Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/64

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

As an additional inducement to crusaders they were, moreover, released from earthly as well as heavenly justice, by being classed with clerks and subjected only to spiritual jurisdiction. When accused, the ecclesiastical judge was directed to take them from the secular courts by the use of excommunication, if necessary, and when found guilty of enormous crime, such as murder, they were merely divested of the cross, and punished with the same leniency as ecclesiastics. This became embodied in secular jurisprudence, and its attraction to the reckless adventurers who formed so large a portion of the papal armies is readily conceivable. When, in 1246, those who had taken the cross in France were indulging themselves in robbery, murder, and rape, St. Louis was obliged to appeal to Innocent IV., and the pope responded by instructing his legate that such malefactors were not to be protected.[1]

Still further rewards were offered when personal ambition and vindictiveness were to be gratified in the crusade preached by Innocent IV. against the Emperor Conrad IV., after the death of Frederic II., when he granted a larger remission of sins than for the voyage to the Holy Land, and included the father and mother of the crusader as beneficiaries in the assurance of heaven. A profitable device had also been introduced by which crusaders, unwilling or unable to perform their vow, were absolved from it on a money payment proportioned to their ability, and very large sums were raised in this manner, which were expended, nominally at least, for the furtherance of the holy cause. The development of the system continued until it came to be employed in the pettiest private quarrels of the popes as masters of the patrimony of St. Peter. If Alexander IV. could use it successfully against

Eccelin da Romano, the next century saw John XXII. have recourse to it, not only in making war against a formidable antagonist like Matteo Yisconti or the Marquis of Montefeltre, but even when he wished to reduce the rebellious citizens of little places like Osimo and Eecanati, in the March of Ancona, or the turbulent

    Spanish prelates have granted an indulgence of 2320 days (fifty-eight quarantaines) to every one who will read or hear read a chapter or even a single page of any of its publications.

  1. Concil. Turon. ann. 1236, c. 1. — Établissements de S. Louis, Liv. i, cap. 84. — Berger, Les Registres d'Innocent IV. No. 2230.