Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/410

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ference of opinion expressed, and these were of no special importance. On September 8, 1329, he held another assembly at Carcassonne, attended by forty-seven experts, which in its two days' session acted upon forty cases. Yet these assemblies were not always so expeditious and self-effacing. From Narbonne Henri de Chamay passed to Pamiers, where, January 7, 1329, he called together thirty-five experts besides the Bishop of Toulouse. On the first day several cases were postponed for greater deliberation, and of these some were acted upon and others were not. Considerable debate took place, each individual expressing his opinion, and the result was apparently settled by the majority vote. They evidently felt and assumed the responsibility of the decision ; and yet the impossibility of deliberate action by so cumbrous a body is seen in their bunching together all the cases of "believing" heretics, condemning them en masse to prison, and leaving it with the inquisitor to determine the character of the imprisonment for each individual. Curiously enough, this assembly also assumed legislative functions in laying down general rules of punishment for false-witness. A still more notable instance of deliberation occurred at an assembly convoked by Henri de Chamay at Beziers, May 19, 1329, where there were thirty-five experts present. In the case of a Franciscan friar, Pierre Julien, all agreed that, strictly speaking, he was a "relapsed," but many were anxious to show him mercy. After long debate, the inquisitor told them to meet again in the evening, and in the meanwhile consider whether they could devise some means of grace. At the evening session there was again earnest discussion, and postponement was agreed to on the excuse that no bishop could be had in time for his degradation. The experts were finally summoned, under pain of excommunication, to give their opinions, which were taken down in writing and ranged from simple purgation to abandonment to the secular arm. The assembly then was dismissed and consultation was held with some of the more prominent members, when it was agreed either to send to Avignon, Toulouse, or Montpellier for advice or to await an auto de fé at Carcassonne for further counsel.[1]

Yet, while the forms were thus preserved, the inquisitors, with their customary arbitrary disregard of all that limited their dis-

  1. Coll. Doat, XXVII. 118, 140, 156, 162.