Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/554

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CHAPTER XIV.

THE STAKE.

Like confiscation, the death-penalty was a matter with which the Inquisition had theoretically no concern. It exhausted every effort to bring the heretic back to the bosom of the Church. If he proved obdurate, or if his conversion was evidently feigned, it could do no more. As a non-Catholic, he was no longer amenable to the spiritual jurisdiction of a Church which he did not recognize, and all that it could do was to declare him a heretic and withdraw its protection. In the earlier periods the sentence thus is simply a condemnation as a heretic, accompanied by excommunication, or it merely states that the offender is no longer considered as subject to the jurisdiction of the Church. Sometimes there is the addition that he is abandoned to secular judgment - "relaxed," according to the terrible euphemism which assumed that he was simply discharged from custody. When the formulas had become more perfected there is frequently the explanatory remark that the Church has nothing left to do to him for his demerits; and the relinquishment to the secular arm is accompanied with the significant addition "debita animadversione puniedum" - that he is to be duly punished by it. The adjuration that this punishment, in accordance with the canonical sanctions, shall not imperil life or limb, or shall not cause death or effusion of blood, does not appear in the earlier sentences, and was not universal even at a later period.[1]

That this appeal for mercy was the merest form is admitted by Pegna, who explains that it was used only that the inquisitors might seem not to consent to the effusion of blood, and thus avoid

  1. Coll. Boat, XXI. 143. MSS. Bib. Nat., fonds latin, No. 9992. Doctrina de modo procedendi (Martene Thesaur. V. 1807). Lami, Antichita Toscane, pp. 557, 559. Lib. Sententt. Inq. Tolosan. pp. 2, 4, 36, 208, 254, 265, 289, 380.—Eymeric. Direct. Inquis. pp. 510-12.