three pairs of lovers with space

THE TRIAL OF ARNOLD OF VERNIOLLE FOR HERESY AND SODOMY, 1323-4

 

The documents presented here concern the trial and condemnation of the Franciscan subdeacon Arnold of Verniolle in the French county of Toulouse for heresy and sodomising teenage boys. They are taken from the translation by Michael Goodich in his The Unmentionable Vice: Homosexuality in the Later Medieval Period (Santa Barbara, California, 1979) pp. 89-123. They are preceded by his extensive introduction, which obviates the need for further explanation on this website. All the footnotes are his also.

  

Introduction

THE AREA OF southern France at the foot of the Pyrenées, largely contained within the county of Toulouse, had long been distinguished as the leading center of heresy in Europe, despite the bloody suppression of Catharism in the early thirteenth century and the establishment of the papal Inquisition.[1] In the mid-thirteenth century, however, under the rule of Louis IX of France, the old Cathar nobility received amnesty, regained much of its wealth, and took part in the later eastern Crusades. The area nonetheless continued to be politically fragmented into small but prosperous principalities like Foix, Urgel, Comminges, Béarn, and Couseran whose princes still often sheltered heretics. Despite the efforts of the pro-French bishop Bernard Saisset of Pamiers (1295-1312) to bring the area under tighter French control, a strong pro-Aragonese feeling remained; many a heretic found refuge in northern Spain, where the Inquisition did not operate. Although the center of Catharism had shifted to northern Italy, the late thirteenth century witnessed a revival of heresy during the reigns of Count Roger-Bernard of Foix and his daughter Marguerite of Béarn. As a result, an army of suppliants, notaries, judges, witnesses, and consultants entered the area to assist the inquisitors in their duties. In 1308/ 1309, as a result of the activities of the inquisitor Geoffrey d'Ablis in the Ariège region, both Sabartès and Montaillou, among other villages, experienced a wave of imprisonments, burnings, confiscations, and emigration. Under Bishop Jacques Fournier, a special prison, the Allemans, was built to house those accused before the Inquisition. While the chief victims of this revived antiheretical crusade were Albigensians and Waldensians who had escaped previous detection, a significant number of other criminals now peopled the Inquisition's prisons: judaizers, bigamists, sodomites, adulterers, lepers, and a host of others. The confessions extracted from these inmates were often elicited through the application of torture, in accordance with bulls issued by Innocent IV (1252), Alexander IV (1259), and Clement IV (1265). The techniques included the threat of death, the administration of a harsh imprisonment, and a visit by two friends of the suspect to convince him of the need to confess.[2]

Jacques Fournier as Pope Benedict XII, which he became a decade after condemning Arnold of Verniolle (early 15th-century illustration in British Library ms. Harley 1540 f. 5v)

One of the most active participants in this campaign against heresy was Bishop Jacques Fournier of Pamiers (1317-1326). Fournier had formerly served as a Cistercian at Boulbonne and as abbot of Frontfroide in the diocese of Narbonne. After completing his term at Pamiers, he was elevated to the see of Mirepoix (1326-1327) and then served as cardinal-bishop of St. Priscian until his election as Pope Benedict XII (1334-1342) to succeed John XXII. As bishop of Pamiers, under orders from Pope John, Fournier carried on a series of trials that provide one of the fullest records of mores and belief in the early fourteenth century. A host of defendants filed through his episcopal chambers—judaizers, Waldensians, Cathars, adulterers, sodomites, and others accused of lesser offenses. In many cases, Fournier demonstrated a remarkable concern for proper procedure and fairness, demanding corroboration by a number of witnesses before judgment. His inquisitorial register, which survives in 325 folio pages (Vat. Lat. 4030) written in four identifiable hands, may be supplemented by the nearly contemporary Practica inquisitionis by Bernard Gui, a manual of procedure for fellow inquisitors, and the unpublished register of the Carcassonne inquisitor Geoffrey d'Ablis.[3]

Among the defendants who appeared before the bishop was Arnold the Catalan of Verniolle, accused of acts of sodomy and heresy, the latter for illicitly hearing confessions. His trial began 9 June 1323 with testimony by Jean Ferrié (or Ferrier) of Bouriège. On June 13 and June 23, testimony was presented by Guillaume Roux (or Ros) of Ribouisse, aged 16, Guillaume Bernard of Gaudiès, aged 15, and Guillaume Boyer (or Bonier) of Plavilla, aged 18. On June 21, the court heard from Guillaume Pech (or Pecs) of Ribouisse, aged 19.[4] All of these witnesses were students at Pamiers.[5] On July 2, the Carmelite Peter Recort, Arnold's cellmate, who on 17 January 1329 was to be degraded and sentenced to life imprisonment at the Carmelite monastery of Toulouse, testified concerning his conversations with Arnold in the episcopal prison at Pamiers. On 23 and 28 June 1323 and on I August 1324, the defendant himself appeared and corroborated most of the previous testimony. Between 9 and 11 August 1324, Bishop Jacques Fournier of Pamiers, along with the chief inquisitor of Carcassonne, the Dominican Jean du Prat, held consultations with between twenty-seven and thirty-nine councillors in the episcopal palace of Pamiers concerning the fate of Arnold and the other prisoners held by the Inquisition. These judges included officials of the Inquisition, local canons, monks, friars, and jurisperiti, that is, lawyers and judges. In Arnold's case, Hugues de Brolio, a sacristan of Pamiers, Jacques de Glato, judge, and the Cistercians of Bonifont, Ademar de Montepasato and Raymond de Ferrariis, were added. They decided unanimously that Arnold should be bound in iron chains for life and fed a diet of bread and water without any possibility of amnesty. One of the Carmelites and all four of the Franciscans present, however, suggested that because he came of good family Arnold's punishment should be somewhat mitigated.[6] All of the others disagreed and sentenced him to degradation and life imprisonment. On 12 August 1324, the first half of the sentence was carried out, and Arnold, often described as a Franciscan apostate,[7] was deprived of all clerical privileges.

While many of those tried by Fournier were accused of moral crimes, it is clear that the inquisitor was more concerned with the defendants' supposed theological (i.e., heretical) transgressions than with their private behavior. No one was haled before the court for purely aberrant sexual behavior; in all cases, some religious unorthodoxy was sought. We have seen that by the fourteenth century the state, particularly in France, had begun to replace the church as the chief persecutor of such offenders of public morality as adulterers and sodomites. Clearly, private indiscretion was of far less interest to the church than heresy, which was often allied with political unorthodoxy. Although merely a subdeacon, Arnold had posed as a priest. The subdiaconate had undergone considerable change since its inception in the primitive church. It was only at the First Lateran Council (1123) that it had been recognized as a clerical order, obliged to practice “punctuality, vigilance, sobriety, and chastity.” From the twelfth century onward, marriage of subdeacons was prohibited and chastity was to be observed on pain of the charge of sacrilege. While subdeacons were permitted to assist at the mass, Arnold had allegedly gone so far as to celebrate mass, hear confessions, and grant absolution, which were in themselves actionable offenses.[8] Furthermore, Arnold's commission of acts of sodomy was allegedly based on certain philosophical assumptions regarded as heretical. He believed that rape, the deflowering of a virgin, adultery, and incest were graver sins than sodomy and simple fornication, which were equal. This contradicted the accepted gradation of sins of lust enunciated in canon law. Arnold also argued that ejaculation of semen is demanded by nature and, even if the result of homosexual acts, a man is made healthier thereby.

Lepers denied entry into a city (14th-century French)

The facts of Arnold's life and his homoerotic inclinations as elicited in sworn testimony before the inquisitors corroborate the sharp divergence between theory and practice characteristic of the Middle Ages. According to his own testimony, Arnold's first homosexual experience occurred in early adolescence before he had reached puberty when, crowded into one bed with his fellow students in grammar school, one of his comrades initiated him into the pleasures of the flesh. This confirms the fears voiced by monastic educators who, as we have seen, provided an elaborate set of rules in order to frustrate adolescent experimentation. Thereafter, despite his clerical status, Arnold had apparently indulged in sex with both men and women. In 1320, however, during the persecution carried out by Philip V against the lepers of France, he had suffered some sort of skin disorder soon after having sex with a prostitute. Lest he be associated with the hated lepers, Arnold decided to turn exclusively to boys for sex. Interestingly, while the prohibition on homosexuality had not impressed him, the theological identification of leprosy with sexual indulgence had. Thereafter, despite a few episodes of minor resistance, Arnold seemed to experience little difficulty in convincing a large number of local youths to frolic with him and satisfy his stated need for sexual gratification at least once every two weeks. These youths, despite their clerical background, were equally willing to express their sexual urges freely and a veritable lavender underground arose in the small village of Montaillou.

 

AGAINST ARNOLD OF VERNIOLLE, SON OF WILLIAM OF VERNIOLLE OF THE LE MERCADAL PARISH OF PAMIERS, CONCERNING THE CRIME OF HERESY AND SODOMY

On the ninth day of June 1323, Jean Ferrié, son of Raymund Ferrié of Bouriège in the diocese of Alet, a student of liberal arts at Pamiers, came to our reverend father in Christ, Jacques, by the grace of God bishop of Pamiers, to reveal the following facts concerning the crime of heresy, recorded in his presence in the portico of the episcopal see of Pamiers. He swore on the Gospels to speak the whole truth and nothing but the truth concerning the crime of heresy, about himself and about all persons living and dead. After he took the oath, he spoke, confessed, and testified as follows:

Map of most of the county of Foix, showing most of the towns and villages mentioned during Arnold's trial

He said that when he, in that same year during Holy Week, on a day in March, as he recalls, went to the Dominican monastery in Pamiers in order to confess to friar Bernard Scandala, he encountered Arnold of Verniolle of the Le Mercadal parish of Pamiers on the street near the convent. Arnold told him to accompany him, to bring a book to the market of Pamiers, and he would free him from his task.

He replied that he had to go to the Dominican house to confess his sins. Nevertheless, he went with Arnold, but he did not bring a book along. Along the way Arnold asked if he wanted to confess, and the speaker said he had already confessed to a certain Dominican, and wanted to confess only to him, because he had heard that one should confess all one's sins to only one priest and that if the penitent remembered something afterward, he should confess to the same priest.

