When you think of saints, you envision stained-glass pictures of piety. But the truth can be horribly different. Consider Saint Pius V: As Grand Inquisitor, he sent Catholic troops to kill 2,000 Waldensian Protestants in southern Italy. After becoming pope, he sent Catholic troops to kill Huguenot Protestants in France. Pius also launched the final crusade against Muslims, sending a Christian naval armada to slaughter thousands in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. And, he intensified the Roman Inquisition, torturing and burning Catholics whose beliefs varied from official dogma. After his death, Pius was canonized a saint. Heaven help us.
Holy Horrors chronicles the grim spectrum of religious persecution from ancient times to the present, including such historic massacres as the Crusades, the Islamic jihads, the Catholic wars against heretics, the Inquisition, witch hunts, the Reformation, and such atrocities as the Holocaust, the seemingly insoluble Catholic-Protestant schism in Northern Ireland, religious tribalism in Lebanon, and the barbaric cruelty of the theocracy in Iran. The antique woodcuts, paintings, prints, and contemporary photographs that illustrate the book are at once gruesome and riveting.