I. ORIGIN.-- As was seen in the history of the mediæval Church, the ecclesiastical authorities near the close of the twelfth century began to take alarm at the encroachments of heresy. Fear stirred them to counsel and action. In devising remedies and safeguards against the threatening evil, they had not to invent new maxims. A temporal sword had not long been in the hand of the Church before it began to be used for the coercion of the heretic. Arguments and decisions in favor of repressive measures reach back to the days of Augustine and Leo the Great. In the rude civilization of the following centuries it was not natural that either theory or practice should be improved. What the leaders of the Church at the close of the twelfth and the dawn of the thirteenth century had to devise was little else than the machinery which should give effect to the principle of intolerance. The most important part of that machinery bears the name of the Inquisition. A substitute name of the institution, designed, we presume, to emphasize the sanctity of its function, is that of the Holy Office.
A definite advance toward the Inquisition appeared in the scheme for the prosecution of heretics which was published by Lucius III. through the Council of Verona in 1184.1 Mansi, tom.xxii. A still further advance was made in the plan of inquisitorial scrutiny which was issued by the Fourth Lateran Council, held under Innocent III. in 1215. 2 Ibid. The Council of Toulouse, presided over by the legates of Gregory IX., in 1229, came quite near to the pattern of the Inquisition, since it provided for a special commission to serve in the work of heresy-hunting 3 Ibid, tom. xxiii. One step more, however, was needed. The commission ordained by the Council of Toulouse was a local agency subordinate to the bishop. To reach the full-ordained institution of the Inquisition it was necessary to appoint inquisitors who should be co-ordinate with bishops, and enjoy a relative independence in the discharge of their functions. Such officials very soon appeared.
It is supposed that Gregory IX. appointed special inquisitors for Italy in 1231, for France in 1233, and for Aragon in 1237. The new tribunals were largely manned by the Dominicans, though a place therein was given to the Franciscans and others. Meanwhile the episcopate was not robbed of its inquisitorial prerogatives, and in some quarters continued to be the main instrument for extirpating heretical pravity.
The Inquisition, as a distinct institute, was in effective operation during the thirteenth century and the early part of the fourteenth. In the latter part of the fourteenth and through the fifteenth century it wrought less energetically in most fields. England and the Scandinavian countries remained beyond its range from the first. In Sicily it exhibited tokens of renewed vitality about the middle of the fifteenth century. A quarter of a century later if burst into terrible activity in Spain, where previously its sphere of operation had been somewhat limited, Castile and Leon having scarcely felt its benediction. It was at this time (1481) that the New Inquisition, as it is called, was established. The principles and methods of the new tribunal did not differ materially from those of the old, and the change consisted mainly in the provision of a more ample and efficient hoard of management. The notorious Torquemada was appointed (1483) the first inquisitor-general under the revised constitution. The New Inquisition was introduced into Portugal in 1531.
As already noted, a constitution was published, in 1642, for the establishment of a supreme Inquisition in Rome, and cardinals were appointed under the Pope as managers. It would appear, however, that this new tribunal did not interfere with the Spanish, the latter being exempted from the direct control of the Roman Congregation.
2. RESPONSIBILITY. --Any one who has read the decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council and of the Council of Toulouse, or has looked through the long train of epistles in which Innocent III., Gregory IX., Innocent IV., Alexander IV., and other Popes called for the extermination of heresy, can entertain no doubt that ecclesiastical authority took the lead in organizing the Inquisition, and in devising the whole scheme of merciless repression of which it was the instrument. It is true that a very severe code was published by Frederic II. (1220-1239). But this was largely based on decrees which had already been issued under papal authority, owed its primary draft to the papal curia, 1 Raynaldus, anno 1120, n. 19-24. was promulgated by successive Popes, and was ordered by them to be entered into the local statute-books of states and cities.
2 Directorium Inquisitorum Nicolai Eymerici, com Commentariis Francisci Pegnae Sacrae Theologiae ac Juris Utriusque Doctoris, Venetiis, 1590, Appendix; Potthast, Regesta Pontificum Romanorum, No. 14,575, 14,587, 14,607, 14,762, etc.
H. C. Lea, History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, i. 227, 322, 323.
While, therefore, Frederic II. is not to be excused, and the part which he took was especially disgraceful for a man of his free sentiments, the chief responsibility in devising and giving practical efficacy to his sanguinary code was with the Papacy.
Another element of responsibility appears in the fact that the Inquisition, after being organized, was treated by the supreme ecclesiastical authority as a favored child. Decree after decree was issued to remove obstacles out of the way, to prefect its agents, and to enlarge the scope of its operations. The inquisitors were armed with a plenary indulgence while in the discharge of their office.1 Eymerich, Directorium Inquisitorum, pp. 130, 131, 685. Compare Paramo, De Origine et Progressu Inquisitionis, lib. ii. tit, i, cap. iv. They were authorized to proclaim forty days' indulgence for any who should attend their sermon, and three years for any who should render them special service, if being understood in addition that one who chanced to die in this service should have plenary indulgence. 2 Directorium, pp. 130, 409. They were not to falter because of the opposition of local ecclesiastics, could not be touched by an excommunication without the sanction of the Roman see, and had power to absolve one another from ecclesiastical censures. 3 Ibid., pp. 136, 552, 553. On setting up their tribunal in any place, they could require the temporal magistrate to take oath to visit heretics with the canonical punishments, and in case the magistrate should refuse assistance to their pious designs, they could threaten him with excommunication and deposition on the express warrant of more than one papal edict.
