Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/240

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in vain; for he is the minister of God, and revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil" (Rom. XIII. 4). Alexander III. leaned decidedly to the side of mercy when, in 1162, he refused to pass judgment on the Cathari sent to him by the Archbishop of Reims, saying that it was better to pardon the guilty than to take the lives of the innocent. Even at the close of the century Peter Cantor dared to argue that the apostle ordered the heretic to be avoided, not slain, and he dwelt upon the inconsistency of the severity shown to the slightest deviation from faith, while the grossest sins and immoralities were allowed to go unpunished.[1]

This hesitation and uncertainty extended to the punishment appropriate to heresy. We have seen numerous cases of burning alive interspersed with sentences of imprisonment, and it was long before a definite formula was reached. Even when Alexander III., at the Council of Tours, in 1163, sought to check the alarming progress of Manichæism in Languedoc, he only commanded the secular princes to imprison the heretics and confiscate their property; though in the same year the Cathari detected in Cologne were sentenced to be burned by judges appointed for the purpose. In 1157 the punishment inflicted by the Council of Reims was branding in the face; and the same expedient was resorted to by that of Oxford in 1166. Even as late as 1199, the first measures of Innocent III. against the Albigenses only threaten exile and confiscation; there is no allusion to any duty on the part of the secular power beyond enforcing these penalties, and their enforcement is rewarded by the same indulgences as those to be gained by pilgrimage to Rome or to Compostella. As the struggle increased in bitterness, we have seen how stronger measures were adopted; yet even Simon de Montfort, in the code promulgated at Pamiers, December 1, 1212, while stimulating persecution to the utmost, and rendering it the duty of every man, does not formally adjudge the heretic to the stake, although in this very year eighty heretics were burned in Strassburg. This form of punishment had been enacted for the first time in positive law, as already stated, by Pedro II. of Aragon, in his edict of 1197, but the example was not speedily followed. Otho IV., in his constitution

  1. Dom Bouquet, XI. 497-8.-Bernardi Serm. in Cantica LxTV. c. 8; LXVI. C. 12.-Alex. PP. 1II. Epistt. 118, 122.-Pet. Cantor. Verb. abbrev. c. 78, 80.