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«ai|,il Diktat. ^^^^^ j_ g^^^^ 3.T.D. 

imprimatur. ^^ ^ ^^^^^^^^ „ ^ 

Archbishop of New York. 

New York, June 24, i907- 










Copyright, 1907, by 
Bertrand L. Conway 

AU Sights Seservti 

, , , !-■. aRVARD 

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I ( 

The Plimpton Press Norwood Mass. U.S.A. 

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There are very few Githolic apologists who feel inclined 
to boast of the annals of the Inquisition. The boldest of 
them defend this institution against the attacks of modern 
liberalism, as if they distrusted the force of their own 
arguments. Indeed they have hardly answered the first 
objection of their opponents, when they instantly en- 
deavor to prove that the Protestant and Rationalistic 
critics of the Inquisition have themselves been guilty 
of heinous crimes. "Why>" they ask, "do you denounce 
our Inquisition, when you are responsible for Inquisitions 
of your own?" 

No good can be accomplished by such a false method 
of reasoning. It seems practically to admit that the 
cause of the Church cannot be defended. The accusation 
of wrong-doing made against the enemies they are trying 
to reduce to silence comes back with equal force against 
the friends they are trying to defend. 

It does not follow that because the Inquisition of 
Calvin and the French Revolutionists merits the repro- 
bation of mankind, the Inquisition of the Catholic Church 
must needs escape all censure. On the contrary, the 


unfortunate comparison made between them naturally 
leads one to think that both deserve equal blame. To 
our mind there is only one way of defending the attitude 
of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages toward the 
Inquisition. We must examine and judge this institu- 
tion objectively, from the standpoint of morality, justice, 
and religion, instead of comparing its excesses with the 
blameworthy actions of other tribunals. 

No historian worthy of the name has as yet undertaken 
to treat the Inquisition from this objective standpoint. 
In the seventeenth century, a scholarly priest, Jacques 
Marsollier, canon of Uzes, published at Cologne (Paris), 
in 1693, a Histoire de V Inquisition et de son Origine, But 
his work, as a critic has pointed out, is "not so much a 
history of the Inquisition, as a thesis written with a strong 
Gallican bias, which details with evident delight the 
cruelties of the Holy Office." The illustrations are ta-ken 
from Philip Limborch's Hisioria Inquisitionis} 

Henry Charles Lea, already known by his other works 
on religious history, published in New York, in 1888, three 
large volumes entitled "A History of the Inquisition of 
the Middle Ages." This work has received as a rule a 
most flattering reception at the hands of the European 

1 Paul Fredericq, Historic graphic de F Inquisition, p. xiv. Introduction 
to the French translation of Lea's book on the Inquisition. This work of 
Marsollier was republished and enlarged by another priest, the Abb6 Gouget, 
who added a Discours sur quelgues auteurs qui ont traiU du tribunal de 


press, and has been translated into French.* One can 
say without exaggeration that it is "the most extensive, 
the most profound, and the most thorough history of 
the Inquisition that we possess." ^ 

It is far, however, from being the last word of historical 
criticism. And I am not speaking here of the changes 
in detail that may result from the discovery of new docu- 
ments. We have plenty of material at hand to enable 
us to form an accurate notion of the institution itself. 
Lea's judgment, despite evident signs of intellectual 
honesty, is not to be trusted. Honest he may be, but 
impartial never. His pen too often gives way to his 
prejudices and his hatred of the Catholic Church. His 
critical judgment is sometimes gravely at fault.' 

Tanon, the president of the Court of Cassation, has 
proved far more impartial in his Histoire des Trihunaiix de 
VInquisition en France} This is evidently the work of 
a scholar, who possesses a very wide and accurate grasp 
of ecclesiastical legislation. He is deeply versed in the 
secrets of both the canon and the civil law. However, 
we must remember that his scope is limited. He has of 

1 Histoire de P Inquisition au moyen &ge, Salomon Reinach. Paris, Fisch- 
bacher, 1900-1903. 

» Paul Fredericq, loc. cit., p.* xxiv. 

« The reader may gather our estimate of this work from the various criti- 
cisms we will pass upon it in the course of this study. 

* Paris, 1893. Dr. Camille Henner had already published a similar work, 
Beitr&ge zur Organisation und Competenz der pdpstlichen Ketzergeschichte, 
Leipzig, 1890. 


set purpose omitted everything that happened outside 
of France. Besides he is more concerned with the legal 
than with the theological aspect of the Inquisition. 

Onf the whole, the history of the Inquisition is still to 
be written. It is not our purpose to attempt it; our 
ambition is more modest. But we wish to picture this 
institution in its historical setting, to show how it origi- 
nated, and especially to indicate its relation to the Church's 
notion of the coercive power prevalent in the Middle 
Ages. For as Lea himself says: "The Inquisition was 
not an organization arbitrarily devised and imposed upon 
the judicial system of Christendom by the ambition or 
fanaticism of the Church. It was rather a natural — 
one may almost say an inevitable — evolution of the 
forces at work in the thirteenth century, and no one can 
rightly appreciate the process of its development and the 
results of its activity, without a somewhat minute con- 
sideration of the factors controlling the minds and souls 
of men during the ages which laid the foundation of 
modern civilization."^ 

We must also go back further than the thirteenth cen- 
tury and ascertain how the coercive power which the 
Church finally confided to the Inquisition developed 
from the beginning. Such is the purpose of the present 
work. It is both a critical and an historical study. We 
intend to record first everything that relates to the sup- 

1 Preface, p. iii. 



pression of heresy, from the origin of Christianity up to 
the Renaissance; then we will see whether the attitude 
of the Church toward heretics can not only be explained, 
but defended. 

We undertake this study in a spirit of absolute honesty 
and sincerity. The subject is undoubtedly a most deli- 
cate one. But no consideration whatever should pre- 
vent our studying it from every possible viewpoint. 
Cardinal Newman in his Historical Sketches speaks of 
"that endemic perennial fidget which possesses certain 
historians about giving scandal. Facts are omitted in 
great histories, or glosses are put upon memorable acts, 
because they are thought not edifying, whereas of all 
scandals such omissions, such glosses, are the greatest." * 

A Catholic apologist fails in his duty to-day if he writes 
merely to edify the faithful. Granting that the history 
of the Inquisition will reveal things we never dreamt 
of, our prejudices must not prevent an honest facing of 
the facts. We ought to dread nothing more than the 
reproach that we are afraid of the truth. "We can under- 
stand," says Yves Le Querdec,^ "why our forefathers did 
not wish to disturb men's minds by placing before them 
certain questions. I believe they were wrong, for all 
questions that can be presented will necessarily be pre- 
sented some day or other. If they are not presented 
fairly by those who possess the true solution or who 

* Vol. ii, p. 331. > Univers, June 2, 1906. 


honestly look for it, they will be by their enemies. For 
this reason we think that not only honesty but good 
policy require us to tell the world all the facts. . . . 
Everything has been said, or will be said some day. 
. . . What the friends of the Church will not mention 
will be spread broadcast by her enemies. And they will 
make such an outcry over their discovery, that their 
words will reach the most remote corners and penetrate 
the deafest ears. We ought not to be afraid to-day of 
the light of truth; but fear rather the darkness of lies 
and errors." 

In a word, the best method of apologetics is to tell the 
whole truth. In our mind, apologetics and history are 
two sisters, with the same device: ''Ne quid falsi aiideat, 
ne quid veri non audeat bisioria."^ 

» Cicero, De Oratore ii, 15. 



Preface v 


First Period (I-IV Century) : The Epoch of the Persecutions. 

The Teaching of St. Paul on the Suppression of Heretics . i 

The Teaching of Tertullian 2 

The Teaching of Origen 3 

The Teaching of St. Cyprian 3 

The Teaching of Lactantius 4 

Constantine, Bishop in Externals 5 

The Teaching of St. Hilary 6 


Second Period (From Valentinian I to Theodosius II). The 
Church and the Criminal Code of the Christian 
Emperors Against Heresy. 

Imperial Legislation against Heresy 8 

The Attitude of St. Augustine towards the Manicheans . . 12 

St. Augustine and Donatism 15 

The Church and the Priscillianists 22 

The Early Fathers and the Death Penalty 28 


Third Period (ajj. 1100-1250). The Revival of the Mani- 
CHEAN Heresies 

Adoptianism and Predestinationism 31 




The Manicheans in the West 33 

Peter of Bniys 38 

Henry of Lausanne 39 

Arnold of Brescia 39 

£on de r^toile 40 

Views of this Epoch upon the Suppression of Heresy ... 41 


Fourth Period (From Gratian to Innocent III). The Influence 
OF THE Canon Law, and the Revival of the Roman 

Executions of Heretics 51 

The Death Penalty for Heretics 54 

Legislation of Popes Alexander III and Lucius III and 

Frederic Barbarossa against Heretics 56 

Legislation of Innocent III 58 

The First Canonists 64 


The Catharan or Albigenslan Heresy: Its anti-Catholic 
AND Anti-Social Character. 

The Origin of the Catharan Heresy 69 

Its Progress 70 

It Attacks the Hierarchy, Dogmas, and Worship of the Catholic 

Church 73 

It Undermines the Authority of the State 77 

The Hierarchy of the Cathari 80 

The Convenenza 81 

The Initiation into the Sect 83 

Their Customs 88 

Their Horror of Marriage 92 

The Endura or Suicide 97 




Fifth Period (Gregory IX and Frederic II). The Estab- 
lishment OF THE Monastic Inquisition. 

Louis VIII and Louis IX 105 

Legislation of Frederic II against Heretics 107 

Gregory IX Abandons Heretics to the Secular Arm . . . iii 

The Establishment of the Inquisition 119 


Sixth Period. Development of the Inquisition. (Innocent 
IV AND THE Use of Torture.) 

The Monastic and the Episcopal Inquisitions 136 

Experts to Aid the Inquisitors 138 

Ecclesiastical Penalties 142 

The Infliction of the Death Penalty 144 

The Introduction of Tortxire 147 


Theologians, Canonists and Casuists. 

Heresy and Crimes Subject to the Inquisition 159 

The Procedure 166 

The Use of Torture 168 

Theologians Defend the Death Penalty for Heresy . . . 171 

Canonists Defend the Use of the Stake 176 

The Church's Responsibility in Inflicting the Death Penalty 177 


The Inquisition in Operation. 

Its Field of Action 182 

The Excessive Cruelty of Inquisitors 184 



The Penalty of Imprisonment 189 

The Number of Heretics Handed Over to the Secular Arm . 196 

Confiscation 202 

The auto defe ■ 206 


Criticism of the Theory and Practice of the Inquisition. 

Development of the Theory on the Coercive Power of the 

Church 208 

Intolerance of the People 212 

Intolerance of Sovereigns 214 

The Church and Intolerance 216 

The Theologians and Intolerance 217 

Appeal to the Old Testament 218 

England and the Suppression of Heresy 220 

The Calvinists and the Suppression of Heresy . . . . 222 

Cruelty of the Criminal Code in the Middle Ages . . . 225 

The Spirit of the Age Explains the Cruelty of the Inquisition 227 

Defects in the Procedxire 228 

Abuses of Antecedent Imprisonment and Torture . . . 231 

Heretics who were also Criminals 233 

Heresy Pimished as Such 235 

Should the Death Penalty be Inflicted upon Heretics? . . 238 

The Responsibility of the Church 242 

Abuses of the Penalties of Confiscation and Exile . . . 245 

The Penitential Character of Imprisonment 248 

The Syllabus and the Coercive Power of the Church . . 249 


The Processus Inquisitionis 258 


Sentences of Bernard Gui 270 

Bibliography 271 

Index 277 



I-IV Century 

The Epoch of the Persecutions 

St. Paul was the first to pronounce a sentence of con- 
demnation upon heretics. In his Epistle to Timothy, 
he writes: "Of whom is Hymeneus and Alexander, whom 
I have delivered up to Satan, that they may learn not to 
blaspheme."^ The apostle is evidently influenced in his 
action by the Gospel. The one-time Pharisee no longer 
dreams of punishing the guilty with the severity of the 
Mosaic Law. The death penalty of stoning which apos- 
tates merited under the old dispensation ^ has been 
changed into a purely spiritual penalty, excommunica- 

During the first three centuries, as long as the era of 
persecution lasted, the early Christians never thought 

1 I Tim. i. 20. Cf. Tit. iii. lo-ii. "A man that is a heretic, after the 
first and second admonition, avoid, knowing that he, that is such a one, is 
subverted and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment." 

2 Deut. xiii. 6-9; xvii. 1-6. 

2 » 


of using any force save the force of argument to win back 
their dissident brethren. This is the meaning of that 
obscure passage in the Adversus Gnosiicos of Tertullian, 
in which he speaks of "driving heretics {i.e. by argument), 
to their duty, instead of trying to win them, for obstinacy 
must be conquered, not coaxed." * In this work he is 
tr3dng to convince the Gnostics of their errors from 
various passages in the Old Testament. But he never 
invokes the death penalty against them. On the con- 
trary, he declares that no practical Qiristian can be an 
executioner or jailer. He even goes so far as to deny 
the right of any disciple of Qirist to serve in the army, 
at least as an officer, "because the duty of a military com- 
mander comprises the right to sit in judgment upon a 
man's life, to condemn, to put in chains, to imprison and 
to torture." ^ 

If a Christian has no right to use physical force, even 
in the name of the State, he is all the more bound not 
to use it against his dissenting brethren in the name of 
the Gospel, which is a law of gentleness. Tertullian was 
a Montanist when he wrote this. But although he wrote 

1 "Ad offidum hsreticos compelli, non illici dignum est. Duritia vincenda 
est, non suadenda." Adversus Gnosiicos Scorpiace, cap. ii, Migne, P. L., 
vol. ii, col. 125. On the different readings and sense of this text, cf. Rigault, 
ibid., note. The Scorpiace was written 211 or 212. 

*"Jam vero quae sunt potestatis, neque judicet de capite alicujus . . . 
Deque damnet, neque praedamnet, neminem vinciat, neminem recludat, aut 
torqueat." De Idololatria, cap. xvii, P. L., vol. i, col. 687. This work was 
written 211 or 212. 


most bitterly against the Gnostics whom he detested, 
he always protested against the use of brute force in the 
matter of religion. "It is a fundamental human right," 
he says, "a privilege of nature, that every man should 
worship according to his convictions. It is assuredly 
no part of religion to compel religion. It must be em- 
braced freely and not forced." ^ These words prove 
that Tert.ullian was a strong advocate of absolute tolera- 

Origen likewise never granted Christians the right to 
punish those who denied the Gospel. In answering 
Celsus, who had brought forward certain texts of the Old 
Testament that decreed the death penalty for apostasy, 
he says: "If we must refer briefly to the difference be- 
tween the law given to the Jews of old by Moses, and the 
law laid down by Christ for Christians, we would state 
that it is impossible to harmonize the legislation of 
Moses, taken literally, with the calling of the Gentiles. 
. . . For Christians cannot slay their enemies, or con- 
demn, as Moses commanded, the contemners of the law 
to be put to death by burning or stoning."^ 

St. Cyprian also repudiates in the name of the Gospel 
the laws of the Old Testament on this point. He writes 

1 "Tamen humani juris et naturalis potestatis unicuique, quod putaverit, 
colere, nee alii obest aut prodest alterius religio. Sed nee religionis est eogere 
religionem, quae sponte suseipi debeat, non vi." Liber ad ScaptUam, eap. ii, 
P. L., vol. i, eol. 699; written about 212. 

2 Contra Cdsum, lib. vii, cap. xxvi. 


as follows: "God commanded that those who did not 
obey his priests or hearken to his judges/ appointed for 
the time, should be slain. Then indeed they were slain 
with the sword, while the circumcision of the flesh was 
yet in force; but now that circumcision has begun to be 
of the spirit among God's faithful servants, the proud 
and contumacious are slain with the sword of the spirit 
by being cast out of the Church." ^ 

The Bishop of Carthage, who was greatly troubled by 
stubborn schismatics, and men who violated every moral 
principle of the Gospel, felt that the greatest punishment 
he could inflict was excommunication. 

When Lactantius wrote his Divince Institutiones in 
308, he was too greatly impressed by the outrages of the 
pagan persecutions not to protest most strongly against 
the use of force in matters of conscience. He writes: 
"There is no justification for violence and injury, for 
religion cannot be imposed by force. It is a matter of 
the will, which must be influenced by words, not by 
blows. . . . Why then do they rage, and increase in- 
stead of lessening their folly? Torture and piety have 
nothing in common; there is no union possible between 
truth and violence, justice and cruelty.^ . . . For they 

1 Deut. xvii. 12. 

2 "Nunc autem, quia circumcisio spiritalis esse apud fideles servos Dei 
coepit, spiritali gladio superbi et contumaces necantur, dum de Ecclesia 
ejiciuntur." Ep. bdi, ad Pomponiunif n. 4, P. L., vol. iii, col. 371. Cf. 
De unitate Ecclesia^ n. 17 seq.; ibid., col. 513 seq. 

* Cf. Pascal, LeUre provinciale, xii. 


(the persecutors) are aware that there is nothing among 
men more excellent than religion, and that it ought to be 
defended with all one's might. But as they are deceived 
in the matter of religion itself, so also are they in the 
manner of its defence. For religion is to be defended, 
not by putting to death, but by dying; not by cruelty but 
by patient endurance; not by crime but by faith. . . . 
If you wish to defend religion by bloodshed, by tortures 
and by crime, you no longer defend it, but pollute and 
profane it. For nothing is so much a matter of free 
will as religion." * 

An era of official toleration began a few years later, 
when Constantine published the Edict of Milan (313), 
which placed Christianity and Paganism on practically 
the same footing. But the Emperor did not always 
observe this law of toleration, whereby he hoped to re- 
store the peace of the Empire. A convert to Christian 
views and policy, he thought it his duty to interfere in 
the doctrinal and ecclesiastical quarrels of the day; and 
he claimed the title and assumed the functions of a Bishop 
in externals. "You are Bishops," he said one day, 
addressing a number of them, "whose jurisdiction is 
within the Church; I also am a Bishop, ordained by God 
to oversee whatever is external to the Church." ^ This 

*"Nam si sanguine, si tormentis religionem defendere velis, jam non 
defendetur ilia, sed polluetur, sed violabitur," etc. Divin. Institut., lib. v, 
cap. XX. 

« " Vos quidem, inquit, in iis quae intra Ecclesiam sunt episcopi estis; ego 


assumption of power frequently worked jxjsitive harm 
to the Church, although Constantine always pretended 
to further her interests. 

When Arianism began to make converts of the Chris- 
tian emperors, they became very bitter toward the Catho- 
lic bishops. We are not at all astonished, therefore, 
that one of the victims of this new persecution, St. Hilary, 
of Poitiers, expressly repudiated and condemned this 
regime of violence. He also proclaimed, in the name of 
ecclesiastical tradition, the principle of religious tolera- 
tion. He deplored the fact that men in his day believed 
that they could defend the rights of God and the Gospel 
of Jesus Christ by worldly intrigue. He writes: "I 
ask you Bishops to tell me, whose favor did the Apostles 
seek in preaching the Gospel, and on whose power did 
they rely to preach Jesus Christ? To-day, alas! while 
the power of the State enforces divine faith, men say that 
Christ is powerless. The Church threatens exile and im- 
prisonment; she in whom men formerly believed while 
in exile and prison, now wishes to make men believe her 
by force. . . . She is now exiling the very priests who 
once spread her gospel. What a striking contrast be- 
tween the Church of the past and the Church of to-day." * 

vcro in iis quae extra geruntur episcopus a Deo sum constitutus." Eusebius, 
Vita Constantini^ lib. iv, cap. xxiv. 

1 "Terret exsiliis et carceribus Ecclesia; credique sibi cogit, quae exsiliis 
et carceribus est credita . . . Fugat sacerdotes, quae fugatis est sacerdotibus 
propagata . . . Hsc de comparatione traditae nobis Ecclesiae, nuncque 


This protest is the outcry of a man who had suffered 
from the intolerance of the civil power, and who had 
learned by experience how even a Christian state may 
hamper the liberty of the Church, and hinder the true 
progress of the Gospel. 

To sum up: As late as the middle of the fourth century 
and even later, all the Fathers and ecclesiastical writers 
who discuss the question of toleration are opposed to the 
use of force. To a man they reject absolutely the death 
penalty and enunciate that principle which was to prevail 
in the Church down the centuries, i.e, Ecclesia abborret a 
sanguine ^ (the Church has a horror of bloodshed) ; and 
they declare faith must be absolutely free, and conscience 
a domain wherein violence must never enter.^ 

The stern laws of the Old Testament have been abol- 
ished by the New. 

depcrditx, res ipsa quae in oculis omnium est atque ore damavit/' Liber 
contra AuxetUiumy cap. iv. Written in 365. 

1 "Christianus ne fiat propria voluntate miles, nisi coactus a duce. Habeat 
gladium, caveat tamcn ne criminis sanguinis efFusi fiat reus." Canons of 
Hippolytus^ in the third or fourth century, no 74-75; Duchesne, Les origines 
du culte ckrHienj 2® ed., p. 309. "Ita neque militare justo licebit," says Lac- 
tantius, "neque accusare quemquam crimine capitali, quia nihil distat utriunne 
ferro an verbo potius ocddas; quoniam occisio ipsa prohibetur." Dwin, 
InstittU.f lib. vi, cap. xx. Cf. the passages quoted from Tertullian, De 
Idolatriay and from Origen, Contra Celsum. 

*"Non est religionis cogere religionem . . . ; sponte, non vi." Tertullian, 
loc. cit. "Non est opus vi et injuria, quia religio cogi non potest." Lac- 
tantius, Divin. InstUtU., lib. v, cap. zx. 



From Valentinian I to Theodosius II 

The Church and the Criminal Code of the Christian 

Emperors against Heresy 

CoNSTANTiNE Considered himself a bishop in externals. 
His Christian successors inherited this title, and acted in 
accordance with it. One of them, Theodosius II, voiced 
their mind when he said that "the first duty of the im- 
perial majesty was to protect the true religion, whose 
worship was intimately connected with the prosperity 
of human undertakings."* 

This concept of the State implied the vigorous pros- 
ecution of heresy. We therefore see the Christian em- 
perors severely punishing all those who denied the 
orthodox faith, or rather their own faith, which they con- 
sidered rightly or wrongly (sometimes wrongly) the faith 
of the Church. 

1 "Praecipuam imperatoriae majestatis curam esse perspicimus verae 
reUgionis indaginem, cujus si cultum tenere potuerimus iter prosperitatis 
humanis aperimus inceptis." Theodosri II, Novella, tit. iii. (438). 



From the reign of Valentinian I, and especially from 
the reign of Theodosius I, the laws against heretics con- 
tinued to increase with surprising regularity. We can 
count as many as sixty-eight enacted in fifty-seven years.^ 
They punished every form of heresy, whether it merely 
differed from the orthodox faith in some minor detail/ or 
whether it resulted in a social upheaval. The penalties 
differed in severity; ^ i.e. exile, confiscation, the inability 
to transmit property.* There were different degrees of 
exile; from Rome, from the cities, from the Empire.^ 
The legislators seemed to think that some sects would 
die out completely, if they were limited solely to country 
places. But the severer penalties, like the death penalty, 
were reserved for those heretics who were disturbers of 
the public peace, v.g. the Manicheans and the Donatists. 

1 On this legislation, cf. Riffel Geschicluliche Darstellung der Verhaltnisses 
zivischen Kirche und Stoat, von der Griindung dcr Christcnthum his auf Jus- 
tinian J, Mainz, 1836, pp. 656-679; Loening, Geschichte des detUschen 
Kirchenrechts, Strassburg, 1878, vol. i, pp. 95-102; Tanon, Histoire des tribu- 
naux de rinquisition en France, pp. 127-133. 

2 "Haereticorum vocabulo continentur et latis adversus eos sanctionibus de- 
bent succumbere, qui vellevi argumenio a judicio catholicae religionis et tramite 
detecti fuerint deviare." Law of Arcadius, 395; Cod. Theodos., xvi, v, 28. 

' "Non omnes eadem austeritate plectendi sunt." Law of 428, ibid., xvi, 
V. 65. 

< For instance, the laws of 371, of 381, of 384, of 389, ibid., xvi, v. 3, 7, 
13, 18, etc. 

* The Manicheans banished from Rome, ibid., 67; banished ab ipso aspectu 
urhium diver sarum, ibid., 64; banished ex omni quidem orbc terrarum, ibid., 
n. 18 (law of 389). 

•"Encratites . . . cum Saccoforis sive Hydroparastatis . . . summo sup- 
plido et inexpiabili poena jubemus affligi." Law of 382, ibid., 9. These 
were Manichean sects. 


The Manicheans, with their dualistic theories, and their 
condemnation of marriage and its consequences, were 
regarded as enemies of the State; a law of 428 treated 
thepi as criminals "who had reached the highest degree 
of rascality." .* 

* The Donatists, who in Africa had incited the mob of 
Circumcelliones to destroy the Catholic churches, had 
thrown that part of the Empire into the utmost disorder. 
The State could not regard with indifference such an 
armed revolution. Several laws were passed, putting 
the Donatists on a par with the Manicheans,^ and in one 
instance both were declared guilty of the terrible crime 
of treason.^ But the death penalty was chiefly confined 
to certain sects of the Manicheans.* This law did not 
affect private opinions (except in the case of the En- 
cratites, the Saccophori, and the Hydroparastatae), but 
only those who openly practiced this heretical cult.^ 
The State did not claim the right of entering the secret 
recesses of a man's conscience. This law is all the more 
worthy of remark, inasmuch as Diocletian had legislated 
more severely against the Manicheans in his Edict of 

1 Ihid., 65. 

2 Laws of 407, ibid.f 40, 41, 43; law of 428, ibid.^ 65. 

8 "In mortem quoque inqiiisitio tendit, "nam si in criminibus majestatis 
licet memoriam accusare defuncti, non immerito et hie debet subire 
judicium." Law of 407 {ibid., 40), which we will see revived in the Middle 

* Law of 382, ibid., 9. 

^Laws of 410 and 415, ibid., 51 and 56. 


287: "We thus decree," he writes Julianus,^ "against these 
men, whose doctrines and whose magical arts you have 
made known to us: the leaders are to be burned with their 
books; their followers are to be put to death, or sent to 
the mines." In comparison with such a decree, the legis- 
lation of the Christian Emperors was rather moderate.^ 

It is somewhat difficult to ascertain how far these laws 
were enforced by the various Emperors. Besides we are 
only concerned with the spirit which inspired them. 
The State considered itself the protector of the Church, 
and in this capacity placed its sword at the service of the 
orthodox faith. It is our purpose to find out what the 
churchman of the day thought of this attitude of the State. 

The religious troubles caused chiefly by three heresies, 
Manicheism, Donatism, and Priscillianism, gave them 
ample opportunity of expressing their opinions. 

• «•••••• 

The Manicheans, driven from Rome and Milan, took 
refuge in Africa. It must be admitted that many of 
them by their depravity merited the full severity of the 
law. The initiated, or the elect, as they were called, gave 
themselves up to unspeakable crimes. A number of 
them on being arrested at Carthage confessed immoral 

1 Boeking, Corpus Juris aniejustiniani, vol. i, p. 374. 

2 Justinian, however, made the laws against the Manicheans more severe. 
His code decreed the death penalty against every Manichean without excep- 
tion. Cod. Just., book i, tit. v, law ii (487 or 510), ibid., law 12 (527). Cf. 
Julien Havet, Vherisie et U bras siculier au moyen dge, in his (Euvres, Paris, 
1896, ii, 131, n. 3. 


practices that would not bear repetition, and this de- 
bauchery was not peculiar to a few wicked followers, 
but was merely the carrying out of the Manichean ritual, 
which other heretics likewise admitted.^ 

The Church in Africa was not at all severe in its general 
treatment of the sect. St. Augustine, especially, never 
called upon the civil power to suppress it. For he could 
not forget that he himself had for nine years (373-382), 
belonged to this sect, whose doctrines and practices he 
now denounced. He writes the Manicheans: "Let those 
who have never known the troubles of a mind in search 
of the truth proceed against you with vigor. It is im- 
possible for me to do so, for 1 for years was cruelly tossed 
about by your false doctrines, which 1 advocated and 
defended to the best of my ability. I ought to bear 
with you now, as men bore with me when 1 blindly ac- 
cepted your doctrines." 2 All he did was to hold public 
conferences with their leaders, whose arguments he had 
no difficulty in refuting.' 

The conversions obtained in this way were rather 
numerous, even if all were not equally sincere. All con- 

1 Augustine, De hcsresibuSf Haeres, 46. 

2"Illi in vos saeviant qui nesciunt cum quo labore verum inveniatur et 
quam diflficile caveantur errores . . . Ego autem, qui diu multumque jactatus 
. . . omnia ilia figmenta . . . et temere credidi et instanter quibus potui 
persuasi . . . , saevire in vos non possum," etc. Contra episiolam ManicJicBi 
quam vacant Fundamentiy n. 2 et 3. 

3 On St. Augustine's relations with the Manicheans, consult the numerous 
works which he devoted to this sect. Cf . Dom Leclerc, UAjrique ChrHienne, 
Paris, 1904, vol. ii, pp. 1 13-122. 


verts from the sect were required, like their successors 
the Cathari of the Middle Ages, to denounce their brethren 
by name, under the threat of being refused the pardon 
which their formal retraction merited.* This denuncia- 
tion was what we would call to-day ''a service for the 
public good." We, however, know of no case in which 
the Church made use of this information to punish the 
one who had been denounced. 

Donatism (from Donatus, the Bishop of Casae Nigrae 
in Numidia) for a time caused more trouble to the Church 
than Manicheism.2 It was more of a schism than a 
heresy. The election to the see of Carthage of the deacon 
Caecilian, who was accused of having handed over the 
Scriptures to the Roman officials during the persecution 
of Diocletian, was the occasion of the schism. Donatus 
and his followers wished this nomination annulled, while 
their opponents defended its validity. Accordingly, two 
councils were held to decide the question, one at Rome 
(313), the other at Aries (314). Both decided against 
the Donatists; they at once appealed to the Emperor, 
who confirmed the decrees of the two councils (316). 
The schismatics in their anger rose in rebellion, and a 

' Cases are cited in the Admonitio of St. Augustine, at the beginning of 
the treatise: De actis cum Felice Manichceo^ P. L., vol. xlii, col. 510; cf. Ep, 

2 Dom Leclerc, VAjrique Chretienney Paris, 1904, vol. i, ch. iv; vol. ii, 
ch. vi. 


number of them known as Qrcumcelliones went about 
stirring the people to revolt. But neither Constantine 
nor his successors were inclined to allow armed rebellion 
to go unchallenged. The Donatists were punished to 
the full extent of the law. They had been the first, re- 
marks St. Augustine, to invoke the aid of the secular arm. 
"They met with the same fate as the accusers of Daniel; 
the lions turned against them." ^ 

We need not linger over the details of this conflict, 
in which crimes were committed on both sides.^ The 
Donatists, bitterly prosecuted by the State, declared its 
action cruel and unjust. St. Optatus thus answers them: 
"Will you tell me that it is not lawful to defend the rights 
of God by the death penalty? ... If killing is an evil, 
the guilty ones are themselves the cause of it." ' "It is 
impossible," you say, "for the State to inflict the death 
penalty in the name of God." — But was it not in God's 
name, that Moses,* Phinees,^ and Elias • put to death the 
worshipers of the golden calf, and the apostates of the Old 
Law? — "These times are altogether different," you reply; 
"the New Law must not be confounded with the Old. 

1 Ep. clxxxv, n. 7. 

2 F. Martroye, Une tentative de rSvoliUion sociale en Afrique; Donatistes et 
CvrconceUions (Revue des Quest. Hist., Oct. 1904, Jan. 1905). 

'"Quasi in vindictam Dei nullus mereatur occidi ... Si occidi malum 
est, mali sui ipsi sunt causa." De schismate Donatistarum, lib. iii, cap. vi. 
* Exod. xxxii. 28. 
*Numb. XXV. 7-9. 
« 3 K. 18-40. 


Did not Christ forbid St. Peter to use the sword?"* Yes, 
undoubtedly, but Christ came to suffer, not to defend him- 
self.^ The lot of Christians is different from that of Christ. 

It is in virtue, therefore, of the Old Law that St. Optatus 
defends the State's interference in religious questions, and 
its infliction of the death penalty upon heretics. This is 
evidently a different teaching from the doctrine of tolera- 
tion held by the Fathers of the preceding age. But the 
other bishops of Africa did not share his views. 

In his dealings with the Donatists, St. Augustine was at 
first absolutely tolerant, as he had been with the Mani- 
cheans. He thought he could rely upon their good faith, 
and conquer their prejudices by an honest discussion. 
"We have no intention," he writes to a Donatist bishop, 
"of forcing men to enter our communion against their will. 
I am desirous that the State cease its bitter persecution, 
but you in turn ought to cease terrorizing us by your band 
of Circumcelliones. . . . Let us discuss our differences 
from the standpoint of reason and the sacred Scriptures."* 

In one of his works, now lost, Contra partem Donati, he 
maintains that it is wrong for the State to force schis- 
matics to come back to the Church.* At the most, he 

1 John xviii. 11, 

2 De Schismate Don., cap. vii. 

s"Ut omnes intelligant non hoc esse propositi mei ut inviti homines ad 
cujusquam communionem cogantiir. Cesset a nostris partibus terror tem- 
poralium potestatum; cesset etiam a vestris partibus terror congregatorum 
Circumcellionum," etc. Ep. xxiii, n. 7. 

^ '*Sunt duo libri mei quonmi titulus est Contra partem Donati. In 


was ready to admit the justice of the law of Theodosius, 
which imposed a fine of ten gold pieces upon those schis- 
matics who had committed open acts of violence. But no 
man was to be punished by the State for private heretical 

The imperial laws were carried out in some cities of 
North Africa, because many of St. Augustine's colleagues 
did not share his views. Many Donatists were brought 
back to the fold by these vigorous measures. St. Augus- 
tine, seeing that in some cases the use of force proved 
more beneficial than his policy of absolute toleration, 
changed his views, and formulated his theory of moderate 
persecution: temperata severiias? 

Heretics and schismatics, he maintained, were to be 
regarded as sheep who had gone astray. It is the shep- 
herd's duty to run after them, and bring them back to 
the fold by using, if occasion require it, the whip and 
the goad.^ There is no need of using cruel tortures 
like the rack, the iron pincers, or sending them to the 
stake; for flogging is sufficient. Besides this mode of 

quorum primo libro dixi, non mihi placere ullius secularis potestatis impetu 
schismaticos ad communionem violenter arctari." Retract., lib. ii, cap. v. 

We wonder how this text escaped the Abb6 Martin, who in his Saint 
AugustiUy Paris, 1901, p. 373, maintains that the Bishop of Hippo "always 
denied the principle of toleration." 

1 "Non esse petendum ab imperatoribus ut ipsam haeresim juberent omnino 
non esse, paenam constituendo eis qui in ea esse voluerint." Ep. dxxxv, n. 25. 

^ Ep. xciii, n. 10. 

8'*Pertinet ad diligentiam pastoralem . . . inventas ad ovile dominicum, 
si resistere voluerint, flagellorum terroribus vel etiam doloribus revocare." 
Ep. clxxxv, n. 23. 


punishment is not at all cruel, for it is used by school- 
masters, parents, and even by bishops while presiding 
as judges in their tribunals.^ 

In his opinion the severest penalty that ought to be 
inflicted upon the Donatists is exile for their bishops 
and priests, and fines for their followers. He strongly 
denounced the death penalty as contrary to Christian 

Both the imperial officers and the Donatists themselves 
objected to this theory. 

The officers of the Emperor wished to apply the law in 
all its rigor, and to sentence the schismatics to death, 
when they deemed it proper. St. Augustine adjures them, 
in the name of "Christian and Catholic meekness"^ not 
to go to this extreme, no matter how great the crimes of the 
Donatists had been. "You have penalties enough," he 
writes, "exile, for instance, without torturing their bodies 
or putting them to death/'* 

> "Non extendente eculeo, non sulcantibus ungulis non urentibus flammis, 
sed virganim verberibus . . . Qui modus coercitionis a magistris artium 
liberalium et ab ipsis parcntibus, saepe etiam in judiciis solet ab episcopis 
adhiberi." Ep. cxxxiii, n. 2. Augustine here recommends the tribune 
Marcellinus to treat his prisoners with the same kindness. 

»"Non tamen supplido capitali propter servandam etiam circa indignos 
mansuetudinem christianam, sed pecuniis damnis propositis et in episcopos vel 
ministros eorum exsilio constituto." Ep. cbcxxv, n. 26. **Et magis mansue- 
tudo servatur ut coercitione exsiliorum atque damnorum admoneantur." 
Ep. xciii, n. lo. 

'"Mansuetudo Christiana." Ep. clxxxv, n. 26. "Propter catholicam 
mansuetudinem commendandam." Ep. cxxxix, n. 2. 

4 "Sed hoc magis sufficere volumus, ut vivi et nulla corporis parte trun- 
cati," etc. Ep. cxxxiii, n. i. 



And when the proconsul Apringius quoted St. Paul to 
justify the use of the sword, St. Augustine replied: "The 
apostle has well said, 'for he beareth not the sword in 
vain/* But we must carefully distinguish between 
temporal and spiritual affairs."' " Because it is just to 
inflict the death penalty for crimes against the com- 
mon law, it does not follow that it is right to put 
heretics and schismatics to death." "Punish the guilty 
ones, but do not put them to death." " For," he writes 
another proconsul, "if you decide upon putting them to 
death, you will thereby prevent our denouncing them be- 
fore your tribunal. They will then rise up against us with 
greater boldness. And if you tell us that we must either 
denounce them or risk death at their hands, we will not 
hesitate a moment, but will choose death ourselves."^ 

Despite these impassioned appeals for mercy, some Don- 
atists were put to death. This prompted the schismatics 
everywhere to deny that the State had any right to in- 
flict the death penalty or any other penalty upon them.* 

* Rom. xiii. 4. 

*"Sed alia causa est Provindae, alia est Ecclesiae. Illius terribiliter 
gerenda est administratio, hujus clementer commendanda est mansuetudo." 
Ep. cxxxiv, n. 3. 

«"Proinde si ocddendos in his sceleribus homines putaveritis, deterrebitis 
nos ne per operam nostram ad vestrum judidum aliquid tale perveniat: quo 
comperto illi in nostram pemidem licentiore audada grassabuntur, necessi- 
tate nobis impacta et indicta ut etiam ocddi ab eis eligamus, quam eos 
ocddendos vestris judidis ingeramus." Ep. c, n. 2; cf. Ep. cxxxix, n. 2. 

* "Non ad Imperatorum potestatem haec coercenda vel punienda pertinere 
cbdere." Contra Epistolam Parmeniani^ lib. i, cap. xvi. 


St. Augustine at once undertook to defend the rights 
of the State. He declared that the death penalty, which 
on principle he disapproved, might in some instances be 
lawfully inflicted. Did not the crimes of some of these 
rebellious schismatics merit the most extreme penalty of 
the law? "They kill the souls of men, and the State 
merely tortures their bodies; they cause eternal death, 
and then complain when the State makes them suffer 
temporal death." * 

But this is only an argument ad hominem. St. Augus- 
tine means to says that, even if the Donatists were put 
to death, they had no reason to complain. He does not 
admit, in fact, that they had been cruelly treated. The 
victims they allege are false martyrs or suicides.^ He 
denounces those Catholics who, outside of cases of self- 
defense, had murdered their opponents.^ 

The State also has the perfect right to impose the lesser 
penalties of flogging, fines, and exile. " For he (the prince) 
beareth not the sword in vain," says the Apostle. "For he 
is God's minister; an avenger to execute wrath upon him 
that doeth evil." * It is not true to claim that St. Paul 

1 ** Videte qualia fadunt et qualia patiuntur! Occidunt animas, affliguntur 
in corpore; sempitemas mortes fadunt et temporales se perpeti conquenintur." 
In Joann. TrackU. xi, cap. xv. 


'"Postremo, etiamsi aliqui nostrorum non diristiana moderatione ista 
fadunt, displicet nobis." Ep. Ixxxvii, n. 8. 

* Rom, ziii, 4; Augustine, Contra litteras PetUiani, lib. ii, cap. Izzziii- 
bcxziv; Contra EpisL Parmmiani^ lib. i, cap. zvi. 


here meant merely the spiritual sword of excommunica- 
tion.* The context proves clearly that he was speaking 
of the material sword. Schism and heresy are crimes 
which, like poisoning, are punishable by the State.^ 
Princes must render an account to God for the way they 
govern. It is natural that they should desire the peace 
of the Church their mother, who gave them spiritual 

The State, therefore, has the right to suppress heresy, 
because the public tranquillity is disturbed by religious 
dissensions.* Her intervention also works for the good 
of individuals. For, on the one hand, there are some sin- 
cere but timid souls who are prevented by their environ- 
ment from abandoning their schism; they are encouraged 
to return to the fold by the civil power, which frees them 
from a most humiliating bondage.** 

On the other hand, there are many schismatics in good 

'"Gladius, vindicta spiritualis quae excommunicationem operatur." 
Contra Epist. Parmenianiy ibid. 

2 Ibid. St. Augustine remarks that the Donatists themselves admitted that 
the State punished poisoners: **Cur in veneficos vigorem legum exerceri juste 
fateantur?" His reasoning would prove more than he intended, for poisoners 
were punishable by death. 

* "Et quomodo redderent rationem de imperio suo Deo? . . . quia pertinet 
hoc ad reges saeculi christianos, ut temporibus suis pacatam velint matrem 
suam Ecclesiam, uride spiritaliter nati sunt." In Joann. Tractatus xi, cap. 

* "Nostri adversus illidtas et privatas vestrorum violentias ... a potes- 
tatibus ordinatis tuitionem petunt, non qua vos persequantur, sed qua se 
defendant." Ep. Ixxxii, n. 8. 

» Ep. clxxxv, n. 13. 


faith who would never attain the truth unless they were 
forced to enter into themselves and examine their false 
position. The civil power admonishes such souls to 
abandon their errors; it does not punish them for any 
crime.* The Church's rebellious children are not forced 
to believe, but are induced by a salutary fear to listen to 
the true doctrine.^ 

Conversions obtained in this way are none the less 
sincere. Undoubtedly absolute toleration is best in 
theory, but in practice a certain amount of coercion is 
more helpful to souls. We must judge both methods by 
their fruits. 

In a word, St. Augustine was at first, by tempera- 
ment, an advocate of absolute toleration, but later on 
experience led him to prefer a mitigated form of co- 
ercion. When his opponents objected — using words 
similar to those of St. Hilary and the early Fathers 
— that "the true Church suffered persecution, but 
did not persecute," ' he quoted Sara's persecution of 

1 "De vobis autem corripiendis et coercendis habita ratio est, quo potius 
admoneremini ab errore discederc, quam pro scelere puniremini." Ep. xciii, 
n. 10. 

2 "Timor psenarum . . . saltern intra claustra cogitationis coercet malam 
cupiditatem." Contra litteras Petiliani^ lib. ii, cap. Ixxxiii. "Melius est 
(quis dubitaverit ?) ad Deum colendum doctrina homines duci quam pajnae 
timore vel dolore compelli . . . Sed multis profuit prius timore vel dolore 
cogi ut postea possent doceri." Ep. dxxxv, n. 21. "Terrori utili doctrina 
salutaris adjungitur." Ep. xdii, n. 4. 

3"Illam vere esse Ecclesiam quae persecutionem patitur, non quae facit." 
Ep. dxxxv, n. 10. 


Agar.^ He was wrong to quote the Old Testament as 
his authority. But we ought at least be thankful that he 
did not cite other instances more incompatible with the 
charity of the Gospel. His instinctive Christian horror 

of the death penalty kept him from making this mistake. 

. .•■•■•• 

Priscillianism brought out clearly the views current in 
the fourth century regarding the punishment due to 
heresy. Very little was known of Priscillian until lately; 
and despite the publication of several of his works in 
1889, he still remains an enigmatical personality .^ His 
erudition and critical spirit were, however, so remarkable, 
that an historian of weight declares that henceforth we 
must rank him with St. Jerome.^ But his writings were, 
in all probability, far from orthodox. We can easily 
find in them traces of Gnosticism and Manicheism. He 
was accused of Manicheism although he anathematized 
Manes. He was likewise accused of magic. He denied 
the charge, and declared that every magician deserved 
death,* according to Exodus: "Wizards thou shalt not 

1 Ibid.f n. II. 

2 On Priscillian and his work, cf. Priscilliani quod superest^ ed. G. Schepps, 
1889, in the Corpus scriptorum latinorum^ published by the Academy of Vienna, 
vol. xviii; Aim6 Pu6ch, in the Journal des savants^ Feb., April, and May, 
1891; Dom Leclerc, UEspagne Chretienne^ Paris, 1906, ch. iii (the author 
follows Pu6ch step by step, and often copies him word for word); Friedrich 
Parct, PriscillianuSf Wiirzburg, 1891; Kuenstle, AntipriscUliana^ Frieburg, 

sPu^ch, p. 121. Cf. Leclerc, p. 164. 
* Schepps, op. cit.j p. 24. 


suffer to live." * He little dreamt when he wrote these 
words that he was pronouncing his own death sentence. 
Although condemned by the council of Saragossa (380), 
he nevertheless became bishop of Abila. Later on he 
went to Rome to plead his cause before Pope Damasus, 
but was refused a hearing. He next turned to St. Am- 
brose, who likewise would not hearken to his defense.^ 
In 385 a council was assembled at Bordeaux to consider 
his case anew. He at once appealed to the Emperor, 
"so as not to be judged by the bishops," as Sulpicius 
Severus tells us,' a fatal mistake which cost him his 

He was then conducted to the Emperor at Treves, 
where he was tried before a secular court, bishops Idacius 
and Ithacius appearing as his accusers. St. Martin, who 
was in Treves at the time, was scandalized that a purely 
ecclesiastical matter should be tried before a secular 
judge. His biographer, Sulpicius Severus, tells us * "that 
he kept urging Ithacius to withdraw his accusation." He 
also entreated Maximus not to shed the blood of these 
unfortunates, for the bishops could meet the difficulty 

1 Exod. xxii. 18. 

2 Schepps, op. cit., p. 41. Prisdllian wrote an apology to the Pope en- 
titled Liber ad Damasumy ibid.y p. 39. Cf. Sulp. Sev. Chronicon. ii, P. L., 
vol. XX, col. 155-159; Dialogif iii, 11-23, *ft*^-> col. 217-219. 

2 Chronicon, loc. cU. It is worthy of remark that Priscillian in his Liber 
ad Damasum declared that in causa fidei he preferred to be judged by the 
Bishops rather than by the civil magistrates. 

* Sulp. Sev., he. cit. 


by driving the heretics from the churches. He asserted 
that to make the State judge in a matter of doctrine was 
a cruel, unheard-of violation of the divine law. 

As long as St. Martin remained in Treves, the trial was 
put off, and before he left the city he made Maximus prom- 
ise not to shed the blood of Priscillian and his companions. 
But soon after St. Martin's departure, the Emperor, in- 
stigated by the relentless bishops Rufus and Magnus, for- 
got his promise of mercy, and entrusted the case to the 
prefect Evodius, a cruel and hard-hearted official. Pris- 
cillian appeared before him twice, and was convicted of the 
crime of magic. He was made to confess under torture 
that he had given himself up to magical arts, and that 
he had prayed naked before women in midnight assemblies. 
Evodius declared him guilty, and placed him under guard 
until the evidence had been presented to the Emperor. 
After reading the records of the trial, Maximus declared 
that Priscillian and his companions deserved death. 
Ithacius, perceiving how unpopular he would make him- 
self with his fellow-bishops, if he continued to play the 
part of prosecutor in a capital case, withdrew. A new 
trial was therefore ordered. This subterfuge of the 
Bishop did, jiot change matters at all, because by this time 
the case"^ had been practically settled. Patricius, the 
imperial treasurer, presided at the second trial. On his 
findings, Priscillian and some of his followers were con- 
demned to death. Others of the sect were exiled. 


This deplorable trial is often brought forward as an 
argument against the Church. It is important, therefore, 
for us to ascertain its precise character, and to discover 
who was to blame for it. 

The real cause of Priscillian's condemnation was the 
accusation of heresy made by a Catholic bishop. Tech- 
nically, he was tried in the secular courts for the crime of 
magic, but the State could not condemn him to death 
on any other charge, once Ithacius had ceased to appear 
against him. 

It is right, therefore, to attribute Priscillian's death to 
the action of an individual bishop, but it. is altogether 
unjust to hold the Church responsible.^ 

In this way contemporary writers viewed the matter. 
The Christians of the fourth century were all but unani- 
mous, says an historian,^ in denouncing the penalty in- 
flicted in this famous trial. Sulpicius Severus, despite 
his horror of the Priscillianists, repeats over and over 
' again that their condemnation was a deplorable example; ' 
he even stigmatizes it as a crime. St. Ambrose speaks 

* Bemays, Ueber die Chronik des Sulp. Sev.y Berlin, 1861, p. 13, was the 
first to point out that Priscillian was condemned not for heresy, but for the 
crime of magic. This is the commonly received view to-day. Cf . E. Loening, 
Geschichie des detUschen KirchenrechtSy vol. i, p. 97, n. 3. Aim6 Pu6ch and 
Dom Lederc, loc. cU. 

2 Pu6ch, loc. cU.t p. 250. 

« We have also a letter of the Emperor Maximus to Pope Siricius on the 
trial, in which he says: "Hujusmodi non modo facta turpia, verum etiam 
foeda dictu proloqui sine rubore non possiunus." Migne, P. L., vol. xiii, 
col. 592 sq. 


just as strongly.* We know how vehemently St. Martin 
disapproved of the attitude of Ithacius and the Emperor 
Maximus; he refused for a long time to hold communion 
with the bishops who had in any way taken part in the 
condemnation of Priscillian.^ Even in Spain, where pub- 
lic opinion was so divided, Ithacius was everywhere 
denounced. At first some defended him on the plea of 
the public good, and on account of the high authority of 
those who judged the case. But after a time he became 
so generally hated that, despite his excuse that he merely 
followed the advice of others, he was driven from his 
bishopric' This outburst of popular indignation proves 
conclusively, that if the Church did call upon the aid of 
the secular arm in religious questions, she did not author- 
ize it to use the sword against heretics.* 
' The blood of Priscillian was the seed of Priscillianism. 
But his disciples certainly went further than their master; 
they became thorough-going Manicheans. This explains 
St. Jerome's^ and St. Augustine's® strong denunciations 
of the Spanish heresy. The gross errors of the Priscillian- 

1 Cf. Gams, Kirchengeschichte von Spanien, vol. ii, p. 382. 

^Sulpicius Severus, Dialogic iii, 11-13. 

3 Sulp. Sev., Chronicoftf loc. cU. 

* In a discourse delivered at Rome in 389, the pagan panegyrist, Pacatus, 
expresses his horror for those episcopal executioners, "who were present at 
the tortures of the accused, and feasted their eyes and ears with their 
groans and suflFerings." Panegyrist veteres^ ed. Baerhens, Leipzig, 1874, 
p. 217. 

^ De Viris illusiribuSt 1 21-123. 

^ De hcsresibuSf cap. 70. 


ists in the fifth century attracted in 447 the attention 
of Pope St. Leo. He reproaches them for breaking the 
bonds of marriage, rejecting all idea of chastity, and con- 
travening all rights, human and divine. He evidently 
held Priscillian responsible for all these teachings. That 
is why he rejoices in the fact that "the secular princes, 
horrified at this sacrilegious folly, executed the author 
of these errors with several of his followers." He even 
declares that this action of the State is helpful to the 
Church. He writes: "The Church, in the spirit of Christ, 
ought to denounce heretics, but should never put them 
to death; still the severe laws of Christian princes redound 
to her good, for some heretics through fear of punish- 
ment are won back to the true faith." ^ St. Leo in this 
passage is rather severe. While he does not yet require 
the death penalty for heresy, he accepts it in the name 
of the public good. It is greatly to be feared that the 
churchmen of the future will go a great deal further. 
The Church is endeavoring to state her position accu- 


' "Men to patres nostri sub quorum temporibus haeresis haec nefanda 
prorupit, per totum mundum instanter egere ut impius furor ab universa 
Ecdesia pelleretur. Quando etiam mundi principes ita hanc sacrilegam 
amentiam detestati sunt, ut auctorem ejus cum plerisque discipulis legum 
publicarum ense prostemerent. Videbant enim omnem curam honestatis 
auferri, omnem conjugiorum copulam solvi, simulque divinum jus humanum- 
que subverti, si hujusmodi hominibus usquam vivere cum tali professione 
licuisset. Profuit ista districtio ecclesiasticae lenitati, quae etsi sacerdotali 
contenta judicio, cruentas refugit ultiones, sevens taraen christianorum 
principum constitutionibus adjuvatur, dum ad spiritale nonnunquam recur- 
runt remedium, qui timent corporale supplicium." Ep. xv, ad Turribium^ 
P. L., vol. liv, col. 679-680. 


rately on the suppression of heresy. She declares that 
nothing will justify her shedding of human blood. This 
is evident from the conduct and writings of St. Augustine, 
St. Martin, St. Ambrose, St. Leo (cruenias refugit ultiones), 
and Ithacius himself. But to what extent should she 
accept the aid of the civil power, when it undertakes to 
defend her teachings by force? 

Some writers, like St. Optatus of Mileve, and Pris- 
cillian, later on the victim of his own teaching, believed 
that the Christian state ought to use the sword against 
heretics guilty of crimes against the public welfare; and 
strangely enough, they quote the Old Testament as their 
authority. Without giving his approval to this theory, 
St. Leo the Great did not condemn the practical applica- 
tion of it in the case of the Priscillianists. The Church, 
according to him, while assuming no responsibility for 
them, reaped the benefit of the rigorous measures taken 
by the State. 

But most of the Bishops absolutely condemned the 
infliction of the death penalty for heresy, even if the heresy 
was incidentally the cause of social disturbances. Such 
was the view of St. Augustine,^ St. Martin, St. Ambrose, 
many Spanish bishops, and a bishop of Gaul named 
Theognitus;^ in a word, of all who disapproved of the con- 

1 Corrigi eos volumus, non necari; nee disciplinam drca eos negligi volumus, 
ncc suppliciis quibus digni sunt exerceri. Ep. c, n. i. 

2 Cf. Sulpicius Severus, Dialogic iii, 12, loc. cU., col. 218. 


demnation of Priscillian. As a rule, they protested in 
the name of Christian charity; they voiced the new spirit 
of the Gospel of Christ. At the other extremity of the 
Catholic world, St. John Chrysostom re-echoes their 
teaching. "To put a heretic to death," he says, ''is an 
unpardonable crime." ^ 

But in view of the advantage to the Church, either 
from the maintenance of the public peace, or from the 
conversion of individuals, the State may employ a cer- 
tain amount of force against heretics. 

"God forbids us to put them to death," continues St. 
Chrysostom, "just as he forbade the servants to gather 
up the cockle," ^ because he regards their conversion as 
possible; but he does not forbid us doing all in our power 
to prevent their public meetings, and their preaching of 
false doctrine.' St. Augustine adds that they may be 
punished by fine and exile. 

* St. John Chrysostom remarks that the Savior forbade the servants to 
gather up the cockle in the field of the householder, and adds: 

TovTO di fKeyCf ko\6<ov iro\4fiovs yiveaOai Kal atfiara Kal aifxiyas. Ov 
ydp del 'dpapeiv alperiKOv iirel ir6\€/ju)s A(nrov5os els rijv oUovfiivTjv 
ifUWey eurdyeadai. Homilia xlvi, in Matthaum, cap. i. 

2 Ibid.f cap. ii. 

•"Caeterum intra Ecclesiam potestates necessariae non essent nisi ut quod 
non praevalet sacerdos efficere per doctrinae sermonem, potestas hoc imperet 
per disdplinae terrorem (cf. the diligentia disci plina of St. Augustine, Re- 
tractat., lib. ii, cap. v). Sic per regnum terrenum caeleste regnum proficit, 
ut qui intra Ecclesiam positi contra fidem et disciplinam quam Ecclesiae 
humilitas exercere non praevalet, cervicibus superborum potestas principalis 
imponat et ut venerationem mereatur virtute potestatis impertiat . . . Cog- 
noscant prindpes saeculi Deo debere se rationem reddere propter Ecclesiam 


To this extent the churchmen of the day accepted the 
aid of the secular arm. Nor were they content with 
merely accepting it. They declared that the State had 
not only the right to help the Church in suppressing 
heresy, but that she was in duty bound to do so. In the 
seventh century, St. Isidore of Seville discusses this ques- 
tion in practically the same terms as St. Augustine.* 

quam a Christo tuendam susdpiunt (cf. Augustine, In Joann. Tractat. xi, 
cap. xiv). Nam sive augeatur pax et disciplina Ecclesiae per fideles principes, 
sive solvatur, ille ab eis rationem exiget, qui eorum potestati suam Ecclesiam 
credidit." SetUeniiarum, lib. iii, cap. 1, n. 4-6, P. L., vol. Ixxxiii, col. 


1 We think it important to give Lea's r6sum6 of this period. It will show 

how a writer, although trying to be impartial, may distort the facts: ''It was 
only sixty-two years after the slaughter of Priscillian and his followers had 
excited so much horror, that Leo I, when the heresy seemed to be reviving, 
in 447, not only justified the act, but declared that if the followers of heresy 
so damnable were allowed to live^ there would be an end to human and divine 
law. The final step had been taken, and the Church was definitely pledged 
to the suppression of heresy at whatever cost. It is impossible not to attribute 
to ecclesiastical influence the successive Edicts by which, from the time of 
Theodosius the Great, persistence in heresy was punished by death. A 
powerful impulse to this development is to be found in the responsibility 
which grew upon the Church from its connection with the State. ' When it 
could influence the monarch and procure from him Edicts condemning here- 
tics to exile, to the mines, aruL even to deaths it felt that God had put into its 
hands powers to be exercised and not to be neglected" (vol. i, p. 215). If 
we read carefully the words of St. Leo (p. 27, note i), we shall see that the 
Emperors are responsible for the words that Lea ascribes to the Pope.* It is 
hard to understand how he can assert that the imperial Edicts decreeing the 
death penalty are due to ecclesiastical influence, when we notice that nearly 
all the churchmen of the day protested against such a penalty. 



From iioo to 1250 

The Revival of the Manichean Heresies in the 

Middle Ages 

From the sixth to the eleventh century, heretics, with 
the exception of certain Manichean sects, were hardly ever 
persecuted.^ In the sixth century, for instance, the 
Arians lived side by side with the Catholics, under the 
protection of the State, in a great many Italian cities, 
especially in Ravenna and Pavia.^ 

During the Carlovingian period, we come across a few 

heretics, but they gave little trouble. 
The Adoptianism of Elipandus, Archbishop of Toledo, 

and Felix, Bishop of Urgel, was abandoned by its authors, 

* In 556, Manicheans were put to death at Ravenna, in accordance with 
the laws of Justinian. Agnelli liber pontificalis ecclesia Ravennatis, cap. 
bcxix, in Monum. Germania^ Rerum Langobard. Scriptores, p. 331. 

»"Hujus temporibus pene per omnes civitates regni ejus (Rotharici) duo 
episcopi erant, unus catholicus et alter arianus. In civitate Ticinensi usque 
nunc ostenditur ubi arianus episcopus apud basilican Sancti Eusebii residens 
baptisterium habuit, cum tamen ecclesiae catholicae alius episcopus resideret." 
Pauli diacon., Histor. Langobard., lib. iv, cap. xlii, Mon. Germ., Rer. Lango- 
bard. SS., p. 134. We may still visit at Ravenna the Arian and Catholic 
t>aptisteries of the sixth century. Cf. Gregorii Magni Dialogic iii, cap. xxix, 
Mon. Germ., ibid., pp. 534-535- 



after it had been condemned by Pope Adrian 1, and several 
provincial councils.* 

A more important heresy arose in the ninth century. 
Godescalcus, a monk of Orbais, in the diocese of Soissons, 
taught that Jesus Christ did not die for all men. His 
errors on predestination were condemned as heretical by 
the council of Mainz (848) and Quierzy (849); and he 
himself was sentenced to be flogged and then imprisoned 
for life in the monastery of Hautvilliers-.^ But this 
punishment of flogging was a purely ecclesiastical penalty. 
Archbishop Hincmar in ordering it declared that he was 
acting in accordance with the rule of St. Benedict, and a 
canon of the Council of Agde.' 

