Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Hammer of the Inquisitors: Brother Bernard Délicieux and the Struggle against the Inquisition in Fourteenth-Century France

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Hammer of the Inquisitors: Brother Bernard Délicieux and the Struggle against the Inquisition in Fourteenth-Century France

Article excerpt

The Hammer of the Inquisitors: Brother Bernard Délicieux and the Struggle Against the Inquisition in Fourteenth-Century France. By Alan Friedlander. [Cultures, Beliefs and Traditions: Medieval and Early Modern Peoples, Volume 9.] (Leiden: Brill. 2000. Pp. xx, 328. $112.00.)

On Monday, September 3, 1319, the trial of an elderly Franciscan, Bernard Délicieux, formally opened in Castelnaudary (following the papal mandate Etsi cunctorum six oweeks earlier) with a reading of 104 articles, in two series of indictments, that accused the friar of obstructing the officium inquisitionis, of treason against the king of France, and of murdering Pope Benedict XI. The inquest, after these initial proceedings, recessed and reconvened nine days later in the great hall of the episcopal palace in the City of Carcassonne. Another adjournment of twelve days occurred after this second session but, when the tribunal reformed, the trial proceeded with few delays for the next eleven weeks in Carcassonne. The judges in this extraordinary trial were Jacques Fournier, bishop of Pamiers, and Raimond de Mostuéjouls, bishop of St-Papoul. (JeanRaimond de Comminges, archbishop of Toulouse, owithdrew from the inquiry after the first session in Castelnaudary.) During the inquest numerous testimonies were heard of the guilt and innocence of the Franciscan. Bernard Délicieux testified calmly and lucidly (even after torture) on the truth of the articles against him. Finally, on Saturday, December 8, the Franciscan was degraded from his clerical status and imprisoned for life in the Wall of Carcassonne. He died a few months later. Alan Friedlander-following his exemplary edition of the Processus Bernardi Delitiosi: The Trial of Fr. Bernard Délicieux, 3 September8 December 1319-places Bernard Délicieux's trial "under the lens of scientific scrutiny" in a scholarly and sympathetic effort at grasping the "true face" of the Franciscan.

A great many of the articles against Bernard Délicieux concentrated upon his obstruction of the Dominican inquisition in Carcassonne. The Franciscan acknowledged he thought the inquisitors unjust and corrupt; indeed, he even argued that there were no more heretics in the Carcasses and so all those imprisoned by the inquisition must be innocent. …

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