4 Ibid., p. 393; Appendix, passim. A discovery of heresy in the magistrate himself was thought of course to justify a still more peremptory dealing. The fact of his heresy needed only to be officially announced in order to cancel at once all obligations to him. Eymerich, who wrote in the latter part of the fourteenth century, and his commentator, Pegna, who came two centuries later, state this in the most explicit terms. Pegna, writing as a doctor of law, and giving doubtless the accepted interpretation of the canons, says:-- "Ex hae quaestione unum colligitur axioma, videlicet, Omnes illos, qui aliquo obligationis genere aliquibus tenentur astricti, tunc liberantur penitus, com illi quibus obligati erant in haeresim inciderent manifeste. "Multis modis hoc axioma verum est. Primum, quia com à die com missi criminis amittant dominium bonornm, Rursus, si haeretici, aliquos haberent obligatos, in eos agere possent. "Haec poena de amisso jure obligationum multos parit effectus. Primum ergo is apud quem haereticus aliquid deposuit, non tenebitur post manifestum ejus haeresim, rem depositam haeretico restituere, sed fisco. "Rursus, nec catholica uxor viro haeretico debitum reddere obligabitur, quia per haeresim viri ab hoc debito liberata est. "His adde, quòd custodes arcium seu castrorum, aut populorum, vel civitatum, domino haeretico ea restituere non tenentur, neque ejus nomine custodire. "Denique quicunque vassali omni obligatione etiam juramenti religione munita, qua dominis sui tenebantur obstricti, ipso jure liberantur." (pp. 675, 676.)
4 Ibid., p. 393; Appendix, passim. A discovery of heresy in the magistrate himself was thought of course to justify a still more peremptory dealing. The fact of his heresy needed only to be officially announced in order to cancel at once all obligations to him. Eymerich, who wrote in the latter part of the fourteenth century, and his commentator, Pegna, who came two centuries later, state this in the most explicit terms. Pegna, writing as a doctor of law, and giving doubtless the accepted interpretation of the canons, says:--
"Ex hae quaestione unum colligitur axioma, videlicet, Omnes illos, qui aliquo obligationis genere aliquibus tenentur astricti, tunc liberantur penitus, com illi quibus obligati erant in haeresim inciderent manifeste.
"Multis modis hoc axioma verum est. Primum, quia com à die com missi criminis amittant dominium bonornm, Rursus, si haeretici, aliquos haberent obligatos, in eos agere possent.
"Haec poena de amisso jure obligationum multos parit effectus. Primum ergo is apud quem haereticus aliquid deposuit, non tenebitur post manifestum ejus haeresim, rem depositam haeretico restituere, sed fisco.
"Rursus, nec catholica uxor viro haeretico debitum reddere obligabitur, quia per haeresim viri ab hoc debito liberata est.
"His adde, quòd custodes arcium seu castrorum, aut populorum, vel civitatum, domino haeretico ea restituere non tenentur, neque ejus nomine custodire.
"Denique quicunque vassali omni obligatione etiam juramenti religione munita, qua dominis sui tenebantur obstricti, ipso jure liberantur." (pp. 675, 676.)
They were authorized and advised to conceal the names of the accusers from the accused, where the result might be harmful if they were divulged, or even to conceal them in any case.
1 A decree of Innocent IV. reads: " Sanè volumus, ut nomina tam accusantium pravitatem haereticam, quàm testificantium super ea, nullatenus publicentur propter scandalum vel periculum, quod ex publicatione hujusmodi sequi posset, et adhibeatur dictis hujusmodi testium nihilominus plena fides." (Directorium, p. 137.)
In fine, the inquisitors were shielded and helped to the utmost by the papal legislation, and their responsibility was well-nigh limited to the Pope alone. Their official position was defined as that of papal delegates. 2 Directorium, p. 536.
The fact that the Church did not directly assume the task of executing heretics, but turned them over, after conviction, to the secular arm, does very little towards qualifying its responsibility. For not only did it inculcate the general maxim, that in guarding the faith the temporal power must obey the spiritual, but, as has just been indicated, it required specitically, and under stress of the highest censures at its command, that the temporal power should diligently employ its exterminating sword against heresy.
By an ecumenical decree, that of the Fourth Lateran Council, it ordained that the temporal lord who, after fair warning, should delay to purge his land of heretical defilement, should be excommunicated and lose all claim to allegiance. In the person of several Popes it prescribed, in authoritative terms, the adoption of a code which sentenced obstinate heretics to death by fire,
1 The following, addressed to Italian inquisitors by Innocent IV. in 1252, may serve as a specimen: "Volumus et praesentium vobis tenore mandamus, quatenus potestates, consilia, et communitates civitatum, castrorum, et quorumlibet aliorum locoruna Lombardiae, Marchiae Taruisanae, et Romaniolae monere curetis, ac inducere diligenter, ut statuta nostra, et alia ecclesiastica et saecularia, et constitutiones etiam quondam Federici Romanorum Imperatoris, tune in devotione ecclesiae persistentis edita contra haereticos, fautores, receptatores, et defensores eorum, quae conscripta et bulla nostra munita transmittimus, conscribi in statuariis suis, eaque irrefragibiliter observari faciant, et observent. Si vero nostris in hoc, immo potius apostolicis acquiescere monitis non curaverint, ipsos ad id per censuram ecclesiasticam, appellatione remota, ogatis." (Directorium, Appendix, pp. 5, 6.) Other decrees of like tenor are given, and in the same connection the statutes of Frederic II., wherein is recorded such a prescription as this: "Mortem pati Patarenos, aliosque haereticos quocunque nomine censeantur, decernimus, quam affectant: ut vivi in conspectu hominum comburantur, flammarum commissi judicio." (Appendix, p. 15.)
and in various instances coerced the magistrate into accepting or applying the code. 2 Lea, History of the Inquisition, i. 322, 538, 539. In the face of these facts, the plea that the Church has never executed heretics may well be left to those who exculpate the directing mind and lay all the blame on the hand of the criminal.
