Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/452

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

up to be burned would have cleared him. It became, in fact, a settled principle of law that either husband or wife knowing the other to be a heretic and not giving information within a twelve-month was held to be a consenting party without further evidence, and was punishable as a heretic.[1]

Naturally the conscientious inquisitor recognized the vicious circle in which he moved and sought to satisfy himself that he could designate infallible signs which would justify the conclusion of heresy. There is ample store of such enumerated. Thus for the Cathari it sufficed to show that the accused had venerated one of the perfected, had asked a blessing, had eaten of the blessed bread or had kept it, had been voluntarily present at an heretication, had entered into the covenansa to be hereticated on the deathbed, etc. For the Waldenses such indications were considered to be the confessing of sins to and accepting penance from those known not to be regularly ordained by an orthodox bishop, praying with them according to their rites by bending the knees with them on a bench or other inclined object, being present with them when they pretended to make the Host, receiving "peace" from them, or blessed bread. All this was easily catalogued, but beyond it lay a region of doubt concerning which authorities differed. The Council of Albi, in 1254, declared that entering a house, in which a heretic was known to be, converted simple suspicion into vehement; and Bernard Gui mentions that some inquisitors held that visiting heretics, giving them alms, guiding them in their journeys, and the like was sufficient for condemnation, bu he agrees with Gui Foucoix in not so considering it, as all this might be done through carnal affection or for hire. The heart of man, he adds, is deep and inscrutable, but he seeks to satisfy himself for attempting the impossible by arguing that all which cannot be explained favorably must be admitted as adverse proof. It is a noteworthy fact that in long series of interrogations there will frequently be not a single question as to the belief of the party making confession. The whole energy of the inquisitor was directed to obtaining statements of external acts. The upshot of it all necessarily was that almost

  1. Concil, Narbonn. ann, 1244 e. 29.-Trésor des chartes du roi en Carcassonne (Doat, XXI. 34).-Molinier, LInquisition dans le midí de la France, p. 812 Livres de Jostice et de Plet, Liv. I. Tit, ii. 7.