Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/328

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possibility of efficient suppression of heresy under the existing system.[1]

Even after conviction had been obtained there was the same uncertainty as to penalties. In the case of the Cathari who confessed at Liege in 1144, and were with difficulty rescued from the mob who sought to burn them, the church authorities applied to Lucius II. for instructions as to what disposition should be made of them. Those who were captured in Flanders in 1162 were sent to Alexander III., then in France, for judgment, and he sent them back to the Archbishop of Reims. William Abbot of Vezelai possessed full jurisdiction, but when, in 1167, he had some confessed heretics on his hands, in his embarrassment he asked the assembled crowd what he should do with them, and the ready sentence was found in the unanimous shout, "Burn them ! burn them!" which was duly executed, although one who recanted and was yet condemned by the water ordeal was publicly scourged and banished by the abbot in spite of a popular demand for concremation. In 1114 the Bishop of Soissons, after convicting some heretics by the water ordeal, went to the Council of Beauvais to consult as to their punishment ; but during his absence the people, fearing the lenity of the bishops, broke into the jail and burned them.[2]

It was not that the Church was absolutely devoid of the machinery for discharging its admitted function of suppressing heresy. It is true that in the early days of the Carlovingian revival, Zachary's instructions to St. Boniface show that the only recognized method at that time of disposing of heretics was by summoning a council, and sending the convicted culprits to Rome for final judgment. Charlemagne's civilizing policy, however, made efficient use of all instrumentalities capable of maintaining order and security in his empire, and the bishops assumed an important position in his system. They were ordered, in conjunction with the secular officials, zealously to prohibit all superstitious observances and remnants of paganism ; to travel assiduously throughout their

  1. Chron. Laudunens. Canon, ann. 1204 (D. Bouquet, XVIII. 713). — Chronolog. Roberti Autissiodor. ann. 1201. — Innocent PP. III. Regest. xiv. 15; xvi. 17.
  2. Martene Ampl. Collect. I. 776-8. -Alex. PP. III. Epist. 118, 122 ; Varior. ad Alex. III. Epist. 16. — Hist. Vizeliacens. Lib. iv. — Guibert. Noviogent. 1. c.