Arnold said that it was just as valid to confess to him as to anyone else, “because I will as truly be your confessor as the other one was, because it is just as valid to confess to one man as to another.”

When they approached the church of Le Mercadal, the speaker suggested they go in, and there Arnold could hear his confession. Arnold replied that he would not hear his confession in that church because if he entered many people would come to him to confess and he would have to linger there a long time. He would therefore hear Jean's confession in his own home, because it is just as pleasing to God as in a church.

The two of them then went to a house located near the church of Le Mercadal, sat down together at a table in the hall, and Arnold heard his confession. Among other things he confessed that he had once sworn falsely on the Gospels, and certain other mortal sins. Afterward Arnold absolved him and enjoined him to say, on bent and naked knees from then until the feast of All Saints, Miserere mei Deus once, Paternoster seven times, Ave Maria seven times, and Laudatum. He made the sign of the cross on the ground, kissed him, and said “In rememorationem ….”

After confession, the speaker asked Arnold to give him proof to show the parish priest that he had already confessed. Arnold replied that he would not give him such proof because it was enough for him to say that he had confessed to a chaplain and a Dominican. The speaker asked Arnold what his name was so that if he should remember any sin he could come back to confess to him. Arnold replied that his name was Arnold of Catalonia.

Afterward, the speaker confirmed that this same Arnold was named Arnold of Verniolle and that he was not a priest, because he had asked many people; and later, at Le Pomarol, Arnold told him that twelve students had already come to him to lighten their penance.

Asked if he had confessed anything else to Arnold, he replied that he had not. Asked if he knew or had heard that anyone else had confessed to Arnold, he replied that he had heard in school that some had confessed to Arnold, but he did not recall any of their names.

Arnold told him he had celebrated mass at the Dominican convent in Toulouse assisted by a certain student who at the time tutored Baudouin of Pamiers' sons.

He said nothing else pertinent. Asked if he had testified as a result of hatred, love, fear, instruction, or subornation by others, he replied in the negative, and that he had spoken only the truth.

He gave the aforesaid testimony in the presence of the lord bishop, on the year, date, and place noted above, in the presence of friars Galhard of Pomiès and Arnold of Le-Carla-le-Comte, Dominicans of Pamiers; brother Bernard de Taix, a Cistercian of Fontfroide; and of Master Jean Strabaud of Sautel, notary of the city and bishop of Pamiers, especially involved in cases before the Inquisition who, at the bishop's order, received the previous confession and deposition, on whose account, I, Jean Jabaud, clerk, faithfully transcribed and corrected the aforesaid from the original.

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On 13 June 1323, Guillaume Roux, son of Pierre Roux of Ribouisse in the diocese of Mirepoix, a student in the liberal arts at Pamiers, slightly over sixteen years of age, summoned by the reverend father in Christ Jacques, bishop of Pamiers by the grace of God . . . testified as follows:

He said that in that year, around the first day of Lent, on a Sunday between noon and three P.M. on a day and time not otherwise recalled, when the speaker was in the convent  church of the Augustinians at Pamiers, he met Arnold of Verniolle who took him out of the church into the garden. Arnold told him that if he wanted to stay with a certain canon of St. Saturnin of Toulouse who had forty books and was prior of Lavelanet and [if he] would assist the canon by carrying his books to school, Arnold could secure the position for him and the canon would provide his needs, food, and clothing.

The speaker replied that he would willingly stay with the canon if he could study with him; the two of them then went to the Augustinian sacristy. Arnold made Guillaume swear on a missal that he would reveal to no one the canon's secrets and manner of living. Arnold then said that the canon frequently got drunk and in his drunkenness customarily assaulted others. If the speaker should see the canon drunk, it was advisable to put him to bed. He said the canon wanted women very much and usually either the speaker or any other servant who stayed with the canon would have to bring him women. If he wanted to stay, Guillaume should not reveal his knowledge of this to the canon.

The speaker promised Arnold to do this since Arnold told him it could be accomplished easily. He even told him that during the winter Guillaume would have to sleep in bed with the canon and that he ought to do whatever the canon wanted done; in the summer at midday, he is likely to rub the speaker's feet; but Arnold said he should tell no one about this.

When Guillaume said that it was sinful to bring such women to the canon, Arnold told him that it was not such a grave sin and that he would introduce him to some friars who would absolve him of any sin and impose a light penance. If he did the canon's bidding, he would make money and could give charity [as penance] from the canon's goods.

Arnold then suggested that Guillaume come to his house where he would show him books and he could stay. The two then went to Arnold's house and entered an upper room. When they were alone, Arnold showed him a book, saying it contained decretals, and after reading a bit told the speaker, "See what these decretals say here!" When the speaker said that he didn't understand the words of the decretals, Arnold told him in the vernacular [Provençal] that it was written that if a man plays with another, and because of the warmth of their bodies semen flows, it is not as grave a sin as if a man carnally knows a woman; because, so he said, nature demands this and a man is made healthier as a result. And, so he said, he himself could not stay with either a man or a woman, without semen flowing out.

When Guillaume said he didn't believe that it was a lesser sin to so behave with a man than to know a woman carnally, Arnold told him that it is a lesser sin and that the decretals said so. Arnold then threw the speaker down on the ground, placed his hands on his back, and lay on Guillaume. He then removed the speaker's clothes and told him to spread his thighs or some evil would befall him. The speaker then spread his thighs, and Arnold got completely undressed, embraced the naked youth, kissed him, placed his penis between Guillaume's buttocks, and, moving himself as with a woman, his semen flowed between the speaker's legs. When this was accomplished, Arnold told Guillaume to do likewise to him and that he could not leave the room until he had done so. Guillaume then likewise let his semen flow out between Arnold's buttocks, and Arnold then made a similar movement.

When this was over, Arnold said that they must mutually swear never to do this again, either with each other or with anyone else. They then swore on the Gospels.

Franciscan

When Guillaume said that he had committed a grave sin and heresy, Arnold said he would bring him to a Franciscan who would absolve him of this sin and impose a light penance. Arnold also gave him a book containing parchment folios which he kept in his home. Arnold said that if he wanted to stay in his home until the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist and on some night play around with him, he would pay him. The speaker said he wouldn't do this and left Arnold's house while Arnold remained.

Afterward Arnold frequently met him in town, and when he encountered him he called Guillaume a heretic. Nevertheless, he did not bring him to that Franciscan to hear his confession concerning said sin, although Guillaume frequently asked him to do so.

Finally, about eight days later, Guillaume was with Arnold's illegitimate son in the furrier Tignol's workshop in the Villeneuve quarter of Pamiers. Arnold, who was also there, told the speaker to accompany him to a parcel of land which he owned in Le Pomarol where, so he said, there were some men. The speaker consented to join him and the two of them went to the field, but there was no one there. When they arrived, Arnold told him to undress and nap a bit because it was getting warm, and they could then carry on as they had done earlier in Arnold's house.

The speaker at first refused and fled; but Arnold pursued him and threw one of Guillaume's textbooks at him three times; as a result, its binding broke. Arnold then unsheathed a knife, pursued and assaulted him and brought him back to the field; with one hand he twisted the speaker's arm and in the other he held the unsheathed knife.

He then threw Guillaume on the ground and coiled his arms around his chest. He tried to lift him up and carry him to the spot where they had been, but when he couldn't, grabbing and pulling his hair, he dragged him there. While they were still dressed, Arnold threw him on the ground, and in the manner described earlier, thrust his penis between the speaker's thighs and, embracing and kissing him, released his semen. Both before and after perpetrating this sin, Arnold told him that this sin was less sinful than to know a woman carnally; and because Guillaume refused to commit this act with Arnold because of the oath he had sworn, and from which no one could absolve him, Arnold said he would absolve him. After it was over, Guillaume took his robe and left while Arnold remained in the field.

About eight days later, they met near the Carmelite house in Pamiers and Arnold asked Guillaume to join him to visit his son's fiancee and to give her a ring; after many stops, they came to Arnold's house and went to the aforementioned room. Arnold then closed the door and swore on the decretals and on his holy tonsure that they would not leave the room until they had again done what they had doine before. Guillaume wanted to leave, but when he stepped on the doormat Arnold pulled it toward him and the speaker fell down. Arnold held his shinbone, dragged him to the bed, put him on it, and sodomized him in the manner noted above. When the deed was done, the speaker left the room and went away. Arnold also told him twice that if he wanted to carnally know his maidservant he would make sure he could have her.

Asked if Arnold had told him to confess to him and that he could as easily be absolved by him as by anyone else, he replied that he had not. But now Guillaume very much regretted what he had done, and he had never believed that it was less sinful to commit sodomy than to know a woman carnally. He offered to undergo the complete penance that the lord bishop wanted to impose upon him for the aforementioned acts. He said that he had heard in school, although he didn't remember by whom or about whom it was said, that some of the students had confessed to Arnold.

After perpetrating the last act, he told Arnold that the lord bishop would find out about it. Arnold responded by lifting something from the ground and saying that this object was as little value to him as if this deed would become known to the bishop [i.e., he didn't care]. He said nothing else pertinent.

Asked if he had testified as a result of hate, love, fear, instruction, or subornation, he said no, but that he had spoken the truth.

He further remembered that in addition to the instances already noted, in the same house, room, and bed, Arnold had twice committed sodomy with him; that on other days and times, at Arnold's instigation, in the same way Arnold committed sodomy with him and vice versa. He said he never did so with anyone else nor did anyone else solicit him to commit said crime. He added that Arnold promised to lend him his books and give him a knife if he would consent to commit this crime.

Arnold suggested to him that he could carnally know Jacoba, the wife of Raymund Faur of the Loumet quarter of Pamiers, in whose house he dwelt and whose son he tutored. And although Arnold suggested that he have either Jacoba or her daughter, Bosaurs, the speaker himself never solicited either one.

