Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/243

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been too frequent a source of error for us to wonder at this application of the text. An authoritative commentary on the decree of Lucius III. in 1184, ordering heretics to be delivered to the secular arm for due punishment, quotes the text of John and the imperial jurisprudence, and thence triumphantly concludes that death by fire is the penalty due to heretics, not only by divine but also by human law and by universal custom. Nor was the heretic mercifully strangled in advance; the authorities of the Inquisition assure us that he must be burned alive before the people, nay, even a whole city may be burned if heretics dwell there.[1]

Whatever scruples the Church had, during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, as to its duty towards heresy, it had none as to that of the secular power, though it kept its own hands free from blood. A decent usage from early times forbade any ecclesiastic from being concerned in judgments involving death or mutiliation, and even from being present in the torture-chamber where criminals were placed on the rack. This sensitiveness continued, and even was exaggerated in the time of the bloodiest persecution. While thousands were being slaughtered in Languedoc the Council of Lateran, in 1215, revived the ancient canons prohibiting clerks from uttering a judgment of blood or being present at an execution. In 1255 the Council of Bordeaux added to this a prohibition of dictating or writing letters connected with such judgments; and that of Buda, in 1279, in repeating this canon, appended to it a clause forbidding clerks to practise any surgery requiring burning or cutting. The pollution of blood was so seriously felt that a church or cemetery in which blood chanced to be shed could not be used until it had been reconciled, and this was carried so far that priests were forbidden to allow judges to administer justice in churches, because cases involving corporal punishment might be tried before them. Had this shrinking from participation in the infliction of human suffering

  1. Cesar. Heisterbac. Dial. Miracular. Dist. v. c. 33.-Mosaic. et Roman. Legg. Collat. Tit. xv. §3 (Hugo, 1465). Const. 3 Cod. Ix. 18. Cussiodor. Variar, Iv. XXII, XXIII.Gregor. PP. I. Dial. I. 4.Gloss. Hostiensis in Cap. ad aolendam, No. 11, 13 (Eymerici Direct, Inquisit. pp. 149-150); cf. Gloss. Joan. Andreæ (Ibid p. 170-1).-Repertorium Inquisitorum s. v. Comburi (Ed. Valent. 1494; Ed. Venct. 1588, pp. 127-8)