Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/103

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83
THE WALDENSES.

burned the Waldenses of Cologne in 1302 tells us that they denied transubstantiation, but they added, that if it occurred it could not be wrought in the hands of a sinful priest. So it was with regard to purgatory — which for a long while was regarded as an open question, to be definitely decided in the negative by the close of the fourteenth century — together with the suffrages of the saints, the invocation of the Virgin, and the other devices of which it was the excuse. The antisacerdotalism in which the sect took its rise, naturally, in its development, tended to do away with all that interposed mediators between God and man, although this progress was by no means uniform. The Waldenses burned in Strassburg, in 1212, rejected all distinction between the laity and the priesthood. In Lombardy, about the same time, the community elected ministers either temporary or for life. Both the French and Lombard Waldenses of this period held that the Eucharist could only be made by an ordained priest, though they differed as to the necessity of his not being in mortal sin. Bernard Gui speaks of three orders among them — deacons, priests, and bishops ; M. Montet has found in a MS. of 1404 a form of Waldensian ordination; and when the Unitas Fratrum of Bohemia was organized in 1467, it had recourse, as we shall see hereafter, to the Waldensian Bishop Stephen to consecrate its first bishops. Yet the antisacerdotal tendencies were so strong that the difference between the laity and priesthood was greatly diminished, and the power of the keys was wholly rejected. About 1400, the Nobla Leyczon declares that all the popes, cardinals, bishops, and abbots since the days of Silvester could not pardon a single mortal sin, for God alone has the power of pardon. As the soul thus dealt directly with God, the whole machinery of indulgences and so-called pious works was thrown aside. It is true that faith without works was idle — "la fe es ociosa sensa las obras"— but good works were piety, repentance, charity, justice, not pilgrimages and formal exercises, the founding of churches and the honoring of saints."[1]


  1. Tract, de Paup. de Lugd. (Martene Thesanr. V. 1792).— Wadding. Aniial. Minor. Ann. 1332, No. 6.— Bern. Guidon. Practica P. v. (Doat, XXX.).— Montet Hist. Litt. pp. 38, 44, 45, 89, 142.— Ilaupt, Zeitsclirift fur Kircliengescliiclite, 1885 p. 551.— Pet. Coelcst. (Preger, Beitnige, pp. (58, 09).- Kallncr, Koniad von Marburg, pp. 69-71.— Rescript. Paup. Lombard. §§ 4, 5, 17, 19, 22, 23.— Nobla Leyczon, 409-413; cf. Montet. pp. 49, 50, 103, 104, 143.— Passaviens. Anon. cap. 5