On another occasion, in the portico connecting the dormitory and latrines of the Franciscan convent of Pamiers, to which he had come to confess about his aforementioned sins, Arnold solicited him to commit sodomy, telling him that he would introduce him to a friar of the same house who would lighten his penance and would absolve him of the oath they had sworn about not committing that crime. Arnold said that if they committed this act then Arnold would bring him the means of loosening his penance. Because Guillaume refused, Arnold would not introduce him to that friar. Asked if through hatred, etc. . . . as above, he said no.

Pamiers

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A year later, on 23 June [1324], Guillaume Roux again reported and came back to the lord bishop and in a court set up in his presence swore on the Gospels to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth concerning himself and Arnold of Verniolle about the crimes of heresy and sodomy; after taking this oath, he said, confessed, and testified the following:

That same year, around the Feast of the Ascension on a rainy day between noon and three P.M., and on another day and time which he didn't recollect, when the speaker was at the school situated near the Carmelite house in Pamiers, Arnold of Verniolle came to him. He said that if Guillaume would come along with him, he would give him a writing tablet. The two of them came to a house situated near the home of the Minorissi family of Pamiers, although he didn't know whose house it was. In a box Arnold found four small tablets that he wanted to give to Guillaume and that Guillaume wanted to take, saying that they weren't particularly valuable. Next, Arnold shut the door, and on the ground floor room in which a bed was situated, Arnold lay down with his clothes on and asked Guillaume to lie down beside him. He did so and, in the manner described in the previous confession, Arnold committed sodomy on the speaker as they lay side by side. Arnold then told Guillaume to do the same to him, which he did. When that was done, they separated and Guillaume returned to school.

In Arnold's house, Arnold told him that he had committed the crime with only one other man. Asked if Arnold had admitted to having committed sodomy with a local squire or with someone else, Guillaume replied that he did not remember him saying so. He said that he had never committed this crime with anyone else nor had anyone ever solicited him to do it.

He said that Arnold told him that it was the right of priests to impose satisfaction on penitents after absolution because, if they wanted to, they could either bind or loose. But they imposed penitence or satisfaction so that men would be overcome by fear of penance, lest they readily return to their sins.

Arnold was especially friendly with Jean Scaunier, the tailor, who was living with the tailor de Calson in rue Romengos. He said nothing more of pertinence.

Asked if because of love, etc…. he said no.

Guillaume Roux made the preceding deposition and confessed in the presence of the lord bishop of Pamiers, on the year, date, and place cited above, in the presence of friars Galhard of Pomiès, Arnold of Le-Carla-le-Comte, Dominicans of Pamiers; Bernard de Taix, Cistercian monk of Fontfroide; and Master Jean Strabaud, curé of Sautel in the diocese of Pamiers, notary to the city and bishop of Pamiers, and especially in business of the Inquisition of depraved heresy, who at the order of the bishop received the preceding confession and deposition; which I, Jean Jabaud, clerk, faithfully transcribed and corrected from the original.

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by Pierre Joubert

On 13 June 1323, Guillaume Bernard, son of Jean Jeu of Gaudiès in the diocese of Mirepoix, student of the liberal arts at Pamiers, aged about fifteen and a half, was summoned by the reverend father in Christ lord Jacques, by the grace of God bishop of Pamiers, to testify about all crimes of which Arnold of Verniolle, clerk of Le Mercadal in Pamiers, stood accused, in the presence of the lord bishop, in the portico of the episcopal see of Pamiers. He swore on the Gospels to speak the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the crimes of heresy and sodomy denounced against Arnold, about himself and all others living and dead, and especially against Arnold, who had been detained under suspicion of such crimes; after taking this oath, he said, confessed, and made the following deposition:

In that same year, around the Feast of All Saints just past, one Sunday when Guillaume was at the Augustinian house of Pamiers, during mass after the elevation of the host Arnold met him and inquired where he had come from. Guillaume replied that he was from Gaudiès. Arnold said that he was acquainted with some people from Gaudiès who were staying in Toulouse, and among them was Bernard Faur, a student at Toulouse. The speaker said that this same Bernard was his second cousin. No other words were exchanged between them.

After lunch, Guillaume returned to the Augustinian convent to hear the sermon; when Arnold saw him in the church, he led him to the friars' refectory. There, he told Guillaume that if he wanted to lodge with a certain canon in Toulouse and bring his books back and forth from school for him, the canon would give him food and clothing; also, by staying with him, he could study with him. Guillaume replied that he would be willing to stay with the canon.

Arnold told him to swear never to reveal the canon's manner of living to anyone. He said he would willingly so swear, and he made this oath on a Bible in the refectory in which the friars gather to eat. After this oath, Arnold invited him to his home. There, in the south portico, Arnold asked if he would like to hear about the canon's mores and manner of living, and he said that he would. Arnold then took him to an upper chamber, and in the hall he saw Arnold's mother and nurse, although he did not know their names. When they were alone, Arnold closed the door and again asked if he wanted to hear about the canon. When he again replied yes, Arnold asked him to remove his overcoat and lie down on the bed, which he did. Arnold then lay down beside him, undressed both himself and Guillaume and spread his thighs; and the speaker did likewise at Arnold's order. Arnold then placed his penis between Guillaume's legs, embracing and kissing him, lying on his side, as his semen flowed between Guillaume's legs. Arnold afterward asked the speaker to do likewise to him, but Guillaume didn't want to. After the sin was perpetrated, Arnold said that the canon would carry on in the same way and that if Guillaume wanted to lodge with him he would have to do likewise, and that the canon would thus misuse him. When this was over, Guillaume left Arnold's house.

After Christmas, Bernard returned from Gaudiès and, on the feast of the Circumcision, he tarried in the sacristy of the Augustinian house, where Arnold met him and asked if he had spoken to his father about staying with the canon, and he said that he had.

One Sunday two weeks later, in the Augustinian church, Guillaume met Arnold, who asked him to come along with him. Arnold took him to the same house and same room, shut the door, embraced and kissed him. Despite Guillaume's reluctance, Arnold made him remove his overcoat, lie down on the bed, and committed the aforementioned crime on him again. Again, Arnold asked him to do likewise, but he said he didn't want to and left the house.

After Easter the speaker again returned from Gaudiès to Pamiers; when they met, Arnold asked why he hadn't come to his home. He then visited Arnold's house himself and they went to the same room. Arnold then closed the door and told Guillaume to undress completely, which he refused to do. Arnold told him to do it or some misfortune would befall him. The two of them undressed, lay down naked on the bed, and covered themselves with a blanket. Arnold lay on top of Guillaume and, placing his penis between his thighs and behaving as he would with a woman, performed sodomy on Guillaume. After this was over, Guillaume wanted to get out of bed, but at Arnold's instigation he likewise sodomized Arnold. When they had finished and had dressed, Arnold told the speaker that they should swear never to do this with anyone else. But when the speaker wanted to swear, Arnold told him not to swear, because afterward he couldn't commit sodomy with anyone else. Arnold then swore on his martyrology [kalendarium] not to commit sodomy with anyone else; when this was done, Guillaume left the room, and afterward they did not repeat these acts.

Asked if Arnold had told him that this sin was not as grave as carnal knowledge of women, he said no. Asked if Arnold asked him to confess to him, he said no. Asked if up to now he had confessed about this sin, or if Arnold had told him to confess to anyone about it, he said that he had not confessed, fearing that he would commit perjury during his confession, for Arnold had made him swear never to tell anyone about it. Arnold had not told him not to confess this sin to any priest. Asked if he had heard that Arnold committed the same sins with another man, or that he himself had done so, he said no. Asked if he knew anyone, or any youths, with whom Arnold was friendly, he said that Arnold was friendly with Guillaume Roux of Ribouisse; Guillaume Boyer, son of Bernard of Plavilla; and Guillaume Pech of Ribouisse. Asked if he had heard or knew that Arnold had heard anyone's confession, he said that a student from a village near Limoux told several people in school that he had confessed his sins to Arnold.

Arnold asked him frequently if he wanted to visit women with him, but he had replied no. He said nothing else pertinent, except that he was very sorry for what he had done and that he was prepared to undergo the penance imposed by the bishop.

Asked if because of hate, etc. . . . he said no.

He added further that around two weeks ago Arnold suggested that they go outside the city; and they came to a certain field in Le Pomerol belonging to Arnold; when they were there for some time, Arnold told him to remove his mantle, which he did. Arnold then took off his overcoat, lay on top of Guillaume, and placed his penis between Guillaume's legs. Kissing and embracing him, Arnold moved as he would with a woman and perpetrated the crime of sodomy on him.

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On 13 June 1323, Guillaume Boyer, son of Bernard Boyer of Plavilla in the diocese of Mirepoix, a student of the arts at Pamiers, aged about eighteen, summoned by the reverend father in Christ Jacques, by the grace of God bishop of Pamiers, concerning those crimes denounced against Arnold of Verniolle, clerk of Le Mercadal in Pamiers, in a court set up in the presence of the lord bishop in the portico of the episcopal see of Pamiers, swore on the Gospels to speak the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the crimes of heresy and sodomy denounced against said Arnold, about himself and all persons living and dead, and especially against Arnold, who had been detained on suspicion of said crimes; after this oath, he said, confessed, and made the following deposition:

That same year, on the second day of Rogations [2 days before Ascension], Guillaume and Arnold went to the church of St. John the Martyr, to which Guillaume de Voisins' wife had come with some of her friends to hear mass. After they had witnessed communion, Guillaume and Arnold went out into the church cemetery and there Arnold asked him which woman he would prefer to have sex with. Guillaume replied that he preferred a girl who had come along with Voisins' wife. But he also told Arnold that it wasn't right to speak of such matters in a graveyard.

They then went to Arnold's house; on the way, Arnold asked, among other things, if he knew which sin was greater, sex between men or masturbation. He replied that he didn't know. Arnold then told him that these two sins were widespread among the religious [i.e., monks and friars]. Guillaume, surprised to hear this, said "Is that so?" And Arnold said that it was so. Afterward because they were near Arnold's house, they went in and went up to the upper chamber. In the hall they encountered the maid and another woman, with whom they had sex.

When they were in that room, Arnold took off his overcoat, sat down on a chair, and showed Guillaume his books; among other things, he asked Guillaume if he wanted him to write down a certain obsequy for the dead.

