Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/77

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CHAPTER II.

HERESY.

The Church, which we have seen so far removed from its ideal and so derelict in its duties, found itself, somewhat unexpectedly, confronted by new dangers and threatened in the very citadel of its power. Just as its triumph over king and kaiser was complete a new enemy arose in the awakened consciousness of man. The dense ignorance of the tenth century, which followed the evanescent Carlovingian civilization, had begun in the eleventh to yield to the first faint pulsations of intellectual movement. Early in the twelfth century that movement already shows in its gathering force the promise of the development which was to render Europe the home of art and science, of learning, culture, and civilization. The stagnation of the human mind could not be thus broken without leading to inquiry and to doubt. When men began to reason and to ask questions, to criticise and to speculate on forbidden topics, it was not possible for them to avoid seeing how woful was the contrast between the teaching and the practice of the Church, and how little correspondence existed between religion and ritual, between the lives of monk and priest and the profession of their vows. Even the blind reverence which for generations had been felt for the utterances of the Church began to be shaken. Such a book as Abelard's "Sic et Non," in which the contradictions of tradition and decretal were pitilessly set forth, was not only an indication of mental disquiet ripening to rebellion, but a fruitful source of future trouble in sowing the seeds of further investigation and irreverence. Vainly, at the command of the Roman curia, might Gratian seek to show, in his famous "Concordantia Discordantium Canonum," that the contradictions might be reconciled, and that the canon law was not merely a mass of clashing rules called forth by special exigencies, but an harmonious body of spiritual law. The fatal word had been spoken, and the efforts of