The imprisonment to which Godescalcus was sub- 
jected was likewise a monastic punishment. Practically, 
it did not imply much more than the confinement strictly 
required by the rules of his convent. It is interesting to 
note that imprisonment for crime is of purely ecclesias- 

1 Einhard: AnnaleSf ann. 792, in the Mon, Germ. SS.y vol. i, p. 179. 

2 "In nostra parochia . . . monasteriali custodiae mancipatus est." nine- 
mar's letter to Pope Nicholas I, Hincmari Opera, ed. Sirmond, Paris, 1645, 
vol. ii, p. 262. 

***Verbenim vel corporis castigatione . . . coercendus, says Hincmar, 
secundum regulam sancti Benedicti." De non trina deitaUy cap. xviii, in 
Hincmari Opera, vol. i, p. 552. The rule of St. Benedict provided for the 
acrior correctio, id est ut verberum vindicta in eum (monachum) procedat, 
cap. xxviii; cf. Concilium Agathense, ann. 506, cap. xxviii: "In monachis 
quoque par sententiae forma servetur: quos si verborum increpatio non 
emendaverit, etiam verberibus statuimus coerceri." Recall what St. 
Augustine said of the use of flogging in the episcopal tribunals of his 


tical origin. The Roman law knew nothing of it. It 
was at first a penalty peculiar to monks and clerics, al- 
though later on laymen also were subjected to it. 

About the year 1000, the Manicheans under various 
names came from Bulgaria, and spread over western 
Europe.* We meet them about this time in Italy, Spain, 
France, and Germany. Public sentiment soon became 
bitter against them, and they became the victims of a 
general, though intermittent, persecution. Orleans, Arras, 
Cambrai, Chalons, Goslai, Liege, Soissons, Ravenna, 
Monteforte, Asti, and Toulouse became the field of their 
propaganda, and often the place of their execution. 
Several heretics like Peter of Bruys, Henry of Lausanne, 
Amold of Brescia, and £on de r£toile (Eudo de Stella), 
likewise troubled the Church, who to stop their bold propa- 
ganda used force herself, or permitted the State or the 
people to use it. 

It was at Orleans in 1022 that Catholics for the first 
time during this period treated heretics with cruelty. 
An historian of the time assures us that this cruelty was 
due to both king and people: regis jussu et universce 
pubis consensu? King Robert, dreading the disastrous 
eflfects of heresy upon his kingdom, and the consequent 

1 Cf. C. Schmidt, Histoire et doctrine de la secie des Caihares^ vol. i, pp. 16- 

54, 82. 

sRaoul Glaber, Hist., lib. iii, cap. viii, Hist, des GatUes^ vol. x, p. 38. 

For other authorities consult Julien Havet, L'hiresie et le bras siculier au moyen 

dge, in his CEuvres, Paris, 1896, vol. ii, pp. 128-130. 



loss of souls/ sent thirteen of the principal clerics 
and laymen of the town to the stake.^ It has been 
pointed out that this penalty was something unheard- 
of at the time. "Robert was therefore the originator 
of the punishment whicfi he decreed." ^ It might be 
said, however, that this penalty originated with the 
people, and that the king merely followed out the pop- 
ular will. 

For, as an old chronicler tells us, this execution at 
Orl&ms was not an isolated fact; in other places the 
populace hunted out heretics, and burned them outside 
the city walls.* 

Several years later, the heretics who swarmed into the 
diocese of Chalons attracted the attention of the Bishop 
of the city, who was puzzled how to deal with them. He 
consulted Wazo, the Bishop of Liege, who tells us that 
the French were "infuriated" against heretics.^ These 
words would seem to prove that the heretics of the day 
were prosecuted more vigorously than the documents 

i"Quoniam et niinam patriae revera et animarum metuebat interitum." 
Raoul Glaber, loc. cU. 

^ Ep. Johannis monachi Floriacensis, in the Hist, des Gatdes, vol. x, p. 

* JuKen Havet, op. cit., pp. 128-129. 

It is not probable that the Eling was inspired by the laws of the empire 
against the Manicheans. 

* Cariulaire de Pahhaye de SairU-Phre de ChartreSy ed. Gu6rard, vol. i, 
p. 108 and seq.; cf. Hist, des GatUes^ vol. x, p. 539. 

^"PraBcipitem Francigenarum rabiem." Anselmi, Gesta episcop. Leodien- 
sium, cap. Ixiii, Mon. Germanioe SS., vol. vii, p. 228. 


we possess go to show. It is probable that the Bishop of 
Chalons detested the "fury" of the persecutors. We 
will see later on the answer that Wazo sent him. 

During the Christmas holidays of 105 1 and 1052, a 
number of Manicheans or Cathari, as they were called, 
were executed at Goslar, after they had refused to re- 
nounce their errors. Instead of being burned, as in 
France, "they were hanged." 

These heretics were executed by the orders of Henry III, 
and in his presence. But the chronicler of the event 
remarks that every one applauded the Emperor's action, 
because he had prevented the spread of the leprosy of 
heresy, and thus saved many souls.^ 

Twenty-five years later, in 1076 or 1077, a Catharan of 
the district of Cambrai appeared before the Bishop of 
Cambrai and his clerics, and was condemned as a heretic. 
The Bishop's officers and the crowd at once seized him, 
led him outside the city's gates, and while he knelt and 
calmly prayed, they burned him at the stake.^ 

A little while before this the Archbishop of Ravenna 
accused a man named Vilgard of heresy, but what the 

1 "Imperator . . . quosdam haereticos . . . consensu cunctorum, ne haer 
retica scabies latius serpens plures inficeret, in patibulo suspendi jussit." 
Heriman, Aug. Chronicon, ann. 1052, Mon. Germ. 55., vol. v, p. 130. Cf. 
Lamberti, AnnaleSf 1053, ibid., p. 155. 

« Chronicon S. Andreae Camerac, iii, 3, in the Mon. Germ. SS., vol. vii, 
p. 540. 

We have a letter of Gregory VII in which he denounces the irregular 
character of this execution. Ibid., p. 540, n. 31. 


result of the trial was, we cannot discover. But we do 
know that during this period other persons were prose- 
cuted for heresy, and that they were beheaded or sent to 
the stake.^ 

At Monteforte near Asti, the Cathari had, about 1034, 
an important settlement. The Marquis Mainfroi, his 
brother the Bishop of Asti, and several noblemen of the 
city, united to attack the castrum; they captured a num- 
ber of heretics, and on their refusing to return to the 
orthodox faith, they sent them to the stake.^ 

Other followers of the sect were arrested by the officers 
of Eriberto, the Archbishop of Milan, who endeavored 
to win them back to the Catholic faith. Instead of being 
converted, they tried to spread their heresy throughout 
the city. The civil magistrates, realizing their corrupt- 
ing influence, had a stake erected in the public square 
with a cross in front of it ; and in spite of the Archbishop's 
protest, they required the heretics either to reverence 
the cross they had blasphemed, or to enter the flaming 
pile. Some were converted, but the majority of them, 
covering their faces with their hands, threw themselves 
into the flames, and were soon burned to ashes.^ 

* Raoul Glaber, Hist., lib. ii, cap. xii, Hist, des GatUeSy vol. x, p. 23. 

* Raoul Glaber, ibid., lib. iv, cap. ii, Hist, des Gaules, vol. x, p. 45. 
'"Quod cum civitatis hujus majores laid comperis^ent, rogo mirabili 

accenso, cruce Domini ab altere parte erecta, Heriberto nolente, illis omnibus 
educds," etc. Landulphe, Hisioria Mediolan., lib. ii, cap. xxvii, in the 
Mon. GermanuE SS., vol. viii, pp. 65-66. 


Few details have come down to us concerning the fate 
of the Manicheans arrested at this time in Sardinia and 
in Spain; exterminati sunt, says a chronicler.^ 

The Cathari of Toulouse were also arrested, and exe- 
cuted: et ipsi destructi? A few years later, in 11 14, the 
Bishop of Soissons arrested a number of heretics, and cast 
them into prison until he could make up his mind how to 
deal with them. While he was absent at Beauvais, 
asking the advice of his fellow-bishops assembled there 
in council, the populace, fearing the weakness of the clergy, 
attacked the prison, dragged forth the heretics, and 
burned them at the stake.^ Guibert de Nogent does not 
blame them in the least. He simply calls attention to 
"the just zeal" shown on this occasion by "the people 
of God," to stop the spread of heresy. 

In 1 144 the Bishop of Liege, Adalbero II, compelled a 
number of Cathari to confess their heresy; ''he hoped," 
he said, "with the grace of God to lead them to repent." 
But the populace, less kindly-hearted, rushed upon them, 

1 " Exterminati sunt," says Raoul Glaber, Hist.j lib. ii, cap. xii, Hist. 
des Gaulesy vol. z, p. 33. 

Exterminati may mean banished as well as ptU to death. The context, 
however, seems to refer to the death penalty. 

* Adhdmar de Chabannes, Chron., Ub. iii, cap. lix, in the Mon. Germ. 55., 
vol. iv, p. 143. 

•"Interea perreximus ad Belvacense concilium consul turi episcopos quid 
facto opus esset. Sed fidelis interim populus, clericalem verens mollitiem 
(notice these words on "the weakness of the clergy") concurrit ad ergastulum, 
rapit, et subjecto eis extra urbem igne pariter concremavit." Guibert de 
Nogent, De vita sua, lib. i, cap. xv, Hist, des Gaules, vol. xii, p. 366. 


and proceeded to burn them at the stake; the Bishop had 
the greatest difficulty to save the majority of them. He 
then wrote to Pope Lucius II asking him what was the 
proper penalty for heresy.^ We do not know what answer 
he received. 

About the same time, a similar dispute arose between 
the Archbishop and the people of Cologne regarding two 
or three heretics who had been arrested and condemned. 
The clergy asked them to return to the church. But the 
people, ** moved by an excess of zeal," says an historian 
of the time, seized them, and despite the Archbishop and 
his clerics led them to the stake. "And marvelous to 
relate," continues the chronicler, " they suffered their tor- 
tures at the stake, not only with patience, but with 
joy. 2 

One of the most famous heretics of the twelfth century 
was Peter of Bruys. His hostility toward the clergy 
helped his propaganda in Gascony. To show his con- 
tempt for the Catholic religion, he burned a great num- 
ber of crosses one Good Friday, and roasted meat in the 

1 "Hos turba turbiilenta raptos incendio tradere deputavit; sed nos, 
Dei favente niisericordia, pene omnes ab instant! supplicio, de ipsis 
meliora sperantes, vix tamen eripuimus," etc. Letter of the church of 
Li^e to Pope Lucius II, in Martene, Amplissima collection vol. i, col. 

a "Cum per triduum essent admoniti et resipiscere noluissent, rapti sunt 
a populis nimio zelo permotiSt nobis (the Archbishop and his tribunal) tamen 
invitis, et in ignem positi atque cremati." Letter of Evervin, provost of 
Steinfeld to St. Bernard, cap. ii, in Bernardi Opera, Migne, P. L., vol. dxxxii, 
col. 677. 


flames. This angered the people against him. He was 
seized and burned at St. Giles about the year 1 126.^ 

Henry of Lausanne was his most illustrious disciple. 
We have told the story of his life elsewhere.^ St. Bernard 
opposed him vigorously, and succeeded in driving him 
from the chief cities of Toulouse and the Albigeois, where 
he carried on his harmful propaganda. He was arrested 
a short time afterwards (1145 or 1146), and sentenced 
to life-imprisonment either in one of the prisons of the 
Archbishop, or in some monastery of Toulouse. 

Arnold of Brescia busied himself more with questions 
of discipline than with dogma; the only reforms he advo- 
cated were social reforms.^ He taught that the clergy 
should not hold temporal possessions, and he endeavored 
to drive the papacy from Rome. In this conflict, which 
involved the property of ecclesiastics and the temporal 
power of the Church, he was, although successful for a 
time, finally vanquished.* St. Bernard invoked the aid 
of the secular arm to rid France of him. Later on Pope 

* "Sed post rogum Petri de Bruys, quo apud S. -^gidium zelus fidelium 
flammas dominicae cruds ab eo succensas eum cremando, ultus est." Peter 
the Venerable, Letter to the Archbishops of Aries and Embnim, etc., in the 
Hist, des GatUes, vol. xv, p. 640. 

2 Vie de saint Bernard^ ist edit., Paris, 1895, vol. ii, pp. 218-233. 
•For details concerning Arnold of Brescia, cf. Vacandard, Vie de Saint 
Bernard^ vol. ii, pp. 235-258, 465-469. 

* "Dicebat nee clericos proprietatem, nee episcopos regalia, nee monachos 
possessiones habentes aliqua ratione salvari posse; cuncta hsec principis esse, 
ab ejusque beneficentia in usum tantum laicorum cedere oportere." Otto 
Prising., Gesta Friderici^ lib. ii, cap. xx. Cf. Historia Pontificalis, in the 
Mon. Germ. SS., vol. xx, p. 538. 


Eugenius III excommunicated him. He was executed 
during the pontificate of Adrian IV, in 1 155. He was ar- 
rested in the city of Rome after a riot which was quelled 
by the Emperor Frederic, now the ally of the Pope, and 
condemned to be strangled by the prefect of the city. 
His body was then burned, and his ashes thrown into the 
Tiber, "for fear," says a writer of the time, "the people 
would gather them up, and honor them as the ashes of a 
martyr." * 

In 1 148, the Council of Reims judged the case of the 
famous Eon de r£toile (Eudo de Stella). This strange 
individual had acquired a reputation for sanctity while 
living a hermit's life. One day, struck by the words of the 
liturgy. Per Eum qui venturus est judicare vivos el morttws, 
he conceived the idea that he was the Son of God. He 
made some converts among the lowest classes, who, not 
content with denying the faith, soon began to pillage the 
churches. Eon was arrested for causing these disturb- 
ances, and was brought before Pope Eugenius III, then 
presiding over the Q)uncil of Reims. He was judged 
insane, and in all kindness was placed under the charge 
of Suger, the Abbot of St. Denis. He was confined to a 
monastery, where he died soon after.^ 

* Boso, Vita Hadrianiy in Watterich, Romanorum potUificum ViUBy vol. ii, 
pp. 326 et 330; Otto Prising., Gesta Friderici, II, 21 and 23; Vincent de Prague, 
in Watterich, vol. ii, p. 349, note; Geroch Reichersberg, De Investigatione 
AfUichrisHy lib. i, cap. xlii; cf. p. 50, note. 

^CofUinuatio GemblacensiSy ad ann. 1146; Continuatio Prcsmonstratensis, 


Strangely enough, some of his disciples persisted in 
believing in him; "they preferred to die rather than re- 
nounce their belief," says an historian of the time. They 
were handed over to the secular arm, and perished at the 
stake.* In decreeing this penalty, the civil power was 
undoubtedly influenced by the example of Robert the 

It is easy to determine the responsibility of the Church, 
i.e. her bishops and priests, in this series of executions 
(1020 to 1 1 50). At Orl&ns, the populace and the king 
put the heretics to death; the historians of the time 
tell us plainly that the clergy merely declared the or- 
thodox doctrine. It was the same at Goslar. At Asti, 
the Bishop's name appears with the names of the other 
nobles who had the Cathari executed, but it seems cer- 
tain that he exercised no special authority in the case. 
At Milan, the civil magistrates themselves, against the 
Archbishop's protest, gave the heretics the choice be- 
tween reverencing the cross, and the stake. 

At Soissons, the populace, feeling certain that the clergy 
would not resort to extreme measures, profited by the 
Bishop's absence to burn the heretics they detested. At 

ad annum 1148, in the Mon. Germ. 55., vol. vi, pp. 452-454; Robert Du 
Mont, Chronicon, ad ann. 1148, ed. Delisle, vol. i, p. 248; William of 
Newbridge, Chron., lib. i, cap. xix; Otto Prising, Gesta Fredericiy lib. i, cap. 
liv-lv. Cf. Schmidt, Histoire des Cathares^ vol. i, p. 49. 

1 ''Curiae prius et postea ignibus traditi ardere potius quam ad vitam 
corrigi maluenmt." William of Newbridge, i, xix. 


Liege, the Bishop managed to save a few heretics from 
the violence of the angry mob. At Cologne, the Arch- 
bishop was not so successful; the people rose in their 
anger and burned the heretics before they could be 
tried. Peter of Bruys, and the Manichean at Cambrai 
were both put to death by the people. Arnold of 
Brescia, deserted by fortune, fell a victim to his political 
adversaries; the prefect of Rome was responsible for his 

In a word, in all these executions, the Church either kept 
aloof, or plainly manifested her disapproval. 

During this period, we know of only one bishop, Th6xi- 
win of Liege, who called upon the secular arm to punish 
heretics.^ This is all the more remarkable because his 
predecessor Wazo and his successor, Adalbero II, both 

1 The case of Arnold, however, is not so clear. The Annates Augustani 
minores (Mon. Germ. SS., vol. x, p. 8) declare that the Pope hanged the 
rebel. Another anon)maous writer (cf. Tanon, Hist, des tribunaux de Ping, 
en France^ p. 456, n. 2) says, with more probability, that Adrian merely 
degraded him. According to Otto of Freisingen {Mon. Germ. SS.^ vol. xx, 
p. 404), Arnold principis examini reservatus est, ad ultimum a prcefecto Urhis 
ligno adactiis. Finally, Geroch de Reichersberg tells us {De investigatione 
Antichristif lib. i, cap. xlii, ed. Scheibelberger, 1875, pp. 88-89) t^^t Arnold 
was taken from the ecclesiastical prison and put to death by the servants of 
the Roman prefect. In any case, politics rather than religion was the cause 
of his death. 

2 In 1050, two years after the death of Wazo, he wrote to the king of France, 
asking him to assemble a council to Judge confessed heretics: "Quamquam 
hujusmodi homines nequaquam oporteat audiri; neque tam est pro illis 
concilium celebrandum quam de illorum supplicio exquirendum." Hist, 
des GauleSf vol. xi, p. 498. Do these words imply the death penalty? It 
seems not, for in that case he would not have said: de supplicio ex- 


protested in word and deed against the cruelty of both 
sovereign and people. 

Wazo, his biographer tells us, strongly condemned the 
execution of heretics at Goslar, and had he been there 
would have acted as St. Martin of Tours in the case of 
Priscillian.* His reply to the letter of the Bishop of 
Chalons reveals his inmost thoughts on the subject. *'To 
use the sword of the civil authority," he says, "against 
the Manicheans,^ is contrary to the spirit of the Church, 
and the teaching of her divine founder. The Savior 
ordered us to let the cockle grow with the good grain 
until the harvest time, lest in uprooting the cockle we 
uproot also the wheat with it.^ Moreover, continues 
Wazo, those who are cockle to-day may be converted to- 
morrow, and be garnered in as wheat at the harvest time. 
Therefore they should be allowed to live. The only pen- 
alty we should use against them is excommunication."* 

The Bishop of Liege, quoting this parable of Christ 
which St. Chrysostom had quoted before him, interprets 
it in a more liberal fashion than the Bishop of Constanti- 
nople. For he not only condemns the death penalty, 
but all recourse to the secular arm. 

Peter Cantor, one of the best minds of northern France 

* Vita VasoniSt cap xxv et xxvi, Migne, P. L., vol. cxKi, col. 753. 

* " An terrenae potestatis gladio in eos sit animadvertendum necne." 
Ibid., col. 75a. 

•Matt. xiii. 29-30. 

* Vita Vasonis, loc. cit., col. 753. 


in the twelfth century, also protested against the inflic- 
tion of the death penalty for heresy, ''Whether," he says, 
"the Cathari are proved guilty of heresy, or whether they 
freely admit their guilt, they ought not to be put to death, 
unless they attack the Church in armed rebellion." For 
the Apostle said: "A man that is a heretic, after the 
first and second admonition, avoid"; he did not say: 
"Kill him." "Imprison heretics if you will, but do not 
put them to death." ^ 

Geroch of Reichersberg, a famous German of the same 
period, a disciple and friend of St. Bernard^ speaks in a 
similar strain of the execution of Arnold of Brescia. He 
was most anxious that the Church, and especially the 
Roman curia, should not be held responsible for his death. 
"The priesthood," he says, "ought to refrain from the 
shedding of blood." There is no doubt whatever that 
this heretic taught a wicked doctrine, but banishment, 
imprisonment, or some similar penalty would have been 
ample punishment for his wrong-doing, without sentencing 
him to death.2 

St. Bernard had also asked that Arnold be banished. 
The execution of heretics at Cologne gave him a chance 

1 "Ait enim Apostolus: Haereticum hominem post trinam admonitionem 
devita (Tit. iii, lo). Non ait: occide . . . Recludendi ergo sunt, non occi- 
dendi." Verbum abbreviaium, ca.p. Ixxviii, Migne, P. L., vol. ccv, col. 231. 

2 "Quern ego vellem pro tali doctrina sua quamvis prava vel exsilio vel 
carcere aut alia paena proeier mortem punitum esse, vel saltern taliter occisum 
ut Romana Ecclesia seu curia ejus necis quaestione careat." De investiga- 
tione Antichristi, lib. i, cap. xlii, ed. Scheibelberger, 1875, pp. 88-89. 


to state his views on the suppression of heresy. The 
courage with which these fanatics met death rather 
disconcerted Evervin, the provost of Steinfeld, who wrote 
the Abbot of Clairvaux for an explanation.^ 

"Their courage," he replies, "arose from mere stub- 
bornness; the devil inspired them with this constancy 
you speak of, just as he prompted Judas to hang him- 
self. These heretics are not real but counterfeit martyrs. 
(perfidice martyres). But while I may approve the zeal of 
the people for the faith, I cannot at all approve their 
excessive cruelty; for faith is a matter of persuasion, not 
of force: fides suadenda est, non imponenda/' ^ 

On principle, the Abbot of Clairvaux blames the 
bishops and even the secular princes, who through in- 
difference or less worthy reasons fail to hunt for the foxes 
who are ravaging the vineyard of the Savior. But once 
the guilty ones have been discovered, he declares that 
only kindness should be used to win them back. "Let 
us capture them by arguments and not by force." ^ i.e. 
let us first refute their errors, and if possible bring them 
back into the fold of the Catholic Church. 

If they stubbornly refuse to be converted, let the bishop 
excommunicate them, to prevent their doing further 

* Evervin's letter in Migne, P. L., vol. dxxxii, col. 676 and seq. 
^ In CafUica, Sermo Ixiv, n. 12. 

•"Capiantur, non armis, sed argumentis." In Cantica^ Sermo Ixiv, n. S- 
' Lactantius had likewise said: "Verbis melius quam verberibus res agenda 
Dnnn. InsiUut., lib. v, cap. xx. 


injury; if occasion require it, let the civil power arrest them 
and put them in prison. Imprisonment is a severe enough 
penalty, because it prevents their dangerous propaganda: ^ 
aut corrigendi sunt, ne pereant; aut, ne perimant, coercendi? 
St. Bernard was always faithful to his own teaching, as 
we learn from his mission in Languedoc' 

Having ascertained the views of individual church- 
men, we now turn to the councils of the period, and find 
them voicing the self-same teaching. In 1049, the council 
held at Reims by Pope Leo IX declared all heretics ex- 
communicated, but said nothing of any temporal penalty, 
nor did it empower the secular princes to aid in the sup- 
pression of heresy.* 

The Council of Toulouse in 1 1 19, presided over by Ca- 
lixtus II, and the General Council of the Lateran, in 
1 139, were a little more severe; they not only issued a 
solemn bull of excommunication against heretics, but 
ordered the civil power to prosecute them: per potestates 
exteras coerceri prcecipimus? This order was, undoubtedly 

1 "Subversores invictis rationibus convincantur, ut vel emendentur ipsi, 
si fieri potest; vel, si non, perdant auctoritatem facultatemque alios subver- 
tendi." De Consideratione, lib. iii, cap. i, n. 3. 

^ Ibid.; cf. Ep. 241 and 242. For more details, cf. Vacandard Vie de 
Saint Bernard^ vol. ii, pp. 211-216, 461-462. 

8 Cf . Vacandard, op. cit., vol. ii, pp. 217-234. Read his letter to his 
secretary Geoff roy, Bernardi Vita, lib. vi, pars 3, Migne, P. L., vol. clxxxv, 
col. 410-416. 

* Cf. Labbe, Concilia , vol. ix, col. 1042. 

* Council of Toulouse, can. 3, Labbe, vol. x, col. 857; Council of Lateran, 
can. 23, ibid.f col. 1008. 


an answer to St. Bernard's request of Louis VII to banish 
Arnold from his kingdom. The only penalty referred to 
by both these councils was imprisonment. 

The Council of Reims in 1 148, presided over by Eugenius 
III, did not even speak of this penalty, but simply for- 
bade secular princes to give support or asylum to heretics.* 
We know, moreover, that at this council Eon de I'fetoile 
was merely sentenced to the seclusion of a monastery. 

In fact, the executions of heretics which occurred during 
the eleventh and twelfth centuries were due to the impulse 
of the moment. As an historian has remarked: "These 
heretics were not punished for a crime against the law; 
for there was no legal crime of heresy and no penalty 
prescribed. But the men of the day adopted what they 
considered a measure of public safety, to put an end to 
a public danger." ^ 

Far from encouraging the people and the princes in 
their attitude, the Church through her bishops, teachers, 
and councils continued to declare that she had a horror 
of bloodshed: A domo sacerdotis sanguinis questio remota 
sit, writes Geroch of Reichersberg.^ Peter Cantor also 

* Can. 18, Labbe, Concilia , vol. x, col. 11 13. 

* Julien Ha vet, Vhirisie el le bras sSculier au moyen dge^ in his CEuvves, 
vol. ii, p. 134. Still certain canonists, like Anselm of Lucca and the author 
of the Panortnia, declare about this time that the death penalty may be 
inflicted upon heretics (cf. Tanon, op. cit.^ pp. 453, 454), at least upon 
Manicheans. But these writers had no practical influence outside the 

• De invesHgatione Antichristif lib. 1, cap. xlii, loc. cit.f pp. 88-89. 


insists on the same idea. " Even if they are proved guilty 
by the judgment of God," he writes, "the Cathari ought 
not to be sentenced to death, because this sentence is in a 
way ecclesiastical, being made always in the presence of 
a priest. If then they are executed, the priest is respon- 
sible for their death, for he by whose authority a thing 
is done is reponsible therefor: quia illud ah eo fit, cujus 
aucioriiate fit'* * 

Was excommunication to be the only penalty for 
heresy? Yes, answered Wazo, Leo IX, and the Council of 
Reims in the middle of the eleventh century. But later on 
the growth of the evil induced the churchmen of the time 
to call upon the aid of the civil power. They thought 
that the Church's excommunication required a temporal 
sanction. They therefore called upon the princes to 
banish heretics from their dominions, and to imprison 
those who refused to be converted. Such was the theory 
of the twelfth century. 

We must not forget, however, that the penalty of im- 
prisonment, which was at first a monastic punishment, 
had two objects in view: to prevent heretics from spread- 
ing their doctrines, and to give them an opportunity of 
atoning for their sins. In the minds of the ecclesias- 
tical judges, it possessed a penitential, almost a sacra- 

1 He was discussing the consequences of a "judgment of God," or ordeal, 
Verbum abbreviaium, cap. Ixxviii, Migne, P. L., vol. ccv, col. 231. 


mental character. In a period when all Europe was 
Catholic, it could well supplant exile and banishment, 
which were the severest civil penalties after the death 



From Gratian to Innocent III 

The Influence of the Canon Law, and the Revival 

OF THE Roman Law 

The development of the Canon law and the revival 
of the Roman law could not but exercise a great influence 
upon the minds of princes and churchmen with regard 
to the suppression of heresy; in fact they were the cause 
of a legislation of persecution, which was adopted by 
every country of Christendom. 

In the beginning of this period, which we date from 
Gratian,^ the prosecution of heresy was still carried on, in 
a more or less irregular and arbitrary fashion, according 
to the caprice of the reigning sovereign, or the hasty 
violence of the populace. But from this time forward 
we shall see it carried on in the name of both the canon and 
the civil law: secundum canonicas et legitimas sanctiones, 
as a Council of Avignon puts it.^ 

iThe Decree of Gratian was written about 1140. Cf. Paul Foumier, 
Les origines du Decret de Gratien in the Revue d^histoire et de liUerature reli- 
gieuses, vol. iii, 1898, p. 280. 

2 This council was held in 1209, d'Achery, Spicilegium, in-fol., vol. i, 
p. 704, col. I. 



In Germany and France, especially in northern France, 
the usual punishment was the stake. We need not say 
much of England, for heresy seems to have made but one 
visit there in 1166.^ In 1160, a German prince, whose 
name is unknown, had several Cathari beheaded.^ Others 
were burned at Cologne in 1163.^ The execution of the 
heretics condemned at Vezelai by the Abbot of Vezelai 
and several bishops forms quite a dramatic picture. 

When the heretics had been condemned, the Abbot, 
addressing the crowd, said : " My brethren, what punish- 
ment should be inflicted upon those who refuse to be 
converted?" All replied: "Burn them." "Burn them." 
Their wishes were carried out. Two abjured their heresy, 

1 William of Newbridge (Rerum angliCy lib. ii, cap. xiii) relates that in 
1 166 thirty heretics appeared in England, and that the Bishops to stop their 
propaganda eos corporali disciplincB subdendos catholico principi tradiderurU. 
King Henry II had them branded on the forehead with a red-hot iron, and 
publicly flogged; he then banished them, forbidding any one to lodge or 
succor them. As this happened in the winter time, they were frozen to death. 
"This pious severity," adds the chronicler, "not only freed England from 
the pest of heresy, but, by the fear it inspired, kept heretics from ever entering 
the kingdom." Cf. Raoul de Diceto, Imagines hisioriorum, ed. Stubbs, 
vol. i, p. 318. It has been questioned whether this penalty of branding with 
a red-hot iron was not inspired by the canon which Martfene attributes to the 
Council of Reims in 11 57 (Amplissima collecHo, vol. vii, col. 74), and which 
decrees that obstinate heretics ferro calido frontem et fades signati pellarUur. 
But the authencity of this conciliar decree has been denied by an eminent 
critic, Julien Havet, op. cit.^ in his CEwures, vol. ii, p. 137. That is why we 
do not attach much importance to it. Besides, no civil or canon law has 
been discovered which decrees such a penalty. 

'Aubri de Trois Fontaines, Chron.f ad. ann. 1160, Mon. German. SS. 
vol. xziii, p. 845. "* 

* Annates Colon, maocimi, ad ann. 11 63, Mon. German. SS., vol. vi, 
p. 778. 


and were pardoned, the other seven perished at the 

Philip, Q)unt of Flanders, was particularly cruel in 
prosecuting heretics.^ He had an able auxiliary also in 
the Archbishop of Reims, Guillaume aux Blanches-Mains. 
The chronicle of Anchin tells us that they sent to the stake 
a great many nobles and people, clerics, knights, peasants, 
young girls, married women, and widows, whose property 
they confiscated and shared between them.' This oc- 
curred in 1 183. Some years before, Archbishop Guillaume 
and his council had sent two heretical women to the 

Hugh, Bishop of Auxerre (i 183-1206), prosecuted the 
neo-Manicheans with equal severity; he confiscated the 

1 "Adducti sunt in medium maximse multitudinis quae totum claustnmi 
occupabat, stante Guichardo Lugdunensi archiepiscopo et Bernardo Niver- 
nensivun episcopo, magistro quoque Galterio Landunensi episcopo, cum 
Guillelmo Vizeliacensi abbate . . . Abbas dixit omnibus qui aderant: Quid 
ergo, fratres, vobis videtur faciendum de his qui adhuc in sua perseverant 
obstinatione ? Responderunt omnes: Comburantiw! combiwantur!" etc. 
Hugo Pictav., Historia Vezeliacensis monasterii^ lib. iv, ad finem, Hist, 
des Gaules, vol. xii, pp. 343-344- 

2**Illo in tempore ubique exquirebantur et perimebantur (haeretici), sed 
maxime a Philippo comite Flandrensium, qui justa crudelitate eos immiseri- 
corditer puniebat." Raoul de Coggeshall, in Rerum Britann. medii CBvi 
Scriptores, ed. Stevenson, p. 122. 

•"Tunc decretalis sententia ab archiepiscopo et comite prefixa est ut 
deprehensi incendio traderentur, substantiae vero eorum sacerdoti et prindpi 
resignarentur." Sigeberti Coniinuatio Aquicinctina, ad. ann. 1183, in the 
Mon. Germ. SS.^ vol. vi, p. 421. 

**'QuaB, ciun salutaribus monitis nulla ratione acquievissent . . . , com- 
muni concilio decretum est ut flammis concremarentur." Raoul de Cogges- 
hall, loc. cit.; Hist, des GatUes^ vol. xviii, p. 92. 


property of some, banished others, and sent several to 
the stake.^ 

The reign of Philip Augustus was marked by many 
executions.^ Eight Cathari were sent to the stake at 
Troyes in 1200,^ one at Nevers in 1201/ and several others 
at Braisne-sur-Vesle in 1204.^ A most famous case was 
the condemnation of the followers of the heretic, Amaury 
de Beynes. "Priests, clerics, men and women belonging 
to the sect, were brought before a council at Paris; they 
were condemned and handed over to the secular court of 
King Philip." The king was absent at the time. On 
his return he had them all burned outside the walls of the 

In 1 163 a council of Tours enacted a decree fixing the 

* Robert d'Auxerre, Chron., ad. ann. 1205, in the Hist, des Gaules, vol. 
xviii, p. 373. 

' Quos Popelicanos vulgari nomine dicunt 

Convincebantur et mittebantur in ignem, 

sa3rs Guillaume le Breton, Philippeis^ lib. i, verses 407^410. 

•Aubri de Trois-Fontaines, ad. ann. 1200, in the Mon. Germ. SS., vol. 
zxiii, p. 878. 

* Cf. Hist, des Gaules, vol. xviii, pp. 264 and 729. 

* Chron. anonymi Laudunensis canoniciy in the Hist, des Gaides, vol. xviii, 

p. 713- 

* "Traditi fuerunt curiae Philippi regis, qui tanquam rex Christianissimus 

et catholicus, vocatis apparitoribus, fecit omnes cremari, et cremati sunt 
extra portam, in loco qui nuncupatur Campellus," etc. Hist, des Gatiles, 
vol. xvii, pp. 83-84. The women were spared. Cf . Caesarius of Heisterbach, 
Dist. V, cap. xxii, who tells us that the king was absent when the heretics 
were condemned. For other references, cf. Julien Hayet, op. cit.j p. 142, 


punishment of heresy. Of course it had in view chiefly 
the Cathari of Toulouse and Gascony : " If these wretches 
are captured," it says, "the Catholic princes are to im- 
prison them and confiscate their property."* 

This canon was applied probably for the first time at 
Toulouse in 1 178. The Bishop began proceedings against 
several heretics, among them a rich noble named Pierre 
Mauran, who was summoned before his tribunal, and 
condemned to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. His 
property was confiscated, although later on when he 
professed repentance it was restored to him, on condition 
that he dismantle the towers of his castles, and pay the 
Count of Toulouse a fine of five hundred pounds of silver.* 

In the meantime the Cathari increased with alarming 
rapidity throughout this region. Count Raymond V 
(1148-1194), wishing to strike terror into them, enacted 
a law which decreed the confiscation of their property 
and death. The people of Toulouse quoted this law later 
on in a letter to King Pedro of Aragon to justify their 
sending heretics to the stake,' and when the followers of 

* "Illi vero, si deprehensi fuerint, per catholicos principes custodicB manci- 
Patif omnium bononmi amissione mulctentur." Can. 4, Labbe, Concilia, 
vol. X, col. 1419; Hist, des GatUes, vol. xiv, p. 431. 

3 For the details of this case, cf . A letter of Henry, Abbot of Clairvaux, 
Migne, P. L., vol. cciv, p. 235 and seq. 

8**Scientes preterito processu longi temporis dominum comitem patrem 
modemi temporis comitis ab universo Tolose populo accepisse in mandatis 
insirumefUo inde compositor quod si quis hereticus inventus esset in Tolosana 
urbe vel suburbio, cvun receptatore suo pariter ad supplicium traderetur, 
publicatis possessionibus utrius^ue; unde multos combussimust et adhuc cum 


Simon de Montfort arrived in southern France, in 
1209, they followed the example of Count Raymond 
by sending heretics to the stake everywhere they 

The authenticity of this law has been questioned, on 
account of its unheard-of severity.^ But Pedro II, King 
of Aragon and Count of Barcelona, enacted a law in 1 197 
which was just as terrible. He banished the Waldenses 
and all other heretics from his dominions, ordering them 
to depart before Passion Sunday of the following year 
(March 23, 1198). After that day, every heretic found 
in the kingdom or the county was to be sent to the stake, 
and his property confiscated.^ It is worthy of remark 
that in the king's mind the stake was merely a subsidiary 

In enacting this severe law, Pedro of Aragon declared 

invenimiis idem facere non cessamus." Letter written in 121 1 by the city 
of Toulouse to King Pedro of Aragon, in Teulet, Layettes du trisor des Chartes^ 
vol. i, p. 368. 

1 On this expedition, cf. Achille Luchaire, op. cit., Th. iv. and v; Tanon, 

op. CU.y pp. 28, 29. 

* Julien Havet, op. cit., p. 153, note. The reasons he gives for doubting 
it are far from convincing. He starts with the idea that Raymond V, all his 
life, favored the heretics. Luchaire holds the opposite view (op. cit., p. 46. 
Cf. Tanon, op. cit., p. 447). 

•"Valdenses . . . et omnes alios haereticos . . . ab omni regno et potes- 
tativo nostro tanquam inimicos crucis Christi christian acq ue fidei violatorcs 
et nostros regnique nostri publicos hastes exire et fugere distric to et irremeabilitcr 
praedpimus . . . Et si post tempus praefixum (Dominicam Passionis Domini) 
aliqui in tota terra nostra eos invenerint, duobus partibus rerum suarum 
confiscatis, tertia sit inventoris; corpora eorum ignibus crcmentur." De 
Marca, Marca Hispanicaf col. 1384. 


that he was moved by zeal for the public welfare/ and 
"had simply obeyed the canons of the Holy Roman 
Church." ^ With the exception of the death penalty by 
the stake, his reference to the canon law is perfectly 
accurate. Pope Alexander III, who had been present at 
the Council of Tours in 1163, renewed, at the Lateran 
Council in 11 79, the decrees already enacted against the 
heretics of central France. He considered the Cathari, 
the Brabanfons, etc., disturbers of the public welfare, 
and therefore called upon the princes to protect by force 
of arms their Christian subjects against the outrages of 
these heretics. The princes were to imprison all heretics 
and confiscate their property.^ The Pope granted indul- 
gences to all who carried on this pious work. 

In 1 184, Pope Lucius III, in union with the emperor 
Frederic Barbarossa, adopted at Verona still more vigor- 
ous measures. Heretics were to be excommunicated, 
and then handed over to the secular arm, which was to 

1 Notice the italicized words in the preceding note. 

2 "Sacrosanctae Romanae Ecclesiae canonibus obtemperantes, qui haereticos 
a consortio Dei et sanctae Ecclesiae et catholicorum omnium ezclusos ubique 
damnandos ac persequendos censuerunt." Loc. cit. 

3 The princes are invited "ut tantis cladibus se viriliter opponant et contra 
eos (haereticos) armis populum Christianum tueantur. Confiscentur eorum 
bona et liberum sit principibus hujusmodi homines subjicere servituti." 
Can. 27, Labbe, Concilia^ vol. x, col. 1522. The Council of Montpellier in 
1 195 presided over by the legate of Pope Celestinc III renewed this decree in 
nearly the same terms: "Constituit ut bona hujusmodi pestilentium hominum 
publicentur et ipsi nihilominus servituti subdantur." Labbe, Concilia^ 
vol. X, col. 1796. The word servitus (subjicere servituti and servituti sub- 
dantur) used by both councils means imprisonment (Julien Havet, op. cit.. 


inflict upon them the punishment they deserved {animad- 
versio dehiia).^ The Emperor decreed the imperial ban 
against them.^ 

This imperial ban was, as Picker has pointed out, a 
very severe penalty in Italy; for it comprised banish- 
ment, the confiscation of the property, and the destruction 
of the houses of the condemned, pubHc infamy, the in- 
ability to hold pubHc office, etc.^ This is beyond ques- 
tion the penalty the King of Aragon alluded to in his 

p. 154). It is equivalent to the custodicR mancipati of the Council of 
Tours in 1 163. As Alexander III presided over both councils (Tours and 
Lateran) it is most probable they decreed the same penalty. 

1 "Si clericus est (haereticus), vel cujuslibet religionis obumbratione fus- 
catus, totius ecclesiastici ordinis prerogativa nudetur, et sic omni ofl&cio et 
beneficio spoliatus secularis relinquaiur arbitrio potestatis animadversione 
debiia punienduSf nisi continuo post deprehensionem erroris ad fidei catholics 
unitatem sponte recurrere et errorem suum ad arbitrium episcopi regionis 
publice consenserit abjurare, et satisf actionem congruam exhibere. Laicus 
autem nisi, prout dictum est, abjurata haeresi et satisfactione exhibita con- 
festim ad fidem confugeret orthodoxam, secularis jvdicis arbitrio relinquatur, 
debitant recepturus pro qualitate facinoris uUionem^^* etc. Canon 27, inserted 
in the Decretals of Gregory IX, lib* v, tit. vii, De hereticis, cap. ix. 

2 "Papa eos excommunicavit, imperator vero tam res quam personas 
ipsorum imperiali banno subjecit," says the Continuatio Zwetlensis aliera, 
ad ann. 1184, in the Mon. Germ. SS.^ vol. ix, p. 542. The council had used 
the words animadversione puniendi. Animadversio in the Roman law 
signified the death penalty. Cf. The edict of Valerian in 258: In continenti 
animadvertentur. The imperial formula of condemnation seems to have 
been : Gladio animadverti placet. Cf . Paul Allard, Dix lemons sur le martyre^ 
Paris, 1906, p. 269, n. i. But in the Middle Ages animadversio comprised 
different penalties. We notice, for example, that Frederic Barbarossa, in 
accordance with the mind of the church, decreed no greater punishment than 

Ticker, Die gesetzliche Einfiihrung der Todesstrafe fUr Ketzerei, in the 
Mittheilungen des Instituts filr oesterreichische GeschicJUsforschung, vol. i 
(1880), pp. 187, 188, 194, 195. 


enactment. The penalty of the stake which he added, 
although in conformity with the Roman law, was an in- 

The pontificate of Innocent III, which began in 1198, 
marks a pause in the development of the Church's penal 
legislation against heresy. Despite his prodigious ac- 
tivity, this Pope never dreamt of enacting new laws, but 
did his best to enforce the laws then in vogue, and to 
stimulate the zeal of both princes and magistrates in 
the suppression of heresy.^ 

Hardly had he ascended the pontifical throne when he 
sent legates to southern France, and wrote urgent letters 
full of apostolic zeal to the Archbishops of Auch and Aix, 
the Bishop of Narbonne, and the King of France. These 
letters, as well as his instructions to the legates, are sim- 
ilar in tone: "Use against heretics the spiritual sword 
of excommunication, and if this does not prove effec- 
tive, use the material sword. The civil laws decree ban- 
ishment and confiscation; see that they are carried 


1 Tanon has proved, however {op. cU.^ pp. 433 and seq.), that the canonists 
had already revived the legislation of the first Christian Emperors against 

2 Julien Havet, op. cU.y p. 155. 

8**EcclesiasticaB districionis exercendo rigorem, et etiam, si necesse fuerit, 
per principes et populum eosdem (haereticos) facias virtiUe materialis 
gladii coerceri." Letter of April i, 1198, to the Archbishop of Auch, 
Innocent, Ep. i, 81. "Nobilibus viris principibus, comitibus et universis 
baronibus et magnatibus in vestra provincia constitutis praecipiendo man- 
damus et in remissionem injungimus peccatorum, ut . . . postquam per 


At this time the Cathari were living not only in the 
cities of Languedoc and Provence, but some had even 
entered the papal States, v.g. at Orvieto and Viterbo. 
The Pope himself went to these cities to combat the evil,* 
and at once saw the necessity of enacting special laws 
against them. They may be read in his letters of March 
25, 1 199, and September 22, 1207, which form a special 
code for the use of the princes and the podesta. Here- 
tics were to be branded with infamy; they were forbid- 

dictum fratrem Rainerium fuerint excommunicationis sententia innodati, 
eorum bona confiscetU et de terra sua proscribant; et, si post interdictum ejus 
in terra ipsorum praesumpserint commorari, gravius animadvertatU in eos^ 
sicut decet principes christianos." Letter to the Archbishop of Aix, April 21, 
1 198, Ep. 194. The words graving animadvertatU seem to imply the death 
penalty, but perhaps the Pope merely meant imprisonment. For in all his 
laws. Innocent III never once decreed the death penalty. Neariy all histo- 
rians are agreed on this point, as we will show later on. 

" Mandamus ut vos fratres . . . spiritualem gladium exeratis; laici vero 
bona eorum (haereticorum) confiscent et eos ejiciant de terra sua." Letter 
of May 13, 1 198, to the legate Gui, Ep. i, 165. "Satanae in interitum carnis 
traditas nuntietis et expositas personas eorum et judicio seculari, et bona 
confiscationi tradita," etc. Letter of May 31, 1204, to his legates, Ep. vii, 
71. Cf. letter of January 29, 1204, to the Bishop of Narbonne, Ep. vi, 243; 
letter to the King of France, Ep. vii, 212, etc. The letters of Innocent III 
are to be found in Migne, P. L., vol. ccxiv-ccxvi. 

* At Orvieto, where the Bishop had punished the heretics most severely after 
a riot. Innocent III appointed a podestk Piero Parenzo to enforce the laws 
and canons against obdurate heretics: "ut paenam exciperet legibus et canoni- 
bus constitutam.'' The podestk "alios alligavit ferreis nexibus compeditos, 
alios censuit publicis verberibus flagellandos, alios extra civitatem ccegit 
miserabiliter exulare, alios paena mulctavit pecuniae . . . , domus etiam fecit 
dirui plurimorum." Vita S. Petri Parentii, cap. vi, in the Acta SS., maii, 
vol. V, p. 87. On the work and murder of Parenzo, cf. Luchaire, Innocent 
III, Rome et ritalie, Paris, 1904, pp. 86-91. For Viterbo, cf. Gesta Innocentii, 
cap. cxxiii, in Migne, P. L., vol. ccxiv, col. clxi; Ep. Innocent ii, viii, 85 and 


den to be electors, to hold public office, to be members 
of the city councils, to appear in court or testify, to 
make a will or to receive an inheritance; if officials all 
their acts were declared null and void; and finally their 
property was to be confiscated. 

" In the territories subject to our temporal jurisdiction," 
adds the Pope, "we declare their property confiscated; in 
other places we order the podesta and the secular princes 
to do the same, and we desire and command this law en- 
forced under penalty of ecclesiastical censures." * 

We are riot at all surprised at such drastic measures, 
when we consider the agreement made by Lucius 1 1 1 with 
Frederic Barbarossa, at Verona. But we wish to call at- 
tention to the reasons that Innocent III adduced to justify 
his severity, on account of the serious consequences they 

1 " Districtius inhibemus ne quis haereticos receptare quomodolibet vel 
defendere aut ipsis favere vel credere quoquomodo praesumat ... In terris 
vero temporali nostrae jurisdictioni subjectis, bona eorum statuimus publican; 
et in aliis idem fieri praecipimus per potestates at principes seculares, quos ad 
id exequendum, si forte negligentes extiterint, per censuram ecclesiasticam 
appellatione postposita compelli volumus et mandamus." Letter of March 
25, 1 199, to the magistrates and people of Viterbo. Ep. ii, i. "Ad elimi- 
nandam omnino de patrimonio beati Petri haereticorum spurcitiam, servanda 
in perpetuum lege sancimus ut quicumque haereticus, et maxime Patarenus, 
in eo fuerit inventus, protinus capiatur et tradatur seculari curia puniendus 
secundum legitimas sanctiones. Bona vero ipsius omnia publicentur; ita ut 
de ipsis unam partem percipiat qui ceperit ilium, alteram curia quae ipsum 
punierit, tertia vero deputetur ad constructionem murorum illius terrae ubi 
fuerit interceptus. Domus autem in qua haereticus fuerit receptatus funditus 
destruatur, nee quisquam eam reaedificare praesumat, sed fiat sordium recepta- 
culum, quae fuit latibulum perfidorum." Constitution of September 23, 1207, 
Ep. X, 130. 


entailed. "The civil law," says the Pope, " punishes 
traitors with confiscation of their property and death; it 
is only out of kindness that the lives of their children are 
spared. All the more then should we excommunicate 
and confiscate the property of those who are traitors to 
the faith of Jesus Christ; for it is an infinitely greater sin 
to offend the divine majesty than to attack the majesty 
of the sovereign." ^ 

Whether this comparison be justified or not, it is 
certainly most striking. Later on Frederic 1 1 and others 
will quote it to justify their severity. 

The Lateran Council in 121 5 made the laws of Inno- 
cent III canons of the universal Church; it declared all 
heretics excommunicated, and delivered them over to the 
State to receive due punishment. This animadversio 
dehita entailed banishment with all its consequences and 
confiscation. The council also legislated against the 
abettors of heresy, even if they were princes, and ordered 
the despoiling of all rulers who neglected to enforce the 
ecclesiastical law in their domains.^ 

i"Ut temporalis saltern paena corripiat quern spiritualis non corripit 
disciplina. Cum enim secundum legitimas sanctiones rets lase majestatis 
punitis capite bona confisceniur eoruntf filiis suis vita solummodo misericordia 
conservata, quanto magis qui, aberrantes in fide, Domini Dei filium Jesum 
offendunt, a capite nostra, quod est Christus, ecclesiastica debent districtione 
praecidi et bonis temporalibus spoliari, cum longe sit gravius aternam quam 
temporalem Icsdere majestatem" etc. Letter of March 25, 1199, to the magis- 
trates of Viterbo, Ep. ii, i. This text is inserted in the Decretals, cap. x, 
De fuereticiSf lib. v, tit. vii. 

^"Damnati vera praesentibus sacularibus poiestatibus aut eonmi baillivis 


In practice, Innocent III, although very severe to- 
wards obdurate heretics, was extremely kind to the igno- 
rant and heretics in good faith. While he banished the 
Patarins from Viterbo,^ and razed their houses to the 
ground, he at the same time protected, against the tyranny 
of an archpriest of Verona, a society of mystics, the 
Humiliati, whose orthodoxy was rather doubtful.^ When, 
after the massacre of the Albigenses, Pope Innocent was 
called upon to apply the canon law in the case of Ray- 
mond, Count of Toulouse, and to transfer the patrimony 
of his father to Simon de Montfort, he was the first to 
draw back from such injustice.' Although a framer of 
severe laws against heresy, he was ready to grant dispen- 
sations, when occasion arose. 

We must remember also that the laws he enacted 
were not at all excessive compared with the strict 
Roman law, or even with the practice then in vogue in 
France and Germany. It has been justly said: "The 
laws and letters of Innocent III never once mention 

rdinquantur animadversione debita puniendi, clericis prius a suis ordinibus 
degradatis, ita quod bona hujusmodi damnatorum, si laid fuerint, confis- 
centur; si vero clerici, applicentur ecclesiis a quibus stipendia receperunt," 
etc. Labbe, Concilia^ vol. xi, col. 148-150; Decretales, cap. xiji, De hcereiicis, 
lib. V, tit. vii. 

1 Gesta Innocentiif cap. cxxiii, Migne, P. L., vol. ccxiv, col. cbd. 

2 "Even if they seem to be a L'ttle unorthodox, absolve them if they are 
-willing to submit, and acknowledge their errors." 

Letter to the Bishop of Verona, 1199. Ep. ii, 228; cf. Luchaire, Innocent 
II If la croisade des AlbigeoiSj pp. 58-60. 
* Luchaire, op. cit., p. 168 and seq. 



he death-penalty for heresy. He merely decrees against 
them banishment, and the confiscation of their property. 
When he speaks of having recourse to the secular arm, 
he means simply the force required to carry out the laws 
of banishment enacted by his penal code. This code, 
which seems so pitiless to us, was in reality at that 
time a great improvement in the treatment of heretics. 
For its special laws prevented the frequent outbreaks of 
popular vengeance, which punished not only confessed 
heretics, but also mere suspects." ^ 

In fact, the development in the methods of suppressing 
heresy from the eleventh century ends with Innocent III 
in a code that was far more kindly than the cruel customs 
in vogue at the time. 

The death penalty of the stake was common in France 
in the twelfth century, and in the beginning of the thir- 

1 Luchaire, op. cU.^ pp. 57, 58. Julien Havet also says: "We must in jus- 
tice say of Innocent III that, if he did bitterly prosecute heretics, and every- 
where put them under the ban, he never demanded the infliction of the death 
penalty. Ficker has brought this out very clearly." Uhirisie et le bras 
seculieft p. 165, n. 3. For Ficker's view, cf. op. cit.y pp. 189-192 {supra^ 
p. 68). That men who were merely suspected of heresy were summarily 
condemned and executed, as Luchaire says, we have seen in several instances. 
A canon of Langres testifies to this fact in his appeal to Innocent III; "the 
only reason," he sa}^, "that I did not appear before the Bishop or the papal 
delegates was the fear of death; because in this country (northern France) 
the piety of the people is so great that they are always ready to send to the 
stake, not only avowed heretics, but those merely suspected of heresy." 
(Cf. Luchaire, op. cii., pp. 65, 66.) 

Tanon, on the contrary, maintains (op. cit.^ pp. 448-450) that Innocent III 
in certain instances did require the infliction of the death penalty upon here- 
tics. Only one of the passages that he adduces is at all doubtful, viz., the 


teenth. Most of the executions were due to the pas- 
sions of the mob, although the Roman law was in part 
responsible. Anselm of Lucca and the author of the 
Panormia (Ivo of Chartres?) had copied word for word 
the fifth law of the title De Hcereticis of the Justinian 
code, under the rubric: De edicto imperatorum in damp- 
nationem hcereticorum} This law which decreed the death 
penalty against the Manicheans seemed strictly applicable 
to the Cathari, who were regarded at the time as the direct 
heirs of Manicheism.^ Gratian, in his Decree, main- 
tained the views of St. Augustine on the penalties of 
heresy, viz., fine and banishment.' But some of his 
commentators, especially Rufinus, Johannes Teutonicus, 
and an anonymous writer whose work is inserted in 
Huguccio's great Summa of the decree, declared that 
impenitent heretics might and even ought to be put to 
These difl^erent works appeared before the Lateran 

Gravius animadvertant in eos in the Letter of April 21, 1198 (Ep. i, 94). 
Even supposing that this did mean the death penalty, it would not, properly 
speaking, be the punishment of heresy, but of disobedience to the laws enacted 
against heresy. But in fact no one can prove that it does not mean life- 
imprisonment; cf. Supra^ p. 59, n. 2. Ifi any case, Tanon's view 
does not agree with what we know of the conduct and writings of Inno- 
cent III. 

1 Tanon, op. cit., pp. 453-454- 

2 Tanon, p. 9, n. i. 

' Decretum, 2 Pars, Causa xxiii, quest. 4, 6, 7. 

^ Rufinus, in his commentary on Causa 23, quest. 5, proves that "he who 
has the power of the sword," has the right to execute great criminals, and in 
Causa 24 he applies this principle to heretics: "Quomodo igitur qui manifeste 


Council of 1215.^ They are a good indication of the 
mind of the time. We may well ask whether the Arch- 
bishop of Reims, the Count of Flanders, Philip Augustus, 
Raymond of Toulouse, and Pedro of Aragon, who author- 
ized the use of the stake for heretics, did not think they 
were following the example of the first Christian em- 
perors. We must, however, admit that there is no direct 
allusion to the early imperial legislation either in their 
acts or their writings. Probably they were more in- 
fluenced by the customs of the time than by the written 

As a matter of fact, Gratian, who with St. Augustine 
mentioned only fine and banishment as the penalites for 
heresy, was followed for some time. We learn from 
Benencasa's Summa of the Decree that heretics were 

in haeresim labuntur, nee resipiscere volunt, puniendi sunt, in superiori causa 
monstratum est." Cf. Tanon, op. cit.y pp. 455, 456 and notes. This thesis 
is proved at great length. Johannes Teutonicus is more brief in his commen- 
tary on ch. 39, quest. 4, of the Decree: Vides ergo quod hcsretici sunt occi- 
dendif primo tamen admonendi. The anonymous writer, whose commentary 
is found in Huguccio's Summa of the Decree, teaches the same doctrine on 
ch. 39, causa 23, quest. 4: Quando vult temporcUes mortes, id est paenas. Vel 
proprie distinguere quod primo debent admoneri et deinde, si pertinaciter 
resistere voluerint et incorrigibiles extiterint, poterunt morte affici. He 
quotes in favor of his thesis the law Arcani against the Manicheans. And 
on ch. 41, Non inveniturt he adds: "Innuit quod pro sola haeresi non sint 
morte pimiendi. Solve ut prius. Quando enim sunt incorrigibiles, ultimo 
supplido feruntur, aliter non." Bibliothfeque Nationale, Ms. 15379, fol. 49. 
Cf. Tanon, op. cit.^ pp. 456, 457 and notes. 

* The collection of Anselm of Lucca is prior to 1080. The Panormia was 
written about the beginning of the twelfth century; the Decree about 1140; 
the three commentaries were written a little before 12 15. Cf. Tanon, op. cit., 
pp. 453-458- 


punished not by death, but by banishment and con- 
fiscation of their property.* 

The Councils of Tours and Lateran also decreed confis- 
cation, but for banishment they substituted imprisonment, 
a penalty unknown to the Roman law. The Council of 
Lateran appealed to the authority of St. Leo the Great, 
to compel Christian princes to prosecute heresy.^ 

From the time of Lucius III, owing to the influence of 
the lawyers, the two penalties of banishment and con- 
fiscation prevailed. Innocent III extended them to the 
universal Church.' 

This was undoubtedly a severer penal legislation 

1 Biblioth. Nation., Ms. 3892, Summa of Benencasa: 41, cap. 23, q. 4, 
Non invenitur: Vincentius quaesivit ab Augustino ubi inveniatur exemplum 
quod ecclesia petierit auxilium a regibus terras contra inimicos, respondit: 
Non in Evangelio nee in Apostolo istud exemplum reperitur. Tamen unum 
exemplum Nabuchodonosor regis, in quo utrumque tempus figiu-atur, et 
primitivae Ecdesiae in qua justi ab impiis cogebantur ad malum, et Ecclesiae 
quae nunc est, in qua haeretici coguntur a Christianis, non ad mortem, sed ad 
exilium vel dampnum rerum temporalium. 

2 Canon 27, Labbe, Concilia^ vol. x, col. 1522; Leonis, Epist. xv, ad 
Turribium, Migne, Pat. lot., vol. liv, col. 679-680. 

' The legate Milo persuaded the consuls of Montpellier to swear, August i, 
1209: "Ipsos (haereticos) persequemur secundum legitimas sanctiones, et 
eonun bona omnia pro posse nostro infiscabimus," etc. D'Achery, Spici- 
legium, 1723, in-fol., vol. i, pp, 706, 707. A little later, the Council of Avignon, 
presided over by the two legates of Innocent III, proposed the oath of the 
Consids of Montpellier as a model for the civil authorities- of Provence: "ut 
eos (haereticos) puniant secundum canonicas et legitimas sanctiones, nihil- 
ominus bona ipsorum omnia confiscautes." D'Achery, Spicilegium, vol. i, 
p. 704, col. I. 