Afterward they returned toward the castle of Pamiers and when they were near the castle, Arnold said it would be fun to have sex with Gaillarda, Bartholomew of Rieu's maid, and Fina, Germani of Rieu's wife, in whose house Guillaume was then staying; that Guillaume ought to make an effort to know Gaillarda carnally; and that she was an animal who didn't know anything. It would also be good to have sex or stay with Fina, the speaker's mistress, who was Bartholomew of Rieu's widow. Guillaume said he didn't care about such things. They then had lunch at his house.

After lunch, although it was late, Arnold went to Fina's house, where Guillaume was staying. He asked the speaker to take a short walk with him. They then went to Arnold's field at Le Pomarol and sat down there. Arnold said, "If we were to get a hold of a woman here, what would you do with her?" Bernard said [he would do] nothing, and Arnold embraced him and kissed his cheeks; the speaker told him to leave him alone. Afterward they got up and Arnold embraced him again, but they didn't touch each other in any other way.

When they walked through that field, Arnold asked Guillaume whom he had confessed to this year and he said he had confessed to the Franciscan friar Arnold Marti, who had refused to absolve him on the first day of his confession. Arnold asked him which sins the friar had refused to absolve; but the speaker said he wouldn't do this since it is forbidden to reveal such things. Arnold then said: "Do you want to confess to me?" But Bernard replied that he didn't because he had already confessed this year and because Arnold wasn't even a priest. Arnold then said that there was a certain Dominican friar who had heard confessions this year and had asked Arnold what penance was suitable to impose for certain sins. There were then no other words between Guillaume and Arnold concerning this matter.

A French mediaeval street scene by Pierre Joubert

About two weeks ago, a certain boy in school said that Arnold had heard his confession this year. When Guillaume [the speaker] and Raymund, the rector of Artix's nephew, met Arnold near the parish church of Le Mercadal, they told him that a boy in school had reported that Arnold had heard his confession; but Arnold said the youth didn't know what he was talking about and turned red with embarrassment. The same day, Arnold went to the workroom in Guillaume's house and asked who had told him that he had heard his confession. Guillaume reported that it was a boy from the area of Limoux and added, "How can you hear confessions, since you're not a priest?" Arnold replied that he did not proceed in the manner of a priest. When Guillaume behaved as if to make an obscene gesture, Arnold said, "Because you're so talkative, I'll give you a slap."[9] Nevertheless, he didn't do so and they exchanged no more words concerning this matter, nor did they discuss anything else, as he testified above.

Asked if Arnold solicited him to commit sodomy, or he committed sodomy with him, he said not except the time referred to above. Arnold had afterward made the preceding remarks about the sins of sodomy and masturbation and made the speaker swear by God and the Blessed Mary not to reveal their past or future conversations because none of their friends should find out what he had seen him do or heard him say. For evil might result because of this from this friend; because this friend could not approve of the pain that his friend [i.e., Guillaume] might sustain because of revealing it to his friend.[10] He said nothing more of pertinence after diligent inquiry. Asked if from hate, etc…. he said no.

The aforementioned confessions and depositions were made in the presence of . . . , which I, Jean Jabaud, clerk, faithfully transcribed and corrected from the original.

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In June 1323, Guillaume Pech, son of Fabri Pech of Ribouisse in the diocese of Mirepoix, a student of the arts [grammaticalibus] in Pamiers, aged about nineteen, summoned before the lord bishop . swore, said, confessed, and testified:[11]

That same year, in the week of the Feast of the Ascension, on a day he did not recall, as the speaker and Arnold of Verniolle were approaching the church of Pamiers, Arnold told him that he had gotten him a place with the canon of St. Saturnin in Toulouse (which, he said, was in the home of Master Hugues Artaudi, prior of Pradières, canon of Pamiers) in return for bringing the canon's books back and forth to school. When they neared the Carmelite house, among other things, Arnold said that he was a priest and had celebrated mass many times and that he wanted the speaker to have a bit of the wafer Arnold had consecrated. And he added that after he had celebrated mass for the first time, he had not accepted donations; for neither he, nor an acquaintance of his whose name he did not mention, accepted contributions. For, he said, if a man like himself has as much as he has, he ought not to burden his indigent friends by accepting contributions during his first mass.

Arnold asked the speaker if he would know how to assist him to say mass, and he replied that he did because he had stood by his own priest. The speaker surmised that Arnold wanted to celebrate mass at either the Dominican or Augustinian house, but he didn't do this at that time; he only said the litany of the mass of the Blessed Virgin as they passed through the street toward Mas-S. Antoine.

During the vigils of the Pentecost just past, he and Arnold came to Arnold's field in Le Pomarol, and Arnold asked him if he had confessed during Lent and if he would afterward confess because it was Pentecost. Guillaume replied that he would confess during Lent. Arnold said: "Why don't you confess to your close friend; it is just as valid and even more so to confess to your friend as to someone else." He added: "Today I heard many confessions." Among the people he named was Guillaume de Maseriis who was lodging with Master Pierre, his mother's physician from Pamiers; and another Guillaume who was lodging in the home of Martin de Berliffiaco of Le Mercadal, saying that they had confessed to him that day.

Finally, turning to speak to Guillaume, he said: "You ought to confess to your close friend, because it is just as valid as if you were to confess to a stranger." From the sign which Arnold made, Guillaume understood that Arnold wanted him to confess to him. But Guillaume didn't want to do this, although Arnold repeated it to him several times.

Asked if he had ever solicited him to commit sodomy, he said no.

Asked if he knew anyone whose confession had been heard by Arnold, he said no, except as noted above. He said nothing else pertinent.

Asked if because of hate, etc.        he said no.

Guillaume made the previous deposition ... which I, Jean Jabaud, clerk, faithfully transcribed and corrected from the original.

In the same year, on June second, friar Pierre Recort[12] of the Carmelite order, who had stayed in Arnold's cell for several days and who had heard him speak about the crimes of heresy and sodomy, came before the lord bishop of Pamiers to reveal these matters … after taking his oath, he said, confessed, and made the following deposition:

During the feast of St. Barnabas the Apostle just past, Arnold of Verniolle was incarcerated along with the speaker and Raymund Bar of Montaillou. Arnold pulled the speaker to one side and asked why he had been imprisoned. Pierre likewise asked why Arnold had been imprisoned. He replied that he had been accused of committing the crime of sodomy with three youths, one from Gaudiès and the other two from Ribouisse. He was also accused of posing as a priest, of hearing confessions, and of absolving penitents of their sins.

Pierre asked: "Did you indeed commit these crimes?" Arnold replied that he had. He [Arnold] said that because they wanted him to write some parables or verses for them, Arnold used to go with one or another of the aforementioned youths, bringing along some wine, silver cups, and food to a field that is situated opposite the leprosary of Pamiers. When they were there, they sometimes used to spread out a robe, dance, and wrestle, and afterward commit sodomy with each other. The boys would even come to his home and there, in an upper chamber, which was his study, they committed sodomy with him and he with them. And in that way one day the three youths fooled around with Arnold, lying down together on the bed, one of them committing sodomy with the other as the third watched. Because one of them already knew about it, they were all fired up about this sin. Arnold started to do this on the feast of All Saints last year and frequently committed that crime with the three boys.

He told Pierre that he believed that sodomy is a mortal sin, although it is equal to simple fornication or fornication with prostitutes. Although he had heard that sodomy is a graver sin than simple fornication, he didn't believe it was, unless a man lay on top of another man like a woman or committed the sin through the rear. When Pierre asked why he had carried on in this way with youths when he could have had enough women, Arnold told him that during the period that they were burning lepers, he was in Toulouse and had sex with a prostitute. After perpetrating that sin, his face swelled up and as a result he was afraid of becoming a leper. He therefore swore from then on not to know women carnally; and, in order to keep that oath, he carried on in the above manner with those youths.[13]

The burning of lepers illustrated in the 14th-century Chronique de France (British Library ms. Royal 20 C VII f. 56v)

Arnold told him that when he was caught, he came back from Toulouse with a certain youth of Moissac, of good family; during the journey Arnold committed sodomy with him. The youth promised never to reveal anything about the crime, even if he knew that because of it he would be flayed [i.e., tortured]. Arnold was very much afraid that the youth would be captured by the lord bishop along with Arnold's nephew, his illegitimate sister's son, named Estaunié. He said that he had, however, not committed sodomy with his nephew. Arnold said that the fellow knew his secrets well and he feared that if they were captured he would reveal all.

Arnold told him that even before he had become a Franciscan, Arnold had committed that sin. Because of that same sin, a certain Franciscan friar of Toulouse, either the son or nephew of Raymund of Gaudiès, had left the order. He was his friend in the order and maligned the friars because of this sin.

When he was a student at Toulouse, Arnold lodged in rue Agulhieras, near a canonry. At that time, a certain woman sent her son Arnold Refectorarii, who could already recite seven psalms, to receive instruction from Arnold. Arnold carried on with the boy, committing sodomy with him. Arnold did not tell Pierre about committing sodomy with the boy at any other time.

Arnold had said that the bishop would have enough on his hands if he were to apprehend everyone in Pamiers who had been infected with that crime because there were more than three thousand persons. But he did not name anyone whom Pierre could recall.

Mirepoix by Luis Joseph Cazaban

Arnold told him in the cell that while he was a student at the Franciscan convent of Bordeaux friar Bernard Raynier had been accused of seducing the niece of the former bishop of Toulouse, Gaillard de Preyssac,[14] and was incarcerated at the Franciscan convent of Mirepoix. Arnold was placed in the same prison and the two of them used to discuss their incarceration and what they would do, that is, how they would live, outside the prison. Among other things, Bernard told Arnold how they would hear confessions when they got out, while Arnold told him how he would absolve penitents: “May the Lord take pity on you and relieve you of your sins, and may he lead you to eternal life”; and he would add, “May God absolve you of your sins.” But he did not say “I absolve you.”

Arnold said that when more intelligent folk came to him to confess, he would not apply that kind of absolution but would send them to Bernard to receive absolution. Arnold told Pierre that Bernard had instructed him that if he had absolved penitents in the aforesaid manner, they were absolved. When Arnold and Bernard left prison, they went to different places and churches and Arnold heard the confessions of many and diverse persons and absolved them in this way. Arnold did not, however, reveal to Pierre either the persons or the places.

