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The very penitents reconciled to the Church had to wear a red cross as a mark of infamy, and to transmit it to their descendants; and this is believed to be the origin of the reprobation to which the Roman Catholic population, until a late period, devoted certain families under the names cagots and Chrestians.
After attempting to follow, however imperfectly, the terrible tragedy of which the south of France was the theatre, the history of similar persecutions in other places is comparatively tame. In the NORTH OF FRANCE, the Dominican Brother Robert, himself an apostate from the Cathari, was the most celebrated and successful hunter-out of heretics. In 1239, he detected the extensive community belonging to the castle of Montwimer in Champagne, which had been, for more than a century, a metropolis of heresy without awakening the suspicions of the Church. One hundred and eighty-three persons, men and women, with their Bishop, Moranis, at their head, were burned on one pile under the castle walls. Brother Robert afterwards became literally excited to madness in his work of blood, and had to be kept in perpetual confinement. In SPAIN, both the Waldenses and the Cathari had spread, before the end of the twelfth century, into the provinces of Arragon, Leon, Catalonia, and Navarre, which were nearest the French Albigenses, and whose language was nearly the same. The means of extirpation were the same on both sides of the Pyrenees, and, in 1233, Ferdinand III. of Arragon actually threw wood with his own hand on the pile where heretics were writhing,-a royal Fire-the-faggot! In GERMANY, there were a few Catharic communities in Bavaria, in Austria, and on the Rhine. They almost escaped notice until Gregory IX., in 1231, armed Conrad, a monk of Marburg, with extraordinary powers, which he abused to such an extent, that, for more than two years, all Germany was filled with terror. He used to accuse real or supposed heretics of the most horrible and absurd crimes, and leave them no alternative, but confession or the stake. This monster perished by the dagger of the assassin, but persecution did not die with him.
In ITALY the conflict was more serious. Innocent III. actually menaced the citizens of Milan with a Crusade like that which he had armed against the Albigenses. Under his successor, Honorius, the young Emperor, Frederick II., on the day of his coronation at Rome, November 22nd, 1220, raised the persecuting canon of the Lateran Council to the rank of a law of the Empire; and, four years later, we find him issuing at Padua a most sanguinary edict. It was the policy of Monarchs in those ages, when in amity with the Pope, to persecute heretics as a graceful return for his favour; when in conflict with the Pope, to persecute still more, as a proof of their orthodoxy. St. Anthony of Padua and St. Francis of Assisi distinguished themselves at this time by their efforts for the conversion of the
An heretical Candidate for Canonization..
Cathari; yet, notwithstanding the use of both material and spiritual weapons, the heretics of Brescia were numerous enough in 1225 to beat the Catholics in a conflict in the streets, and to burn to the ground several churches. This outbreak was followed by a renewal of severities at Brescia, Milan, Florence, and other cities of the peninsula, including Rome itself, whose inhabitants were gratified with a grand auto da fé, in 1231, before the church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Gregory IX. introduced the Inquisition into the cities of Lombardy in 1233, and he endowed with special privileges the Association of Knights of Jesus Christ, formed at Parma for the extermination of heretics; yet that did not hinder Frederick from afterwards accusing him of winking at the heresy of the cities of Lombardy from political motives. The people of Milan, finding their city represented by the Emperor as the chief seat of heresy, were at last roused to crush the sectaries they had so long tolerated; and the Podesdat, Oldrado de Tresseno, burned so many victims in the year 1240, that his zeal was commemorated by an equestrian statue, with the inscription, "Catharos ut debuit urit." After a fierce conflict, they were also driven out of Florence in 1245. Yet, towards the middle of the century, the ex-heretic and Inquisitor Reinerius estimated the Perfects of Italy to be about 2,350 souls, which were thus distributed mitigated Dualists, 1,500; absolute Dualists, 500; branch of Bagnolo, 200; French bishopric of Verona, 150; with a multitude of disciples. The jealousy with which the Government of Venice monopolized despotism over its people, hindered the Inquisition from doing much in that city or its territory. The heretics that remained at Milan were protected for more than seventy years by Eccelino de Romano, Uberto Pallavicini, and Matthew Visconti,-by the two former for political reasons, and by the latter from religious sympathy. On the whole the sect was not really extirpated by the sword: it died out rather before the increase of intelligence, and the diversion of religious impulses into other channels. Not but that there were from time to time scenes calculated to strike terror into the people : thus, in 1277, the inhabitants of the little town of Sermione, near Novarra, were convicted, in a body, of favouring the heretics, and more than seventy of them were sentenced to the flames.
