Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/413

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393
THE AUTO DE FÉ.

lie square, where a platform had been constructed for the purpose, in order that the holy precincts of the church might not be polluted by a sentence leading to blood. For the same reason it was not to be performed on a holy day. The execution, however, was not to take place on the same day, but on the following, so as to afford the convicts time for conversion, that their souls might not pass from temporal to eternal flame, and care was enjoined not to permit them to address the people, lest sympathy should be aroused by their assertions of innocence.[1]

We can readily picture to ourselves the effect produced on the popular mind by these awful celebrations, when, at the bidding of the Inquisition, all that was great and powerful in the land was called together humbly to take the oath of obedience and witness its exercise of the highest expression of human authority, regulating the destinies of fellow-creatures here and hereafter. In the great auto de fé held by Bernard Gui at Toulouse, in April, 1310, the solemnities lasted from Sunday the 5th until Thursday the 9th. After the preliminary work of mitigating the penances of some deserving penitents, twenty persons were condemned to wear crosses and perform pilgrimages, sixty -five were consigned to perpetual imprisonment, three of them in chains, and eighteen were delivered to the secular justice and were duly burned. In that of April, 1312, fifty-one were sentenced to crosses, eighty-six to imprisonment, ten defunct persons were pronounced worthy of prison and their estates confiscated, the bones of thirty-six were ordered to be exhumed and burned, five living ones were handed over to the secular court to be burned, and five more condemned for contumacy in absenting themselves. The faith which could thus vindicate itself might certainly inspire the respect of fear if not the attraction of love. Sometimes, however, a godless heretic would interfere with the prescribed order of solemnities, as when, in October, 1309, Amiel de Perles, a noted Catharan teacher, who defiantly avowed his heterodoxy, immediately on his capture commenced the endura and refused all food and drink. Unwilling thus to be robbed of his victim, Bernard hastened the usual dila-


  1. Eymeric. Direct. Inquis. pp. 503-12. — Doctrina de modo Procedendi (Martene Thesaur. V. 1795-6).— Tract, de Paup. de Lugduno (lb. 1792).—Lib. Sententt. Inquis. Tolosan. pp. 1, 6, 39, 98.