Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/485

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465
THE DISCIPLINE. — PILGRIMAGES.

equipped, every house in which he had seen heretics, and receive the same infliction; and on the occasion of every solemn procession he was to accompany it in the same guise, to be beaten at every station and at the end. Even when the town happened to be placed under interdict, or himself to be excommunicated, there was to be no cessation of the penance, and apparently it lasted as long as the wretched life of the penitent, or at least until it pleased the inquisitor to remember him and liberate him. That this was no idle threat is shown by these precise details occurring in a formula given by Bernard Gui, about 1330, for the release from prison of penitents who by patience and humility in their captivity have earned a mitigation of their punishment, and virtually the same formula was employed immediately after the organization of the Inquisition.[1]

The pilgrimages, which were regarded as among the lightest of penances, were also mercies only by comparison. Performed on foot, the number commonly enjoined might well consume several years of a man's life, during which his family might perish. A frequent injunction by Pierre Cella, one of the most moderate of inquisitors, comprehended Compostella and Canterbury, with perhaps several intermediate shrines, and in one case a man over ninety years of age was ordered to perform the weary tramp to Compostella simply for having consorted with heretics. These pilgrimages were not without peril and hardship, although the hospitality exercised by the numerous convents on the road enabled the poorest pilgrim to sustain life. Still, pilgrimages were so habitual a feature of mediaeval habits, and entered so frequently into ordinary penance, that their use by the Inquisition was inevitable. When the yearning for salvation was so strong that two hundred thousand pilgrims arriving in Rome in a single day is said to have been no uncommon occurrence during the Jubilee of 1300, the penitent who escaped with the performance of such pious observances might well regard himself as mercifully treated. [2]

The penitential pilgrimages of the Inquisition were divided


  1. Concil. Tarraconens. ann. 1242. — Concil. Narbonnens. ann. 1244 c. 1. — Concil. Biterrena. ann. 1246, Append, c. 6.— Bern. Guidon. Practica (Doat, XXIX. 54). — MSS. Bib. Nat, fouds latin, No. 14930, fol. 214.
  2. Coll. Doat, XXI. 222.— Wadding. Annal. ann. 1300, No. 1.— Cf. Molinier, L'Inq. dans le midi de la France, pp. 400-1.