The shallow meaning of the inquisitor's request that the magistrate, in whose hands he placed the condemned heretic, should spare the shedding of blood, has been commented on in another connection. Pegna shows clearly enough that it was mere form, designed to avoid the appearance of complicity in blood-shedding, which was deemed an irregularity in an ecclesiastic. The same writer adds, that the form could no longer be counted strictly necessary, in consideration of the immunities granted to inquisitors by Paul IV. and Pius V., though it was fitting that it should be retained in deference to old custom. 1 Directorium, p. 124.
It is doubtless true that the Inquisition had in some instances an intimate connection with the State. This was the case with the tribunal in Spain as reorganized at the close of the fifteenth century. There is room for the suspicion that Spanish sovereigns, like Ferdinand, Charles, and Philip II., prized the Inquisition as a means of overawing the people and subjecting them to political as well as religious despotism. Some attention is also due to the fact that certain Popes passed some direct or implied strictures upon the proceedings of the Spanish tribunal. But, on the other hand, it is entirely certain that in its main achievement the Inquisition in Spain simply fulfilled what the Popes for two centuries and a half had been commanding princes to do under pain of anathema. It is also certain that papal authority never undertook in real earnest to check the cruelties in Spain, and that such feeble strictures as some of its representatives passed were dictated in part by the desire to secure the papal prerogative in the matter of appeals, and were not meant in any case to save from the flames one who refused to submit conscience and faith to the authority of the Church. It is equally unquestionable that other representatives of the Papacy, so far from holding inquisitorial rage in check, sought rather to fan it to an intenser flame. Thus Paul IV., as we have already seen, authorized the Spanish inquisitors to condemn to death such penitent heretics as had never relapsed 1 See "Protestantism in Spain" and who that is acquainted with the administration of Pius V. does not know that its whole tendency was to breathe a fiercer energy into every agency of repression, whether in Spain or elsewhere ?
The compliment which the Papacy paid to the Inquisition, in 1867, by canonizing Pedro Arbues, an inquisitor of Aragon who was assassinated in 1485, may properly be regarded as a scandal. But Pius IX. played herein a more respectable part than those are fulfilling who stand up in the face of history and attempt to acquit spiritual authority of all serious responsibility in the atrocities which have been committed for the upholding of the faith. The stalwart Romanists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries would have laughed at such diluted moonshine. Observe the tone in which Baronius addressed Paul V.: "Blessed father, the ministry of Peter is twofold, -- to feed and to kill. For the Lord said to him, 'Feed my sheep'; and he also heard a voice from heaven, saying, 'Kill and eat.' To feed sheep is to take care of obedient, faithful Christians, who in meekness, humility, and piety show themselves to be sheep and lambs. But when he has no longer to do with sheep and lambs, but with lions, and other wild, refractory, and troublesome beasts, Peter is commanded to kill them; that is to say, to attack, fight, and slaughter them, until there be none such left."1 Quoted by W. R. Rule, History of the Inquisition, ii, 208. More specific, if not more suggestive, are the words of the distinguished Bellarmin, who says that Roman Catholics universally teach the propriety of delivering over incorrigible heretics for the purpose of being burned, and that an innumerable multitude has been burned by the authority and consent of the Church.
2 Speaking of Luther's view that capital punishment ought not to be indicted on heretics, he says: "Contrarium docent omnes Catholici ... Nos breviter ostendimus, haereticos incorrigibiles, ac praesertim relapsos, posse ac debere ab ecclesia rejici, et a secularibus potestatibus, temporalibus poenis, atque ipsa etiam morte mulctari. ... Quod haeretici sint saepe ab ecclesia combusti, ostendi potest, si adducamus pauca exempla de multis. Ut alios infinitos omittam, Joannes Huss et Hieronymus de Praga in Constantiniensi Concilio ab Imperatore Sigismundo exusti fuerunt." (De Membris Eccl. Mil., lib, iii. cap. 21, 22.)
What less could the resolute dogmatist say, at least as respects the propriety of burning heretics, when he had in mind the ex cathedra decision of Leo X.? 3 See "The Reformation in Germany".
3. METHODS. -- The Inquisition in general sought to awe the minds of the people by a combination of secrecy and display. In different countries, however, the element of display was unequal. In Spain it reached the maximum. "The courts of the Inquisition," says Prescott,"were distributed throughout the country, and were conducted with a solemn pomp that belonged to no civil tribunal. Spacious buildings were erected for their accommodation, and the gigantic prisons of the inquisition rose up, like impregnable fortresses, in the principal cities of the kingdom. A swarm of menials and officials waited to do its bidding. The proudest nobles of the land held it an honor to serve as familiars of the Holy Office. In the midst of this external pomp, the impenetrable veil thrown over its proceedings took strong hold of the imagination, investing the tribunal with a sort of supernatural terror. An individual disappeared from the busy scenes of life.
No one knew whither he had gone till he reappeared, clothed in the fatal garb of the san benito, to take part in the tragic spectacle of an auto de fé." 1 Philip the Second, i. 345, 346.
The methods which the Inquisition employed to secure conviction have been so fully outlined in the directory of Eymerich and the accompanying commentary by Pegna, not to mention other authorities, that there is no room for doubt on any important point. The general character of these methods is expressed in temperate terms when it is said, that never has judicial outrage been carried to greater perfection than in the Holy Office. The prisoner had no opportunity to confront those who witnessed against him; even their names were in most instances withheld.
