Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/371

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351
FRUITLESS EPISCOPAL ANTAGONISM.

many, it might well be thrown aside as impracticable after the spectacle of the defeat of the University of Paris on its own ground by the Mendicants. The jealousy perpetually fed by the constant encroachments of the inquisitors could only find vent in obscure squabbles wherein the final decision of the Holy See could always be confidently reckoned upon as against the episcopate. In 1330 we see the inquisitor, Henri de Chamay, complaining to John XXII. that the Bishop of Maguelonne was interfering with the free exercise of his office in Montpellier, on the ground of certain papal privileges granted him, when the pope at once instructs him to proceed without hesitation and to disregard the bishop's pretensions. Such a decision was a foregone conclusion, as the Archbishop of Narbonne and all his suffragans found in 1441, when they united in addressing Eugenius IV., complaining of the exorbitant pretensions of the Inquisition, and asking him to delay action till they should send him full details. Without waiting to hear their specific charges, he replied that the inquisitor had already accused them of impeding him in his office and with vexing him with proceedings and suits at law. There is no business, he added, of greater importance to the Church than the destruction of heresy, and no way to win his favor more efficacious than by aiding the Inquisition. It had been organized for the purpose of relieving bishops of a portion of their cares, and any interference with it would be visited with his displeasure. In the present case, for the sake of concord, the inquisitor would revoke the grievances complained of, and the pope pronounced all suits against him quashed and extinguished. Evidently in any contest the odds were too great against the episcopate, and the danger of systematic opposition too real, to render any organized antagonism feasible. How completely the papacy regarded the Inquisition as an instrumentality for furthering its schemes of aggrandizement is seen when, on the outbreak of the Great Schism, inquisitors were required to take a formal feudal oath of fidelity to the pope appointing him and to ills successors.[1]

With so little to check and so much to stimulate, the spread of


  1. Arch, de I'Inq. de Carcass. (Boat, XXXV. 85, 184).— Ripoli II. 299, 31; iii. 135.