Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/355

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335
RELATIONS WITH THE EPISCOPATE.

tences, and promising to observe in all cases the rules established by the Inquisition. This question of episcopal concurrence in condemnations evidently excited strong feeling and was long contested with varying success. If previous orders requiring it had not been treated with contempt. Innocent IV. would not have been obliged, in 1254, to reiterate the instructions that no condemnations to death or life-imprisonment should be uttered without consulting the bishops ; and in 1255 he conjoined bishop and inquisitor to interpret in consultation any obscurities in the laws against heresy and to administer the lighter penalties of deprivation of office and preferment. This recognition of episcopal jurisdiction was annulled by Alexander IV,, who, after some vacillation, in 1257 rendered the Inquisition independent by releasing it from the necessity of consulting with the bishops even in cases of obstinate arid confessed heretics, and this he repeated in 1260. Then there was a reaction. In 1262 Urban IV., in an elaborate code of instructions, formally revived the consultation in all cases involving the death-penalty or perpetual imprisonment ; and this was repeated by Clement IV. in 1265. Either these instructions, however, were revoked in some subsequent enactment or they soon fell into desuetude, for in 1273 Gregory X., after alluding to the action of Alexander IV. in annulling consultation, proceeds to direct that inquisitors in deciding upon sentences shall proceed in accordance with the counsel of the bishops or their delegates, so that the episcopal authority may share in decisions of such moment. Up to this period the Inquisition seems to have been regarded as merely a temporary expedient to meet a special exigency, and every pope on his accession had issued a series of bulls renewing its provisions. Heresy, however, was apparently ineradicable; the populations had accepted the new institution, and its usefulness had been proved in many ways besides that of preserving the purity of the faith. Henceforth it was considered a permanent part of the machinery of the Church, and its rules were definitely settled. Gregory's decision in favor of concurrent episcopal and inquisitorial action in all cases of condemnation consequently remained unaltered, and we shall see hereafter that when Clement V. endeavored to check the more scandalous abuses of inquisitorial power, he sought the remedy, insufficient enough, in some slight increase of episcopal supervision and responsibility, following in this an effort in the same direction