Finally, Arnold separated from Bernard and went to Rome alone and somehow he earned his needs along the way. But he never told Pierre that he heard confessions along the way, nor did he say that he believed that penitents were absolved in this way, that although he was a subdeacon they were absolved.

Arnold said that some of the aforementioned youths confessed to him that year and he absolved them in the same way and told many that he was a priest, although this was not true.

Tarascon-sur-Ariège

Arnold told him that he went to the baths of Ax-les-Thermes with a certain Raymund, whose name he didn't recall, although Arnold said his name was Raymund. At Tarascon, they went to the church of the Blessed Virgin of Sabartès, where they met two bell-ringers commonly called nuns; Arnold told them that out of devotion to that church, he wanted to celebrate his first mass secretly, so that none of his friends would know and so that he could celebrate it that much more devoutly. When he entered the church, Arnold donned priestly garments and celebrated the mass. Afterward, the two nuns who took part in the mass along with Raymund, told Arnold that if he wanted to eat with them, they should bring food from Sabartès and they would be happy to join them. But Arnold did not tell Pierre whether he ate with the nuns.

After brother Gaillard de Pomiès[15] had told Arnold that among other things he had gravely erred by celebrating mass and hearing confessions, Arnold wanted to cancel what he had said about the mass; that because there were no wafers in the church, he had not celebrated the mass. He sometimes even told the speaker that what he had said about celebrating the mass was out of stupidity and foolishness.

Arnold told him that he frequently spoke with the Waldensian Raymund de Costa,[16] who was staying in Pamiers, whom Arnold commended for his knowledge of literature; Pierre did not recall what else touching heresy had been said by Arnold.

Pierre said that about a year ago Arnold Maury of Montaillou stayed with brother Pierre Geniès, a monk of Fontfroide, a penitent of the bishop, in a room situated beside the tower where the speaker was staying. Among other things Arnold told him on that day was that he had a brother who had fled from the kingdom of France because of heresy.[17] And the brother, who was his fourth, came to the hospice of St. Susanna (Hospitallet); but because he dared not proceed further, he sent for Arnold to bring him an alb [a liturgical garment]. Arnold brought the brother said alb, finding him beside the hospice. Afterward the fugitive, after taking counsel with them, left with the aforementioned three men in the direction of Catalonia. Arnold did not tell him the names of the brother's three friends.

On another day, when the speaker had cried out about the length of his incarceration and because he could not go to church, as consolation Arnold told him what is written in Scripture: "I send you forth as lambs among wolves" [Luke 10:3]. And he added that the speaker [Pierre] said that he would not be able to go to church because he was of low moral standing, that that church is good in which the souls of good people are found.

Arnold spoke to him of the human soul, but Pierre didn't remember what he said; but it seems that he held erroneous views in this area. He said nothing more of pertinence regarding Arnold.

Asked if because of hatred, etc….            he said no.

Friar Pierre testified the preceding in the presence of the lord bishop, on the day and place noted above, in the presence of the Dominican friar Gaillard de Pomiès; brother David de Savardun, a Cistercian of Fontfroide; and Guillaume Petri of Barthe, rector of Vira, notary of the bishop in cases pertaining to the Inquisition concerned with the investigation of heresy; and of Master Jean Straubaud. I, Jean Jabaud, clerk, faithfully transcribed and corrected the aforesaid from the original.

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Confession of Arnold of Verniolle, Son of the Subdeacon Guillaume of Verniolle of the Le Mercadal Quarter of Pamiers, concerning the Crimes of Heresy and Sodomy

On 23 June 1323, Arnold of Verniolle, son of the subdeacon Guillaume of Verniolle of the Le Mercadal quarter of Pamiers, an apostate from the Franciscan order, strongly suspected and accused of the crimes of heresy and sodomy, was arrested and, at the order of the reverend father in Christ, the lord Jacques, by the grace of God bishop of Pamiers, was bound over in prison at the order of the aforesaid lord bishop and was led into the bishop's presence to the upper gallery of the episocopal see at Pamiers, to a court set up in his presence. He swore on the Gospels that he would speak the whole truth and nothing but the truth concerning said crimes and others touching upon the Catholic faith and the office of the Inquisition touching depraved heresy, both about himself and about all others living and dead; after taking this oath, he said, confessed, and made a deposition as follows:

That same year, during Lent, although he doesn't remember whether it was the seventh day or some other, he was at the Augustinian church in Pamiers. While he was there a large number of people wanted to confess, including a student aged between sixteen and eighteen, whose name he didn't know, dressed in blue and not from Pamiers. The youth came to him and asked if he were a priest, because he wanted to confess. Arnold said that he was a priest and was willing to hear his confession. They then prostrated themselves in the church and prayed and he heard the student's confession.

Among other things, he [the student] confessed about the sin of fornication with public prostitutes, the theft of fruit, grain, or herbs from the fields, and similar deeds. He [Arnold] did not recall what other kinds of mortal sins the student confessed to.

After the confession, Arnold told him to say the Confiteor. The student did so and Arnold said: "May the Omnipotent Lord take pity on you and wash away your sins; may he grant you eternal life." Then he added, "May the Omnipotent God grant you absolution and remission of all your sins." He then placed his hands on the penitent's head and recalls saying: "By the authority of God I absolve you of your sins." But he does not recall completely if he said this or not. Finally, he imposed the following penance upon him: every day until the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist he must say five Paternosters, seven Ave Marias, and Miserere mei Deus. He then prayed on bared knees. But he did not impose upon him any penitence nor grant him satisfaction. He told him that before he went to communion, should he remember any sin, he should come back to confess that sin. He said that his name was Arnold of Catalonia. But the student did not come back to confess, for he [Arnold] saw him going into town.

He said nothing to him about these matters.

Finally, after several days, although he doesn't remember when exactly, at about three o'clock, the speaker and a student, not from Pamiers (he doesn't know either his name or place of origin), aged between sixteen and eighteen and a half, went to the street where the Dominicans are situated, opposite the former home of Raymund de Surp. The student asked Arnold if he were a priest, because he wanted to confess. He said that he was and would hear his confession if the youth so desired. They went to Raymond de Surp's house; in the hallway, the speaker sat down on the bench beside the head of the dining table and the student either sat down or bent down on the ground beside Arnold (he does not recall if he bent his knees or sat down). Arnold, holding a cowl over his head, heard the student's confession; among other things, he confessed that he had stolen fruit from someone and had sworn falsely. About the other kinds of sins confessed, Arnold did not recall.

When the confession was completed, Arnold told the student to say his Confiteor, absolving him in the manner described above, and imposed a similar penance. He didn't recall if he told the youth that he was named Arnold of Catalonia or that should he remember any other sins he should return.

Asked if he had heard anyone else's confession or had absolved anyone else in a similar way, he said that he had not.

Asked if he had spoken to someone else or suggested to anyone else that they ought to confess to him, he replied that this year during Easter, while he and a certain student who was lodging with either Pierre or Jean Rieux of Le Mercadal, whose name he didn't recall, were going to or leaving Arnold's field at Le Pomarol, the student told Arnold that he had confessed to friar Arnold Martini, a Franciscan of Pamiers; the youth had noted that after confession he remembered another sin and wanted to go back to the friar to confess it. Arnold thereupon told the youth to confess the sin to him and he would absolve him, because he was a priest. But the student replied that he could not give him solace and hear his confession, since he well knew that he wasn't a priest. He did not recall whether he had said similar things to anyone else.

Asked if he had celebrated mass or masses or had worn holy garments as a subdeacon in the church of the Evangelists, he replied that he had not. Asked if he had told anyone that he was a priest, he said he had so told the three aforementioned students. He told a certain student who stayed with Jacques of Paris, a dyer of Le Camp in Pamiers, that he was a priest and had celebrated mass. But he didn't tell him where he had celebrated mass.

The church of Le Mercadal, later made Pamiers' cathedral

He recalled further that after he had for the first time heard the second student's confession at the home of Raymund de Surp, the next day the two of them crossed the city and passed beside the church of Le Mercadal in Pamiers. The student said that he had just then recalled some sins which he wanted to confess and they entered the church. The two of them prostrated themselves on the steps before the altar of St. Bartholomew and the student confessed again. And Arnold absolved him of these sins in the aforementioned way and imposed a penance similar to the first.

Asked if he had later told those students who in his guise as a priest had confessed to him that he was not a priest, he said that he had not, although he frequently saw and greeted them. Asked if at that time when he had heard these students' confessions as a priest and absolved them as a priest he believed before or after or now believed that he could hear anyone's sacramental confession or absolve anyone of sin, especially mortal sins, so that they were truly absolved of sin, he replied that he had not; nevertheless, he had heard their confessions, wanting to know their consciences, and what sins they had committed. Afterward, he didn't tell them that he wasn't a priest, having told them earlier that he was.

He was asked why, when he heard the confessions of these students in order to know their consciences and what sins they had committed, although he did not believe he could absolve them, he absolved them of their sins, even though he didn't believe he had the power to do so. He replied that he had at first said that he was a priest and had heard confessions as a priest but was afterward embarrassed to say he wasn't a priest and couldn't absolve them. Because of this embarrassment, he absolved these students, although he didn't believe this absolution was valid.

Asked if anyone had taught him that he could pose as a priest and hear anyone's confession and absolve them, he replied in the negative; nor did he know anyone else who, although not a priest, had dared to hear confessions as he did.

He further recalled that during the same year at Easter, although he didn't recall the time or day nor whether it was before or after the preceding events occurred, he was in the Dominican chapel where at about three he was accustomed to read theology. A student, not from Pamiers, dressed in a brown mantle, about twenty years old, came in and said he was looking for a Dominican to confess to. The two of them sat down at the foot of the pulpit and as they spoke the student said, among other things, "Are you a priest?" Arnold said that he was. The student said he would prefer to confess to Arnold more than to anyone else, while Arnold said he would be pleased to hear his confession. The two of them prostrated themselves on the stairs where they were and the student confessed his sins. Among other things, he confessed that he had committed fornication with prostitutes and solicited both married and unmarried women to commit that vice; that he was sometimes drunk and frequently considered how he could commit that sin; he had also stolen some fruit and other things. He likewise spoke about other kinds of sins, which Arnold didn't recall.