2 Eymerich says that some pontiffs had decided in favor of withholding the names of witnesses in all cases; others, for withholding them only when harm would be likely to result if they were disclosed. (Directorium, p. 627.) Pegna evidently considered the former as the better direction, and also as the one dominating practice. He quotes this instruction from the Madrid office, given in 1561: "Quanquam in aliis tribunalibus soleant judices, ad veritatem delictorum indagandam conciliare testes com delinquentibus, in judicio Inquisitionis nec debet, nec solitum est fieri; quia praeterquam quòd ex hoc violatur secretum, quod circa testes praecipitur, experientia notum est, quod si quandoque id factum est, non est secutus inde bonus effectus, immo ex eo incommoda orta sunt." (p. 436.)
Any class of persons, criminals, perjurers, the excommunicate, could testify against the accused. Proof of mortal hatred in the witness was declared to be the only warrantable ground for his rejection.
1 Directorium, p. 446. "In favorem fidei, infames, conscii criminis ac participes necnon et excommunicati, et quibuscunque allis criminibus irretiti, in defectum praesertim aliarum probationum, ad testificandum in causa fidei admittuntur, immo etiam perjuri. Refellit igitur sola inimicitia, non quaecunque, sed capitalis."
Heretics and near relatives could testify against the reputed heretic, but never for him. 2 Directorium, p. 612. The inquisitor might entice the accused to witness against himself, by making to him vague promises of leniency; by hinting that he is about to depart, and during a long absence must leave him to the rigors of the prison; by artfully pretending that he already has the evidence which he wishes to extract; by authorizing a seeming friend to approach the prisoner and to feign sympathy with his opinions.
3 Among the expedients which Eymerich enumerates, the fourth and the ninth are especially striking: " Quarta cautela inquisitoris est: ut si videat Inquisitor haereticum vel delatum nolle detegere veritatem, et scit eum per testes non esse convictum, et secundum indicia videtur eidem esse verum, quod deponitur contra eum: quòd quando negat hoc vel illud, qnòd inquisitor accipiat processum, et revolvat eum, et post dicat ei: clarum est, quòd non dicis verum, et quòd ita fuit sicut dico ego; dicas ergo veritatem negotiì clarè: sic ut ille credat se convictum esse, et sic apparere in processu. Vel teneat in manu unam cedulam seu scripturam, et quando delatus seu haereticus interrogatus negabit hoc vel illud, inquisitor quasi admirans dicat ei; et quomodo tu potes negare, nonne clarum est mihi? et tune legat in cedula sua, et pervertat eam, at legat. Et post dicat: ego dicebam verum: dicas postquam vides me scire." (p. 434.) "Nona cautela inquisitoris est: ut si videat haereticum nullatenus velle prodere veritatem, habeat inquisitor unum de complicibus suis, seu alium bene ad fidem conversum, et de qno inquisitor bene confidere possit, illi capto non ingratum, et permittat illum intrare, et faciat, quòd ille loquatur sibi, et si opus fuerit, fingat se de secta sua adhuc esse, sed metu abjurasse, vel veritatem inquisitori prodidisse, et, com haereticus captus confiderit in eo, intret quodam sero ad haereticum illum captum protrahendo locutiones com eodem, et tandem fingat nimis esse tardè pro recessu, et remaneat in carcere com eodem, et de nocte pariter colloquantur, ut dicant sibi mutuo, quae commiserunt, illo, qui superintravit, inducente ad hoc captum. Et tunc sit ordinatum, quòd stent extra carcerem in hoc loco congruo explorantes eos, anscultantes, et verbs colligentes, et si opus fuerit notarius com isdem." (p. 434.)
3 Among the expedients which Eymerich enumerates, the fourth and the ninth are especially striking: " Quarta cautela inquisitoris est: ut si videat Inquisitor haereticum vel delatum nolle detegere veritatem, et scit eum per testes non esse convictum, et secundum indicia videtur eidem esse verum, quod deponitur contra eum: quòd quando negat hoc vel illud, qnòd inquisitor accipiat processum, et revolvat eum, et post dicat ei: clarum est, quòd non dicis verum, et quòd ita fuit sicut dico ego; dicas ergo veritatem negotiì clarè: sic ut ille credat se convictum esse, et sic apparere in processu. Vel teneat in manu unam cedulam seu scripturam, et quando delatus seu haereticus interrogatus negabit hoc vel illud, inquisitor quasi admirans dicat ei; et quomodo tu potes negare, nonne clarum est mihi? et tune legat in cedula sua, et pervertat eam, at legat. Et post dicat: ego dicebam verum: dicas postquam vides me scire." (p. 434.)
"Nona cautela inquisitoris est: ut si videat haereticum nullatenus velle prodere veritatem, habeat inquisitor unum de complicibus suis, seu alium bene ad fidem conversum, et de qno inquisitor bene confidere possit, illi capto non ingratum, et permittat illum intrare, et faciat, quòd ille loquatur sibi, et si opus fuerit, fingat se de secta sua adhuc esse, sed metu abjurasse, vel veritatem inquisitori prodidisse, et, com haereticus captus confiderit in eo, intret quodam sero ad haereticum illum captum protrahendo locutiones com eodem, et tandem fingat nimis esse tardè pro recessu, et remaneat in carcere com eodem, et de nocte pariter colloquantur, ut dicant sibi mutuo, quae commiserunt, illo, qui superintravit, inducente ad hoc captum. Et tunc sit ordinatum, quòd stent extra carcerem in hoc loco congruo explorantes eos, anscultantes, et verbs colligentes, et si opus fuerit notarius com isdem." (p. 434.)