We have already mentioned the laws of Innocent (1198) for southern 
France, and certain cities of Italy (pp. 58-60). We have another letter, January 
5, 1 199, to the Bishop of Syracuse, recommending him: "excommunicatos 


than that of the preceding age. But on the other 
hand it was an effective barrier against the infliction of 
the death penalty, which had become so common in many 
parts of Qiristendom. 

Besides, during this period, the church used vigorous 
measures only against obdurate heretics, who were also 
disturbers of the public peace.^ They alone were handed 
over to the secular arm; if they abjured their heresy, 
they were at once pardoned, provided they freely ac- 
cepted the penance imposed upon them.^ This kind 

(haereticos) publice nuntiari facias et bona eonun a principibus publican." 
Ep. i, 509. On December 12, 1206, he exhorted the podestk, consuls, and 
Council of Faenza: **guoslibet pravitatis hcsretica sectaiores satagaiis a civitate 
vestra depeUere" as Prato and Florence had done; Ep. ix, 204; cf. Letter 
of March 10, 1206, Ep. ix, 18: "A civitate vestra penitus excludatis et sub 
perpetuo banno consistant nee recipiantur de caetero vel etiam tolerentur in 
civitate manere nisi ad mandatum Ecclesiae revertantur, bona eorum . . . 
confiscentur secundum hgitimas sanctiones et etiam publicentur." The 
hannum perpetuum and the legitima sanctiones refer to the old Teutonic law 
and the Roman law. The Pope even wrote to Hungary (Letter of October 
II, 1200, Ep. iii, 3), where his laws were observed (cf. Ep. v, no, and Thomae 
archdeaconi Hist. Salonitana in Schwandner, Rerum^ Hungaric. 55., 1746, 
vol. iii, p. 568). Finally, we have the promise made to the Pope by the 
emperor Otto IV, March 22, 1209: "Super eradicando autem haeretice pravi- 
tatis errore auxilium dabimus et operam efficacem." Mon. Germ., Leges, 
vol. ii, p. 217. This promise was renewed in the same terms by Frederic II, 
July 12, 1 2 13, ibid., p. 224. 

1 Innocent III merely condemned to prison in a monastery the heretical 
abbot of Nevers: **Et quoniam metuendum est ne in laquem desperationis 
inddens et ad perfidorum haereticorum insaniam ex toto conversus eorum 
praevaricationibus contaminet gregem intactum, retrudi eum in districto 
monasterio faciatis et ibi ad ageqdam pcenitentiam sub arcta custodia deti- 
neri." Letter of June 19, 1199, to a cardinal and a Bishop of Paris. Ep. ii, 

*Cf. Canon 27 of the Lateran Council (1179), which we have quoted 


treatment, it was true, was not to last. It, however, 
deserves special notice, for the honor of those who 
preached and practiced it. 

above, and which is inserted in the Decretals of Gregory ix, cap. ix, De 
hcsreticiSf lib. v, tit. vii. 


The Catharan or Albigensian Heresy — Its Anti- 
Catholic AND Anti-Social Character 

While Popes Alexander HI, Lucius HI, and Innocent 
III, were adopting such vigorous measures, the Catharan 
heresy by its rapid increase caused widespread alarm 
throughout Christendom. Let us endeavor to obtain 
some insight into its character, before we describe the 
Inquisition, which was destined to destroy it. 

The dominant heresy of the period was the Albigensian 
or Catharan heresy;^ it was related to Oriental Manicheism^ 
through the Paulicians and the Bogomiles, who professed 
a dualistic theory on the origin of the world. 

In the tenth century, the empress Theodora, who 
detested the Paulicians, had one hundred thousand of 

1 The heretics called themselves "Cathari" or *Hhe Pure." They wished 
thereby to denote especially their horror of all sexual relations, says the 
monk Egbert: Sermones contra Catharos^ in Migne, P. L., cxcv, col. 13. 
Their opponents took delight in ridiculing this name. Cf. the anonymous 
author of Errores haereticorum (of the fourteenth century), quoted by Bol- 
linger: "Kathari dicuntur a charto (cato), cujus posteriora osculantur, in 
cujus specie eis Lucifer apparet," etc. Beitrage, vol. ii (Dokumente), 

P- 293. 

3 On the origin of the Manichean heresy, cf . Duchesne, Histoire ancierme 
de VEglist, pp. 555, 556. 

. 69 


them massacred;* the emperor, Alexis Comnenus (about 
1118), persecuted the Bogomiles in like manner.^ Many, 
therefore, of both sects went to western Europe, where 
they finally settled, and began to spread.' 

As early as 1167, they held a council at St. Felix de 
Caraman, near Toulouse, under the presidency of one 
of their leaders. Pope or perhaps only Bishop Niketas 
(Niquinta) of Constantinople. Other bishops of the sect 
were present: Mark, who hacl charge of all the churches 
of Lombardy, Tuscany, and the Marches of Treviso; 
Robert de Sperone, who governed a church in the north, 
and Sicard Cellerier, Bishop of the Church of Albi. They 
appointed Bernard Raymond, Bishop of Toulouse, Gui- 
raud Mercier, Bishop of Carcassonne, and Raymond of 
Casalis, Bishop of Val d'Aran, in the diocese of Com- 
minges.* Such an organization certainly indicates the 
extraordinary development of the heresy about the 
middle of the twelfth century.*^ 

About the year 1200 its progress was still more alarm- 

1 On the Paulidans, and this massacre, cf. DoUinger, Beiirdge, vol. i, 
pp. 1-34. 

2 On the Bogomiles (The Friends of God) cf . Vemet, in the Dictionnaire 
de Theologie Catholique^ Paris, Letouzey et An6, vol. ii, col. 927-930. 

>On their route, cf. DoUinger, ibid., pp. 51-75, Vernet, ibid., vol. ii, 
col. 1998 and seq. 

* Hist, des Gaides, vol. xiv, pp. 448, 449. 

* In 1 1 78, the legate Peter of St. Chrysogono was opposed by the Catharan 
Bishops of Toulouse and Val. d'Aran. At Toulouse he held a public con- 
ference with them, after giving them a safe-conduct. Vaissette, Histoire du 
LanguedoCf vol. zi, p. 82. 


ing. Bonacursus, a Catharan bishop converted to Cathol- 
icism, writes about 11 90: "Behold the cities, towns and 
homes filled with these false prophets." ^ Caesarius, of 
Heisterbach, tells us that a few years later there were 
Cathari in about one thousand cities,^ especially in Lom- 
bardy and Languedoc. 

There were at least seven to eight hundred of "the 
Perfected" in Languedoc alone; and to obtain approxi- 
mately the total number of the sect, we must multiply 
this number by twenty or even more.' 

Of course, perfect unity did not exist among the Cathari. 
The different names by which they were known clearly 
indicate certain differences of doctrine among them. 
Some, like the Cathari of Alba and Desenzano,* taught 
with the Paulicians an absolute dualism, affirming that 
all things created came from two principles, the one 
essentially good, and the other essentially bad. Two 
other groups, the Concorrezenses and the Bagolenses,*^ 
like the ancient Gnostics held a modified form of dual- 
ism; they pretended that the evil spirit had so marred 
the Creator's work, that matter had become the instru- 
ment of evil in the world. Still they agreed with the 

1 Manifestatio haresis Catharorum, in Migne, P. L., vol. cciv, col. 778. 

^ Dialogic Antwerp, 1604, p. 289. 

8 This is Dollinger's estimate, Bettrdge^ vol. i, pp. 212, 213. 

* Alba was a dty of Piedmont; Desenzano was a small city southwest of 
Lac de Garde, where the Cathari were numerous. 

* Concorezzo was a district of Lombardy, Bagnolo was the name of many 
cities in Italy; cf. Vemet, op. cit., col. 1993, 1994* 


pronounced dualists in nearly all their doctrines and ob- 
servances; their few theoretical differences were scarcely 
appreciable in practice.* 

Still contemporary writers called them by different 
names. In Italy they were confounded with the orthodox 
Patarins and Arnaldists of Milan; which explains the 
frequent use of the word Patareni in the constitutions of 
Frederic II, and other documents. 

The Arnaldists or Arnoldists and the Speronistae, were 
the disciples of Arnold of Brescia, and the heretical 
bishop Sperone. Although the chief center of the 
Cathari in France was Toulouse and not Albi, they were 
called Albigeois (Albigenses), and Tisserands (Texerants), 
because many were weavers by trade; Arians, because of 
their denial of Christ's divinity: Paulicians, which was 
corrupted into Poplicani, Puhlicani, Piphes and Piples 
(Flanders); Bulgarians (Bulgari) , irom their origin, which 
became in the mouths of the people of Bugari, Bulgri, 
and Bugres? In fact about 1200, nearly all the heretics 
of western Europe were considered Cathari.' 

1 On the Catharan doctrines, cf. Bollinger, Beiirdge, vol. i, pp. 132-200; 
vol. ii (DokumetUe), pp. 52, 85, 273, 279, 293, 297, 301, 311, 321, 324, 326, 
374, 612, 617, 620; Vernet, op. cU., vol. ii, col. 1993 and seq. 

2 For the different names, cf. Bollinger, Beitragej vol. i, pp. 127-132, 
Lea, op. cU.y vol. i, p. 114, note. Bougre later on designated any heretic. 

« The Waldenses differed considerably from the Cathari, although in some 
things they agreed. For their teachings, cf. Bollinger, Beitrdge, vol. ii 
(DokumerUe), pp. 92, 251, 304, 328, 331, 344, 346, 351. 3^5* 367- I" many 
documents (cf. the Processus InquisUionis, Appendix A) they were mistaken 
one for the other. 


Catharism was chiefly a negative heresy; it denied the 
doctrines, hierarchy and worship of the CathoHc Church, 
as well as the essential rights of the State. 

These neo-Manicheans denied that the Roman Church 
represented the Church of Christ. The Popes were not 
the successors of St. Peter, but rather the successors of 
Constantine.^ St. Peter never came to Rome. The 
relics which were venerated in the Constantinian basil- 
ica, were the bones of some one who died in the third 
century; they were not relics of the Prince of the 
Apostles.^ Constantine unfortunately sanctioned this 
fraud, by conferring upon the Roman pontiff* an immense 
domain, together with the prestige that accompanies 
temporal authority.^ How could anyone recognize under 
the insignia, the purple mantle, and the crown of the 
successors of St. Sylvester, a disciple of Jesus Christ? 
Christ had no place where to lay his head, whereas the 
Popes lived in a palace ! Christ rebuked worldly dominion, 
while the Popes claimed it ! What had the Roman curia 
with its thirst for riches and honors in common with the 
gospel of Christ? What were these archbishops, primates, 

1 Moneta (a Dominican Inquisitor about 1250), Adversus Caiharos et 
VaJdenses, ed. Ricchini, 1743, p. 409. St. Dominic died in Moneta's bed at 
Bologna, Aug. 6, 1231. Cf. Tanon, op. cit.j p. 42. 

2 Moneta, ibid.t p. 410. 

'The Middle Ages believed firmly in the donation of Constantine. It 
was, however, questioned by Wetzel, a disciple of Arnold of Brescia in 1152, 
in a letter to Frederic Barbarossa, Martfene and Durand, VeUrum scriptorum 
. . . amplissima coUectio, Paris, 1724, vol. ii, col. 554-557. 


cardinals, archdeacons, monks, canons, Dominicans, and 
Friars Minor but the Pharisees of old! The priests placed 
heavy burdens upon the faithful people, and they them- 
selves did not touch them with the tips of their fingers; 
they received tithes from the fields and flocks; they ran 
after the heritage of widows; all practices which Christ 
condemned in the Pharisees.* 

And yet withal they dared persecute humble souls who, 
by their pure life, tried to realize the perfect ideal proposed 
by Christ! These persecutors were not the true dis- 
ciples of Jesus. The Roman Church was the woman of 
the Apocalypse,^ drunk with the blood of the Saints, and 
the Pope was Antichrist.^ 

The sacraments of the Church were a mere figment of 
the imagination. The Cathari made one sacrament out 
of Baptism, Confirmation, Penance and Eucharist, which 
they called the Consolamentum; they denied the real 
presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, and they re- 
pudiated marriage.* 

Baptism of water was to them an empty ceremony,* 

as valueless as the baptism of John. Christ had un- 
doubtedly said: "Unless a man be bom again of water 
and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom 

' Moneta, op. cU., pp. 390-396. 

^Apoc. vii, 3, 18. 

'Moneta, op. cU.^ p. 397. 

* Cf. Dollinger, Beitrdge^ vol. ii {DokumenU)^ pp. 294, 297. 

»D6llinger ibid., pp. 5, 29, 68, 155, 197, 297. 


of God." * But the acts of the Apostles proved that bap- 
tism was a mere ceremony, for they declared that the 
Samaritans, although baptized, had not thereby received 
the Holy Spirit, by whom alone the soul is purified from 

The Catholic Church also erred greatly in teaching 
infant baptism. As their faculties were undeveloped, 
infants could not receive the Holy Spirit. The Cathari — 
at least till the middle of the thirteenth century — did 
not confer the Consolamentum upon newly born infants. 
According to them, the Church could only abandon these 
little ones to their unhappy destiny.' If they died, they 
were either forever lost, or, as others taught, condemned 
to undergo successive incarnations, until they received the 
Cansolamentufn, which classed them with ''the Perfected." 

It was preposterous to imagine that Christ wished to 
change bread and wine into his body in the Eucharist. 
The Cathari considered transubstantiation as the worst 
of abominations, since matter, in every form, was the 
work of the Evil Spirit. They interpreted the gospel 
texts in a figurative sense: "This is My Body," they said, 
simply means: "This represents My Body," thus antici- 
pating the teaching of Carlstadt and Zwingli.* They all 

* John iii. 5. 

2 Act i. 5; viii. 14-17 Moneta, op. cii., p. 290. 

'Moneta, op. cU., p. 394. Dollinger, op. cit., vol. i, p. 193; vol. ii (Doku- 
metUe), pp. 317, 340, 346. 

4 Moneta, op. cU., p. 395; Alanus, Adversus hcsreticos et WaldenseSy ed. 


agreed in denouncing Catholics for daring to claim that 
they really partook of the Body of Christ, as if Christ 
could enter a man's stomach, to say nothing worse;* or 
as if Christ would expose himself to be devoured by rats 
and mice.^ 

The Cathari, denying the real presence of Jesus Christ 
in the Eucharist, rejected the sacrifice of the Mass. 
God, according to them, repudiated all sacrifices. Did 
he not teach us through his prophet Osee: "I desire 
mercy and not sacrifice." ^ 

The Lord's supper which the apostles ate so often was 
something altogether difl'erent from the Roman Mass. 
They knew nothing of sacerdotal vestments, stone altars 
with shining candelabra, incense, hymns, and chantings. 
They did not worship in an immense building called a 
church — a word which should be applied exclusively to 
the assembly of the saints.* 

The Cathari, in their hatred of Catholic piety, railed in 
the most abusive language against the veneration of im- 
ages, and especially of the cross. The images and statues 

Masson, p. 142; Dollinger, BeUrdge, vol. ii (DokumenteX PP* 23, 156, 198, 

* "Quod mittitur in latrinam ventris et per turpissimum locum, quae non 
possent fieri, si esset ibi Deus." Dollinger, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 5. 

^ Ibid-t P- 27. Cf. Moneta, op. cit.f p. 300; Gregory of Florence, Bishop 
of Fano, about 1240, DisptUatio inter Catholicum et Paterinum^ in Martfene 
and Durand, Thesaurtis novus anecdoiorum, vol. v, p. 1729. 

'Osee, vi, 6; Moneta, op. cU., p. 300. DisptUatio inter Catholicum et 
PaterinuMt p. 1730. 

< Cf. Dollinger, op. cit., vol. ii (Dokumente)^ pp. 23, 40, 56, 156, 377. 


of the saints were to them nothing but idols/ which ought 
to be destroyed. The cross on which Jesus died should be 
hated rather than reverenced. Some of them, moreover, 
denied that Jesus had been really crucified; they held that 
a demon died, or feigned to die in his stead.^ Even those 
who believed in the reality of the Savior's crucifixion 
made this very belief a reason for condemning the ven- 
eration of the cross. What man is there, they said, who 
could see a loved one, for example a father, die upon a 
cross, and not feel ever after a deep hatred of this in- 
strument of torture?^ The cross, therefore, should not 
be reverenced, but despised, insulted and spat upon.* 
One of them even said: " I would gladly hew the cross to 
pieces with an axe, and throw it into the fire to make 
the pot boil." ' 

Not only were the Cathari hostile to the Church and 
her divine worship, but they were also in open revolt 
against the State, and its rights. 

The feudal society rested entirely upon the oath of 
fealty (jusjurandum), which was the bond of its strength 
and solidity. 

According to the Qthari, Christ taught that it was 

» Dollinger, ibid., vol. ii, pp. 26, 56, 176, 323. 

'Moneta, op. cii., p. 461; DisptUatio inter Catholicum ei Paterinum, 
p. 1748. 

'Dollinger, vol. ii {Dokumente), pp. 6, 29, 73, 223. 

* "Immo homo debebat spuere contra earn et facere omnem vilitatem," etc. 
Dollinger, ihid.^ pp. 26; cf. p. 21. 

fi Dollinger, ibid., pp. 168, 169. 


sinful to take an oath, and that the speech of every Chris- 
tian should be yes, yes; no, no. ^ Nothing, therefore, 
could induce them to take an oath.^ 

The authority of the State, even when Christian, ap- 
peared to them, in certain respects, very doubtful. Had 
not Christ questioned Peter, saying: "What is thy 
opinion, Simon? The kings of the earth, of whom do 
they receive tribute or custom? of their own children, 
or of strangers?" Peter replied: "Of strangers." Jesus 
said to him: "Then are the children free (of every obli- 
gation)." » 

The Cathari quoted these words to justify their refusal 
of allegiance to princes. Were they not disciples of Christ, 
whom the truth had made free? * Some of them not only 
disputed the lawfulness of taxation, but went so far as to 
condone stealing, provided the thief had done no injury 
to " Believers." « 

1 Matt. V, 37; James v, 12. 

2 Dollinger, BeUr&ge^ vol. ii (Dokumentf), pp. 15, 83, 167, 323; Moneta, 
op. cit.f p. 470; Doat, xxii, p. 90; Bernard Gui, Practica inguisUionis, p. 239. 

3 Matt. xvii. 24, 25. 

* Dollinger, Beitrdge^ vol. ii (DokumetUe), pp. 69, 75; cf. vol. i, p. 183. 

« Contrary to the Catholic teaching, the Cathari absolved those who stole 
from "non-believers," without obliging them to make restitution. "Audivit 
ab Jacobo Auterii et ab aliis quod credentes propter hoc erant audaces ad 
faciendum malum aliis hominibus et ad inferendum damnum els, quia con- 
fidebant, quod in morte reciperentur et sic absolverentur per eas ab omnibus 
peccatis et salvarentur, et non audivit ab haereticis, nee credentibus, quod 
haeretici inducerent aliquem credentem quem haereticare volebant quod 
restitueret alicui ilia quae male abstulerat vel lucratus fuerat ab eo; credit 
tamen, quod haeretici inducerent credentes, quod si aliquid injuste habuerant 


Some of the Cathari admitted the authority of the 
State, but denied its right to inflict capital punishment. 
"It is not God's will," said Pierre Garsias, "that human 
justice condemn any one to death ; ^ and when one of the 
Cathari became consul of Toulouse, he wrote to remind 
him of this absolute law.^ But the Summa contra hceret- 
icos asserts: "all the Catharan sects taught that the 
public prosecution of crime was unjust, and that no 
man had a right to administer justice";^ a teaching 
which denied the State's right to punish. 

The Cathari interpreted literally the words of Christ to 
Peter: "All that take the sword shall perish with the 
sword," * and applied the commandment Non occides 
absolutely. "In no instance," they said, "has one the 
right to kill another"; ** neither the internal welfare of 
a country, nor its external interests can justify murder. 
War is never lawful. The soldier defending his country 
is just as much a murderer as the most common criminal. 

ab aliis credentibus, quod illud redderent, sed (non) credit, quod inducerent 
COS ad reddendiun quod injuste habuerant a non credentibus Tamen hoc 
communiter haeretici tenebant, quod sive earum credentes redderent illud 
quod male acquisiverant sive non, solummodo quod reciperentur per hajreti- 
cos, quod absoluti essent ab omnibus peccatis et salvarentur." DoUinger, 
ibid., vol. ii, pp. 248, 249; cf. pp. 245, 246. 

1 Doat, vol. xxii, p. 89. 

* Ibid., p. 100. 

3 " Quod vindicta non debet fieri; quod justitia non debet fieri per hominem." 

Summa contra hareticos, ed. Douais, p. 133, Moneta, op. cit., p. 513. 

*Matt. xxvi. 52. 

*"Nullo casu occidendum." Doat, xxiii, 100; Summa contra hcsreticos, 
p. 133. * Cf. Dollinger, Beiir&ge, vol. ii, p. 199. 


It was not any special aversion to the crusades, but their 
horror of war in general, that made the Cathari declare 
the preachers of the crusades murderers.^ 

These anti-Catholic, anti-patriotic, and anti-social 
theories were only the negative side of Catharism. 
Let us now ascertain what they substituted for the 
Catholic doctrines they denied. 

Catharism, as we have already hinted, was a hodge- 
podge of pagan dualism and gospel teaching, given to the 
world as a sort of reformed Christianity. 

Human souls, spirits fallen from heaven into a material 
body which is the work of the Evil Spirit, were subject 
on this earth to a probation, which was ended by Christ, 
or rather by the. Holy Spirit. They were set free by the 
imposition of hands, the secret of which had been com- 
mitted to the true Church by the disciples of Jesus. 

This Church had its rulers, the Bishops, and its mem- 
bers who are called "the Perfected," "the Consoled," 
and "the Believers." 

We need not dwell upon the episcopate of the Catharan 
hierarchy. Suffice it to say that the Bishop was always 
surrounded by three dignitaries, the Ftltus Major, the 
Filius Minor, and the Deacon. The Bishop had charge 
of the most important religious ceremonies; the impo- 
sition of hands for the initiation or Consolamentum, the 
breaking of bread which replaced the Eucharist, and 

* Doat, xxii, 89; Dollinger, Beiir&ge, vol. ii, pp. 199, 200, 287. 


the liturgical prayers such as the recitation of the Lord's 
Prayer. When he was absent, the Filius Major, the 
Films Minor, or the Deacon took his place. It was sel- 
dom, however, that these dignitaries traveled alone; the 
Bishop -was always accompanied by his Deacon, who 
served as his socius} 

One joined the Church by promising (the Convenenia) 
to renounce the Catholic faith, and to receive the Cath- 
aran initiation (the Consolamentum) , at least at the hour 
of death.^ This was the first step on the road to per- 
fection. Those who agreed to make it were called "the 
Believers." Their obligations were few. They were not 
bound to observe the severe Catharan fasts, which we will 
mention later on. They could live in the world like 
other mortals, and were even allowed to eat meat and 
to marry. Their chief duty was "to venerate" ''the 
Perfected," each time they entered their presence. They 
genuflected, and prostrated themselves three times, 
saying each time as they rose "Give us your bless- 
ing"; the third time they added: "Good Christians, give 
us God's blessing and yours; pray God that he preserve 

* Cf . DoUinger, B«^ra^e, vol. i, pp. 200-203; vol. ii (Z>o^wwen/g), pp. 194, 
266, 278, 292, 295, 324, etc. 

2"Fecit pactum haereticis, quod ipsi vocant la convenensa, quod peteret 
haereticos in. infirmitate sua, ut reciperent eum et servarent animam ipsius." 
Senientia inquisUionis Tolosana, in Limborch, p. 29. "Interrogatus si fecit 
haeretids conveniionem, quod possent eum haereticare et recipere in fidem et 
sectam suam in fine, dixit quod sic." DSllinger, BeUrdge, vol. ii {Doku- 
tnente), p. 18. 



us from an evil death, and bring us to a good end!" The 
Perfected replied: "Receive God's blessing and ours; 
may God bless you, preserve you from an evil death, and 
bring you to a good end." * If these heretics were asked 
why they made others venerate them in this manner, 
they replied that the Holy Spirit dwelling within them 
gave them the right to such homage.^ The Believers 
were always required to pay this extraordinary mark of 
respect. In fact it was a sine qua non of their being 
admitted to the Convenenia? 

The Convenenja was not merely an external bond, 
uniting "the Believers" and "the Perfected," but it was 
also an earnest of eternal salvation. It assured the 
future destiny of "the Believers"; it gave them the right 
to receive the consolamentum on their death-bed.* This 
remitted all the sins of their life. Only one thing could 
deprive them of "this good end"; viz., the absence of one 
of the Perfected, who alone could lay hands upon them.^ 

» Dollinger, ibid., p. 4; cf. pp. 18, 19, 25, 30, 39; vol. i, pp. 237, 238. 
2 Dollinger, vol. ii, pp. 4, 376. 

8Doat, vol. xxxii, fol. 170; cf. Dollinger, BeUrdgCt vol. ii, pp. 27, 145, 
182, 183, 187, 236, 249. 

* "Paciscens cum eis, ut si in articulo mortis esses, licet non haberes usum 
linguae nihilominus te in suam sectam reciperent." Doat, Acta inquisitionis 
Carcass.^ vol. i, fol. 317; cf. Dollinger, Beitrdge, vol. i, p. 213; vol. ii, pp. 4, 

* Ordinarily, "mos haereticorum existit, quod, ubi duo perfecti haeretici ad 
hdereticandum aliquem infirmum conveniunt, alter eonmi solus et communiter 
antiquior in haeresi infirmum haereticet." Dollinger, Beitriige, vol. ii, p. 39. 
But in times of persecution only one of **the Perfected" was required to 
confer the consolamerUum, 


Those who died without the Catharan consolamentum 
were either eternally lost, or condemned to begin life 
anew with another chance of becoming one of "the good 
men." ^ These transmigrations of the soul were rather 
numerous. The human soul did not always pass directly 
from the body of a man into the body of another man. 
It occasionally entered into the bodies of animals, like 
the ox and the ass. The Cathari were wont to tell the 
story of "a good Christian," one of "the Perfected," who 
remembered, in a previous existence as a horse, having 
lost his shoe in a certain place between two stones, as he 
was running swiftly under his master's spur. When he 
became a man he was curious enough to hunt for it, and 
he found it in the self-same spot.^ Such humiliating 
transmigrations were undoubtedly rather rare. A woman 
named Sybil, "a Believer" and later on one of "the 
Perfected," remembered having been a queen in a prior 

What the Convenen^a promised, the Catharan initiation 
or consolamentum gave; * the first made "Believers," and 

»The Cathari commonly taught that there was no hell: quod infernus 
nihil esi . . . ; quod anima non damnabuntur. Cf. Summa adversus Catha- 
ros, ed. Douais, 132; cf. p. 127. "De corpore in corpus, donee veniret in 
manus bonorum hominum." Dollinger, Beiirdge, vol. ii, pp. 36, 174, 175. 

2D6llinger, ibid., pp. 153, 175. 

8 Dollinger, ibid., p. 24; cf. pp. 31, 36, 153, 174, 191, 207, 216, 235. 

< The rites of the Consolamentum are indicated in a ritual published by 
Clddat under the title: Le nouveau Testament traduit au XI 11^ sUcle en 
langue proven^ale, suivi d^un rituel cathare, Paris, 1888; and in the Practica 
inquisitionis hctretice pravitatis of Bernard Gui, ed. Douais, Paris, 1886. 


predisposed souls to sanctity; the second made "the Per- 
fected," and conferred sanctity with all its rights and 

The Consolamentum required a preparation which we 
may rightly compare with the catechumenate of the 
early Christians.* 

This probation usually lasted one year. It consisted 
in an honest attempt to lead the life of "the Perfected," 
and chiefly in keeping their three "lents," abstaining 
from meat, milk-food and eggs. It was therefore called 
the time of abstinence (abstinentia). One of ''the Per- 
fected" was appointed by the Church to report upon the 
life of the postulant, who daily had to venerate his su- 
perior, according to the Catharan rite.^ 

After this probation, came the ceremony of "the de- 
livery" (traditio) of the Lord's Prayer. A number of 
"the Perfected" were always present. The highest 
dignitary, the Bishop or "the Ancient," made the 
candidate a lengthy speech, which has come down 
to us: 

"Understand," he said, "that when you appear before 
the Church of God you are in the presence of the Father, 

^ Cf. Jean Guiraud, Le Consolamentum ou initiation cathare^ in Questions 
d'histoire et d^archeologie chretienne. Paris, 1906, pp. 95-149. 

2 See the case of Guillaume Tardieu in Doat, vol. xxiii, p. 201 and seq. 
Another case may be found in Ms. 609 (fol. 41) of the library of Toulouse: 
"Sed dicti heretici noluerunt earn ipsam hereticare donee bene esset instructs 
fidem et mores hereticorum et fedsset primo tres quadragenas" (the three 
Catharan lents). 


the Son and the Holy Spirit, as the Scriptures prove," etc. 
Then, having repeated the Lord's Prayer to "the Believer " 
word for word, and having explained its meaning, he con- 
tinued: "We deliver to you this holy prayer, that you 
may receive it from us, from God, and from the Church, 
that you may have the right to say it all your life, 
day and night, alone and in company, and that you may 
never eat or drink without first saying it. If you omit 
it, you must do penance." The Believer replied: "I re- 
ceive it from you and from the Church." ^ 

After these words came the Ahrenuntiatio. At the 
Catholic baptism, the catechumen renounced Satan, with 
his works and pomps. According to the Catharan ritual, 
the Catholic Church was Satan. 

"The Perfected" said to the Believer: "Friend, if you 
wish to be one of us, you must renounce all the doc- 
trines of the Church of Rome;" and he replied: "I 
do renounce them." 

— Do you renounce that cross made with chrism upon 
your breast, head, and shoulders? 

— I do renounce it. 

— Do you believe that the water of Baptism is effi- 
cacious for salvation? 

— No, I do not believe it. 

— Do you renounce the veil, which the priest placed 
upon your head, after you were baptized? 

1 C16dat, RUud Cathare, pp. zi-xv. 


— I do renounce it.^ 

Again the Bishop addressed "the Believer" to impress 
upon him the new duties involved in his receiving the 
Holy Spirit. Those who were present prayed God to 
pardon the candidate's sins, and then venerated "the 
Perfected" (the ceremony of the Parcia). After the 
Bishop's prayer, "May God bless thee, make thee a good 
Christian, and grant thee a good end," the candidate 
made a solemn promise faithfully to fulfill the duties he 
had learned during his probatio.^ The words of his 
promise are to be found in Sacconi: "I promise to de- 
vote my life to God and to the gospel, never to lie or swear, 
never to touch a woman, never to kill an animal, never to 
eat meat, eggs or milk-food; never to eat anything but 
fish and vegetables, never to do anything without first 
saying the Lord's Prayer, never to eat, travel, or pass the 
night without a socius. If I fall into the hands of my 
enemies or happen to be separated from my socius, I 
promise to spend three days without food or drink. I will 
never take off my clothes on retiring, nor will 1 deny my 
faith even when threatened with death." ^ The cere- 
mony of the Parcia was then repeated. 

Then, according to the ritual, "the Bishop takes the 
book (the New Testament), and places it upon the head 

1 Sacconi, Summa de Catharisy in Martfene and Durand, Thesaurus novus 
anecdotoruntf vol. v, p. 1776. 

2 C16dat, Rituel Cathare, pp. xvi and xx. 

3 Sacconi, op. cit. 


of the candidate, while the other "good men" present im- 
pose hands upon him, saying: "Holy Father, accept this 
servant of yours in all righteousness, and send your grace 
and your Spirit upon him." ^ The Holy Spirit was then 
supposed to descend, and the ceremony of the Conso- 
lamentum was finished; "the Believer" had become one 
of "the Perfected." 

However, before the assembly dispersed, "the Per- 
fected" proceeded to carry out two other ceremonies: 
the vesting and the kiss of peace. 

"While their worship was tolerated," writes an his- 
torian,^ "they gave their new brother a black garment; 
but in times of persecution they did not wear it, for fear 
of betraying themselves to the officials of the Inquisition. 
In the thirteenth century, in southern France, they were 
known by the linen or flaxen belt, which the men wore 
over their shirts, and the women wore cordulam cinctam ad 
camem nudam subtus mamillas.^ They resembled the 
cord or scapular that the Catholic tertiaries wore to repre- 
sent the habit of the monastic order to which they belonged. 
They were therefore called ' haeretici vestiti/ * which be- 
came a common term for "the Perfected." 

' RUuel catharCf pp. xx and xxv. 

' Jean Guiraud, Le consolamentum ou initiation cathare, he. cit., p. 134. 

'Dollinger, Beitr&ge^ vol. ii (Dokumenie)^ p. 36. 

* "Haeretid perfecti vulgariter vestiti dicti." CouncU of Bdziers in 1299, 
in Martfene and Durand, Thesaurus novus aneedotorum, vol. iv, p. 225. Cf. 
DoUinger, Beitrdge, vol. i, p. 205; vol. ii {Dokumente), pp. 178, 179, 194, 



"The last ceremony was the kiss of peace, which 'the 
Perfected' gave their new brother, by kissing him twice 
(on the mouth), bis in ore ex transverso. He in turn 
kissed the one nearest him, who passed on the pax to all 
present. If the recipient was a woman, the minister 
gave her the pax by touching her shoulder with the book 
of the gospels, and his elbow with hers. She transmitted 
this symbolic kiss in the same manner to the one next 
to her, if he was a man. After a last fraternal embrace, 
they all congratulated the new brother, and the assembly 

The promises made by this new member of "the 
Perfected" were not all equally hard to keep. As far 
as positive duties were concerned, there were but three: 
the daily recitation of the Lord's Prayer, the breaking of 
bread, and the apparellamentum. 

Only "the Perfected" were allowed to recite the Lord's 
Prayer.^ The Cathari explained the esoteric character 
of this prayer by that passage in the Apocalypse which 

i"Omnes praesentes adoraverunt haereticos et acceperunt pacem ab 
haereticis, scilicet homines osculantes haereticos bis in ore ex transverso et 
mulieres acceperunt pacem a libro haereticonim, deinde osculatae fuerunt 
sese ab invicem similiter bis in ore ex transverso," etc. Dollinger, ibid.f 
vol. ii, p. 41. "Si sint illic mulieres, aliqua illarum recipit pacem de cubito 
alicujus haeretici." Sacconi, in Martfene and Durand, loc. cit.^ vol. v, p. 1776. 
"Mulier accepit pacem a libro et humero haereticorvun." D5llinger, ibid., 
vol. ii, p. 34; Rituel catharCy p. xxi. 

2 "Quod nuUus debebat dicere Pater Nosier, quae est sancta oratio, nisi 
esset haereticus vestitus," etc. PplUnger, BeUrdge^ vol, ii {Dokumenie), 
p. 1 99 J cf. pp. 312, 237, 246, 


speaks of the one hundred and forty-four thousand elect 
who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth, and who 
sing a hymn which only virgins can sing.^ This hymn 
was the Paier Nosier,^ Married people, therefore, and 
consequently "the Believers," could not repeat it without 
profanation. But "the Perfected" were obliged to say 
it every day, especially before meals.' 

They blessed the bread without making the sign of the 

This "breaking of bread" replaced the Eucharist. 
They thought in this way to reproduce the Lord's 
Supper, while they repudiated all the ceremonies of the 
Catholic mass. "The Believers" partook of this blessed 
bread when they sat at the table with "the Perfected," 
and they were wont to carry some of it home to eat from 
time to time. 

Some attributed to it a wonderful sanctifying power, 
and believed that if at their death none of "the Per- 
fected" were present to administer the consolamentum, 
this "bread of the holy prayer" would itself ensure their 

* Apoc. xiv, 1-4. 

* Moneta, op. cU.f p. 328. On the Catharan text of the Pater Noster, cf. 
Dollinger, BeitrdgCy vol. i, p. 229. 

8 "Promisit quod ulterius non esset atque comederet sine socio et sine 
oratione et quod captus sine socio non comederet per triduum." Doat, 
Acta inquisitionis CarcassomB, vol. ii, 272. The Perfected had to live with 
a socius who blessed his food, while he in turn had to bless the food of his 
companion. If he separated from his sodus, he had to do without food and 
drink for three days. This frequently happened when they were arrested 
and cast into prison. 


salvation.^ They were therefore very anxious to keep 
some of it on hand; and we read of "the Believers" of 
Languedoc having some sent them from Lombardy, when 
they were no longer able to communicate with their 
persecuted brethren.^ 

It was usually distributed to all present during the 
Apparellamentum. This was the solemn monthly reunion 
of all the Cathari, "the Believers " and "the Perfected." ^ 
All present confessed their sins, no matter how slight, 
although only a general confession was required. As a 
rule the Deacon addressed the assembly,* which closed 
with the Parcia and the kiss of peace: osculantes sese 
invicem ex transverso.^ 

1 "Talem panem vocant panem sanctas orationis et panem fractionis, et 
credentes eorum vocant panem benedictum sive panem signatum." D61- 
linger, BeUrdge^ vol. ii, p. 4. "Respondit ei quod dictus panis majorem 
virtutem centies habebat quam panis qui benedicitur in ecclesia in die do- 
minica, licet non fiat signum crucis super dictum panem nee spargatur aqua 
benedicta." Ihid.f p. 148. "Geralda . . . fedt fieri de pane benedicto per 
dictum haereticum propter devotionem et fidem, quam habebat, quod posset 
salvari in fide dicti haeretid et accepit de dicto pane et comedit et partem 
reservavit et multis annis conservavit, et aliquando de illo pane comedit." 
Limborch, Sententia inquisUionis Tolos., p. i6o. "Dicta Navarra dixit ipsae 
Lombardae quod tantum valebat panis et qui veUet habere bonos homines 
in obitu et non posset habere eos, eo quod erat panis bonorum hominum." 
Doat, Acta inquisU. Carcass.^ vol. v, fol. 188. 

2 Dollinger, Beitr&ge^ vol. ii (DokumetUe), p. 35. 

8"Servitium haereticorum quod dicunt appareUamentum quod fadunt de 
mense in mensem." Doat, op. cil., vol. ii, fol. 280. "Apparellando se cmn 
eis de mense in mensem et alia omnia fadendo quae heretid praedpiunt et 
faciunt observari," etc. Ibid.y vol. iv, fol. 205. 

* Sacconi, loc. cU.t pp. 1765, 1766; Moneta, op. cil., p. 306; Doat, Acta In- 
quisit. Carcass.^ vol. v, fol. 246. Cf. Dollinger, Beitr&ge^ vol. i, pp. 232-235. 

* Vaissete, Histoire du Languedoc t vol. iii, Preuves, p. 387. 


There was nothing very hard in this; on the contrary 
it was the consoling side of their Hfe. But their rigorous 
laws of fasting and abstinence constituted a most severe 
form of mortification. 

"The Perfected" kept three Lents a year; the first 
from St. Brice's day (November 13) till Christmas; the 
second from Quinquagesima Sunday till Easter; the third 
from Pentecost to the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. 
They called the first and last weeks of these Lents the 
strict weeks (septimana stricta), because during them 
they fasted on bread and water every day, whereas the 
rest of the time they fasted only three days out of the 
seven. Besides these special penitential seasons they 
observed the same rigorous fast three days a week 
all during the year, unless they were sick or were 

These heretics were known everywhere by their fasting 
and abstinence. "They are good men," it was said, 
"who live holy lives, fasting three days a week, and never 
eating meat." ' 

They never ate meat in fact, and this law of abstinence 
extended, as we have seen, to eggs, cheese, and every- 
thing which was the result of animal propagation. They 
were allowed, however, to eat cold-blooded animals like 

1 Bernard Gui, Practica inquisitioniSt p. 239. 

' Douai, Les manuscrits du chdteau de MerviUe, in the Annales du Midi, 
1890, p. 185. 


fish, because of the strange idea they had of their method 
of propagation.^ 

One of the results, or rather one of the causes of their 
abstinence from meat was the absolute respect they had 
for animal life in general. We have seen that they ad- 
mitted metempsychosis. According to their belief, the 
body of an ox or an ass might be the dwelling place of a 
human soul. To kill these animals, therefore, was a crime 
equivalent to murder. " For that reason," says Bernard 
Gui, "they never kill an animal or a bird; for they believe 
that in animals and birds dwell the souls of men, who 
died without having been received into their sect by the 
imposition of hands." ^ This was also one of the signs by 
which they could be known as heretics. We read of them 
being condemned at Goslar and elsewhere for having 
refused to kill and eat a chicken.^ 

Their most extraordinary mortification was the law of 
chastity, as they understood and practiced it. They had 
a great horror of Christian marriage, and endeavored 
to defend their views by the Scriptures. Had not Christ 

1 "Numquam comedunt cames . . . nee caseum nee ova, nee aliquid quod 
nascitur per viam generationis seu coitus." Bernard Gui, Practica inquisi- 
iioniSf p. 240. Cf. Dollinger, Beiirdge, vol. iiX(Dokumente)t pp. 22, 27, 30, 
145, 146, 149, 152, 181, 193, 234, 235, 246, 248, 282, 329. Ms. 609 
of Toulouse, fol. 2 v°, 36, 39, 41, 46, 65. Cf. Jean Guiraud; La morale 
des AlbegeoiSj in the Questions d^histoire et d^archSologie chrStienne, pp. 

2 Practica Inquisitionis^ p. 240. 

3 Cf. Jean Guiraud, loc. cit., pp. 63, 64, 69; Dollinger, Beitrdge, vol. i, 
p. 236. 


said: "Whosoever should look upon a woman to lust 
after her, hath already committed adultery with her in 
his heart";* i.e. was he not guilty of a crime. ''The 
children of this world marry," he says again, ''and are 
given in marriage; but they that shall be accounted worthy 
of that world, and of the resurrection of the dead, shall 
neither be married nor take wives." ^ " It is good," says 
St. Paul, "for a man not to touch a woman." ^ 

The Cathari interpreted these texts literally, and when 
their opponents cited other texts of Scripture which plainly 
taught the sacred character of Christian marriage, they 
at once interpreted them in a spiritual or symbolic sense. 
The only legitimate marriage in their eyes was the union 
of the Bishop with the Church, or the union of the soul 
with the Holy Spirit by the ceremony of the Consola- 

They condemned absolutely all marital relations. 
That was the sin of Adam and Eve. Pierre Garsias taught 
at Toulouse that the forbidden fruit of the Garden of 
Eden was simply carnal pleasure.^ 

One of the purposes of marriage is the begetting of chil- 
dren. But the propagation of the human species is 

1 Matt. V, 28; DoUinger, BeUrdge^ vol. ii (DokumerUe)^ p. 56. 

2 Luke XX, 35; Dollinger, loc, cit.^ p. 91; Moneta, op. cit.y 326. 

' I Corinth, vii. i, 7. Dollinger, op. cit.j vol. ii (Dokumente), p. 281. 

* Dollinger, ibid.t vol. ii, pp. 29, 54, 55; cf. vol. i, pp. 175-177. 

**'Quod pomum vetitum primis parentibus nil aliud fuit quam delectatio 
coitus, et addidit quod ipsum pomum porrexit Adam mulieri." Dollinger, 
op. cil.f vol. ii, p. 34; cf. p. 6i2, cf. p. 88. 


plainly the work of the Evil Spirit. A woman with child 
is a woman possessed of the devil. "Pray God," said 
one of "the Perfected" to the wife of a Toulouse lumber 
merchant, "pray God that he deliver you from the devil 
within you." ^ The greatest evil that could befall a 
woman was to die enceinte; for being in the state of 
impurity and in the power of Satan, she could not 
be saved. We read of the Cathari saying this to Peirona 
de la Caustra: quod si decederet prcegnans nan posset 

Marriage, because it made such a condition possible, 
was absolutely condemned. Bernard Gui thus resumes 
the teaching of the Cathari on this point: "They con- 
demn marriage absolutely; they maintain that it is a 
perpetual state of sin; they deny that a good God 
can institute it. They declare the marital relation as 
great a sin as incest with one's mother, daughter, or 
sister." ^ And this is by no means a calumnious charge. 
The language which Bernard Gui attributes to these 
heretics was used by them qp every possible occasion. 
They were unable to find words strong enough to express 
their contempt for marriage. "Marriage," they said, 
"is nothing but licentiousness; marriage is merely prosti- 

> "Quod rogaret Deum ut liberaret earn de daemone quam habebat in 
ventre." Dollinger, ibid.y p. 35. "Quod prsegnans erat de daemonio." 
Ms. 609, of the library of Toulouse, fol. 230. 

' Doat, vol. xxii, p. 57. 

^Practica Inguisitionis, p. 130. 


tution." * In their extreme hatred, they even went so 
far as to prefer open licentiousness to it, saying: "Co- 
habitation with one's wife is a worse crime than adultery." 
One might be inclined to think that this was merely an 
extra vagent outburst; but on the contrary, they tried to 
defend this view by reason. Licentiousness, they argued, 
was a temporary thing, to which a man gave himself up 
only in secret; he might in time become ashamed of it, 
repent and renounce it entirely. The married state on 
the contrary caused no shame whatever; men never 
thought of renouncing it, because they did not dream of 
the wickedness it entailed : quia magis puhlice et sine vere- 
cundia peccatum fiehat? 

No one, therefore, was admitted to the consolamentum 
unless he had renounced all marital relations. In this 
case, the woman "gave her husband to God, and to the 
good men." It often happened, too, that women, moved 
by the preaching of "the Perfected," condemned their 
unconverted husbands to an enforced celibacy.^ This 

^ Dellinger, B&Urdge, vol. ii (DpkumetUe), pp. 40, 156; Ms. 609 of Tou- 
louse, fol. 41 v°, 64. 

2 Dollinger, ibid.t vol. ii, p. 23; cf. 156. 

' " Aladaicis, uxor infirmi, absolvit maritum suum Deo et bonis homini- 
bus." Doat, Acta inquisU. Carcass.^ vol. ii, fol. 115. "Forneria, mater 
ipsius testis, fuit haereticata et recessit a viro suo." Ihid.^ vol. iv, fol. 204. 
"Dixit quod ipsa Aladaicis libenter dimitteret vinim suum et teneret fidem 
hsreticorum et recederet cum haereticis, si placeret eis." Dollinger, Bei- 
trdge, vol. ii, p. 24. "Dixit (haereticus) ipsi loquenti si ipse vellet dimittere 
dictam Ramundam, ipse ex parte Dei absolvebat eum de dicto matrimonio, 
et sic matrimonium inter eos dictus haereticus separavit." Ibid., p. 229. 


was one of the results of the neo-Manichean teach- 

Moreover, they carried their principles so far as to con- 
sider it a crime even to touch a woman. 

They forbade a man to sit next to a woman except in 
case of necessity. " If a woman touches you," said Pierre 
Autier, "you must fast three days on bread and water; 
and if you touch a woman, you must fast nine days on 
the same diet." ^ At the ceremony of the Consolamenium, 
the Bishop who imposed hands on the future sister took 
great care not to touch her, even with the end of his 
finger; to avoid doing so, he always covered the postulant 
with a veil.2 

But in times of persecution, this over-scrupulous caution 
was calculated to attract public attention. "The Per- 
fected" (men and women) lived together, pretending 
that they were married, so that they would not be known 
as heretics.^ It was their constant care, however, 
to avoid the slightest contact. This caused them at 
times great inconvenience. While traveling, they shared 
the same bed, the better to avoid suspicion. But they 

Cf. Jean Guiraud, La morale des Alhigeois, in the Questions d'histoire, pp. 

1 Dollinger, Beitrdge^ vol. ii, p. 243. 

2"Prius posuerat quemdam pannum linteum album super dictam infir- 
mam," etc. Limborch, SefUentue InquisU. Tolos., p. 186; cf. p. 190. A 
father forbade his daughter to touch him, because he had received the con- 
solamerUum. Ibid.f p. iii. 

***Ego non sum haereticus," said a heretic of Toulouse, "quia uxorem 
habeo et cum ipsa jaceo et filios habeo," etc. G. Pelhisse, Chronique, ed. 
Douais, p. 94. 


slept with their clothes on, and thus managed to follow 
out the letter of the law: tamen induti iia quod unus alium 
in nuda came non iangebaV 

Many Catholics were fully persuaded that this pre- 
tended love of purity was merely a cloak to hide the gross- 
est immorality.^ But while we may admit that many of 
''the Perfected" did actually violate their promise of 
absolute chastity, we must acknowledge that as a general 
rule they did resist temptation, and preferred death to 
what they considered impurity. 

Many who feared that they might give way in a moment 
of weakness to the temptations of a corrupt nature sought 
refuge in suicide,^ which was called the Endura. There 
were two forms for the sick heretic, suffocation and fast- 
ing. The candidate for death was asked whether he 
desired to be a martyr or a confessor. If he chose to be 
a martyr, they placed a handkerchief or a pillow over 
his mouth, until he died of suffocation. If he preferred 
to be a confessor, he remained without food or drink, 
until he died of starvation.* 

1 Dollinger, Beitrdge^ vol. ii, pp. 148, 149. 

2D6llinger, ibid., pp. 245, 296, 312, 371, 372. 

8 "Tunc imponunt ei quod non debeat amplius comedere camem nee ova 
nee easeum, non tangere mulierem . . . , et quod si non posset se abstinere a 
praedietis, melius est quod moriatur en la endura, quam si aliquid praedietorum 
transgrederetur." Doat, Acta InquisU. Carcass., vol. xxxii, fol. 170. 

* "Quando autem in extremo vitae perieulo aliquem reeipere volunt, dant 
ei optionem utnim velit in regno eoelonim esse eonsors martyrum, vel eon- 
fessorum. Si elegerit statum martyrum, tune manutergio ad hoc specialiter 
deputato . . . strangulant ipsum. Si statum confessorum elegerit, tunc post 


The Cathari believed that "the Believers," who asked 
for the consolamentum during sickness, would not keep 
the laws of their new faith, if they happened to get well. 
Therefore, to safeguard them against apostasy, they 
were strongly urged to make their salvation certain by 
the endura. A manuscript of the Register of the Inqui- 
sition of Carcassonne, for instance, tells us of a Qth- 
aran minister who compelled a sick woman to undergo 
the endura, after he had conferred upon her the Holy 
Spirit. He forbade any one "to give her the least 
nourishment . . . and as a matter of fact no food or 
drink was given her that night or the following day, 
lest perchance she might be deprived of the benefit of the 
consolamentum." ^ 

One of "the Perfected," named Raymond Belhot, 
congratulated a mother whose daughter he had just 
"consoled," and ordered her riot to give the sick girl 
anything to eat or drink until he returned, even 
though she requested it. "If she asks me for it," 
said the mother, "I will not have the heart to re- 
fuse her." "You must refuse her," said "the good 
man," "or else cause great injury to her soul." From 
that moment the girl neither ate nor drank; in fact she 

manus impositionem nihil dant ei ad usum vel ad esum, nisi puram aquam 
ad bibendum, et ita fame ipsum perimunt." Dollinger, ihid.^ p. 373 (this 
passage is taken from the Summa de Catharis of Sacconi). Cf. pp. 271, 370. 
»**Ne dicta infirma perderet bonum quod receperat." Ms. 609 of the 
library of Toulouse, fol. 134. 


did not ask for any nourishment. She died the next 

About the middle of the thirteenth century, when the 
Cathari began to give the consolamentum to infants, they 
were often cruel enough to make them undergo the en- 
dura. "One would think," says an historian of the time, 
"that the world had gone back to those hateful days 
when unnatural mothers sacrificed their children to 
Moloch." 2 

It sometimes happened that the parents of "the con- 
soled" withstood more or less openly the cruelty of "the 

When this happened, some of "the Perfected" re- 
mained in the house of the sick person, to see that their 
murderous prescriptions were obeyed to the letter. Or 
if this was impossible, they had "the consoled" taken 
to the house of some friend, where they could readily 
carry out their policy of starvation.^ 

But as a general rule the "heretics" submitted to the 
endura of their own free will. Raymond Isaure tells us 
of a certain Guillaume Sabatier, who began the endura in a 
retired villa, immediately after his initiation; he starved 

* Dollinger, Beitrdge, vol. ii (Dokumente)^ p. 250. 

2 Ibid., vol. i, p. 222; cf. p. 193. 

' "Post aliquot dies (after the Catharan initiation) haeretici extraxerunt 
dictum infirmum de domo sua et portaverunt in domum haereticorum, et ibi 
dictus infirmus obiit." Doat, Acki Inquisit. Carcass., vol. ii, fol. 115. This 
was a frequent case in the Acts of the Inquisition of Carcassonne, says Ddl- 
linger, Beitrdge, vol. i, p. 225, n. i. 


himself to death in seven weeks.^ A woman named 
Gentilis died of the endura in six or seven days.^ A 
woman of Coustaussa, who had separated from her hus- 
band, went to Saverdum to receive the consolamentum. 
She at once began the endura at Ax, and died after 
an absolute fast of about twelve weeks.^ A certain 
woman named Montaliva submitted to the endura; 
during it "she ate nothing whatever, but drank some 
water; she died in six weeks." * This case gives us 
some idea of this terrible practice; we see that they 
were sometimes allowed to drink water, which explains 
the extraordinary duration of some of these suicidal 

Some of the Cathari committed suicide in other ways. 
A woman of Toulouse named Guillemette first began to 
subject herself to the endura by frequent blood letting; 
then she tried to weaken herself more by taking long 
baths; finally she drank poison, and as death did not come 
quickly enough, she swallowed pounded glass to per- 

1 Dollinger, ibid., vol. ii, p. 19. 

^ Ibid.f p. 24. 

8**Quaedam mulier de Constandano . . . qtMS dimiserat mariium suum 
et fugerat ad partes Savartesii, misit se ad enduram . . .; duodecim 
septimanis vel circa, antequam moreretur, stetit in endura** Ibid., 
p. 25. 

* Ms. 609, of the library of Toulouse, fol. 28. Cf. Dollinger, Bettrage, 
vol. ii, p. 26. "Posuit se et stetit in endura donee fuit mortua, ita quod 
nihil comedebat, nee hibebat nisi aguam." 

* Sometimes the heretics undergoing the endura put sugar in the water 
they drank, aquam cum zucara. Limborch, Liber sentent, jfol. 79 B. 


forate her intestines.^ Another woman opened her veins 
in the bath.^ 

Such methods of suicide were exceptional, although 
the endura itself was common,^ at least among the Cathari 
of Languedoc* "Every one," says a trustworthy his- 
torian, "who reads the acts of the tribunals of the In- 
quisition of Toulouse and Carcassonne must admit that 
the eTtdura, voluntary or forced, put to death more vic- 
tims than the stake of the Inquisition."^ 

Githarism, therefore, was a serious menace to the 
church, to the state, and to society. 

Without being precisely a Christian heresy, its customs, 
its hierarchy, and above all its rites of initiation — which 

1 Ms. 609, of Toulouse, fol. ^^. 

^ Ibid-t fol. 70. Cf. Tanon, op. cit., pp. 224, 225. 

« " Haereticati seu in sanitate seu in aegritudine ex tunc non debebant - 
comedere aliquid vel bibere, non possent abstinere a potu, debebant 
bibere aquam frigidam, et sic mori en la endura erat magnum meritum, et 
quando moriebantur, eorum anima ibat ad regnum patris. Audivit etiam, 
quod si haereticati facerent se minui, quousque totus sanguis de corpore 
exivisset, bonum opus faciebant, ut sic cito mori possent et cito venire ad 
gloriam Patris. Et taliter occidere se non reputabant malum vel peccatum, 
sed bonum et meritum." Dollinger, Beitrdge, vol. ii (Dokumente)^ p. 248. 

* Molinier {U Endura^ pp. 293, 294) thinks that this practice was peculiar 
to Languedoc, and only came into vogue at the close of the thirteenth century. 
In this h3rpothesis, we must hold not only that Sacconi's Summa de Catharis 
is interpolated (cf. supra^ p. 116), but also that those guilty of the interpolation 
were men of Languedoc. This last conjecture is rather improbable. 

* Dollinger, BeUragCj vol. i, p. 226. Cf. cases of endura cited by Dol- 
linger, op. cU.y vol. ii, pp. 20, 24, 25, 26, 37, 136, 138, 139, 141, 142, 147, 
157. 205. 234i 238, 239, 242, 248, 250, 271, 295, 370, 373. Molinier {UEn- 
dura, p. 288) himself writes: "Cruel as it was, the endura seems always to 
have accompanied the consolamenium, at least with some of the Albigensian 


we have purposely explained in detail — gave it all the 
appearance of one. It was really an imitation and a 
caricature of Christianity. Some of its practices were 
borrowed from the primitive Christians, as some histo- 
rians have proved.^ That in itself would justify the 
Church in treating its followers as heretics. 

Besides, the Church merely acted in self-defense. JThe 
Cathari tried their best to destroy her by attacking her 
doctrines, her hierarchy, and her apostolic character. If 
. their false teachings had prevailed, disturbing as they 
did the minds of the people, the Church would have 

The princes, who did not concern themselves with these 
heretics while they merely denied the teachings of the 
Church, at last found themselves attacked just as vigor- 
ously. The Catharan absolute rejection of the oath of 
fealty was calculated to break the bond that united sub- 
jects to their suzerain lords, and at one blow to destroy the 
whole edifice of feudalism. And even granting that the 
feudal system could cease to exist without dragging down 
in its fall all form of government, how could the State 
provide for the public welfare, if she did not possess the 
power to punish criminals, as the Cathari maintained ? 

But the great unpardonable crime of Catharism was 
its attempt to destroy the future of humanity by its 

> Jean Guiraud, Le consolamerUum ou initiation cathare, in Questions 
tPhistoire, p. 145 seq. 


endura, and its abolition of marriage. It taught that 
the sooner life was destroyed the better. Suicide, instead 
of being considered a crime, was a means of perfection. 
To beget children was considered the height of immorality. 
To become one of "the Perfected," which was the only 
way of salvation, the husband must leave his wife, and 
the wife her husband. The family must cease to exist, 
and all men were urged to form a great religious com- 
munity, vowed to the most rigorous chastity. Ifthis 
ideal had been realized, the human race would have dis- 
appeared from the earth in a few years. Can any one 
imagine more immoral and more anti-social teaching? 

The Catholic Church has been accused of setting up a 
similar ideal.^ This is a gross calumny. For while 
Catharism made chastity a sine qua non of salvation, and 
denounced marriage as something infamous and criminal, 
the Church merely counsels virginity to an elite body 
of men and women in whom she recognizes the marks of 
a special vocation, according to the teaching of the Savior, 
"He that can take, let him take it." Qui potest capere 
capiat? She endeavors at the same time to uphold the 
sacrament of marriage, declaring it a holy state,^ in which 
the majority of mankind is to work out its salvation. 

There is consequently no parity whatever between the 

> Molinier repeats this accusation (VEndura, p. 282, n. 2). 

2 Matt. xix. 11-12. 

• Cf . Summa contra fuBreticos^ pp. 96-99. 




two societies and their teachings. In bitterly prosecuting 
the Cathari, the Church truly acted for the public good. 
The State was bound to aid her by force, unless it wished 
to f)erish herself with all the social order. This explains 
and to a certain degree justifies the combined action of 
Church and State in suppressing the Catharan heresy, 




Gregory IX and Frederic II 

The Establishment of the Monastic Inquisition 

The penal system codified by Innocent HI was rather 
liberally interpreted in France and Italy. In order to 
make the French law agree with it, an oath was added to 
the coronation service from the time' of Louis IX, whereby 
the King swore to exterminate, i.e., banish all heretics 
from his kingdom.^ We are inclined to interpret in this 
sense the laws of Louis VIII (1226) and Louis IX (April, 
1228), for the south of France. The words referring to 
the punishment of heretics are a little vague: "Let them 
be punished," says Louis VIII, with the punishment they 
deserve." ** Animadversione dehita puniantur. The other 
penalties sf)ecified are infamy and confiscation; in a word, 
all the consequences of banishment."^ 

' Godefroy, Le cirimonial frati^is, vol. i, p. 27. We have seen that the 
Council of Avignon and the town of Montpellier adopted the laws of Innocent 

' "Statuimus quod haeretici qui a catholica fide deviant, quocumque nomine 
censeantur, postquam fuerint de haeresi per episcopum loci vel per aliam 
personam ecclesiasticam quae potestatem habeat (papal legate) condemnati, 
indilate animadversione debita puniantur/' etc. Ordonnances des roys de 
France, vol. xii, pp. 319, 320. 



