Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/253

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233
MOTIVES

in training, he was a philosophical free-thinker. The accusations of Gregory IX., that he was secretly a disciple of Mahomet, and the tradition that he was privately in the habit of calling Moses, Christ, and Mahomet the three impostors, contradict each other, but show what ground he gave for such imputations. Yet this man, whom Gregory declared to take the sacrament only to show his contempt for excommunication, was to sagacious not to recognize that he could only reign over a Christian people by at least pretending zeal in the work of exterminating heresy. He obtained his coronation in St. Peter's, November 22, 1220, by issuing the edict which is memorable in the history of persecution; and, as part of the solemnities, Honorius paused in the ineffable mysteries of the mass to fulminate an anathema in the name of Almighty God against all heresies and heretics, including those rulers whose laws interfered with their extermination. To the function thus assumed Frederic was ever true, perhaps even more so because, in his recognition of the necessity of ecclesiastical reform, he indulged in dreams of a caliphate in which he would wield both the temporal and spiritual swords. However this may be, his lifelong quarrel with the papacy only rendered him the more merciless in his extirpation of heresy; and just when Gregory IX. was engrossed in laying the foundation of the Inquisition we find Frederic audaciously urging him to greater zeal in defence of the faith, and suggesting his own example as one which the pope would do well to follow.[1]

The cruel ferocity of barbarous zeal which, through so many centuries, wrought misery on mankind in the name of Christ, has been explained in many ways. Fanatics on the other side have denounced it as mere bloodthirstiness or selfish lust of power. Philosophers have traced it to the doctrine of exclusive salvation, through which it seemed the duty of those in authority to coerce the recalcitrant for their own benefit, and prevent them from leading other souls to perdition. Another school has taught that it

  1. Hist. Diplou. Frid. II. Introd. pp. cdlxxxviii., cdxcvi.; II. 6-8, 432-8; IV. 400-11, 435-6 V. 459-60.-Fazelli de Reb. Siculis Decad. I. Lib. viii-Alberic. T. Font. Chron. ann. 1228.-Raynald. Anna!. ann, 1220, No. 28.-Richard de S. Germano Chron. ann. 1238,