In case of notorious heresy, no advocate was allowed. In other cases the prisoner might be allowed an advocate, but the same was to be approved by the inquisitors, was to communicate with his client in their presence, and was to admonish him to confess his fault. 1 Ibid., p. 447. If the responses of the accused were unsatisfactory, he might be subjected to torture, and if he did not adhere to the confession made upon the rack, the torture might be repeated, or, in inquisitorial phrase, continued. 2 Ibid., pp. 481, 484, 593, 594. Pegna says: "Lando equidem consuetudinem torquendi reos, maxime his temporibus, quibus facinorosi vix ullis cruciatibus delicta commissa fatentur" (p. 594). If the doctor of law could write thus in his study, what must have been the practice when a stubborn prisoner fell into the hands of the most rigorous or passionate among the inquisitors?
In a question of faith there was no privileged order; persons of any rank could be subjected to the torture.3 Directorium, p. 483. Where proof was wanting, suspicion could in part take its place. Thus, one discharged for lack of evidence, but under grave suspicion, if he should afterwards be convicted, could be sentenced as a relapsed heretic.4 Ibid., p. 331. In short, everything was construed "in favor of the faith," and to the disadvantage of the defendant. Left in the dark as to his accusers, enfeebled in body and mind by torture or long imprisonment, and beset by artifice, there was scarcely a possibility for him to escape, if the inquisitors were heartily desirous of his conviction. As Bernard Délicieux testified before Philippe le Bel, a Saint Peter or a Saint Paul, prosecuted for heretical conduct, could find no effectual means of defence under the methods of the Inquisition.
1 Lea, i. 450. It is the opinion of this thorough investigator, that the harsher features which began in the later mediæval era to prevail in the secular jurisprudence were due largely to the recommendation that the Church had given them in its inquisitorial procedure. He says: " The whole judicial system of the European monarchies was undergoing reconstruction, and the happiness of future generations depended on the character of the new institutions. That in this reorganization the worst features of the imperial jurisprudence--the use of torture and the inquisitorial process should be eagerly, nay, almost exclusively adopted, should be divested of the safeguards which in Rome restricted their abuse, should be exaggerated in all their evil tendencies, and should, for five centuries, become the prominent characteristic of the criminal jurisprudence of Europe, may safely be ascribed to the fact that they received the sanction of the Church. Thus recommended, they penetrated everywhere along with the Inquisition; while most of the nations to whom the Holy Office was unknown maintained their ancestral customs, developing into various forms of criminal practice, harsh enough, indeed, to modern eyes, but wholly divested of the more hideous atrocities which characterized the habitual investigation into crime in other regions." (i. 559, 560.)
For obstinate heretics and the relapsed, the ordinary penalty was death by burning. In the case of the former it was generally deemed expedient to postpone the sentence for a considerable time, that the spirit of the prisoner might be broken down by the horrors of the prison intermingled with persuasions and seasons of milder treatment.
2 Speaking of those who seem ready for martyrdom, the Directory says that they are not hastily to be executed, "sed sunt diu, videlicet per medium annum, vel per unum in carcere detinendi duro, et obscuro bene compediti: nam vexatio frequenter aperit intellectum, et calamitas carceris: et sic sunt detinendi et frequentius admonendi, quòd in corpore, et anima cremabuntur, ac perpetuo damnabuntur, et similia. Et si videant episcopus et inquisitor, quòd nec propter praedictorum informationem, nec propter carceris calamitatem à suis erroribus voluerit resilere, tentent si com aliquibus consolatoriis possent eum reducere, ponendo eum in carcere minus malo, vel camera competenti, proviso tamen ne possit evadere; at lautius faciant sibi ministrari, et promittere quòd si à suis erroribus convertatur quòd se habebunt ad eum misericorditer; et si resiliat, benedicatur Deus. Si autem per aliquot dies, sic habitus, et tractatus noluerit resilere, permittant ad eum venire filios, si quos habet, praesertim parvulos, et uxorem, seu alios attinentes qui eum emolliant, et eidem in aliorum praesentia colloquantur." (p. 514.)
It was barely possible, even after pronouncing sentence, to commute the punishment to imprisonment for life, if there was an exhibition of penitence at that stage; but this indulgence was declared extremely impolitic.1 Directorium, p. 518. In the later practice of the tribunal, those who accepted the offices of the Church at the stake might be strangled before being burned. On the criminal code of the Inquisition, any penalty short of a capital infliction was counted a very moderate punishment for heresy. A Romish commentator on the tender mercies of the Church spoke as a faithful exponent of the Holy Office when he remarked: "The Church, who is the mother of mercy, and the fountain of charity, content with the imposition of penances, generously accords life to many who do not deserve it. Whilst those who persist obstinately in their errors, after being imprisoned on the testimony of trustworthy witnesses, she causes to be put to the torture and condemned to the flames. Many, again, who sincerely repent, she, notwithstanding the heinousness of their transgressions, merely sentences to perpetual imprisonment." 2 L. Marineo, quoted by Prescott, Ferdinand and Isabella, i. 349. Life-long imprisonment was the regular penalty for the penitent heretic, at least if he had not been very prompt to confess and renounce his error. l Directorium, p. 503 Sentence to the prison was accompanied by the confiscation of the property of the condemned. Confiscations, in fact, might be called the sinews of the war against heresy, as thence came both means and motive for carrying on the prosecutions with vigor. The treatment awarded for moderate faults in those who readily expressed their submission depended much on the temper of the inquisitors and the degree of panic which was felt by the authorities. He who escaped with anything less than life-long penance and disqualification for office might count himself fortunate.
4. WORK. --In the modern era, the Spanish Inquisition wrought with the most destructive energy. The Jews were the first to endure extreme inflictions; then Protestants and Moors came in for their share in exterminating severity. After the final expulsion of the Moors, in the early part of the seventeenth century, a large proportion of the victims continued to be of Jewish extraction.
