Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/251

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231
CONDEMNATION OF THE DEAD

pious King Josiah had not only put to death the priests of pagandom, but had dug up the remains of those who were deceased. The argument was irrefragable, and the anathema was pronounced in spite of the protest of Pope Vigillius, who stubbornly refused to be convicted. The ingenuity of Eutychius, till then an obscure man, was rewarded with the patriarchate of Constantinople, and Vigilius was compelled, by means not the most gentle, to subscribe to the anathema. In 618 the Council of Seville denied the power of condemning the dead; but in 680 the sixth general council, held at Constantinople, exercised the largest liberty in anthematizing all whom it regarded as heretical, both living and dead. In 897 Stephen VII. accordingly held himself authorized to dig up the body of his predecessor, Pope Formosus, then seven months in the tomb, drag it by the feet and seat in the synod which he had assembled in judgment, and, after condemning it, to cut off two fingers of the right hand and throw it into the Tiber, whence it chanced to be rescued and buried. The next year, however, a new pope, John IX., annulled these proceedings and caused a synod to declare that no one should be condemned after death, for the accused must have the opportunity of defence. This did not prevent Sergius III., in 905, from again exhuming the body, when it was clothed in pontificial robes, seated on a throne, and once more solemnly conemned, beheaded, three more fingers cut off, and thrown in the Tiber. Yet the iniquity of these proceedings was proved when the restless remains were dragged from the river by some fishermen, and, on being carried to the church of St. Peter, the images of saints there bowed before them and saluted them reverently. About the year 1100, St. Ivo of Chartres, the foremost canonist of his day, pronounced unhesitatingly that the power of the Church to bind and to loose was confined to things on earth; that the dead had passed beyond human judgment, they could not be condemned, and burial must not be refused to those who had not been tried while living. Yet as heresy multiplied and its obstinacy seemed to justify the passionate hatred which it excited, the churchman might well feel himself unable to endure the thought that the bones of heretics polluted the sacred precincts of church and cemetery, and that unconsciously he was including them in his prayers for the dead. It was easy to find a method of reaching them. The Council of Verona in 1184, and subsequent popes and