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INQUISITION

Tuscany. Certain districts revolted against this violence, which threatened to devastate Italy as it had devastated Provence; in 1277 Fra Corrado Pagano was killed on an expedition against the heretics of the Vattelline, and two years after the people of Parma rose against the inquisitors. Besides, this reign of terror only raised to a furious pitch the passionate and independent piety of the Italian peoples. The body of a heretic, Armanno Ponzilupo, who was killed at Ferrara in 1269, was venerated by the people, and his mediation was even invoked, until the Inquisition had to suppress this cult. But it had a harder struggle against the successes of Gerard Legarelli, and especially Dolcino (see Apostolici), which only came to an end after a long and difficult trial of the adepts of the Messianist sect of Guglielma, some of whom belonged to the noble families of Lombardy. Up till the beginning of the 14th century, however, the power of the Inquisition steadily increased, and at this period Zanghino Ugolini appeared as the most skilful exponent of its theory and procedure. About the same time Charles of Anjou introduced the Inquisition into the Two Sicilies, but it could rarely effect anything there; the religious cohesion of the country was weak, and refugees were sure of safe hiding, both Waldenses and Fraticelli being frequently harboured there. When Sicily passed into the hands of Peter III. of Aragon, moreover, it came into a position of open hostility to the Holy See and became a refuge for heretics.

Venice always preserved its autonomy as regards the repression of heresy; she was perfectly orthodox, but remained entirely independent of Rome; Innocent IV. sent inquisitors there, but the heretics continued actually to be subject to the secular tribunals. In 1288 a compromise was arrived at, and the papal Inquisition was admitted into the republic, but only on condition that it should remain under the control of the secular power; thus there was established a mixed régime which survived till the last days of the Venetian state. In Savoy the Inquisition constantly carried on severe measures against the Waldenses of the Alps. During the 14th and 15th centuries there was an uninterrupted succession of trials.

As regards the papal states, “it was in the nature of things that, by a confusion of the two personages, the pope should consider all opposition to him qua Italian prince as resistance offered to the head of the church, i.e. to the States of the Church. church” (Ch. V. Langlois). The Colonna had a personal animosity against the Gaetani; therefore Boniface VIII., a Gaetano, declared the Colonna to be heretics. Rienzi was accused of heresy for having questioned the temporal sovereignty of the pope at Rome. The Venetians, who in 1309 opposed the annexation of Ferrara by Clement V. to the detriment of the house of Este, were proclaimed heretics and placed under the ban of Christendom. Savonarola was attacked because he interfered with the policy of Alexander VI. at Florence. It was this same desire for the hegemony of Italy which inspired the attitude of the popes throughout the middle ages, causing them to excommunicate, apparently without reason so far as doctrine was concerned, the Visconti of Milan, the Della Scala of Verona, the Maffredi of Faenza, &c., and prompting them to lay under an interdict or preach a crusade against certain rebellious great towns (Clement V. against Venice, John XXII. against Milan). Further, in each of the great cities of Lombardy and Tuscany, the papal party directed the local inquisition, and this power was rarely abused.

In Germany heresies, especially of a mystical character, were numerous in the middle ages; some of them affected the mass of the people, and led to religious and social movements of no little importance. The repression of heresy went Germany. on by fits and starts, and the Inquisition was never exercised so regularly in the Germanic as in certain of the Latin countries. At the outset of the 13th century persecutions of the Waldenses and Ortlibarii (followers of Ortlieb of Strassburg, c. 1200) took place at Strassburg; measures were taken locally until, in 1231, Gregory IX. issued definite instructions to the German prelates with a view to a regular repression of heresy, and gave full powers to execute them to Conrad of Marburg. Certain nobles having offered him resistance, he preached a crusade against them, but died by the hand of an assassin. The council of Mainz (April 1234) dealt gently with Conrad’s murderers, but severely with the false witnesses whom he had employed. Shortly before (February 1234), the diet of Frankfort had decided, in spite of the pope’s injunctions, that the destruction of heresy should be entrusted to the ordinary magistrates. And besides, thanks to the struggle between the Empire and the papacy, the German prelates always limited the prerogatives of the papal Inquisition. Again, by the municipal laws of the north (Sachsenspiegel) the ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the matter of heresy was very much limited, while the Schwabenspiegel (municipal laws for southern Germany) does not seem to be aware of the existence of any inquisitional jurisdiction or procedure. When in the 14th century communities of Beghards developed with extraordinary rapidity, it was the episcopal authority, both at Cologne and Strassburg, which undertook to deal with these groups of sectaries, and at the very height of the conflict between the Empire and the papacy. Marsilius of Padua, the theoretical exponent of the imperial rights, attributes to the secular judge the right and obligation to punish heresy, the priest’s rôle being merely advisory. In 1353 Innocent VI. tried to implant the papal Inquisition in Germany once for all; its success was but short, and Urban V.’s attempt in 1362 succeeded little better, in spite of the fact that Charles IV. (edicts of Lucca, June 1369) gave him the support of the secular power. Towards 1372, however, Gregory XI. succeeded in regularizing the exercise of the powers of the papal inquisitors on German soil; and the latter, notably Kerlinger, Hetstede, &c. set to work to destroy the communities of the Beghards, to burn their books, to close those beguinages which were under suspicion, and to check by more or less violent means mystical epidemics such as those of the “flagellants,” “dancers,” &c. But these measures provoked angry protests from the people, the secular magistrates and even the bishops, so that Gregory XI., perceiving that he was face to face with the popular party, invited the bishops to control the inquiries of his own envoys. At the end of the 15th century the two inquisitions were acting concurrently.

In Bohemia and the provinces subject to it the Waldenses had found their chosen country, and by the middle of the 13th century their propaganda was very flourishing. In 1245 Innocent IV. ordered the bishops to prosecute Bohemia. them with the aid of the secular arm, and in 1257, at the request of King Ṕremysl Ottokar II., Alexander IV. introduced the Inquisition into Bohemia. But from this date till 1335 inquisitorial missions succeeded one another without effecting any sensible diminution in the material and moral strength of the heresy. The Waldenses had been joined by other sectaries, the Luciferani, and especially the Brethren of the Free Spirit. It was in vain that the bishops of Bohemia and Silesia carried on during the second half of the 14th century an active campaign against heresy; the spirit of criticism which had arisen with regard to the morals, and even to the dogmas of the church, was already preparing the way for Hussitism.

In the regions east of the Adriatic, Catharism, the first communities of which had very probably settled here, was supreme in the time of Innocent III. and Honorius III. The first Dominicans who established themselves in these parts The Balkan States. had much to suffer from the aggression of those very heretics whom they had come to convert. Gregory XI., implacable in his persecution of Catharism, preached a crusade against them in 1234, and Bosnia was laid waste by fire and sword. But in spite of these violent measures Catharism only gained strength in the churches of Bulgaria, Rumania, Slavonia and Dalmatia. In 1298 Boniface VIII. tried to organize the Inquisition there, but the project remained fruitless. The attempt was revived in 1323 by John XXII. with doubtful success. The persecutions undertaken in the 14th and 15th centuries merely resulted in binding the Cathari to the invading Turks, with whom they found more tolerance than with the Slav princes converted to Roman orthodoxy.