Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/417

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397
INQUISITORS -GENERAL.

promptly ejected him. He entered a neighboring Cistercian convent, and then, fearing the pursuit of the Inquisition, quietly disappeared to some other convent beyond the Alps. There would not seem much to be feared from a heretic who would bury himself in the rigid Cistercian Order, and yet at once Alexander IV. issued letters to all Cistercian abbots and to all archbishops and bishops everywhere, commanding them to seize him and send him to Rainerio Saccone, the Lombard inquisitor.[1]

To render it an instrumentality perfect for the work assigned to it, all that was wanting to the Inquisition was its subjection to a chief who should command the implicit obedience of its members and weld the organization into an organic whole. This function the pope could perform but imperfectly amid the overwhelming diversity of his cares, and he needed a minister who, as inquisitor-general, could devote his undivided attention to the innumerable questions arising from the conflict between orthodoxy and heresy, and between papal supremacy and local episcopal independence. The importance of such a measure seems to have made itself felt at a comparatively early period, and in 1262 Urban IV. created a virtual inquisitor-general when he ordered all inquisitors to report, either in person or by letter, to Caietano Orsini, Cardinal of S. Niccolo in carcere Tulliano, all. impediments to the due performance of their functions, and to obey the instructions which he might give. Cardinal Orsini speaks of himself as inquisitor-general, and he labored to bring the several tribunals into the closest relations with each other and subjection to himself. May 19, 1273, we find him ordering the Italian inquisitors to furnish to the inquisitors of France facilities for the transcription of all the depositions of witnesses already on record in their archives, as well as of all future ones. The perpetual migration of Catharans and Waldenses between France and Italy rendered this information most valuable, and the French inquisitors had requested it of him, but the excessive diffuseness of the inquisitorial documents made the task appalling in magnitude and cost, and the terms of the cardinal's missive show that it was not expected to be welcome. Whether any further attempt was made to carry out this gigantic


  1. Ripoll I. 285.