Malleus Maleficarum Part 3
The Method of passing Sentence upon one who hath Confessed to Heresy but is Impenitent, although not Relapsed
THE tenth method of completing a process on behalf of the Faith by a final sentence is used when the person accused of heresy, after a careful examination of the circumstances of the process in consultation with skilled lawyers, is found to have confessed his heresy and to be impenitent, though he has not relapsed into the heresy. Such a case is very rarely found, but yet it has come within the experience of us Inquisitors. In such a case, therefore, the Bishop and Judge must not be in haste to sentence the prisoner, but must keep him well guarded and fettered, and induce him to be converted, even to the extent of several months, showing him that, by remaining impenitent, he will be damned in body and soul.
But if neither by comforts nor hardships, nor by threatening nor persuasion, can he be brought to renounce his errors, and the appointed period of grace has expired, let the Bishop and Judges prepare to deliver or abandon him to the secular Court; and they shall give notice to the herald or bailiff or secular authorities that on such a day, not a Feast, and at such an hour they should be in such a place with their attendants outside a church, and that they will deliver to them a certain impenitent heretic. None the less they shall themselves make public proclamation in the customary places that on such a day at such a time in the aforesaid place a sermon will be preached in defence of the faith, and that they will hand over a certain heretic to secular justice; and that all should come and be present, being granted the customary Indulgences.
After this, the prisoner shall be delivered to the secular Court in the following manner. But let him first be often admonished to renounce his heresy and repent; but if he altogether refuses, let the sentence be pronounced.
We, N., by the mercy of God Bishop of such a city, or Judge in the territories of such Prince, seeing that you, N., of such a place in such a Diocese, have been accused before us by public report and the information of credible persons (naming them) of heresy, and that you have for many years persisted in those heresies to the great hurt of your immortal soul; and since we, whose duty it is to exterminate the plague of heresy, wishing to be more certainly informed of this matter and to see whether you walked in darkness or the light, have diligently inquired into the said accusation, summoning and duly examining you, we find that you are indeed infected with the said heresy.
But since it is the chief desire of our hearts to plant the Holy Catholic Faith in the hearts of our people, and to eradicate the pest of heresy, we have used diverse and various suitable methods, both by ourselves and by others, to persuade you to renounce your said errors and heresies in which you had stood, were standing, and even now defiantly and obstinately stand with stubborn heart. But since the Enemy of the human race is present in your heart, wrapping you up and entangling you in the said errors, and you have refused and yet refuse to abjure the said heresies, choosing rather the death of your soul in hell and of your body in this world than to renounce the said heresies and return to the bosom of the Church and cleanse your soul, and since you are determined to remain in your sin:
Therefore inasmuch as you are bound by the chain of excommunication from the Holy Church, and are justly cut off from the number of the Lord's flock, and are deprived of the benefits of the Church, the Church can do no more for you, having done all that was possible. We the said Bishop and Judges on behalf of the Faith, sitting in tribunal as Judges judging, and having before us the Holy Gospels that our judgement may proceed as from the countenance of god and our eyes see with equity, and having before our eyes only God and the truth of the Holy Faith and the extirpation of the plague of heresy, on this day and at this hour and place assigned to you for the hearing of your final sentence, we give it as our judgement and sentence that you are indeed an impenitent heretic, and as truly such to be delivered and abandoned to the secular Court: wherefore by this sentence we cast you away as an impenitent heretic from our ecclesiastical Court, and deliver or abandon you to the power of the secular Court: praying the said Court to moderate or temper its sentence of death against you. This sentence was given, etc.
Of One who has Confessed to Heresy, is Relapsed, and is also Impenitent