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Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett

The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

Vanity Fair

William Thackery

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages

by Henry Charles Lea


now the inquisitors, Pierre Cella and Guillem Arnaud, appeared as advocates of the appellant in the bishop's court, and so clearly proved de Solier's heresy that the miserable wretch fled to Lombardy.*

Similar indefiniteness of procedure is visible in the next attempt. The inquisitors, Pierre and Guillem, began to make an inquest through the city, and cited numerous suspects, all of whom found defenders among the chief citizens. The hearings took place before them, but seem as yet to have been in public. One of the accused, named Jean Teisseire, asserted himself to be a good Catholic because he had no scruples in maintaining marital relations with his wife, in eating flesh, and in lying and swearing, and he warned the crowd that they were liable to the same charge, and that it would be wiser for them to make common cause than to abandon him. When he was condemned, and the viguier, the official representative of the count, was about to conduct him to the stake, so threatening a clamor arose that the prisoner was hurried to the bishop's prison, still proclaiming his orthodoxy. Intense excitement pervaded the city, and menaces were freely uttered to destroy the Dominican convent and to stone all the friars, who were accused of persecuting the innocent. While in prison Teisseire pretended to fall mortally sick, and asked for the sacraments; but when the bailli of Lavaur brought to Toulouse some perfected heretics and delivered them to the bishop, Teisseire allowed himself to be hereticated by them in prison, and grew so ardent in the faith under their exhortations that when they were taken out for examination he accompanied them, declaring that he would share their fate. The bishop assembled the magistrates and many citizens, in whose presence he examined the prisoners. They were all condemned, including Teisseire, who obstinately refused to recant, and no further opposition was offered when they were all duly burned.f

Here we see the inquisitorial jurisdiction completely subordinate to that of the bishop, but when the inquisitors soon afterwards left Toulouse to hold inquests elsewhere they acted with full independence. At Cahors we hear nothing of the Bishop of Querci taking part in the proceedings under which they con

'Pelisso pp. 10-17. t Ibid. pp. 17-20.

demned a number of the dead, exhuming and burning their bodies, and inspiring such fear that a prominent believer, Raymond de Broleas, fled to Rome. At Moissac they condemned Jean du Gard, who fled to Montsegur, and they cited a certain Folquet, who, in terror, entered the convent of Belleperche as a Cistercian monk, and, finding that this was of no avail, finally fled to Lombardy. Meanwhile Frere Arnaud Catala and our chronicler, Guillem Pelisson, descended upon Albi, where they penanced a dozen citizens by ordering them to Palestine, and in conjunction with another inquisitor, Guillem de Lombers, burned two heretics, Pierre de Puechperdut and Pierre Bomassipio.*

The absence of the inquisitors from Toulouse made no difference in the good work, for their duties were assumed by their prior, Pons de Saint-Gilles. Under what authority he acted is not stated, but we find him, in conjunction with another friar, trying and condemning a certain Arnaud Sancier, who was burned, in spite of his protests to the last that he was a good Catholic, causing great agitation in the city, but no tumultuous uprising.f

The terror which Pelisson boasts that these proceedings spread through the land was probably owing not only to the evidence they afforded of an organized system of persecution, but also to their introduction of a much more effective method of prosecution than had heretofore been known. The "heretic," so called, was the perfected teacher who disdained to deny his faith, and his burning was accepted by all as a matter of course, as also was that of the " credens," or believer, who was defiantly contumacious and persisted in admitting and adhering to his creed. Hitherto, however, the believer who professed orthodoxy seems generally to have escaped, in the imperfection of the judicial means of proving his guilt. The friars, trained in the subtleties of disputation and learned in both civil and canon law, were specially fitted for the detection of this particularly dangerous secret misbelief, and their persistence in worrying their victims to the death was well calculated to spread alarm, not only among the guilty, but among the innocent.

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