Louis IX re-enacted this law in the following terms: 
"We decree that our barons and magistrates . . . 
do their duty in prosecuting heretics." '*De ipsis festi- 
nanter faciant quod debebunt" ^ These words in them- 
selves are not very clear, and, if we were to interpret them 
by the customs of a few years later,^ we might think that 
they referred to the death penalty, even the stake; but 
comparing them with similar expressions used by Lucius 
III and Innocent III, we see that they imply merely the 
penalty of banishment. 

However, a canon of the Council of Toulouse in 1229 
seems to make the meaning of these words clear, at least 
for the future. It decreed that all heretics and their 
abettors are to be brought to the nobles and the magis- 
trates to receive due punishment, ut animadver stone dehita 
puniantur. But it adds that "heretics, who, through fear 
of death or any other cause, except their own free will, 
return to the faith, are to be imprisoned by the bishop of 
the city to do penance, that they may not corrupt 

' "Statuimus et mandamus ut barones terrse . . . soUidti sint et . . . 
predictos (haereticos) diligenter investigare studeant et fideliter invenire, et 
cum eos invenerint, praesentent sine mora . . . personis ecclesiasticis superius 
memoratis, ut, eis praesentibus, de errore haeresis condemnatis, omni odio, 
prece et pretio . . . postpositis, de ipsis festinanter faciant quod debebunt." 
Ordonnances des roys de France^ vol. i, p. 51; Labbe, Concilia^ vol. vii, col. 171. 

2 We will mention later on the penalties decreed against heretics in the 
^Uahlissements de Saint Louis and the CotUumes de Beauvaisis de Beaumanoir. 
Julien Havet (op. cU.^ pp. 169, 170), however, explains the animadversio 
debita of the laws of Louis VIII and Louis IX in accordance with the later 
documents, i.e. the penalty of the stake. 


others"; the bishop is to provide for their needs out of 
the property confiscated.^ The fear of death here seems 
to imply that the animadversio dehita meant the death 
penalty. That would prove the elasticity of the formula. 
At first it was a legal penalty which custom interpreted 
to mean banishment and confiscation; later on it meant 
chiefly the death penalty; and finally it meant solely the 
penalty of the stake. At any rate, this canon of the 
Q)uncil of Toulouse must be kept in mind; for we will soon 
see Pope Gregory IX quoting it. 

In Italy, Frederic II promulgated on November 22, 
1220, an imperial law which, in accordance with the 
pontifical decree of March 25, 1199, and the Lateran 
Council of 121 5, condemned heretics to every form of 
banishment, to perpetual infamy, together with the con- 
fiscation of their property, and the annulment of all their 
civil acts and powers. It is evident that the emperor 
was influenced by Innocent III, for having declared 
that the children of heretics could not inherit their father's 
prof)erty, he adds a phrase borrowed from the papal 
decree of 1199, viz., "that to ofl^end the divine majesty 

1 "Haereticos, credentes, fautores et receptatores seu defensores eorum, 
adhibita cautela ne fugere possint, archiepiscopo vel episcopo, dominis 
locorum seu bajulis eorumdem cum omni festinantia s^udeant intimare, ut 
animadversione debita puniantur . . . Haeretici autem qui timore mortis vel 
alia quacumque causa, dummodo non sporUe^ redierent ad catholicam unita- 
tem, ad agendam poenitentiam per episcopum loci in muro tali includantur 
cautela quod facultatem non habeant alios comimpendi." D*Achery, 
SpicUegium^ in-fol., vol. i, p. 711. 


was a far greater crime than to offend the majesty of the 
emperor." ^ 

This at once put heresy on a par with treason, and 
consequently called for a severer punishment than the 
law actually decreed. We will soon see others draw the 
logical conclusion from the emperor's comparison, and 
enact the death penalty for heresy. 

The legates of Pope Honorius were empowered to in- 
troduce the canonical and imperial legislation into the 
statutes of the Italian cities, which hitherto had not 
been at all anxious to take any measures whatever 
against heretics. They succeeded in Bergamo, Piacenza, 
and Mantua in 1221;^ and in Brescia in 1225.^ In 
1226, the emperor himself ordered the podesta of Pa via 
to banish all heretics from the city limits.* About 
the year 1230, therefore, it was the generally accepted 

i**Catharos, Paterenos, Leonistas, Speronistas, Amoldistas, et omnes 
haereticos utriusque sexus, quocumque nomine censeantur, perpetua dampna- 
mus infamia, diffidamus atque bannimus, censentes ut bona talium confis- 
centur nee ad eos revertantur, ita quod filii ad successionem eonun pervenire 
non possint, cum longe gravius sit aeternam quam temporalem ofiFendere 
majestatem," etc., cap. vi; cf. cap. vii. Monum. Germania, Leges , sect, 
iv, vol. ii, pp. 107-109. 

2 The Latin, Ms. 5152 at the National library of Paris contains the Acta 
of Cardinal Hugolino of 1221, regarding the changes in the statutes of the 
various Italian cities. In the statutes of Piacenza, for example, he had in- 
serted de verbo ad verbum stattUum tUtimi Lateranensis concUii {121$) et leges 
domifd imperatoris Frederici super hcereticis expellendis et conservanda ecdesi- 
astica liberktie. For more details, cf. Ficker, op. cit.f p. 196, with references. 

* Cf. Raynaldi, Annal. Eccles., for the year 1225, sect. 47; cf. Ficker, 
op. cit.f pp. 199, 200. 

* Cf. Ficker, op. cit., p. 430. 


law throughout all Italy (recall what we have said above 
about Faenza, Florence, etc.) to banish all heretics, con- 
fiscate their property, and demolish their houses. 

Two years had hardly elapsed when, through the joint 
efforts of Frederic II and Gregory IX, the death penalty 
of the stake was substituted for banishment;^ Guala, a 
Dominican, seems to have been the prime mover in bring- 
ing about this change. 

Frederic II, influenced by the jurists who were reviv- 
ing the old Roman law,^ promulgated a law for Lom- 
bardy in 1224, which condemned heretics to the stake, 
or at least to have their tongues cut out.^ This penalty 
of the stake was common — if not legal — in Germany. 
For instance, we read of the people of Strasburg burning 
about eighty heretics about the year 12 12,* and we could 

1 We have seen above (p. 64) that according to both the civil and canon 
law heretics were subject to the death-penalty throughout the Middle Ages. 
But the laws of Frederic II induced the Pope to inflict this penalty of the 

2 In 1 23 1, in his law Inconsutilem tunicam, the emperor made a 
direct reference to the old Roman law: FrotU veteribus legibus est 

'"Utriusque juris auctoritate muniti . . . duximus sanciendum: ut qui- 
cumque per dvitatis antistitem vel dioecesis in qua degit, post condignam 
examinationem fuerit de haresi manifeste convicius et hareiicus judicattis, per 
potestatem, concilium et catholicos viros civitatis et dioecesis eorumdem, ad 
reguisitionem arUistitis illico capiatuTj auctoritate nostra ignis judicio con- 
cremanduSf ut vel ultridbus flammis pereat, aut, si miserabili vitae ad coer- 
dtionem alionmi elegerint reservandum, eum linguae plectro deprivent," etc. 
A Constitution sent to the Archbishop of Magdeburg, in the Mon. Germ.y 
Leges t sect, iv, vol. ii, p. 126. 

♦"Haeretid . . . comprehensi sunt in civitate Argentina. Producti, vero 
cum negarent haeresim, judicio fern candentis ad legitimum terminum reser- 


easily cite other similar executions.* The emf)eror, there- 
fore, merely brought the use of the stake from Germany 
into Italy. Indeed it is very doubtful whether this law 
was in operation before 1230.^ 

But in that year, Guala, the Dominican, who had be- 
come Bishop of Brescia,' used his authority to enact 
for his episcopal city the most severe laws against 
heresy. The podesta of the city had to swear that he 
would prosecute heretics as Manicheans and traitors, 
according to both the canon and the civil law, esf)ecially 
in view of Frederic's law of 1224.* Innocent Ill's com- 
parison between heretics and traitors, and between the 
Cathari and the Manicheans, now bore fruit. Traitors 
deserved the death penalty, while the old Roman 
law sent the Manicheans to the stake; accordingly 

vantur, quorum numerus fuit octoginta vel amplius de utroque sexu. Et 
pauci quidem ex eis innocentes apparuerunt, reliqui omnes coram ecdesia 
convicti per adustionem dampnati sunt et incendio perierunt." . Annales 
Marbacenses^ ad ann. 1215, in the Man Germ. SS.^ vol. xvii, p. 174. 

1 Cf. Julien Havet, op. cU.^ pp. 143, 144. 

2 Cf. on this point Ficker, op. cit.^ pp. 198, 430, 431. 
^ On Guala, cf. Ficker, op. cit., pp. 199-201. 

* "Infra decem dies," says the podestk, " eos et eas puniam velut haereticos 
Manicheos et reos criminum lese majestatis secundum leges et jura imperialia 
et canonica et specialiter infra scriptam legem Domini Frederici imperatoris 
et secundum ejus tenorem." Then follows the imperial law of 1224. This 
statute of the city of Brescia is found in the Monumenta historic patria^ 
vol. xvi, pp. 1584, 1644. On the date, 1130, cf. Ficker, op. cU.^ p. 199. We 
know that Innocent III, in his law of 1199, was the first to put heresy on a 
par with treason, although he did not draw the logical conclusion from this 
comparison. He also compared the Cathari and the Patarins to the Man- 
icheans {Ep. X, 54), without saying anything about the death penalty. Guala 
drew the logical conclusion. 


Gaula maintained that all heretics deserved the 

Pope Gregory IX adopted this stern attitude, probably 
under the influence of the Bishop of Brescia, with whom 
he was in frequent correspondence.^ The imperial law of 
1 224 was inscribed in 1230 or 1231 upon the papal register, 
where it figures as number 103 of the fourth year of 
Gregory's pontificate.^ The Pope then tried to enforce 
it, beginning with the city of Rome. He enacted a law 
in February, 1231, ordering, as the Council of Toulouse 
had done in 1229, heretics condemned by the Church 
to be handed over to the secular arm, to receive the 
punishment they deserved, animadversio debtia. All who 
abjured and accepted a fitting penance were to be im- 
prisoned for life, without prejudice to the other penalties 
for heresy, such as confiscation.^ 

About the same time, Annibale, the Senator of Rome, 

1 Cf. Ficker, op. cit., p. 200. Gregory IX was four years Pope before he 
enacted these new laws. 

2 Dampnati vero per ecclesiam seculari judicio rdinquantur animadver- 
sione dehita puniendi^ clericis prius a suis ordinibus degradatis. Si qui autem 
de predictis, postquam fuerint deprehensi, redire voluerint ad agendam con- 
dignam pcenitentiam, in perpetuo carcere detrudantur. Registers of Gregory 
IX, n. 539; Raynaldi, Annales, ad ann. 1231, sects. 14-15; inserted in the 
Decretales, cap. xv, De hareticis^ lib. v, tit. vii, where, in place of redire vol- 
uerifUf we read noluerint. Voluerint is the true reading, as we may prove 
by comparison with the text of the Council of Toulouse (1229), and the 
imperial law of 1231, in which Frederic II, writes: "Si qui de predictis, 
postquam fuerint deprehensi, territu mortis redire voluerint ad agendam 
pcenitentiam, in perpetuum carcerem detrudantur." Cap. ii, Mon. Germ., 
Leges, sect, iv, vol. ii, p 196. 


established the new jurisprudence of the Church in the 
eternal city. Every year, on taking office, the Senator 
was to banish {difjidare) all heretics. All who refused to 
leave the city were, eight days after their condemnation, 
to receive the punishment they deserved. The penalty, 
animadversio debtta, is not specified, as if every one knew 
what was meant.^ 

Inasmuch as repentant heretics were imprisoned for 
life, it seems certain that the severer penalty reserved for 
obstinate heretics must have been ^ the death penalty of 
the stake, for that was the mode of punishment decreed 
by the imperial law of 1224, which had just been copied 
on the registers of the papal chancery. But we are not 
left to mere conjecture. In February, 1231, a number 
of Patarins were arrested in Rome; those who refused 
to abjure were sent to the stake, while those who did 
abjure were sent to Monte-Gissino and Cava to do 

1 "Omnes haeretici in Urbe . . . singulis annis a senatore, quando regiminis 
sui praestiterit juramentum, perpetuo difl5dantur. Item haereticos qui fuerint 
in Urbe reperti praesertim per ihquisitores datos ab Ecclesia vel alios viros 
catholicos senator capere teneatur et captos etiam detinere, postquam fuerint 
per Ecclesiam condempnati, infra octo dies animadversione dehita puniendos.** 
Raynaldi, ad ann. 1231, sect. 16-17; Picker, op. cit.^ p. 205. These statutes 
are similar to those of Brescia (1230); the statutes of Bologna (1246) read: 
"Haeretici et fautores eorum in perpetuo banno ponantur et alias paenas et 
alias injurias sustineant secundum formam Statutorum Domini papae Gre- 
gorii." Consequently, the podestk had to swear that he would banish all 
heretics; if they remained in the city, and refused to abjure, they were con- 
demned and burned. Ficker, op. cit.y pp. 205, 206. We see that the penalty 
of the stake was enforced only when the penalty of banishment had proved 
ineflficacious. This reminds us of the law of Pedro, King of Aragon in 1197. 


penance.* This case tells us instantly how we are to 
interpret the animadversio debita of contemporary doc- 

Frederic II exercised an undeniable influence over 
Gregory IX, and the Pope in turn influenced the emperor. 
Gregory wrote denouncing the many heretics who swarmed 
throughout the kingdom of Sicily (the two Sicilies), 
especially in Naples and Aversa, urging him to prosecute 
them with vigor. Frederic obeyed.^ He was then pre- 
paring his Sicilian Q)de, which appeared at Amalfi in 
August, 1 23 1. The first law, Inconsutilem tunicam, was 
against heretics. The emperor did not have to consult 
any one about the penalty to be decreed against heresy; 
he had merely to copy his own law, enacted in Lombardy 
in 1224. This new law declared heresy a crime against 
society on a par with treason, and liable to the same 
jjenafty. And that the law might not be a dead letter 
for lack of accusers, the state officials were commanded 
to prosecute it just as they would any other crime. This 

1 "Eodem mense (February), nonnulli Paterenorum in Urbe inventi sunt, 
quorum alii sunt igne cremati, cum inconvertibiles essent; alii donee poeniteant 
sunt ad Casinensem ecclesiam et apud Cavas directi." Ryccardus de S. 
Germano, ad ann. 1231, in the Jf £W. Germ. SS., vol. xix, p. 363; cf. Vita 
Gregorii, in Muratori, Rerum ikUicarum SS., vol. iii, p. 578. On March 3d, 
Gregory sent a number of heretics to the Abbot of La Cava, ordering him 
to keep them in arctis^ima fovea et sub vinculis ferrets. Cf. Ficker, op. cit., 
p. 207. 

2 Cf. the reply of Frederic to Gregory IX, February 28, 1 231, in Huillard- 
Br6olles, Historia diplomatica Frederici II, vol. iii, p. 268. Ryccardus de 
S. Germano, loc. cit. 


was in reality the beginning of the Inquisition. All sus- 
pects were to be tried by an ecclesiastical tribunal, and 
if, being declared guilty, they refuse to abjure, they were 
to be burned in presence of the people.^ 

Once started on the road to severity, Frederic II did 
not stop. To aid Gregory IX in suppressing heresy, he 
enacted at Ravenna, in 1237, an imperial law condemning 
all heretics to death.^ The kind of death was not indi- 
cated. But every one knew that the common German cus- 

1 "Statuimus in primis, ut crimen haereseos et damnatae sectae cujuslibet, 
quocumque nomine censeantur sectatores (prout veteribus legibus est in- 
dicium) inter publica crimina numerentur: immo crimine laesae majestatis 
nostrae debet ab omnibus horribilius judicari, quod in divinae majestatis 
injuriam noscitur attentatum, quamvis judicii potestate altenun alteri non 
excellat. Nam sicuti perduellionis crimen personas adimit damnatorum 
et bona, et damnat post obitum memoriam defunctorum; sic et in praedicto 
crimine, quo Patereni notantur, per omnia volumus observari . . . Per 
ofl5ciales nostros, sicut et alios malefactores, inquiri ac inquisitione notatos 
... a viris ecclesiasticis et praelatis examinari jubemus. Per quos si inventi 
fuerint a fide catholica saltem in articulo deviare ac . . . in erroris concepta 
insania perseverent, praesentis nostrae legis edicto damnatos, mortem pati 
. . . decernimus quam aflfectant: ut vivi in conspectu populi comburantur, 
flammarum commissi judicio." ConstittU. Sicil.j i, 3, in Eymeric, Directorium 
inquisiiorum, Appendix, p. 14. 

2 **Ut haeretici . . . ubicumque per imperium dampnati ab Ecclesia fuerint 
et seculari judicio assignati^ animadversione dehita puniantur. Si qui de 
predictis, postquam fuerint deprehensi territu mortis redire voluerint ad 
agendam poenitentiam, in perpetuum carcerem detrudantur." The ani- 
madversione dehita is explained further on by a passage taken from the law of 
the Senator of Rome: "Praeterea quicumque haeretici reperti fuerint in civi- 
tatibus, opidis seu aliis locis imperii per inquisitores ab apostolica sede datos 
et alios orthodoxae fidei zelatores, hii qui jurisdictionem ibidem habuerint 
ad inquisitorum et aliorum catholicorum virorum insinuationem eos capere 
teneantur et captos arctius custodire donee per censuram ecclesiasticam 
condempnatos dampnabili morte perimant." Man. Gernt.f Leges^ sect, iv, 
vol. ii, p. 196. Then follows a comparison with the rei lesa majestatis. 


torn of burning heretics at the stake had now become the 
law.* For by three previous laws, May 14, 1238, June 26, 
1238, and February 22, 1239, the emperor had declared 
that the Sicilian Code and the law of Ravenna were bind- 
ing upon all his subjects; the law of June 26, 1238, merely 
promulgated these other laws throughout the kingdom of 
Aries and Vienne.^ Henceforth all uncertainty was at 
an end. The legal punishment for heretics throughout 
the empire was death at the stake. 

Gregory IX did not wait for these laws to be enacted 
to carry out his intentions. 

As early as 123 1 he tried to have the cities of Italy 
and Germany adopt the civil and canonical laws in vogue 
at Rome against heresy, and he was the first to inaugurate 
that particular method of prosecution, the permanent 
tribunal of the Inquisition. 

We possess some of the letters which he wrote in June, 
1 23 1, urging the bishops and archbishops to further his 
Dlans.^ He did not meet with much success, however, 

1 The most ancient book on German customs, the Sacksenspiegel, written 
probably a little before 1235 (cf. Hansische Geschichtsbldtter^ 1876, pp. 102, 
103), condemns (ii, 13, sect. 7) heretics to the stake: "Swilch cristen man 
ungeloubic ist oder mit zcoubere umme g^t oder mit vergifnisse, unde des 
verwunden wirt, den sal man df der hurt burnen." Sachenspiegelf ed. 
Weiske et Hildebrand, 1877, p. 47. 

* Cf. these imperial laws in the Mon. Germ.f Leges ^ sect, iv, vol. ii, pp. 
281-284. Cf. for more details, Ficker, op. cit., p. 223. 

3 For the letters sent to the Bishop of Salsburg, cf. Ficker, op. cii.^ p. 204. 
There is also a letter to the Dominicans of Freisach, dated November 27, 
1 23 1, published in the Acta imperii of Winkelmann, and another to Conrad 


although the Dominicans and the Friars Minor did their 
best to help him. Still some cities like Milan, Verona, Pia- 
cenza and Vercelli adopted the measures of persecution 
which he proposed. At Milan, Peter of Verona, a Domin- 
ican, on September 1 5, 1233, had the laws of the Pof)e and 
the Senator of Rome inscribed in the city's statutes.^ The 
animadversio dehita was henceforth interpreted to mean 
the penalty of the stake. " In this year," writes a chron- 
icler of the time, "the people of Milan began to bum 
heretics." ^ In the month of July, sixty heretics were 
sent to the stake at Verona.* The podesta of Piacenza 
sent to the Pope the heretics he had arrested.* Vercelli, 
at the instance of the Franciscan, Henry of Milan, in- 
corporated in 1233 into its statutes the law of the Senator 

of Marburg, October ii, 1231, in Kuchenbecker, Analecta Hassiaca, vol. iii, 
p. 73. For further details concerning these documents, cf. Ficker, op. cU.^ 
pp. ai3, 214. 

1 Corio, Listoria di MilanOf ed. Vinegia, 1554, fol. 96; cf. Ficker, op. cit., 
pp. 210, 211. 

'"Mediolanenses indpierunt comburere ereticos." Memoria Medio- 
lanenses, ad ann. 1233, in the Mon. Germ. SS., vol. xviii, p. 402. (The 
chronicler is ignorant of what happened at Milan in 1034.) The podestll 
Oldrado de Tresseno of Lodi, who governed Milan in 1233, and who pre- 
sided over the executions of heretics, recorded the facts in an inscription on 
his statue, which can still be read on the facade of the Palazzo delta Ragione 
in Milan: 

Atria qui grandis solii regalia scandis, 
Praesidis hie memores Oldradi semper honores, 
Civis Laudensis, fidei tutoris et ensis, 
Qui solium struxit, Catharos, ut debuit, uxit. 

• Cf. Parisius de Cereta, Mon. Germ. SS., vol. xix, p. 8, and Maurisius in 
Muratori, Rer. Ital. SS., vol. xiii, p. 38. 

* Annal, Placent., in Mort. Germ. SS., vol. xviii, p. 454. 


of Rome and the imperial law of 1224; it, however, omitted 
in the last named law the clause which decreed the penalty 
of cutting out the tongue.^ In Germany, the Dominican, 
Q)nrad of Marburg was particularly active, in virtue of 
his commission from Gregory IX. In accordance with 
the imperial law, we find him sentencing to the stake a 
great number of heretics.^ 

It may be admitted, however, that in his excessive 
zeal he even went beyond the desires of the sovereign 
pontiff. Gregory IX did not find everywhere so marked 
an eagerness to carry out his wishes. A number of the 
cities of Italy for a long time continued to punish obsti- 
nate heretics according to the penal code of Innocent III, 
i.e. by banishment and confiscation.* 

That the penalty of the stake was used at this time in 
France is proved by the burning of one hundred and 
eighty-three Bulgarians or Bugres at Mont-Wimer in 
1239,* and by two important documents, the Eiablisse- 

1 Cf. Corio, Vistoria di MHanOj loc. cit. For further details regarding 
upper Italy, cf. Ficker, op. cit., pp. 210, 211. 

2 The x>apal letter of October 11, 1231, says: "Quatenus prelatis, dero et 
populo convocatis generalem faciatis predicationem . . . et adjunctis vobis 
discretis aliquibus ad haec sollidtius exsequenda, diligenti perquiratis sollici- 
tudine de hseretids et etiam infamatis, et si quos culpabiles et infamatos 
inveneritis, nisi examinati velint absolute mandatis Ecclesiae obedire, pro- 
cedatis contra eos juxta statuta nostra contra haereticos noviter promulgata." 
Kirchenbecker, Analecta Hassiaca^ vol. iii, p. 73. We will relate further on 
how Conrad understood his mission of Inquisitor, and how he fulfilled it. 

' Cf. on this point, Ficker, op. cit.f p. 224. 

*Aubri de Trois-Fontaines, ad ann. 1239, Mon, Germ. SS., vol. xxiii, 
pp. 944, 945. For other references to this fact, cf. Julien Havet, op. cii,, 


ments de Saint Louis and the Coutumes de Beati- 

"As soon as the ecclesiastical judge has discovered, 
after due examination, that the suspect is a heretic, he 
must hand him over to the secular arm; and the secular 
judge must send him to the stake." ^ Beaumanoir says 
the same thing: "In such a case, the secular court must 
aid the Church; for when the Church condemns any one 
as a heretic, she is obliged to hand him over to the secular 
arm to be sent to the stake; for she herself cannot put 
any one to death." ^ 

It is a question whether this legislation is merely the 
codification of the custom introduced by popular uprisings 
against heresy and by certain royal decrees, or whether 
it owes its origin to the law of Frederic 1 1 which Gregory 
IX tried to enforce in France, as he had done in Germany 
and Italy. This second hypothesis is hardly probable. 
The tribunals of the Inquisition did not have to import 
into France the penalty of the stake; they found it already 
established in both central and northern France. 

In fact, Gregory IX urged everywhere the enforcement 
of the existing laws against heresy, and where none existed 
he introduced a very severe system of prosecution. He was 

p. 171, n. 2. Mont-Wimer or Mont-Aim6 is situated in Marne, a commune 
of Bergferes-les-Vertus. 

1 ^jtablissements de saint Louis, ch. cxxiii; cf. ch. Ixxxv; in the Ordonnances 
des roys de France, vol. i, pp. 211, 175. 

' CQUitf'fnes de B^uyaisis^ ^, 2; cf. xxx, 11, ed Beugnot, vol. i, pp. 157. 413- 


the first, moreover, to establish an extraordinary and per- 
manent tribunal for heresy trials — an institution which 
afterwards became known as the monastic Inquisition. 
• ••••••• 

The prosecution and the punishment of heretics in every 
diocese was one of the chief duties of the bishops, the 
natural defenders of orthodoxy. While heresy appeared 
at occasional intervals, they had little or no difficulty in 
fulfilling their duty. But when the Cathari and the 
Patarins had sprung up everywhere, especially in southern 
Italy and France and northern Spain, the secrecy of 
their movements made the task of the bishops extremely 
hard and complicated. Rome soon perceived that they 
were not very zealous in prosecuting heresy. To put 
an end to this neglect, Lucius 1 1 1 jointly with the emperor 
Frederic Barbarossa and the bishops of his court enacted 
a decretal at Verona in 11 84, regulating the episcopal 

All bishops and archbishops were commanded to visit 
personally once or twice a year, or to empower their arch- 
deacons or other clerics to visit every parish in which 
hferesy was thought to exist. They were to compel two 
or three trustworthy men, or, if need be, all the inhabi- 
tants of the city, to swear that they would denounce 
every suspect who attended secret assemblies, or whose 
manner of living difi^ered from that of the ordinary Catho- 
lic. After the bishop had questioned all who had been 


brought before his tribunal, he was empowered to punish 
them as he deemed fit, unless the accused succeeded in 
establishing their innocence. All who superstitiously re- 
fused to take the required oath (we have seen how the 
Cathari considered it criminal to take an oath) were to 
be condemned and punished as heretics, and if they re- 
fused to abjure they were handed over to the secular 
arm.* This was an attempt to recall the bishops to a 
sense of their duty. The Lateran Council of 121 5 re- 
enacted the laws of Lucius III; and to ensure their enforce- 
ment it decreed that every bishop who neglected his duty 
should be deposed, and another consecrated in his place.^ 
The Council of Narbonne in 1227 likewise ordered the 
bishops to appoint synodal witnesses (testes synodales) 
in every parish to prosecute heretics.^ But all these 
decrees, although properly countersigned and placed in 
the archives, remained practically a dead letter. In the 
first place it was very difficult to obtain the synodal wit- 
nesses. And again, as a contemporary bishop, Lucas de 
Tuy, assures us, the bishops for the most part were not at 
all anxious to prosecute heresy. When reproached for 
their inaction they replied: "How can we condemn those 
who are neither convicted nor confessed?" * 

> Lucius III, Ep. clxxi, Migne, P. L., vol. cci, col. 1297 and seq. 
3 The Bull Excomtnunicatnus, Decretals, cap. xiii, in fine, De futreticis, 
Kb. V, tit. vii. 

8 Can. 14, Labbe, Concilia^ vol. xi, pars i, col. 307, 308. 

< Lucas Tudensis, De altera vita fideique controversiis adversus Albigensium 


The Popes, as the rulers of Christendom, tried to make 
up for the indifference of the bishops by sending their 
legates to hunt for the Cathari in their most hidden 
retreats. But they soon realized that this legatine 
inquisition was ineffective.^ 

"Bishop and legate," writes Lea, "were alike unequal 
to the task of discovering those who carefully shrouded 
themselves under the cloak of the most orthodox observ- 
ance; and when by chance a nest of heretics was brought 
to light, the learning and skill of the average Ordinary 
failed to elicit a confession from those who professed the 
most entire accord with the teachings of Rome. In the 
absence of overt acts, it was difficult to reach the secret 
thoughts of the sectary. Trained experts were needed 
whose sole business it should be to unearth the offenders, 
and extort a confession of their guilt." ^ 

At an opportune moment, therefore, two mendicant 
orders, the Dominicans and the Franciscans, were instituted 
to meet the new needs of the Church. Both orders 
devoted themselves to preaching; the Dominicans were 
especially learned in the ecclesiastical sciences, i.e. canon 
law and theology. 

The establishment of these orders," continues Lea, 
seemed a providential interposition to supply the Church 


errores^ cap. xix, in the Bibliotheca Patrum, 4 ed., vol. iv, col. 575-714. Lucas 
was Bishop of Tuy in Galicia, from 1239 ^o 1249. 

1 Cf. Lea, op. cU.^ vol. i, p. 315 and seq. 

' Cf. Lea, op. cit., vol. i, p. 318. 


of Christ with what it most sorely needed. As the neces- 
sity grew apparent of special and permanent tribunals, 
devoted exclusively to the widespread sin of heresy, there 
was every reason why they should be wholly free from 
the local jealousies and enmities which might tend to the 
prejudice of the innocent, or the local favoritism which 
might connive at the escape of the guilty; If, in addition 
to this freedom from local partialities, the examiners and 
judges were men specially trained to the detection and 
conversion of the heretics; if also, they had by irrevocable 
vows renounced the world; if they could acquire no wealth, 
and were dead to the enticement of pleasure, every guaran- 
tee seemed to be afforded that their momentous duties 
would be fulfilled with the strictest justice — that while 
the purity of the faith would be protected, there would 
be no unnecessary oppression or cruelty or persecution 
dictated by private interests and personal revenge. Their 
unlimited popularity was also a warrant that they would 
receive far more efficient assistance in their arduous 
labors than could be expected by the i)ishops, whose 
position was generally that of antagonism to their flocks, 
and to the petty seigneurs and powerful barons whose 
aid was indispensable.* 

Gregory IX fully understood the help that the Domini- 
cans and Franciscans could render him as agents of the 
Inquisition throughout Christendom.^ 

* Lea, op. cit., pp. 318, 319. 

'Of course these religions were to render other services to the church. 


It is probable that the Senator of Rome refers to them 
in his oath in 1231, when he speaks of the Inquisitores 
datos ah Ecclesia} Frederic II, in his law of 1232, also 
mentions the Inquisitores ah apostolica sede datos? The 
Dominican Alberic traveled through Lombardy in Novem- 
ber, 1232, with the title of Inquisitor hcereticce pravitatis? 
In 123 1 a similar commission was entrusted to the Domini- 
cans of Freisach, and to the famous Conrad of Marburg.* 
Finally, to quote but one more instance, Gregory IX, in 
1233, wrote an eloquent letter to the bishops of southern 
France in which he said: "We, seeing you engrossed in 
the whirlwind of cares, and scarce able to breathe in the 
pressure of overwhelming anxieties, think it well to 
divide your burdens, that they may be more easily borne. 
We have therefore determined to send preaching friars 
against the heretics of France and the adjoining provinces, 
and we beg, warn, and exhort you, ordering you as you 
reverence the Holy See, to receive them kindly, and to 
treat them well, giving them in this as in all else, favor, 
counsel, and aid, that they may fulfill their office." ^ 

Their duties are outlined in a letter of Gregory IX to 

* Raynaldi, AnnaleSf ad ann. 1231, sect. 16, 17; cf. Ficker, op. cit., p. 205. 
2 Cap. iii, in the Mon. Germ.f Leges ^ sect, iv, vol. ii, p. 196. 
'Potthast, Regesta Roman. Pontif.^ no. 904, i. 

* Cf. Ficker, op. cU., p. 213; cf. Potthast, n. 8859, 8860. 

*Potthast, no. 9143-9152. At the same time, Gregory IX sent a bull "to 
the Priors and Friars of the Order of Preachers." Cf. Lea, op. cU.^ p. 329 
and seq. Robert le Bougre was appointed inquisitor for northern France, 
April 19, 1233. Ripoll, Bullarium^ vol. i, p. 45. 


Conrad of Marburg, October ii, 1231: "When you 
arrive in a city, summon the bishops, clergy, and people, 
and preach a solemn sermon on faith; then select certain 
men of good repute to help you in trying the heretics 
and suspects denounced before your tribunal. All who on 
examination are found guilty or suspected of heresy must 
promise to absolutely obey the commands of the Church ; 
if they refuse, you must prosecute them, according to the 
statutes which we have recently promulgated." ^ We have 
in these instructions all the procedure of the Inquisition: 
the time of grace; the call for witnesses and their testi- 
mony; the interrogation of the accused; the reconciliation 
of repentant heretics; the condemnation of obdurate 

Each detail of this procedure calls for a few words of 

The Inquisitor first summoned every heretic of the 
city to appear before him within a certain fixed time, 
which as a rule did not exceed thirty days. This period 
was called "the time of grace" (iempus gratice)? The 
heretics who abjured during this period were treated with 
leniency. If secret heretics, they were dismissed with 

1 Kuchenbecker, Analeckt Hassiaca, vol. iii, p. 73; cf. Ficker, op. cU., 
p. 313. Similar instructions may be found in the Processus inquisUionis 
(Appendix A). 

2 "Quod et tempus graiuB sive indulgentias appellamus." Processus 
InquisUionis , cf. Appendix A. "Assignato eis termino competent! quod 
tempus gratia vocare soletis." Consultation of the Archbishop of Narbonne, 
at the Council of Bdziers in 1346, c. ii. Cf. Tanon, op, cit., p. 330, note 3. 


only a slight secret penance; if public heretics, they were 
exempted from the penalties of death and life-imprison- 
ment, and sentenced either to make a short pilgrimage, 
or to undergo one of the ordinary canonical penances.* 
If the heretics failed to come forward of their own accord, 
they were to be denounced by the Catholic people. At 
first the number of witnesses required to make an accusa- 
tion valid was not determined; later on two were declared 
necessary.^ In the beginning, the Inquisition could only 
accept the testimony of men and women of good repute ; 
and the Church for a long time maintained that no one 
should be admitted as an accuser who was a heretic, was 
excommunicated, a homicide, a thief, a sorcerer, a diviner, 
or a bearer of false witness.^ But her hatred of heresy 
led her later on to set aside this law, when the faith was 

* "Illis autem qui ad mandatum Ecclesiae venerint, non imponetur publica 
pcenitentia, nisi sint publici hsrctici . . . cum quibus etiam ita misericordia 
fiat quod non condempnentur ad mortem, non ad carcerem perpetuum, non 
ad peregrinationem nimis longam', sed aliae poenitentiae injungantur quas pro 
qualitate delicti inquisitores viderint imponendas." Consultation of the 
cardinal Bishop of Albano, in Doat, vol. xxxi, fol. 5. On the acts of this 
cardinal, who was none other than Pierre de Colmieu, the old Archbishop of 
Rouen, cf. Tanon, op. cU.^ pp. 144, 145. 

^ G. Durand, Speculum judiciorum, lib. i, parts iv, De iesie, sect. 11. 
Gui Foucois (who became Pope under the name of Clement IV) thought that 
more than two witnesses were helpful, and in some cases absolutely necessary." 
"Ideoque non crederem tutum ad vocem duorum testium hominem bonae 
opinionis damnare, licet videar contra jus dicere." Consultation in Doat, 
vol. xxxvi, quest, xv. Cf. Eymeric, Directorium, 3* pars, De testium multi- 
pUcatione^ p. 445. 

* Pseudo- Julii, Ep. ii, cap. 17; Gratian, Decretum, pars 2^, Causa v, 
quaest iii, cap. v. 


in question. As early as the twelfth century, Gratian 
had declared that the testimony of infamous and heret- 
ical witnesses might be accepted in trials for heresy.^ 

The edicts of Frederic II declared that heretics could 
not testify in the courts, but this disability was removed 
when they were called upon to testify against other sus- 
pects.^ In the beginning, the Inquisitors were loath to 
accept such testimony. But in 1261 Alexander IV 
assured them that it was lawful to do so.^ Henceforth 
the testimony of a heretic was considered valid, al- 
though it was always left to the discretion of the In- 
quisition to reject it at will. This principle was finally 
incorporated into the canon law, and was enforced by 
constant practice.* All legal exceptions were henceforth 
declared inoperative except that of moral enmity.^ 

Witnesses for the defence rarely presented themselves. 
Very seldom do we come across any mention of them.® 

1 Pars ii, Causa ii, quaest. vii, cap. xxii; Causa vi, quaest. i, cap. xix. 

^ Historia diplomatica Frederici II, vol. iv, pp. 299, 300. Frederic re- 
enacted at Ravenna, February 22, 1232, the law of 1220 against heretics, 
with the additional clause: "Adjicimus quod haereticus convinci per haereticum 

3 Bull Consuluit, of January 23, 126 1, in Eymeric, Directorium inquisUorum, 
Appendix, p. 40. 

* Cap. V, In fdei favor em. Sexto v, 2; Ejrmeric, Directorium inquisitorum, 
p. 105. 

* Ejnneric, ihid., 3* pars, quaest. Ixvii, pp. 606, 607. Pegna, ibid., pp. 607, 
609, declares that great cruelty or even insulting words — v.g. to call a 
man cornutus or a woman meretrix — might come under the head of enmity, 
and invalidate a man's testimony. 

® Cf. Lea, op. cU., vol. i, pp. 445, 447. 


This is readily understood, for they would almost inevi- 
tably have been suspected as accomplices and abettors 
of heresy. For the same reason, the accused were prac- 
tically denied the help of counsel. Innocent III had for- 
bidden advocates and scriveners to lend aid or counsel 
to heretics and their abettors.* This prohibition, which 
in the mind of the Pope was intended only for defiant and 
acknowledged heretics, was gradually extended to every 
suspect who was striving to prove his innocence.^ 

Heretics or suspects, therefore, denounced to the In- 
quisition generally found themselves without counsel 
before their judges. 

They personally had to answer the various charges of 
the indictment (capitula) made against them. It certainly 
would have been a great help to them, to have known 
the names of their accusers. But the fear — well-founded 
it was true ' — that the accused or their friends would 

1 Decretals, cap. xi, De hareticis^ lib. v, tit. vii. 

2 Eyraeric, Directorium inquisitorutn, 3^ pars, quaest. xxxix, p. 565; cf. 
446; Lea, op. cit.f vol. i, 444. Sometimes, however, the accused was granted 
counsel, but juxia juris formam ac stylum et usurn officii Inquisiiionis; cf. 
Vidal, Le tribunal d' Inquisition^ in the Annates de Saint-Louis des Frangais^ 
vol. ix (1905), p. 299, note. Eymeric himself grants one {Directorium, pp. 
451-453). But this lawyer was merely to persuade his client to confess his 
heresy; he was rather the lawyer of the court than of the accused. Vidal, 
op. cit., pp. 302, 303. Pegna, however, says (in Eymeric, Directorium 2* pars, 
ch. xi, Comm. 10) that in his time the accused was allowed counsel, if he 
were only suspected of heresy. Cf. Tanon, op. cit., pp. 400, 401. 

3 Guillem Pelhisse tells us that the Cathari sometimes killed those who 
had denounced their brethren. ^* Persecutores eorum percutiebant, vulnerabant 
et occidebant" Chronique, ed. Douais, p. 90. A certain Arnold Dominici, 
who had denounced seven heretics, was killed at night in his bed by "the 


revenge themselves on their accusers, induced the In- 
quisitors to withhold the names of the witnesses.* The 
only way in which the prisoner could invalidate the testi- 
mony against him was to name all his mortal enemies. 
If his accusers happened to be among them, their testi- 
mony was thrown out of court.* But otherwise, he was 
obliged to prove the falsity of the accusation against him 
— a practically impossible undertaking. For if two wit- 
nesses, considered of good repute by the Inquisitor, agreed 
in accusing the prisoner, his fate was at once settled;^ 
whether he confessed or not, he was declared a heretic. 

Believers." Ibid., pp. 98, 99. As early as 1229, the papal legate, after his 
investigation in the South, brought back all the testimony with him to Rome, 
**ne forte si aliquando inventa fuisset (inquisitio) in terra ista a malevolis, 
in mortem tesHum qui contra tales deposuerant redundaret" and even this did 
not prevent the heretics from killing the accusers of their brethren: "nam et 
sola suspicione, post recessum ipsius legati, fuere tales aliqui et persecutores 
haereticorum plurimi interfecti." C. de Puy-Laurens, Chronigue, cap. 40. 
Cf. Lea, op. cit., vol. i, p. 438; Tanon, op. cit., p. 390. 

1 Ejrmeric, Directorium, 3* pars, q. 72; An nomina testium et denuntia- 
torum sint delatis publicanda, p. 627. The law on this point varied from 
time to time. But between the years 1244 and 1254 a manual of the Inqui- 
sition {Processus inquisitionis, cf. Appendix A) says: *'Neque a juris ordine 
deviamus nisi quod testium non publicamus nomina propter ordinationem 
sedis apostolicae sub domino Gregorio (IX) provide factam et ab Innocentio 
(IV) postmodum innovatam." Cf. bull of Alexander IV, Layettes du trisor 
des CharteSy vol. iii, n. 4221. When Boniface VIII incorporated into the 
canon law the rule of withholding the names of witnesses, he expressly said 
that they might be produced, if there was no danger in doing so. Cap. 20, 
Sexto V, 2. Cf. Lea, op. cit., p. 438 and note; Vidal, Le tribunal d^ Inquisition 
de Pamiers in the Annates de Saint Louis des Frangais, vol. ix, pp. 294, 295. 

^ Eymeric, Directorium^ 3^ pars, De defensionibus reorum, p. 446 and seq. 

•According to the Processus inguisitionis the rule was: "Ad nuUius con- 
dempnationem sine lucidis et apertis probationibus vel confessione propria 
processimus.'' Appendix A. Cf. Eymeric, De duodecimo modo terminando 


After the prisoner had been found guilty, he could 
choose one of two things; he could abjure his heresy and 
manifest his repentance by accepting the penance im- 
posed by his judge, or he could obstinately persist either 
in his denial or profession of heresy, accepting resolutely 
all the consequences of such an attitude. 

If the heretic abjured, he knelt before the Inquisitor 
as a pentitent before his confessor. He had no reason to 
fear his judge. For, properly speaking, he did not inflict 

"The mission of the Inquisition," writes Lea, "was to 
save men's souls; to recall them to the way of salvation, 
and to assign salutary penance to those who sought it, 
like a father-confessor with his penitent. Its sentences, 
therefore, were not like those of an earthly judge, the 
retaliation of society on the wrong-doer, or deterrent 
examples to prevent the spread of crime ; they were simply 
imposed for the benefit of the erring soul, to wash away 
its sin. The Inquisitors themselves habitually speak of 
their ministrations in this sense." * 

But "the sin of heresy was too grave to be expiated 
simply by contrition and amendment." ^ The Inquisitor, 
therefore, pointed out other means of expiation: "The 
penances customarily imposed by the Inquisition were 

processusm fidei per condempnationem convicH de fuBresi et persistetUis in 
negativa, in the Direciorium, 3* pars, pp. 521-525. 

1 Lea, op. cit.f p. 459. 

' I-ea, ibid.t p. 463. 



comparatively few in number. They consisted, firstly, 
of pious observances — recitation of prayers, frequenting 
of churches, the discipline, fasting, pilgrimages, and fines 
nominally for pious uses, — such as a confessor might 
impose on his ordinary penitents. These were for offences 
of trifling import. "Next in grade are the p<znce con- 
fusibiles, — the humiliating and degrading penances, of 
which the most important was the wearing of yellow 
crosses sewed upon the garments; and finally, the severest 
punishment among those strictly within the competence 
of the Holy Office, the murus or prison." * 

If the heretic refused to abjure, his obduracy put an 
end to the judge's leniency, and withdrew him at once 
from his jurisdiction. 

"The Inquisitor never condemned to death, but merely 
withdrew the protection of the Church from the hardened 
and impenitent sinner who afforded no hope of conver- 
sion, or from him who showed by relapse that there was 
no trust to be placed in his pretended repentance." * 

It was at this juncture that the State intervened. The 
ecclesiastical judge handed over the heretic to the secular 
arm,' which simply enforced the legal penalty of the stake. 

1 Lea, tbid.y p. 462. For further details about these penances, ibid.t p. 463 
and seq.; cf. Ch. Molinier, U Inquisition dans le midi de la France au XIII^ 
ei au XIV^ sihdes^ pp. 358-398. 

' Lea, tbid.^ p. 460. 

'*'Quia sacrosancta Romana Ecclesia non habet amplius quod faciat 
contra te, pro tuis demeritis in hiis scriptis te relinquimus curiae secular!.*' 


However, the law allowed the heretic to abjure even at 
the foot of the stake; in that case his sentence was com- 
muted to life imprisonment.* 

It is hard to conceive of a greater responsibility than 
that of a mediaeval Inquisitor. The life or death of the 
heretic was practically at his disposal. The Church, there- 
fore, required him to possess in a pre-eminent degree the 
qualities of an impartial judge. Bernard Gui, the most 
experienced Inquisitor of his time (1308-1323), thus paints 
for us the portrait of the ideal Inquisitor: *'He should 
be diligent and fervent in his zeal for religious truth, for 
the salvation of souls, and for the destruction of heresy. 
He should always be calm in times of trial and difficulty, 
and never give way to outbursts of anger or temper. He 
should be a brave man, ready to face death if necessary, 
but while never cowardly running from danger, he should 
never be foolhardy in rushing into it. He should be un- 
moved by the entreaties or the bribes of those who appear 
before his tribunal; still he must not harden his heart to 
the point of refusing to delay or mitigate punishment, 
as circumstances may require from time to time. 

Liber sententiarum inquisitionis Tholosana ah anno Ch. 1307 ad ann. 1323, 
in Limborch, Historic Inquisitionis^ Amsterdam, 1692, p. 91. 

1 "Si qui . . . territu mortis redire voluerint ad agendam poenitentiam, in 
perpetuum carcerem detrudantur." Constitution of Frederic (1232) quoted 
above; cf. the Council of Toulouse (1229) and the text of Gregory IX. For 
heretics converted at the foot of the stake, cf. Ejnneric, op. cit.^ 3* pars, De 
decimo modo terminandi processum fidei per condemnationem hceretici impceni- 
tentis non relapsi, p. 515. 


In doubtful cases, he should be very careful not to be- 
lieve too easily what may appear probable, and yet in 
reality is false; nor on the other hand should he stub- 
bornly refuse to believe what may appear improbable, 
and yet is frequently true. He should zealously discuss 
and examine every case, so as to be sure to make a just 
decision. . . . Let the love of truth and mercy, the 
special qualities of every good judge, shine in his coun- 
tenance, and let his sentences never be prompted by 
avarice or cruelty.* 

This portrait corresponds to the idea that Gregory IX 
had of the true Inquisitor. In the instructions which he 
gave to the terrible Conrad of Marburg, October 21, 1223, 
he took good care to warn him to be prudent as well as 
zealous: "Punish if you will," he said, **the wicked and 
perverse, but see that no innocent person suffers at your 
hands": ut puniatur sic temeritas perversorum, quod inno- 
centice puritas non Icedatur? Gregory IX cannot be 
accused of injustice, but he will ever be remembered as 
the Pope who established the Inquisition as a permanent 
tribunal, and did his utmost to enforce everywhere the 
death penalty for heresy. 

^ Practica InquisUionis^ pars 6* ed. Douais, 1886, pp. 231-233. Eymeric 
gives a similar portrait of the ideal Inquisitor. Directorum, 3* pars, qusest. 
I, De Conditione Inquisitionis, p. 534; cf. qusest, xvi, De conditionibus vicarii 
inquisitoriSy p. 547. The Inquisitor had to be forty years old: ibid.f 
p. 535. This was fixed by Clement V, Clementinarum, lib. v, tit. iii, cap. 

• • • • 


2 Quoted by Ficker, op. cit.y p. 220. 


This Pope was, in certain respects, a very slave to the 
letter of the law. The protests of St. Augustine and 
many other early Fathers did not affect him in the least. 
In the beginning while he was legate, he merely insisted 
upon the enforcement of the penal code of Innocent III, 
which did not decree any punishment severer than banish- 
ment, but he soon began to regard heresy as a crime 
similar to treason, and therefore subject to the' same 
penalty, death. Certain ecclesiastics of his court with 
extremely logical minds, and rulers like Pedro II of Aragon 
and Frederic II, had reached the same conclusion, even 
before he did. Finally, in the fourth year of his pontificate, 
and undoubtedly after mature deliberation, he decided 
to compel the princes and the podesta to enforce the law 
condemning heretics to the stake. 

He did his utmost to bring this about. He did not 
forget, however, that the Church could not concern her- 
self in sentences of death. In fact, his law of 123 1 
decrees that: "Heretics condemned by the church are 
to be handed over to the secular courts to receive due 
punishment {animadversio debita)." ^ The emperor Fred- 
eric II had the same notion of the distinction between 
the two powers. His law of 1224 points out carefully 
that heretics convicted by an ecclesiastical trial are 
to be burned in the name of the civil authority: auc- 

>'*Dampnati vero per Ecclesiam seculari judicio rdinquantur^ animad- 
versione debita puniendi." DecreUdes, cap. xv, De HareticiSf lib. v, tit. vii. 


toriiate nostra ignis judicio concremandus} The imperial 
law of 1232 likewise declares that heretics condemned 
by the Church are to be brought before a secular tribunal 
to receive the punishment they deserve.^ This explains 
why Gregory 1 X did not believe that in handing over here- 
tics to the secular arm he participated directly or indirectly 
in a death sentence.^ The tribunals of the Inquisition 

^ Mon. Germ., Leges, sect, iv, vol. ii, p. 126. 

2 "Haeretici . . . ubicumque per imperium dampnati ab Ecclesia fuerint et 
seculari judicio assignati, animadversione debita puniantur." Ibid., p. 196. 
The Sicilian constitution of 1233 decrees that all who have been declared 
impenitent heretics, prcssetUis nostra legis edicto damnatos, mortem pati 
decernimus. In Eymeric, Directorium, Appendix, p. 15. 

•Lea writes (op. cit., vol. i, p. 536, note): " Gregory IX had no scruple in 
asserting the duty of the church to shed the blood of heretics." In a brief of 
1234 to the Archbishop of Sens, he says: Nee enim decuit Apostolicam Sedem, 
in oculis suis cum Madianita cceunte Jud(Bo,'manum suam a sanguine pro- 
hibere, ne si secus ageret non custodire populum Israel . . . videretur. RipoU, 
i, 66. This is certainly a serious charge, but the citation he gives implies 
something altogether different. Lea has been deceived himself, and in turn 
has misled his readers, by a comparison which he mistook for a doctrinal 
document. The context, we think, clearly shows that the Pope was making 
a comparison between the Holy See and the Jewish leader Phinees, who had 
slain an Israelite and a harlot of Madian, in the very act of their crime (Num. 
XXV. 6, 7). That does not imply that the church uses the same weapons. 
Even if the comparison is not a very happy one, still we must not exaggerate 
its import. We quote the rest of the papal letter, so that our readers may 
see that it did not treat of the execution of heretics at all. "Fratribus ordinis 
Praedicatorum habentibus zelum Dei et in opere potentibus Apostolica scripta 
direximus, ut ad caput hujusmodi reptilium conterendum, vulpes parvulas 
capiendas et maxillas eorum, qui Christi Ecclesiam lacerebant, in freno cohi- 
bendas et camo, potentes assurgerent, et oves errantes ad ovile suis humeris 
reportarent nee non personas infectas scabra rubigine vetustatis lima suae 
prsdicationis eraderent, ut mundae in sanctuarium Domini et caelestem 
patriam introirent; nee enim decuit apostolicam sedem, in oculis suis cum 
Madianita coeunte Judaeo, manum suam a sanguine prohibere (the weapons 
used by the Holy See are simply the Scripta apostolica, cited above), ne si 


which he established in no way modified this concept of 
ecclesiastical justice. The Papacy, the guardian of or- 
thodoxy for the universal Church, simply found that 
the Dominicans and the Franciscans were more docile 
instruments than the episcopate for the suppression of 
heresy. But whether the Inquisition was under the 
direction of the bishops or the monks, it could have been 
conducted on the same lines. 

But as a matter of fact, it unfortunately changed com- 
pletely under the direction of the monks. The change 
effected by them in the ecclesiastical procedure resulted 
wholly to the detriment of the accused. The safeguards 
for their defense were in part done away with. A pre- 
tense was made to satisfy the demands of justice by 
requiring that the Inquisitors be prudent and impartial 
judges. But this made everything depend upon indi- 
viduals, whereas the law itself should have been just and 
impartial. In this respect, the criminal procedure of the 
Inquisition is markedly inferior to the criminal procedure 
of the Middle Ages. 

secus ageret non custodire populum Israel, nee super grege suo noctis vigilias 
vigilare, sed dormire seu dormitare potius videretur. Porro nee fuit man- 
dantis intentio, nee scribentis voluntas hoc habuit, ut super aliis Provinciis, 
praeterquam de haeresi infamatis ad eos scripta hujusmodi emanarent . . . 
Mandamus . . . contra haereticos hujusmodi studeatis solicite debitum Pas- 
toralis officii exercere, et eos reconciliare Domino . . ." Ripoll, Bullarium ord, 
FF. PrcBdicatorum, vol. i, p. 66. 


Development of the Inquisition 
Innocent IV and the Use of Torture 

The successors of Gregory IX were not long in perceiv- 
ing certain defects in the system of the Inquisition. They 
tried their best to remedy them, although their efforts 
were not always directed with the view of mitigating its 
rigor. We will indicate briefly their various decrees 
pertaining to the tribunals, the penalties and the pro- 
cedure of the Inquisition. 

In appointing the Dominicans and the Franciscans to 
^suppress heresy, Gregory IX did not dream of abolishing 
the episcopal Inquisition. This was still occasionally 
carried on with its rival, whose procedure it finally 
adopted. Indeed no tribunal of the Inquisition could 
operate in a diocese without the permission of the 
Bishop, whom it was supposed to aid.^ But it was 
inevitable that the Inquisitors would in time encroach 
upon the episcopal authority, and relying upon their 

*Lea, op. cU.y vol. i, p. 330 seq. 


papal commission proceed to act as independent judges. 
This abuse frequently attracted the attention of the 
Popes, who, after some hesitation, finally settled the law 
on this point. 

"If previous orders requiring it" (episcopal concur- 
rence), writes Lea, ''had not been treated with contempt, 
Innocent IV would not have been obliged, in 1254, to 
reiterate the instructions that no condemnations to death 
or life imprisonment should be uttered without consulting 
the Bishops; and in 1255 he enjoined Bishop and In- 
quisitor to interpret in consultation any obscurities in 
the laws against heresy, and to administer the lighter 
penalties of deprivation of office and preferment. This 
recognition of episcopal jurisdiction was annulled by 
Alexander IV, who, after some vacillation, in 1257 ^^^' 
dered the Inquisition independent by releasing it from 
the necessity of consulting with the Bishops even in 
cases of obstinate and confessed heretics, and this he 
repeated in 1260. Then there was a reaction. In 1262/ 
Urban IV, in an elaborate code of instructions, formally 
revived the consultation in all cases involving the death 
penalty or perpetual imprisonment; and this was repeated 
by Clement IV in 1265. Either these instructions, how- 
ever, were revoked in some subsequent enactment, or they 
soon fell into desuetude, for in 1273, Gregory X, after 
alluding to the action of Alexander IV in annulling con- 
sultation, proceeds to direct that Inquisitors in deciding 


upon sentences shall proceed in accordance with the 
counsel of the Bishops or their delegates, so that the 
episcopal authority might share in decisions of such 


This decretal remained henceforth the law. But as 
the Inquisitors at times seemed to act as if it did not exist, 
Boniface VIII and Clement IV strengthened it by declar- 
ing null and void all grave sentences in which the Bishop 
had not been consulted.^ The consultation, however, 
between the Bishop and Inquisitor could be conducted 
through delegates.^ In insisting upon this, the Popes 
proved that they were anxious to give the sentences 
of the Inquisition every possible guarantee of perfect 

Another way in which the Popes labored to render the 
sentences of the Inquisition just was the institution of 
experts. As the questions which arose before the tri- 
bunals in matters of heresy were often very complex, 
"it was soon found requisite to associate with the In- 
quisitors in the rendering of sentences men versed in 
the civil and canon law, which had by this time become 
an intricate study requiring the devotion of a lifetime. 
Accordingly they were empowered to call in experts to 

> Ihid.^ p. 335. Cf. Tanon, op. cit.t pp. 413-416. 

^SextOy lib. V, tit ii, cap. 17, Per hoc; Clementin; lib. v, tit. iii, cap. ii 
Midtorum querela. 

8 The Decretal Midtorum querela; Eymeric, Directorium, p. 113. Often 
the Bishop and the Inquisitor named the one delegate. 


deliberate with them over the evidence, and advise with 
them on the sentence to be rendered." ^ 

The official records of the sentences of the Inquisition 
frequently mention the presence of these experts, periti and 
boni vtri.^ Their number, which varied according to 
circumstances, was generally large. At a consultation 
called by the Inquisitors in January, 1329, at the Bishop's 
palace in Pamiers, there were thirty-five present, nine of 
whom were jurisconsults; and at another in September* 
1329, there were fifty-one present, twenty of whom were 
civil lawyers.' 

"At a comparatively early date, the practice was 
adopted of allowing a number of culprits to accumulate 
whose fate was determined and announced in a solemn 
Sermo or auto de f^. . . . In the final shape which the 
assembly of counsellors assumed, we find it summoned 
to meet on Fridays, the Sermo always taking place on 
Sundays. When the number of criminals was large, 
there was not much time for deliberation in special cases. 
The assessors were always to be jurists and Mendicant 

> Lea, op. cii.t vol. i, p. 388. Cf. The Bull of Innocent IV, July 11, 1254. 
Layettes du Trisor des Charles^ vol. iii, no. 41 11 (cf. 4113). Alexander IV 
calls them experts, periti, in his bull of April 15, 1255, Potthast, Regesta, no. 
15, 804; Registers edited by De la Roncifere, no. 372; Alexander renewed his 
decree in a bull of April 27, 1260, Coll. Doat, xxx, fol. 204; cf. also Urban IV, 
Bull of August 2, 1264. 

2 Douais, La Formule; communicato honorum virorum consilio des sentences 
inquisitorialeSf in the Congrhs scierUifique international des Catholiques (section 
of Sciences historiques), Fribourg (Switzerland), 1898, pp. 316-367. 

» Ibid., p. 323. 


Friars, selected by the Inquisitor in such numbers as he 
saw fit. They were severally sworn on the Gospels to 
secrecy, and to give good and wise counsel, each one 
according to his conscience, and to the knowledge vouch- 
safed him by God. The Inquisitor then read over his sum- 
mary of each case, sometimes withholding the name of the 
accused, and they voted the sentence " Penance at the dis- 
cretion of the Inquisitor" — "that person is to be impris- 
oned, or abandoned to the secular arm" — while the Gospels 
lay on the table "so that our judgment might come from 
the face of God, and our eyes might see justice." ^ 

We have here the beginnings of our modern jury. As a 
rule, the Inquisitors followed the advice of their counsellors, 
save when they themselves favored a less severe sen- 
tence.^ The labor of these experts was considerable, and 
often lasted several days. "A brief summary of each 
case was submitted to them. Eymeric maintained that 
the whole case ought to be submitted to them; and that 
was undoubtedly the common practice. But Pegna on 
the other hand thought it was better to withhold from 
the assessors the names of both the witnesses and the 
prisoners. He declares that this was the common prac- 
tice of the Inquisition, at least as far as the names were 

1 Lea, op. cit., vol. i, p. 389; Doat, vol. xxvii, fol. 108. The Sermones of 
the Inquisitor Bernard of Cauz were not always held on Sundays (Tanon, 
op. cU., p. 425). 

