Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/481

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461
THEORY OF THE INQUISITION.

niere of Aliate, a notorious heretic and fautor of heretics, after repeated abjurations, releases, and relapses, was not fairly imprisoned until 1295, forty-three years after the murder. It was the same when, soon afterwards, the Franciscan inquisitor, Pier da Bracciano, was assassinated, and Manfredo di Sesto, who had hired the assassins, was brought before Rainerio Saccone, the Inquisitor of Milan. He confessed the crime and other offences in aid of heresy, but was only ordered to present himself to the pope and receive penance. Contumaciously neglecting to do this, Innocent IV. merely ordered the magistrates of Italy to arrest and detain him if he should be found.[1]

Yet the theory which held the Church to be a loving mother unwillingly inflicting wholesome chastisement on her unruly children only lent a sharper rigor to most of the operations of the Inquisition. Those who were obdurate to its kindly efforts were ungrateful and disobedient when ingratitude and disobedience were offences of the most heinous nature. They were parricides whom it was mercy to reduce to subjection, and whose sin only the severest suffering could expiate. We have seen how little the inquisitor recked of human misery in his efforts to detect and convert the heretic, and it is not to be supposed that he would be more tender in his ministrations to the diseased souls asking for absolution and penance — and it was only the penitent who had confessed and abjured his sin who came before the judgment-seat for punishment. All others were left to the secular arm.

The flimsiness of this theory, however, is manifest from, the fact that it was not only heretics — those who consciously erred in matters of faith — who were subjected to the jurisdiction and chastisement of the Inquisition. Fautors, receivers, and defenders — those who showed hospitality, gave alms, or sheltered or assisted heretics in any way, or neglected to denounce them to the authorities, or to capture them when occasion offered, also rulers who omitted to execute the laws against heresy, however orthodox themselves, incurred suspicion of heresy, simple, vehement, or violent. If violent, it was tantamount to heresy; if simple or vehe-


  1. Tanibnrini, Istoriadeir Inquisizione, I. 492-502. — Bern. Corio, Hist, di Milano, ann. 1252.— Arch, de l’Inq. de Carcassonne (Doat, XXXI. 201).— Bipoll, I. 244, 280, 389.