Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/245

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225
COERCION OF THE SECULAR POWER

tates should take an oath before their bishops to enforce the ecclesiastical and secular laws against heresy fully and efficaciously. Any refusal or neglect was to be punished by excommunication, deprivation of rank, and incapacity to hold other station, while in the case of cities they were to be segregated and debarred from all commerce with other places.[1]

The Church thus undertook to coerce the sovereign to persecution. It would not listen to mercy, it would not hear of expediency. The monarch held his crown by the tenure of extirpating heresy, of seeing that the laws were sharp and were pitilessly enforced. Any hesitation was visited with excommunication, and if this proved inefficacious, his dominions were thrown open to the first hardy adventurer whom the Church would supply with an army for his overthrow. Whether this new feature in the public law of Europe could establish itself was the question at issue in the Albigensian crusades. Raymond's lands were forfeited simply because he would not punish heretics, and those which his son retained were treated as a fresh gift from the crown. The triumph of the new principle was complete, an it never was subsequently questioned.

It was applied from the highest to the lowest, and the Church made every dignitary feel that his station was an office in a universal theocracy wherein all interests were subordinate to the great duty of maintaining the purity of the faith. The hegemony of Europe was vested in the Holy Roman Empire, and its coronation was a strangely solemn religious ceremony in which the emperor was admitted to the lower orders of the priesthood, and was made to anathemize all heresy raising itself against the holy Catholic Church. In handing him the ring, the pope told him that it was a symbol that he was to destroy heresy; and in girding him with the sword, that with it he was to strike down the enemies of the Church. Frederic II. declared that he had received the imperial dignity for the maintenance and propagation of the faith. In the bull of Clement VI. recognizing Charles

  1. Honor. Augustod. Snmm. Glor. de Apost. c. 5.-Ivon. Decret. IX. 70-79- Gratiani Decret, P, II, Caus. xxiii. q. 5.-Radevic. de Gest. Frid. I. Lib. I. e.56. Conci. Latcran. II. ann. 1139 e. 23. Concil. Lateran. III. ann. 1179 c. 27 (cf. C Tolosan. ann, 1119 c. 3; C. Remens. ann. 1148 c. 18; C. Turonens, ann. 1163 c 4).-Lucii. PP. III. Epist. 171.