISFSP calls upon the Holy See to not consider the beatification of Queen Isabella I of Castile (1451-1502), for she is not worthy of veneration, as she has contributed to crimes against humanity. Today the ISFSP has submitted to the Vatican formal correspondence including a Declaration Against The Canonization of Queen Isabella of Castile, by Descendants of Victims of the Spanish Inquisition.

This week Pope John Paul has canonized five deceased persons as Saints. This Pope has canonized more than 480 saints during his 25-year papacy, more than all other popes combined over the last 500 years-and he continues to elevate certain personalities at a rapid rate. Recently there have been private Catholic groups actively attempting through political and religious channels, to "honor" Isabella of Castile by having her "canonized" to become a Saint in the Catholic Church. One such group claims that the "…terrible horrors and multitudes of victims of the Spanish Inquisition to be no more than myths and falsehoods…" This statement is misleading and essentially revisionist in nature.

The true fact is Isabella had directly contributed to crimes against humanity, death, and economic destruction of her subjects. On September 27, 1480 Isabella of Castile gave her blessing to the start of what is known as the Spanish Inquisition. Shelomo Alfassa, Executive Director of the ISFSP stated:

"Contrary to what anti-Semitic historic revisionists state, Isabella was intimately involved in obtaining the Papal Bull from Rome for this specific purpose. Descendants of the very Jews which fled Isabella's reign still speak the 16th century Spanish language their forefathers took with them when forced to leave, it is horrific that these descendants would live to see the day when such a criminal personality would be elevated to a position of veneration."

The results of the Inquisition Isabella endorsed, brought Spain to one of the lowest points in its history. It proved to be economically disastrous for the country, and hundreds of thousands of persons over many generations suffered as a result of it. Though both Jews and Protestant were chiefly effected by the Tribunals, the Jewish community of Spain suffered the extremes, emotionally, financially, physically, and religiously.

From its early establishment in the 15th century until its abolishment in 1834, no one expected its fierce tribunals, which relentlessly sought to destroy everyone who was not a Roman Catholic Christian. As the Vatican celebrates the Pope's 84th birthday in a few days, the ISFSP demands that they abandon any consideration to canonize she who is a dark stain on human history.



The International Society for Sephardic Progress (ISFSP) is a Jewish agency developed to serve the Sephardic community--the descendants of the Jews of historic Spain, Portugal, North Africa and the Levant who share both common religious and cultural bonds. Although based in the United States, the ISFSP is an advocacy organization representing Sephardim internationally. The ISFSP also functions to produce high quality Jewish educational projects which will educate the public on the rich Sephardic Jewish communities, past and present.

The ISFSP is a a non-profit organization.



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