abbots, and other prelates are commanded to obey them in all concerning their office, under pain of excommunication, suspension, and interdict. That this was not a mere idle form is manifest by the tone of arrogant domination in which the inquisitors issued their commands to episcopal officials. Though the papal superscription to the bishop was "venerable brother" and to the inquisitor "cherished son," yet the inquisitors held that they were superior to the bishops, as being direct delegates of the Holy See, and that if any one were cited simultaneously by a bishop and an inquisitor he must first attend to the summons of the latter. The inquisitor was to be obeyed as the pope himself, and this supremacy included the bishop. This formed part of the papal policy, for the inquisitor was a convenient instrument to reduce the episcopate to subjection. Thus in 1296 Boniface VIII., in giving directions to the bishops to suppress certain irregular and unauthorized hermits and mendicants, enclosed copies of the bull to the inquisitors with instructions to stimulate the bishops to their duty and to report to him all who showed themselves negligent. In spite of the assumed superiority of the inquisitor, however, the Inquisition was very commonly used as a stepping-stone to the episcopate. It is not easy to set bounds to the sources of influence which the office placed within reach of an ambitious man, and this influence was constantly employed to procure promotion into the ranks of the hierarchy. Instances of this are too frequent to be specified, commencing with the earliest inquisitors, Fra Aldobrandino Cavalcanti of Florence, who became Bishop of Viterbo, while his successor, Fra Ruggieri Calcagni, in 1245, was rewarded with the bishopric of Castro in the Maremma. I need only refer to the case of Florence, in 1343, where the inquisitor, Fra Andrea da Perugia was advanced to the episcopate and was succeeded by Fra Pietro di Aquila, who in 1346 was made Bishop of Santangelo dei Lombardi. His successor was Fra Michele di Lapo, and in 1350 we find the Signiory writing to the pope with the request that he be placed in the bishopric of Florence, which had becorne vacant. The office also afforded opportunities of promotion within the Orders which were not neglected. Thus in a list of Dominican provincials of Saxony in the latter half of the fourteenth century, three who occupied that post in succession from 1369 to 1382, Walther KerMnger, Hermann Helstede, and Heinrich
Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/368
Jump to navigation Jump to search
THE INQUISITION FOUNDED.