Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/470

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

Como that it was virtually unknown. Ignorance was no defence, and its mere assertion, according to Bernard Gui, only rendered a man worthy of condemnation along with his master, the father of lies. Persistent denial of the offence charged, even when accompanied with profession of faith and readiness to submit to the mandates of the Church, was obstinacy and impenitence which precluded all hope of mercy. Even suicide in prison was equivalent to confession of guilt without repentance. It is true that insanity or drunkenness might be urged in extenuation of the utterance of heretical words, and this might mitigate the sentence, if there were due contrition and seeking for reconciliation, but admission of the conclusion at which the inquisitor had arrived from his ex parte inquest was the predetermined result, and the only alternative to this was abandonment to the secular arm.[1]

That plain-spoken friar, Bernard Delicieux, uttered the literal truth when he declared, in the presence of Philippe le Bel and all his court, that if St. Peter and St. Paul were accused of "adoring" heretics and were prosecuted after the fashion of the Inquisition, there would be no defence open for them. Questioned as to their faith, they would answer like masters in theology and doctors of the Church, but when told that they had adored heretics, and they asked what heretics, some names, common in those parts, would be mentioned, but no particulars would be given. When they would ask for statements as to time and place, no facts would be furnished, and when they would demand the names of the witnesses these would be withheld. How, then, asked Bernard, could the holy apostles defend themselves, especially when any one who wished to aid them would himself be attacked as a fautor of heresy. It was so. The victim was enveloped in a net from which there was no escape, and his frantic struggles only twisted it more tightly around him.[2]

Theoretically, indeed, an appeal lay to the pope from the Holy Office, and to the metropolitan from the bishop, for denial of jus-

  1. Bernard! Comens. Lucema Inquisit. s. v. Recusatio. — Bern, Guidon. Practica P. IV. (Doat, XXX.). — Zanchini Tract, de Hseret. c. ii., vii. — Concil. Narbonn. ann. 1344 c. 26. — Concil. Biterrens. ann. 1246 c. 9. — Eymeric. Direct. Inq. p. 572.
  2. MSS. Bib. Nat., fonds latin, No. 4270, fol. 139.