public offices, &c.). The usage, then, was already quite clear;
The death penalty.
Innocent III. but the death penalty had not as yet been demanded or inflicted. Possibly it was Count Raymond V. of Toulouse, in whose territories heretics abounded, who in 1194 enacted a law threatening them with the penalty of death; but the authenticity of this act has been questioned. It was more probably Peter II. of Aragon who was the first to decree, in 1197, the punishment of death by burning against the heretics who should not have left his kingdom within a given time. But it was Innocent III. who gave the most powerful impetus to the anti-heretical movement in the secular world by his frequent exhortations (beginning in 1198) to the secular princes (letters of March 25th, 1199, and September 22nd, 1207). As a jurist he henceforward assimilated the crime of high treason against God to that of high treason against temporal rulers, and admitted all the terrible consequences of this assimilation.
It is therefore incorrect to believe that the Inquisition arose
out of, and at the time of, the crusade against the Albigenses.
These executions en masse certainly created a definitive
precedent for violent repression, but there was still
Albigensian Crusade. No regular Inquisition.
no regular organization: the council of Toulouse,
held in November 1229 by the Roman legate after the
treaty of peace, attempted to organize one, and
constituted itself the tribunal. But the procedure was
still uncertain; in the north, from 1200 to 1222, at Paris (execution
of the disciples of Amalric of Bena), at Strassburg, Cambrai,
Troyes and Besançon executions took place, after trials in which
the bishops were the judges, the exercise of the secular power
being based on vague phrases in the decrees of Louis VIII.
(that heretics be punished animadversione debita), or in those
of Louis IX., ordering his baillis or barons to do to them quod
debebunt. The emperor Frederick II. defined his jurisprudence
The Emperor Frederick II.
Gregory IX. creates the monastic Inquisition.
The Dominicans. more clearly: from 1220 to 1239, supported by Pope Honorius III., and above all by Gregory IX., he established against the heretics of the Empire in general a legislation in which the penalties of death, banishment and confiscation of property were formulated so clearly as to be henceforth incontestable. Gregory IX. felt his influence, and also that of the Dominican Guala, bishop of Brescia, who had subjected his episcopal town to the full rigour of the imperial laws. The pope no longer hesitated as to the principle or the degree of repression; but introduced new methods of inquiry and judgment: he created out of the material furnished him by the mendicant orders, and especially the Dominicans, who were more disciplined than the rest and better theologians, the monastic inquisition, which was more elastic, more constant in its activities and more numerous than the inquisition by legate, and better disciplined than the episcopal inquisition. In November 1232 the Dominican Alberic went round Lombardy with the title of Inquisitor haereticae pravitatis. In 1231 a similar commission was given to the Dominicans of Friesach and to the terrible Conrad of Marburg, whose zeal in Germany even exceeded the pope’s wishes. In 1233 Gregory IX. addressed a letter to the bishops in the south of France, in which he announced his intention of employing the preaching friars in future for the discovery and repression of heresy.
The inquisition was now regularly instituted, but its jurisprudence was elaborated by successive additions or limitations, by the force of custom and the detailed prescriptions Beginnings of the Inquisition. added by the papal constitutions. The pope’s commissioners “in the matter of heresy” at first travelled from place to place. On arriving in a district they addressed its inhabitants, called upon them to confess, if they were heretics, or to denounce those whom they knew to be heretics: a “time of grace” was opened, during which those who freely confessed were dispensed from all penalties, or only given a secret and very light penance; while those whose heresy had been openly manifested were exempted from the penalties of death and perpetual imprisonment. But this time could not exceed one month. After that began the inquisition. As soon as their mission was at an end, and heresy was considered to be stamped out, the inquisitors left the country. Later, Inquisitorial districts. inquisitorial districts were formed. The seat of the Inquisition in each district was the monastery of the order (Dominican or Franciscan) to which the inquisitors for that part belonged. There was never any special court or prison: the murus (prison) was lent to the Inquisition by the ecclesiastical or secular authorities. The maintenance of the prisoners and the duty of providing the prison fell in principle upon the bishops (council of Toulouse, 1229), but they tried to evade it. The kings of France, and in The Inquisitors and their auxiliaries. particular Louis VIII., granted subsidies to the inquisitors. For each district the inquisitors were chosen by the provincials of their order, approved or rejected by the pope, and removable by him only. Their discretionary powers were absolute. They conducted their interrogations before two persons (laymen or ecclesiastics) and only pronounced their sentence after consultation with leading men in the district (communicato bonorum virorum consilio). This was the only protection for the accused. It was in vain that the civil lawyers tried to prove that the secular authorities had a right to see the documents bearing on the case; the Inquisition always succeeded in setting aside these claims. The share taken in the proceedings by the bishops, the accused or their representatives, though admitted in principle, was as a rule merely illusory. The Inquisition had in addition to these boni viri certain other lay assistant officials, its sworn notaries, messengers and familiars, all of whom were closely bound to it.
Bernard Guy (Bernardus Guidonis), one of the earliest and most complete exponents of the theory of the Inquisition, admits distinctly that in its procedure multa sunt specialia. The procedure was secret and in the Procedure of the Inquisition. highest degree arbitrary, proceeding sine strepitu et figura judicii, its object being to ascertain not so much particular offences as tendencies: the murderers of the inquisitor Peter Martyr were tried, not as assassins, but as guilty of heresy and adversaries of the Inquisition; and on the other hand, external acts of piety and verbal professions of faith were held of no value. Moreover the Inquisition was not bound by the ordinary rules of procedure in its inquiries: the accused was surprised by a sudden summons, and as a rule imprisoned on suspicion. All the accused were presumed to be guilty, the judge being at the same time the accuser. Absence was naturally considered as contumacy, and only increased the presumption of guilt by seeming to admit it. The accused had the right to demand a written account of the offences attributed to him (capitula accusationis), but the names of the witnesses were withheld from him (Innocent IV.; bulls Cum negocium and Licet sicut accepimus), he did not know who had denounced him, nor what weight was attached by the judges to the denunciations made against him. The utmost that was allowed him was the unsatisfactory privilege of the recusationes divinatrices, i.e. at his first examination he was asked for the names of any enemies of whom he knew, and the causes of their enmity. Heretics or persons deprived of civil rights (infames) were admitted as witnesses in cases of heresy. Women, children or slaves could be witnesses for the prosecution, but not for the defence, and cases are even to be found in which the witnesses were only ten years of age. Langhino Ugolini states that a witness who should retract his hostile evidence should be punished for false witness, but that his evidence should be retained, and have its full effect on the sentence. No witness might refuse to give evidence, under pain of being considered guilty of heresy. The prosecution went on in the utmost secrecy. The accused swore that he would tell the whole truth, and was bound to denounce all those
- He was born c. 1261, was a Dominican at Limoges in 1279, successively prior of Albi (1294), Carcassonne (1297), Castres (1301) and Limoges (1305), inquisitor at Toulouse (1307), bishop of Tuy (1323) and of Lodève (1325). He died in 1331.
- Peter, a Dominican, born at Verona, was murdered near Milan in 1252 and canonized in 1253.