The first inquisition was launched by Pope Innocent III in 1209 as a crusade against the Cathars.
The Cathars were a group of people whose religious beliefs were against those taught by the church.
Some of the beliefs they held that were against Christian doctrine were: The belief of two gods,
a pure god that created spiritual and heavily things (eternal things), and an evil god that created earthly and non eternal things.
They believed that Jesus was present in spirit and not in human form. Additionally, they believed in reincarnation.
This crusade, known as the Algigensian Crusade, lasted from 1209 to 1229.
It was after this crusade that Pope Gregory IX initiated the Papal Inquisition in an effort to convict in an orderly
manner those who had gone into hiding during the Algigensian Crusade. Towns’ people had gotten into the habit of
burning heretics without trial. Pope Gregory was attempting to instruct theses heretic in the Christian
doctrine and therefore give them a chance to repent. If they refused to change their ways, they then
would be punished after having had a fair chance at converting. While the Cathars were the
primary target of the first inquisition launched, this later expanded to include victims from groups such as the
Fraticelli (a segment group of Franciscans), Waldensians, the Knights Templar.
The inquisitors from this time period were almost exclusively from the Domonican and Franscian orders. Prior to the
Papal Inquisition, local bishops held the power to convict heretics in ecclesiastical courts.
Now, the inquisitors only answered to the pope.
This gave those involved with the Inquisition great supremacy because they
were no longer under the influence of local secular authorities.