Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/361

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forms us that the first act of the inquisitor on receiving his commission was to exhibit it to the king or ruler, and ask and exhort him for these letters, explaining to him that he is bound by the canons to give them if he desires to avoid the numerous penalties decreed in the bulls Ad abolendam and Ut inquisionis. His next step is to exhibit these letters to the officials and swear them to obey him in his official duties to the utmost of their power. Thus the whole force of the State was unreservedly at command of the Holy Office. Not only this, indeed, but every individual was bound to lend his aid when called upon, and any slackness of zeal exposed him to excommunication as a fautor of heresy, leading after twelve months, if neglected, to conviction as a heretic, with all its tremendous penalties.[1]

The right to abrogate any laws which impeded the freest exercise of the powers of the Inquisition was likewise arrogated on both sides of the Alps. When, in 1257, Alexander IV. heard with indignant emotion that Mantua had adopted certain damnable statutes interfering with the absolutism of the Inquisition, he straight-way ordered the Bishop of Mantua to investigate the matter, and to annul anything which should impede or delay its operations, enforcing his action by excommunicating the authorities and laying an interdict on the city. This was simply in furtherance of the bull Ad extirjpcmdam but in 1265 Urban IV. repeated the order and made it universally applicable, and it was carried into the canon law as the expression of the undoubted rights of the Church. This rendered the Inquisition virtually supreme in all lands, and it became an accepted maxim of law that all statutes interfering with the free action of the Inquisition were void, and those who enacted them were to be punished ; where such laws existed the inquisitor

  1. Bernard. Guidon. Gravamina (Coll. Doat, XXX. 90 sqq.). — Concil. Narbonn. ann. 1229 c. 1, 2. — Concil. Albiens. ann. 1254 c. 3, 5, 8. — Archives de Tlnq. de Carcass. (Doat, XXX. 110-11, 127 ; XXXI. 250).— Vaissette, III. Pr. 528-9, 536.— Archivio di Napoli, Registro 6, Lett. D. fol. 180. — Eymerici Direct. Inquis. pp. 390-1, 560-1.— Bernardi Guidon. Practica P. iv. (Doat, XXX.).
    It was sometimes a work of some labor and time for the inquisitor to obtain his royal letters-patent. When, in 1269, the Franciscans Bertrand de Roche and Ponce des Rives were appointed inquisitors of Forcalquier, they were obliged to travel to Palermo, where Charles of Anjou happened to be residing, and whence he gave them letters, August 4, 1209, to his seneschal and other officials, — Archivio di Napoli, Registro 6, Lett. D, fol. 180.— Cf. Regist. 20, Lett. B, fol. 91.