Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/482

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

ment, we have seen how readily it might, by failure of purgation, or by repetition, grow into technical hercsy and relapse, incurring the gravest penalties, including relaxation to the secular arm. Not less conclusive to the real import of the inquisitorial organization is the argument of Zanghino, that if a heretic repents, confesses to is priest, accepts and performs penance and receives absolution, however he may be relieved from hell and pardoned in the sight of God, he is not released from temporal punishment, and is still subject to prosecution by the Inquisition. It would not abandon its prey, while yet it could not impugn the efficacy of the sacrament of penitence, and such difficulties were eluded by forbidding priests to take cognizance of heresy, which was reserved for bishops and inquisitors.[1]

The penances customarily imposcd by the Inquisition were comparatively few in mumber. They consisted, firstly, of pious observances recitation of prayers, frequenting of churches, the discipline, fasting, pilgrimages, and fines nominally for pious uses, such as a confessor might impose on his ordinary penitents. These were for offences of trifling import. Next in grade are the "penæ confusibiles" — the humiliating and degrading penances, of which the most important was the wearing of yellow crosses sewed upon the garments; and, finally, the severest punishment among those strictly within the competence of the Holy Office, the "murus," or prison. Confiscation, as I have said, was an incident, and the stake, like it, was the affair of the secular power; and though both were really controlled by the inquisitor, they will be more conveniently considered separately. The Councils of Narbonne and Béziers, in addition, prescribe a purely temporal punishment-banishment, either temporary or perpetual but this would appear to have been so rarely employed that it may be disregarded, although in the earlier period it occasionally occurs in sentences, or is found among the penances to which repentant heretics pledged themselves to submit.[2]

  1. Concil. Tarraconens, ann. 1242.-Innoc. PP. IV. Bul. Noverit unicersitas, 1251 (Mag. Bull. Rom. 1. 103).-Bern. Guidon. Practica P. rv. (Dont, XXX.) Eymeric. Direct. Inquis. pp. 368-72, 376-8.-Zanchini Tract. de Hæret. c. xxxiii.
  2. Concil. Narbonn. ann. 1214 c. 8.-Concil. Biterrens. ann. 1246, Append. c 28.-Coll Doat, XXI. 200.-MSS. 1ib. Nat., fonds latin, No. 9992.