According to a highly placed source who can see the Vatican from his front porch, Pope Benedict XVI plans to extend his "big tent" reconciliation reunion tour by launching the canonization process for Tomás de Torquemada, the 15th century Inquisitor General.
Last week, the pope reversed the excommunication of four bishops of the ultraconservative Society of St. Pius X, who were consecrated without papal consent in 1988, including British Bishop Richard Williamson, who has denied the Holocaust occurred and speculated that only 300,000 Jews were killed during the Nazi regime, not six million.
According to the source, it occurred to the pope that if Pope Pius XII, referred to by historians as "Hitler's Pope," is to be canonized and a Holocaust-denying bishop can be reinstated, why not reach back in history and honor the efforts of Torquemada by making him a saint?
"Sure, Torquemada was instrumental in the Alhambra Decree, which expelled the Jews from Spain in 1492. But he only burned a few thousand heretics, and that was to save their souls." the source said. "If the Holocaust maybe didn't happen, what's a little Inquisition here or there?"
And if George W. Bush can sum up his presidency by saying he was "disappointed" that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, the pope can be disappointed that the Inquisition has received bad press through the centuries, the source said.
The current pope, the former Cardinal Ratzinger, previously served as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a successor office of the Inquisition.