Nothing could be more pitiable than the fate of the Jews. Many of them, driven by intolerable persecution, had been led during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries to embrace the Christian faith. But their profession was held under suspicion, and, stigmatized as "New Christians," they were continually subject to inquisitorial scrutiny. In 1481 the wholesale sacrifice began. Not less than two thousand were burned during the administration of Torquemada, and a much larger number were subjected to lesser punishments."
2 Llorente puts the number of the burned at a much higher figure. (Histoire de l'Inquisition d'Espagne, i. 279, 280). Hefele, who complains that Llorente misquotes Mariana, says that this historian reports the number burned in the time of Torquemada as two thousand, which number was also given by Pulgar, a contemporary of the inquisitor-general (Der Cardinal Ximenes, pp. 267, 268).
The multitude of the victims at Seville caused the governor at this time to erect the Quemadero, or burning-place, that is, a large stone platform, set off with huge statues, which might be permanently serviceable for the burning of victims. l Llorente, i. 160. In 1492, as the crowning misery for the persecuted race, all the Jews who would not give up their Jewish faith were required to leave the kingdom. Indescribable suffering attended their exodus.2 It is not an immoderate estimate which places the number of the ex-patriated at 160,000, or 170,000 (Hefele, Der Card. Xim., p. 330). The officers of the Inquisition were the foremost advocates of this expulsion.
As before stated, the first grand auto de fé for the burning of Spanish Protestants took place in 1559, and by the year 1570 Protestantism was substantially exterminated in Spain.
The sum total of the victims of the Spanish Inquisition, from the time of Torquemada to the year 1809, is given by Llorente, ex-secretary of the Madrid office, as follows: burnt alive, 31,912; burnt in effigy, 17,659; otherwise punished, 291,450. 3 Histoire, iv. 271. It is possible that the first of these estimates is somewhat too large. A suspicion that such is the case can arise when it is considered that the inquisitors used every art to secure a recantation, and that a recantation, except of a relapsed person, ordinarily averted the capital sentence. Still when writers who had no motive to exaggerate report that two thousand were burned under the first inquisitor-general, or that more than four thousand were sent to the stake in Sevile alone befween 1480 and 1520, 1 Paramo, De Origine et Progressu Inquisitionis, lib. ii. tit. ii. cap. iii. it is manifest that the victims of the extreme penalty were not a small company. The greater measure of suffering, nevertheless, was not at the stake. The blasted lives and injured consciences of the vast multitude who were ground by the despotic machinery of the Inquisition, but escaped sentence of death, represent by far the larger total of misery.
Such an institution could but react with deadly effect upon the national life. The apologist can indeed point to the fact, that in certain lines there was no small measure of intellectual activity in Spain at the time when the Inquisition was most flourishing. But the explanation involves no compliment to that tribunal. In the epoch when the New Inquisition began its work, the Spanish was perhaps the most enterprising nation on the face of the earth. Its relations and its prospects were peculiarly stimulating. An impetus accordingly was felt by the Spanish mind which despotism itself could not suddenly stifle. It needed some generations to make manifest the natural result. That the blight came, and came largely in consequence of the shackles imposed by organized religious intolerance, no one can entertain a doubt who compares the splendid opportunities of the nation at the opening of the sixteenth century with its later history, and reflects duly on the benumbing effect of a continued and pervasive espionage.
The Inquisition in Portugal was less efficient than in Spain, but if anything more brutal. The dependencies of Portugal and Spain felt in a measure the tender mercies of the Holy Office, and some victims were numbered in India, South America, and Mexico.
In France, after the extinction of the Albigensian heresy, the Inquisition found a comparatively limited field. Independent, in spirit, an advocate of Gallican liberties, France preferred to slaughter heretics in her own way rather than by instruments of papal appointment. During the fifteenth century the University of Paris became in a measure a substitute for the Inquisition, the weight attached to its dogmatic decisions giving it somewhat the character of a tribunal of the faith. The exigencies of the Reformation era led to some attempts to introduce the Inquisition after the Spanish model; but the opposition was too strong to be overborne.
A previous section has indicated how vigorously the Inquisition wrought in Italy near the middle of the sixteenth century. Among the more noted victims, after the great onslaught against the Protestants, were Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilei, and Miguel de Molinos.
The system of thought which Bruno advocated was undoubtedly anti-Christian as well as anti-Romish. Casting aside revelation, and putting in its place a speculative philosophy of the world, he ran into a pantheistic naturalism. The outcome of his thinking was not very different from that of Spinoza. After sojourning in different countries, he fell at length into the clutches of the Inquisition. Seven years of imprisonment failed to break his spirit, and he was burned at Rome, February 17, 1600.
The opinions of Galileo on the earth's motion first called forth the strictures of the authorities in 1616. At that time he was not formally censured, but was put under distinct injunction not to teach the Copernican theory as truth or probable hypothesis, though he was not prohibited from using it as a bare hypothesis or convenient fiction in astronomical reckoning.
1 The inference that the prohibition was not absolute rests on the conclusion that one item in the records at Rome is not genuine. This conclusion is strongly sustained by Karl von Gebler, in Galileo Galilei und die Römische Curie.
This injunction he endeavored to keep in the letter; but his scientific zeal did not allow him to keep it in the spirit. Accordingly, advocates of the old Ptolemaic theory began to stir up the authorities. In 1633 Galileo was brought before the Inquisition in Rome. He readily consented to renounce his theory, or rather declared that he had not held it since it had been censured in 1616. Nevertheless, he was obliged to undergo the humiliation of an abjuration, and, while he was not made a close prisoner, was put under restraint as to his place of abode during the remainder of his life.
