Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/153

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

sovereignty of France troubled him but little, yet the friendliness manifested to him on his accession by Philip Augustus was a not unimportant element in the prosperity which on every side seemed to give him assurance of a peaceful and fortunate reign. Thus secured against external aggression and confident of the future, he recked little of an excommunication which had been fulminated against him in 1195 by Celestin III. on account of the invasion of the rights of the Abbey of St. Gilles — an excommunication which Innocent III. removed shortly after his accession, but not without words of reproof and warning which Raymond defiantly disregarded, thus laying the foundation of a quarrel destined to result so disastrously. Though not a heretic, his indifference on religious questions led him to tolerate the heresy of his subjects. Most of his barons were either heretics or favorably inclined to a faith which, by denying the pretensions of the Church, justified its spoliation or, at least, liberated them from its domination. Raymond himself was doubtless influenced by the same motive, and when, in 1195, the Council of Montpellier anathematized all princes who neglected to enforce the Lateran canons against heretics and mercenaries, he paid no attention to its utterances. It would, in fact, have required the most ardent fanaticism to lead a prince so circumstanced to provoke his-^ vassals, to lay waste his territories, to massacre his subjects, and to invite assault from watchful rivals, for the purpose of enforcing uniformity in religion and subjugation to a Church known only by its rapacity and corruption. Toleration had endured for nearly a generation; the land was blessed with peace after almost interminable war, and all the dictates of worldly prudence counselled him to follow in his father's footsteps. Surrounded by one of the gayest and most cultured courts in Christendom, fond of women, a patron of poets, somewhat irresolute of purpose, and enjoying the love of his subjects, nothing could have appeared to him more objectless than a persecution such as Kome held to be the most indispensable of his duties.[1]

The condition of the Church in his dominions might well ex-

  1. Villani Cronica, Lib. v. c. 90. — Diez, Leben und Werke der Troubadours, 424.— Guill. Pod. Laur. cap. 47.— Vaissette, Éd. Privat, VIII. 558.— Petri Sarnensis Hist. Albigens. c. 1.— Vaissette, fid. 1730, IIL 101.