Was Spain's Queen Isabella the Catholic really a saint?

Catherine of Spain

Those promoting Queen Isabella’s Cause can’t ignore the horrendous suffering she imposed on the Jewish people, reports The Catholic Herald.

In March 1974, when the idea gained credence that Queen Isabella of Spain (1451-1504) might be a candidate for canonisation, it was firmly opposed by both Jewish and Muslim communities in a similar way that many Jews today are opposed to the canonisation of Pope Pius Xll.

For Jews and Muslims, 1492 was the year not only in which Columbus discovered America, after being commissioned by Isabella and her husband Ferdinand, but also that in which their ancestors had been expelled from Spain – the Jews by edict and the Muslims or Moors by war.

Today, when the Holocaust is still part of recent history, anti-Semitism is utterly sickening and nothing can ever justify it. But to understand Isabella’s treatment of the Jews and Muslims in Spain during her reign, one must first try to see the world of her time through her eyes and not those of someone today. The primitive world of Isabella was one in which Ptolemaic cosmography held sway.

According to this view, North and South America and their civilisations were unknown, the size and shape of Africa were problematic, and the earth was thought of as one large land mass reaching from China in the east to Britain in the west. Japan and Ireland at either end of this faced unchartered seas.

Europe was conceived of as merely a small portion of this vast continent, eight times its size, and Spain was especially vulnerable to foreign invasions. The latest of these, and of the kind that Spaniards had come to know well in their efforts to expel the Moors from the 11th century to the time of Isabella, was that of Islam.

Photo: Isabella was granted the title ‘the Catholic’ by a papal bull in 1496. Her Cause was launched in 1958 in the Diocese of Valladolid, where she died in 1504

FULL STORY Was Isabella the Catholic really a saint? (The Catholic Herald)

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