The Inquisition in Malta



Who was the first Inquisitor appointed by the Holy See to Malta in 1562?


 Domenico Cubelles. Bishop Domenico Cubelles was appointed by Pope Pius IV by the bull "Licet ab Initio" as the first Inquisitor of the Holy Inquisition in Malta on 15 July 1562.



Paolo Passionei was the longest serving Inquisitor in Malta (1743-1754). What led to his downfall?


"Loose living" including fornication. Inquisitor Passionei secretly had a mistress, and he became the father of two females .... When in 1749 the Pope requested him to go to Switzerland as an Apostolic Nuntio he refused, being afraid that his scandalous life would become public! He left Malta on 1754 and was unfrocked.



What was the most common "crime of the faith" the Maltese were charged with before the Inquisition?


Witchcraft. Witchcraft (magic or sorcery) was by far the most common fault or crime committed by the Maltese in general. These took the form of love magic, divination, using the "evil eye", magical healing, and black magic and were - apparently - common in Malta in from the mid-17th century and to the late 18th century.



Can you name the Inquisitor whose Inquisitorship occurred between the years 1634-1639, and who went on to become Pope Alexander VII in 1655?


Fabio Chigi. Fabio Chigi was appointed as Inquisitor and Apostolic Delegate in Malta by Pope Urban VIII on 23 April 1634. He left Malta on 28 April 1639. Afterwards, his ecclesiastical career was an outstanding one, becoming first a papal legate, then a papal Secretary of State, Cardinal, and Bishop of Imola until finally becoming Pope in 1655.



The Jesuits were banned from the Maltese Islands by Grandmaster Pinto in 1768. Who was Inquisitor at the time of their banishment?


Giovanni Ottavio Mancinforte Sperelli. Giovanni Ottavio Mancinforte Sperelli was Inquisitor between 1767 and 1771. Although the Jesuits were banished by Grandmaster Pinto, the Inquisitor defended them strenuously, though to no avail.