Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/359

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Innocent issued instructions to the inquisitors to enforce by ex-communication the embodiment of this and of the edicts of Fredetic in the statutes of all cities and states, and he soon after conferred on them the dangerous power of interpreting, in conjunction with the bishops, all doubtful points in local laws on the subject of heresy.

These provisions are not the wild imaginings of a nightmare, but sober matter-of-fact legislation shrewdly and carefully devised to accomplish a settled policy, and it affords us a valuable insight into the public opinion of the day to find that there was no effective resistance to its acceptance. Before the death of Innocent IV., in 1254, he made one or two slight modifications suggested by experience in its working. In 1255, 1256, and 1257 Alexander IV. revised the bull, explaining some doubts which had arisen, and providing for the enforcement in all cases of the appointment of examiners of rulers going out of office, and in 1259 he reissued the bull as a whole. In 1265 Clement IV. again went over it carefully, making some changes, principally in adding the words "inquisitors" in passages where Innocent had only designated the bishops and friars, thus showing that the Inquisition had during the interval established itself as the recognized instrumentality in the persecution of heresy ; and the next year he repeated Innocent's emphatic order to the inquisitors to enforce the insertion of his legislation and that of his predecessors upon the statute-books everywhere, with the free use of excommunication and interdict. This shows that it had not been universally accepted with alacrity, but the few instances which we find recorded of refusal show how generally it was submitted to. Thus in 1256 Alexander IV. learned that the authorities of Genoa were recalcitrant, and he promptly ordered the censure and interdict if they did not comply within fifteen days ; and in 1258 a similar course was observed with those of Mantua ; while the retention of the bull in the statutes of Florence as late as the recension of 1355, even in the midst of incongruou 3 legislation, shows how literally the papal mandates had been obeyed for a century.[1]

  1. Innoc. PP. IV. Bull. Ad extlrpanda, ann. 1352 (Mag. Bull. Roman. L 91).— Ejusd. Bull. Orthodoxm, 1252 (Ripoll L 208, cf. VIL 28).— Ejusd. Bull, [ft commssum, 1254 (Ibid. L 250).— Ejusd. Bull. Volmtes, 1254 (lb. L 251).— Ejusd. Bull.