Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/559

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

excommunicate solemnly the recalcitrant officials in the Cathedral of St. Étienne. In 1288 Nicholas IV. lamented the neglect and covert opposition with which in many places the secular authorities evaded the execution of the inquisitorial sentences, and directed that they should be punished with excommunication and deprivation of office and their communities be subjected to interdict. In 1458, at Strassburg, the Burgermeister, Hans Drachenfels, and his colleagues refused as first to burn the Hussite missionary Frederic Reiser and his servant Anna Weiler, but their resistance was overcome and they were finally forced to execute the sentence. Thirty years later, in 1486, the magistrates of Brescia objected to burning certain witches of both sexes condemned by the Inquisition, unless they should be permitted to examine the proceedings. This was held to be flat rebellion. Civil lawyers, it is true, had endeavored to prove that the secular authorities had a right to see the papers, but the inquisitors had succeeded in having this claim rejected. Innocent VIII. promptly declared the Venetian demands to be a scandal to the faith, and he ordered the excommunication of the magistrates if within six days they did not execute the convicts, any municipal statutes to the contrary being pronounced null and void - a decision which was held to give the secular courts six days in which to carry out the sentence of condemnation. A more stubborn contest arose in 1521, when the Inquisition endeavored to purge the dioceses of both Brescia and Bergamo of the witches who still infested them. The inquisitor and episcopal ordinaries proceeded against them vigorously, but the Signiory of Venice interposed and appealed to Leo X., who appointed his nuncio at Venice to revise the trials. The latter delegated his power to the Bishop of Justinopolis, who proceeded with the inquisitor and ordinaries to the Valcamonica of Brescia, where the so-called heretics were numerous, and condemned some of them to be relaxed to the secular arm. Still dissatisfied, the Venetian Senate ordered the Governor of Brescia not to execute the sentences or to permit them to be executed, or to pay the expenses of the proceedings, but to send the papers to Venice for revision, and to compel the Bishop of Justinopolis to appear before them, which he was obliged to do. This inflamed the papal indignation to the highest pitch. Leo X. warmly assured the inquisitor and the episcopal officials that they had full jurisdiction over the culprits, that their sentences were to