3 Douais, La jormtUe: Communicato bonorum virorum consUio, he. cii., 
PP- 324, 326. 


concerned.^ This was also the practice of the Inquisitors 
of southern France, as Bernard Gui tells us. The ma- 
jority of the counsellors received a brief summary of the 
case, the names being withheld. Only a very few of them 
were deemed worthy to read the full text of all the in- 
terrogatories." ^ 

We can readily see how the periti or boni viri, who 
were called upon to decide the guilt or innocence of 
the accused from evidence considered in the abstract, 
without any knowledge of the prisoners' names or motives, 
could easily make mistakes. In fact, they did not have 
data enough to enable them to decide a concrete case. 
For tribunals are to judge criminals and not crimes, just 
as physicians' treat sick people and not diseases in the ab- 
stract. We know that the same disease calls for different 
treatment in different individuals; in like manner a crime 
must be judged with due reference to the mentality of 

> Eymeric, Directorium, 3* pars, quest. 80, Comm. 129, p. 632. 

2Tanon, op. cU.^ p. 421. "Ante sermonem vero, captato tempore oppor- 
tune, petitur per inquisitores consilium a praedictis (bonis viris), facta prius 
extractione summaria et compendiosa de culpis, in quo complete tangitur 
substantia cujuslibet personse . . . sine expressione nominis alicujus persona 
ad cauielantj ut liberius de pcmiteniia pro tali culpa imponenda sine ajfectione 
persona judicent consulentes. Solidius tamen consilium, si omnia complete 
exprimerentur, quod faciendum est ubi et quando possunt haberi personae 
consulentes quibus non est periculum revelare; esset etiam minus calump- 
niosum. Sed tamen non fuit usus inquisitonis ah antiquo^ propter periculum 
jam praetactum; verumptamen confessiones singulorum prius integraliter 
explicantur coram doycesano vel ejus vicario, aliquibus peritis paucis et sec- 
retariis et juratis." Bernard Gui, Practica, 3* pars, p. 83. On the com- 
munication of the names, cf. a bull of Alexander IV. Layettes du trSsor 
des Charles, vol. iii, no. 4221. 


the one who has committed it. The Inquisition did not 
seem to understand this.^ 

The assembly of experts, therefore, instituted by the 
Popes did not obtain the good results that were expected. 
But we must at least in justice admit that the Popes did 
their utmost to protect the tribunals of the Inquisition 
from the arbitrary action of individual judges, by re- 
quiring the Inquisitors to consult both the boni viri and 
the Bishops. 

Over the various penalties of the Inquisition the Popes 
likewise exercised a supervision, which was always just 
and at times most kindly. 

The greatest penalties which the Inquisition could 
inflict were life imprisonment, and abandonment of the 
prisoner to the secular arm. It is only with regard to 
the first of these penalties that we see the clemency of 
both Popes and Councils. Anyone who considers the 
rough manners of this period, must admit that the 
Church did a great deal to mitigate the excessive cruelty 
of the mediaeval prisons. 

The Council of Toulouse, in 1229, decreed that re- 
pentant heretics "must be imprisoned, in such a way 
that they could not corrupt others." ^ It also declared 

1 Even in our day the jury is bound to decide on the merits of the case 
submitted to it, without regarding the consequences of its verdict. The 
foreman reminds the jurymen in advance that "they will be false to their 
oath if, in giving their decision, they are biased by the consideration of the 
punishment their verdict will entail upon the prisoner." 

'"Ad agendam poenitentiam ... in muro tali includantur cautela quod 


that the Bishop was to provide for the prisoners' needs 
out of their confiscated property. Such measures be- 
token an earnest desire to safeguard the health, and to a 
certain degree the liberty of the prisoners. In fact, the 
documents we possess prove that the condemned some- 
times enjoyed a great deal of freedom, and were allowed 
to receive from their friends an additional supply of food, 
even when the prison fare was ample.^ 

But in many places the prisoners, even before their 
trial, were treated with great cruelty. "The papal or- 
ders were that they (the prisons) should be constructed 
of small, dark cells for solitary confinement, only taking 
care that the enormts rigor of the incarceration should 
not extinguish life." ^ But this last provision was not 
always carried out. Too often the prisoners were con- 
fined in narrow cells full of disease, and totally unfit for 
human habitation.^ The Popes, learning this sad state of 
affairs, tried to remedy it. Clement V was particularly 


facultatem non habeant alios corrumpendi." D'Achery, Spicilegium, in-fol. 
vol. i, p. 711. 

1 Cf. on this point Vidal., op. cU., in Annales de Saini-Louis des Frangais, 
1905. PP- 361-368. 

2 Lea, op. cit.t vol. i, p. 491. 

3** In aliis domunculis sunt miseri commorantes in compedibus tam 
ligneis quam ferreis, nee se movere possunt, sed subtus se egerunt atque 
mingunt nee jacere possunt nisi resupini in terra frigida; et in hujusmodi 
tormentis nocte dieque longis temporibus quotidie perseverant. In aliis vero 
careerum locis degentibus, non solum lux et aer subtrahitur, sed et victus 
excepto pane doloris et aqua, quae etiam rarissime ministratur." Document 
quoted by Vidal, op. cit., 1905, p. 362, note. Cf. Lea, op. cit.y vol. i, pp. 491, 


zealous in his attempts at prison reform.^ That he suc- 
ceeded in bettering, at least for a time, the lot of these 
unfortunates, in whom he interested himself, cannot* be 

If the reforms he decreed were not all carried out, the 
blame must be laid to the door of those appointed to 
enforce them. History frees him from all responsibility. 

The part played by the Popes, the Councils, and the 
Inquisitors in the infliction of the death penalty does not 
appear in so favorable a light. While not directly par- 
ticipating in the death sentences, they were still very 
eager for the execution of the heretics they abandoned to 
the secular arm. This is well attested by both docu- 
ments and facts. 

Lucius III, at the Council of Verona in 1184, 
ordered sovereigns to swear, in the presence of their 
Bishops, to execute fully and conscientiously the eccle- 
siastical and civil laws against heresy. If they re- 
fused or neglected to do this, they themselves were 

1 He ordered that the prisons be kept in good condition, that they be 
looked after by both Bishop and Inquisitor, each of whom was to appoint 
a jailer who would keep the prison keys, that all provisions sent to the pris- 
oners should be faithfully given them, etc. Cf. Decretal Multorum querela 
in Eymeric, Directorium^ p. 112. 

2 His legates Pierre de la Chapelle and B6ranger de Fr^dol visited in 
April, 1306, the prisons of Carcasconne and Albi, changed the jailers, removed 
the irons from the prisoners, and made others leave the subterraneous cells in 
which they had been confined. Doat, vol. xxxiv, fol. 4 and seq; Douais, 
Documents, vol. ii, p. 304 seq. Cf. Compayr6, Etudes historiques sur PAIH- 
geois, pp. 240-245. 


liable to excommunication and their rebellious cities to 

Innocent IV, in 1252, enacted a law still more severe, 
insisting on the infliction of the death penalty upon 
heretics. "When," he says, "heretics condemned by the 
Bishop, his Vicar, or the Inquisitors, have been aban- 
doned to the secular arm, the podesta or ruler of the city 
must take charge of them at once, and within five days 
enforce the laws against them." ^ 

This law, or rather the bull Ad Extirpanda, which con- 
tains it, was to be inscribed in perpetuity in all the local 
statute books. Any attempt to modify it was a crime, 
which condemned the offender to perpetual infamy, and 
a fine enforced by the ban. Moreover, each podesta, at 
the beginning and end of his term, was required to have 
this bull read in all places designated by the Bishop and 
the Inquisitors, and to erase from the statute books all 
laws to the contrary.^ 

At the same time. Innocent IV issued instructions to 

1 "Eis exciimmunicatione ligandis et terris ipsorum interdicto Ecclesiae 
supponendis. Civitas autem quae his institutis duxerit resistendum vel . . . 
punire neglexerit . . . , alianim carst commercio civitatura," etc. Decretal 
Ad aholendaniy in the Decretals, cap, ix, de Hctreticis^ lib. v, tit. vii. Cf. 
Sexto, lib. V, tit. ii, c. 2. Ut OffUium; Council of Aries, 1254, can. iii; Coun- 
cil of Bdziers, 1246, can. ix. 

2"Damnatos de haeresi . . . potestas vel rector . . . eos sibi relictos re- 
dpiat statim, vel infra quinque dies ad minus, circa eos constitutiones contra 
tales editas servaturus." Bull Ad exHrpanda^ May 15, 1252, in Eymeric, 
Direciorium, Appendix, p. 8. 



the Inquisitors of upper Italy, urging them to have this 
bull and the edicts of Frederic II inserted in the statutes 
of the various cities.^ And to prevent mistakes being 
made as to which imperial edicts he wished enforced, 
he repeated these instructions in 1254, and inserted in 
one of his bulls the cruel laws of Frederic II, viz.: 
the edict of Ravenna, Commissis nobis, which decreed 
the death of obdurate heretics; and the Sicilian law. In- 
consutilem tunicam, which expressly decreed that such 
heretics be sent to the stake.^ 

These decrees remained the law as long as the Inquisition 
lasted. The bull Ad Extirpanda was, however, slightly 
modified from time to time. " In 1265, Clement IV again 
went over it, carefully making some changes, principally 
in adding the word ' Inquisitors ' in passages where Inno- 
cent had only designated the Bishops and Friars, thus 
showing that the Inquisition had, during the interval, 
established itself as the recognized instrumentality in 
the prosecution of heresy, and the next year he repeated 
Innocent's emphatic order to the Inquisitors to enforce 
the insertion of his legislation and that of his predecessors 
upon the statute books everywhere, with the free use of 
excommunication and interdict." ^ 

1 Cf. the bulls Cum adversus^ Tunc potissime. Ex Commissis nobis, etc., in 
E3nneric, ibid., pp. 9-12. 

2 Ibid., pp. 13-15. 

8 Lea, op. cit., vol. i, p. 339; cf. Potthast, Regesta, nos. 19348, 19423, 19428, 
19433* 19522, 19896, 19905- 


A little later, Nicholas IV, who during his short pon- 
tificate (1288-1292), greatly favored the Inquisition in its 
work, re-enacted the bulls of Innocent IV and Clement IV, 
and ordered the enforcement of the laws of Frederic II, 
lest perchance they might fall into desuetude.* 

It is therefore proved beyond question that the Church, 
in the person of the Popes, used every means at her dis- 
posal, especially excommunication, to compel the State 
to enforce the infliction of the death penalty upon heretics. 
This excommunication, moreover, was all the more 
dreaded, because, according to the canons, the one ex- 
communicated, unless absolved from the censure, was 
regarded as a heretic himself within a year's time, and 
was liable therefore to the death penalty .^ The princes 
of the day, therefore, had no other way of escaping this 
penalty, except by faithfully carrying out the sentence 

of the Church. 

• ••••••• 

The Church is also responsible for having introduced 
torture into the proceedings of the Inquisition. This 
cruel practice was introduced by Innocent IV in 1252. 

1 Registers t published by Langlols, no. 4253. For the interest Nicholas IV 
took in the Inquisition, cf. Douais, MonumentSy vol. i, pp. xxx-xxxi. 

2 Alexander IV decreed this penalty against the contumacious, Sexto, De 
HareticiSf cap. vii. Boniface VIII extended it to those princes and magistrates 
who did not enforce the sentences of the Inquisition: quam excommunica- 
tionem si per annum animo sustinuerit pertinaci, extunc velut haereticus 
condemnetur. Sexto, De Hareticis^ cap. xviii in E3nneric„ 2* pars, p. 110. 
Cf. ibid.t 2* pars, quest. 47, pp. 360, 361. 


Torture had left too terrible an impression upon the 
minds of the early Christians to permit of their employing 
it in their own tribunals. The barbarians who founded 
the commonwealths of Europe, with the exception of the 
Visigoths, knew nothing of this brutal method of extorting 
confessions. The only thing of the kind that they allowed 
was flogging, which, according to St. Augustine, was 
rather akin to the correction of children by their parents. 
Gratian, who recommends it in his Decretum,^ lays it 
down as an "accepted rule of canon law that no confes- 
sion is to be extorted by torture." ^ Besides, Nicholas I, 
in his instructions to the Bulgarians, had formally de- 
nounced the torturing of prisoners.^ He advised that the 
testimony of three ^rsons be required for conviction; 

1 Causa V, qusest. v, Illi qui, cap. iv; Causa xii, qusst. ii, Fraternitas. 

2**Confessio ergo in talibus non extorqueri debet, sed potius sponte pro- 
fiteri. Pessimum est enim de suspicione aut extorta confessione quemquam 
judicare," etc. Causa xv, quaest. vi, cap. i. It has been said that severe 
flogging might be a most violent form of torture. Tanon (op. cit.^ pp. 371, 
372). But St. Augustine certainly did not mean this. 

3 "Si fur vel latro deprehensus fuerit et negaverit quod ei impingitur, 
asseritis apud vos quod judex caput ejus verberibus tundat et aliis stimulis 
ferreis, donee veritatem depromat, ipsius latera pungat: quam rem nee divina 
lex, nee humana prorsus admittit, cum non invita, sed spontanea debeat esse 
confessio; nee sit violenter elicienda, sed voluntarie proferenda. Denique, si 
contigerit vos, etiam illis paenis lllatis, nihil de his quae passo in crimen obji- 
ciuntur, penitus invenire, nonne saltem nunc erubescitis et quam impie judi- 
cetis agnoscitis? Similiter autem si homo criminatus, talia passus sustinere 
non valens dixerit se perpetrasse quod non perpetravit; ad quem, rogo, tantse 
impietatis magnitudo revolvitur, nisi ad eum qui hunc talia cogit mendaciter 
confiteri? Quamvis non confiteri noscatur sed loqui hoc ore profert, quod 
corde non tenet." Responsa ad Consulta Bulgarorum^ cap. Ixxxvi, Labbe, 
Concilia, vol. viii, col. 544. 


if these could not be obtained, the prisoner's oath upon 
the Gospels was to be considered sufficient. 

The ecclesiastical tribunals borrowed from Germany 
another method of proving crime, viz., the ordeals, or 
judgments of God. 

There was the duel, the ordeal of the cross, the ordeal 
of boiling water, the ordeal of fire, and the ordeal of cold 
water. They had a great vogue in nearly all the Latin 
countries, especially in Germany and France. But about 
the twelfth century they deservedly fell into great dis- 
favor, until at last the Popes, particularly Innocent III, 
Honorius III, and Gregory IX, legislated them out of 

At the very moment the Popes were condemning the 
ordeals, the revival of the Roman law throughout the 
West was introducing the customs of antiquity. It 
was then "that jurists began to feel the need of torture, 
and accustom themselves to the idea of its introduction. 
The earliest instances with which I have met," writes 
Lea, "occur in the Veronese code of 1228, and the Sicilian 
constitutions of Frederic II in 1231, and in both of these 
the references to it show how sparingly and hesitatingly 
it was employed. Even Frederic, in his ruthless edicts, 
from 1220 to 1239, makes no allusion to it, but in accord- 

1 Decretals, lib. v, tit. xxxv, cap. i-iii.' Cf. Vacandard, Vkglise et les 
Ordalies in Etudes de critique et d^kistoire, 3d ed., Paris, 1906, pp. 191-215. 
On the abuse of ordeals in trials for heresy, cf. Tanon, op. cit.y pp. 303-312. 


ance with the Verona decree of Lucius III, prescribes the 
recognized form of canonical purgation for the trial of 
all suspected heretics." ^ 

The use of torture, as Tanon has pointed out, had 
f)erhaps never been altogether discontinued. Some 
ecclesiastical tribunals, at least in Paris, made use of it 
in extremely grave cases, at the close of the twelfth and 
the beginning of the thirteenth century.^ But this was 
exceptional; in Italy, apparently, it had never been used. 

Gregory IX ignored all references to torture made in the 
Veronese code, and the constitutions of Frederic II. But 
Innocent IV, feeling undoubtedly that it was a quick 
and effective method for detecting criminals, authorized 
the tribunals of the Inquisition to employ it. In his bull 
Ad Extirpanda, he says: "The podesta or ruler (of the 
city) is hereby ordered to force all captured heretics to 
confess and accuse their accomplices by torture which 
will not imperil life or injure limb, just as thieves and 
robbers are forced to accuse their accomplices and to 
confess their crimes; for these heretics are true thieves, 
murderers of souls, and robbers of the sacraments of 
God." * The Pope here tries to defend the use of torture. 

1 Lea, op. cU.j vol. i, p. 421. Cf. Paul Fournier, Les officialitis au moyen 
dgCy Paris, 1880, pp. 249, 280; Esmein, Histoire de la procidure crimineUe en 
France, Paris, 1882, pp. 19, 77. 

2 Tanon, op. cit., pp. 362-373; Notice sur le Formulaire de GuiUaume de 
Paris, 1888, p. 33. 

3 "Teneatur potestas vd rector haereticos . . . cogere citra membri diminu- 


by classing heretics with thieves and murderers. A mere 
comparison is his only argument. 

This law of Innocent IV was renewed and confirmed 
November 30, 1259, by Alexander IV/ and again on 
November 3, 1265, by Clement IV.^ The restriction of 
Innocent III to use torture "which should not imperil 
life or injure limb" (Cogere citra memhri diminutionem et 
mortis periculum), left a great deal to the discretion of 
the Inquisitors. Besides flogging, the other punish- 
ments inflicted upon those who refused to confess the 
crime of which they were accused were antecedent im- 
prisonment, the rack, the strappado, and the burning 

When after the first interrogatory the prisoner denied 
what the Inquisitors believed to be very probable or 
certain, he was thrown into prison. The durus career 
et arcta vita^ was deemed an excellent method of extorting 

"It was pointed out," says Lea, "that judicious re- 

tionem et mortis periculum, tanquam vere latrones et homicidas animarum 
. . . errores suos expresse fateri." Bull Ad extirpanda, in E3mieric, Directo- 
rium. Appendix, p. 8. 

1 Potthast, Regesia, no. 177 14. 

^ Ibid.f no. 19433. 

3 Vidal (Le tribunal d^ inquisition de Pamiers, he. cit.y i, 1905, p. 286) quotes 
also the torture of the boots, and the torture of water, which were seldom 
used; the last was peculiar to Spain. Cf. ibid.^ pp. 284-286. 

* "Per dunmi carcerem et vitam arctam est ab eis confessio extorquenda." 
Document of 1253 or 1254, published b^ DQuais, Documents j vol. i, p. Ixvii. 
C^f. Tanon, op. cit.^ pp. 360-362. 


striction of diet not only reduced the body, but weakened 
the will, and rendered the prisoner less able to resist alter- 
nate threats of death and promises of mercy. Starva- 
tion, in fact, was reckoned one of the regular and most 
efficient methods to subdue unwilling witnesses and de- 
fendants." ^ This was the usual method employed in 
Languedoc. " It is the only method," writes Mgr. Douais,^ 
"to extort confessions mentioned either in the records 
of the notary of the Inquisition of Carcassonne ^ or in the 
sentences of Bernard Gui.* It was also the practice of 
the Inquisitors across the Rhine." * 

Still the use of torture, especially of the rack and the 
strappado, was not unknown in southern Europe, even 
before the promulgation of Innocent's bull Ad Extirpanda.^ 

The rack was a triangular frame, on which the prisoner 

* Lea, op. cit.y vol. i, p. 421. 
^Douais, Documents^ vol. i, p. cad. 

' Douais, Documents, vol. ii, p. 115 and seq. 

* Loc cit.f pp. 105, 114, 120, 145. Mgr. Douais adds: This is the only 
method of extorting confession mentioned by Bernard Gui in his Practica. 
This is not accurate. We will see later on that the Practica also reconmiends 
the use of torture. Mgr. Douais here alludes to the following passage: 
"Quando aliquis vehementer suspectus . . . persistat in negando . . . non 
est aliqualiter relaxandus, sed detinendus per annos plurimos, ut vexatio det 
intellectimi." Practica, 5* pars, ed. Douais, p. 302. 

* "Si autem recuset hoc facere (confiteri), recludatur in carcere et incutiatur 
ei timor quod testes contra ipsum habeantur, et si per testes convictus fuerit, 
nulla fiat ei misericordia quin morti tradetur; et sustentetur tenui victu, quia 
timor talis humiliabit eum," etc. David d' Augsburg, Tractatus de inqui- 
sitione hereticorum, ed. Preger, Mainz, 1878, p. 43. 

* Cf. several cases in Languedoc a Jitti? before 1243 in Dovais, Documents, 
VqL i, p. 240, 


was stretched and bound, so that he could not move. 
Cords were attached to his arms and legs, and then con- 
nected with a windlass, which when turned dislocated the 
joints of the wrists and ankles. 

The strappado or vertical rack was no less painful. 
The prisoner with his hands tied behind his back was 
raised by a rope attached to a pulley and windlass to 
the top of a gallows, or to the ceiling of the torture cham- 
ber; he was then let fall with a jerk to within a few inches 
of the ground. This was repeated several times. The 
cruel torturers sometimes tied weights to the victim's 
feet to increase the shock of the fall. 

The punishment of burning, "although a very dan- 
gerous punishment," as an Inquisitor informs us, was 
occasionally used. We read of an official of Poitiers, who, 
following a Toulousain custom, tortured a sorceress by 
placing her feet on burning coals (juxta carbones accensos)} 
This punishment is described by Marsollier in his His- 
ioire de V Inquisition. First a good fire was started; then 
the victim was stretched out on the ground, his feet 
manacled, and turned toward the flame. Grease, fat, or 
some other combustible substance was rubbed upon them, 
so that they were horribly burned. From time to time 
a screen was placed between the victim's feet and the 

* "De concilio quorumdam proborum qui se asserebant vidisse penis 
examinari hsreticos in partibus Tholosanis, fecisti plantas pedum ejusdem 
mulieris juxta carbones accensos apponi." Letter of John XXII, July 28, 
13 19, in Vidal, op. cU.f October, 1905, p. 5. 


brazier, that the Inquisitor might have an opportunity 
to resume his interrogatory. 

Such methods of torturing the accused were so detest- 
able, that in the beginning the torturer was always a civil 
official, as we read in the bull of Innocent IV.^ The canons 
of the Church, moreover, prohibited all ecclesiastics from 
taking part in these tortures, so that the Inquisitor who, 
for whatever reason, accompanied the victim into the 
torture chamber, was thereby rendered irregular, and 
could not exercise his office again, until he had obtained 
the necessary dispensation. The tribunals complained 
of this cumbrous mode of administration, and declared 
that it hindered them from prof)erly interrogating the 
accused. Every effort was made to have the prohibition 
against clerics being present in the torture chamber re- 
moved. Their object was at last obtained indirectly. 
On April 27, 1260, Alexander IV authorized the Inquis- 
itors and their associates to mutually grant all the needed 
dispensations for irregularities that might be incurred.^ 
This permission was granted a second time by Urban IV, 
August 4, 1262;' it was practically an authorization to 
assist at the interrogatories at which torture was em- 
ployed. From this time the Inquisitors did not scruple 
to appear in person in the torture chamber. The man- 

1 "Teneatur podestll vel rector hereticos cogere," etc. Bull Ad exUrpanda. 

2 Collection Doat, xxxi, fol. 277, quoted by Douais, Documents, vol. i, 
p. XXV, n. 3. 

8 Regesta, no. 18390; Eymeric, Directorium, p. 132. 


uals of the Inquisition record this practice and approve 

Torture was not to be employed until the judge had 
been convinced that gentle means were of no avail.^ Even 
in the torture chamber, while the prisoner was being 
stripped of his garments and was being bound, the In- 
quisitor kept urging him to confess his guilt. On his 
refusal, the vexatio began with slight tortures. If these 
proved ineffectual, others were applied with gradually in- 
creased severity; at the very beginning the victim was 
shown all the various instruments of torture, in order 
that the mere sight of them might terrify him into 

The Inquisitors realized so well that such forced con- 
fessions were valueless, that they required the prisoner 
to confirm them after he had left the torture chamber. 
The torture was not to exceed a half hour. "Usually," 
writes Lea, " the procedure appears to be that the torture 
was continued until the accuser signified his readiness 
to confess, when he was unbound and carried into an- 
other room where his confession was made. If, however, 

1 Eymeric, Directorium^ 3* pars, p. 481; Pegna's Commentary, p. 482. 

2 A grave suspicion against the prisoner was required before he could be 
tortured. "It would be iniquitous, and a violation of both human and divine 
law to torture anyone, unless there was good evidence against him, perche 
in negotio di tanta importanza si puo facilmente commeiier errore^^ says the 
Inquisitor Eliseo Masini in his Sacro Arsenate owero prattica delP Officio 
delta santa Inquisizione^ Bologna, 1665, pp. 154, 155. 

' Eymeric, Directorium, 3* pars., p. 481, col. i. 


the confession was extracted during the torture, it was 
read over subsequently to the prisoner, and he was asked 
if it were true. ... In any case the record was carefully 
made that the confession was free and spontaneous, with- 
out the pressure of force or fear." ^ 

"It is a noteworthy fact, however, that in the frag- 
mentary documents of inquisitorial proceedings which 
have reached us the references to torture are singularly 
few. ... In the six hundred and thirty-six sentences 
borne upon the register of Toulouse from 1309 to 1323, the 
only allusion to torture is in the recital of the case of 
Calvarie, but there are numerous instances in which the 
information wrung from the convicts who had no hope 
of escaf)e could scarce have been procured in any other 
manner. Bernard Gui, who conducted the Inquisition 
of Toulouse during this period, has too emphatically 
expressed his sense of the utility of torture on both 
principals and witnesses for us to doubt his readiness 
in its employment." ^ 

1 Lea, op. cit.y vol. i, p. 427. Cf. E)nneric, Directoriunit ihid., p. 481 
col. 2; Vidal, op. cit., 1905, p. 283. The Abb6 Vidal, op. ciL^ p. 155, quotes 
an instance of these pretended spontaneous confessions at the tribunal of 
Pamiers; the records state that a certain Guillem Agassa prcsdicta confessus 
fuit sponte; whereas a little before we read: "posiquam depositus fuit de tor- 
mento." Lea also quotes the case of Guillem Salavert, who, in 1303, testified 
that his confession esse veram^ non factam vi tormeniorutftf although he had 
been actually tortured, op. cit.y vol. i. p. 428. 

2 Lea. op. city p. 424. "Talis arctari seu restringi poterit in dieta, vel 
alias in carcere seu vinculis, vel etiam qucBstionari de consilio peritorum, prout 
qualitas negotii et personae conditio cxegerit, ut Veritas eruatur," says Bernard 


Besides, the investigation which Clement V ordered into 
the iniquities of the Inquisition of Carcassonne proves 
clearly that the accused were frequently subjected to 
torture.^ That we rarely find reference to torture in the 
records of the Inquisition need not surprise us. For in 
the beginning, torture was inflicted by civil executioners 
outside of the tribunal of the Inquisition; and even later 
on, when the Inquisitors were allowed to take part in it, 
it was considered merely a means of making the prisoner 
declare his willingness to confess afterwards. A confes- 
sion made under torture had no force in law; the second 
confession only was considered valid. That is why it 
alone, as a rule, is recorded. 

But if the suflferings of the victims of the Inquisition 
were not deemed worthy of mention in the records, they 
were none the less real and severe. Imprudent or heart- 
less judges were guilty of grave abuses in the use of torture. 
Rome, which had authorized it, at last intervened, not, we 
regret to say, to prohibit it altogether, but at least to 
reform the abuses which had been called to her attention- 
One reform of Clement V ordered the Inquisition never 

Gui in his Praciica, p. 284; cf. p. 112, no. 20; p. 138, no. 36. "Possuntetiam 
tales heretici per questionum tormenta citra membri diminutionem et mortis 
periculum . . . et errores suos expresse fateri et accusare alios haereticos." 
Ibid.^ p. 218. We may well be astonished, therefore, to find Mgr. Douais, 
the editor of the Practtca^ affirming that "the Practica of Bernard Gui is 
silent on the question of torture." Documents^ vol. i, p. 238. 

* Clement V required the consent of the Inquisitor and the local Bishop 
before a heretic could be tortured, vd tormetUis exponere Hits. Decretal 
Mtdtorum querela^ in Eymeric. Dtrectoriumt 2* pars, p. 112. 


to use torture without the Bishop's consent, if he could 
be reached within eight days.^ 

"Bernard Gui emphatically remonstrated against this 
as seriously crippling the efficiency of the Inquisition, and 
proposed to substitute for it the meaningless phrase 
that torture should only be used with mature and careful 
deliberation, but his suggestion was not heeded, and the 
Clementine regulations remained the law of the Church." ^ 

The code of the Inquisition was now practically com- 
plete, for succeeding Popes made no change of any impor- 
tance. The data before us prove that the Church forgot 
her early traditions of toleration, and borrowed from the 
Roman jurisprudence, revived by the legists, laws and 
practices which remind one of the cruelty of ancient 
paganism. But once this criminal code was adopted, 
she endeavored to mitigate the cruelty with which it was 
enforced. If this preoccupation is not always visible — 
and it is not in her condemnation of obdurate heretics — ^we 
must at least give her the credit of insisting that torture 
"should never imperil life or injure limb": Cogere citra 
memhri diminutionem et mortis periculum. 

We will now ask how the theologians and canonists 
interpreted this legislation, and how the tribunals of the 
Inquisition enforced it. 

1 Decretal, Muliorum querela. 

2 Lea, op. cii.f vol. i, p. 424; Bernard Gui, Practica, ed. Douais, 4^ pars, 
p. 188. Bernard Gui did not hesitate to assert (ibid.f p. 174) that the bulls 
of Clement V: Multorum querela and NoletUes ought to be modified or even 
repealed so as to give more freedom to the Inquisitors: indigent ut remedientur, 
suspendantur aut moderentur in melius, seu poHus tokUiUr. 


Theologians, Canonists, and Casuists of the In- 

The gravity of the crime of heresy was early recognized 
in the Church. Gratian discussed this question in a 
special chapter of his Decretum} Innocent III, Guala 
the Dominican, and the Emperor Frederic II, as we have 
seen, looked upon heresy as treason against Almighty 
God, i.e, the most dreadful of crimes. 

The theologians and even the civil authorities did not 
concern themselves much with the evil effects of heresy 
upon the social order, but viewed it rather as an offense 
against God. Thus they made no distinction between 
those teachings which entailed injury on the family and 
on society, and those which merely denied certain re- 
vealed truths. Innocent III, in his constitution of Sep- 
tember 23, 1207, legislated particularly against the 
Patarins, but he took care to point out that no heretic, 
no matter what the nature of his error might be, should 
be allowed to escape the full penalty of the law.^ Fred- 

* Causa xxxi, q. vii, cap. 16. 

2 "Servanda in perpetuum lege sancimus ut quicumque fuBreticuSj maxime 
Paterenus . . . protinus capiatur et tradatur seculari curiae puniendus secun- 
dum legitimas sanctiones," etc. Ep. x, 130. 



eric II spoke in similar terms in his Constitutions of 1220, 
1224, and 1232.^ This was the current teaching through- 
out the Middle Ages.^ 

But it is important to know what men then under- 
stood by the word heresy. We can ascertain this 
from the theologians and canonists, esf)ecially from St. 
Raymond of Pennafort and St. Thomas Aquinas. St. 
Raymond gives four meanings to the word heretic, but 
from the standpoint of the canon law he says: "A heretic 
is one who denies the faith." ' St. Thomas Aquinas is 
more accurate. He declares that no one is truly a heretid 
unless he obstinately maintains hrs error, even after it 
has been pointed out to him by ecclesiastical authority. 
This is the teaching of St. Augustine.* 

^"Catharos, Paterenos, Leonistas, Speronistas, Amoldistas, et omnes 
luBreticos utriusque sexusj quocumque nomine censeantur^ perpetua dampnamus 
infamia," etc. Constitution of November 22, 1220, cap. 6, in Mon. Germ.y 
Leges y sect, iv, vol. ii, pp. 107-109. "Ut quicumgue . . . fuerit de haresi 
manijeste convictus et hareticus judicatus . . . illico capiatur," etc. Con- 
stitut. de 1223, ibid., p. 126. "Si inventi fuerint a fide catholica saltern in 
articulo deviate . . . , mortem pati decernimus." Sicilian Constitution, i, 3, 
in Eymeric, Direct. Inquisit., Appendix, p. 14. This recalls the law of 
Arcadius of 395. Cod. Theod., xvi, v. 28; cf. supra p. 9, n. 2. 

^ Cf. the canonists cited by Tanon, op. cit., pp. 455-458. An anonymous 
writer, whose commentary is found in Huguccio's Summa of the Decretum, 
says: "Innuit quod pro sola hceresi non sint morte puniendi. Solve ut prius. 
Quando enim sunt incorrigibles, ultimo supplicio feriantur; aliter non." Bibl. 
nation., Ms. 15379, ^^^' 49- 

8 "Haereticus 1° qui errat a fide," etc. S. Ra)nnundi, Summa, lib. i, cap. 
De Hcereticis, sect, i, Roman Edition, 1603, p. 39. 

^"Haeresis consistit circa ea quae fidei'sunt . . . dissentiendo cum perti- 
nacia ab illis." Summa, Ila, Ilae, quaest. xi, Conclusio; cf. ibid., ad 3um, 
quotations from St. Augustine 


But by degrees the word, taken at first in a strict sense, 
acquired a broader meaning. St. Raymond includes 
schism in the notion of heresy. "The only difference 
between these two crimes," he writes, "is the difference 
between genus and species"; every schism ends in heresy. 
And relying on the authority of St. Jerome, the rigorous 
canonist goes so far as to declare that schism is even a 
greater crime than heresy. He proves this by the fact 
that Core, Dathan, and Abiron,^ who seceded from the 
chosen people, were punished by the most terrible of 
punishments. "From the enormity of the punishment, 
must we not argue the enormity of the crime?" St. 
Raymond therefore declares that the same punishment 
must be inflicted upon the heretic and the schismatic.^ 

"The authors of the treatises on the Inquisition," 
writes Tanon, "classed as heretics all those who favored 
heresy, and all excommunicates who did not submit to 
the church within a certain period. They declared that 
a man excommunicated for any cause whatever, who did 
not seek absolution within a year, incurred by this act 
of rebellion a light suspicion of heresy; that he could then 
be cited before the Inquisitor to answer not only for the 
crime which had caused his excommunication, but also 
for his orthodoxy. If he did not answer this second sum- 

» Num. xvi. 31-33. 

2 "Talis est differentia qualiter inter genus et spedem . . . ; peccatum 
gravius haeresi . . • , quis enim dubitaverit esse sceleratius commissum quod 
est gravius vindicatum?" Loc. ctt., lib. i, cap. De schismatics^ pp. 45-47. 



mons, he was at once considered excommunicated for 
heresy, and if he remained under this second excommuni- 
cation for a year, he was liable to be condemned as a real 
heretic. The light suspicion caused by his first excom- 
munication became in turn a vehement and then a violent 
suspicion which, together with his continued contumacy, 
constituted a full proof of heresy."^ 

The theologians insisted greatly upon respect for eccle- 
siastical and especially Papal authority. Everything that 
tended to lessen this authority seemed to them a practical 
denial of the faith. The canonist Henry of Susa (Hosti- 
ensis +1271), went so far as to say that "whoever con- 
tradicted or refused to accept the decretals of the Popes 
was a heretic." ^ Such obedience was looked upon as a 
culpable disregard of the rights of the papacy, and con- 
sequently a form of heresy.' 

Tanon, op. cit,, pp. 235, 236. "Si quis per annum excommunicatus 
stetit pro contumacia in causa quae non sit fidei, effictur suspectus leviter de 
haeresi, et ut responsunis de fide potest citari. Si renuit comparere, eo facto 
est excommunicatus, tanquam contumax in causa fidei, et consequenter 
aggravatur, quia jam fit suspectus de hseresi vehementer . . . Tunc vel infra 
annum comparet, vel non. Si non, tunc anno elapso est ut haereticus con- 
demnandus. Transivit enim suspicio levis in vehementem, et vehemens in 
violentam," Eymeric, Directoriuniy 2^ pars, quest. 47, pp. 360, 361. This 
theory was not carried out in practice {op. cii., p. 236). 

2 "Haereticus est, qui decretalibus epistolis contradicit aut eos non redpit." 
In Baluze-Mansi, Miscellanea, vol. ii, p. 275; cf. Dollinger, La papauti, 
Paris, 1904, p. 335, n. 362. 

The canonist, Zanchino Ugolini, in his Tractatus de HcBreticis, cap. ii, 
published at Rome in 1568, at the expense of Pius V, includes in his enume- 
ration of heresies neglect to observe the papal decretals, because this consti- 
tuted an apparent contempt for the power of the Keys. Lea, op. cU., vol. i, 
p. 229, note. 


Superstition was also classed under the heading of 
heresy. The canonist, Zanchino Ugolini tells us that he 
was present at the condemnation of an immoral priest, 
who was punished by the Inquisitors not for his licentious- 
ness, but because he said mass every day in a state of sin, 
and urged in excuse that he considered himself pardoned 
by the mere fact of putting on the sacred vestments.* 

The Jews, as such, were never regarded as heretics. 
But the usury they so widely practiced evidenced an 
unorthodox doctrine on thievery, which made them 
liable to be suspected of heresy. Indeed we find several 
Popes upbraiding them "for maintaining that usury is 
not a sin." Some Christians also fell into the same error, 
and thereby became subject to the Inquisition. Pope 
Martin V, in his bull of November 6, 1419, authorizes the 
Inquisitors to prosecute these usurers.^ 

Sorcery and magic were also put on a par with heresy. 
Pope Alexander IV had decided that divination and 
sorcery did not fall under the jurisdiction of the Inquisi- 
tion, unless there was manifest heresy involved.^ But 

^ Tractate de Hcsret.^ cap. ii; cf. Lea, ihid.^ p. 400. Sentences of this kind 
were rather rare; cf. Tanon, op. cit.y pp. 249, 250, notes. 

2 "Demum etiam quidam Christiani et Judaei non verentur asserere quod 
usura non sit peccatum, aut recipere decern pro centum mutuo datis seu 
quicquam ultra sortem; in his et similibus atque in nonnuUis aliis spiritualibus 
et gravibus praeceptis multipliciter excedunt. Nos igitur discretion! tuae 
committimus quatenus ad extirpationem omnium hujusmodi pravitatum et 
errorum vigilanter insistas." Bull Inter catera, sent to the Inquisitor Pons 
Feugeyron. Cf. Tanon, cit., pp. 243, 245. 

3 Bull of December 9, 1257, in Doat, xxxi, fol. 244-249, analyzed byDouais, 


casuists were not wanting to prove that heresy was in- 
volved in such cases.^ The belief in the witches* nightly 
rides through the air, led by Diana or Herodias of Pales- 
tine, was very widespread in the Middle Ages, and was 
held by some as late as the fifteenth century. The 
question whether the devil could carry off men and 
women was warmly debated by the theologians of the 
time. "A case adduced by Albertus Magnus, in a dis- 
putation on the subject before the Bishop of Paris, and 
recorded by Thomas of Cantimpre, in which the daughter 
of the Count of Schwalenberg was regularly carried away 
every night for several hours, gave immense satisfac- 
tion to the adherents of the new doctrine, and eventually 
an ample store of more modem instances was accumu- 
lated to confirm Satan in his enlarged privileges." * 
Satan, it seems, imprinted upon his clients an indelible 
mark, the stigma diaholicum. 

"In 1458, the Inquisitor Nicholas Jaquerius remarked 
reasonably enough that even if the afl'air was an illusion, 
it was none the less heretical, as the followers of Diana 

Documents ^ vol. i, p. xxv. Cf. Bull, Quod super NonnuUis^ of January 10, 
1260: "Respondetur quod . . . inquisitores ipsi de iis (divinationibus et 
sortilegiis), nisi manifeste saperent haeresim se nullatenus intromittant." 
RipoU., vol. i, p. 388. 

* For the attitude of the church toward sorcerers, cf. Lea, op. cU., vol. iii, 
pp. 434-436. When the celebrated canonist, Astesanus of Asti, wrote his 
Summa de Casibus ConscierUia in 13 17, the canons decreed only a penance 
of forty dajrs for magic. 

2 Lea, op. cU., vol. iii, p. 497; Thomas of Cantimpr6. Bonum Universale, 
lib. iii, cap. Iv. 


and Herodias were necessarily heretics in their waking 
hours." * 

About 1250, the Inquisitor Bernard of Como taught 
categorically that the phenomena of witchcraft, especially 
the attendance at the witches' Sabbat, were not fanciful 
but real: "This is proved," he says, "from the fact that 
the Popes permitted witches to be burned at the stake; 
they would not have countenanced this, if these persons 
were not real heretics, and their crimes only imaginary, 
for the Church only punishes proved crimes." ^ Witch- 
craft was, therefore, amenable to the tribunals of the 

» Lea, op. cU., pp. 497, 498, with reference to Nicholas Jaquerius, Flagd- 
lutn hcBreticorum, cap. vii and xxviii. 

2*'PraBterea plurimae hujus perfidae sectae . . . combustae, quod minime 
factum fuisset, neque summi pontifices hoc tolerassent, ?i talia tantummodo 
phantastice et in somniis contingerent, et tales personae realiter et veraciter 
haereticae non essent, et in haeresi realiter et manifeste deprehensae . . . nam 
ecdesia non punit crimina nisi manifesta et vere deprehensa . . . Per haec 
ergo omnia quae dicta sunt, et per plura alia quae adduci possent, liquido 
constat, quod tales strigiae ad praefatum ludum non in somniis neque phan- 
tastice, ut quidam affirmant, sed realiter et corporaliter ac vigilando vadant." 
Lucerna Inquisitorum, Romae, 1584, p. 144. 

8 In a letter of one of the cardinals of the Holy Office, dated 1643, witch- 
craft is classed with heresy: "Contra quoscumque haereticos et a fide Christiana 
apostatas, aut cujusvis damnatae haeresis sectatores, sortilegia haeresim sa- 
pientia, seu de haeresi vel de apostasia a fide suspectos, divinationes et incan- 
tationes aliaque diabolica maleficia et prestigia contractantes." Douais, 
Documents^ vol. i, p. ccliv. In practice, the heretical tendency of witchcraft 
was hard to determine. Each judge, therefore, as a rule, pronounced sen- 
tence according to his own judgment. In 1451, Nicholas V enlarged the 
powers of Hugues le Noir, Inquisitor of France, by granting him jurisdiction 
over divination, even when it did not savor of heresy. (Lea, op. cU., vol. iii, 
512, RipoU, Bullariumj vol. iii, p. 301.) In this way astrologers, palmist^ 


While the casuists thus increased the number of crimes 
which the Inquisition could prosecute, on the other hand 
they shortened the judicial procedure then in vogue. 

Following the Roman law, the Inquisition at first 
recognized three forms of action in criminal cases — 
accusatio, denuntiatio and inquisitio. In the accusatio, 
the accuser formally inscribed himself as able to prove 
his accusation; if he failed to do so, he had to undergo 
the penalty which the prisoner would have incurred 
{pcma ialionis)} "From the very beginning, he was 
placed in the same position as the one he accused, even 
to the extent of sharing his imprisonment." ^ The 
denuntiatio did not in any way bind the accuser; he 
merely handed in his testimony, and then ceased prose- 
cuting the case; the judge at once proceeded to take 
action against the accused. In the inquisitio, there was 
no one either to accuse or denounce the criminal; the 
judge cited the suspected criminal before him and pro- 
ceeded to try him. This was the most common method 
of procedure; from it the Inquisition received its 

and diviners all became subject to the Inquisition. Cf. Bull of Sixtus V, 
Codi et terra, January 5, 1586, on astrologers. (Eymeric, Directorum, Pegna's 
Bullarium, p. 143.) 

i*'Et hoc quidem generahter verum est, qUod nullus auditur accusans 
sine libelli inscriptione, in quo obliget se ad psnam talionis." TancrMe, 
Ordo judiciorum, lib. ii, cap. Qualiter, Lyons ed., 1547, p. 91. For the 
practice and exceptions cf. Tanon, op. cU., p. 260, n. 4. 

2 Tancrfede, ibid., cf. Tanon, op. cit., p. 259. 

* On these three forms of action, cf. Eymeric, Directorium, 3* pars, p. 413 



The Inquisitorial procedure was therefore inspired by 
the Roman law. But in practice the accusatio, which 
gave the prisoner a chance to meet the charges agamst 
him, was soon abandoned. In fact the Inquisitors were 
always most anxious to set it aside. Urban IV enacted 
a decree, July 28, 1262, whereby they were allowed to 
proceed simpliciter et de piano, absque advocatorum strepitu 
et figura} Bernard Gui insisted on this in his Pradica? 
Eymeric advised his associates, when an accuser ap- 
peared before them who was perfectly willing to accept 
the pcena talionis in case of failure, to urge the im- 
prudent man to withdraw his demand. For he argued 
that the accusatio might prove harmful to himself, and 
besides give too much room for trickery.^ In other words, 
the Inquisitors wished to be perfectly untrammeled in 
their action. 

The secrecy of the Inquisition's procedure was one of 
the chief causes of complaint. 

But the Inquisition, dreadful as it was, did not lack 
defenders. Some of their arguments were most extrava- 
gant and far-fetched. "Paramo in the quaint pedantry 

et seq. Innocent III introduced the inquisitio into the canonical legislation 
as the regular method of procedure. Cf. Tanon, op. cit.f pp. 283-285. 

1 Bull PrcB cunctis of July 28, 1262, in Ripoll, BtUlarium^ vol. i, p. 428; 
Sexto, De Hcereticis, cap. 20: Limborch, p. 268. 

2 Practica, 4* pars, ed. Douais, p. 192. 

3 "Inquisitor istum modum non libenter admittat, turn quia non est in 
causa fidei usitatus, turn quia est accusanti multum periculosus, turn quia 
€st multiim litigiosus. " Directortum" p. 414, col. i. 


with which he ingeniously proves that God was the first 
Inquisitor, and the condemnation of Adam and Eve the 
first model of the Inquisitorial process, triumphantly 
points out that he judges them in secret, thus setting the 
example which the Inquisition is bound to follow, and 
avoiding the subtleties which the criminals would have 
raised in their defence, especially at the suggestion of the 
crafty serpent. That he called no witnesses is explained 
by the confession of the accused, and ample legal author- 
ity is cited to show that these confessions were sufficient 

to justify the conviction and punishment." ^ 

. • . • .'. • • 

The subtlety of the casuists had full play when they 
came to discuss the torture of the prisoner who absolutely 
refused to confess. According to* law the torture could 
be inflicted but once, but this regulation was easily evaded. 
For it was lawful to subject the prisoner to all the various 
kinds of torture in succession ; and if additional evidence 
were discovered, the torture could be repeated. When 
they desired, therefore, to repeat the torture, even after 
an interval of some days, they eyaded the law by call- 
ing it technically not a "repetition" but a "continuance 
of the first torture": Ad continuandum iormenia, non 
ad iterandum, as Eymeric styles it.^ This quibbling 

1 Lea, op. cit.y vol. i, p. 406; Louis de Paramo, De origine et progressu 
officii sarUa Inquisitionis ejusque tUUitate et dignitate libri tres^ Madrid, 1598, 

PP- 32» 33- 

2 "Quod si, questionatus decenter, noluerit fateri veritatem, ponanatur 


of course gave full scope to the cruelty and the indis- 
creet zeal of the Inquisitors.^ 

But a new difficulty soon arose. Confessions, ex- 
torted under torture, had, as we have seen, no legal 
value. Eymeric himself admitted that the results ob- 
tained in this way were very unreliable, and that the 
Inquisitors should realize this fact.^ 

If, on leaving the torture chamber, the prisoner re- 
iterated his confession,^ the case was at once decided. 
But suppose, on the contrary, that the confession ex- 
torted under torture was afterwards retracted, what was 
to be done? The Inquisitors did not agree upon this 
point. Some of them, like Eymeric, held that in this case 
the prisoner was entitled to his freedom. Others, like 
the author of the Sacro ArsenaU, held that "the torture 
should be repeated, in order that the prisoner might be 
forced to reiterate his first confession * which had evi- 

alia genera tormentorum coram eo, dicendo quod oportet eum transire per 
omnia, nisi prodat veritatem; quod si nee sic, poterit ad terrorem, vel etiam 
ad veritatem secunda dies vel tertia assignari, ad continuandum tormenta, 
non ad iterandum: quia iterari, non debent, nisi novis supervenientibus indiciis 
contra eum; quia tunc possunt; sed continuari non prohibentur." Eymeric, 
Directoriuntf 3* pars, p. 481, col. 2. 

1 In 13 1 7, Bernard Gui, complaining of the Clementine restrictions, asks 
why the Bishops should be limited in applying torture to heretics, when they 
could apply it without limit in everjrthing else. Gravamina, coll. Doat, xxx, 
loi; cf. Lea, op. cit., vol. i, p. 557. 

^"Scientes quod qusestiones sunt fallaces et inefficaces." Op. cit., p. 481, 
col. I. 

^ Ibid., p. 481, col. 2. 

* Masini, Sacro Arsenate, pp. 183-186. 


dently compromised him." This seems to have been the 
traditional practice of the Italian tribunals. 

But the casuists did not stop here. They discovered 
"that Clement V had only spoken of torture in general, 
and had not specifically alluded to witnesses, whence they 
concluded that one of the most shocking abuses of the 
system, the torture of witnesses, was left to the sole dis- 
cretion of the Inquisitor, and this became the accepted 
rule. It only required an additional step to show that 
after the accused had been convicted by evidence or had 
confessed as to himself, he became a witness as to the 
guilt of his friends, and thus could be arbitrarily (?) tor- 
tured to betray them." ^ 

• • . .• • • . 

As a matter of course, the canonists and the theologians 
approved the severest penalties inflicted by the Inquisi- 
tion. St. Raymond of Pennafort, however, who was 
one of the most favored counsellors of Gregory IX, still 
upheld the criminal code of Innocent III. The sever- 
est penalties he defended were the excommunication 
of heretics and schismatics, their banishment and the 
confiscation of their property.^ His Summa was un- 

1 Lea, op. cii.f vol. i, p. 425. 

2 Lea writes (op. cit., vol. i, p. 229, note): "Saint Ra3anond of Pennafort, 
the compiler of the decretals of Gregory IX, who was the highest authority 
in his generation, lays it down as a principle of ecclesiastical law that the 
heretic is to be coerced by excommunication and confiscation, and if they 
fail, by the extreme exercise 0} the secular power. The man who was doubtful 
in faith was to be held a heretic and so also was the schismatic who, while 


doubtedly completed when the Decretal of Gregory IX 
appeared, authorizing the Inquisitors to enforce the cruel 
laws of Frederic II. 

But St. Thomas, who wrote at a time when the Inquisi- 
tion was in full operation, felt called upon to defend the 
infliction of the death penalty upon heretics and the 
relapsed: His words deserve careful consideration. He 
begins by answering the objections that might be brought 
from the Scriptures and the Fathers against his thesis. 
The first of these is the well-known passage of St. Matthew, 
in which our Savior forbids the servants of the house- 
holder to gather up the cockle before the harvest time, 
lest they root up the wheat with it.^ St. John Chrysostom, 
he says, "argues from this text that it is wrong to put 
heretics to death." ^ But according to St. Augustine the 
words of the Savior: "Let the cockle grow until the har- 
vest," are explained at once by what follows: "lest per- 
haps gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also 
with it." When there is no danger of uprooting the wheat 
and no danger of schism, violent measures may be used : 

believing all the articles of religion, refused the obedience due to the Roman 
Church. All alike were to be forced into the Roman fold, and the fate of 
Core, Dathan.and Abiron was invoked for the destruction of the obstinate" 
(Summaf lib. i, tit. v, 2, 4, 8; tit. vi, i). This is a travesty of the mind and 
words of Saint Raymond. He merely called attention to the lot of Core, 
Dathan and Abiron to show what a great crime schism was. He never 
asserted that heretics or schismatics, even when obdurate, ought to be "de- 
stroyed." Summa, lib. i, cap. De Hareticis and De Sthismaticis. 

1 Matt. xiii. 28, 30. 

2 In MatthceuMt Homil. xlvi. 


Cum metus isie non subest . . . nan dormiat severitas dis- 
ciplifUB} We doubt very much whether such reason- 
ing would have satisfied St. John Chrysostom, St. 
Theodore the Studite, or Bishop Wazo, who understood 
the Savior's prohibition in a literal and an absolute 

But this passage does not reveal the whole mind of the 
Angelic doctor. It is more evident in his exegesis of 
Ezechiel xviii. 32, Nolo mortem peccaioris. "Assuredly," 
he writes, "none of us desires the death of a single heretic. 
But remember that the house of David could not obtain 
peace until Absalom was killed in the war he waged against 
his father. In like manner, the Catholic Church saves 
some of her children by the death of others, and consoles 
her sorrowing heart by reflecting that she is acting for 
the general good." ^ 

If we are not mistaken, St. Thomas is here trying to 
prove on the authority of St. Augustine that it is some- 
times lawful to put heretics to death. 

But it is only by garbling and distorting the context 
that St. Thomas makes the Bishop of Hippo advocate the 
very penalty which, as a matter of fact, he always 
denounced most strongly. In the passage quoted, St. 
Augustine was speaking of the benefit that ensues to the 

1 Augustine, Contra epistol. Parinenian% b'b. iii, cap. ii. S. Thomas, Summa, 
Ila, Ilae, quaest. x, art. 8, ad 4m. 

3 S. Thomas, Summaf he. cU., ad 4m. 


church from the suicide of heretics, but he had no idea 
whatever of maintaining that the church had the right 
to put to death her rebellious children.^ St. Thomas 
misses the point entirely, and gives his readers a false idea 
of the teaching of St. Augustine. 

Thinking, however, that he has satisfactorily answered 
all the objections against his thesis, he states it as fol- 
lows: "Heretics who persist in their error after a second 
admonition ought not only to be excommunicated, but 
also abandoned to the secular arm to be put to death. 
For, he argues, it is much more wicked to corrupt the 
faith on which depends the life of the soul, than to de- 
base the coinage which provides merely for temporal life ; 
wherefore, if coiners and other malefactors are justly 
doomed to death, much more may heretics be justly 
slain once they are convicted. If, therefore, they per- 
sist in their error after two admonitions, the Church 
despairs of their conversion, and excommunicates them 
to ensure the salvation of others whom they might cor- 

1 "Illi autem . . . quod sibi fadunt, nobis imputant. Quis enim nostrum 
velit non solum aliquem illorum perire, verumetiam aliquid perdere ? Sed si 
aliter non meruit pacem habere domus David, nisi Absalon filius ejus in 
bello quod contra patrem gerebat, fuisset extinctus, quamvis magna cura 
mandaverit suis, ut eum quantum possent vivum salvumque servarent, ut 
asset cui poenitenti paternus aflfectus ignosceret, quid ei restitit, nisi perditum 
flere et sui regni pace acquisita suam maestitiam consolari ? Sic ergo catholica 
mater Ecclesia, bellantibus adversus eam quibus allis quam filiis suis . . . , 
si aliquorum perditione caeteros tam multos colligit, praesertim quia «/i, non 
sicut Absalon casu bellico, sed spontanea magis interitu pereunty dolorem 
materni cordis lenit et sanat tantorum liberatione populorum." Ep. cb:xxv, 
ad Bonifacium, no. 32. 


rupt; she then abandons them to the secular arm that 
they may be put to death." ^ 

St. Thomas in this passage makes a mere comparison 
serve as an argument. He does not seem to realize that 
if his reasoning were valid, the Church could go a great 
deal further, and have the death penalty inflicted in 
many other cases. 

The fate of the relapsed heretic had varied from Lucius 
III to Alexander IV. The bull Ad Aholendam decreed 
that converted heretics who relapsed into heresy were 
to be abandoned to the secular arm without trial.^ But 
at the time this Decretal was published, the Animadversio 
dedita of the State entailed no severer penalty than banish- 
ment and confiscation. When this term, already fearful 
enough, came to mean the death penalty, the Inquisitors 
did not know whether to follow the ancient custom or to 
adopt the new interpretation. For a long time they 
followed the traditional custom. Bernard of Caux, who 
was undoubtedly a zealous Inquisitor, is a case in point. 
In his register of sentences from 1244 to 1248, we meet 
with sixty cases of relapse, not one of whom was punished 
by a penalty severer than imprisonment. But a little 
later on the strict interpretation of the Animadversio 

1 Summa, Ila Ilae, quaest. xi, art. 3. 

2**Illos quoque qui, post abjurationem praefati erroris . . . , deprehensi 
fuerint in abjuratam haeresim recidisse, seculari judicio sine ulla penitus 
audientia decernimus relinquendos." Decretals, in cap. ix, De hareticis, 
lib. V, tit. vii. 


debita began to prevail.^ In St. Thomas's time it meant 
the death penalty; and we find him citing the bull Ad 
Aholendam^ as his authority for the infliction of the 
death penalty upon the relapsed, penitent or impenitent, 
in ignorance of the fact that this document originally had 
a totally different interpretation. 

His reasoning therefore rests on a false supposition. 
He advocates the death penalty for the relapsed in the 
name of Christian charity. For, he argues, charity has 
for its object the spiritual and temporal welfare of one's 
neighbor. His spiritual welfare is the salvation of his 
soul ; his temporal welfare is life, and temporal advan- 
tages, such as riches, dignities, and the like. These tem- 
poral advantages are subordinate to the spiritual, and 
charity must prevent their endangering the eternal sal- 
vation of their possessor. Charity, therefore, to himself 
and to others, prompts us to deprive him of these temporal 
goods, if he makes a bad use of them. For if we allowed 
the relapsed heretic to live, we would undoubtedly en- 
danger the salvation of others, either because he would 
corrupt the faithful whom he met, or because his escape 
from punishment would lead others to believe they could 
deny the faith with impunity. The inconstancy of the 
relapsed is, therefore, a sufficient reason why the Church, 

1 On the various views of the casuists regarding the relapsed, cf. Lea, 
op. cU., vol. i, pp. 543-546. 

' Summa, Ila Ilae, quaest. ix, art. 4 : Sed contra. 


although she receives him to penance for his soul's salva- 
tion, refuses to free him from the death penalty.^ 

Such reasoning is not very convincing. Why would 
not the life imprisonment of the heretic safeguard the 
faithful as well as his death? Will you answer that this 
penalty is too trivial to prevent the faithful from falling 
into heresy? If that be so, why not at once condemn 
all heretics to death, even when repentant? That would 
terrorize the wavering ones all the more. But St. Thomas 
evidently was not thinking of the logical consequences 
of his reasoning. His one aim was to defend the criminal 
code in vogue at the time. That is his only excuse. For 
we must admit that rarely has his reasoning been so 
faulty and so weak as in his thesis upon the coercive 
power of the Church, and the punishment of heresy. 

• •_• a • • • • 

St. Thomas defended the death penalty without indicat- 
ing how it was to be inflicted. The commentators who 
followed him were more definite. The Animadversio debita, 
says Henry of Susa (Hostiensis + 1271), in his com- 
mentary on the bull Ad abolendam, is the penalty of the 
stake (ignis crematio). He defends this interpretation 
by quoting the words of Christ: " If any one abide not in 
me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither. 

1 "Sed quando recepti (ab Ecclesia) itenim relabuntur, videtur esse signum 
inconstantis eorum; at ideo ulterius redeuntes recipiuntxir quidem ad paeni- 
tsntiam, non tamen ut liberentur a sententia mortis.'' Ibid, 


and they shall gather him and cast him into the fire, and he 
hurneihy ^ Jean d' Andre (+ 1348), whose commentary 
carried equal weight with Henry of Susa's throughout 
the Middle Ages, quotes the same text as authority for 
sending heretics to the stake.^ According to this peculiar 
exegesis, the law and custom of the day merely sanctioned 
the law of Christ. To regard our Savior as the precursor 
or rather the author of the criminal code of the Inquisi- 
tion evidences, one must admit, a very peculiar temper 

of mind. 