After the student had confessed his sins, Arnold absolved him and imposed a certain penitence as satisfaction. But he did not recall which penitence he had imposed. Afterward he never saw the student again.

He [Arnold] said and confessed the following regarding the sin of sodomy:

About twenty years ago, although he doesn't remember when, when he was about ten or twelve, his father sent him to study grammar in Pamiers, at Master Poncius de Massabucci's place in the Borayria district of Pamiers. Poncius later became a Dominican. At this school he boarded with Master Poncius; Pierre Illat of Montsegut; Bernard Balessa of Le Mercadal; Arnold Auriol, son of Pierre, a knight near Bastide de Serou, who already shaved his beard and is now a priest; Bernard of Verniolle, the speaker's brother; and other students, whose names he did not recall.

And while Arnold lodged in that room with these students, for about six weeks he shared a bed with Arnold Auriol. After they had been together for about two or three nights and Arnold Auriol thought that Arnold was asleep, he started to kiss the speaker and placed himself over Arnold's thighs. He then placed his penis between Arnold's thighs and moving himself about as with a woman, he ejaculated between Arnold's thighs. He continued this sin all night, as long as the speaker slept with Arnold Auriol. Because Arnold was still a boy, this act was displeasing to him; but because of shame, he didn't dare to reveal it to anyone. At that time, he didn't even have the will or desire to commit that sin, for, so he said, he did not yet have such desires. After six weeks, the speaker, along with Master Poncius, Arnold Auriol, the speaker's brother Bernard of Verniolle, and a certain Theobald of Cintegabelle, who already shaved his beard, moved to another house near Pont de Lasclades. This house now belongs to the Salvetati family. Arnold slept there in one bed with his brother and Master Poncius, who solicited Arnold to commit that vice.

At that time Arnold Auriol slept with Theobald and did not commit sodomy with Arnold nor discuss it with him.

He said that about a month ago a certain youth, aged about eighteen, whose name he didn't know, came to Pamiers to stay with Bartholomew of Auterive, a shoemaker of Le Mercadal, from whom Arnold customarily purchased his shoes. Since Arnold knew him from Toulouse, the youth came and told him that he no longer had a place to stay; Arnold therefore asked if he would like to lodge with him. The youth therefore came to Arnold's house and in a room adjacent to the hall spent one night naked in bed with Arnold. And when the two of them were in bed together naked, Arnold embraced and kissed the youth and asked if he would like Arnold to put his penis between the boy's thighs. The youth replied that he could do as he wanted. Arnold, putting his penis between the boy's thighs, as they stood [sic] side by side ejaculated semen and committed sodomy with the youth twice that night, behaving as described above. The youth, however, did not sodomize Arnold, nor did Arnold ask him to do so. The next morning when they got up, Arnold told the youth not to tell anyone what had happened that night, for, he said, "if anyone should find out, I'll get in trouble." Nevertheless, he didn't ask the boy to swear not to reveal these events to anyone. Nor did Arnold give him anything except food; nor did he commit that sin with him afterward, although he spoke with him frequently thereafter.

He said that the same year around last Christmas on a day which he didn't recall Guillaume Roux of Ribouisse in the diocese of Mirepoix, a student at Pamiers and tutor to the sons of Raymund Faur also called Recurul of the Loumet quarter of Pamiers, came to Arnold's house and asked if he knew a cleric whom he could serve and who would be willing to hear his lessons, because his brother didn't want to provide for his studies. Arnold replied that master Maurand, prior of Lavelanet and canon of St. Saturnin of Toulouse, was looking for a cleric like him to bring his books back and forth for him to school. Arnold made this Guillaume swear on a martyrology [kalendarium] or liturgical book [collectarium] not to reveal, even to the canon, the things that Arnold would tell him about this canon.

After Guillaume had so sworn, Arnold told him that he had heard that the canon sometimes kissed and embraced youths and afterward he would put his penis between their thighs and perpetrate that sin, “and if, by chance, you lodge with him, you'll have to allow him to do likewise with you if he so desires.”

Guillaume answered that he was willing; Arnold then asked if he had already committed this sin with someone else. Guillaume replied that he had done so with a certain squire of his country, who had shared his bed; he added that he knew well how to commit that crime, and even told Arnold the squire's name, although he [Arnold] didn't recall it. This conversation took place in the upper chamber of Arnold's house, in which there was a bed. Arnold thereupon said to Guillaume, "Do you want me to demonstrate that act to you, and will you show me how the squire acted with you?" Guillaume replied that he was willing. They then undressed, lay down nude on the bed and, in the aforementioned way, first one and then the other committed sodomy; they then swore on the Gospels never to reveal anything about this sin to anyone. Arnold then borrowed from Guillaume a book by Ovid, whose title he didn't know.[18] Guillaume then asked Arnold to give him a knife which he carried with his knives[19] but Arnold refused, and said he would give him a different one.

Asked who told him that master Maurand committed such acts, he said that around the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist last year, when he was studying in Toulouse, a book porter who lodged with Maurand told Arnold on rue Agulhieras that he would willingly leave his master. This is because he didn't like Maurand's habits, that when he was in bed he made him rub his feet; when he was warm, he embraced and kissed him and put him to bed. Arnold surmised from this statement that the canon carried on that vice and the porter explicitly admitted it when asked. It seems to the speaker that the porter's name was Gerald and he was from either Limoges or Cahors; and he told Arnold that he lived with the canon for a year.

Arnold said that afterward he and Guillaume Roux committed sodomy with each other in the same room and bed, on different occasions, two or three times. The speaker likewise committed that sin with Guillaume Roux in the same way, except that they only lay down on the bed naked the first time. Guillaume often even committed the crime with the speaker, and it seems that he enjoyed it as much as Arnold did, to tell from his words and deeds. On the last occasion that they did this, they swore on the Gospels not to do so with anyone else. Guillaume excepted the canon, since he was going to lodge with him. They swore otherwise not to commit the sin again with each other.

After this oath, about eight days later, Arnold and Guillaume Roux went to Arnold's brother Guillaume's field at Le Pomarol. When they got there, Arnold told Guillaume Roux that they should remove their mantles and commit sodomy as they had done before. Guillaume said that he wouldn't do so. Arnold said that if they committed sodomy after having sworn not to do so again, the Franciscan lector of Pamiers, who had power over such things, would absolve them. Guillaume refused to consent to this; but because Arnold still wanted to commit sodomy with him, he made certain signs, embraced him, wrestled him down to the ground, and turned Guillaume over, as if to commit sodomy. But this didn't happen; he had only acted to test and tempt Guillaume to see it he wanted to commit that sin or not; but at that time the speaker did not commit sodomy with Guillaume, nor Guillaume with him.

Asked if he had solicited Guillaume to commit sodomy in the Franciscan house at Pamiers, he replied that he was not sure if he had or not. He said that in various places he and Guillaume had discussed committing that sin.

Asked if he had sometimes told Guillaume or anyone else that sodomy was a lesser sin than carnal knowledge of women, he replied that he had so told Guillaume Roux but did not recall where or when. He had said that he believed that simple fornication and sodomy were equal sins; he said that he truly believed that sodomy and simple fornication were equal sins and that rape, deflowering of a virgin, adultery, and incest were greater and graver sins than sodomy. He said that he maintained this belief from the feast of All Saints until very recently. But he always believed that sodomy and simple fornication were mortal sins.

The speaker even told Guillaume Bernardi, son of Jean Jeu of Gaudiès, that sodomy and simple fornication were equal sins. He had said this to both Guillaume Roux and Guillaume Bernardi because they had asked him if said sin of sodomy, which he had committed with them, was a sin of heresy. He answered them that said sin was not a sin of heresy but was rather equal to carnal knowledge of women or prostitutes.

Asked if he had told these people that sodomy and fornication were equal in order to induce them to commit sodomy, he replied that he had not, since they had both voluntarily committed the act with him, and the speaker with them, as it appeared to him from their words and deeds. For Guillaume Roux had told Arnold in his house when they discussed the matter, "Do you want me to show you what a man can do when he wants to have sex with another man but doesn't have the chance, so that he can satisfy his lust?" Guillaume then added that he frequently took his penis in his own hand and rubbed it in order to satisfy his lust; he also told Arnold that he would show him how to do it if he wanted him to; Arnold had said that he wasn't interested because he would never do it.

Asked if anyone had told him that sodomy and simple fornication were equally blameworthy, or if he had heard the contrary preached in church or had read it somewhere, or if anyone had told him that sodomy is graver than any other type of lust [luxuria], with the exception of bestiality, he replied in the negative; except that he well knew that the rectors of churches and chaplains could not commonly absolve penitents of sodomy, but only bishops or those so licensed by bishops could absolve sodomites. On the other hand simple rectors and chaplains could absolve penitents guilty of simple fornication and adultery without special permission from the bishop.

Asked if he had told any of the above persons, showing or pointing out in a book of decretals that it was so written, that sodomy is a lesser sin or equal to fornication, he replied that he had not. But he had told Guillaume Roux that in some men nature demands that they perform that act or know women carnally; and, he said that he very much felt in himself that his body would suffer if he should abstain for more than eight or fifteen days if he did not have sex with a woman or didn't commit that crime with a man. Nor, he said, did he believe that he committed a greater sin by committing sodomy with a man than by knowing a woman carnally.

by Pierre Joubert

Last year, around the feast of All Saints just past, at the Augustinian house in Pamiers, Arnold encountered Guillaume Bernardi, a student from Gaudiès. He said that if he wanted to lodge with a certain canon of St. Saturnin of Toulouse who was also prior of Lavelanet, in return for which he would carry the prior's books back and forth from school for him, Arnold would get him the position. Guillaume asked about the canon's manner of living and habits; Arnold made Guillaume swear on a book never to disclose or reveal to anyone what he would tell him about the canon's manner of living. Arnold did not recall where that oath was made, but it was either in the Augustinian house or in Arnold's house. After the oath was made, Arnold told Guillaume that the canon occasionally drank wine and afterward had his servant rub his feet and then kissed and embraced the servant, so he had heard. But he didn't know if he did something afterward with the servant. But when Guillaume Bernardi asked Arnold what the canon had done, Arnold told him that the canon put his penis between the servant's thighs and satisfied his lust; and the speaker believes that he also added, "Have you occasionally done this?" Guillaume Bernardi replied embarrassedly that he knew what it was and said, "Do you want me to show you?" Arnold replied that he would. These last words were exchanged in the upper chamber of Arnold's and his brother Guillaume of Verniolle's home. Arnold then said to Guillaume, "Should we do it naked or dressed?" Guillaume replied that they should do it in whatever fashion Arnold preferred; the speaker replied that they should undress and lie down naked on the bed, which they did. There, in the same manner in which he committed sodomy with Guillaume Roux, Arnold committed sodomy with Guillaume Bernardi, and Guillaume with him. After this, Arnold committed sodomy with Guillaume three or four times thereafter, at different times, during different holidays, but in the same room and bed. But they only lay down nude the first time.

