Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/429

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409
DELATION INDISPENSABLE.

how greatly profitable to the faith was the conversion of such persons, because not only were they obliged to betray their fellows and the hiding-places and conventicles of darkness, but those whom they had influenced were more ready to acknowledge their errors and seek in turn to be converted. As early as 1246 the Council of Béziers had pointed out the utility of such conversions, and had instructed the inquisitors to spare no pains in procuring them, and all subsequent authorities evidently regarded this as the first of their duties. They all agree, moreover, in holding delation of accomplices as the indispensable evidence of their conversion. Without this the repentant heretic in vain might ask for reconciliation and mercy; his refusal to betray his friends and kindred was proof that he was unrepentant, and he was forthwith handed over to the secular arm, exactly as in the Roman law a converted Manichæan who consorted with Manichæans without denouncing them to the authorities was punishable with death. How useful this was is seen in the case of Saurine Rigaud, whose confession is recorded at Toulouse in 1254, where it is followed by a list of one hundred and sixty-nine persons incriminated by her, their names being carefully tabulated with their places of residence for immediate action. How strictly, moreover, the duty of the reconciled heretic was construed is seen in the fate of Guillem Sicrède at Toulouse in 1312. He had abjured and been reconciled in 1262. Fifty years afterwards, in 1311, he had been present at the death-bed of his brother, where heretication had been performed, and he had failed to betray it, though he had vainly objected to it. When asked for his reasons, he simply said that he had not wished to injure his nephews, and for this, in 1312, he was imprisoned for life. Delation was so indispensable to the Inquisition that it was to be secured by rewards as well as by punishments. Bernard Gui tells us that those who voluntarily come forward and prove their zeal by confession and by betraying all their associates are not only to be pardoned, but their livelihood must be secured at the hands of princes and prelates; while betraying a single "perfected" heretic insured immunity and perhaps additional reward.[1]

  1. Bernard. Guidon. Practica P. Iv., v. (Doat, XXX.).Concil. Biterrens. ann. 1246, Append. c. 16.-Tractat. de Paup. de Lugdun. (Martene Thesaur. V. 1791-4) Anon. Passaviens. Mag. Bib. Pat. XIII, 808).-Const, xi. Cod. I, v.-Molinier