• ••••••• 

The next step was to free the Church from all responsi- 
bility in the infliction of the death penalty — truly an 
extremely difficult undertaking. 

St. Thomas held, with many other theologians, that her- 
etics condemned by the Inquisition should be abandoned 
to the secular arm, judicio sceculari. But he went further 
and declared it the duty of the State to put such criminals 
to death.^ The State, therefore, was to carry out this 
sentence at least indirectly in the name of the Church. 

» John, XV, 6; Hostiensis, on the decretal Ad abolendum, cap. xi, in 
Ejrmeric, Directorium inquisitorum, 2* pars, pp. 149, 150. 

2 On the decretal Ad abolendum, cap. xiv, in Eymeric, ibid., pp. 170, 171. 
Bartolo says the same of witches. **Mulier striga, de qua agitur, sive, latine 
lamia, debet tradi ultimo supplicio et igne cremari. Fatetur enim Christo et 
baptismati renuntiasse; ergo debet mori, justa dictum Domini nostri Jesu 
Christi apud Joannem, cap. xv; Si quis in me non manserit, etc. Et lex 
evangelica praevalet omnibus aiis legibus, et debet servari etiam in foro con- 
tentioso." In Ziletti, ConsUia selecta, 1577, vol. i, p. 8. 

^Summa, Ila, Ilae, qusst. xi, art. 3. 



A contemporary of St. Thomas thus meets this diffi- 
culty: "The Pope does not execute any one," he says, 
"or order him to be put to death; heretics are executed 
by the law which the Pope tolerates; they practically 
cause their own death by committing crimes which merit 
death." ^ The heretic who received this answer to his 
objections must surely have found it very far-fetched. 
He could easily have replied that the Pope "not only 
allowed heretics to be put to death, but ordered this done 
under penalty of excommunication." And by this very 
fact he incurred all the odium of the death penalty. 

The casuists of the Inquisition, however, came to the 
rescue, and tried to defend the Church by another subter- 
fuge. They denounced in so many words the death 
penalty and other similar punishments, while at the same 
time they insisted upon the State's enforcing them. The 
formula by which they dismissed an impenitent or a re- 
lapsed heretic was thus worded: "We dismiss you from 
our ecclesiastical forum, and abandon you to the secular 
arm. But we strongly beseech the secular court to miti- 
'gate its sentence in such a way as to avoid bloodshed or 
danger of death." ^ We regret to state, however, that 

1 "Papa noster non ocddit, nee praecipit aliquem occidi, sed lex ocddit 
quos papa permittit occidi, et ipsi se occidunt qui ea fadunt unde debeant 
ocddi." DisptUatio inter catholicum et Paterinum hcereticum, cap. xii, in 
Martfene, Thesaurus Anecdotoruniy vol. v, col. 1741- 

2**De foro nostro ecdesiastico te projidmus et tradimus seu relinquimus 
brachio saeculari ac potestati curiae saecularis, dictam curiam saecularem 
efficaciter deprecantes quod drca te dtra sanguinis effusionem et mortis 


the civil judges were not supposed to take these words 
literally. If they were at all inclined to do so, they would 
have been quickly called to a sense of their duty by being 
excommunicated. The clause inserted by the canonists 
was a mere legal fiction, which did not change matters a 

It is hard to understand why such a formula was used 
at all. Probably it was first used in other criminal cases 
in which abandonment to the secular arm did not imply 
the death penalty,^ and the Inquisition kept using it 
merely out of respect to tradition. It seemed to palliate 

periculum sententiam suam moderetur." Forma tradendi hareticum per- 
tinacem^ alias non relapsum, curia seculari. Eymeric, Directorium inquisi- 
torum^ 3^ pars, p. 515, col. 2. Cf. Forma ferendi sententiam contra eum qui 
in hasresim est relapsusj sed pcenitens^ et ut relapsus traditur curia seculari. 
Ibid.f p. 512, col. i; Forma tradendi seu relinquendi brachio scecuJari eum^ qui 
convictus est de hceresi per testes legitimos^ et stat pertinaciter in negativa, 
licet fidem catholicam profiteatur^ ibid.^ p. 524, col. i. Bernard Gui quotes 
the Canons to justify this pretended appeal for clemency: "Relinquimus 
brachio et judicio curiae secularis, eamdem affectuose rogantes, provi suadent 
canonicae sanctioneSy quatinus citra mortem et membrorum ejus mutilationem 
circa ipsum suura judicium et suam sententiam moderetur (vel sic^ quatinus 
vitam et membra sibi illibata conservet). Practica inquisitionisy ed. Douais, 
p. 127; cf. pp. 128, 133-136; cf. Limborch, Historia inquisitioniSy pp. 289- 
291. The Canonicce Sanctiones, to which Bernard Gui refers, are undoubtedly 
the decretal NovimuSy which we will quote in the following note, and the 
bull Ad aboldendam of Innocent IV. 

1 Cf. the decretal NovimuSy in the Decretals, cap. 27, lib. v, tit. xl; 
"Et sic intelligitur tradi curiae seculari, pro quo tamen debet Ecclesia effica- 
citer intercedere, ut citra mortis periculum circa eum sententia moderetur." 
Cf. also lib. ii, tit. i, cap. 10, Cum ab homine: "Cum Ecclesia non habeat 
ultra quid fadat, ne possit esse ultra perditio plurimorum, per secularem 
comprimendus est potestatem, ita quod ei deputetur exilium, vel alia legitima 
paena inferatur." This law dealt with degraded clerics and forgers aban- 
doned to the secular arm. 


the too flagrant contradiction which existed between 
ecclesiastical justice and the teaching of Christ, and it 
gave at least an external homage to the teaching of St. 
Augustine, and the first fathers of the Church. More- 
over, as it furnished a specious means of evading by the 
merest form the prohibition against clerics taking part 
in sentences involving the effusion of blood and death, 
and the irregularity resulting therefrom, the Inquisitors 
used it to reassure their conscience. 

Finally, however, some Inquisitors, realizing the empti- 
ness of this formula, dispensed with it altogether, and 
boldly assumed the full responsibility for their sentences. 
They deemed the r61e of the State so unimportant in the 
execution of heretics, that they did not even mention it. 
The Inquisition is the real judge; it lights the fires. "All 
whom we cause to be burned," says the famous Dominican 
Sprenger in his Malleus MaUficarum} Although not 
intended as an accurate statement of fact,^ it indicates 

i'*Experientia nos saepe docuit, cum omnes quas incinerari fecimus ex 
eorum confessionibus patuit, ipsas fuisse involuntarias circa malefida in- 
ferenda," etc. Malleus malejUarum maleficas et earum iuEresim framea 
corUerenSf auct. Jacobo Sprengero, Lugduni, 1660, pars ii, quest, i, cap. ii, 
p. 108, col. 2. The author quotes the Formicarium de maleficis et eorum 
prasiigiis ac deceptionibus of the famous Jean Nider, who "recitat hoc ex 
inquisitore Eduensis dioecesis, qui etiam in ipsa dioecesi mtUtos de maleficiis 
reos inquisierat et incinerari fecerat** Ibid., p. 106, col. 2. He also speaks 
of the Inquisitor Cumanus who, in 1485, "uno anno quadraginta et unam 
maleficam incinerari fecity** ibid.y p. 105, col. 2. 

2 We must interpret in the same sense the decree of the Council of Con- 
stance pronouncing the penalty of the stake against the followers of John 
Huss, John Wyclif and Jerome of Prague: "Ut omnes et singuli spirituales 


pretty well the current idea regarding the share of the 

ecclesiastical tribunals in the punishment of heretics. 

• ••••••• 

It is evident that the theologians and canonists were 
simply apologists for the Inquisition, and interpreters of 
its laws. As a rule, they tried, like St. Raymond Penna- 
fort and St. Thomas, to defend the decrees of the Popes. 
We cannot say that they succeeded in their task. Some 
by their untimely zeal rather compromised the cause they 
endeavored to defend. Others, going counter to the 
canon law, drew conclusions from it that the Popes never 
dreamed of, and in this way made the procedure of the 
Inquisition, already severe enough, still more severe- 
especially in the use of torture. 

et seculares qui errores vel haereses Johannis Huss et Joannis Wiclif in sacro 
hoc concilio condemnatos praedicant, dogmatizant vel defendunt; et personas 
Joannis Huss et Hieron5mii catholicas et sanctas pronuntiant vel tenent, et 
de hoc convicti fuerint, tanquam haeretici relapsi puniantur ad ignem.** 
Session xliv, no. 23, Harduin, Concilia^ vol. viii, col. 896 et seq. The Council 
here indicates only the usual punishment for the relapsed, without really 
decreeing it. This is evident from the words used in the condemnation of 
John Huss: "Haec sancta synodus Joannem Huss, aUetUo quod Ecclesia Dei 
non haheat ultra quid agere valeat^ judicio sactUari relinquii et ipsiun curiae 
seculari relinquendum fore decernit," Jbid., col. 410, sessio xv, anno 1415. 


The Inquisition in Operation 

We do not intend to relate every detail of the In- 
quisition's action. A brief outline, a sort of bird's- 
eye view, will suffice. 

Its field, although very extensive, did not comprise 
the whole of Christendom, nor even all the Latin countries. 
The Scandinavian kingdoms escaped it almost entirely; 
England experienced it only once in the case of the Tem- 
plars; Castile and Portugal knew nothing of it before the 
reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. It was almost unknown 
in France — at least as an established institution — 
except in the South, in what was called the county of 
Toulouse, and later on in Languedoc. 

The Inquisition was in full operation in Aragon. The 
Cathari, it seems, were wont to travel frequently from 
Languedoc to Lombardy, so that upper Italy had from 
an early period its contingent of Inquisitors. Frederic 
1 1 had it established in the two Sicilies and in many cities 
of Italy and Germany.^ Honorius IV (1285-1287) intro- 
duced it into Sardinia.^ Its activity in Flanders and 

* On the spread of the Inquisition, cf. Lea, op. cit.y passim. 
^Potthast, no. 22307; Registres d^ Honorius /F, published by Maurice 
Prou, 1888, no. 163. 



Bohemia in the fifteenth century was very considerable. 
These were the chief centers of its operations. 

Some of the Inquisitors had an exalted idea of their 
office. We recall the ideal portrait of the perfect In- 
quisitor drawn by Bernard Gui and Eymeric. But by 
an inevitable law of history the reality never comes up 
to the ideal. 

We know the names of many Inquisitors, monks and 
bishops.* There are some whose memory is beyond 
reproach; in fact the Church honors them as saints, 
because they died for the faith.^ 

But others fulfilled the duties of their office in a 
spirit of hatred and impatience, contrary both to nat- 
ural justice and to Christian charity. Who can help 
denouncing, for instance, the outrageous conduct of 
Conrad of Marburg. Contemporary writers tell us that 
when heretics appeared before his tribunal, he granted 
them no delay, but at once required them to answer yes 
or no to the accusations against them. If they confessed 
their guilt, they were granted their lives, and thrown into 
prison ; if they refused to confess, they were at once con- 
demned and sent to the stake.^ Such summary justice 
strongly resembles injustice. 

» Mgr. Douais, for example, gives a list, with biographical notes, of the 
Inquisitors of Toulouse from 1229 to 1329. Documents, vol. i, pp. cxxix-ccix. 

^v.g. Peter of Verona, assassinated by heretics in 1252. Cf. Lea, op. cit., 
vol. 2, p. 215. 

' "Si testes, qui se confitebantur aliquantulum criminis eorum conscios et 


But Robert the Dominican, known as Robert the Bugre, 
for he was a converted Patarin, surpassed even Conrad 
in cruelty. Among the exploits of this Inquisitor special 
mention must be made of the executions at Montwimer 
in Champagne. The Bishop, Moranis, had allowed a large 
community of heretics to grow up about him. Robert 
determined to punish the town severely. In one week 
he managed to try all his prisoners. On May 29, 1239, 
about one hundred and eighty of them, with their bishop, 
were sent to the stake. Such summary proceedings caused 
complaints to be sent to Rome against this cruel Inquisitor. 
He was accused of confounding in his blind fanaticism 
the innocent with the guilty, and of working upon simple 
souls so as to increase the number of his victims. An 
investigation proved that these complaints were well 
founded. In fact it revealed such outrages that Robert 
the Bugre was at first suspended from his office, and 
finally condemned to perpetual imprisonment.^ 

participes, in illonim absentia redperentur et dictis eorum simplidter cre- 
deretur, ita ut accusatis talis daretur optio, aut sponte confiteri et vivere 
aut innocentiam jurare et statim mori." Testimony of the Archbishop of 
Mainz and Bernard the Dominican in Aubri des Trois-Fontaines, Mon. 
Germ. SS.^ vol. xxiii, p. 931. **Ut nullius, qui tantum propalatus esset, 
accusatio vel recusatio, nullius exceptio vel testimonium admitteretur, nee 
ullus defendendi locus daretur, sed nee indudae deliberation is darentur, sed 
in continenti oportebat eum vel reum se confiteri et in pcenitentiam recalvari, 
vel crimen negare et cremari." Gesta Trevirens in Mon. Germ. 55., vol. xiv, 
p. 400. 

1 Aubri des Trois Fontaines, ad ann. 1239, ^on. Germ. SS.^ vol. sdii, 
944, 945; Chronique of Mathieu Paris in Raynaldi, Annates eccles.^ ad ann. 
1238, no. 52; cf. Tanon, op. cit., pp. 1 14-117. 


Other acts of the Inquisition were no less odious. In 
1280 the Consuls of Carcassonne complained to the 
Pope, the King of France, and the episcopal vicars of 
the diocese of the cruelty and injustice of Jean Galand 
in the use of torture. He had inscribed on the walls of 
the Inquisition these words: domunculas ad torquendum et 
cruciandum homines diversis generihus iormeniorum. Some 
prisoners had been tortured on the rack, and most of them 
were so cruelly treated that they lost the use of their 
arms and legs, and became altogether helpless. Some 
even died in great agony of their torments.^ The com- 
plaint continues in this tone, and mentions five or six 
times the great cruelty of the tortures inflicted. 

Philip the Fair, who was noble-hearted occasionally, 
addressed a letter May 13, 1291, to the seneschal of Car- 
cassonne in which he denounced the Inquisitors for their 
cruel torturing of innocent men, whereby the living and 
the dead were fraudulently convicted; and among other 
abuses, he mentions particularly "tortures newly in- 
vented."^ Another letter of his (1301), addressed to 

1 Nonnnlli vero ponurUur in equuleis, in quibus quamplurimi per tormeiv- 
torum acerhitatem corporis destUuuntur membris et impotentes redduntur 
omnino. NonnuUi etiam propter impatientiam et dolorem nimium morte 
cnidelissima finiunt dies suos. Vidal, Jean Galand et les CarcassonnaiSf 
Paris, Picard, 1903, p. 32, no. 2; cf. p. 40, nos. 3-5; p. 41, no. 9; Le Tribunal 
d^inquisition de Pamiers^ loc cit.^ 1905, pp. 151, 152. 

***Certiorati per aliquos fide dignos . . . eo quod innocentes puniant, 
incarcerent et multa gravamina eis inferant et per quasdam tormenta de novo 
eocquisita multas falsitates . . . extorqueant." Histoire de Languedoc, vol. x, 
Preuves, col. 273. 


Foulques de Saint-Georges, contained a similar denunci- 

In a bull intended for Cardinals Taillefer de la Chap- 
pelle and Berenger de Fredol, March 13, 1306, Clement 
V mentions the complaints of the citizens of Carcassonne, 
Albi, and Cordes, regarding the cruelty practiced in the 
prisons of the Inquisition. Several of these unfortunates 
"were so weakened by the rigors of their imprisonment, 
the lack of food, and the severity of their tortures 
(sevitia tormentorum) , that they died."^ 

The facts in Savonarola's case are very hard to deter- 
mine. The official account of his interrogatory declares 
that he was subjected to three and a half tratii di fune. 
This was a form of torture known as the strappado. The 
Signoria, in answer to the reproaches of Alexander VI at 
their tardiness, declared that they had to deal with a man 
of great endurance; that they had assiduously tortured 
him for many days with slender results.' Burchard, the 
papal prothonotary, states that he was put to the tor- 
ture seven times.* It made very little difference whether 

i"A captionibus, qtUBstionibus et inexcogitatis tormeniis incipiens . . . 
vi et metu tormentorum^ fateri compellit." Histoire du Languedoc, vol. x, 
PreuveSy col. 379. 

2 "Adeo gravantur et hactenus sunt gravati careens angustia, lectorum 
inedia, et victualium penuria, et sevitia tormentorum^ quod spiritum reddere 
sunt coacti." Douais, Documents, vol. ii, p. 307. 

3**Multa et assidua quaestione, multis diebus, per vim vix pauca extorsi- 
mus," etc. Villari, La storia di Girolamo Savonarola, Firenze, 1887, vol. ii, 
p. 197. 

* Diarium in Mimoires de Commynes, Preuves, Bruxelles, 1706, p. 424- 


these tortures were inflicted per modum continuationis or 
per modum iierationis, as the casuists of the Inquisition 
put it. At any rate, it was a crying abuse. ^ 

We may learn something of the brutality of the Inquisi- 
tors from the remorse felt by one of them. He had 
inflicted the torture of the burning coals upon a sorceress. 
The unfortunate woman died soon afterwards in prison 
as a result of her torments. The Inquisitor, knowing he 
had caused her death, wrote John XXI 1 for a dispensa- 
tion from the irregularity he had thereby incurred.^ 

But the greatest excesses of the Inquisition were due 
to the political schemes of sovereigns. Such instances 
were by no means rare. Hardly had the Inquisition been 
established, when Frederic II tried to use it for political 
purposes. He was anxious to put the prosecution for 
heresy in the hands of his royal officers, rather than in the 
hands of the bishops and the monks. When, therefore, 
in 1233, he boasted in a letter to Gregory IX that he had 
put to death a great number of heretics in his kingdom, 
the Pope answered that he was not at all deceived by 
this pretended zeal.^ He knew full well that the Em- 

1 On this question, cf. Lea, op. cit.y vol. iii, pp. 229, 230 and notes. Read 
a recent work of H. Lucas, Fra Girolamo Savonarola^ a biographical study, 
London, Sands, 1905. 

2 "Fecisti plantas pedum ejusdem mulieris juxta carbones accensos apponi, 
qua ipsorum calorem sentiens," etc.. Document quoted par Vidal, Le tribunal 
tP Inquisition de PamierSy loc. cit., October, 1905, p. 5. 

* Cf. Huillard-Br6olles, Historia diplomatica Frederici II, vol. iv, p. 462; 
cf. pp. 435. 444. 


peror wished simply to get rid of his personal enemies, 
and that he had put to death many who were not heretics 
at all. 

The personal interests of Philip the Fair were chiefly 
responsible for the trial and condemnation of the Tem- 
plars. Clement V himself and the ecclesiastical judges 
were both unfortunately guilty of truckling in the whole 
affair. But their unjust condemnation was due chiefly 
to the king's desire to confiscate their great possessions.* 

Joan of Arc was also a victim demanded by the political 
interests of the day. If the Bishop of Beauvais, Pierre 
Cauchon, had not been such a bitter English partisan, it 
is very probable that the tribunal over which he presided 
would not have brought in the verdict of guilty, which 
sent her to the stake ;^ she would never have been con- 
sidered a heretic at all, much less a relapsed one. 

1 The tribunals of the Inquisition were perhaps never more cruel than 
in the case of the Templars. At Paris, according to the testimony of 
Ponsard de Gisiac, thirty-six Templars perished under torture. At Sens, 
Jacques de Saciac said that twenty-five had died of torment and suffering. 
(Lea, op. cit., vol. iii, p. 262.) The Grand Master, Jaques Molay, owed his 
life to the vigor of his constitution. Confessions extorted by such means 
were altogether valueless. Despite all his efforts, Philip the Fair never 
succeeded in obtaining a formal condemnation of the Order. In his bull of 
July 22, 1773, Clement XIV says: "Etiamsi concilium generale Viennese, 
cui negotium examinandimi commiserat, a formali et definitiva sententia 
ferenda consuerit se abstinere." BuUarium Romanum, Continuatio, Prati, 
1847, vol. V, p. 620. On the trial of the Templars, cf. Lea, op. ciL, vol. iii, 
pp. 249-320; Langlois, Histoire de France^ vol. iii, 2* partie, 1901. 

2 The greatest crime of the trial was the substitution, in the documents, of 
a different form of abjuration from the one Joan read near th^ church q| 



It would be easy to cite many instances of the same 
kind, especially in Spain. If there was any place in the 
world where the State interfered unjustly in the trials 
of the Inquisition, it was in the kingdom of Ferdinand 
and Isabella, the kingdom of Philip 11.^ 

From all that has been said, we must not infer that the 
tribunals of the Inquisition were always guilty of cruelty 
and injustice; we ought simply to conclude that too fre- 
quently they were. Even one case of brutality and 

injustice deserves perpetual odium. 

• ••••••• 

The severest penalties the Inquisition could inflict (apart 
from the minor penalties of pilgrimages, wearing the 
crosses, etc.), were imprisonment, abandonment to the 
secular arm, and confiscation of property. 

" Imprisonment, according to the theory of the In- 
quisition, was not a punishment, but a means by which 
the penitent could obtain, on the bread of tribulation 
and the water of affliction, pardon from God for his sins, 
while at the same time he was closely supervised to see 
that he persevered in the right path, and was segregated 

1 The complaints of various Popes prove this. Cf . Hefele, Le cardinal 
XimineSf Paris, 1857, pp. 265-374. On the Spanish Inquisition consult with 
due precaution Vhistoire de rinquisition d^Espagne^ by Llorente, 1817, and the 
following works of Lea : Chapters from the religious history of Spain connected 
with the Inquisition (Philadelphia, 1890) and The Moriscos of Spain (Phila- 
delphia, 190 1 ). Cf. Ch. v. Langlois, V Inquisition dHaprhs les travaux recents^ 
Paris, 1902, pp. 89-141; Bernaldez, Historia de los Reyes: Cronicas de los 
reyes de Castilla^ Fernandez y Isabel^ Madrid, 1878; Rodrigo, Historia ver- 
dadera de la Inquisiciony 3 vol., Madrid, 1876-1877. 


from the rest of the flock, thus removing all danger of 
infection." * 

Heretics who confessed their errors during the time of 
grace were imprisoned only for a short time; those who 
confessed under torture or under threat of death were 
imprisoned for life; this was the usual punishment for 
the relapsed during most of the thirteenth century. It 
was the only penalty that Bernard of dux (1244- 1248) 
inflicted upon them. 

"There were two kinds of imprisonment," writes Lea, 
"the milder or murus largus, and the harsher, known as 
murus strictus, or durus, or ardus. All were on bread 
and water, and the confinement, according to rule, was 
solitary, each penitent in a separate cell, with no access 
allowed to him, to prevent his being corrupted, or cor- 
rupting others; but this could not be strictly enforced, 
and about 1306 Geoff roi d'Ablis stigmatizes as an abuse 
the visits of clergy and the laity of both sexes, permitted 
to prisoners." ^ 

As far back as 1282, Jean Galand had forbidden the 
jailer of the prison of Gircassonne to eat or take recrea- 
tion with the prisoners, or to allow them to take recreation, 
or to keep servants.^ 

Husband and wife, however, were allowed access to 
each other if either or both were imprisoned; and late 

1 Lea, op. cit.y vol. i, p. 484. 

2 Lea, op. cit.y vol. i, pp. 486, 487. 

3 Collection, Doat, vol. xxxii, fol. i, 25. 


in the fourteenth century Eymeric declared that zealous 
Catholics might be admitted to visit prisoners, but not 
women and simple folk who might be perverted, for con- 
verted prisoners, he added, were very liable to relapse, and 
to infect others, and usually died at the stake.^ 

''In the milder form or murus largus, the prisoners 
apparently were, if well behaved, allowed to take exer- 
cise in the corridors, where sometimes they had op- 
portunities of converse with each other, and with the 
outside world. This privilege was ordered to be given to 
the aged and infirm by the cardinals who investigated the 
prison of Carcassonne, and took measures to alleviate 
its rigors. In the harsher confinement, or murus strictus, 
the prisoner was thrust into the smallest, darkest, and 
most noisome of cells, with chains on his feet, — in some 
cases chained to the wall. This penance was inflicted 
on those whose offences had been conspicuous, or who had 
perjured themselves by making incomplete confessions, 
the matter being wholly at the discretion of the Inquisitor. 
I have met with one case, in 1328, of aggravated false- 
witness, condemned to the murus stridissimus, with chains 
on both hands and feet. When the culprits were mem- 
bers of a religious order, to avoid scandal the proceedings 
were usually held in private, and the imprisonment would 
be ordered to take place in a convent of their own order. 
As these buildings, however, were unprovided with cells 

1 Eymeric, Dtrectoriuniy p. 507. 


for the punishment of offenders, this was probably of 
no great advantage to the victim. In the case of Jeanne, 
widow of B. de la Tour, a nun of Lespinasse, in 1246, who 
had committed acts of both Catharan and Waldensian 
heresy, and had prevaricated in her confession, the sen- 
tence was confinement in a separate cell in her own 
convent, where no one was to enter or see her, her food 
being pushed in through an opening left for the purpose 
— in fact, the living tomb known as the in pace." ^ 

In these wretched prisons the diet was most meager. 
But ''while the penance prescribed was a diet of bread 
and water, the Inquisition, with unwonted kindness, did 
not object to its prisoners receiving from their friends 
contributions of food, wine, money, and garments, and 
among its documents are such frequent allusions to this 
that it may be regarded as an established custom." ^ 

The number of prisoners even with a life sentence 
was rather considerable. The collections of sentences 
that we possess give us precise information on this 

1 Lea, op. cit.t vol. i, p. 487. The in pace was a frightful punishment. 
In 1350 the Archbishop of Toulouse besought King John to mitigate its 
severity, and he consequently issued an Ordonnance that the superior of the 
convent should twice a month visit and console the prisoner, who moreover 
should have the right twice a month to ask for the company of one of the 
monks. Even this slender innovation provoked the bitterest resistance ( ?) of 
the Dominicans and Franciscans, who appealed to Pope Clement VI, but in 
vain. Lea, vol. i, p. 488, note; Vassete, Histoire du Languedoc, vol. iv, 
Preuves, p. 29. 

2 Lea, op. cit.f vol. i, p. 491. 


We have, for instance, the register of Bernard of Caux, 
the Inquisitor of Toulouse for the years 1244- 1246. Out 
of fifty-two of his sentences, twenty-seven heretics were 
sentenced to life imprisonment. We must not forget also 
that several of them contain condemnations of many 
individuals; the second, for instance, condemned thirty- 
three persons, twelve of whom were to be imprisoned 
for life; the fourth condemned eighteen persons to life 
imprisonment. On the other hand, the register does not 
record one case of abandonment to the secular arm, even 
for relapse into heresy.^ 

Bernard must be considered a severe Inquisitor. The 
register of the notary of Gircassonne, published by Mgr. 
Douais, contains for the years 1249- 125 5 two hundred and 
seventy-eight articles. But imprisonment very rarely 
figured among the penances inflicted. The usual penalty 
was enforced service in the Holy Land, passagium, transi- 
tus ultramarinus? 

Bernard Gui, Inquisitor at Toulouse for seventeen 
years (1308-1325), was called upon to condemn nine 
hundred and thirty heretics, of whom two were guilty 
of false witness, eighty-nine were dead, and forty 
were fugitives. In the eighteen Sermones or Autos 
de fe in which he rendered the sentences we possess to- 
day, he condemned three hundred and seven to prison, 

1 Douais, Documents^ vol. i, pp. cclx-cdxi; vol. ii, pp. i-89. 

2 Douais, Documents y vol. i, pp. cclxvii-cclxxxiv; vol. ii, pp. 115, 243. 



i,e. about one third of all the heretics brought before 
his tribunal.* 

The tribunal of the Inquisition of Pamiers in the Ser- 
mones of 13 18-1324, held ninety-eight heresy trials. The 
records declare that two were acquitted; and say nothing 
of the penalty inflicted upon twenty-one others who were 
tried. The most common penalty was life-imprisonment. 
In the Sermo of March 8, thirteen heretics were sentenced 
to prison, eight of whom were set at liberty on July 4, 
1322; these latter were condemned to wear single or double 
crosses. Six out of ten, tried on August 2, 1321, were 
sentenced for life to the German prison. On June 19, 
1323, six out of ten tried were condemned to prison (murus 
strictus); on August 12, 1324, ten out of eleven tried were 
condemned for life to the strict prison: ad strictum muri 
Carcassonne inquisitionis carcerem in vincults ferrets ac in 
pane et aqua? We gather from these statistics that the 
Inquisition of Pamiers inflicted the penalty of life im- 
prisonment as often as, if not more than, the Inquisition 
of Toulouse. 

We have seen above that the penalty of imprisonment 
was sometimes mitigated and even commuted. Life im- 
prisonment was sometimes commuted into temporary 
imprisonment, and both into pilgrimages or wearing the 

1 Douais, Documents y vol. i, pp. ccv., cf. Appendix B. 
Note that the register records 930 condemnations. Cf. Lea, op. cit.y 
vol. i, p. 550. 

2Vidal, op. cit.y April, 1905, pp. 313-321. 


cross. Twenty, imprisoned by the Inquisition of Pamiers, 
were set at liberty on condition that they wore the cross/ 
This clemency was not peculiar to the Inquisition of 
Pamiers. In 1328, by a single sentence, twenty-three 
prisoners of Carcassonne were set at liberty, and other 
slight penances substituted. 

In Bernard Gui's registerof sentenceswe read of one hun- 
dred and nineteen cases of release from prison with the obli- 
gation to wear the cross, and of this number, fifty-one were 
subsequently released from even the minor penalty.^ Pris- 
oners were sometimes set at liberty on account of sickness, 
v,g, women with child, or to provide for their families. 

"In 1246 we find Bernard de Caux, in sentencing Ber- 
nard Sabbatier, a relapsed heretic, to perpetual imprison- 
ment, adding that as the culprit's father is a good Catholic, 
and old and sick, the son may remain with him, and sup- 
port him as long as he lives, meanwhile wearing the 
crosses." ' 

Assuredly this penalty of imprisonment was terrible, 
but while we may denounce some Inquisitors for having 
made its suffering more intense out of malice or indiffer- 
ence,* we must also admit that others sometimes mitigated 
its severity. 

1 Vidal, op. cit., July, 1905, p. 376. 

2 Lea, op. cii.f vol. i, 495. 
8 Lea, op. cU.f vol. i, 486. 

* Recall what was said above, and the reforms of Clement V. 


The condemnation of obstinate heretics, and later on, 
of the relapsed, permitted no exercise of clemency. How 
many heretics were abandoned to the secular arm, and 
thus sent to the stake, is impossible to determine. How- 
ever, we have some interesting statistics of the more im- 
portant tribunals on this point. The portion of the regis- 
ter of Bernard de Caux which relates to impenitent her- 
etics has been lost, but we have the sentences of 
the Inquisition of Pamiers (13 18-1324), and of Toulouse 
( 1 308-1 323.) In nine Sermones or auios de fe^ of the 
tribunal of Pamiers, condemning sixty-four persons, only 
five heretics were abandoned to the secular arm.^ 

Bernard Gui presided over eighteen auios de fe, and 
condemned nine hundred and thirty heretics; and yet 
he abandoned only forty-two to the secular arm.^ These 
Inquisitors were far more lenient than Robert the Bougre. 
Taking all in all, the Inquisition in its operation denoted 
a real progress in the treatment of criminals; for it not 
only put an end to the summary vengeance of the mob, 
but it diminished considerably the number of those sen- 
tenced to death.* 

1 The Sermo generalis after which the sentences were solemnly pronounced 
by the Inquisitors was called in Spain atUo de fi. 

2 Cf. Vidal, op. cit., July, 1905, p. 369. 

8 Cf. The sentences of Bernard Gui in Douais, DocutnetUs, vol. i, p. ccv, 
and Appendix B. 

* Even while the Inquisition was in full operation, the heretics who managed 
to escape the ecclesiastical tribunals had no reason to congratulate them- 
selves. For we read that Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse in 1248, caused 


We notice at Pamiers that only one out of thirteen, 
while at Toulouse but one in twenty-two, was sentenced 
to death. Although terrible enough, these figures are 
far different from the exaggerated statistics imagined by 
the fertile brains of ignorant controversialists.* 

It is true that many writers are haunted by the cruelty 
of the Spanish or German tribunals which sent to the 
stake a great number of victims, i,e, conversos and witches. 

From the very beginning, the Spanish Inquisition 
acted with the utmost severity. "Twelve hundred con- 
versos, penitents, obdurate and relapsed heretics were 
present at the auto de je in Toledo, March, 1487; and, 
according to the most conservative estimate, Torquemada 
sent to the stake about two thousand heretics " ^ in 
twelve years. 

eighty heretics to be burned at Berlaiges, near Agen, after they had confessed 
in his presence, without giving them the opportunity of recanting. As Lea 
says: op. cit., vol. i, p. 537, "From the contemporary sentences of Bernard 
of Caux, it is probable that, had these unfortunates been tried before that 
ardent champion of the faith, not one of them would have been condemned 
to the stake as impenitent." 

1 Of course we do not here refer to honest historians like Langlois who 
estimates that one heretic out of every ten was abandoned to the secular 
arm {pp. cU.y p. 106). Dom Brial erroneously states in his preface to vol. xix 
of the Recueil des Historiens des Gaules (p. xxiii) that Bernard Gui bxirned 
637 heretics. This figure represented the number of heretics then known to 
be condemnedy but only 40 of these were abandoned to the secular arm. Cf. 
Lea, op. cU.y vol. i, p. 550. The exact number is 42 out of 930. Cf. Douais, 
Documents, vol. i, p. ccv, and Appendix B. 

^Langlois, L* Inquisition d^aprhs des tableaux ricents, 1902, pp. 105, 106. 
This number, without being certain, is asserted by contemporaries, Pulgar 
and Marine© Siculo. Cf. H6f61e, Le Cardinal Ximines, Paris, 1856, pp. 
290, 291. Another contemporary, Bemaldes, speaks of over 700 burned 


"During this same period," says a contemporary his- 
torian, "fifteen thousand heretics did penance, and were 
reconciled to the Church." * That makes a total of 
seventeen thousand trials. We can thus understand 
how Torquemada, although grossly calumniated, came 
to be identified with this period, during which so many 
thousands of conversos appeared before the Spanish 

The zeal of the Inquisitors seemed to abate after a time.' 
Perhaps they thought it better to keep the Jews and 
the Mussulmans in the church by kindness. But kind- 
ness failed just as force had failed. After one hundred 
years, the number of obdurate conversos was as great as 
ever. Several ardent advocates of force advised the 
authorities to send them all to the stake. But the State 
determined to drive the Moriscos from Spain, as it had 
banished the Jews in 1492. Accordingly in September, 
1609, a law was passed decreeing the banishment, under 
penalty of death, of all Moriscos, men, women, and chil- 

from 1481-1488; cf. Gams, Kirchengeschichte von Spanien, vol. iii, 2, 
p. 69. 

1 Pulgar, in H6f^le, op. cit., p. 291. 

2 Torquemada established the Inquisition in the different dties of Castile, 
Aragon, Valencia, and Catalonia. 

8 1 'The Inquisition of Valencia condemned one hundred and twelve con- 
versos in 1538 (of whom fourteen were sent to the stake); at the atUo de }i 
of Seville, September 24, 1559, three were burned, and eight were reconciled 
and sentenced to life-imprisonment; on June 6, 1585, the Inquisitors of Sara- 
gossa in their account to Philip II speak of having reconciled sixty-three, and 
of having sent five to the stake," Langlois, op. cit.y p. 106. 


dren. Five hundred thousand persons, about one six- 
teenth of the population, were thus banished from Spain, 
and forced to seek refuge on the coasts of Barbary.^ 
"Behold," writes Brother Bleda, "the most glorious event 
in Spain since the times of the apostles ; religious unity is 
now secured; an era of prosperity is certainly about to 
dawn." 2 This era of prosperity so proudly announced 
by the Dominican zealot never came. This extreme 
measure which pleased him so greatly in reality weakened 
Spain, by depriving her of hundreds of thousands of her 

The witchcraft fever which spread over Europe in 
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries stimulated to an 
extraordinary degree the zeal of the Inquisitors. The 
bull of Innocent VI II, Summis desiderantes, December 5, 
1484, made matters worse. The Pope admitted that men 
and women could have immoral relations with demons, 
and that sorcerers by their magical incantations could 
injure the harvests, the vineyards, the orchards and the 

1 Langlois, op. cit.y p. no. 

2 Cf. B16da, Defensio fdei in causa neophytorum sive Moriscorum regni 
Valentini totiusque HispanuBf Valencia, 16 10; Tractatus de justa Moriscorum 
ah Hispania expulsione, Valencia, 1610; cf. Llorente, Histoire de PInguisiiion 
d^Espagne, Paris, 18 17, vol. iii, p. 430. 

1 "Sane nuper ad nostrum, non sine ingenti molestia pervenit auditum, 
quod in nonnuUis partibus Allemaniae superioris . . . complures utriusque 
sexus personae ... a fide catholica deviantes, cum daemonibus incubis et 
succubis abuti ac suis incantadonibus et conjurationibus aliisque nefandis 
superstitionibus et sortilegiis, ezcessibus, criminibus et delictis, mulierum 


He also complained of the folly of those ecclesiastics 
and laymen who opposed the Inquisition in its prosecu- 
tion of heretical sorcerers, and concluded by conferring 
additional powers upon the Dominican Inquisitors, In- 
stitoris and Sprenger, the author of the famous Malleus 

Innocent VIII assuredly had no intention of committing 
the Church to a belief in the phenomena he mentioned 
in his bull, but his personal opinion ^ did have an influ- 

partus, animalium foetus, terrse fruges, vinearum uvas et arborum fructus, 
necnon homines, mulieres, pecora, pecudes, et alia diversorum generum 
animalia, vineas quoque, pomeria, prata, pascua, blada, frumenta et alia 
terrae legumina, perire, sufiFocari et extinguere." Bullariutn, vol. v, p. 296 
and seq., and Pegna's Bullarium in Eymeric, Directorium InquisU., p. S3. 
The notion of damones succubi et incubi comes from St. Augustine: "Et 
quoniam creberrima fama est, multique se expertos vel ab eis qui experti 
essent, de quorum fide dubitandum non est, audisse confirmant, Sylvanos et 
Faunos, quos vulgo incubos vocant, improbos saepe extitisse mulieribus et 
earum appetisse ac peregisse concubitimi, et quosdam daemones, quos Dusios 
Galli nuncupant, hanc assidue immunditiam et tentare et efficere plures 
talesque asseverant, ut hoc negare impudentiae videatur," etc. De CivitaU 
Dei J lib. xv, cap. xxiii, no. i. Cf. Summay pars i*, quaest. li, art. 3, ad 6um. 
On witches, cf. the bulls Honestis of Leo X (February 15, 152 1), Dudutn of 
Adrian VI (July 20, 1522), Ccsli et terra of Sixtus V (January 5, 1586), in 
E)nneric, loc. cit,, pp. 99, 105, 142. 

1 Pastor writes (Hbtory of the Popes, vol. v, p. 349) concerning the reality 
of these facts: "The question whether the Pope believed in them has nothing 
to do with the subject. His judgment on this point has no greater importance 
than attaches to a papal decree in any other undogmatic question, e.g. in 
a dispute about a benefice." The learned historian is wrong, for the Pope's 
views made a great difference in this particular case. Many canonists cited 
it as proof, and the Inquisitors acted on it in their tribunals. "Praeterea qui 
hoc asserunt somnia esse et ludibria, certe peccant contra reverentiam matri 
debitam," says the Jesuit Delrio, Disquisitio magna, ed. 1603, lib. II, quaest. 
xvi, p. 149; cf. p. 159; cf. Malleus mc^eficarum of Sprenger, and the Novus 
malleus mcUeficarum of Spina, Cologne, 1581, p. 146 and seq., etc. 


ence upon the canonists and Inquisitors of his day; this 
is clear from the trials for witchcraft held during this 
period.^ It is impossible to estimate the number of sor- 
cerers condemned. Louis of Paramo triumphantly de- 
clared that in a century and a half the Holy Office sent to 
the stake over thirty thousand.^ Of course we must take 
such round numbers with a grain of salt, as they always 
are greatly exaggerated. But the fact remains that the 
condemnations for sorcery were so numerous as to stagger 
belief. The Papacy itself recognized the injustice of its 
agents. For in 1637 instructions were issued stigmatiz- 
ing the conduct of the Inquisitors on account of their 
arbitrary and unjust prosecution of sorcerers; they were 
accused of extorting from them by cruel tortures con- 
fessions that were valueless, and of abandoning them to 
the secular arm without sufficient cause.' 

1 On this question, cf. Janssen-Pastor, GeschicJUe des detUschen VolkeSy 
vol. viii, Fribourg, 1894, p. 507 and seq.; Finke, Historisches Jahrbuchf 
vol. xiv, p. 341 and seq.; Lea, op. cU.y vol. iii, pp. 492-549. 

^ De Origine Officii sancta Inquisitionis^ p. 206. Lea says that "Protes- 
tants and Catholics rivaled each other in the madness of the hour." Op. cit.^ 
vol. iii, p. 549. 

*"Experientia rerum magistra aperte docet gravissimos quotidie committi 
errores a diversis Ordinariis, Vicariis et Inquisitoribus, sed praecipue a secu- 
laribus judicibus in formandis processibus contra striges sive lamias et 
maleficas in grave praejudicium tam justitiae quam hujusmodi mulierum 
inquisitarum: cum longo tempore observatiun fuerit, plures hujusmodi 
processus non rite ac juridice formatos, imo plerumque necesse fuisse quam- 
plures judices reprehendere et multos et impertinentes modos habitos in 
formandis processibus, reis interrogandis, excessivis torturis inferendis ita, 
ut quandoque contigerit injustas et iniquas proferri sententias, etiam ultimi 


Confiscation, though not so severe a penalty as the 
stake, bore very heavily upon the victims of the Inquisi- 
tion. The Roman laws classed the crime of heresy with 
treason, and visited it with a principal penalty, death, 
and a secondary penalty, confiscation. They decreed 
that all heretics, without exception, forfeited their prop- 
erty the very day they wavered in the faith. Actual 
confiscation of goods did not take place in the case of 
those penitents who had deserved no severer punishment 
than temporary imprisonment. Bernard Gui answered 
those who objected to this ruling, by showing that, as a 
matter of fact, there was no real pecuniary loss in- 
volved. For, he argued: "Secondary penances are in- 
flicted only upon those heretics who denounce their 
accomplices. But, by this denunciation, they ensure 
the discovery and arrest of the guilty ones, who, without 
their aid, would have escaped punishment; the goods of 
these heretics are at once confiscated, which is certainly 
a positive gain." ^ Actual confiscation took place in the 

supplicii, sive traditionis brachio saeculari, et reipsa compertum est, multos 
judices ita faciles proclivesque fuisse ob leve aut minimum indiciimi credere 
aliquam talem esse strigem, et nihil omnino praetermisisse ab hujusmodi 
muliere, etiam modis illicitis, talem confessionem extorquere, cum tot tamen 
tantisque inverisimilitudinibus, varietatibus et contrarietatibus, ut super tali 
confessione nulla aut modica vis fieri posset.'* Pignatelli, Consultationes 
novissimas canoniccs, Venetiis, 2 in fol., vol. i, p. 505, ConstUtatio 123. 

i**Si autem aliquibus videatur absurdum, gratiam praecipue de confisca- 
tione bonorum in prejudicium fisci aut domini temporalis per Inquisitores 
fieri non debere, attendant quod ex predicta gratia promissa et facta ex 
causa rationabili, ut praemittitur^ revelantur personae aliae quae latebant, et 


case of all obdurate and relapsed heretics abandoned to 
the secular arm, with all penitents condemned to per- 
petual imprisonment, and with all suspects who had 
managed to escape the Inquisition, either by flight or by 
death. The heretic who died peacefully in bed before 
the Inquisition could lay hands upon him was consid- 
ered contumacious, and treated as such; his remains 
were exhumed,^ and his property confiscated. This last 
fact accounts for the incredible frequency of prosecutions 
against the dead. Of the six hundred and thirty-six cases 
tried by Bernard Gui, eighty-eight were posthumous.^ As 
a general rule, the confiscation of the heretic's property, 
which so frequently resulted from the trials of the In- 
quisition, had a great deal to do with the interest they 
aroused. We do not say that the Holy Office system- 
atically increased the number of its condemnations 
merely to increase its pecuniary profits. But abuses of 
this kind were inevitable. We know they existed, because 

quod in uno videtvir amitti recuperatur in pluribus cum augmento." Prac- 
tica, 3 pars, p. 185. 

1 This was done with great solemnity. The bones and even the decom- 
posed body of the heretic were carried through the city streets at the sound 
of a trumpet, and then burned. The names of the dead were read out, and 
the living were threatened with a like fate if they followed their example, 
"De dmeteriis . . . extumulati . . . et ossa eorum et corpora faetentia per 
villam tracta et voce tibicinatoris per vicos proclamata et nominata dicentis: 
Qui aytal fara, aytal perira." Chronique of GuUlem Pelhisse, published by 
Douais, p. no. Guillem Pelhisse was one of the first Inquisitors of 

2 Eighty-nine out of nine hundred and thirty. Cf. Douais, Documents, 
vol. i, p. ccv, and Appendix B. 


the Popes denounced them strongly, although they were 
too rare to deserve more than a passing mention. But 
would the ecclesiastical and lay princes who, in varying 
proportions, shared with the Holy Office in these confis- 
cations, and who in some countries appropriated them 
all, have accorded to the Inquisition that continual good- 
will and help which was the condition of its prosperity, 
without what Lea calls ''the stimulant of pillage"? We 
may very well doubt it. . . . That is why in point of 
fact their zeal for the faith languished whenever 
pecuniary gain was not forthcoming. ''In our days," 
writes the Inquisitor Eymeric rather gloomily, " there 
are no more rich heretics, so that princes, not seeing 
much money in prospect, will not put themselves to any 
expense; it is a pity that so salutary an institution as 
ours should be so uncertain of its future," * 

Most historians have said little or nothing about the 
money side of the Inqusition. Lea was the first to give it 
the attention it deserved. He writes: " In addition to the 
misery inflicted by these wholesale confiscations on the 
thousands of innocent and helpless women and children 
thus stripped of everything, it would be almost impossible 
to exaggerate the evil which they entailed upon all classes 
in the business of daily life." ^ There was indeed very 

1 Langlois, op. cit.y pp. 75-78. Cf. Lea, op. cii., vol. i, pp. 501-524, cf. 
Tanon, op. cU., pp. 523-538- 
3 Lea, op. cU.j p. 522. 


little security in business, for the contracts of a hidden 
heretic were essentially null and void, and could be 
rescinded as soon as his guilt was discovered, either during 
his lifetime or after his death. In view of such a penal 
code, we can understand why Lea should write: "While 
the horrors of the crowded dungeon can scarce be ex- 
aggerated, yet more effective for evil and more widely 
exasperating was the sleepless watchfulness which was 
ever on the alert to plunder the rich and to wrench from 
the poor the hard-earned gains on which a family de- 
pended for support."^ 

• ••••••a 

This summary of the acts of the Inquisition is at best 
but a brief and very imperfect outline. But a more com- 
plete study would not afford us any deeper insight into 
its operation. 

Human passions are responsible for the many abuses 
of the Inquisition. The civil power in heresy trials was 
far from being partial to the accused. On the contrary, 
it would seem that the more pressure the State brought 
to bear upon the ecclesiastical tribunals, the more arbi- 
trary their procedure became. 

We do not deny that the zeal of the Inquisitors was at 
times excessive, especially in the use of torture. But 
some of their cruelty may be explained by their sincere 
desire for the salvation of the heretic. They regarded 

1 Lea, op. cit., p. 480. 


the confession of suspects as the beginning of their con- 
version. They therefore believed any means used for 
that purpose justified. They thought that an In- 
quisitor had done something praiseworthy, when, even at 
the cost of cruel torments, he freed a heretic from his 
heresy. He was sorry indeed to be obliged to use force; 
but that was not altogether his fault, but the fault of 
the laws which he had to enforce. 

Most men regard the auto de fe as the worst horror of 
the Inquisition. It is hardly ever pictured without burn- 
ing flames and ferocious looking executioners. But an 
auio de fe did not necessarily call for either stake or 
executioner. It was simply a solemn "Sermon," which 
the heretics about to be condemned had to attend.* The 
death penalty was not always inflicted at these solemnities, 
which were intended to impress the imagination of the 
people. Seven out of eighteen auios de fe presided over 
by the famous Inquisitor, Bernard Gui, decreed no severer 
penalty than imprisonment. 

1 On these "Sermons," cf. Tanon, op. cit., pp. 425-431. In France the 
heretics were not dressed in any particular costume or mitred as in Spain 
during the sixteenth century. There is but one mention of mitred heretics, 
viz. at the auio de fi against sorcerers at Arras in 1459. "^^ ^^^^ furent 
mitr6s d'une mitre oil estait peinct la figxire du diable en telle manifere qu'ils 
avaient confess^ lui avoir fait hommage, et eulx h. genoux peincts devant 
le diable; et illecq, par M. P. Le Broussart, Inquisitexir de la foy chr6tienne, 
preschiez publiquement, pr&ent tout le peuple; et y avoit tant de gens que 
ce estoit merveille, car de tous les villages d'entoxir Arras et de dix ou 
douze lieues allenviron et plus y avait de gens." Fr6d6ricq, Corpus docu- 
mentorum inquisitionis NeerlandiccBt vol. i, p. 353. 


We have seen, moreover, that in many places, even in 
Spain at a certain period, the number of heretics con- 
demned to death was rather small. Even Lea, whom no 
one can accuse of any great partiality for the Church, is 
forced to state: "The stake consumed comparatively 
few victims." * 

In fact, imprisonment and confiscation were as a rule 
the severest penalties inflicted. 

1 op. cU.y vol. i, p. 480. In making this statement, Lea of course means 
to exclude the witchcraft trials, which he treats in another part of his work. 
Cf. vol. iii, ch. vii, pp. 492-549. 


A Criticism of the Theory and Practice of the 


Such was the development for over one thousand years 
(200-1300) of the theory of Catholic writers on the 
coercive power of the Church in the treatment of heresy. 
It began with the principle of absolute toleration; it 
ended with the stake. 

During the era of the persecutions, the Church, who 
was suffering herself from pagan intolerance, merely ex- 
communicated heretics, and tried to win them back 
to the orthodox faith by kindness and the force of 
argument. But when the emperors became Christians, 
they, in memory of the days when they were *' Pontifices 
maximij' at once endeavored to regulate worship and 
doctrine, at least externally. Unfortunately, certain sects, 
hated like the Manicheans, or revolutionary in character 
like the Donatists, prompted the enactment of cruel 
laws for their suppression. St. Optatus approved these 
measures, and Pope St. Leo had not the courage to 
disavow them. Still, most of the early Fathers, St. 

John Chrysostom, St. Martin, St. Ambrose, St. Augus- 



tine, and many others,^ protested strongly in the name 
of Christian charity against the infliction of the death pen- 
alty upon heretics. St. Augustine, who formed the mind 
of his age, at first favored the theory of absolute tolera- 
tion. But afterwards, perceiving that certain good re- 
sults followed from what he called "a salutary fear," he 
modified his views. He then maintained that the State 
could and ought to punish by fine, confiscation, or even 
exile, her rebellious children, in order to make them repent. 
This may be called his theory of moderate persecution. 

The revival of the Manichean heresy in the eleventh 
century took the Christian princes and people by sur- 
prise, unaccustomed as they were to the legislation of the 
first Christian emperors. Still the heretics did not fare 
any better on that account. For the people rose up against 
them, and burned them at the stake. The Bishops and 
the Fathers of the Church at once protested against this 
lynching of heretics. Some, like Wazo of Liege, repre- 
sented the party of absolute toleration, while others, under 
the leadership of St. Bernard, advocated the theory of 


» Lea {op. cU., vol. i, pp. 214, 215) says that St. Jerome was an advocate 
of force. "Rigor in fact," argues St. Jerome, "is the most genuine mercy, 
since temporal punishment may avert eternal perdition." Here St. Jerome 
merely says that God punishes in time that He may not punish in eternity. 
But he by no means "argues" that this punishment should be in the hands 
of either Church or State. "Scitote evun (Deum) ideo ad praesens reddidisse 
supplida, ne in aeternum puniret . . . Optandum est adulteris ut in prsesen- 
tiarum brevi et dta psna cruciatus frustrentur aetemos." CommerUar.^ in 
Naum, i, 9, P. L., vol. xxv, col. 1238. This is the chief text quoted by 



St. Augustine. Soon after churchmen began to decree 
the penalty of imprisonment for heresy — a penalty un- 
known to the Roman law, and regarded in the beginning 
more as a penance than a legal punishment. It origi- 
nated in the cloister, gradually made its way into the tri- 
bunals of the Bishop, and finally into the tribunals of the 

Canon law, helped greatly by the revival of the imperial 
code, introduced in the twelfth century definite laws for 
the suppression of heresy. This regime lasted from 1 1 50 
till 1215, from Gratian to Innocent III. Heresy, the 
greatest sin against God, was classed with treason, and 
visited with the same penalty. The penalty was banish- 
ment with all its consequences; i.e. the destruction of the 
houses of heretics, and the confiscation of their prop- 
erty. Still, because of the horror which the Church had 
always professed for the effusion of blood, she did not 
as yet inflict the death penalty which the State decreed 
for treason. Innocent III did not wish to go beyond the 
limits ^ set by St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, and 
St. Bernard. 

But later Popes and princes went further. They be- 
gan by decreeing death as a secondary penalty,^ in case 

1 Cf. supra, pp. 62, 63. 

2 " Et si post tempus praefixum," says Pedro of Aragon, "aliqui in tota terra 
nostra eos invenerint . . . , corpora eorum ignibus crementur." De Marca, 
Marca Hispanica, col. 1484. In the statutes of Bologna of 1245, the podestk 
swore to banish heretics; if they refused to leave the city and were not con- 


heretics rebelled against the law of banishment. But 
when the emperor Frederic had revived the legislation 
of his Christian predecessors of the fourth, fifth, and sixth 
centuries,* and had made the popular custom of burning 
heretics a law of the empire, the Papacy could not resist 
the current of his example. The Popes at once ordered 
the new legislation vigorously enforced everywhere, es- 
pecially in Lombardy. This was simply the logical 
carrying out of the comparison made by Innocent III 
between heresy and treason, and was due chiefly to two 
Popes: Gregory IX who established the Inquisition under 
the Dominicans and the Franciscans, and Innocent IV 
who authorized the Inquisitors to use torture. 

The theologians and casuists soon began to defend the 
procedure of the Inquisition. They seemed absolutely 
unaffected, in theory at least,^ by the most cruel tor- 
verted, they were to be arrested and sent to the stake. Ficker, op. cU., pp. 
305, 206. 

1 Cf. the law of Arcadius of 395 {Cod. Theodos.j xvi, v. 28), which says: 
"Qui vel levi argumento a judicio catholicae religionis et tramite detect! 
fuerint deviare," and the Sicilian constitution Inconsutilem tunicam (in 
E3nneric, Directorium inguisitorum, Appendix, p. 14), where we read: **Si 
inventi fuerint a fide catholica saltern in articulo deviare," and again: "Prout 
veteribtis legibus est indictum." 

2 Practically speaking, the Inquisitors often remained unmoved at the lot 
of heretics. The following fact is a proof. "It was in the year 1234, the 
day on which the news of St. Dominic's canonization reached Toulouse. 
The Bishop, Ra)miond du Felgar, had just said solemn mass in the Dominican 
convent, in honor of this canonization, and was on his way to the refectory 
with the brethren, when some one came from the city saying that they were 
about to 'hereticate* an old woman, sick with the fever. The Bishop at 
once went with the prior to this house, approached the sick woman, who, 


ments. With them the preservation of the orthodox faith 
was paramount, and superior to all sentiment. In the 
name of Christian charity, St. Thomas, the great light of 
the thirteenth century, taught that relapsed heretics, even 
when repentant, ought to be put to death without 

How are we to explain this development of the doc- 
trine of the Church on the suppression of heresy, and 
granting that a plausible explanation may be given, how 

are we to justify it? 

• ••••••• 

Intolerance is natural to man. If, as a matter of fact, 
men are not always intolerant in practice, it is only because 
they are prevented by conditions born of reason and wis- 
dom. Respect for the opinion of others supposes a temper 
of mind which takes years to acquire. It is a question 
whether the average man is capable of it. Intolerance 
regarding religious doctrines especially, with the cruelty 

regarding him at first as a Catharan bishop, confessed her faith openly to 
him, and then persisted in her heresy when she learned who he was. There- 
upon, he condemned her as a heretic, and handed her over to the Count's 
vicar, who had her transferred to Pr6-le-Compte, where she was burned in 
her bed." After this, the Bishop and the Dominicans went to the refectory, 
where they joyfully ate their dinner, giving thanks to God and to St. Dominic: 
Episcopus vero et fratres et socii hoc completo venerunt ad refectorium et 
quae parata erant cum laetitia comederunt, gratias agentes Deo et beato 
Domini CO. G. Pelhisse, ChroniquCy ed. Douais, pp. 97, 98; Tanon, op. cit.f 
PP- S4» 55- The condemnation and execution of this sick woman did not 
interfere with their festivities in honor of St. Dominic, because they all thought 
that they had performed a pious duty. Such light-heartedness is very 
hard for us to understand to-day. 


that usually accompanies it, has practicaly been the law 
of history. From this view-point, the temper of mind of 
the mediaeval Christians differed little from that of the 
pagans of the empire. A Roman of the second or third 
century considered blasphemy against the gods a crime 
that deserved the greatest torments; a Christian of the 
eleventh century felt the same toward the apostates and 
enemies of the Catholic faith. This is clearly seen from the 
treatment accorded the first Manicheans who came from 
Bulgaria, and gained some adherents at Orleans, Mont- 
Wimer, Soissons, Liege, and Goslar. At once there was 
a popular uprising against them, which evidenced what 
may be called the instinctive intolerance of the people. 
The civil authorities of the 'day shared this hatred, and 
proved it either by sending heretics to the stake them- 
selves, or allowing the people to do so. As Lea has said : 
"The practice of burning the heretic alive was thus not 
the creation of positive law, but arose generally and 
spontaneously, and its adoption by the legislator was only 
the recognition of a popular custom." ^ Besides, the 
sovereign could not brook riotous men who disturbed 
the established order of his dominions. He was well 
aware that public tranquillity depended chiefly upon re- 
ligious principles, which ensured that moral unity de- 
sired by every ruler. Pagan antiquity had dreamed of 
this unity, and its philosophers, interpreting its mind, 

1 Lea, op. cit., vol. i, p. 322. 


showed themselves just as intolerant as the theologians 
of the Middle Ages. 

"Plato," writes Gaston Boissier, "in his ideal Republic, 
denies toleration to the impious, i,e, to those who did 
not accept the State religion. Even if they remained 
quiet and peaceful, and carried on no propaganda, they 
seemed to him dangerous by the bad example they gave. 
He condemned them to be shut up in a house where they 
might learn wisdom (sopbronisteria) — by this pleasant 
euphemism he meant a prison — and for five years they 
were to listen to a discourse every day. The impious who 
caused disturbance and tried to corrupt others were to 
be imprisoned for life in a terrible dungeon, and after 
death were to be denied burial." ^ Apart from the 
stake, was not this the Inquisition to the life? In coun- 
tries where religion and patriotism went hand in hand, 
we can readily conceive this intolerance. Sovereigns were 
naturally inclined to believe that those who interfered 
with the public worship unsettled the State, and their 
conviction became all the stronger when the State re- 
ceived -from heaven a sort of special investiture. This 
was the case with the Christian empire. Constantine, to- 
wards the end of his career, thought himself ordained by 
God, "a bishop in externals," ^ and his successors strove 

^ La fin du paganism^ vol. i, pp. 47, 48. Cf. Plato's Republic, 
Book II; Laws, Book X. 

