Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/159

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139
CRUSADE THREATENED IN VAIN.

forth the whole strength of the Church. To the monks of Fontfroide he adjoined as chief legate the "Abbot of abbots," Arnaud of Citeaux, head of the great Cistercian Order, a stern, resolute, and implacable man, full of zeal for the cause and gifted with rare persistency. Since the time of St. Bernard the abbots of Citeaux had seemed to feel a personal responsibility for the suppression of heresy in Languedoc, and Arnaud was better fitted for the work before him than any of his predecessors. To the legation thus constituted, at the end of May, 1204, Innocent issued a fresh commission of extraordinary powers. The prelates of the infected provinces were bitterly reproached for the negligence and timidity which had permitted heresy to assume its alarming proportions. They were ordered to obey humbly whatever the legates might see fit to command, and the vengeance of the Holy See was threatened for slackness or contumacy. Wherever heresy existed, the legates were armed with authority "to destroy, throw down, or pluck up whatever is to be destroyed, thrown down, or plucked up, and to plant and build whatever is to be built or planted." With one blow the independence of the local churches destroyed and an absolute dictatorship was created. Recognizing, moreover, of how little worth were ecclesiastical censures, Innocent proceeded to appeal to force, which was evidently the only possible cure for the trouble. Not only were the legates directed to deliver all impenitent heretics to the secular arm for perpetual proscription and confiscation of property, but they were empowered to offer complete remission of sins, the same as for a crusade to the Holy Land, to Philip Augustus and his son, Louis Cœur-de-Lion, and to all nobles who should aid in the suppression of heresy. The dangerous classes were also stimulated by the prospect of pardon and plunder, through a special clause authorizing the legates to absolve all under excommunication for crimes of violence who would join in persecuting heretics — an offer which subsequent correspondence shows was not unfruitful. To Philip Augustus, also, Innocent wrote at the same time, earnestly exhorting him to draw the sword and slay the wolves who had thus far found no one to withstand their ravages in the fold of the Lord. If he could not proceed in person, let him send his son, or some experienced leader, and exercise the power conferred on him for the purpose by Heaven. Not only was remission of sins