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INQUISITION

the Liber sententiarum inquisitionis of Bernardus Guidonis (1307-1323) records sentences pronounced after death against 89 persons during a period of 15 years. But not only was their property confiscated and their heirs disinherited; they were subject to still further penalties. Frederick II. extended to heresy the application of the Roman law disqualifying from holding office, and even included under its operation the children and grandchildren of the guilty man. Alexander IV. and Boniface VIII. lightened the severity of this law, and removed certain disqualifications, notably in the case of ecclesiastical offices and property.

Among other accessory penalties, we must notice the condemnation of books. There were many precedents for this: Constantine had had the Arian writings burnt, Theodosius II. and Valentinian III. those of the Condemnation of books. Nestorians and Manichaeans, Justinian the Talmud. In 1210 were burnt the books of David of Dinant and the Periphyseon of Aristotle. In 1255 the De periculis novissimorum temporum of William of St Amour[1] was burnt by order of Pope Alexander IV., and from 1248 to 1319 was pronounced a series of condemnations of the Talmud. Nicholas Eymerich (c. 1320-1399), the Spanish inquisitor, demanded from Pope Gregory XI. the condemnation of Raymond Lully’s books, and in 1376 obtained it, but before long the Lullists returned into favour with the pope and Eymerich was banished. This rebuff suffered by an inquisitor shows how uncertain the censure of books still was, even in a country where in less than two centuries’ time it was to become one of the chief spheres of inquisitorial activity.

The definite object of the Inquisition was the prosecution of heresy; but its sphere of action was gradually extended by the theologians and casuists until sorcery and magic ranked with dogmatic heresy. The council of Valence Sorcery and magic. (1248) dealt with sorcerers as well as sacrilegious persons, but did not treat them as heretics. Alexander IV. went further, declaring that divination and sorcery should only come within the competence of the inquisitor when they directly affected the unity or faith of the Church (9th December 1257; cf. bull Quod super nonnullis, 10th January 1260). Cases of simple sorcery were left to be dealt with by the ordinary judges. The distinction was very subtle, but it was not tampered with until 1451, at which date Nicholas V. gave the inquisitor Hugues Lenoir the cognizance of cases of divination, even when the crime did not savour of heresy. In dealing with such a subtle question, great variations had naturally arisen in practice, and the repression of sorcery was carried on jointly by the inquisitors, the bishops and the secular courts. John XXII., in consequence of a perfect epidemic of sorcery about 1320, handed over to the inquisitors for a time (1320-1333) all cases of crimes involving magic; but this measure was temporary and exceptional and only confirms the rule. There were various occasions during the middle ages when men’s minds became infatuated, and it seemed as if the scourge of magic were likely entirely to destroy the Catholic faith; and during such times, morbidly infected with fear and the spirit of persecution, the ecclesiastical judges regained all their prestige. One of these crises culminated in the affair of the “Vauderie”[2] of Arras (1459), in which twelve unfortunates perished at the stake; and there were similar occurrences at the same period in Dauphiné and Gascony; of this nature again was the violent persecution in the Germanic countries begun by the bull Summis desiderantes of Innocent VIII. (5th December 1484), in the course of which the two authors of the Malleus maleficorum, the inquisitors Sprenger and Institoris (Heinrich Krämer), distinguished themselves as much by their knowledge of theoretical demonology as by their zeal as persecutors. In France the secular authority was not long in claiming and obtaining jurisdiction over sorcerers (parlement of Paris, 1374), and as early as 1378 the university of Paris gave judgment in a case of demonology. Those unfortunates who were charged with sorcery gained, however, nothing by this change of jurisdiction, for they were invariably put to death.

The inquisitors could not take proceedings against Jews as such. They might profess their religion and observe its rites without being in a state of heresy; they were only The Inquisition and the Jews. heretic when they attacked the Christian faith or community, made proselytes, or returned to Judaism after being converted. Further, those who practised usury were “suspected of not holding very orthodox doctrine as to theft” (Vacandard), and on this account the Inquisition gained a hold on them. Pope Martin V. (6th November 1419) authorized inquisitors to take proceedings against usurers.

But these are merely extensions of competence resulting from the works of the casuists; the Inquisition was primarily the instrument for the repression of all kinds of breaches Treatment of heresy in the various countries.

England.
of orthodoxy. Its work in this capacity we will now describe in outline for each of the great countries of medieval Christendom. England, whether before or after the establishment of the Inquisition, had but few trials for heresy and, particularist in this as in all her religious activity, judged them according to her own discipline, without asking Rome for laws or special judges. In 1166, a few heretics having been apprehended, Henry II. called a council at Oxford and summoned them to appear before it; they all confessed, and were condemned to be scourged, branded on the face with the mark of a key, and expelled from the country, and by the 21st article of the Assize of Clarendon the king forbade any one to harbour on their lands or in the house any “of that sect of renegades who had been excommunicated at Oxford.” Any one offending against this law was to be “at the king’s mercy” and his house was to be “carried outside the town and burnt.” The sheriffs were obliged to swear observance of this law and to require a similar oath from all barons’ stewards, knights and free tenants. This was the first civil law against heresy since the end of the Roman empire, and preceded the famous rescripts of Frederick II. against sectaries in the 13th century. It should, however, be noted that the political acts of Henry II. and Frederick II. drew down the most explicit condemnation of the church. Orthodoxy remained almost unimpaired in England up till the time of Wycliffe. Apparently neither the Catharist, Waldensian nor Pantheistic heresies gained any footing in Great Britain. The affair of the Templars in France, which was quite political, was repeated in England: Clement V. having ordered their arrest, Edward II., after much hesitation, gave orders to the sheriffs to execute it and then decided that the ecclesiastical law should be applied. The papal inquisitors sent to England met with a bad reception, and the pope was obliged to forbid them to use torture, which was contrary to the laws of the kingdom. It was found impossible to establish the Templars’ guilt and only canonical penalties were inflicted on them. The rising of the Lollards having alarmed both the church and the state, the article De haeretico comburendo was established by statute in 1401, and gained a melancholy notoriety during the religious struggles of the 16th century; it seems to have been not so much a measure for the safeguarding of dogma as a violent assertion of the secular absolutism. It was not till 1676 that Charles II. caused it to be abrogated, and obtained a decision that in cases of atheism, blasphemy, heresy, schism and other religious offences, the ecclesiastical courts should be confined to the penalties of excommunication, removal from office, degradation and other ecclesiastical means of censure, to the exclusion of the death penalty. Scotland was much Scotland. later than England in giving up persecution and bloodshed; and so late as 1696 a student of medicine aged eighteen and named Aikenhead was accused of heresy and hanged at Edinburgh. In Ireland Richard de Lederede or Ledred, a Franciscan and bishop of Ossory, in 1324 prosecuted on suspicion of heresy and for sorcery a certain Dame Alice

  1. Guillaume de St Amour (d. 1272), named after his birthplace in the Jura, was canon of Beauvais and rector of the university of Paris. He was conspicuous as the mouthpiece of the secular clergy in their attacks on the mendicant orders, the Dominicans in particular.
  2. The name of vauderie, i.e. the Vaudois or Waldensian heresy, had come to be used of witchcraft.