2 "Ego vero in eis quae extra (Ecclesiam) geruntur episcopus a Deo sum 
constUtUus." Eusebius, Vita Constantini^ lib iv, cap. xxiv. 


to keep intact the deposit of faith. "The first care of the 
imperial majesty," said one of them, "is to protect the 
true religion, for with its worship is connected the pros- 
perity of human undertakings." * Thus some of their 
laws were passed in view of strengthening the canon law. 
They mounted guard about the Church, with sword 
in hand, ready to use it in her defence.^ 

The Middle Ages inherited these views. Religious 
unity was then attained throughout Europe. Any 
attempt to break it was an attack at once upon the 
Church and the Empire. "The enemies of the Cross of 
Christ and those who deny the Christian faith," says Pedro r 
II, of Aragon, "are also our enemies, and the public 
enemies of our kingdom; they must be treated as such." ^ 
It was in virtue of the same principle that Frederic II- 
punished heretics as criminals according to the common 
law; ut crimina publtca. He speaks of the "Ecclesiastical 
peace" as of old the emperors spoke of the "Roman 
peace." As Emperor, he considered it his duty "to pre- 
serve and to maintain it," and woe betide the one who 
dared disturb it. Feeling himself invested with both 

1 "Praedpuam imperatoriae majestatis curam esse perspicimus verae reli- 
gionis indaginem, cujus si cultmn tenere potuerimus iter prosperitatis 
humanis aperimus inceptis." Theodosius II, Novella^ tit. iii (438). 

2 Cf. supra, p. 29, n. 3. 

3"Et omnes alios haereticos . . . tanquam inimicos crucis Christi chris- 
tianaeque fidei violatores et nostras etiam regnique nostri puhlicos hostes exire 
ac fugere districte et irremeabiliter praecipimu§." Law of 1197, in De Marca, 
Marcd Hispanica^ col. 1384. 


human and divine authority/ he enacted the severest 
laws possible against heresy. What therefore might have 
remained merely a threatening theory became a terrible 
reality. The laws of 1224, 1231, 1238, and 1239 prove 
that both princes and people considered the stake a 
fitting penalty for heresy. 

It would have been very . surprising if the Church, 
menaced as she was by an ever increasing flood of heresy, 
had not accepted the State's eager ofi'er of protection. 
She had always professed a horror for bloodshed. But 
as long as she was not acting directly, and the State 
undertook to shed in its own name the blood of wicked 
men, she began to consider solely the benefits that would 
accrue to her from the enforcement of the civil laws. 
Besides, by classing heresy with treason, she herself had 
laid down the premisses of the State's logical conclusion, 
the death penalty.^ The Church, therefore, could hardly 

1 "Cum ad conservandum pariter et fovendum Ecclesis trdnquillitatis 
statum ex commisso nobis imperii regimine defensores a Deo simus consti- 
tuti . . ., utriusque juris auctoritate muniti, duximus sanciendum," etc. 
Constitution of 1224, Mon. Germ.^ Leges, sect, iv, vol. ii, p. 126. Cf. the 
Constitution of March, 1232, ibid., p. 196, and the Sicilian Constitution 
Inconsuiilem tunicam, where we read: "Statuimus in primis, ut crimen 
hsereseos et damnatae sects cujuslibet, quoqumque nomine censeantur (prout 
veteribus legibus est indictum) inter publica crimina numerentur." In 
Eymeric, Directorum Inquisitorum, Appendix, p. 14. 

2 "Cum enim secundum legitimas sanctiones rets 1(Bs<b majestatis punUis 
capite bona confiscentur eorum . . .; cum longe sit gravius cUernam quam 
temporaiem l<Bdere majestaiem," etc., said Innocent III in a letter of 
March 25, 1199, Ep. ii, i. "Cvrai longe sit gravius aeteraam quam tempo- 
raiem offendere majestatem," said Frederic II in his Constitution of 1220, 


call in question the justice of the imperial laws, without 
in a measure going against the principles she herself had 

Church and State, therefore, continually influenced one 
the other. The theory upheld by the Church reacted on 
the State and caused it to adopt violent measures, 
while the State in turn compelled the Church to ap- 
prove its use of force, although such an attitude was 
opposed to the spirit of early Christianity. 

The theologians and the canonists put the finishing 
touches to the situation. Influenced by what was happen- 
ing around them, their one aim was to defend the laws of ^ 
their day. This is clearly seen, if we compare the Summa 
of St. Raymond of Pennafort with the Summa of St. 
Thomas Aquinas. When St. Raymond wrote his work, 
the Church still followed the criminal code of Popes Lucius 
III and Innocent III; she had as yet no notion of inflict- 
ing the death penalty for heresy. But in St. Thomas's 
time, the Inquisition had been enforcing for some years 
the draconian laws of Frederic II. The Angelic doctor, 
therefore, made no attempt to defend the obsolete code of 
Innocent III, but endeavored to show that the imperial 
laws, then authorized by the Church, were conformable 
to the strictest justice. His one argument was to make 

lion Germ., Leges, sect, iv, vol. ii, p. 108. And he repeats this comparison 
in his Constitution of 1253, n. 8: ''Si reos less majestatis," etc., ibid., p. 197. 
A law of 407 (Cod. Theod., xvi, v. 40) had long before classed heresy with 


comparisons, more or less happy, between heresy and 
crimes against the common law.^ 

At a period when no one considered a doctrine solidly 
proved unless authorities could be quoted in its support, 
these comparisons were not enough. So the theologians 
taxed their ingenuity to find quotations, not from the 
Fathers, which would have been difficult, but from the 
Scriptures, which seemed favorable to the ideas then in 
vogue. St. Optatus had tried to do this as early as the 
fifth century,^ despite the antecedent protests of Origen, 
Cyprian, Lactantius and Hilary. Following his example, 
the churchmen of the Middle Ages reminded their hearers 
that according to the sacred Scriptures, "Jehovah was 
a God delighting in the extermination of his enemies. 
They read how Saul, the chosen king of Israel, had been 
divinely punished for sparing Agag of Amalek; how the 
prophet Samuel had hewn him to pieces; how the whole- 
sale slaughter of the unbelieving Canaanites had been 
ruthlessly commanded and enforced; how Elijah had 
been commended for slaying four hundred and fifty 
priests of Baal; and they could not conceive how mercy 
to those who rejected the true faith could be aught but 
disobedience to God.^ Had not Almighty God said: 

1 Cf. supra, p. 171 and seq. 

^ De Schismate Donatistarum, p. iii, cap. vii; cf. supra, pp. 16, 17. 

8 Lea, op. cii., vol. i, p. 238. St. Pius V, in a letter to Charles IX, March 28, 
1569, demanded the destruction of the Huguenots, donee deletis omnibus, and 
dted the destruction of Agag and the Amalekites. Cf. Vacandard, Les 


*"' If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy daughter, 
or thy wife, that is in thy bosom, or thy friend, whom 
thou lovest as thy own soul, would persuade thee secretly, 
saying: 'Let us go and serve strange gods,' which thou 
knowest not, nor thy fathers . . . consent not to him, 
hear him not, neither let thy eye spare him to pity or 
conceal him, but thou shalt presently put him to death. 
Let thy hand be first upon him, and afterwards the hands 
of all the people."^ 

Such a teaching might appear, at first sight, hard to 
reconcile with the law of gentleness which Jesus preached 
to the world. But the theologians quoted Christ's words: 
"Do not think that I am come to destroy the law; I am 
not come to destroy but to fulfill," ^ and other texts of 
the gospels to prove the perfect agreement between the 
Old and the New law in the matter of penalties. They 
even went so far as to assert that St. John^ spoke of 
the penalty of fire to be inflicted upon heretics.'* 

This strange method of exegesis was not peculiar to 
the founders and the defenders of the tribunals of the In- 
quisition. England, which knew nothing of the Inquisi- 
tion save for the trial of the Templars, was just as cruel 
to heretics as Gregory IX or Frederic II. 

Papes et la SaitU-Barthelemyy in J^tudes de critique et d'hisioire, 3 ed., 1906, 
pp. 231-238. 

1 Deut. xiii. 6-9; cf. xyii. 1-6. 

2 Matt. V. 17. 

3 John XV. 16. 

*Cf* supra, pp. 176, 177. 


"The statute of May 25, 1382, directs the King to issue 
to his sheriffs commissions to arrest Wyclif s traveling 
preachers, and aiders and abettor? of heresy, and hold 
them till they justify themselves selon reson et la ley de 
seinte esglise. After the burning of Sawtre by a royal 
warrant confirmed by Parliament in 1400, the statute 
* de hcereticis comhurendis* for the first time inflicted 
in England the death penalty as a settled punishment 
for heresy. ... It forbade the dissemination of heretical 
opinions and books, empowered the bishops to seize all 
offenders and hold them in prison until they should purge 
themselves or abjure, and ordered the bishops to proceed 
against them within three months after arrest. For 
minor offences the bishops were empowered to imprison 
during pleasure and fine at discretion, — the fine enuring 
to the royal exchequer. For obstinate heresy or relapse, 
involving under the canon law abandonment to the secular 
arm, the bishops and their commissioners were the sole 
judges, and on their delivery of such convicts, the sheriff 
of the county, or the mayor and bailiffs of the nearest 
town were obliged to burn them before the people on an 
eminence. Henry V followed this up, and the statute 
of 1 41 4 established throughout the kingdom a sort of 
mixed secular and ecclesiastical Inquisition for which the 
English system of grand inquests gave special facilities. 
Under this legislation, burning for heresy became a not 
unfamiliar sight for English eyes, and Lollardy was readily 


suppressed. In 1533, Henry VIII repealed the statute of 
1400, while retaining those of 1382 and 141 4, and also the 
penalty of burning alive for contumacious heresy and 
relapse, and the dangerous admixture of politics and 
religion rendered the stake a favorite instrument of state- 
craft. One of the earliest measures of the reign of Ed- 
ward VI was the repeal of this law, as well as those of 
1382 and 1 41 4, together with all the atrocious legislation 
of the Six Articles. With the reaction under Philip and 
Mary came a revival of the sharp laws against heresy. 
Scarce had the Spanish marriage been concluded when 
an obedient Parliament re-enacted the legislation of 1382, 
1400, and 141 4, which afforded ample machinery for the 
numerous burnings which followed. The earliest act of 
the first Parliament of Elizabeth was the repeal of the 
legislation of Philip and Mary, and of the old statutes 
which it had revived; but the writ de hctretico comhurendo 
had become an integral part of English law, and survived, 
until the desire of Charles 1 1 for Catholic toleration caused 
him, in 1676, to procure its abrogation, and the restraint 
of the ecclesiastical courts in cases of atheism, blasphemy, 
heresy, and schism, and other damnable doctrines and 
opinions ' to the ecclesiastical remedies of excommunica- 
tion, deprivation, degradation, and other ecclesiastical 
censures, not extending to death. ' ^ 
These ideas of intolerance were so fixed in the public 

1 Lea, op. cU., vol. i, pp. 352-354. 


mind at the close of the Middle Ages, that even those who 
protested against the procedure of the Inquisition thought 
that in principle it was just. Farel wrote to Calvin, 
September 8, 1533: "Some people do not wish us to 
prosecute heretics. But because the Pope condemns the 
faithful (i,e. the Huguenots) for the crime of heresy, and 
because unjust judges punish the innocent, it is absurd 
to conclude that we must not put heretics to death, in 
order to strengthen the faithful. I myself have often 
said that I was ready to suffer death, if I ever taught 
anything contrary to sound doctrine, and that I would 
deserve the most frightful torments, if I tried to rob any 
one of the true faith in Christ. I cannot, therefore, lay 
down a different law to others." ^ 

Calvin held the same views. His inquisitorial spirit 
was manifest in his bitter prosecution and condemnation 
of the Spaniard Michael Servetus.^ When any one found 
fault with him he answered: "The executioners of the 
Pope taught that their foolish inventions were doctrines 
of Christ, and were excessively cruel, while I have always 


judged heretics in all kindness and in the fear of God; 

1 (Euvres completes de Calvin, Brunswick, 1863-1900, vol. xiv, p. 

2 Servetus was condemned October 26, 1533, to be burned alive, and was 
executed the next day. As early as 1545, Calvin had written: "If he (Ser- 
vetus) comes to Geneva, I will never allow him to depart alive, as long as I 
have authority in this city : Vivum exire numquam patiar. (Euvres computes, 
vol. xii, p. 283." Calvin, however, wished the death penalty of fire to be com- 
muted into some other kind of death. 


I merely put to death a confessed heretic." ^ Michael 
Servetus assuredly did not gain much by the substitu- 
tion of Calvin for the Inquisition.^ 

Bullinger of Zurich, speaking of the death of Servetus, 
thus wrote Lelius Socinus: "If, Lelius, you cannot now 
admit the right of a magistrate to punish heretics, you 
will undoubtedly admit it some day. St. Augustine him- 
self at first deemed it wicked to use violence towards 
heretics, and tried to win them back by the mere word 
of God. But finally, learning wisdom by experience, he 
began to use force with good efi'ect. In the beginning 
the Lutherans did not believe that heretics ought to be 
punished; but after the excesses of the Anabaptists, they 
declared that the magistrate ought not merely to repri- 
mand the unruly, but to punish them severely as an 
example to thousands." ^ 

'Ferdinand Buisson, Sehastien Castdlio^ Paris, 1891, p. 151. To justify 
this execution, Calvin published his Defensio orthodoxa fidei de sacra Trinitatey 
contra prodigiosos errores Michcelis Serveti Hispani, ubi ostenditur hareticos 
jure gladii ccercendos esse^ Geneva, 1554. 

2 In 1530, Michael Servetus wrote: "It is very unjust to put men to 
death simply because they err in interpreting certain texts of the Scriptures." 
Cf. M. N. Weiss, Bulletin de la societe du protestantisme frangais^ December, 
1903, p. 562. The author adds: "The imperial laws under which Servetus 
was tried were the decrees of Justinian and the laws of Frederic II. The 
reformers who desired a religious Renaissance through the Scriptures had 
not revised the existing legislation. Servetus well said that * Justinian's 
code was not the law of the primitive church, which never prosecuted for 
scriptural teachings, or questions relating thereto.* This appeal to the 
apostolic traditions showed that he was more logical than the other re- 
formers." Ibid. J p. 565. 

*Cf. Ferdinand Buisson, op. cit., ch. xi. 


Theodore of Beza, who had seen several of his coreligion- 
ists burned in France for their faith, likewise wrote in 
1554, in Calvanistic Geneva: "What crime can be greater 
or more heinous than heresy, which sets at nought the 
word of God and all ecclesiastical discipline? Christian 
magistrates, do your duty to God, who has put the sword 
into your hands for the honor of his majesty; strike 
valiantly these monsters in the guise of men." Theodore 
of Beza considered the error of those who demanded 
freedom of conscience "worse than the tyranny of the 
Pope. It is better to have a tyrant, no matter how 
cruel he may be, than to let everyone do as he pleases." 
He maintained that the sword of the civil authority 
should punish not only heretics, but also those who 
wished heresy to go unpunished.* In brief, before the 
Renaissance there were very few who taught with Huss' 
that a heretic ought not to be abandoned to the secular 
arm to be put to death.' 

1 De htereticis a civili magistratu puniendis, Geneva, 1554; translated into 
French by Colladon in 1559. 

2 In his treatise De Ecclesia. This was the eighteenth article of the heresies 
attributed to him. 

« In general, the Protestant leaders of the day were glad of the execution 
of Servetus. Melancthon wrote to Bullinger: "I am astonished that some 
persons denounce the severity that was so justly used in that case." Among 
those who did denounce it was Nicolas Zurkinden of Berne. Cf. his letter 
in the (Euvres complHes of Calvin^ vol. xv, p. 19. S6bastien Castellio published 
in March, 1554, his Traiti des hiritiques, a savoir s*il faut les persicuter, the 
oldest and one of the most eloquent pamphlets against intolerance. Cf. 
F. Buisson, op. cit.^ ch. xi. This is the pamphlet that Theodore of Beza 
tried to refute. Castellio then attacked Calvin directly in a new work, 


Such severity, nay, such cruelty, shown to what we 
would call "a crime of opinion," is hard for men of our 
day to understand. "To comprehend it," says Lea, 
"we must picture to ourselves a stage of civilization 
in many respects wholly unlike our own. Passions were 
fiercer, convictions stronger, virtues and vices more ex- 
aggerated, than in our colder and self-contained time. 
The age, moreover, was a cruel one. . . . We have only 
to look upon the atrocities of the criminal law of the 
Middle Ages to see how pitiless men were in their dealings 
with one another. The wheel, the caldron of boiling oil, 
burning alive, tearing apart with wild horses, were the 
ordinary expedients by which the criminal jurist sought 
to deter men from crime by frightful examples which 
would make a profound impression on a not over-sensitive 
population." ^ 

Contra libellum Calvini in quo ostendere conatur hareticos jure gladii cosrcendos 
esse, which was not published until 1612, in Holland. We know that the 
Calvinists of our day utterly repudiate the theory of Calvin. On November 
I, 1903, the city of Geneva erected a statue in the Place de Champel where 
Servetus had been burned, with this inscription: A Michel Servet. Fils 
respectueux et reconnaissants de Calvin, mais condamnant une erreur qui 
fut celle de ^n si^cle, et fermement attaches k la libert6 de conscience selon 
les vrais principes de la Reformation et de TEvangile, nous avons 61ev6 ce 
monument expiatoire, le 37 octobre 1903. 

1 Lea, op. cit., vol. i, pp. 234, 235. He continues: "An Anglo-Saxon law 
punishes a female slave convicted of theft, by making eighty other female slaves 
each bring three pieces of wood and bum her to death, while each contributed 
a fine besides; and in mediaeval England, burning was the customary penalty 
for attempts on the life of the feudal lord. In the customs of Arques, granted 
by the Abbey of Saint-Bertin in 1231, there is a provision that if a thief have 
a concubine who is his accomplice, she is to be buried alive. . . . Frederic II, 



When we consider this rigorous civil criminal code, 
we need not wonder that heretics, who were considered 
the worst possible criminals, were sent to the stake. 

This explains why intelligent men, animated by the 
purest zeal for good, proved so hard and unbending, and 
used without mercy the most cruel tortures, when they 
thought that the faith or the salvation of souls was at 
stake. "With such men," says Lea, — and he mentions 
among others Innocent III and St. Louis,^ — "it was not 

the most enlightened prince of his time, burned captive rebels to death in 
his presence, and is even said to have encased them in lead in order to roast 
them slowly. In 1261, St. Louis humanely abolished a custom of Touraine 
by which the theft of a loaf of bread or a pot of wine by a servant from his 
master was punished by the loss of a limb. In Frisia, arson committed at 
night was visited with burning alive; and by the old German law, the penalty 
of both murder and arson was breaking on the wheel. In France, women 
were customarily burned and buried alive for simple felonies, and Jews were 
hung by the feet between two savage dogs, while men were boiled to death 
for coining. In Milan, Italian ingenuity exhausted itself in devising deaths 
of lingering torture for criminals of all descriptions. The Carolina, or 
criminal code of Charles V, issued in 1530, is a hideous calatogue of blinding, 
mutilation, tearing with hot pincers, burning alive, and breaking on the 
wheel. In England, prisoners were boiled to death even as lately as 1543, . . . 
and the barbarous penalty for high treason was hanging, drawing and quar- 

1 "Dominic and Francis, Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas, Innocent III 
and St. Louis were types in their several ways, of which humanity in any 
age might well feel proud, and yet they were as unsparing of the heretic as 
Ezzelin da Romano was of his enemies." Lea, op. cil., vol. i, p. 234. Lea 
seems very fond of making such exaggerated statements. We know that 
neither St. Francis nor Innocent III was ever present at any bloody execu- 
tions, nor did they ever approve of them. The case of St. Dominic is not 
so clear. It would be diflficult to prove that he ever put any heretics to death, 
but many trustworthy authors like the Dominicans Bendit (Histoire des 
Albigeois, 1691, vol. ii, p. 129) and Percin {Monumenta Convenius Tholosani, 
1693, pp. 84-89) agree in giving him the title of **the first Inquisitor." Bar- 


hope of gain, or lust of blood or pride of opinion, or wanton 
exercise of power, but sense of duty, and they but repre-,^ 
sented what was universal public opinion from the thir- 
teenth to the seventeenth century." * 

It was, therefore, the spirit of the times, the Zeitgeist 
as we would call it to-day, that was responsible for the 
rigorous measures formerly used by both Church and 
State in the suppression of heresy. The other reasons 
we have mentioned are only subsidiary. This is the one 
reason that satisfactorily explains both the theories and 
the facts. 

But an explanation is something far different from a 
defence of an institution. To explain is to show the rela- ^ 
tion of cause to effect ; to defend is to show that the effect ^ 
corresponds to an ideal of justice. Even if we grant 
that the procedure of the Inquisition did correspond to a 
certain ideal of justice, that ideal is certainly not ours 
to-day. Let us go into this question more thoroughly. 

It is obvious that we must strongly denounce all the 
abuses of the Inquisition that were due to the sins of in- 
dividuals, no matter what their source. No one, for in- 
stance, would dream of defending Cauchon, the iniquitous 

nard Gui declares that he exercised InquisUtoHis officium contra labem 
hareticam auctoritate legati Apostolica sedis sibi commissum in pariibus 
Tholosanis. If he were not actually an Inquisitor, he at least was employed 
by Gregory IX to prepare the way for the Inquisition, which was definitely 
established in 1231. 

> Lea, op. cii.f vol. i, p. 234. 


judge of Joan of Arc, or other cruel Inquisitors who 
like him used their authority to punish unjustly sus- 
pects brought before their tribunal. From this stand- 
point, it is probable that many of the sentences of the 
Inquisition need revision. 

But can we rightly consider this institution "a sublime 
spectacle of social perfection," and "a model of justice" ? ^ 

To call the Inquisition a model of justice is a manifest 
exaggeration, as every fair student of its history must 

The Inquisitorial procedure was, in itself, inferior to the 
accusatio, in which the accuser assumed the burden of 
publicly proving his charges. That it was difficult to ob- 
serve this method of procedure in heresy trials can readily 
be understood; for the pcena ialionis awaiting the accuser 
who failed to substantiate his charges was calculated to 
cool the ardor of many Catholics, who otherwise would 
have been eager to prosecute heretics. But we must 
grant that the accusatio in criminal law allowed a greater 
chance for justice to be done than the inquisitio. Be- 
sides, if the ecclesiastical inquisitio had proceeded like 
the civil inquisitio, the possibility of judicial errors might 
have been far less. "In the inquisitio of the civil law, 
the secrecy for which the Inquisition has been justly 
criticised, did not exist; the suspect was cited, and a 

i'*Uno sublime spectacolo di perfezione sociale," says the author of an 
article in the CivUta Cattolica, 1853, vol. i, p. 595 seq., cited by Dollinger, 
La papauti, 1904, p. 384, n. 684. 


copy of the capitula or articuli containing the charges was 
given to him. When questioned, he could either confess 
or deny these charges. The names of the witnesses who 
were to appear against him, and a copy of their testimony, 
were also supplied, so that he could carry on his defence 
either by objecting to the character of his accusers, or the 
tenor of their charges. Women, minors aged fourteen, 
serfs, enemies of the prisoner, criminals, excommunicates, 
heretics, and those branded with infamy were not allowed 
to testify. All testimony was received in writing. The 
prisoner and his lawyers then appeared before the judge 
to rebut the evidence and the charges." ^ 

In the ecclesiastical procedure, on the contrary, the 
names of the witnesses were withheld, save in very excep- 
tional cases ; any one could testify, even if he were a 
heretic; the prisoner had the right to reject all whom he 
considered his mortal enemies, but even then he had to 
guess at their names in order to invalidate their testimony; 
he was not allowed a lawyer, but had to defend himself 
in secret. Only the most prejudiced minds can consider 
such a procedure the ideal of justice. On the contrary 
it is unjust in every detail wherein it differs from the 
inquisitio of the civil law. 

Certain reasons may be adduced to explain the attitude 
of the Popes, who wished to make the procedure of the 
Inquisition as secret and as comprehensive as possible. 

1 Tanon, op. cU., pp. 287, 288. 


They were well aware of the danger that witnesses would 
incur, if their names were indiscreetly revealed. They 
knew that the publicity of the pleadings would certainly 
hinder the efficiency of heresy trials. But such con- 
siderations do not change the character of the institution 
itself; the Inquisition in leaving too great a margin to 
the arbitrary conduct of individual judges, at once fell 
below the standard of strict justice. 

All that can and ought to be said in the defence and to 
the honor of the Roman pontiffs is that they endeavored 
to remedy the abuses of the Inquisition. With this 
in view. Innocent IV and Alexander IV obliged the In- 
quisitors to consult a number of boni viri and periti; * 
Clement V forbade them to render any grave decision 
without first consulting the bishops, the natural judges 
of the faith; 2 and Boniface VIII recommended them to 
reveal the names of the witnesses to the prisoners, if they 
thought that this revelation would not be prejudicial to 
any one. ^ In a word, they wished the laws of justice to 
be scrupulously observed, and at times mitigated.* But 

> Cf. supra, p. 139. 

2 Clementinae, De hcRreticis^ Decretal Mtdtorum Querela^ cap. i, sect. i. 

8"Cessante vero periculo supradicto, accusatonim et testium nomina 
(prout in aliis fit judiciis) publicentur. Caeterum in his omnibus praecipimus, 
tam episcopos quam inquisitores puram et providam intentionem habere, ne 
ad accusatonim vel testium nomina supprimenda, ubi est securitas, peri- 
culum esse dicant." Sexto, De hareticis, cap. xx; cf. Tanon, op. cit., 

P- 391- 

* Dollinger is very unjust when he says: "From 1200 to 1500 there is a 

long uninterrupted series of papal decrees on the Inquisition; these decrees 


examined in detail, these laws were far from being perfect. 
• • • • * ** • 

Antecedent imprisonment and torture, which played so 
important a part in the procedure of the Inquisition, were 
undoubtedly very barbarous methods of judicial prose- 
cution. Antecedent imprisonment may be justified in 
certain cases; but the manner in which the Inquisitors 
conceived it was far from just. No one would dare de- 
fend to-day the punishment known as the career durus, 
whereby the Inquisitors tried to extort confessions from 
their prisoners.* They rendered it, moreover, all the 
more odious by arbitrarily prolonging its horrors and 
its cruelty.^ 

It is harder still to reconcile the use of torture with 
any idea of justice. If the Inquisitors had stopped at 
flogging, which according to St. Augustine was admin- 
istered at home, in school, and even in the episcopal 
tribunals of the early ages, and is mentioned by the 
Council of Agde, in 506 and the Benedictine rule,^ no one 

increase continually in severity and cruelty." La PapatUe, p. 102. 
Tanon {pp. cit., p. 138) writes more impartially: "Clement V, instead of 
increasing the powers of the Holy Ofl5ce, tried rather to suppress its 

1 We say nothing here of the ruses adopted to obtain the arrest of heretics, 
or to discover their secrets. Cf. Tanon, op. cU^ pp. 356-358; Vidal, Revue 
des Questions Historiques^ January, 1906, pp. 102-105. 

3'*Non est aliqualiter relaxandus, sed detinendus per annos plurimos ut 
vexatio det intellectum." Bernard Gui, Practica Inquisiiionis, 5 pars, 
formula 13, p. 302. Cf. Lea, op. cit., vol. i, pp. 419, 420, Tanon, op. cU., 
PP- 361, 362. 

« Cf. supra, p. 32, n. 3. 


would have been greatly scandalized. We might perhaps 
have considered this domestic and paternal custom a 
little severe, but perfectly consistent with the ideas men 
then had of goodness.* But the rack, the strappado, and 
the stake were peculiarly inhuman inventions.^ When 
the pagans used them against the Christians of the first 
centuries, all agreed in stigmatizing them as the extreme 
of barbarism, or as inventions of the devil. Their 
character did not change when the Inquisition began to 
use them against heretics. ^To our shame we are forced 
to admit that^notwithstanding Innocent IV's appeal for 
moderation,^ the brutality of the ecclesiastical tribunals 
was often on a par with the tribunals of the pagan 
persecutors. Pope Nicolas I thus denounced the use of 
torture as a means of judical inquiry : " Such proceedings," 
he says, "are contrary to the law of God and of man, for 
a confession ought to be spontaneous, not forced; it ought 
to be free and not the result of violence. A prisoner 
may endure all the torments you inflict upon him without 
confessing anything. Is not that a disgrace to the judge, 
and an evident proof of his inhumanity! If, on the con- 
trary, a prisoner, under stress of torture, acknowledges 

1 It must be noted that flogging could be and was sometimes administered 
in a cruel and barbarous manner, so that it became a frightful punishment. 
Cf. Tanon, op. cU.^ p. 372. 

2 This was the view of St. Augustine, Ep. cxxxiii, 2. 

' " Citra membri diminutionem et mortis periculum." Bull ^^ exiir panda, 
in Eymeric, Directorium inguisitorum. Appendix, p. 8. 


himself guilty of a crime he never committed, is not the 

one who forced him to lie, guilty of a heinous crime?" ^ 
• ••••••• 

The penalties which the tribunals of the Inquisition 
inflicted upon heretics are harder to judge. Let us ob- 
serve first of all that the majority of the heretics aban- 
doned to the secular arm merited the most severe 
punishment for their crimes. It would surely have been 
unjust for criminals against the common law to escape 
punishment under cover of their religious belief. Crimes 
committed in the name of religion are always crimes, and 
the man who has his property stolen or is assaulted cares 
little whether he has to deal with a religious fanatic or an 
ordinary criminal. In such instances, the State is not de- 
fending a particular dogmatic teaching, but her own most 
vital interests. Heretics, therefore, who were criminals 
against the civil law were justly punished. An anti- 
social sect like the Cathari, which shrouded itself in 
mystery and perverted the people so generally, by the 
very fact of its existence and propaganda called for the 
vengeance of society and the sword of the State. 

"However much," says Lea, "we may deprecate the 
means used for its suppression, and commiserate those 
who suffered for conscience' sake, we cannot but admit 
that the cause of orthodoxy was in this case the cause 

1 Responsa ad consulkt Bulgarorum, cap. Ixxxvi; Labbe, Concilia, vol. viii, 
col. 544. Cf. iupra, p. 148, n. 3. 


— Df progress and civilization. Had Catharism become 
dominant, or even had it been allowed to exist on equal 
terms, its influence could not have failed to prove dis- 
astrous. Its asceticism with regard to commerce be- 
tween the sexes, if strictly enforced, could only have led 
to the extinction of the race. ... Its condemnation of 
the visible universe, and of matter in general as the 
work of Satan rendered sinful all striving after material 
improvement, and the conscientious belief in such a creed 
could only lead man back, in time, to his original con- 
dition of savagism. It was not only a revolt against 
the Church, but a renunciation of man's domination over 
nature." * Its growth had to be arrested at any price. 
Society, in prosecuting it without mercy, was only defend- 
ing herself against the working of an essentially destruc- 
tive force. It was a struggle for existence. 

We must, therefore, deduct from the number of those 
who are commonly styled the victims of ecclesiastical 
intolerance, the majority of the heretics executed by the 
State; for nearly all that were imprisoned or sent to the 
■^ stake, especially in northern Italy and southern France, 
were Cathari.^ 

This important observation has so impressed certain 

1 Lea, op. cil.f vol. i, p. io6. 

2 Jean Guiraud has proved that the Waldenses, Fraticelli, Hussites, Lol- 
lards, etc., attacked society, which acted in self-defence when she put them 
to death. La rSpression de Phirisie au moyen,m the Questions d'histoire 
et d^archiologie Chritiennef p. 24 and seq. 


historians, that they have been led to think the In- 
quisition dealt only with criminals of this sort. "His- 
tory," says one of them, "has preserved the record of the 
outrages committed by the heretics of Bulgaria, the Gnos- 
tics, and the Manicheans; the death sentence was inflicted 
only upon criminals who confessed their murders, rob- 
beries, and acts of violence. The Albigenses were treated 
with kindness. The Catholic Church deplores all acts 
of vengeance, however strong the provocation given by 
these factious mobs." ^ 

Such a defence of the Inquisition is not borne out by 
the facts. It is true, of course, that in the Middle Ages 
there was hardly a heresy which had not some connection 
with an anti-social sect. For this reason any one who 
denied a dogma of the faith was at once suspected, 
rightly or wrongly, of being an anarchist. But as a 
matter of fact, the Inquisition did not condemn merely 
those heresies which caused social upheaval, but all 
heresies as such: "We decree," says Frederic II, "that 
the crime of heresy, no matter what the name of the 
sect, be classed as a public crime . . . and that every 
one who denies the Catholic faith, even in one article, 
shall be liable to the law: si inventi fuertnt a fide catholica 
saltern in articulo deviate? " This was also the view of 

1 Rodrigo, Historia verdadera de (a Inguisiciotif Madrid, 1876, vol. i, 
pp. 176, 177. 

3 Constitution InconsutUem tunicam, Cf. suprat p. 114, n. i. 


the theologians and the canonists. St. Thomas Aquinas, 
for instance, who speaks for the whole schola, did not 
make any distinction between the Catharan heresy and 
any other purely speculative heresy; he put them all on 
one level; every obdurate or relapsed heretic deserved 
death.^ The Inquisitors were so fully persuaded of this 
truth that they prosecuted heretics whose heresy was 
not discovered until ten or twenty years after their death, 
when surely they were no longer able to cause any injury 
to society.^ 
We need not wonder at these views and practices, for 

1 Summa Ila, Ilae, q. x, art. 8; q. xi, art. 3 and 4. Mgr. Douais is of 
a different opinion. Recently he wrote: "A heretic is one who obstinately 
persists in his error. A heretic was not liable to the Inquisition for holding 
or expressing opinions which were more or less contrary to the teaching of 
the Church. He was prosecuted only when he obstinately persisted in holding 
doctrines, which were utterly subversive not only of dogma but of church 
unity. The Insabbaiati (Waldenses) held views of this character, etc. . . . 
The heretic also was one who believed such errors (Waldensian) and who — 
be it understood — manifested them externally." Douais, SairU Raymond 
de Pehnafort et les heritiques. Directoire a Fusage des inguisUeurs aragonais 
(1242), in Le Moyen Age, vol. iii (1899), p. 306. But unfortunately the 
text quoted by Mgr. Douais makes no such distinction: "Et videtur quod 
haeretici sint qui in suo errore perdurant sicut Insabbatati," etc. "Credentes 
vero dictis erroribus (errors of the Insabbatati) similiter haeretici sunt dicendi." 
Ibid. In making special mention of the Waldenses, the Directarium by no 
means excluded other heretics. The Waldenses are merely cited as an 
example. St. Ra3nnond of Pennafort indeed held that "whoever obstinately 
persists in his error is a heretic." In fact, the commentary of Mgr. Douais, 
which we have given above, is a modern view entirely, which we have never 
seen expressed by the writers of the Middle Ages. Cf. supra, p. 160 and 

2 Cf. Tanon, op. cit., pp. 407-412; Lea, op. cU., p. 448; Molinier, Vlnqui- 
sition dans le Midi de la France au XII I^ et au XI V^ sikcle, pp. 358- 



they were fully in accord with the notion of justice 
current at the time. The rulers in Church and State, 
felt it their duty not only to defend the social order, butj 
to safeguard the interests of God in the world. Theyi 
deemed themselves in all sincerity the representatives of * 
divine authority here below. God's interests were their 
interests; it was their duty, therefore, to punish all 
crimes against his law. Heresy, therefore, a purely theo- 
logical crime, became amenable to their tribunal. In 
punishing it, they believed that they were merely fulfill- 
ing one of the duties of their office.* We have now 
to examine and judge the penalties inflicted upon her-'t 
esy as such. 

The first in order of importance was the death penalty 
of the stake, inflicted upon all obdurate and relapsed 

Relapsed heretics, when repentant, did not at first 
incur the death penalty. Imprisonment was considered 
an adequate punishment,^ for it gave them a chance to 

1 This was the view held as late as the seventeenth century. After the 
revocation of the edict of Nantes, Jurieu, who had protested most strongly 
against this measure, called upon the princes to use their power for ihe true 
religion^ and the pure doctrine. He writes: "Princes and magistrates are 
the anointed of God, and his lieutenants on earth. ... But they are strange 
lieutenants*" indeed, if as magistrates they feel no special obligation to God; 
how then can we imagine a Christian magistrate, the lieutenant of God, 
fulfilling all the duties of his state^ if he does not feel called upon to prevent 
rebellion against God, that the people go not after another God, or serve the 
true God in a way He does not will." Cf. Baudrillart, V Eglise Catht^iquc 
la Renaissance^ le Protestantisme^ 1904, pp. 334, 335. 

«Cf. Lea, op, cU., vol. i, pp. 543-547. 


expiate their fault. The death penalty inflicted later on 
placed the judges in a false position. On the one hand, 
by granting absolution and giving communion to the 
prisoner, they professed to believe in the sincerity of 
his repentance and conversion, and yet by sending him 
to the stake for fear of a relapse, they acted contrary to 
their convictions. To condemn a man to death who was 
considered worthy of receiving the Holy Eucharist, on 
the plea that he might one day commit the sin of heresy 
again, appears to us a crying injustice^^- 

But should even unrepentant heretics be put to death? 
No, taught St. Augustine, and most of the early Fathers, 
who invoked in favor of the guilty ones the higher law 
of "charity and Christian gentleness." ' Their doctrine 
certainly accorded perfectly with our Savior's teach- 
ing, in the parable of the cockle and the good grain. 
As Wazo, Bishop of Li^ge said: "May not those who 
are to-day cockle become wheat to-morrow?" ^ But in 
decreeing the death of these sinners, the Inquisitors at 
once did away with the possibility of their conversion. 
Certainly this was not in accordjance with Christian char- 
ity. Such severity can only be defended by the authority 
of the old law, whose severity, according to the early 
Fathers, had been abolished by the law of Christ.* 

1 Cf. supra, pp. 3, 4, 17, 28. 

2 Vita VasoniSf cap. xxv, in Migne, P. L., vol. cxlii, col. 753. 
8 St. Optatus (De Schismate Donatisiarum, lib. iii, cap. vi and vii) was one 
of the first of the Fathers to quote the Old Testament as his authority for 


Advocates of the death penalty, like Frederic II and 
St. Thomas, tried to defend their view by arguments from 
reason. Criminals guilty of treason, and counterfeiters 
are condemned to death. Therefore, heretics who are 
traitors and falsifiers merit the same penalty. But a 
comparison of this kind is not necessarily a valid argu- 
ment. The criminals in question were a grave menace 
to the social order. But we cannot say as much for 
each and every heresy in itself. It was unjust to place a 
crime against society and a sin against God on an equal 
footing. Such reasoning would prove that all sins were 
crimes of treason against God, and therefore merited 
death.^ Is not a sacrilegious communion the worst 
possible insult to the divine majesty? Must we argue, 
therefore, that every unworthy communicant, if unre- 
pentant, must be sent to the stake? 

It is evident, therefore, that neither reason. Christian 
tradition, nor the New Testament call for the infliction of 
the death penalty upon heretics. The interpretation of 

the infliction of the death penalty upon heretics. But in this he was not fol- 
lowed either by his contemporaries or his immediate successors. Before him, 
Origen and St. Cyprian had protested against this appeal to the Mosaic law. 
Cf. Supra, pp. 3 and 4. 

1 Mgr. Bonomelli, Bishop of Cremona, writes: "In the Middle Ages, they 
reasoned thus: If rebellion against the prince deserves death, a fortiori does 
rebellion against God. Singular logic! It is not very hard to put one's 
finger upon the utter absurdity of such reasoning. For every sinner is a 
rebel against God's law. It follows then that we ought to condemn all 
men to death, beginning with the kings and the legislators"; quoted by 
Morlais in the Revue du clerge frangais, August i, 1905, p. 457. Cf. supra, 
p. 5, n. I. 


St. John XV. 6: Si quis in me non manserit, in ignem mil- 
tent et ardet, made by the mediaeval canonists,^ is not 
worth discussing. It was an abuse of the accommodated 
sense which bordered on the ridiculous, although its con- 
sequences were terrible. 

• ••••••• 

Modern apologists have clearly recognized this. For 
that reason they have tried their best to show that the 
execution of heretics was solely the work of the civil 
power, and that the Church was in no way responsible. 

"When we argue about the Inquisition," says Joseph de 
Maistre, "let us separate and distinguish very carefully 
the role of the Church and the role of the State. All that 
is terrible and cruel about this tribunal, especially its 
death penalty, is due to the State; that was its business, 
and it alone must be held to an accounting. All the 
clemency, on the contrary, which plays so large a part in 
the tribunal of the Inquisition must be ascribed to the 
Church, which interfered in its punishments only to 
suppress and mitigate them." ^ "The Church," says an- 
other grave historian, "took no part in the corporal 
punishment of heretics. Those executed were simply 
punished for their crimes, and were condemned by judges 
acting under the royal seal." ^ "This," says Lea, "is a 

* Cf. supra, p. 177. 

^ Lettres h un gentilhomme russe sur P Inquisition espagnole, ed. 1864, 
pp. 17, 18, 28, 34. 

sRodrigo, Historia verdadera de la Inguisicion, 1876, vol. i, p. 176. 


typical instance in which history is written to order.* 
. . . It is altogether a modern perversion of history to 
assume, as apologists do, that the request for mercy was 
sincere, and that the secular magistrate and not the In- 
quisition was responsible for the death of the heretic. 
We can imagine the smile of amused surprise with which 
Gregory IX and Gregory XI would have listened to the 
dialectics with which Count Joseph de Maistre proves 
that it is an error to suppose, and much more to assert, 
that a Catholic priest can in any manner be instrumental 
in compassing the death of a fellow creature." ^ 

The real share of the Inquisition in a condemnation in- 
volving the death penalty is indeed a very difficult ques- 
tion to determine. According to the letter of the papal 
and imperial Constitutions of 1231 and 1232, the civil 
and not the ecclesiastical tribunals assumed all responsi- 
bility for the death sentence;^ the Inquisition merely 
decided upon the question of doctrine, leaving the 
rest to the secular Court. It is this legislation that 
the above named apologists have in mind, and the 
text of these laws is on their side. 

1 Lea, op. cit.f vol. i, p. 540. 

^ Ibid., pp. 227, 228. 

« " Dampnati vero per Ecclesiam, seculari judicio relinquantur, animad- 
versione debita puniendi." Decretals, cap. xv, De hctreticis, lib. v, tit. vii. 
"Haeretici . . . , ubicumque per imperium dampnati ab Ecclesia fuerint et 
seculari judicio assignaii" etc., Mon. Germ., Leges, sect, iv, vol. ii, p. 196. 
The Processus Inguisitionis, written between 1244 and 1254, also says: "Per 
sententiam deflnilivam hctreticum judicamus, relinguetUes ex nunc judicio 
seculari." Cf. Appendix A. 



But when we consider how these laws were carried out in 
practice, we must admit that the Church did have some 
share in the death sentence. We have already seen that 
the Church excommunicated those princes who refused 
to burn the heretics which the Inquisition handed over 
to them.^ The princes were not really judges in this 
case; the right to consider questions of heresy was for- 
mally denied them.^ It was their duty simply to register 
the decree of the Church, and to enforce it according to 
the civil law.^ In every execution, therefore, a twofold 
authority came into play: the civil power which carried 
out its own laws, and the spiritual power which forced 
the State to carry them out. That is why Peter Cantor 
declared that the Cathari ought not to be put to death 
after an ecclesiastical trial, lest the church be compro- 
mised: *' Illud ah 60 fit, cujus auctoritate fit," he said, to 
justify his recommendation.* 

1 Cf. supra p. 147 and note. 

2 Boniface VIII declares expressly that the judgment of heretics is purely 
ecclesiastical: "Prohibemus quoque districtius potestatibus, dominis tempo- 
ralibus et rectoribus eorumdemque officialibus supradictis ne ipsi de hoc 
crimine (cum mere sit ecclesiasticum) quoquo modo cognoscant et judicent." 
The sentence of the Inquisitors put an end to the trial: donee eorum nogoHum 
per Ecclesia jvdicium terminetur. Cf. Sexto, v. ii, cap. xi. and xviii, De 
futreticis, in Ejrmeric, Directorum, p. no. Cf. Lea, op. cU., vol. i, pp. 539, 

2 This is what Boniface expressly says; loc cU. 

*"Sed nee convicti ab hujusmodi judido (the ordeals were in question) 
tradendi essent morti, quia hoc judicium quodanmiodo est ecclesiasticum, 
quod non exercetur sine praesentia sacerdotis, per quod, cmn traditur morti, 
a sacerdote traditur; quia illud ab eo fit cujus auctoritate fit." Verbum 
abbreviatum, cap. Ixxviii, P. L., vol. ccv, col. 231. 


It is therefore erroneous to pretend that the Church 
had absolutely no part in the condemnation of heretics 
to death. It is true that this participation of hers was 
not direct and immediate; but even though indirect, it 
was none the less real and efficacious.^ 

The judges of the Inquisition reaHzed this, and did their 
best to free themselves of this responsibility which weighed 
rather heavily upon them. Some maintained that in 
compelling the civil authority to enforce the existing 
laws, they were not going outside their spiritual office, 
but were merely deciding a case of conscience. But this 
theory was unsatisfactory. To reassure their consciences, 
they tried another expedient. In abandoning heretics 
to the secular arm, they besought the state officials to 
act with moderation, and avoid '*all bloodshed and all 
danger of death." ^ This was unfortunately an empty 
formula which deceived no one. It was intended to 
safeguard the principle which the Church had taken for 
her motto: E celesta abhorret a sanguine. In strongly 
asserting this traditional law, the Inquisitors imagined that 
they thereby freed themselves from all responsibility, and 

1 In Spain, the manner in which the Inquisition abandoned heretics to the 
secular arm denoted a real participation of the State in the execution of 
heretics. The evening before the execution the Inquisitors brought the 
King a small fagot tied with ribbons. The King at once requested 
"that this fagot be the first thrown upon the fire in his name." Cf. Baudril- 
lart, A propos de P Inquisition^ in the Reuue pratique ^ ApologHique^ July 15, 
1906, p. 354, note. 

^Cf. supra, p. 178. 



kept from imbruing their hands in bloodshed. We must 
take this for what it is worth. It has been styled "cutt- 
ing" and "hypocrisy";^ letus call it simplya legal fiction.' 

1 Lea, op. cii., vol. 1, p. 324. 

2 The following text, taken from a Liber Penitentialis of the thirteenth 
century, shows what efforts the canonists made to free the Church from all 
responsibility in condemning heretics to death. We quote it from DoUinger, 
Beiirdgef vol. 2, pp. 621, 622. "Cum secundum praedicta constat ecclesiam 
non debere sanguinem effundere neque manu neque Hngua, videtur esse 
reprobabile quod cum haeretici et PubUcani convincuntur in foro ecdesiastico 
de infidelitate sua, statim traduntur curiae, id est seculari potestati ad com- 
burendum vel ocddendum, et quod pejus est non possunt evadere quin 
occidantur, vel judicium subeant ferri candentis. Si enim veros se dicunt 
esse Christianos, non creditur eis, nisi per judicium ferri candentis probent: 
si vero dixerint se fuisse haereticos, sed veros modo poenitentes, non creditur 
eis nisi simili modo hoc probent, cimi tamen non sit tutum viro ecdesiastico 
hoc modo tentare Deum. Si autem in tali judicio deprehensi fuerint et se 
esse haereticos et poenitere nolle confessi, statim ocdduntur. Videtur tamen 
eadem observatio de eis esse consideranda quae Judaeis, de 
quibus scriptum est: Ne ocddas eos, ne quando obliviscantur. Si enim 
volunt esse sub jugo nostrae servitutis in pace neque fidem nostram impugnare 
neque nos, sustinendi sunt inter nos et deputandi ad sordida offida, ne se 
possint extollere super Christianos. Vervuntamen ideo praedpue sustinentur 
Judaei, quia capsarii nostri sunt, et portant testimonium legis contra se pro 
nobis. A multis etiam bonis viris audivimus quod si haeretici vd ezcommimi- 
cati contra Christianos velint insurgere vd impugnare fidem publicis per- 
suasionibus et praedicationibus, non est peccatum eos ocddere, sed si quieti 
velint esse et padfid, non sunt occidendi, quod videtur posse haberi ex canone 
ita dicente: Exconmiunicatorum interfectoribus, prout in ordine Rom. 
ecclesiae didicisti secundimi intentionem modum congruum satisfactionis 
injunge. Non enim eos homiddas arbitramur, quos, adversus excomm'uni- 
catos catholicae zelo matris ecdesiae ardentes, aliquos eorum truddasse con- 
tigerit (cf. Gratiani Decretum, Causa 23, q. 5, cap. 47). Nee credimus quod 
haeretici super infidelitate sua in foro ecdesiastico condemnati curiae s\mt 
tradendi, ita quod a sacerdotibus dicatur judidbus: Ocddite istos hsereticos: 
sed sustinet ecclesia ut statim rapiantur a viris saecularibus ad supplidum, 
nee aUquod eis praestat patrodnium sicut Judaeis, et sicut etiam praestat 
derids degradatis.'' 


The penalty of life imprisonment and the penalty of 
confiscation inflicted upon so many heretics, was like the 
death penalty imposed only by the secular arm. We 
must add to this banishment, which was inscribed in the 
imperial legislation, and reappeared in the criminal codes 
of Lucius III and Innocent III. These several penalties 
were by their nature vindicative. For this reason they 
were particularly odious, and have been the occasion of 
bitter accusations against the Church. 

With the exception of imprisonment, which we will 
speak of later on, these penalties originated with the 
State.^ It is important, therefore, to know what crimes 
they punished. As a general rule it must be admitted 
that they were only inflicted upon those heretics who 
seriously disturbed the social order. If the death pen- 
alty could be justly meted out to such rioters, with still 
greater reason could the lesser penalties be inflicted. 

The penalty of confiscation was especially cruel, inas- 
much as it affected the posterity of the condemned 
heretics. According to the old Roman law, the property 

1 "Gratian, in qu. 7, Causa 23 of the Decretumy proves that the property 
of heretics should be confiscated on the authority of St. Augustine, who 
himself founds it on the Roman law; his interpreters unanimously refer it to 
this law, as its true origin," etc. Tanon, op. cii., p. 524. "His auctoritatibus 
liquido monstratur, quod ea quae ab haereticis male possidentur, a catholicis 
juste auferuntur." Gratian, Decreium, 4, causa xxiii, quaest. vii, in fine. 
"Imperatonun siquidem jure statutum est, ut quicumque a catholica unitate 
inventus fuerit deviare, suarum renun debeat omnimodam praescriptionem 
perferre." Summa Rolandi, ed. Thancr, Inspruck, 1874, p: 96. Roland 
became Pope under the name of Alexander II. 


of heretics could be inherited by their orthodox sons, and 
even by their agnates and cognates.^ The laws of the 
Middle Ages declared confiscation absolute; on the plea 
that heresy should be classed with treason, orthodox 
children could not inherit the property of their heretical 
father.^ There was but one exception to this law. Fred- 
eric II and Innocent IV both decreed that children could 
inherit their father's property, if they denounced him for 
heresy.^ It is needless to insist upon the odious char- 
acter of such a law. We cannot understand to-day 
how Gregory IX could rejoice on learning that fathers 
did not scruple to denounce their children, children 
their parents, a wife her husband or a mother her 

Granting that banishment and confiscation were just 
penalties for heretics who were also State criminals, was 
it right for the church to employ this penal system for 
the suppression of heresy alone? 

1 4 and 19, cap. De hareticiSf iv, 5, Manichcsos and Cognommus. 

2 Decretal Vergentis of Innocent III. Decretak, cap. x, De luBreticis 
lib. V, tit. vii. 

«Law of Frederic: Commissis nobis ccbIUus of March, 1232, incorporated 
into the Decretal of Innocent IV, October 31, 1243: "Nee quidem a miseri- 
cordiae finibus dimmus excludendum, ut, si qui patemae haeresis non sequaces, 
latentam patrum perfidiam revelaverint, quacumque reatus illorum animad- 
versione plectantur, praedictae punitioni non subjaceat innocentia filiorum." 
Mon. Germ.f Leges, vol. ii, sect, iv, p. 197; Ripoll, BuUarium ordinis Prcedicat., 
vol. i, p. 126. 

* "Ita quod pater filio vel uxori, filius ipse patri, uxor propriis filiis aut 
marito vel consortibus ejusdem criminis, in hac parte sibi aliquatenus non 
parceban^." Bull Qati4emu5^ of April 12, 1233, ^ Ripoll, vol. i, p. "56, 


It is certain that the early Christians would have 
strongly denounced such laws as too much like the 
pagan laws under which they were persecuted. St. Hil- 
ary voiced their mind when he said: "The Church 
threatens exile and imprisonment; she in whom men 
formerly believed while in exile and prison, now wishes 
to make men believe her by force." ^ St. Augustine was 
of the same mind. He thus addressed the Manicheans, 
the most hated sect of his time: *'Let those who have 
never known the troubles of a mind in search for the 
truth, proceed against you with rigor. It is impossible 
for me to do so, for I for years was cruelly tossed about 
by your false doctrines, which I advocated and defended 
to the best of my ability. I ought to bear with you 
now, as men bore with me, when I blindly accepted 
your doctrines." 2 Wazo, Bishop of Liege, wrote in a 
similar strain in the eleventh century.^ 

But continued St. Augustine, retracting his first 
theory — and nearly all the Middle Ages agreed with him, 
— " these severe penalties are lawful and good when they 
serve to convert heretics by inspiring them with a salutary ' 
fear."* The end here justifies the means. 

1 Liber contra AuxerUiumf cap. iv; cf. supra, p. 6. 

3 Contra epistolam Manichai, quam vocant Fundamenti, n. 2 and 3, supra, 

p. 13. 

8 Vita Vasonis, cap. xxv and xxvi, Migne, P. L., vol. cxlii, col. 752, 753; 
cf. supra, p. 51. 

* Cf. supra, p. 21, n. i. 


Such reasoning was calculated to lead men to great ex- 
tremes, and was responsible for the cruel teaching of the 
theologians of the school, who were more logically consist- 
ent than the Bishop of Hippo. They endeavored to 
terrorize heretics by the specter of the stake. St. Augus- 
tine, bold as he was, shrank from such barbarity. But 
if, on his own admission, the logical consequences of the 
principle he laid down were to be rejected, did not this 
prove the principle itself false? 

If we consider merely the immediate results obtained 
by the use of brute force, we may indeed admit that it 
benefited the Church by bringing back some of her erring 
children. But at the same time these cruel measures 
turned away from Catholicism in the course of ages 
many sensitive souls, who failed to recognize Christ's 
Church in a society which practiced such cruelty in 
union with the State. According, therefore, to St. 
Augustine's own argument, his theory has been proved 
false by its fatal consequences. 

We must, therefore, return to the first theory of St. 
Augustine, and be content to win heretics back to the 
true faith by purely moral constraint. The penalties, 
decreed or consented to by the Church, ought to be 
medicina l in c haracter, viz., pilgrimages, flogging, wear- 
ing the crosses, and the like. Imprisonment may even 
be included in the list, for temporary imprisonment has 
a well-defined expiatory character. In fact that is why 


in the beginning the monasteries made it the punishment 
for heresy.^ If later on the Church frequently inflicted 
the penalty of life imprisonment, she did so because, by 
a legal fiction, she attributed to it a purely penitential 
character.^ Anyone of these punishments, therefore, 
may be considered lawful, provided it is not arbitrarily 
inflicted. This theory does not permit the Church to 
abandon impenitent heretics to the secular arm. It 
grants her only the right of excpmmunication, according 
to the penitential discipline and the primitive canon law 
of the days of Tertullian, Cyprian, Origen, Lactantius, 

and Hilary.' 

• • . • • • •• 

But is this return to antiquity conformable to the 
spirit of the Church? Can it be reconciled in particular 
with one of the condemned propositions of the Syllabus: 
Ecclesia vis infer endce potestatem non babet?^ The Cburcb 
bas no rigbt to use force. 

Without discussing this proposition at length, let us 

» Cf. supra, pp. 32, 33. 

2 " The penal code of the Inquisition ... is worth stud3ring as the concept 
of a peculiar system which tried to reconcile the severest methods of sup- 
pression with the principles of ecclesiastical penalty and discipline, by ficti- 
tiously attributing a purely penitential character to all penalties except death, 
even to life imprisonment," etc. Tanon, op. cU.y p. iii. 

'"Nunc autem, quia circumdsio spiritaUs esse apud fideles servos Dei 
coepit," sa3rs St. Cyprian, ^^spiritali gladio sUperhi et contumaces necantur 
dum de Ecclesia ejicmtUur." Cypriani, Ep, bdi, ad Pomponium, no 4, P. L., 
vol. iii, col. 371. Cf. supra f pp. 2-7. 

* Propositi xxiv. 


first state that authorities are not agreed on its precise 
meaning. Every dtholic will admit that the Church 
has a coercive power, in both the external and the in- 
ternal forum. But the question under dispute — and 
this the Syllabus does not touch — is whether the coer- 
cive power comprises merely spiritual penalties, or tem- 
poral and corporal penalties as well.^ The editor of the 
Syllabus did not decide this question; he merely referred 
us to the letter Ad apostolicce Sedis of August 22, 1851. 
But this letter is not at all explicit; it merely condemns 
those who pretend "to deprive the Church of the external 
jurisdiction and coercive power, which was given her to 
win back sinners to the ways of righteousness." We 
would like to find more light on this question elsewhere. 
But the theologians who at the Vatican Council prepared 
canons 10 and 12 of the schema De Ecclesia on this very 
point of doctrine did not remove the ambiguity. They 
explicitly affirmed that the Church had the right to ex- 
ercise over her erring children "constraint by an external 
judgment and salutary penalties," but they said nothing 
about the nature of these penalties.^ Was not such 

1 Gajrraud, Discourse delivered in the Chamber of Deputies, January 28, 
1901. " 

2 "Cum vero Ecclesiae potestates alia sit et dicatur ordinis, alia jurisdic- 
tionis: de hac altera speciatim docemus, eam non esse solum fori intemi et 
sacramentalis, sed etiam fori externi ac pubUci, absolutam atque omnino 
plenam, nimirum legiferam,* judiciariam, coercitivam. Potestatis autem 
hujusmodi subjectum sunt Pastores et Doctores a Christo dati, qui eam 
libere et a quavis saeculari dominatione independenter exercent; adeoque 
cum omni imperio regunt Ecclesiam Dei tum necessaris et consdentiam 


silence significant? It authorized, one may safely say, 
the opinion of those who limited the coercive power of 
the Church to merely moral constraint. Cardinal Soglia, 
in a work approved by Gregory XVI and Pius IX, de- 
clared that this opinion was *'more in harmony with the 
gentleness of the Church/'^ It also has in its favor 
Popes Nicholas I ^ and Celestine III,' who claimed for the 
Church of which they were the head the right to use only 
the spiritual sword. Without enumerating all the mod- 
ern authors who hold this view, we will quote a work 
which has just appeared with the imprimatur of Father 
Lepidi, the Master of the Sacred Palace, in which we 
find the two following theses proved: i. "Constraint, in 
the sense of employing violence to enforce ecclesiastical 

quoque obligantibus legibus, turn decretoriis judiciis, turn denique salutaribus 
pcenis in sontes etiam invitos, nee solum in lis quae fidem et mores, cultum et 
sanctificationem, sed etiam in iis quae externam Ecclesiae disciplinam et 
administrationem respiciunt." Can. 10. "Si quis dixerit, a Christo Domino 
et Salvatore nostro Ecclesiae suae collatam tantum fuisse potestatem dirigendi 
per consilia et suasiones, non vero jubendi per leges, ac devios contumacesque 
exteriori judicio ac salubribus pants coercendi atque cogendi," etc. Can. 12. 

