Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/389

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


CHAPTER VIII.

ORGANIZATION.

We have seen how the Church had found persuasion powerless to arrest the spread of heresy. St. Bernard, Foulques de Neuilly, Duran de Huesca, St. Dominic, St. Francis, had successively tried the rarest eloquence to convince, and the example of the sublimest self-abnegation to convert. Only force remained, and it had been pitilessly employed. It had subjected the populations, only to render heresy hidden in place of public; and, in order to reap the fruits of victory, it became apparent that organized, ceaseless persecution continued to perpetuity was the only hope of preserving Catholic unity, and of preventing the garment of the Lord from being permanently rent. To this end the Inquisition was developed into a settled institution manned by the Mendicant Orders, which had been formed to persuade by argument and example, and which now were utilized to suppress by force.

The organization of the Inquisition was simple, yet effective. It did not care to impress the minds of men with magnificence, but rather to paralyze them with terror. To the secular prelacy it left the gorgeous vestments and the imposing splendors of worship, the picturesque processions and the showy retinues of retainers. The inquisitor wore the simple habits of his Order. When he appeared abroad he was at most accompanied by a few armed familiars, partly as a guard, partly to execute his orders. His principal scene of activity was in the recesses of the dreaded Holy Office, whence he issued his commands and decided the fate of whole populations in a silence and secrecy which impressed upon the people a mysterious awe a thousand times more potent than the external magnificence of the bishop. Every detail in the Inquisition was intended for work and not for show. It was built up by resolute, earnest men of one idea who knew what they