The ground of the proceeding against Galileo was undoubtedly his scientific theory. The notion that he made himself obnoxious by going out of his proper domain, and meddling with questions of theology, is abundantly disproved. He was himself accused of contradicting Scripture before he brought his theory of the earth's motion into any comparison with Biblical teaching. In that comparison he resorted to no ultra or irreverent maxims, but stated principles of Scriptural interpretation which now are almost universally regarded as moderate and sound.1 See his letter to Castelli, and also his apology addressed to the Grand Duchess Christine, quoted by Gebler, i. 58-62, 81-88. Not a sentence of his is on record in which he disparaged the authority of the Bible or questioned one permanent feature of the Romish faith.
2 "Galileo," says Gebler, "was thoroughly a believer. His revolutionary discoveries never awakened in his mind a doubt about supernatural mysteries as they were taught in the Catholic Church. All his letters, even those to his most trusted friends, show this unmistakably." (i. 338.)
The friendly relations which he preserved with leading ecclesiastics up to the time of his trial, when he was already about seventy years of age, indicate that he was not a man of iconoclastic temper or manners, and was not so regarded. His fault was a too ready submission to arbitrary authority. The conclusion is hardly avoidable, that he yielded to ecclesiastical mandates at the expense of mental honesty.
The extent to which the scientific theory of Galileo was censured and condemned, is also ascertained with sufficient certainty. 3 See documents as given by Henri de 1'Epinois, Les Pièces du Procès de Galilèe; Karl von Gebler, Galileo Galilei. That theory was declared, in February, 1616, by the theologians who acted as qualificators for the Roman Inquisition to be philosophically absurd, formally heretical, and directly contradictory of many statements of Scripture.
4 The qualificators passed their verdict on two propositions: "Prima: sol est centrum et omnino immobilis motu locali. Censura: omnes dixerunt dictam propositionem esse stultam et absurdam in philosophia et formaliter hereticam, quatenus contradicit expresse sententiis sacrae Scripturae in multis locis, secundum proprietatem verborum et secundum expositionem et sensum SS, Patrum et theologorum doctorum. Secunda: terra non est centrum mundi nec immobilis, sed secundum se totam movetur etiam motu diurno. Censura: omnes dixerunt hanc propositionem recipere eandem censuram in philosophia et spectando veritatem theologicam ad minus esse in fide erroneam."
In the following month, the Congregation of the Index placed on the prohibited list three works that were most conspicuous for teaching the modern theory, namely, that of Copernicus on the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, that of Didacus a Stunica on Job, and that of Foscarini on the movement of the earth and the fixity of the sun.
1 Having characterized the theory of the mobility of the earth and the immobility of the sun as "falsam illam doctrinam Pythagoricam, Divinaeque Scripturae omnino adversantem," the sentence of the Congregation proceeds: "Ideo ne ulterius hujusmodi opinio, in perniciem Catholicae veritatis serpat, censuit dictos Nicolaum Copernicum de Revolntionibus Orbium, at Didacum Astunica in Job, suspendendos esse donec corrigantur, librum vero P. Pauli Antonii Foscarini Carmelitae omnino prohibendum, atque damnandum, aliosque omnes libros pariter idem docentes, prohibendos, prout praesenti decreto omnes respective prohibet, damnat atque suspendit."
The sentence which the Inquisition pronounced in 1633, besides quoting the verdict which had been given by the qualificators seventeen years before, describes the Copernican theory as contrary to Scripture and embracing grave and pernicious error.
2 "Judicamus et declaramus te Galilaeam supredictum ob ea, quae daducta sunt in processu scripturae, et quae tn confessus es ut supra, te ipsum reddidisse huic S. Officio vehementer suspectum de haeresi, hoc est, quod credideris et tenueris doctrinam falsam et contrariam Sacris ac Divinis Scripturis, Solem videlicet ease centrum orbis terrae, et eum non moveri ab Oriente ad Occidentem, et Terram moveri, nec esse centrum Mundi, et posse teneri ac defendi tanquam probabilem opinionem aliquam, postquam declarata ac definita fuerit contraria Sacrae Scripturae. ... Ne autem tuus iste gravis et perniciosus error ac transgressio remaneat omnino impunitus, et tu in posterum cautior evadas, et sis in exemplum aliis, ut abstineant ab hujusmodi delictis, decernimus ut per publicum edictum prohibeatur liber Dialogorum Galilaei Galilaei, te autem damnamus ad formalem carcerem hujus S. Officii ad tempus arbitrio nostro limitandum."
In the formula of abjuration which was prescribed to Galileo, the same theory is in like manner characterized as false and repugnant to Scripture. l "Falsam opinionem, doctrinam repugnantem Sacrae Scripturae." As a safeguard against the heresy which was punished in Galileo, notice of his sentence was officially communicated to the papal ambassadors in the different quarters of the Roman Catholic world, as also to the archbishops, bishops, and inquisitors in Italy. Nor was haste made to remove the restrictions which had been imposed. In fact, the Index still harbored its futile warning against the Copernican theory down to the year 1835. 2 Gebler, i. 380
In this condemnation of scientific theory the papal authority, as was natural in a matter conducted under the very shadow of the papal throne, was a leading factor. Bellarmin, in the paper which he drew up in 1616, certifying that Galileo had not been compelled during his stay in Rome to make any formal abjuration or to undergo penance, distinctly refers the censure of the Copernican theory which was then published to the Pope (Paul V.) as the primary source.
3 "Ma solo gli è stata denunziata la dichiarazione fatta da Nostro Signore e pubblicata dalla Sacra Congregazione dell' Indice, nella quale si ritiene, che la dottrina attribuita al Copernico, che la Terra si muova intorno al Sole e che il Sole stia nel centro del mondo senza muoversi da oriente ad occidente, sis contraria alle Sacre Scritture e però non si possa difendere nè tenere."
