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i. 20) “delivered unto Satan” Hymenaeus and Alexander, “that they might learn not to blaspheme.” The penalty of death by stoning inflicted by the book of Deuteronomy upon those who deserted the true faith (Deut. xiii. 6-9, xvii. 1-6) is thus reduced to a purely spiritual excommunication. During the first three centuries of the Church there is no trace of any persecution, and the earlier Fathers, especially Origen and Lactantius, reject the idea of it. Constantine, by the edict of Milan (313), inaugurated an era of official tolerance, but from the time of Valentinian I. and Theodosius I. onwards, laws against heretics began to appear, and increased with astonishing regularity and rapidity. We can count sixty-eight distributed over fifty-two years; heretics are subjected to exile or confiscation, disqualified from inheriting property, and even, in the case of a few groups of Manichaeans and Donatists, condemned to death; but it should be noticed that these penalties apply only to the outward manifestations of heresy, and not, as in the middle Opinions of the Fathers. ages, to crimes of conscience. Within the Church, St Optatus alone (De schismate Donatistarum, lib. iii. cap. iii.) approved of this violent repression of the Donatist heresy; St Augustine only admitted a temperata severitas, such as scourging, fines or exile, and at the end of the 4th century the condemnation of the Spanish heretic Priscillian, who was put to death in 385 by order of the emperor Maximus, gave rise to a keen controversy. St Martin of Tours, St Ambrose and St Leo vigorously attacked the Spanish bishops who had obtained the condemnation of Priscillian. St John Chrysostom considered that a heretic should be deprived of the liberty of speech and that assemblies organized by heretics should be dissolved, but declared that “to put a heretic to death would be to introduce upon earth an inexpiable crime.” From the 6th to the 9th century the heterodox, with the In the early Middle Ages. exception of the Manichaean sects in certain places, were hardly subjected to persecution. They were, moreover, rare and generally isolated, for groups of sectaries only began to appear to any extent at the time of the earliest appearances of Catharism. However, at the end of the 10th century, the disciples of Vilgard, a heretic of Ravenna, were destroyed in Italy and Sardinia, according to Glaber, ferro et incendio, probably by assimilation to the Manichaeans. Perhaps this was the precedent for the punishment of the thirteen Cathari who were burnt at Orleans in 1022 by order of King Robert, a sentence which has been commonly quoted as the first action of the “secular arm” (or lay power) against heresy in the West during the middle ages. However that may be, after 1022 there were numerous cases of the execution of heretics, either by burning or strangling, in France, Italy, the Empire and England. Up till about 1200 it is not quite easy to determine what part was taken by the Church and its bishops and doctors in this series of executions. At Orleans the people, supported by the Crown, were responsible for the death of the heretics; the historians give only the faintest indications of any direct intervention of the clergy, except perhaps for the examination of doctrine. At Goslar (1051-1052) the proceedings were the same. At Asti (1034) the bishop’s name appears side by side with those of the other lords who attacked the Cathari, but it seems clear that it was not he who had the chief voice in their execution; at Milan, it was again the civil magistrates, and this time against the wish of the archbishop—who gave the heretics the choice between the adoration of the cross and death. At Soissons (1114) the mob, distrusting the weakness of the clergy, took advantage of their bishop’s absence to burn heretics at the stake. It was also the mob who, infuriated at seeing him destroy and burn crosses, burnt the heresiarch Peter of Bruis (c. 1140). At Liége (1144) the bishop saved from the flames certain persons whom the faithful were attempting to burn. At Cologne (1163) the archbishop was less successful, and the mob put the heretics to death without even a trial. The condemnation of Arnold of Brescia was entirely political, though he was denounced as a heretic to the secular arm by Bernard of Clairvaux, and his execution was the act of the prefect of Rome (1155). At Vézelay, on the contrary (1167), the heretics were burnt after ecclesiastical judgment had been pronounced by the abbot and several bishops. From 1183 to 1206 Hugh, bishop of Auxerre, took upon himself the discretionary power of exiling, dispossessing or burning heretics, while about the same time William of the White Hands, archbishop of Reims, in concert with Philip, count of Flanders, stamped out heresy from his diocese by fire. There was a similar unanimity between the lay and ecclesiastical authorities in the famous condemnation of the disciples of Amalric of Bena, who were burnt at Paris in 1209 by order of Philip Augustus after an ecclesiastical inquiry and judgment. The theory in these matters was at first as uncertain as the practice; Conflicting views as to the punishment of heresy. in the 11th century one bishop only, Theodwin of Liége (d. 1075), affirms the necessity for the punishment of heretics by the secular arm (1050). His predecessor, Wazo, bishop of Liége from 1041 to 1044, had expressly condemned any capital punishment and advised the bishop of Chalons to resort to peaceful conversion. In the 12th century Peter the Cantor[1] protested against the death penalty, admitting at the most imprisonment. It was imprisonment again, or exile, but not death, which the German abbot Gerhoh of Reichersperg (1093-1169) demanded in the case of Arnold of Brescia, and in dealing with the heretics of Cologne, St Bernard, who cannot be accused of leniency where heterodoxy was concerned, recommended pacific refutation, followed by excommunication or prison, but never the death penalty (see Bernard, St, of Clairvaux). In the councils, too, The Church Councils.

Influence of the Canon Law.
it is clear that the appeal to the secular arm was equally guarded: at Reims (1049) excommunication alone is decreed against heretics; and when, as at Toulouse (1119) and the Lateran council (1139), it is laid down that heretics, in addition to excommunication, should be dealt with per potestates exteras, or when, as at the council of Reims (1148), the secular princes are forbidden to support or harbour heretics, there is never any suggestion of capital punishment. But it must be noticed that from the opening years of the 12th century date the beginnings of a decided evolution in the canon law, continuing up to the time of Innocent III., which substituted for arbitrary decisions according to circumstances an organized and particularized legislation, in which judgment was given secundum canonicas et legitimas sanctiones. Anselm of Lucca and the Panormia attributed to Ivo of Chartres reproduced word for word under the rubric De edicto imperatorum in dampnationem hoereticorum, law 5 of the title De hereticis of Justinian’s code, which pronounces the sentence of death against the Manichaeans; and we should remember that the Cathari, and in general all heretics in the West in the 11th and 12th centuries were considered by contemporary theologians as Manichaeans. Gratian in the Decretum proclaims the views of St Augustine (exile and fines). Certain of his commentators (2a pars Caus. xxiii.), and notably Rufinus Johannes Teutonicus, and the The Council of Tours, 1163.

Definition of the procedure under Lucius III. and the Emperor Frederick I.
anonymous glossator (in Uguccio’s Great Summa of the Decretum) declare that impenitent heretics may, or even should, be punished by death. As early as 1163, the council of Tours suggested to the ecclesiastical authorities definite penalties to be inflicted on heretics, namely, imprisonment and loss of all their property. Pope Alexander III., who had attended the council of Tours of 1163, renewed at the Lateran council (1179) the decisions which had already been made with regard to the heterodox in the south of France, and at Verona in 1184 Pope Lucius III., in concert with the emperor Frederick Barbarossa, took still more severe measures: obstinate heretics were to be excommunicated, and then handed over to the secular arm, which would inflict a suitable penalty. The emperor, on his side, laid them under the imperial ban (exile, confiscation, demolition of their houses, infamia, loss of civil rights, disqualification from

  1. Pierre de Beauvoisis (?), choir-master (grand-chantre) of the university of Paris (1184), bishop of Tournai (1191), of Paris (1196); died as a Cistercian in 1197. He was beatified.