Asked if he committed sodomy anywhere else with Guillaume Bernardi, he replied in the negative.

Asked if he had instigated Guillaume to commit sodomy with the speaker, he said that he had and that Guillaume had committed sodomy in the same way with the speaker three or four times.

Asked about how old Guillaume was, Arnold replied that he didn't know for sure, but he seemed to be between sixteen and eighteen years old.

Asked if he had made Guillaume swear never to commit sodomy with anyone else or even with Arnold, or if he himself had so sworn, he replied in the negative.

Asked if he told Guillaume or made him swear never to reveal that vice which they had committed nor even to confess about that sin, he replied that he had not, except as stated above.

He said that on the feast of Pentecost just past, but at a time he didn't recall, on a certain holiday after vespers, Arnold went to a garden belonging to Germanus Fromagerii, situated at the far end of Las Gransas; he was followed by an eighteen-year-old youth of Mirepoix, whose name he didn't recall, an apprentice to the shoemaker Bernard of Toulouse of Le Mercadal in Pamiers. They went together to the garden; along the way the youth told Arnold that he couldn't earn enough as a shoemaker and would willingly serve another master, asking if he could find him one. Arnold replied that he believed that Master Bernard Saisset, canon of Pamiers, needed such a servant and that Arnold was willing to ask if he was interested in the youth's services. The youth replied that if Arnold should secure the position for him, he would get Arnold some good-looking women he knew. Arnold replied, "If you could procure such women for me, I would be very pleased, and you would have done well." As they spoke of such matters, they entered the garden and lay down on a mound of dirt. Arnold removed his mantle because he was warm. When they sat down, the youth told Arnold that he would tell him how he satisfied his lust when he had no women. Arnold asked him about this method; the youth then embraced him and put Arnold under himself, saying that he would demonstrate the aforementioned technique. Arnold told him that he knew well how to do it and put the youth under himself. But neither he nor the youth did anything.

Finally, the youth told Arnold that he would teach him another method, that is, that while they were standing side by side he would place his penis between Arnold's legs in order to commit sodomy and that they should get ready to do it that way. But Arnold didn't want to do this and said that he knew that method well. The youth told him that many good men did this, and Arnold replied that it was so, as he heard said, even the religious [priests and monks]. The youth asked if the canon did such things and Arnold replied that he didn't believe so, since he was an upright man.

Asked if he had committed sodomy with anyone else, or anyone had solicited him to commit that crime, he replied in the negative.

Asked if he had confessed to any priest or religious about that crime which he had committed, he replied that he had not; and he had also not confessed during Lent that year, nor since the feast of St. Luke; but when he was sick he had confessed to a certain Carmelite lector.

Asked if he had taken communion during Easter, he replied that he had not, nor for the past twelve years since he left the Franciscan order. He had refused to take communion for the past twelve years or to confess his sins during last Lent because every day he resolved to enter a new religious order. Then he would confess his sins and he would begin to do what he ought to do in order to be a good man and he would cease his sins.

Asked if he had absolved anyone who had confessed to him of sodomy, he replied that he hadn't.

Asked if he had told anyone with whom he had committed sodomy or whom he had solicited to commit that crime that he would take them to a religious who would absolve them of that sin and would impose a light penance, he said that he had not.

Asked if he had heard the confessions of many others aside from those mentioned above, or had solicited others to confess to him, he replied that he had not. Asked if when he absolved penitents in the above manner he believed that he could in fact absolve and that they were completely absolved of their sins, he replied in the negative. Nevertheless, he had not told those who confessed to him and were absolved in the above manner, and to whom he said he was a priest, that they ought to confess to another priest since they were not absolved because he wasn't a priest.

Asked if he believed or had ever believed that any man not ordained as a priest could absolve a penitent of his sins through penance in a sacramental manner, he replied in the negative.

Asked why, although he did not believe that he who was not a priest could not absolve anyone of their sins, did he so frequently hear so many people's confessions as a priest, telling them that he was a priest; and why he had absolved them in the above manner, although he believed that this absolution was not valid; and why, before they had completed their confession he had not told them to confess to another priest who could absolve them of their sins, he replied that he had wanted to hear many people's confessions in order to know what sins they had committed, if they had committed the same sins he had committed, and how. He had begun to hear confessions that year during Lent, and before that he never heard confessions. He said that those persons who had confessed to him he had absolved of their sins although he believed that his absolution had no validity. But when he told them that he was a priest and had heard their confessions, he was embarrassed not to absolve them of their sins. Although one of them, who had confessed to him, after confession and absolution wanted to receive communion from him, Arnold did not tell him that he should not receive communion until he had confessed to another priest and was absolved by him since Arnold didn't have such power. Rather he said that he should take communion in the name of the Lord because, so he said, he was embarrassed to tell this person then that he couldn't grant communion because Arnold wasn't a priest, since he had already told him that he was.

Asked if anyone had taught him that he ought to hear or could hear confessions and absolve of sin, or knew that anyone not a priest heard confession and absolved of sin, or heard this said about anyone, he replied in the negative.

Asked if he told anyone that he was a priest and had celebrated mass, he replied that he had, but he didn't remember to whom, except as stated above.

Asked if he had ever celebrated mass or masses anywhere, he replied in the negative.

Asked why he had said that he was a priest and had celebrated mass when he wasn't a priest and hadn't celebrated mass, he replied that he didn't know, except that he had said this to some people in order to hear their confessions.

Asked if he knew anyone not ordained as a priest who celebrated mass and said he was a priest, he replied that he didn't.

Asked if he believed or had ever believed that one not ordained a priest could celebrate mass so that during this mass the body and blood of Christ were created, he said that he had not.

Asked if he had administered any sacrament aside from confession to anyone, he replied that he had not.

After diligent examination, he said nothing else pertinent.

Because, following the deposition of witnesses in the court set up in judgment against Arnold by the lord bishop, it did not seem to the lord bishop that Arnold had fully confessed the truth about himself and others, but rather that he had concealed a great many grave matters despite his oath, the bishop therefore admonished and warned him according to the law to confess the truth about both himself and others. He bound him over until the following Monday, which will be the twenty-eighth day of the present month (June]; in the meantime, the lord bishop wanted to inform himself and inquire about Arnold more fully and completely concerning those crimes and other matters touching the Catholic faith.

Arms of the town of Pamiers

Arnold of Verniolle confessed and testified the preceding in the presence of the lord bishop, in a place, year, and day noted above, in the presence of the friars Gaillard of Pomiès and Arnold of Carla, Dominicans of Pamiers; Bernard de Taix, a Cistercian of Fontfroide; of Master Guillaume Nadini of Carcassonne, notary of the king of France and of the lord bishop in cases relating to the Inquisition touching the investigation of heresy; and of Jean Strabaud of Sautel, notary of the city of Pamiers, who at the bishop's order received the preceding confession, which I, Jean Jabaud, clerk, faithfully transcribed and corrected from the original.

On 28 June, which day in the preceding acts had been set aside for Arnold of Verniolle's full confession to testify about himself and others about the crime of heresy, of sodomy, and other things of which he was very much suspected and about which he had not yet, so it appeared, fully confessed, he was led to the presence of the lord bishop in an upper chamber of the episcopal see of Pamiers and in a court established there swore again to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth concerning the aforementioned crimes relating to the office and business of the investigation of heresy, about himself and all others living and dead. After this oath, he was asked if he wanted to confess more fully and completely and to reveal the truth about himself and others regarding those matters touching the office and business of the Inquisition involved in the investigation of heresy; he replied in the negative, because he knew nothing more, so he said.

The lord bishop then ordered that Arnold should be taken to and placed in the prison of the castle of Pamiers.

These acts were set down on the year, day, and place noted above, in the presence of the lord bishop, the Dominican friars Gaillard of Pomiès and Arnold of Carla, of the monastery of Pamiers; Bernard of Taix, Cistercian of Fontfroide; and Master Jean Strabaud of Sautel, notary, which I, John Jabaud, faithfully transcribed and corrected from the original.

A year later, on 1 August 1324, Arnold of Verniolle, taken from the prison in the tower of Les Allemans, and brought before the lord bishop in an upper chamber of the episcopal see of Pamiers, in a court set up in the bishop's presence, swore again to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth concerning heresy and sodomy, about himself and all persons living and dead; when this oath was completed, he was asked if what he had confessed to the bishop on 23 June 1323 was full and complete and true. When this was read to Arnold, the bishop suggested that he consider whether he did not remember his confession. Arnold replied that everything in his confession was true and complete and that it was entirely factual and that he needn't read the confession since he remembered it.

Asked if he wanted to add or subtract anything in his confession, concerning himself or others living or dead, he replied in the negative.

Asked if he ever told anyone or he believed that sodomy with men was a lesser sin than simple fornication with a prostitute, and especially if he had shown anyone that this was written in a book of decretals, he replied in the negative.

