God. Apostasy from the faith is the greatest of all sins, says Bishop Lucas of Tuy; therefore if any one has bound himself by oath to keep the secret of such inexplicable wickedness, he must reveal the heresy and perform penance for the perjury, with the comfortable assurance that, as charity covereth a multitude of sins, he will be gently dealt with in consideration of his zeal.
Thus the hestitation as to the treatment of heretics which marked the eleventh and twelfth centuries disappeared in the thirteenth, when the Church was involved in mortal struggle with the sectaries. There was no pretence of moderation, and, save in the technical adjuration for mercy, no attempt to evade the responsibility. St. Raymond of Pennaforte, the compiler of the decretals of Gregory IX., who was the highest authority in his generation, lays it down as a principle of ecclesiastical law that the heretic is to be coerced by excommunication and confiscation, and if they fail, by the extreme exercise of the secular power. The man who was doubtful in faith was to be held a heretic, and so also was the schismatic who, while believing all the articles of religion, refused the obedience due to the Roman Church. All alike were to be forced into the Roman fold, and the fate of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram was invoked for the destruction of the obstinate.
St. Thomas Aquinas, whose overshadowing authority superseded all his predecessors, and who brought canon and dogma into a permanent system still in force, lays down the rules with merciless precision. Heretics, he tells us, are not to be tolerated. The tenderness of the Church allows them to have two warnings, after which, if pertinacious, they are to be abandoned to the secular power, to be removed from the world by death. This, he argues, shows the abounding charity of the Church, for it is much more
- Urbani PP. II. Epist. 256.-Zanchini de Haærct. c. xviii -Innoe. PP. III Regest. . 26.-Luce Tudens. de altern Vita . 9.
- S. Raymundi Summe Lib. I. Tit, v. SS 2, 4, 8; Tit. vi. 1.-This continued to be the doctrine of the Church. Zanghino Ugolini includes in his enumeration of heresies neglect to observc the papal decretals, being an apparcnt contempt for the power of the keys (Tract. de Haret. c. ii.). This authoritative work was printed in Rome, 1568, at the expense of Pius V., with a commentary by Cardinal Campeggi, and was reprinted with additions by Simancas in 1579 My references are made to a transcript from a fifteenth century MS. of the original in the Bibliothèquc Nationale, fonds latin, 12532