In the subsequent proceedings the Pope was undoubtedly the supreme director. In conversation with the Tuscan ambassador, who acted as intercessor for Galileo, Urban VIII. repeatedly expressed his consideration for the person of Galileo, but reprobated his teaching as heretical. 1 Gebler, passim. The preparation for the trial of 1633, and the trial itself, took place under the direct supervision of the Pope; so that the whole action against the accused proceeded by his order or with his approbation.
The Pope gave, moreover, an extra expression of orthodox zeal by punishing those who had so loosely exercised the office of censors as to allow the publication of the Dialogue of Galileo. In view of these and other facts, it is perfectly manifest that it was under the pressure of papal authority that the aged scientist humbled himself in Rome, and formally abjured as heresy the Copernican theory. If what is done in the sample is done in the mass, then papal authority placed every Roman Catholic under obligation to reject the Copernican theory as heresy. Such an historical passage is certainly not agreeable to the dogma of papal infallibility. One who is content with technicalities may perhaps find a way through the difficulty by practising on the phrase ex cathedra. But God is not a grandmaster of red tape, and if He gave infallibility at all, He meant if for practical guidance.
The responsible connection of the Papacy with the condemnatory sentence did not end with Urban VIII. In 1664 an Index was published, in which were contained the catalogues of prohibited books which had previously been issued, together with decrees relating to the prohibition of books up to that year, and among these decrees that of 1616 against the Copernican treatises. To this Index was affixed a bull, from the hand of Alexander VII., wherein each and every specification of the said Index was declared to be confirmed by apostolic authority.
1 "Indices Tridentinum et Clementinum una com suis appendicibus Indici huic generali adjiciendos curavimus, simulque omnia decreta ad haec usque tempora in hac materia post praedicti Clementis Praedecessoris Indicem emanata, ne quid omnino, quod curiosae fidelium diligentiae prodesse posset, omissum videretur. Quae omnia com juxta mentem nostram diligenter et accurate fuerint exequationi mandata, composite Indice generali hujusmodi, cui etiam Regulae Indicis Tridentini com observationibus et instructione memorato Indici Clementino adjectis appositae fuerunt: Nos de praedictorum Cardinalium consilio eundem Indicem generalem, sicut praemittitur jussu nostro compositum atque revisum, et typis Camerae nostrae Apostolicae jam impressum, et quem praesentibus nostris pro inserto haberi volumus, com omnibus et singulis in eo contentis auctoritate Apostolicâ, tenore praesentium confirmamus et approbamus, ac ab omnibus tam Universitatibus, quam singularibus Personis, ubicumque locorum existentibus inviolabiliter et inconcusse observari mandamus, et praecipimus." (The Pontifical Decrees against the Motion of the Earth, 2d edition, London, 1870, pp. 65, 66.)
It may properly be noticed here, that the Index referred to in this connection, that is, the one having central or papal authority, received its first draft in the year 1557, being then published under the authority of Paul IV. This was enlarged by Pius IV., and republished in 1564. It was accompanied, in the revised edition, by ten rules, which were to govern the practice of the Church in dealing with doubtful books. The fourth of these rules limits the use of the Scriptures in the vernacular to such persons as may obtain, on the recommendation of the parish priest, a written permit from bishop or inquisitor.
Molinos, a Spaniard by birth, after laboring for a time in his native country, betook himself to Rome. There he published, in 1675, his "Spiritual Guide," containing the precepts of his mystical theology. This little treatise met with remarkable favor, and was widely disseminated. Thousands of minds sighing for a better satisfaction than they had found in ceremonies and external practices looked to Molinos as the spiritual leader who had showed them the way to the land of promise. The authorities were not unfriendly; indeed, it is understood that Pope Innocent XI. entertained a genuine regard for Molinos.
There were those, however, who looked askance at the devout mystic. And such had not long to search for a ground of attack. For the system of Molinos, while in large part identical with that of mystics who have been honored with the badge of sainthood, contained an anti-Romish phase. His stress upon the inner life, and his doctrine of quietism, or complete passivity before the Divine will, paid little tribute to the characteristic ceremonialism and sacerdotalism of Roman Catholicism. On this side, in fact, the teaching of Molinos was open to some exception, even from an evangelical standpoint. While he probably stood himself high above affiliation with practical antinomianism, those of coarser fibre could bring forward the claim of passivity as a shield from proper responsibility in their actions.
The first attack upon Molinos showed how strongly he was entrenched at Rome. The attack was a complete failure, and the book in which it was embodied was condemned. But a well-devised expedient soon turned the scale. The opponents of Molinos had the ear of Louis XIV. The weight of his influence at the papal court reversed the conditions. In 1685 Molinos was arrested by the Inquisition. Two years later, he was sentenced to life-long imprisonment, and sixty-eight propositions, purporting to be extracted from his teaching, were condemned.
It had been the opinion of Galileo that the Jesuits were the instigators of the prosecution under which he suffered. That they were the main authors of the crusade against Molinos is well known.
An appropriate conclusion to the general subject of the section may be found in a suggestion of charity. It should be remembered that those who were sent to the prison or the stake, or were maimed in estate and reputation, were not the only victims. The agents of the Inquisition were themselves held in an unrelenting grasp. They were fettered and controlled in large part by the system of thought and feeling which dominated the age. Undoubtedly, in applying this system there was an element of selfishness, as there is in all despotism. But there was also much of honest conviction. It remains, indeed, to be proved that those who made the terrible record of inquisitorial cruelty and injustice transgressed any more grievously than do those who, in the face of the record, stand up and anathematize all denial of the infallibility of Pope and hierarchy.