Asked if he told anyone or believed that because his nature required him to satisfy his lust either with a man or a woman it is not sinful to have relations with men or women, or that these may be minor or venial sins, he replied that he believed that his nature inclined him to commit sodomy, although he always believed that sodomy is a mortal sin. Nevertheless, he held that sodomy is as sinful as simple fornication and that illicit deflowering of a virgin and incest may be graver sins, and in any case the same as men carnally knowing other men. And he had indeed told this to Guillaume Roux, son of Pierre Roux of Ribouisse, and Guillaume Bernardi, son of Jean Ioc of Gaudiès in Mirepoix, with whom he committed sodomy. But he had not told them this in order to induce them to consent to perpetrate that sin with him lest they not do it. He told Guillaume Roux that the sin of masturbation by rubbing the penis or some other movement is equal to the sin of simple fornication and to the sin of sodomy. They were equal, so he said (and, so he said, he had believed this in his heart at that time, from the feast of All Saints just past until he confessed) even if that sin of masturbation was committed on purpose and deliberately.

Asked if he had told anyone or believed that he, a subdeacon, could sacramentally absolve penitents of mortal sin so that they were completely absolved by him of all their sins and that it was not necessary for them to again confess to another priest, he replied that he had indeed told others that he could absolve them of their sins, and he even absolved as he said above; when he had heard them confess sacramentally even mortal sins, he did not, however, say to any of them that they should go to confess these sins to another priest, although he knew that some, after such confession, said they wanted to take communion, and he said that they could take communion. But he never believed that although not a priest he could absolve them of mortal sins confessed to him sacramentally. He believed that those who confessed their sins and were absolved by him ought to confess their sins to another priest and be absolved by them; nevertheless he had told them the preceding things and had heard confessions in order to know the penitents' sins, although he had sinned mortally by hearing confessions and saying that he could absolve them of their sins.

Asked if he told anyone or believed that the imposition of satisfaction for sins confessed was not necessary in order to free one of the punishment owed for sin, but that such satisfaction may be imposed only ad hoc so that, fearful of punishment, they may be held back from subsequent sins, he replied in the negative.

Asked if he told anyone that he had celebrated mass or if he had really celebrated mass or wore clerical vestments in order to celebrate mass, and if he believed that in celebrating mass he could create the body and blood of Christ, he replied that he had indeed told some people that he had celebrated mass and that he was a priest. But he had not in fact done so, nor worn clerical vestments, nor did he believe that someone who was not a priest could create the body and blood of Christ.

Asked if he had committed the crime of sodomy with anyone else, or with the aforementioned persons or others in other places, except as described above, he replied in the negative.

Asked if he had committed any other heretical acts, or knew anyone who had, he replied in the negative.

He said nothing else pertinent, after diligent inquiry.

Asked if he were penitent for having believed and uttered the above errors and for the fact that he taught them, initiating others into error, and if he wanted to turn back from those errors, he replied in the affirmative and he said that he was prepared to undergo that penance which the lord bishop would impose on him for the aforesaid. After the abjuration for heresy was received and in accord with the vow herein written, the lord bishop would absolve him in accordance with the rules of the church from the sentences which he had incurred for the crimes of heresy and sodomy, provided he had made full confession and was penitent concerning the preceding. Otherwise, it was not the bishop's intention, so he said, to absolve him from the preceding sentences. But it was reserved to said Arnold that if he should in the end recall something about said crimes, such confession about himself and all others living and dead would be accepted.

The tenor of his abjuration and oath was as follows: "I, Arnold, in a court set up in the presence of your reverend father in Christ, lord Jacques, by the grace of God bishop of Pamiers, do abjure in my heart every heresy raised up against the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Roman Church and every heretical belief of every sect damned by the Roman Church, under the pain which by law those who relapse into heresy suffer. I swear and promise to pursue heretics to the best of my ability and even those whom I know and believe are fugitives because of the crime of heresy; to have them captured and brought back to the best of my ability to the lord bishop and his successors and inquisitors of depraved heresy, whomever they are, and wherever I know them to be.

'I swear and promise to keep, serve, and defend the Catholic faith which the holy Roman Church observes and preaches.

"I swear and promise to obey and comply with the orders of the Church and of said Lord bishop and inquisitors and to appear before them any day or any place, whenever and as often as I may be called or required to do so, summoned by messenger, letters, or in some other way; and never to flee nor knowingly absent myself contumaciously; and to undertake and complete, to the best of my abilty, the punishment or penitence which he may impose upon me. And to this end I bind both myself and my goods."

The preceding acts, in the preceding fashion, said Arnold abjured and swore in the bishop's presence on the aforesaid year, day, and place in the presence and by the testimony of friars Gaillard de Pomiès, Arnold de Carla, Dominicans; the most distinguished men Master Arnold Docesii, an official of Pamiers; Bernard Faix, the bishop's vicar; and Master Jean Strabaud of Sautel, notary who received this testimony at the bishop's order; on whose account I, Jean Jabaud, clerk of Toulouse, faithfully transcribed and corrected from the original.

λ

In the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.[20] It has been established as a result of written confessions made in court before us, the bishop and inquisitor, that Arnold of Verniolle, subdeacon of the city of Pamiers, apostate from the Franciscan order, whom we have first decreed must be deposed from orders as subdeacon and cleric, from every tonsure and clerical privilege, and degraded on this day and place, in order to receive penance from us and hear the definitive sentence peremptorily imposed upon him, must undergo the salutary penance of life imprisonment….

You, Arnold of Verniolle, have fallen into the horrible and damnable crime of sodomy, as is noted above in your full confession, and because of which you are to be gravely and harshly punished … You should therefore be degraded and placed in iron chains in the strictest prison, to be fed a diet of bread and water for life … so that no one may grant you grace in future, neither the bishops nor inquisitors who succeed us….

After this, the lord bishop, dressed in his pontifical robes with his pastoral staff and his cap without a mitre, deposed the aforesaid Arnold of Verniolle, a subdeacon dressed in his subdeacon's garb, from his office, degrading, stripping, and depriving him of his position [there follows an elaborate description of the ceremony of clerical degradation, etc.]

 

[1] On the Inquisition at Pamiers, see Jean Duvernoy, Inquisition à Pamiers (Toulouse, 1966); J.-M. Vidal, Le Tribunal d'lnquisition de Pamiers (Toulouse, 1906).

[2] R. Chevalier, "Torture," DDC 7:1293-1314.

[3] On Fournier, see J.-M. Vidal, ed., Bullaire de l'Inquisition française au xive siècle (Paris, 1913), p. 54; DTC 2:542-703.

[4] The text of Arnold's trial comes from Jean Duvernoy, ed., Le Régistre d'Inquisition de Jacques Fournier, évêque de Pamiers, 3 vols. (Toulouse, 1965-1966), 3:14—50.

[5] Heinrich Denifle, Die Entstehung der Universetäten des Mittelalters bis 1400 (Berlin, 1885), pp. 638-639, on the University of Pamiers, which was confirmed as a studium generale 18 December 1295 by Pope Boniface VIII.

[6] For the text of this discussion, see C. Douais, L'Inquisition, ses origins - sa procedure (Paris, 1906), pp. 294-307.

[7] Thomas Aquinas notes that apostasy, or backsliding from God, in addition to rejection of the faith itself, may also involve withdrawal from the religious life to which one is bound by profession or from the holy orders that one has received. Because Arnold had apparently at one time been a member of the Franciscan order, he was called an apostate. See Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, 2a.2ae.12.1.

[8] A. Michel, "Sous-Diacre," DTC 14.2:2459-66.

[9] The phrase here used, ponere aliquid, strictly means "to place a bet." But in this context, the above translation seems more plausible.

[10] This passage is rather confusing. The scribe, because he was writing in the third person and using indirect discourse, appears to have had some difficulty separating one "he" from another.

[11] The text gives the year 1321. Since all of the other testimony was given in June 1323, I presume this is a scribal error.

[12] Pierre Recort, after ten years' detention, was condemned on 27 January 1329 to life imprisonment in irons, on a diet of bread and water, in the Carmelite monastery of Toulouse on charges of having seduced three women and on suspicion of sorcery. Fournier himself did not complete the case and seems to have been unsure about the man's guilt. It remained for his successor as bishop of Pamiers, Dominic Grima (1326-1348), and the inquisitors Henry de Chamay and Pierre Brun to complete the trial. See Vidal, Bullaire, pp. 53-54.

[13] For a discussion of the sources relating to the antileper campaign, see J.-M. Vidal, La Poursuite des lépreux en 1321, 2 vols. (Toulouse, 1899— 1900). This fantastic episode in the annals of obscurantist persecution is unraveled in the testimony Of Guillaume Agassa before Fournier's court. In 1321, Agassa was accused of having taken part in the alleged plot by the king of Granada and the sultan of "Babylon," using the Jews as intermediaries. to get lepers to poison the wells of Christendom. As a result, a massacre of lepers was carried out throughout France. See Vidal, Bullaire, p. 53; J. Duvernoy (ed), Le Régistre d’Inquisition de Jacques Fourneier, (Toulouse, 1965) 2: 135-47, for Agassa testimony; Henry C. Lea, A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, 3 vols. (London, 1963), 2:380.

[14] Gaillard de Preyssac, bishop of Toulouse (1306-1317), subsequently served at Riez, Maguelonne, and Arles before his death in 1327. He was also a nephew of Pope Clement V.

[15] Gaillard de Pomiès served as vicar or lieutenant to the bishop in matters pertaining to the Inquisition. See Vidal, Inquisition, pp. 74. 84.

[16] For the trial of Raymund de Costa (or de la Cote-Saint-André) on charges of Waldensianism, see J. Duvernoy (ed), Le Régistre d’Inquisition de Jacques Fourneier, (Toulouse, 1965) I: 40—122.

[17] Since the term frater is used rather than germanus, and Arnold was formerly a Franciscan, it is not clear whether the brother here referred to is a biological relation or merely another member of the order.

[18] For the popularity of Ovid's work in the Middle Ages, see Ernst R. Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, trans. W. Trask (New York, 1963); J. de Ghellinck, L'Éssor de la littérature latine au xiie siècle, 2 vols. (Paris, 1946).

[19] Cum glaubiis ("with little balls") makes no sense. Perhaps this is a misspelling for glaviis ("knives").

[20] Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Fonds latins, Doat. 28, fols. 71r—76v.