Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/244

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been genuine, it would have been worthy of all respect; but it was merely a device to avoid responsibility for its own acts. In prosecutions for heresy the ecclesiastical tribunal passed no judgments of blood. It merely found the defendant to be a heretic and "relaxed" him, or relinquished him to the secular authorities with the hypocritical adjuration to be merciful to him, to spare his life and not to spill his blood. What was the real import of this plea for mercy is easily seen from the theory of the Church as to the duty of the temporal power, when inquisitors enforced as a legal rule that the mere belief that persecution for conscience' sake was sinful was itself a heresy, to be visited with the full penalties of that unpardonable crime.[1]

The early teachings of Leo and Pelagius were revived as soon as heresy became alarming. Early in the twelfth century Honorius of Autun proclaimed that the rebels against God who were obdurate to the voice of the Church must be coerced with the material sword. In the compilations of canon law by Ivo and Gratian the allusions to the treatment of heretics by the Church are singularly few, but there are abundant citations to show the duty of the sovereign to extirpate heresy and to obey the mandates of the Church to that end. Frederic Barbarossa gave the imperial sanction to the theory that the sword had been intrusted to him for the purpose of smiting the enemies of Christ, when he alleged this in 1159 as a reason for persecuting Alexander III. and supporting his antipope, Victor IV. The second Lateran Council, in 1139, orders all potentates to coerce heretics into obedience; the third, in 1179, sanctimoniously says that the Church does not seek blood, but it is helped by the secular laws, for men will seek the salutary remedy to escape bodily punishment. We have seen how inefficacious all this proved; and in despair of voluntary assistance from the temporal princes the Church took a further step by which it assumed for itself the responsibility for the material as well as the spiritual punishment of heretics. The decree of Lucius III. at the so-called Council of Verona, in 1184, commanded that all poten-

  1. Conc, Autissiodor. ann. 578 c. 33. O, Matiscon. II. ann. 585 c. 19. C. 30 Decreti P. II. Caus. xxii. Quest. 8.-C. Lateran. IV. ann, 1215 c. 18.-C. Burdega lens, ann, 1255 c. 10,C. Budens, ann. 1268 c. 11.-C. Nugaroliens. ann. 1303 c 13. C. Baiocens. ann. 1300 . 34.-Lib. Sett. Inq. Tolosan. p. 208.-Bernard. Guidonis Practica (MSS. Bib. Nat., Coll. Doat, T. XXX. fol. I. sqq.)