Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/306

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

they were convicted of error when they upturned the established order of the Church in permitting these wandering hypocrites and false prophets to preach and hear confessions. Those who live by beggary are flatterers and liars and detractors and thieves and avoiders of justice. Whoever asserts that Christ w^as a beggar denies that he was the Messiah, and thus is a heresiarch who destroys the foundation of all Christian faith. An able-bodied man commits sacrilege if he receives the alms of the poor for his own use, and if the Church has permitted this for the monks it has been in error and should be corrected. It rests with the bishops to purge their dioceses of these hypocrites ; they have the power, and if they neglect their duty the blood of those who perish will be upon their heads. This was answered by Aquinas and Bonaventura. The former, in his tract "Contra Impugnantes Religionem" proved in the most finished style of scholastic logic that the friars have a right to teach, to preach and hear confessions, and to live without labor ; in the same mode he rebutted the charges as to their morals and influence, showing that they were not precursors of Antichrist. He also demonstrated the more suggestive theorems that they had a right to resist their def amers, to use the courts in their defence, to secure their safety if necessary by resort to arms, and to punish their persecutors. That his dialectics were equal to bringing out any desired conclusion when once his premises were granted is well known, and they did not fail him on this occasion. Bonaventura also replied in several treatises — "De Paupertate Christi" in which he earnestly pleaded the example of Christ as an argument for poverty and mendicancy ; the "Libellus Ajpologeticus" and the "Tractatus quia Fratres Minores prcedicent," in which he carried the war into the enemy's territory with a vigorous and plain-spoken onslaught on the shortcomings and defects and sins and corruption and vileness of the clergy. Heretics might well feel justified in seeing the two parties into which the Church was divided thus expose each other ; and the faithful might well doubt whether salvation was assured with either.

Yet this wordy war was mere surplusage. On the appearance of St. Amour's book, St. Louis had hastened to send copies to Alexander for judgment. The University likewise sent St. Amour at the head of a delegation to demand the condemnation of the Everlasting Gospel. Albertus Magnus and Bonaventura came