Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/156

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it could at persuasion — not of heretics, indeed, but of their protectors.

Innocent was consecrated February 22, 1198, and already by April 1st we find him writing to the Archbishop of Ausch, deploring the spread of heresy and the danger of its becoming universal. The prelate and his brethren are ordered to extirpate it by the utmost rigor of ecclesiastical censures, and if necessary by bringing the secular arm to bear through the assistance of princes and people. Not only are heretics themselves to be punished, but all who have any dealings with them, or who are suspect by reason of undue familiarity with them. In the existing posture of affairs, the prelates to whom these commands were addressed can only have regarded them with mingled derision and despair ; and we can readily imagine the replies in which they declared their zeal and lamented their powerlessness. Innocent probably was aware of this in advance and did not await the response. By April 21st he had two commissioners ready to represent the Holy See on the spot — Rainier and Gui — whom he sent armed with letters to all the prelates, princes, nobles, and people of southern France, empowering them to enforce whatever regulations they might see fit to employ to avert the imminent peril to the Church arising from the countless increase of Cathari and Waldenses, who corrupted the people by simulated works of justice and charity. Those heretics who will not return to the true faith are to be banished and their property confiscated ; these provisions are to be enforced by the secular authorities under penalty of interdict for refusal or negligence, and with the reward for obedience of the same indulgences as those granted for a pilgrimage to Rome or Compostella; and all who consort or deal with heretics or show them favor or protection are to share their punishment. It was apparently an after-thought when Rainier, six months later, was empowered to remove the source of the evil by reforming the churches and restoring discipline. Rainier's powers evidently proved insufficient, and in July, 1199, they were enlarged, both as a reformer and a persecutor, and he was appointed legate, *to be received and obeyed with as much reverence as the pope himself. About this time there appeared to be a gleam of success in the application of William, Lord of Montpellier, for a legate to assist him in suppressing heresy ; but though William was a good Cath-