Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/38

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18
THE CHURCH.

of their clergy, constantly found their efforts frustrated, and had scant reticence in remonstrating. Eemonstrances, however, were of little avail, though occasionally an upright pope like Innocent III., whose biographer finds special cause of praise in his refusal of "propinas " — gifts or bribes for issuing letters — would sometimes recall a letter of remission avowedly issued in ignorance of the facts, or would even grant to a prelate the right to punish without appeal, while other popes were found who sought to neutralize the effects of their letters without diminishing the business and fees of the chancery. Even when papal letters were not of this demoralizing character, they were never issued without payment. When Luke, the holy Archbishop of Gran, was thrown in prison by the usurper Ladislas, in 1172, he refused to avail himself of letters of liberation procured from Alexander III., saying that he would not owe his freedom to simony.[1]

This was by no means the only mode in which the supreme jurisdiction of Rome worked inestimable evil throughout Christendom. While the feudal courts were strictly territorial and local, and the judicial functions of the bishops were limited to their own dioceses so that every man knew to whom he was responsible in a tolerably well-settled system of justice, the universal jurisdiction of Rome gave ample opportunity for abuses of the worst kind. The pope, as supreme judge, could delegate to any one any portion of his authority, which was supreme everywhere; and the papal chancery was not too nice in its discrimination as to the character of the persons to whom it issued letters empowering them to exercise judicial functions and enforce them with the last dread sentence of excommunication — letters, indeed, which, if the papal


  1. P. Cantor. Verb. abbrev. cap. 71.-8. Bernardi Tract. de Mor. et Offic. Episc. c. vii. No. 25.-Gesta Treviror. Archiep. cap. 92.-Prutz, Maltescr Ur kunden und Registen, München, 1883, p. 38.--Guillel. Nangiac. Contin, anu 1305. -Hist.Prior. Grandimont. Martene Ampliss. Coll. VT. 122, 135-137).-Matt Paris Hist. Angl, ann. 1245, 1248, 1250, 1252, 1255, 1256.-Hincmari Epist. xxxii, 20. Hildeberti Cenoman. Epist. Lib. i. No. 41, 47. S. Bernard. de Consideratione Lib. i. cap. 4.-Innocent. PP. III. Gesta xli.-Ejusd. Regest. I 380; I. 265; v. 33, 84; x. 188.-Gregor. PP. IX. Bull Desiderantes plurimum (Potthast Regesta, I. 678)-Chron, Augustan. an. 1260.-Stephani Tornacens. Epist. 43.-Gualt. Mapes de Nugis Curialium Dist. II. cap. vii