Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/568

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divergence of views. The Council of Narbonne, in 1244, was of opinion that those guilty of this offence should be sent to the pope for absolution and the imposition of penance - a cumbrous procedure, not likely to find favor. During the middle period of the Inquisition, the authorities, including Bernard Gui, while not prescribing relaxation to the secular arm, suggest that penance be imposed sufficiently severe to inspire wholesome fear in others; while, towards the end of the fourteenth century, Eymerich holds that a relapsed fautor is to be abandoned to secular justice without a hearing. Even those defamed for heresy, if after due purgation they again incur defamation, are strictly liable to the same fate, though this was so hard a measure that Eymerich proposes that such cases should be referred to the pope.[1]

There was another class of offenders who gave the inquisitors endless trouble, and for whom it was difficult to frame rigid and invariable rules - those who escaped from prison or omitted to fulfil the penances assigned to them. According to theory, all penitents were converts to the true faith who eagerly accepted penance as their sole hope of salvation. To reject it subsequently was therefore an evidence that the conversion had been feigned or that the inconstant soul had reverted to its former errors, as otherwise the loving and wholesome discipline of the benignant Mother Church would not be spurned. From the beginnings, therefore, these culprits were classed with the relapsed. In 1248 the Council of Valence ordered them to have the benefit of a warning, after which further persistence in disobedience rendered them liable to the full penalty of obstinate heresy; and this was sometimes provided for in the sentence itself, by a clause which warned them that any disregard of the observances enjoined would expose them to the fate of perjured and impenitent heretics. Yet as late as 1260 Alexander IV. seems at a loss what rule to prescribe in such cases, and merely talks vaguely of excommunication and reimposition of the penalties, with the assistance, if necessary, of the secular authorities. Yet about the same period Gui Foucoix pronounced in favor of the death-penalty for these offenders, arguing that the offence proved impenitent heresy; but Bernard Gui held this to

  1. Concil, Narbonn. ann. 1244 c. 18.-Doctrina de modo procedcndi (Martene Thesaur. V. 1802, 1808)-Bern. Guidon. Practica P. Iv. (Doat, XXX.)-Eymeric. Direct. Inq. p. 386