Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/82

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stories of miracles skilfully directed against the observances of the Church and the weaknesses of its ministers ; but if so this was a work of surplusage, for nothing that the heretics could invent was likely to be more appalling than the reality as stated by the most resolute champions of the Church. Not many controversialists, indeed, were capable of the frank assurance of the learned author of the tract which passes under the name of Peter of Pilichdorf, in answering the arguments of the heretics, that the Catholic priests were fornicators and usurers and drunkards and dicers and forgers, by boldly saying, " What then ? They are none the less priests, and the worst of men who is a priest is worthier than the most holy layman. Was not Judas Iscariot, on account of his apostleship, worthier than Nathaniel, though less holy?" The Troubadour Inquisitor Isarn only uttered a truth generally recognized when he said that no believer would be misled into Catharism or Waldensianism if he had a good pastor :

"Ja no fara crezens heretje ni baudes
Si agues bon pastor que lur contradisses." [1]

The antisacerdotal heresies were directed against the abuses in doctrine and practice which priestcraft had invented to enslave the souls of men. One feature common to them all was a revival of the Donatist tenet that the sacraments are polluted in polluted hands, so that a priest living in mortal sin is incapable of administering them. In the existing condition of ecclesiastical morals this was destructive to the functions of nearly the whole body of the priesthood, and its readiness as a means of attack had been facilitated by the policy of the Holy See in its efforts to suppress clerical marriage and concubinage. In 1059 the Synod of Rome, under the impulsion of Nicholas II., had adopted a canon forbidding any one to be present at the mass of a priest known to keep a concubine or wife. This was inviting the flock to sit in judgment on the pastor ; and though it remained virtually a dead letter for fifteen years, when it was revived and effectually put in

  1. Reinerii contra Waldenses cap. 3. — Tractatus de Modo procedendi contra Hæreticos(MSS. Bib. Nat. Coll. Doat XXX. 185 sqq.).— Lucse Tudensis de Altera Vita Lib. iii. cap. 7-10. — P. de Pilichdorf contra Waldenses cap. 16. — Passaviens. Anon. (Preger, Beitrage, pp. 64-67).— Raynouard, Lexique Roman, V. 471.