Juan de Torquemada (Cardinal)

Juan de Torquemada (Cardinal)

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Juan de Torquemada or rather Johannes de Turrecremata, Spanish ecclesiastic, was born at Valladolid
Valladolid is a historic city and municipality in north-central Spain, situated at the confluence of the Pisuerga and Esgueva rivers, and located within three wine-making regions: Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Cigales...

, and was educated in that city.
At an early age he joined the Dominican Order
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

, and soon distinguished himself for learning and devotion. In 1415 he accompanied the general of his order to the Council of Constance
Council of Constance
The Council of Constance is the 15th ecumenical council recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, held from 1414 to 1418. The council ended the Three-Popes Controversy, by deposing or accepting the resignation of the remaining Papal claimants and electing Pope Martin V.The Council also condemned and...

, whence he proceeded to Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 for study, and took his doctor's degree in 1423. After teaching for some time in Paris he became prior of the Dominican house first in Valladolid and then in Toledo
Toledo, Spain
Toledo's Alcázar became renowned in the 19th and 20th centuries as a military academy. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 its garrison was famously besieged by Republican forces.-Economy:...


Torquemada attended the Council of Basel (1431–1449) as a representative of his order and of the King of Castile
John II of Castile
John II was King of Castile from 1406 to 1454.He was the son of Henry III of Castile and his wife Catherine of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster by Constance of Castile, daughter of King Peter of Castile.-Regency:He succeeded his father on 25 December 1406, at the age of...

. At the Council of Basel he was one of the ablest supporters of the viewpoint of pope Eugene IV and the Roman curia
A curia in early Roman times was a subdivision of the people, i.e. more or less a tribe, and with a metonymy it came to mean also the meeting place where the tribe discussed its affairs...

. He was rewarded with the office of Master of the Sacred Palace
Master of the Sacred Palace
In the Roman Catholic Church, Theologian of the Pontifical Household is a Roman Curial office which has always been entrusted to a Friar Preacher of the Dominican Order and may be described as the pope's theologian...

 and later with a cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

's hat in 1439. Torquemada participated in the Council of Florence
Council of Florence
The Council of Florence was an Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It began in 1431 in Basel, Switzerland, and became known as the Council of Ferrara after its transfer to Ferrara was decreed by Pope Eugene IV, to convene in 1438...

, speaking on theological issues involving the eastern churches and defending papal primacy in a debate with Cardinal Giuliano Cesarini. He also worked on behalf of Pope Eugene on missions to Germany and France before settling in the Roman Curia. Torquemada supported papal Crusade policy in opposition to the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

. Torquemada promoted reform of religious houses and wrote extensively on behalf of papal primacy. He participated in four papal elections, casting the deciding vote in the election of Pope Nicholas V (1447–1455). In 1456, the new Pope Callixtus III, aka Alfonso de Borja, gave him, in commendam
In Commendam
In canon law, commendam was a form of transferring an ecclesiastical benefice in trust to the custody of a patron...

, the position of Abbott of the monastery of Santa Scolastica in Subiaco . He died at Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and was buried at Santa Maria sopra Minerva
Santa Maria sopra Minerva
The Basilica of Saint Mary Above Minerva is a titular minor basilica and one of the most important churches of the Roman Catholic Dominican order in Rome, Italy. The church, located in the Piazza della Minerva in the Campus Martius region, is considered the only Gothic church in Rome. It houses...

. A painting by Antoniazzo Romano
Antoniazzo Romano
Antoniazzo Romano, born Antonio di Benedetto Aquilo degli Aquili was an Italian Early Renaissance painter, the leading figure of the Roman school during the 15th century.-Biography:...

 showing the Annunciation
The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Virgin Mary, that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her...

 has in its background Torquemada presenting girls who received dowry
A dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings forth to the marriage. It contrasts with bride price, which is paid to the bride's parents, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. The same culture may simultaneously practice both...

 funds from a guild he founded to the Virgin Mary. At an earlier age he was painted by Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico , born Guido di Pietro, was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari in his Lives of the Artists as having "a rare and perfect talent"...

 in a Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

 scene now at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

's Fogg Museum.

His principal works are:
  • In Gratiani Decretum commentarii (4 vols., Venice, 1578)
  • Expositio brevis et utilis super toto psalterio (Mainz, 1474)
  • Quaestiones spirituales super evangelia totius anni (Brixen, 1498)
  • Summa ecclesiastica (Salamanca, 1550) [or Summa de ecclesiastica potestate] or "Summa de ecclesia (Summa de Ecclesia una cum eiusdem apparatu nunc primum in lucem edito, super decreto Papae Eugenii IIII in concilio Florentino de Unione Graecorum - Venetiis [Venice]: apud Michaelem Tramezinum, 1561).
  • Symbolum pro informatione Manichaeorum (El bogomilismo en Bosnia) (Publicaciones del Seminario Metropolitano de Burgos. Serie B)

The last-named work has the following topics:
  1. De universa ecclesia
  2. De Ecclesia romana et pontificis primatu
  3. De universalibus conciliis
  4. De schismaticis et haereticis - divided into two parts, on schism & on heresy.

His De conceptione deiparae Mariae, libri viii. (Rome, 1547), was edited with preface and notes by EB Pusey
Edward Bouverie Pusey
Edward Bouverie Pusey was an English churchman and Regius Professor of Hebrew at Christ Church, Oxford. He was one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement.-Early years:...

 (London, 1869 seq.) in opposition to Pope Pius IX's definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...


Other works include polemical tracts and sermons.

Juan de Torquemada was an uncle to the Inquisitor
An inquisitor was an official in an Inquisition, an organisation or program intended to eliminate heresy and other things frowned on by the Roman Catholic Church...

, Tomás de Torquemada
Tomás de Torquemada
Tomás de Torquemada, O.P. was a fifteenth century Spanish Dominican friar, first Inquisitor General of Spain, and confessor to Isabella I of Castile. He was described by the Spanish chronicler Sebastián de Olmedo as "The hammer of heretics, the light of Spain, the saviour of his country, the...

. The latter's fear of "crypto-Jews" might derive from his uncle's defense of the converso
A converso and its feminine form conversa was a Jew or Muslim—or a descendant of Jews or Muslims—who converted to Catholicism in Spain or Portugal, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. Mass conversions once took place under significant government pressure...

community of Toledo, which was attacked by the "Old Christian" majority in the period around 1450.

Torquemada's Meditationes was the first illustrated book published in Italy.