The Inquisition depended so much upon secular officials for assistance that there was some justification in its seeking to prevent those who might be suspected of sympathizing with heresy from holding office in which they could thwart its plans and aid the offender. Yet as there was no prescription of time as to proceedings against the dead, so was there none in invoking disabilities against their descendants, and the records of the Inquisition were an inexhaustible treasury of torment for those who were in any way connected with heresy. No one, in fact, could feel sure that evidence might not at any moment be discovered or manufactured against, some long-deceased parent or grandparent, which would ruin his career, and that some industrious searcher into the archives might not find some blot on his genealogical tree. In 1288 Philippe le Bel writes to the Seneschal of Carcassonne that Raymond Vitalis of Avignon is exercising the office of notary in Carcassonne, though his maternal grandfather, Roger Isarn, is said to have been burned for heresy. If this is the fact, the seneschal is ordered to deprive him of the position. In 1292 Guiraud d'Auterive, a sergeant-at-arms of the king, was proceeded against on the same grounds, and we find Guillem de S. Seine, the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, furnishing to the royal procureur evidence that, in 1256, Guiraud's father and mother had confessed to acts of heresy, and that, in 1276, his uncle, Eaymond Carbonnel, had been burned as a perfected heretic. In these cases we see the royal power invoked for the dismissal of the official, but in the perfected theory of the Inquisition the inquisitor had the power to deprive of office any one whose father or grandfather had been a heretic or defender of heretics. In order to avoid questions like these, when a penitent had fulfilled his penance, prudent children would take out letters declaratory of the fact, so as to have evidence of capacity to hold office. In special cases the inquisitor had power to relieve descendants of these disabihties, and this was occasionally done ; but, like the remission of penance, this relief was only a suspension, liable at any moment to forfeiture on the slightest manifestation of heretical tendencies.
- Eymeric. Direct. Inquis. p. 571. — Arch, de I’Inq. de Carcassonne (Doat,
nald. ann. 1258, No. 23. — Potthast No. 17745, 18396. — Eymciic. Direct. Inq. p. 123.— C. 15, Sexto V. ii.