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In short we shall find in the sequel, that they spread themselves throughout almost every country in Europe; but they were every where treated as the filth of the world, and as the offscouring of all things. *

It can excite no surprise that their increasing numbers should rouse the court of Rome to adopt the most vigorous measures for suppressing them. The Inquisition had not yet been established; but council after council had been convened in France; and about twenty years after Waldo had been driven from Lyons, the following persecuting edict was issued from Rome.


HERETICS, A. D. 1181.

To abolish the malignity of diverse heresies which are lately sprung up in most parts of the world, it is but fitting that the power committed to the church should be awakened, that by the concurring assistance of the Imperial strength, both the insolence and mal-pertness of the heretics in their false designs may be crushed, and the truth of Catholic simplicity shining forth in the holy church, may demonstrate her pure and free from the execrableness of their false doctrines. Wherefore we, being supported by the presence and power of our most dear sou, Frederick, the most illustrious Emperor of the Romans, always increaser of the empire, with the common advice and counsel of our brethren, and other patriarchs, archbishops, and many princes, who from several parts of the world are met together, do set themselves against these heretics who have got different names from the several false doctrines they profess, by the sanction of this present general decree, and by our apostolical authority, according to the tenor

* Perrin's History, ch. ii.

of these presents, we condemn all manner of heresy, by what name soever it


be denominated. More particularly, we declare all Catharists, Paterines, and those who call themselves“ the Poor of Lyons ;" the Passagines, Josephists, Arnoldists, to lie under a perpetual anathema. And because some, under a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, as the apostle saith, assume to themselves the authority of preaching; whereas the same apostle saith, “How shall they preach except they be sent”-we therefore conclude under the same sentence of a perpetual anathema, all those who either being forbid or not sent do notwithstanding presume to preach publicly or privately, without any authority received either from the Apostolic See, or from the bishops of their respective dioceses: As also all those who are not afraid to hold or teach any opinions concerning the sacrament of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, baptism, the remission of sins, matrimony, or any other sacraments of the church, differing from what the holy church of Rome doth preach and observe: And generally all those whom the same church of Rome, or the several bishops in their dioceses, with the advice of their clergy, or the clergy themselves, in case of a vacancy of the See, with the advice if need be of neighbouring bishops, shall judge to be heretics. And we likewise declare all entertainers and defenders of the said heretics, and those that have shewed any favor or given countenance to them, thereby strengthening them in their heresy, whether they be called comforted, believers, or perfect, or with whatsoever superstitious name they disguise themselves, to be liable to the same sentence.

And though it sometimes happens that the severity of ecclesiastical discipline, necessary to the coercion of sin, is condemned by those who do not understand the virtue of it, we notwithstanding by these presents decree, That whosoever shall be notoriously convicted of these errors, if a clergyman, or one that endeavours to conceal himself under any religious order, he shall be immediately deprived of all prerogative of the church orders, and so being divested of all office and benefice, be delivered to the secular power to be punished according to demerit, unless immediately upon his being detected he voluntarily returns to the truth of the Catholic faith, and publicly abjures his errors, at the discretion of the bishop of the diocese, and makes suitable satisfaction. And as for a layman who shall be found guilty either publicly or privately of any of the aforesaid crimes, unless by abjuring his heresy and making satisfaction he immediately return to the orthodox faith, we decree him to be left to the sentence of the secular judge, to receive condign punishment according to the quality of the offence.

And as to those who are taken notice of by the church as suspected of heresy, unless at the command of the bishop they give full evidence of their innocence, accord. ing to the degree of suspicion against them and the quality of their persons, they shall all be liable to the same sentence. But those who after having abjured their errors, or cleared themselves upon examination to their bishop, if they be found to have relapsed into their abjured heresyWe decree that without any further hearing they be forthwith delivered up to the secular power, and their goods confiscated to the use of the church.

And we further decree, That this excommunication, in which our will is that all heretics be included, shall be repeated and renewed by all patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops, in all the chief festivals and on any public solemnity, or upon any other occasion to the glory of God and the putting a stop to all heretical pravity: ordering by our apostolic authority, that if any bishop be found wanting or slow herein, he be suspended for three years from his episcopal dignity and administration.

Furthermore, with the counsel and advice of bishops, and intimation of the Emperor and princes of the empire, we do add, That every archbishop or bishop, either in his own person or by his archdeacon, or by other honest and fit persons, shall once or twice in the year visit the parish in which it is reported that heretics dwell, and there cause two or three men of good credit, or if need be, the whole neighbourhood, to swear that if they know of any heretics there, or any that frequent private meetings, or that differ from the common conversation of mankind, either in life or manners, they will signify the same to the bishop or archdeacon: The bishop also or archdeacon shall summon before them the parties accused, who, unless they at their discretion, according to the custom of the country, do clear themselves of the guilt laid to their charge; or if after having so cleared themselves, they relapse again to their former unbelief, they shall be punished at the bishop's discretion. And if any of them, by a damnable superstition, shall refuse to swear, that alone shall suffice to convict them of being heretics, and liable to the punishments before-mentioned.

We ordain further, That all earls, barons, governors, and consuls of cities and other places, in pursuance of the commonition of the respective archbishops and bishops, shall promise upon oath, that in all these particulars, whenever they are required so to do, they will powerfully and effectually assist the church against heretics and their accomplices; and endeavour faithfully, according to their office and power, to execute the ecclesiastical and imperial statutes concerning the matters herein-mentioned.

But if any of them shall refuse to observe this, they shall be deprived of their honours and charges, and be rendered incapable of receiving others; and, moreover, be involved in the sentence of excommunication, and their goods be confiscated to the use of the church. And if Vol. II.


any city shall refuse to yield obedience to these Decretal Constitutions, or that contrary to the episcopal commonition they shall neglect to punish opposers, We ordain the same to be excluded from all commerce with other cities, and to be deprived of the episcopal dignity.

We likewise decree, That all favorers of heretics, as men stigmatized with perpetual infamy, shall be incapable of being attornies or witnesses, or of bearing any public office whatsoever. And as for those who are exempt from the law of diocesan jurisdiction, as being immediately under the jurisdiction of the Apostolic See; nevertheless, as to these constitutions against heretics, we will, That they be subject to the judgment of the archbishop and bishops, and that in this case they yield obedience to them, as to the delegates of the Apostolic See, the immunity of their privileges notwithstanding.”

Ildefonsus, king of Arragon, also testified his zeal against the Waldenses, by an edict published in the year 1194, from the tenour of which we are authorized to infer, that the doctrine of Waldo bad not only found its way into Spain, but that it had got such footing there as to create no little alarm, and call forth the determined interference of the government. The following is a copy of this severe edict, as given by Pegna, in his notes on the “ Directory of the Inquisitors."

“ ILDEFONSUS, by the grace of God, King of Arragon, Earl of Barcelona, Marquis of Provence, to all archbishops, bishops, and other prelates of the church of God, earls, viscounts, knights, and to all people of his kingdom, or belonging to his dominions, wisheth health, and the sound observance of the Christian Religion.

Forasmuch as it hath pleased God to set us over his people, it is but fit and just, that according to our

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