The secrecy with which the unfortunate Dualists were obliged to surround themselves during their lingering existence, was near being the occasion of a singular event in the annals of canonization. In 1269 there died at Ferrara a wealthy citizen, Armanno Pungilovo, whose extraordinary charities endeared him to the poor, while his austere and exemplary life procured him a general reputation of sanctity. He was buried in the cathedral, in presence of an immense crowd, who lamented
their benefactor; and such was the public veneration, that miracles were soon wrought, or appeared to be, on the spot where he was buried. An altar was built over his remains, and statues were erected in his honour throughout the churches of the diocese. The Bishop and Chapter of Ferrara proceeded to an investigation of the miracles wrought at his tomb, as a preliminary step to applying for his canonization, and professed themselves satisfied of the veracity of persons who testified that they had themselves been cured, some of blindness, others of paralysis. What was the general consternation when the Dominican, Aldobrandini, Inquisitor-General of Lombardy, brought forward irresistible evidence that the deceased was a member of the Catharic community; that his house had been for years the asylum of their teachers; and that he had both received and administered the consolamentum! The Clergy of Ferrara were slowly and unwillingly convinced, the people not at all; but, after repeated investigations, and a delay of more than thirty years, those remains which had well-nigh been proposed to the adoration of the faithful, were dug up with ignominy, and burned to ashes.
Innocent III. did not confine his exertions against the Cathari to Italy and France. His influence was exerted on the eastern shore of the Adriatic and on the borders of the Danube, as earnestly as at the foot of the Pyrenees and the Alps. Complaining that the Sclavonic Clergy had discredited their order by their dissolute conduct, he reproached one Bishop with simony, another with open licentiousness, and a third with incest. He summoned the King of Hungary to oblige his vassal, the Ban of Bosnia, to extirpate heresy in that country. The Ban, Kulin, himself a disciple of the Cathari, was terrified into apparent submission in 1202: his successor Ninoslas, however, once more protected the Dualists; and, while their brethren in the south of France were perishing by the sword and the brand, they were actually more numerous than the Catholics in Bosnia. Honorius III. found a docile instrument of Papal severities in Andrew II. of Hungary; and, in 1221, the recently established order of the Dominicans sent many of its members into that country and its dependencies; but thirty-two of those monks were drowned in one day by the fierce Bosnians. Ninoslas submitted, and gave his son as a hostage into the hands of the Dominicans; but a tacit toleration continued to exist in his dominions, and the various attempts made by Gregory IX. to institute a regular Crusade against the Manichæans were always unsuccessful, doubtless because the Bosnians were too poor to offer much inducement to crusading hordes. The invasion of Hungary by the Mongols, with the long time of suffering, confusion, and anarchy, and the intestine and foreign wars that followed, was unfavourable to the views of the Popes;
Resistance of the Ban of Bosnia.