1 "Sunt enim qui docent potestatem coercitivam divinitus Ecclesiae collatam 
paenis tantmnmodo spiritualibus contineri . . . Sententia (haec) prior magis 
Ecclesiae mansuetudini consentanea videtur." Institutiones juris publiti 
ecdesiasticif 5 ed., Paris, vol. i, pp. 169, 170. 

2 " Ecclesia gladium non habet nisi spiritualem." Nicola% Ep. ad Albinum 
archiepiscop., in the Decretuniy Causa xxxiii, quaest. ii, cap. Inter fuse. Note, 
however, that the Pope was not treating this particular question ex professo. 

8 Celestine, according to the criminal code of his day, declared that a 
guilty cleric, once excommunicated and anathematized, ought to be aban- 
doned to the secular arm, cum Ecclesia non haheat ultra quid faciat. Decre- 
tals, cap. X, De judiciis^ lib. ii, tit. i. This was the common teaching. Cf. 
supra, p. 136, n. 3. 


laws, originated with the State." 2. "The constraint of 
ecclesiastical laws is by divine right exclusively moral 
constraint." ^ 

Indeed, to maintain that the Church should use 
material force, is at once to make her subject to the 
State; for* we can hardly picture her with her own police 
and gendarmes, ready to punish her rebellious children. 
Every Catholic believes that the Church is an independ- 
ent society, fully able to carry out her divine mission 
without the aid of the secular arm. Whether govern- 

1 "La coazione, nel senso di intervento della forza matenale per la esecu- 
zione di leggi ecclesiastiche, ha engine da poteri umani." "La coazione delle 
leggi ecclesiastiche per dirritto divino h solamente coazione morale." Sal- 
vatore di Bartolo. Nuova espozitione dei criteri teologici, Roma, 1904, 
pp. 303 and 314. The first edition of this work was put upon the Index. 
The second edition, revised and corrected, and published with the approba- 
tion of Father Lepidi, has all the more weight and authority. Salvatore di 
Bartolo quoted a number of authors in favor of his thesis, among them the 
Abbs Bautain. "Catholic discipline," he said, "is eminently liberal, because 
it is altogether spiritual, and altogether moral; it uses only those methods 
which are conformable to its nattu^, and therefore the more conformable to 
the spirit of true liberty, which acts upon human wills through the intellect, 
and the heart, and never by external violence or constraint. . . . The Church 
directs her children by laws which she imposes without constraint^ and which 
she asks the faithful conscientiously to obey. Everyone obeys them, if he 
wills and as he wills, according to his conscience. She forces no one by ex- 
ternal means, and if others use force in her name, she denounces them. The 
cruelty of the secular arm is not due to the Church, and if at times the tem- 
poral sword has been associated with the spiritual sword, under the pretext 
of winning back souls more readily, and of extending more vigorously and 
more rapidly the Kingdom of God, the Church which is absolutely opposed 
to brute force, and which wishes to gain souls, cannot be held responsible, 
even though the imprudence of her ministers was the cause of this excess." 
La Religion et la LibertS, Conference 6, Paris, 1865. From the historical 
standpoint, the author's thesis is inaccurate and naive. But hi^ view of thQ 
Church's coercive power is clearly stated. 


ments are favorable or hostile to her, she must pursue 
her course and carry on her work of salvation under 
them all. 

• ••••••• 

"Heresy," writes Jean Guiraud, **in the Middle Ages 
was nearly always connected with some anti-social sect. 
In a period when the human mind usually expressed itself 
in a theological form, socialism, communism, and anarchy 
appeared under the form of heresy. By the very nature 
of things, therefore, the interests of both Church and 
State were .identical; this explains the question of the 
suppression of heresy in the Middle Ages/'^ 

We are not surprised, therefore, that when Church and 
State found themselves menaced by the same peril, they 
agreed on the means of defence. If we deduct from the 
total number of heretics burned or imprisoned the dis- 
turbers of the social order and the criminals against the 
common law, the number of condemned heretics will be 
very small. 

Heretics in the Middle Ages were considered amenable 
to the laws of both Church and State. Men of that 
time could not conceive of God and His revelation with- 
out defenders in a Christian kingdom. Magistrates were 
considered responsible for the sins committed against the 
law of God. Indirectly, therefore, heresy was amenable 

I Jean Guiraud, La repression de PhirSsie au moyen &ge, in the Questions 
d^archiologie a d^hisUnrCy p. 44. 


to their tribunal. They felt it their right and duty to 
punish not only crimes against society, but sins against 


The Inquisition, estabhshed to judge heretics, is, there- 
fore, an institution whose severity and cruelty are ex- 
plained by the ideas and manners of the age. We will 
never understand it, unless we consider it in its environ- 
ment, and from the view-point of men like St. Thomas 
Aquinas and St. Louis, who dominated their age by 
their genius. Critics to whom the Middle Ages is an 
unknown book may feel at liberty to shower insult and 
contempt upon a judicial system whose severity is natu- 
rally repugnant to them. But contempt does not always 
imply a reasonable judgment, and to abuse an institu- 
tion is not necessarily a proof of intelligence. If we 
would judge an epoch intelligently, we must be able to 
grasp the view-point of other men, even if they lived 
in an age long past. 

But even if we grant the good faith and good will of 
the founders and judges of the Inquisition — we speak 
only, be it understood, of those who acted conscientiously 
— we must still maintain that their idea of justice was 
far inferior to ours. Whether taken in itself or compared 
with other criminal procedures, the Inquisition was, so 
far as the guarantees of equity are concerned, un- 
doubtedly unjust and inferior. Such judicial forms as 
the secrecy of the trial, the prosecution carried on inde- 


pendently of the prisoner, the denial of advocate and 
defence, the use of torture, etc., were certainly despotic 
and barbarous. Severe penalties, like the stake and con- 
fiscation, were the legacy which a pagan legislation be- 
queathed to the Christian State; they were alien to the 
spirit of the Gospel. 

The Church in a measure felt this, for to enforce these 
laws she always had recourse to the secular arm. In 
time, all this criminal code was to fall into desuetude, 
and no one to-day wishes it back again. Besides, the 
crying abuses committed by some of the Inquisitors have 
made the institution forever odious. 

But in abandoning the system of force, which she 
formerly used in union with the State, does not the 
Church seem to condemn to a certain degree her 
past ? 

Even if to-day she were to denounce the Inquisition, 
she would not thereby compromise her divine authority. 
Her office on earth is to transmit to generation after 
generation the deposit of revealed truths necessary for 
man's salvation. That to safeguard this treasure she 
uses means in one age which a later age denounces, 
merely proves that she follows the customs and ideas in 
vogue around her. But she takes good care not to have 
men consider her attitude the infallible and eternal rule 
of absolute justice. She readily admits that she may 
sometimes be deceived in the choice of means of govern- 


ment.* The system of defence and protection that she 
adopted in the Middle Ages succeeded, at least to some 
extent. We cannot maintain that it was absolutely un- 
just and absolutely immoral. 

Undoubtedly we have to-day a much higher ideal of 
justice. But though we deplore the fact that the Church 
did not then perceive, preach or apply it, we need not be 
surprised. In social questions she ordinarily progresses 
with the march of civilization, of which she is ever one 
of the prime movers. 

But perhaps men may blame her for having abandoned 
and betrayed the cause of toleration, which she so ably 
defended in the beginning. Do not let us exaggerate. 
There was, undoubtedly, a period in which she did not 
deduce from the principle she was the first to teach, all its 
logical consequences. The laws she enforced against her- 
etics prove this. But it is false to say that, while in 
the beginning she insisted strongly on the rights of con- 
science, she afterwards totally disregarded them. In 

1 This is also a thesis of Salvatore di Bartolo: "N^ la Chiesa h infallibile 
nel suo governo." Op. cit.y p. 307. And he declares the three following 
propositions theologically certain: i. Puo il R. Pontefice promulgare leggi 
disconvenienti. 2. Puo il Sommo Pontefice govemar la Chiesa in modo dis- 
conveniente. 3. I Romani Pontefici non furono infallibili nell' istituire i 
tribunali di Suprema Inquisizione contro Teretica pravit^, i quali infliggevano 
pene violente ai rei. Op. cit.^ pp. 120 and 124. Melchior Cano wrote in the 
same sense: "Non ego omnes Ecclesise leges approbo," etc. De locis theo- 
logiciSy lib. V, cap. v, concl. 2. Apologists freely admit these principles; but 
they often hesitate to apply them, when they come to judge certain facts 
of history. 


fact, she exercised constraint only over her own stray 
children. But while she acted so cruelly toward them, 
she never ceased to respect the consciences of those out- 
side her fold. She always interpreted the compelle intrare 
to imply with regard to unbelievers moral constraint, and 
the means of gentleness and persuasion.^ If respect for 
human liberty is to-day dominant in the thinking world, 
it is due chiefly to her. 

In the matter of tolerance, the Church has only to study 
her own history .^ If, during several centuries, she treated 
her rebellious children with greater severity than those 
alien to her fold, it was not from a want of consistency. 
And if to-day she manifests to every one signs of her 
maternal kindness, and lays aside for ever all physical 
constraint, she is not following the example of non- 
Catholics, but merely taking up again the interrupted 
tradition of her early Fathers. 

1 This is an important distinction, which an historian, otherwise accurate, 
has forgotten to make. "How," he asks, "was a religion of love and tolera- 
tion, which is founded on the Gospel, led to burn alive those who did not 
accept its teachings. That is the problem." Paul Fred^ricq, introduction 
to the French translation of Lea, vol. i, p. v. Lea himself does not make 
this mistake. He shows, on the contrary, that the Church never prosecuted 
non-Christians, and that she "exercised no constraint over unbelievers." 
Op. cit.y vol. i, p. 240. But he deems this inconsistent. To be perfectly 
consistent, he holds that the church should have burned the unbelievers as 
well as the heretics. To our mind, the contrary is true; to be. consistent, she 
ought to treat her own children di£Ferently. 

3 Cf. De la tolerance religieuse. Vacandard, Paris, Bloud. Science et 



Processus Inquisitionis 

Under this title we reproduce the oldest known copy 
of a manual of the Holy Office, discovered by the Domini- 
can Francois Balme, in the University Library of Madrid, 
and published by Tardif in the Nouvelle Revtie htstarique 
de droit francats et Stranger, Paris (Larose et Forcel), 1883, 
pp. 670-678. The date of the first formula is 1244. The 
work was evidently written about this time. 

Although very brief, it gives a rather complete insight 
into the procedure and the penal code of the Inquisition. 
In several passages, especially in the Formula inierroga- 
iorii, the heretic in question is called a Waldensian, 
although the heretical doctrine mentioned is Catharan. 

Littere commtssionis 

Viris religiosis et discretis dilectis in Christo fratribus 
Guilelmo Raymondi et Petro Duranti, Ordinis Predicato- 
rum Fr. Pontius fratrum ejusdem ordinis in Provincia 
Provincie servus inutilis et indignus, salutem et spiritum 

De zelo discretionis et devotionis vestre plenarie con- 

fidentes, Vos in provincia Narbonensi, exceptis Villelonge 



et Villemuriensi archdiaconatibus, diocesis Tholosani, et 

in Albiensi, Ruthenensi, Mimatensi et Aniciensi diocesibus 

ad inquirendum de hereticis, credentibus, fautoribus, 

receptatoribus, et defensoribus eorum et etiam infamatis, 

auctpritate Domini Pape nobis in haq parte commissa, 

in remissionem peccatorum vestrorum duximus transmit- 

tendos, eadem vobis auctoritate mandantes quatenus 

juxta mandatum et ordinationem Sedis Apostolice in 

negotio procedatis eodem viriliter et prudenter. Quod 

si ambo hiis exequendis interesse non potueritis, alter 

vestrum ea nichilominus exequatur. 

Datum Narbone, XII Kal. novembris Anno Domini 

Processus inquisitionis 

Processus talis: Infra terminos inquisitionis nobis per 
Priorem Provincie auctoritate praedicta, commisse ac 
limitate, locum eligimus, qui ad hoc commodior esse 
videtur, de quo vel in quo de locis aliis inquisitionem 
faciamus, ubi, Clero et populo convocatis, generalem 
faciamus predicationem, Litteris tam Domini Pape quam 
Prioris provincialis de Inquisitionis forma et commissione 
publice legimus, et sicut convenit explanamus, et exinde 
generaliter citamus vel verbo presentes, vel absentes per 
litteras in hunc modum: 

Modus citandi 
"Inquisitores heretice pravitatis Capellano tali . . . 


salutem in Domino. Auctoritate qua fungimur districte 
vobis precipiendo mandamus quatenus parochianos sive 
habitatores omnes illius ecclesie sive loci, masculos a XIV, 
feminas a XII et inferioris (?) etatis, si forte deliquerint, 
et ex parte et ex auctoritate nostra citetis ut, tali 
die et tali loco responsuri de hiis quae contra fidem 
commiserint et heresim abjuraturi compareant coram 
nobis; et si de loco illo alia Inquisitio facta non fuerit, 
omnibus de ipso loco qui nominatim citati vel aliter 
venia digni non essent, immunitatem carceris indulgemus, 
si, infra tempus assignatum, sponte venientes et peni- 
tentes tam de se quam de aliis puram et plenam dix- 
erint veritatem." 
Quod et tempus gratie sive indulgentie appellamus. 


Modus ahjurandi et forma jurandi 

Omnem quemque, dum se ad confitendum presentat, 
facimus abjurare omnem heresim et jurare quod dicat 
plenam et puram veritatem, de se et aliis vivis et mortuis, 
super facto seu crimine heresis et Valdensie; quod fidem 
catholicam servabit ac defendet, et Hereticos, cujuscum- 
que secte, non solum aut recipiet aut defendet, eisque 
favebit aut credet, quin potius eos eorumve nuntios bona 
fide persequetur et capiet, vel saltem Ecclesie aut princip- 
ibus eorumve bajulis, qui eos capere velint et valeant, 
revelabit, et Inquisitionem non impediet, imo earn im- 
pedientibus se opponet. 


Formula interrogatorii 

Deinde requiritur si vidit hereticum vel Valdensem et 
ubi et quando, et quoties et cum quibus, et de aliis cir- 
cumstantiis diligenter. — Si eorum predicationes aut moni- 
tiones audivit, et eos hospitio recepit aut recipi fecit. — Si 
de loco ad locum duxit seu aliter associavit, aut duci vel 
associari fecit. — Si cum eis comedit aut bibit, vel de 
pane benedicto ab eis. — Si dedit vel misit eis aliquid. — 
Si fuit eorum questor aut nuntius, aut minister. — Si 
eorum depositum vel quid aliud habuit. — Si ab eorum 
libro, aut ore, aut cubito pacem accepit. — Si hereticum 
adoravit, vel caput inclinavit, vel genua flexit, vel dixit 
Benedicite coram eis; vel si eorum consolamentis aut 
appareillamentis interfuit. Si cene Valdensi affuit, si 
peccata sua fuit eis confessus, vel accepit penitentiam 
vel didicit aliquid ab eis. — Si aliter habuit familiarita- 
tem seu participationem cum hereticis vel Valdensibus, 
seu quoquo modo. — Si pactum vel preces vel munera 
recepit, aut fecit super veritate de se aut de aliis non 
dicenda. — Si quemquam monuit vel induxit seu induci 
fecit ad aliquid de predictis. — Si scit alium vel aliam 
fecisse aliquid de premissis. — Si credidit hereticis seu 
Valdensibus, aut erroribus eorumdem. 

Tandem de hiis omnibus et quandoque de pluribus non 
sine causa rationabili requisitus, scriptis fideliter que de 
se confessus fuerit vel deposuerit de aliis, coram nobis 


ambobus vel altero et aliis duobus ad minus viris idoneis 
ad hec sollicitius exequenda adjunctis, universa que 
scribi fecerit recognoscet, atque hoc modo acta Inquisi- 
tionis ad confessiones et depositiones sive per notarium 
confecta, sive per scriptorem alium, roboramus. 

Et quando terra est generaliter corrupta, generaliter 
de omnibus inquisitionem secundum modum facimus 
pretaxatum: nomina omnium redigentes in actis et illorum 
qui se nihil scire de aliis vel in nullo se asserunt deliquisse, 
ut, sive mentiti fuerint sive postea delinquerint, sicut 
frequenter de pluribus reperitur, et eos abjurasse constet, 
et de singulis requisitos (fuisse). 

Modus singulos ciiandi 

Quando autem citamus aliquem singulariter, scribimus 
sub hac forma: 

"Talem, ex parte et auctoritate nostra uno pro omnibus 
peremptorio citetis edicto, ut tali die, tali loco, de fide 
sua, vel de tali culpa compareat responsurus vel receptu- 
rus carceris (paenam), aut simpliciter penitentiam pro 
commissis; vel defensurus parentem mortuum, vel sen- 
tentiam de se aut de mortuo cujus heres existit audi- 

In singulis quam plurimum citationibus, exprimentes 
auctoritatem ex qua citamus et quam notoria est in terra, 
et in dignitate positis deferentes personis, et loca et cita- 
tionis causam declaramus, et loca tuta et contemptos 


dilationis sive terminos assignamus, et nulli negamus 
defensiones legitimas neque a juris ordine deviamus, nisi 
quod testium non publicamus nomina, propter ordina- 
tionem Sedis Apostolice sub Domino Gregorio provide 
factam et ab Innocentio, beatissimo Papa nostro, postmo- 
dum innovatam in privilegium et necessitatem fidei 
evidentem, super quo habemus testimoniales litteras 
Qirdinalium aliquorum. Circa hoc tamen sufficienter 
providemus et caute tarn eis contra quos Inquisitio fit 
quam testibus, juxta sanctum consilium Prelatorum. 

Hanc autem formam servamus in injungendis peni- 
tentiis et condempnationibus faciendis. — Eos qui redire 
volunt ad ecclesiasticam unitatem ex causa iterum 
facimus heresim abjurare, et ad fidei observationem ac 
defensionem et hereticorum persecutionem et inquisi- 
tiones per promotionem, ut supra, et penitentie pro 
nostro arbitrio injungende receptionem et impletionem, 
solemniter et cum publicis instrumentis obligare : deinde, 
juxta formam Ecclesie, beneficio absolutionis impenso, 
injungimus penitenti et recipienti penitentiam careens in 
hunc modum: 

Modus ei forma reconciliandi et puniendi redeunies ad 

ecclesiasticam unitatem 

"In nomine Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, Amen. Nos 
inquisitores heretice pravitatis, etc. Per inquisitionem 
quam de hereticis et infamatis ex mandatp facimus apos- 


tolico, invenimus quod tu talis, sicut confessus es in 
judicio coram nobis, hereticos plures adorasti, receptasti, 
visitasti, et eorum erroribus credidisti. Idcirco tibi 
taliter deprehenso ad ecclesiasticam tamen unitatem, de 
corde bono et fide non ficta, prout asserts, revertenti et 
abjuranti ut supra, et te, si contra feceris, ad penam 
hereticis debitam sponte obliganti, et recognoscenti quod 
ab excommunicatione qua tenebaris pro premissis astric- 
tus, absolutus es sub ea conditione et retentione quod si 
veritatem, vel de te vel de aliis, inventus fueris suppress- 
isse, et si penitentiam et mandata que tibi injungimus non 
servaveris et impleveris, ex tunc tibi absolutio praefata 
non prosis, sed pro non facta penitus habeatur. Adjunctis 
et assistentibus nobis talibus prelatis jurisque discretis, 
de ipsorum et aliorum consilio, ad agendam penitentiam 
de premissis, quibus Deum et Ecclesiam nequiter offen- 
disti, tibi in virtute prestiti juramenti, juxta mandatum 
precipimus Apostolicum ut in carceram tolerabilem et 
humanum tibi, in civitate ilia, paratum sine mora intendas, 
facturus ibidem salutarem et perpetuam mansionem. 
Sane si hoc mandatum nostrum implere nolueris, aut 
ingredi difFerendo, aut post ingressum forsitan exeundo, 
aut alias contra superius a te abjurata et jurata sive 
promissa, quocumque tempore veniendo, aut per hoc 
fictam conversionem tuam . . . et in penitentiam decla- 
mando, te ex tunc tanquam inpenitentem punimus, cul- 
pisque astrictum perjoribus, et omnes qui te scienter aut 


receperint aut defenderint aut tibi nostra non implenti 
mandata, vel ne impleas, consilium, auxilium qualiter- 
cumque impenderint vel favorem, tanquam hereticorum 
fautores, receptatores et defensores, excommunicationis 
vinculo, auctoritate qua fungimur innodamus, decern- 
entes reconciliationem et misericordiam tibi factam 
ulterius prodesse non posse, et te justissime pariter ex 
tunc seculari judicio, velut hereticum, relinquentes." 

Littere de peniteniiis jaciendis 

De penitentiis vero, quas non immurandis injungimus, 
damus litteras sub hac forma : 

"Universis Christi fidelibus praesentes litteras inspec- 
turis, tales inquisitores, etc. . . . Cum talis lator . . . 
sicut ex ipsius confessione coram nobis in judicio facta in 
crimine labis heretice sic deliquit, nos eidem sponte atque 
humiliter ad sinum Sancte Matris Ecclesie revertenti, et 
labem prorsus hereticam abjuranti ac demum ab excom- 
municationis vinculo juxta formam Ecclesie absoluto, 
injungimus ut in detestationem (sui) erroris duas cruces 
coloris crocei, longitudinis duarum palmarum, latitu- 
dinisque duarum, et in se trium digitorum amplitudinem 
habentes, portet, et in superiore veste perpetuo, unam 
anteriorem in pectore et alteram posterius in spatulis; 
vestem in qua cruces portaverit coloris crocei nunquam 
habens. Intersit diebus dominicis et festivis, dum vixerit, 


misse et vesperis et sermoni generali, si fiat in villa in qua 
fuerit, nisi impedimentum habuerit, sine fraude; proces- 
siones per tot annos sequatur, virgas largas in manu inter 
Clerum et populum portans, et cui processioni aflFuerit 
presentans se in statione aliqua, ut exponat populo quod 
hie propter ilia que contra fidem commissit, penitentiam 
istam agit. Visitet quoque, per tot annos, limina tot 
sanctorum, et in singulis peregrinationibus supradictis 
presentet litteras nostras quas ipsum habere volumus et 
portare, ostendere teneatur prelato Ecclesie quam visi- 
taverit et eidem de sua peregrinatione debito modo per- 
fecta ejusdem testimoniales nobis litteras reportare. 
Eapropter, karissimi, vos rogamus quod ei prefatum talem 
has nostras habentem litteras crucesque portantem et ea 
servantem que injunximus eidem ac per omnia catholice 
conversantem invenistis, occasione illorum que ipsum 
contra fidem superius commisisse invenimus, nullatenus 
molestetis nee sustineatis ab aliis molestari, vestras ei 
testimoniales litteras liberaliter concedendo. Sin autem 
secus eum facientem aut etiam attemptantem videritis, 
ipsum tanquam perjurum, excommunicatum et culpis 
astrictum perjoribus habeatis. Ex tunc enim et recon- 
ciliationem et misericordiam sibi factam eidem prodesse 
non posse decernimus, et tam ipsum velut hereticum quam 
omnes qui eum scienter, aut receperint aut defenderint, 
aut aliter ei consilium auxilium vel favorem impenderint, 
velut hereticorum fautores, receptatores, seu defen3ores 


excommunicationis vinculo, auctoritate qua fungimur, 

Forma sententie relinquendi hrachio seculari 

Hereticos eorumque credentes, premissis et expressis 
culpis et erroribus, et aliis que in hujusmodi processibus 
Solent sententiis, sic dampnamus. 

"Nos inquisitores prefati, auditis et diligenter attentis 
culpis et demeritis dicti talis et illis precipue circum- 
stantiis que ad extirpendam de terra labem hereticam 
fidemque plantandam, sive plectemdo, sive ignoscendo, 
debent potissime nos movere, adjunctis et assistentibus 
nobis Reverendis Patribus, etc., supradictum talem, quia 
hereticorum erroribus credidit, et adhuc credere convin- 
citur, cum examinatus et convictus sive confessus reverti 
et absolute mandatis ecclesia obedire contempnat, per sen- 
tentiam defmitivam hereticum judicamus, relinquentes ex 
nunc judicio seculari et tarn ipsum velut hereticum con- 
tempnamus quam omnes qui eum scienter de cetero aut 
receperint, aut defenderint, aut eidem consilium, auxilium 
aut favorem impenderint, velut hereticorum fautores, 
receptatores, defensores excommunicationis vinculo auc- 
toritate qua fungimur innodantes." 

Forma sententie contra eos qui heretici decesserini 

Mortuos quoque hereticos et credentes, expressis eorum 
erroribus et culpis et aliis, dampnamus similiter isto modo: 


"Nos inquisitores, etc., visis ac diligenter inspectis et 
attentis culpis ac demeritis talis superius notati, et de- 
fensionibus propositis pro eodem, et circumstantiis quas 
circa personas et dicta testium et alia considerari oportuit 
et attendi, adjunctis et assistentibus nobis talibus, etc., 
eumdem talem, etc., definitive pronunciando, judicamus 
hereticum decessisse atque ipsum et ipsius memoriam 
pari severitate dampnantes, ossa ejus si ab aliis discerni 
poterunt, de cemeterio ecclesiastico exhumari simulque 
comburi decernimus in detestationem criminis tarn 

Condemnationes et penitentias memoratas facimus 
et injungimus, clero et populo convocatis solemniter et 
mature, facientes eos quibus penitentias injungimus mem- 
oratas, prius ibidem abjurare atque jurare prout supe- 
rius continetur; et de hujusmodi condempnationibus et 
carcerum penitentiis fiunt publica instrumenta sigillorum 
nostrorum assessorum testimoniis roborata. 

Forma vero litterarum que de aliis penitentiis conce- 
duntur retinetur in actis. 

Ad nullius vero condempnationem, sine lucidis et 
apertis probationibus vel confessione propria processi- 
mus nee, dante Domino, procedemus. Et omnes con- 
dempnationes et pentitentias quas majores fecimus et 
facere proponimus non solum de generali sed etiam de 
speciali sigillato consilio prelatorum. 


Plura quidem alia facimus in processu et aliis, que scripto 
facile non possent comprehendi, per omnia juris tenentes 
ordinem aut sedis ordinationem apostolice specialem. 
Bona hereticorum tarn dampnatOrum quam immura- 
torum publicare facimus et compellimus ut debemus, et 
per hoc est quod specialiter confundit hereticos et cre- 
dentes, et, si bene fieret justitia de damnatis et relapsis, 
et bona publicarentur fideliter, et incarceratis provid- 
eretur in necessariis competenter, in fructu Inquisitionis 
gloriosus Dominus et mirabilis appareret. 


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This volume does not contain any unpublished docu- 
ments. Every reference in the footnotes may be verified 
in books that have already been published. We have, 
however, gone conscientiously to the sources, although 
occasionally we cite works at second hand. Among the 
best of these are the works of Lea, Tanon, Douais, and 

We have already given our estimate of Lea and Tanon 
in the preface. 

Mgr. Douais is chiefly an editor of documents; his 
critical ability is usually beyond reproach. I would make 
one exception, however, with regard to his edition of 
Bernard Gui's Practica inquisitionis hcereticcB pravitatis. 
There are four manuscripts of this work, two of which 
(Nos. 387, 388) are in the library of Toulouse. Tanon 
(loc. citi, p. 163) "regrets that Mgr. Douais, instead of 
giving us a critical edition of the text, simply copied 
Manuscript 387, whereas No. 389 is the better. For, 
according to Molinier, this manuscript is the older; it 
belonged to the Inquisition of Toulouse, where, as its 
condition shows, it was in constant use; and finally, it 

contains important marginal notes in the fourth part." 



The documents published by Dollinger, although of 
unequal value, are on the whole very useful. It is a great 
pity, however, that he edited them with so little care. 
Molinier has criticised him rather severely, pointing out 
many errors, omissions, and inconsistencies. (Revue His- 
torique LIV, p. 155, seq.) His treatise introducing these 
documents is also rather untrustworthy. Still we do 
not hesitate to use this work, such as it is, for, from our 
view-point the mistakes are unimportant. 

The following bibliography is far from being complete. 
For other works I would refer the reader to 

Molinier f Les Sources de VHistoire de France y vol. 3, pp. 58-77, Paris, 

Vernety Article Cathares in the Dictionnaire de thSologie Catholiquey 

vol. 2, col. 1997-99 (1905)' 
Fredericqy Historiographie de Vlnquisitiony the preface to Reinach*s French 

translation of Lea*s History of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages. 

Alain y De fide catholica contra hcsreticos sui temporiSy Migne, Pat, lot., 

vol. ccx, 305-430- 
Alphanderyy Les idees morales chez les hStSrodoxes latins au dSbtU du 

XIII^ sihcUy Paris, 1903, pp. 34-99. 
Bernard De Comey Lucerna inquisitorum hcereticce pravitatiSy Rome, 1584. 
Bernard Guiy Practica officii inquisitionis hereticce pravHatis, 6d. Douais, 

Paris, 1886. 
Bonacursay Manifestatio heresis Catarorunty Migne, Pat. lat., cdv, 775- 

792; d'Ach^ry, Spicilegiunty in fol. i, 208-215. 
Cledaty Le nouveau Testament traduit au XI 11^ sikcle en langue pro- 

vengaky suivi d'un Rituel cathare, Paris, 1888. 
Doat (collection), Documents relatifs h Inquisition, h la Bibliothhque 

nationalCy 17 vol. (vol. xxi-xxxvii). Vols, xxix and xxx contain a 

copy of Bernard Gui's Practica, 


Doctrina de modo procedendi contra hcereticoSy in Mart^ne, Thesaurus 
novus Anecdotorum, v, 1797-1822, a treatise composed about 

DoUingeTj Beitrdge zur Sektengeschichte des MUtelaUers^ Munich, 1890, 

2 vol. in 8°. The second volume is made up of documents. 

DouaiSy Documents pour servir a Vhistoire de VInquisUion dans le Lan- 
guedocj Paris, 1900, 2 vol. The documents of the second volume 
are: ist. The Sentences of Bernard de Caux and of Jean de Saint 
Pierre (i 244-1 248). 2d. Testimony against Pierre Garcias of 
Bourguet-Nau of Toulouse, received by Bernard de Caux and 
Jean de Saint Pierre (Aug. 22 to Dec. 10, 1247). 3d. The register 
of the notary of the Inquisition of Carcassonne. 4th. The Pontifi- 
cal commission of Cardinal Taillefer de la Chapelle and Berenger 
Fredol (April 15 to May, 1306). 
La formule Communicato honorum virorum Consilio des sentences 
inquisUoriales in the Compte rendu du quatrihne congrhs scientifique 
international des catholiques, Fribourg (Switzerland), 1898, sect, des 
Sciences historiques, pp. 316-367, and in Le Moyen Age, 1898, 
pp. 157-192, 286-311. 
Saint Raymond de Pennafort et les hSrStiques, Directoire h Vusage des 
inquisiteurs aragonais, 1242, in Le Moyen Age, xii (1899), 305-325. 

Du Plessis d^ArgentrSy Collectio judiciorum de novis erroribus, etc., 
Paris, 1728 et seq., 3 vol. in fol. 

Egbert (Ekkebertus, +1185), Sermones xiii contra Catharos in Migne, 
PcU. lat,y cxcv, 13-102. 

Eymeric (Nicolas). Directorium inquisitorum, written about 1376. We 
quote the Venetian edition of 1607, with Pegna^s commentary. 

Picker, Die gesetdiche Einfiihrung der Todesstrafe fiir Ketzerei, in the 
Mittheilungen des Instituts fiir Oesterreichische Geschichts forschung, 
Innspnick, 1880, vol. i, pp. 177-226, 430-431. 

Frediricq (Paul), Corpus documentorum inquisitionis hcereticcB pravUatis 
NeerlandiccB {i20$-i$2$), vol. i, 1889; vol. ii, 1896; vol. iii, 1906; 
vol. iv, 1900. 

GrSgoire de Fano, about 1240, Disputatio inter Catholicum et Paierinum 
hcereticum,\n Manthne, Thesaurus novus anecdotorum, vol, v, col. 

Guillem Pelhisse, Chronicon (1230-1237), edited by Ch. Molinier, 

J)e fratre GuiUelmo F^HssQ veterrimo inquisitionis historico, Paris, 


1880, and by Mgr. Bouais in Les Sources de Vhistoire de Pinquisiiion 

dans le midi de la France y Paris, 1882. 
Guiraud (Jean), Questions d*histoire ei archiologie chritiennCy Paris, 1906. 
Havel (Julien) L*hSrisie et le bras seculier au moyen dge jusqu^au XIII^ 

sihcle, in the Bibliothhque de VEcoledes Charles XLI, 488-517; 570- 

607, and in CEuvres complhteSy Paris, 1896, vol. ii, pp. 117— 180. 
Ilenner (Camille), Beilrdge zur Organisation und Competenz der pdpsl- 

lichen KetzergeschichtCy Leipzig, 1890. 
HuiUard-BreolleSy Hisloria diplomatica Frederici II , Paris, 1854-1861, 

12 vol. in 4°. 
Labbe el Cossarty Concilia (sacrosancta), Paris, 1671-1672, 18 vol. in-fol. 
Langlois (ch. v), L* Inquisition d*aprh les Iravaux rhcentSy Paris, 1902. 
Lea (Henry-Charies) , A history of the inquisition in the Middle Ages, 

1888, 3 vol.; a French translation by Salomon Reinach, 1 900-1902. 
Liniborchy Hisloria inquisilioniSy Amsterdam, 1692. This work con- 
tains the Liber senlentiarum inquisitionis Tolosance of Bernard Gui. 
Louis De ParamOy De origine et progressu officii sanclce Inquisitionis 

ejusque utililate et dignUate libri treSy Madrid, 1598. 
Lucas De Tuy (i 239-1 288), De altera vita Jideique controversiis adversus 

AlbigenseSy written about 1240, in the Bibliotheca Patrum, 4th ed., 

vol. ivb, pp. 575-714. 
Marlhne and Durand, Amplissima collectio velerum scriptoruniy etc., Paris, 

1 7 24-1 743, 9 vol. in-fol. 
Thesaurus novus anecdotorunty Paris, 1717, 5 vol. in-fol. 
Masini (Eliseo), Sacro Arsenale owero Prattica deW Offi^cio delta Santa 

Inquisizioney Bologna, 1665. 
Migney Patrologia lalina, 218 vol. in-4°. 
Molinier (Ch.), U Inquisition dans le midi de la France au XI 11^ et au 

XIV^ si^cle. Etude sur les sources de son hisloirey Paris, 1880. 
VendurOy couiume religieuse des dernier s seclaires albigeoiSy in the 

Annates de la Faculth de BordeauXy vol. iii, 1881. 
Rapport sur une mission exScuiee en ItaliCy in the Archives des mis- 
sions scientifiques et litteraireSy Paris, 1888, 3d series, vol. xiv. 
MonetOy of Cremona (Inquisitor from 1231 to 1250), Adversus Catharos 

et Valdenses libri quinque, ed. Richini, Rome, 1743. 
Monumenta Germanics historicay ScriptoreSy 31 vol. in-fol. 
Monumenta Germanics historicay LegeSy in-4°. 
MiUler (K.), Die VcUdense^ und ihre einzelne Gruppen bis mm An/ang 


des XI V^^ Jahrhunderts, an important work, in the Theologische 

Studien und Kritiketiy 1886, pp. 665-732, and 1887, pp. 45-146. 
Percin (J.-J.)> Monumenta Conventus Tholosani or dims FF. Prcddica- 

torum primiy Toulouse, 1693. 
PoUhasi, Regesia pontificum Romanorum inde ah anno post Christum natunt 

MCXCVIII ad annum MCCCIV, Berlin, 1874-1875, 2 vol. in-4°. 
Processus InquisitioniSy a manual of the year 1244, in the Nouvelle 

Revue historique de droit frangais et Stranger ^ 1883, pp. 669-678. 

See Appendix A. 
Questiones domini Guidonis Fulcodii et responsiones ejus, a treatise on 

procedure for Inquisitors, written about 1254, edited by Cesare 

Carena, Tractatus de officio sanctissimm inquisitionis , 1669, p. 367- 

393. Gui Foucois became Pope under the name of Clement IV. 
Raoul Ardent, about 11 00, Sermo in dominica VIII post Trinitaiem, 

Migne, Pat. lat,, civ, 2007-2013. 
Registres d* Alexandre IV, published by La Roncibre, Paris, 1895-1902. 
Registres d^Honorius IV, published by Maurice Prou, Paris, 1888. 
Registres de Nicolas IV, published by Langlois, Paris, 1886-1893. 
RipoU, Bullarium ordinis FF, Prmdicatorum, Paris, Biblioth. Nationale, 

Inventaire H 1671. 
Rodrigo, Historia verdadera de la Inquisicion, 3 vol., Madrid, 1876-1877 
Sacconi (Rainier or Raineri), a converted heretic and Inquisitor about 

1258, Summa de Catharis et Leonistis et Pauperibus de Lugduno, in 

Martfene, Thesaurus novus anecdotorum, vol. v, pp. 1457-1776. 
Salve Burce, of Piacenza, about 1235, Supra Stella, in D6llinger*s 

Beitrage, quoted above, vol. ii, pp. 52-84. 
Schmidt (C), Histoire et doctrine de la secte des Cathares ou Albigeois, 

Paris, 1849, 2 vol. in-8°. 
Tanon, Histoire des tribunaux de VInquisition en France, Paris, 1893^ 

Vaissete, Histoire gSnirale du Languedoc, old edition, 1 730-1 745; new 

edition, 1872-1892. 
Vidal (J. M.), Un inquisiteur jugi par ses victimes, Jean GaUand et les 

Carcassonnais, Paris, 1903. 
Le tribunal de I* Inquisition de Pamiers, in the Annales de Saint-Louis- 

des-Frangais, Rome and Paris, 1904-1906. 
Zanchino Ugolini, De hcereticis tractatus aureus, Mantua, 1567; Rome, 




Abjuration, 129. 

AhrenurUiatio of the Cathari, 85. 

Absolution, mutual of Inquisitors, 


AccusatiOf 166. 

Adalbero, Bishop of Lifege, toler- 
ance of, 37. 

Adam, trial of, 168. 

Ad Extir panda, the bull, 145, 150, 

Adoptianism, 31. 

Adrian IV, and Arnold of Brescia, 

Adrian VI, bull on sorcery, 200. 
Advocates, denied by Inquisition, 

Alba, Cathari of, 71. 
Albertus Magnus, and witchcraft, 

Albigenses, crusade against, 54. 
Alexander III, his laws against 

heresy, 56, 57. 
Alexander IV, and torture, 151, 

on testimony of heretics, 126. 

Alexis Comnenus, 70. 
Amaury de Beynes, 53. 
Ambrose, St., denounces the con- 
demnation of Priscillian, 25. 

Animadversio, various meanings 

of> 57» 59» 61, 105-107, III- 

ii3» ^33y 174, 176. 
Annibale, Senator of Rome, no. 

Anselm of Lucca, 47, 64, 65. 

Apparellamentum, of the Cathari, 


Apringius, 18. 

Arcadius, law against heretics, 9, 

160, 211. 

Arnold of Brescia, 39, 40. 

Astrology, classed as heresy, 166. 

Augustine, St., his toleration, 12. 

and the Donatists, 15-21. 

his denunciation of Priscillian- 

ism, 26. 

Auto defe, 139, 193, 206. 

Bagolenses, 71. 

Ban, the imperial, 57, 107. 

Banishment, for heresy, 58, 66, 

170, 174, 210. 
Baptism, rejected by Cathari, 74. 
Bartolo, theses on the coercive 

power, 252. 
Benencasa, 65. 

Berlaiges, heretics burned at, 197. 
Bernard, St., on toleration, 45. 
opposes Arnold of Brescia, 39. 




Bernard, St., opposes Henry of 

Lausanne, 39. 
Bernard of Caux, his treatment of 

the relapsed, 174. 
his sentences, 193. 
Bernard of Como, on the witches' 

Sabbat, 165. 
Bernard Gui, and the Inquisitorial 

procedure, 167. 
approves of torture, 156, 169. 
his sentences, 193, 270. 
Bl^a, and the banishment of the 

Moriscos, 199. 
Bogomiles, 70. 
Bonacursus, 71. 
Boniface VIII, 138, 147, 230, 

Braisne, Cathari burned at, 53. 
Bread, blessed of Cathari, 89. 
Bullinger, approves death-penalty 

for heresy, 223. 

Caesarius of Heisterbach, on the 

number of the Cathari, 71. 
Calixtus II, 46. 
Calvin, advocates death-penalty, 

Cambrai, heretic burned at, 35. 
Capital punishment, denied by 

Cathari, 79. 
Castellio, denounces death-penalty, 

Cathari, their teachings, ^2 et seq. 
different names of, 72. 
number of, 71. 
hierarchy of, 80. 
fasting of, 91. 
Celestine III, 56, 251. 

Celibacy, Catharan idea of, 92-97. 

Catholic idea of, 103. 
Chalons, Cathari at, 34. 
Charles II (England), 221. 
Charles V (Emperor), 226. 
Chrysostom, St., on toleration, 29. 
CircumcellianeSf 10, 14. 
Clement IV, and torture, 151. 

and the episcopal Inquisition, 

enforces bull Ad Extirpanda, 


on the number of witnesses, 125. 
Clement V, and the Templars, 188. 

and prison reform, 144. 

on the cruelty of Inquisitors, 186. 
Coals, torture of the burning, 153. 
Cologne, heretics burned at, 38, 51. 
Concorrezenses, 71. 
Confiscation, 56, 58, 60, 66, 170, 

174, 202-205, 245. 
Conrad of Marburg, 117, 123, 132. 
CansolamerUum, 74, 75, 81, 83. 
Constantino the Great, 5, 73. 
Convenenzay 81. 
Councils of Rome, (313) 13. 

of Aries (314), 13- 

of Mainz (848), 32. 

of Quiercy (849), 32. 

of Reims (1049), 46. 

of Toulouse (11 19), 46, 66. 

of Reims (1148), 40. 

of Reims (1157), 51. 

of Tours (1163), ss, 56. 

of Lateran (1179), 67. 

of Verona (1184), 144. 

of Avignon (1209), 50, 66. 

of Lateran (121 5), 61, 107. 



of Narbonne (1227), 120. 
of Toulouse (1229), 106, 142. 
of Constance (141 4), 180. 
Cyprian, St., on toleration, 3. 

Decretals, respect due to the, 162. 
De hceretico comburendo, 220, 221. 
Demons, succuhi and inctibif 199. 
Denunciation, duty of, 125. 
DenufUiatiOt 166. 
Dominic, St., 226. 
Dominicans, as Inquisitors, 121. 
Donatists, 13 et seq. 

Edict of Milan, 5. 
Edward VI (England), 221. 
Elipandus, 31. 
Elizabeth (England), 221. 
Endura, 97-101. 
fion de rfitoile, 40. 
Eriberto, 36. 
Eugenius III, 40, 47. 
Evervin, 45. 
Evodius, 24. 

Excommunication, of abettors of 
heresy, 60, 145, 146. 

of heretics, 170. 
Exhumation, of dead heretics, 203. 
Experts, for heresy trials, 138. 

assembly of, 139-142. 
Eymeric, and the Inquisitorial 
procedure, 167. 

on torture, 168. 

picture of ideal Inquisitor, 157. 

Farel, approves of death-penalty, 

Fasts of the Cathari, 91. 

Felix of Urgel, 31. 

Flogging, 16, 51, 148, 151. 

Franciscans, as Inquisitors, 121. 

Francis, St., of Assisi, 226. 

Frederic II (Emperor), his legis- 
lation against heresy, 107, 
109, 126, 133, 134, 235. 
his injfluence upon Gregory IX, 

113, 225. 
uses Inquisition for political 
ends, 187. 

Gayraud, on the Syllabus, 250. 
Geroch of Reichersberg, 44, 47. 
Godescalcus, on predestination, 32. 
Goslar, heretics hanged at, 35. 
Grace, time of, 124. 
Gratian, 50, 64, 148, 158. 
Gregory IX, his legislation against 
heresy, iii, 115, 132. 

institutes the Inquisition, 115, 

calumniated by Lea, 123. 

his laws against ordeals, 149. 

and torture, 150. 
Gregory X, and the episcopal 

Inquisition, 137. 
Guala, Bishop of Brescia, 109, no. 
Gui Foucois, cf. Clement IV. 
Guibert de Nogent, 37. 
Guillaume, Archbishop of Reims, 


Guillem Pelhisse, 127. 

Guiraud, 234, 253. 

Henry II (England), 51. 
Henry III (Emperor), 35, 
Henry V (England), 220. 



Henry VIII (England), 221. 
Henry of Lausanne, 39. 
Henry of Milan, 1 16. 
Henry of Susa, 176. 
Heresy, definitions of, 160. 

considered treason, 108, 113. 

relapse into, 174-176. 

a public crime, 235. 

a political factor, 187. 

of the Cathari, 72 c/ seq. 
Heretication, 78, 81, 82, 84, 95, 

Hilary, St., on toleration, 6. 
Hincmar, Archbishop of Reims, 32. 
Honorius III, his legislation 
against heretics, 108. 

his law against ordeals, 149. 
Honorius IV, 182. 
Huguccio,advocates death-penalty, 

Hugh, Bishop of Auxerre, 52. 
Humiliati, 62. 
Huss, 180, 224. 

Idacius, 23. 

Imprisonment, purpose of, 48. 

antecedent, 151, 231. 

for relapse, 237. 

character of, 142, 189, 191, 195. 
Innocent III, his legislation on 
heresy, 58-63. 

his laws against ordeals, 149. 

his treatment of Raymond VI, 

does not inflict death-penalty, 


classes heresy with treason, 61. 
and the Patarins, 158. 

Innocent IV, his legislation against 
heresy, 145, 150, 154. 
authorizes torture, 147, 150. 
and the episcopal Inquisition, 

Innocent VIII, his bull on sor- 
cery, 199. 
In pacef 192. 
Inquisitor, aged required, 132. 

cruelty of, 185, 186. 

duties of, 124. 

portrait of, 131. 
InquisUio, 166. 

Inquisition, the episcopal, 119, 

the legatine, 121. 

its origin, 115, 119. 

development of, 122 et seq. 

its spread, 182 et seq. 

political use of, 187. 

procedure of, 228. 

number of victims of, 234. 

used to crush the Templars, 

used against Joan of Arc, 188. 
Intolerance, natural to man, 212. 

of sovereigns, 213. 

of Plato, 214. 
Irregularity, incurred by Inquisi« 

tors, 154. 
Isidore, St., of Seville, 30. 
Ithacius, 23. 
Ivo of Chartres, 64. 

Jacquerius, 165. 
Jailers, rules for, 190. 
Jeanne de la Tour, 192. 
Jean Galand, 185. 



Jerome, St., calumniated by Lea, 

denounces Priscillianism, 26. 

his idea of schism, 161. 
Jews, and usury, 163. 

banished from Spain, 198. 
Joan of Arc, 188. 
John d' Andre, 177. 
John Teutonicus, 64. 
John XXII, 153, 224. 
Jurieu, intolerance of, 283. 
Justinian, code of, 11, 64. 

Kiss, Catharan, of peace, 88. 

Lactantius, on toleration, 4, 5. 

Lateran, cf. Council. 

Lea, estimate of his history, VI. 

unfair to Leo the Great, 30. 

unfair to Gregory IX, 123. 

unfair to Innocent III, 226. 

unfair to St. Francis, 226. 

unfair to St. Jerome, 209. 

admits the small number of 
victims, 207. 
Leo, St., the Great, and the Pris-. 
cillianists, 27. 

on persecution, 28. 
Leo IX, 46. 

Leo X, bull on sorcery, 200. 
Lollardy, 220. 
Louis VIII (France), 105. 
Louis IX, St. (France), 106, 118. 
Lucas, Bishop of Tuy, 120. 
Lucius III, his legislation against 
heresy, 56, 144. 

regulates the episcopal Inquisi- 
tion, 119. 

his decretal ad Aholendam, 174. 

Magic, accusation against Priscil- 
lian, 24. 
considered heresy, 163. 

Maistre, Joseph de, 240. 

Malleus Maleficarunty 180, 200. 

Manicheans, persecution of, 11-13. 
law of Diocletian against, 11. 

Marriage, denounced by Cathari, 
92 et seq. 

Marsollier, Jacques, vi, 153. 

Martin St., his tolerance, 24. 

Martin V, and usurers, 163. 

Maximus (Emperor), 23. 

Melancthon, approves of the exe- 
cution of Servetus, 224. 

Metempsychosis, of the Cathari, 


Milan, heretics burned at, 36, 116. 
Mitre, of condemned heretics, 206. 
Molay, Jacques, 188. 
Monteforte, heretics burned at, 36. 
Montwimer, heretics burned at, 

Moranis, 184. 
Moriscos, 198. 

Names, of witnesses withheld, 128. 

Newman, Cardinal, on suppres- 
sion of facts, ix. 

Nevers, heretics burned at, 53. 

Nicholas I, denounces the use of 
torture, 148, 232. 
on ecclesiastical penalties, 257. 

Nicholas IV, his legislation against 
heresy, 147. 

Nicholas V, 165. 



Oath, use of, denounced by the 
Cathari, 78. 

Optatus, St., advocates the death- 
penalty, 14. 

Ordeals, 129, 149, 244. 

Origen, tolerance of, 3. 

Orleans, heretics burned at, 31. 

Pamiers, registers of, 194, 196. 

Panormiay 47, 64. 

Paramo, 167, 201. 

Parenzo, St., 59. 

Paris, heretics burned at, 53. 

Pastor, on Innocent VIII, 200. 

Patarins, 72. 

Patricius, 24. 

Paul, St., excommunicates here- 
tics, I. 

Paulicians, massacre of, 70. 

Peter of Bruys, 38. 

Peter Cantor, 43, 48, 243. 

Peter, of S. Chrysogono, 70. 

Peter, St., of Verona, 116, 183. 

Piero Parenzo, 59. 

Pierre Cauchon, 188. 

Pierre Mauran, 54. 

Philip Augustus, 53. 

Philip, Count of Flanders, 52. 

Philip the Fair, 185, 188. 

Pilgrimages, as penances, 125. 

Pius V and the Huguenots, 218. 

Plato, 214. 

Prayer, the Lord's, 84. 

Primacy, of the Pope, denied by 
the Cathari, 73. 

Priscillianism, 22-27. 

Probatio of the Cathari, 86. 

Processus Inquisitionis, 258-269. 

Rack, torture of, 152. 

Raymond V, 54. 

Raymond VII, 196. 

Raymond, St., of Pennafort, 160- 

Relapse, peualty for, 174—176, 212, 

Responsibility of the Church in 

the infliction of the death 

penalty, 41, 42, 47, 144, et 

seq.y 177 ff/ seq,^ 244. 

Ritual, of the Cathari, 85, 86. 

Robert the Pious, 34. 

Robert the Bugre, 123, 184. 

Rodrigo, his work on the Inquisi- 
tion, 235. 

Rome, Patarins, burned in, 112. 

Roman law, revival of, 50, 149. 

Sabbat, the witches', 164. 

Sachenspiegel, .115. 

Sacraments, denied by the Cath- 
ari, 74. 

Sardinia, Inquisition in, 182. 
Cathari in, 37. 

Savonarola, 186. 

Secrecy of the Inquisition, 167. 

Secular arm, abandonment to the, 
56, 67, 130, 177, 178, 196, 

Sermo generalis, 139, 193, 206. 

Servetus, 222, 223. 

Sicilian Code, of Frederic II, 112, 

114, 134, 149, 160, 211, 216. 

Simon de Montfort, 54. 

Sixtus V, 200. 

Spain, Inquisition in, 189, 197-199. 

Speronistae, 72. 



Sprenger, 180, 200. 
Soglia, Cardinal, theory of tolera- 
tion, 251. 
Soissons, heretics burned at, 37. 
Sophronisteriay 214. 
Stake, penalty of the, 31, 35, 36, 

37» 5i» 53> 58, 62, 6s, 109, 
115-117, 130, 134, 196, 197, 

Strasburg heretics burned at, 109. 

Suger, Abbot, 40. 

Sulpicius Severus, 25. 

Superstition, classed as heresy, 


Syllabus, the, 249. 

Synodal witnesses, 120. 

TaliOy penalty of the, 166. 
Taxation, its lawfulness denied by 

the Cathari, 78. 
Templars, 188. 
Tertullian, on toleration, 2, 3. 
Theodora, the Empress, 69. 
Theodore of Beza, 224. 
Theodosius I (Emperor), 9. 
Theodosius II (Emperor), 8. 
Theodwin of Lifege, 42. 
Theognitus, 28. 

Thomas Aquinas, St., definition 
of heresy, 160. . 

defends the death-penalty, 171 
et seq. 

on the relapsed, 175, 236. 
Torquemada, 197, 198. 
Torture, in the trials of the In- 
quisition, 147-158, 231. 

different forms of, 1 51-154. 

repetition of, 168. 

value of confessions, extorted by, 

of witnesses, 170. 

recommended by Bernard Gui, 


condemned by Nicholas I, 148, 


presence of clerics at, 154. 

length of, 155. ' 

Transmigration, of souls, 83. 

Urban IV, and the episcopal In- 
quisition, 137. 
and the Inquisitorial procedure, 

and torture, 154. 
Usury, 163. 

Valentinian I, 9. 

Valerian, Edict of, 57. 

Veneration of Cathari, 81. 

Verona, heretics burned at, 116. 

Veronese code, 149. 

Vestment, sacred, of the Cathari, 


Vezelai, heretics burned at, 51. 

Vilgard, 35. 

Viterbo, Patarins at, 62. 

Waldenses, confounded with the 
Cathari, 260. 
heresy of, 72. 
War, denounced by Cathari, 79. 
Wazo, of Lifege, 42, 43. 
Witchcraft, 199-201. 
Witnesses, character of, 125. 
number required, 125. 
few for the defence, 126. 



Witnesses, age of, 260. 
dangers i;icurred by, 127. 
refused for enmity, 126. 
Synodal, 120. 

Wyclif, 220. 

Zanchino Ugolino, 163. 
Zurkinden, 224. 


Cf)e Wiz%txa\n%tti Hilitatp 





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Modem Life. Crown 8vo. Pp. vi-i68 $i.oo, net 

PARERGA. A Companion Volume to " Under the Cedars and 
the Stars." Crown 8vo. 360 pages. $1.60, net, 

[February, 1908 


Crown 8vo. Pp. viii-580 $1.50 

"This is an exceedingly powerhil and absorbing book. Beginning with the true 
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moves on like a great procession. ... It is a novel, but it is more than that. It is a 
great sermon, a great lesson, almost a great drama. . . . We cordially commend *Luke 
Delmege' for its lofty purpose and thought, its adeauate diction, and its high incentive 
. . . there is in it an occasional touch of humor which is very welcome and which is 
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GLENANAAR. A Novel of Irish Life. 

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there can be foun* in 'Glenanaar* a wonderful luxuriance of incident and wealth at 
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chapter. ... We have laid this charming book down with a promise to read it over 
again at the first opportunity." — Gaelic American, New York. 

LISHEEN. A Novel. Crown 8vo. Pp. vi-454 $1.50 

'• A capital study of modem conditions in Ireland. A sympathetic study, too, and 
it will be welcomed heartily by the big circle of his admirers.^' — Cleveland Leader. 

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ever faults one may find with details the book has one supreme merit, it is readable from 
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is unbroken to the end. There is freshness, vigor, variety, enthusiasm on every page. ..." 

— Catholic University Bulletin. 

With frontispiece. Crown 8vo $0.40 

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Contents: Chap. I. Septuagesima and the Lenten Fast — II. 
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— VII. Tenebrae — VIII. Maundy Thursday — IX. Good Friday — 
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This volume aims at supplying a popular account of those external 
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the Abbe Constant Fouard, Honorary Cathedral Canon, 
Professor of the Faculty of Theology at Rouen, etc., etc. 

"This is not merely biography; it is veritable history as well. The whole period 

work should at once find a {dace in every Christian library." — Catholic Standard. 

1. THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD: A Life of our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Translated from the 
Fifth Edition with the Author's sanction and co-operation, 
with an Introduction by Cardinal Manning. Two vols., 
with 3 Maps, small 8vo, gilt top $4.00 

TIANITY. Translated from the Second Edition with the 
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3. ST. PAUL AND HIS MISSIONS. Translated with the 
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4. THE LAST YEARS OF ST. PAUL. Translated with 
the Author's sanction and co-operation. With Maps and 
Plans. Small SvOj gilt top $2.00 

AGE. Translated with the sanction and co-operation of 
the Author's executors. With a Portrait of the Abbd 
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*** The six volumes comprising this set can be supidied in uniform binding, boxed. 
Price, $9 .60, net. Expressage additional. 

Professor in the University of Fribourg. Authorized Eng- 
lish Version by Robert Fraser, D.D., Domestic Prelate 
of H.H. Pius X. Crown 8vo $2.00 


'A work of the very first importance. No Scriptural work in English from the 
pen of a Catholic can we at this moment recall which does so much to meet the urgent 
demands of New Testament Criticism. . . . Honest, open-minded, and clearly a candid 
lover of truth, he is as distinguished an apologist as one could wish." — CathoUc World, 


LEY, M.D., Ph.D., LL.D. Ophthalmologist to Saint 
Agnes's Hospital, Philadelphia, and James J. Walsh, 
M.D., Ph.D., LL.D., Adjunct Professor of Medicine at 
the New York Polyclinic School for Graduates in Medicine; 
Professor of Nervous Diseases and of the History of Medi- 
cine, Fordham University, New York. Second Impression. 
8vo. 373 pages $2.50, net. By mail, $2.68 

"All professors of moral science and aU iniests on the mission ought to provide 
themselves with the * Essays in Pastoral Medicine.' It is impossible to go into the details 
of a book like this; and so we will confine oiu'selves to saying that this volume is the best 
and most complete in its subject-matter that we have ever seen. All the moral questions 
that arise in connection with the origin of life, with human co-operation with the creative 

gurpose of God; the questions regarding responsibility that are suggested by inebriety, 
ysteria, neurasthenia, epilepsv, suicide, and hereditary criminality, are discussed here 
with scientific competence and in an English style of admirable clarity and power." — 
CathoUc World. 

"... Should give the intelligent student much food for thought, for it opens up 
a mine of information not usually explored by those outside the medical profession. To 
the ixistor it is particularly adapted. It gives him knowledge which it would be hard 
for nim to secure elsewhere. All the essays are practical explanations of necessary things 
to do in emergencies as well as under ordinary conditions and are so written that ^ 
may easily understand. ..." — Catholic Union and Times. 

*• ... It is a great work — one might justly say, indeed, an invaluable one to 
both priests and doctors." — Catholic Standard and Times. 

"The book . . . seems to us one of the best of its kind. For English-speaking 
clergy it is perhaps the very best. The authors keep steadily in view English and Amer- 
ican life, customs, and modes of thought. On the other hand, they are staunch Catholics." 
— The Tablet, London. 

"... These scholarly essays by Drs. O'Malley and Walsh are pathfinders and 
most admirable, and should be read and pondered over by the physician, siu-geon, gyne- 
cologist, iMniest, minister, editor, lawyer, patient, teacher and parent. The volume 
really fills a long-felt want in medicine and sociology." — Medical Record. 

"This book will be of incalculable service to the priest and the conscientious physi- 
cian. . . . For many reasons we are led to the verdict that these essays hold the first 
6 lace in the English language along the lines proper to Pastoral Medicine, and we ^ould 
ke to see a copy in the library of every priest and of every physician. ..." — Donahoe^s 
Magazine. ^ 

Works by Rev. B. W. Maturin, formerly of Cowley St. John, Oxford 

ITUAL LIFE. i2mo $1.50 

LORD. Crown 8vo $1.50 

8vo $1.50, net 

LAWS OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. Crown 8vo . . $1 .50, net 

This is a series of nine chapters dealing with the Beatitudes. 


SEP 6 1985 



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