Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/35

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15
DIFFICULTY OF PUNISHING BISHOPS.

nary justice, apparently, could do nothing with him. Very similar was the case of the Bishop of Vence, whom Celestin III. had ordered suspended and sent to Rome to answer for his enormities, and who had defiantly continued in the exercise of his functions. On Innocent's accession, in 1198, his excommunication was ordered, which was equally ineffectual ; and at length, in 1204, Innocent sent peremptory orders to the Archbishop of Embrun to investigate the charges, and, if they were found correct, to depose him. Meanwhile the diocese had been brought to the verge of ruin, the churches were demolished, and divine service was performed in only a few parishes. So in Narbonne, the headquarters of heresy, the Archbishop, Berenger II., natural son of Kaymond Berenger, Count of Barcelona, preferred to live in Aragon, where he held a rich abbey and the bishopric of Lerida, and never even visited his province. Consecrated in 1190, he had never seen it in 1204, though he drew large revenues from it, both in the regular way and by the sale of bishoprics and benefices, which were indiscriminately bestowed on children or on men of the most abandoned lives. The condition of the province, the highest ecclesiastical dignity of France, was consequently shocking in the extreme, through the misconduct of the clergy, the boldness of the heretics, and the violence of the laity. As early as the year 1200, Innocent III. summoned Berenger to account. In 1204 he made another attempt, continued during the following years, as no amendment was visible, and as the farce of appeals from legate to pope was persistently kept up. At length, in 1210, we find Innocent still writing to his legate to investigate the archbishops of Narbonne and Ausch and execute without appeal whatever the canons require, but it was not until 1212 that Berenger was removed. It is probable that even then he might have escaped had not the legate, Arnaud of Citeaux, been desirous of the succession, which he obtained. We can readily believe the assertion of a writer of the thirteenth century, that the process of deposing a prelate was so cumbrous that even the most wicked had no dread of punishment.[1]


  1. Innocent. PP. IH. Regest. i. 277; xiv. 125; xvi. 03, 158.— ii. 34; vii. 84. — m. 24; VII. 75, 76; viii. 106; ix. 66; x. 68; xiii. 88; xv. 93. See also ii. 236; VI. 216; x. 182, 194; xi. 142; xii. 24, 25; xv. 186, 235; xvi. 12.—