and, during the latter half of the thirteenth century, many French and Italian refugees found a safe asylum among their Sclavonian brethren. It was only in the very last year of the century, that the Inquisition was established in Bosnia, Croatia, and Dalmatia; and, in 1322, John XXII. introduced it into Bohemia and Poland. In 1359, the Ban, Stephen Thuartko, having been roused to open resistance by the violent proceedings of the Inquisitors toward his subjects, Louis, King of Hungary, marched against Bosnia, to re-establish at once his own authority and that of the Church. The expedition was momentarily successful, and great numbers of Franciscans were sent to the field thus opened for their labours; but the Ban afterwards succeeded in rendering himself independent. The long schism between the Popes of Rome and Avignon paralysed the arm of the Inquisition; and Dualism became so completely the established religion in Bosnia, that, when the Council of Constance was convoked, Stephen Thuartko II. had the hardihood to prevent the departure of the Catholic Bishop, who was about to attend the Council, and to send, as deputies in his stead, four heretical Bishops. The Council, of course, refused to receive them. This Monarch's successor, Thomas, consented to receive Roman Catholic baptism in 1445. It is supposed he did so merely in order to obtain assistance from the Emperor against the Turks. He afterwards persecuted such of his rich subjects as did not follow his example, driving them into exile, and seizing their lands. The principal teachers fled to the Herzegowina, whose Duke, Stephen Cosaccia, was the last Prince in Europe who protected the remains of their sect. Thomas's son having refused to pay the stipulated tribute to the Turks, in 1463, Bosnia was invaded and conquered. Re-taken, for a time, by the Hungarians, it fell definitively into the power of the Turks in the sixteenth century. From the moment of the Turkish conquest, we hear no more of the Catharic heresy. It had subsisted longer than elsewhere in this region, partly because of the inferior character of its civilization,-which remained foreign to the progress of the human mind elsewhere, -and partly because of a fierce national antagonism to Rome. There is every reason to believe, with Schmidt, that the Bosnian Cathari,* having no sympathy with either the Greek or Latin Churches, and being brought into contact with a new fanaticism, generally ended by embracing the faith of their conquerors. At least, among the many conquests of the Turks in Europe, Bosnia and Albania are the only provinces in which the majority of the inhabitants have become Mussulmen.
* Here, and frequently elsewhere, we use this term improperly for that part of the population which was favourable to the heretical teachers, and whose religious ideas were unsettled by their influence, without being actually members of the community. It is not likely that many Perfects embraced Mahometanism.
Thus the Manichæism of the Middle Ages was extirpated only half a century before the Reformation. After four hundred and fifty years of bloody executions, Rome could celebrate the final disappearance of this obstinate and once menacing enemy. The first impression felt upon a superficial glance at the history, is that of a victory of force over erroneous conviction. But is this impression correct? Was it really by the cord and the stake that the dominant Church triumphed? We have witnessed the vitality of the sect, in the south of France, after the great Crusade, that is to say, after the most tremendous exertion of force that the hierarchy ever put forth, and the most merciless execution that can be conceived. We have seen the Inquisition itself incapable of hunting down the heretics, until it was sustained by a certain measure of public opinion. We have seen Dualism, on the east of the Adriatic, escaping comparatively unharmed by the temporal weapons of Rome, and melting away silently into Islamism. We may add a more decisive instance. The Cathari of Bulgaria were never much persecuted, and not at all from the thirteenth century forward; yet they, too, had dwindled into nothing by the middle of the sixteenth, because their religious principle was worn out. No; as it has been already said, the institution of the Mendicant Orders was the real mean of putting down ultra-ascetic sects, by absorbing the tendencies which had created or sustained them. It is remarkable that, at the Reformation, Protestantism found easy access in all the places where Catharism had been deeply rooted. The spirit of dissatisfaction with Rome remained, as it were, latent in the minds of the people, until it found a form which it could adopt with confidence. We are persuaded that it is not in the power of the sword to destroy any form of spiritual might which can maintain itself against resistance in its own sphere. Moral agency is not only the sole legitimate in moral causes; it is also the sole effectual. In the day of retribution, when Rome will have lost for ever her influence over the nations, and the various phases of past history can be interpreted in the light of their final results, the whole world will feel that the cruelties of the Middle Ages were as useless as they were iniquitous. Persecutors, of every name, shall confess it in that greater day when God shall make inquisition for blood, and the earth shall uncover her slain.
Mr. Macaulay, in his well-known "Essay on Ranke's Lives of the Popes," confesses that, when he reflects on the tremendous assaults which Rome has survived, he cannot conceive in what way she is ever to perish; and he proceeds to picture, in his brilliant and graphic manner, the four great rebellions of the human intellect which have taken place since her yoke was established in Western Christendom,-memorable conflicts, from two of which she has come forth unscathed, and, from all