Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/158

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better. lie likewise declined to go with them to Raymond ; and when they asked his co-operation in summoning the consuls of Béziers to abjure heresy and defend the Church against heretics, he not only withheld it, but impeded their efforts ; and though he finally promised to excommunicate the magistrates for contumacy, he never did so, in spite of the fact that heresy so predominated in the town that the viscount was obliged to authorize the cathedral canons to fortify the Church of St. Peter for fear that the heretics would seize it; Possibly he was deterred by the example made of his neighbor, Berenger, Bishop of Carcassonne, who, in consequence of threatening his flock for heresy, was expelled the city and a heavy fine imposed on any one who should have dealings with him.[1]

Evidently pope and legate were of small account in the chaos which reigned in Languedoc. The prelates refused to be reformed, and yet the legates, in their disputations with the heretics, were so continually answered with references to the evil lives of the clergy that they recognized reformation as a condition precedent to any peaceable conversion of the people. The heretics were daily growing bolder, as if to show their scorn of the futile efforts of Innocent. About this very time Esclairmonde, sister of the powerful Count of Foix, with five other ladies of rank, was "hereticated" in a public assemblage of Cathari, where many knights and nobles were present, and it was remarked that the count was the only one who did not give the heretical salute or "veneration" to the ministrants. Even Pedro the Catholic of Aragon presided over a public debate at Carcassonne, between the legates and a number of leading heretics, which had no result. The situation was desperate, and Innocent may be pardoned if he reached the conclusion that a deluge was needed to cleanse the land of sin and prepare it for a new race.[2]

Enough time had been lost in half-measures while the evil was daily increasing in magnitude, and Innocent proceeded to put

  1. Petri Sarnens. c. 1, 17.— Vaissette, III. 129, 134-5; Preuves, 197.— Regest. VI. 242-3.
  2. Pet. Sarnens. c. 3,— Vaissette, III. 133, 135— Guillem de Tudela iv. My references to the poem which passes under the name of Guillem de Tudela are to Fauriel's edition (1837). A metrical version by Mary-Lafon appeared in 1868, since when M. Paul Meyer has issued a critical edition with abundant apparatus.