Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/495

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475
UNFULFILLED PENANCE.

Penitents who died before fulfilling their penance afforded a specially favorable opportunity for such transactions as these. Death, as we have seen, afforded no immunity from the jurisdiction of the Inquisition and in no wise abated its energy of prosecution. There might be a distinction drawn in practice between those who were taken off while humbly performing the penance assigned to them, but before its completion, and those who had wilfully neglected its commencement ; but legally the non-fulfilment of penance entailed condemnation for heresy whether in the dead or living. In 1329, for instance, the Inquisition of Carcassonne ordered the exhumation and cremation of the bones of seven persons declared to have died in heresy for not having fulfilled the penance enjoined on them, which of course carried with it the confiscation of their property and the subjection of their descendants to the usual disabilities. The Councils of Narbonne and Albi directed the inquisitors to exact satisfaction at discretion from the heirs of those who had died before judgment, if they would have been condemned to wear crosses, as well as those who had confessed and been sentenced, and who had not lived, whether to commence or to complete their penance. Gui Foucoix expresses his belief that in these cases the penitent is admitted to purgatory, and he decides that nothing should be demanded from his heirs; but even his authority did not overcome the more palatable doctrine of the councils, and a contemporary manual directs the inquisitor to exact a "congruous satisfaction." There is something peculiarly repulsive in the rapacity which thus followed beyond the grave those who had humbly confessed and repented and were received into the bosom of the Church, but the Inquisition was unrelenting and exacted the last penny. For instance, the Inquisitor of Carcassonne had prescribed five years' pilgrimage to the Holy Land for Jean Vidal, who died before performing it. March 21, 1252, his heirs, under citation, swore that his whole estate was worth twenty livres, and gave security to obey the decision of the inquisitor, which was announced the following August, and proved to be a demand for twenty livres — the entire value of his property. In another case, Raymonde Barbaira had died before accomplishing some pilgrimages with crosses to which she had been sentenced. An inventory of her property showed it to consist of some bedding, clothing, a chest, a few cattle, and four sous in