Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/114

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ally two bishops, so that in the case of death consecration should not be sought at the hands of a filius major.[1]

The Catharan ritual was severe in its simplicity. The Catholic Eucharist was replaced by the benediction of bread, which was performed daily at table. He who was senior by profession or position took the bread and wine, while all stood up and recited the Lord's Prayer. The senior then saying, " The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us," broke the bread, and distributed it to all present. This blessed bread was regarded with special reverence by the great mass of the Cathari, who were, as a rule, merely "crezentz," "credent es," or believers, and not fully received or "perfected" in the Church. These would sometimes procure a piece of this bread and keep it for years, occasionally taking a morsel. Every act of eating or drinking was preceded by prayer; when a " perfected " minister was at the table, the first drink and every new dish that was tasted was accompanied by the guests with " Benedicite," to which he responded "Diaus vos benesiga" There was a monthly ceremony of confession, which, however, was general in its character and was performed by the assembled faithful. The great ceremony was the "Cossolament," "Consolamentum," or Baptism of the Holy Ghost, which reunited the soul to the Holy Spirit, and which, like the Christian baptism, worked absolution of all sin. It consisted in the imposition of hands, it required two ministrants, and could be performed by any one of the Perfected not in mortal sin — even by a woman. It was inefficacious, however, when one of these was involved in sin. This was the process of "heretication," as the inquisitors termed the admission into the Church, and except in the case of those who proposed to become ministers was, as a rule, postponed until the death-bed, probably for fear of persecution; but the "credens" frequently entered into an agreement, known as "la covenansa," binding himself to undergo it at the last moment, and this engagement authorized its performance even though he had lost the power of speech and was unable to make the responses. In form it was exceedingly simple, though it was generally preceded by

  1. Tract, de Modo Procedendi contra Haereticos (MSS. Bib. Nat. Coll. Doat, XXX. fol. 185 sqq.). — Rainerii Saccon. Summa. — E. Cunitz in Beitrage zu den theol. Wissenschaften, 1852, B. IV. pp. 30, 36, 85.