Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/84

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

even without the suggestive commands of Gregory and Innocent, to a thoughtful and pious mind there was a grievous incompatibility between the awful powers vested by the Church in her ministers and the flagitious lives which disgraced so many of them. That the error should be stubborn was unavoidable. As late as 1396 it was taught by Jean de Yarennes, a priest of the Remois, who was forced to recant, and in 1458 we find Alonso de Spina declaring it to be common to the Waldenses, the Wickliffites, and the Hussites.[1]

One or two of the earlier antisacerdotal heresies may be mentioned which were local and temporary in their character, but which yet have interest as showing how ready were the lower ranks of the people to rise in revolt against the Church, and how contagious was the enthusiasm excited by any leader bold enough to voice the general feeling of unrest and discontent. About 1108, in the Zeeland Isles, there appeared a preacher named Tanchelm, who seems to have been an apostate monk, subtle and skilled in disputation. He taught the nullity of all hierarchical dignities, from pope to simple clerk, that the Eucharist was polluted in unworthy hands, and that tithes were not to be paid. The people listened eagerly, and after filling all Flanders with his heresy, he found in Antwerp an appropriate centre of influence. Although that city was already populous and wealthy through commerce, it had but a single priest, and he, involved in an incestuous union with a near relative, had neither leisure nor inclination for his duties. A people thus destitute of orthodox instruction fell an easy prey to the tempter and eagerly followed him, reverencing him to that degree that the water in which he bathed was distributed and preserved as a relic. He readily raised a force of three thousand fighting men, with which he dominated the land,

  1. Concil. Roman, ann. 1059, can. 3. — Lambert. Hersfeld. ann. 1074. — Gregor. PP. VII. Epist. Extrav. 4; Regist. Lib. iv. Ep. 20. — Concil. Remens. ann. 1131, c. 5. — Concil. Lateran. IL ann. 1139, c. 7. — c. 5, 6, Deciet. L xxxii. ; c. 15; L lxxxi. — Gerhohi Dial, de Different. Cleri. Cf. Ejusd. Lib. contr. duas Haereses c. 3, 6 ; Dialogus de Clericis Saecul. et Regular. — Anon. Libell. adv. Errores Al- beronis (Martene Ampliss. Collect. IX. 1251-1270).— Can. 10 Extra Lib. ni. tit. ii. — D'Argentrg, Collect. Judic. de novis Erroribus, I. ii. 154.— Fortalicium Fidei, fol. 62 5 (Ed. 1494). The importance of the question in the twelfth century is shown by the number of canons devoted to it by Gratian.