English Translation © 1996 by Nancy P. Stork.
Nancy Stork's note:
Fournier's Inquisition Record is one of the most remarkable and comprehensive documents to survive from the Middle Ages. Fournier was a man of meticulous habits and carefully supervised the keeping of his records. As a result, the records of his inquisitions -- though primarily concerned with matters of faith -- have served as the foundation of one of the classics of modern social history, Emmanuel LeRoy Ladurie's magisterial work Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error. This work presents an entire portrait of medieval Occitan village life based on the extensive confessions made to Fournier. Only rarely do those who confessed to Fournier dispute with him over fine points of theology (the Jew Baruch is one noteworthy exception); usually those confessing give an intriguing portrait of themselves, their families and their everyday life. This WebSite contains selected confessions, mostly by women, and is intended to make accessible these intriguing documents, which are not currently available in English. The manuscript of Jacques Fournier's Inquisition Record is currently found in the Vatican Library, Lat. MS. 4030. and modern editions are available in Latin and French. I have worked from both of these editions.
Witnesses against Béatrice, widow of Otho Lagleize of Dalou
The year of the Lord 1320, the 19th of June. After it came to the attention of the Reverend Father in Christ monsignor Jacques, by the grace of God bishop of Pamiers, that Beatrice, widow of Otho Lagleize of Dalou, who lived in Varilhes, held certain sentiments that seemed to hint at the Manichaean heresy, or touch it, and especially against the sacrament of the altar, he wished with the assistance of Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for my lord the Inquisitor of Carcassone, to inform himself about the above-mentioned facts and received the testimonials that follow.
Guillaume Roussel of Dalou, sworn witness and required to tell the truth, says:
It was ten years ago, it seems to me, but I do not recall clearly the season nor the day, I was at the home of this Beatrice, in her house near the church of Dalou, and there were Beatrice, two of her daughters of whom one must have been six or seven years old and the other 4 or 5, and several other persons around the fire. I do not recall the names of these last people.
We began to speak of priests and the sacrament of the altar, which is the concern of the priests. Beatrice said, it seems to me, that she wondered how, if God was present in the sacrament of the altar, he could permit himself to be eaten by priests (or even by a single priest). Hearing this, I left that house very upset.
--Why have you hidden this for such a long time?
Because I was never questioned and I did not think it was bad not to denounce this myself.
--Did Beatrice say this in the manner of a joke?
It did not seem to me that she said it jokingly, but that she meant it, or so it seemed from her expression and her word.
-- Did Beatrice go willingly to church?
No, not until she was reprimanded by Barthelemy, a vicar of the said church. After that, she went to church.
-- Who were the persons very intimate with this Beatrice, who would have known her secrets?
Grazide, the widow of Bernard Pujol, Bernarde, the wife of Garsiot, Mabille, the wife of Raimond Gouzy, Sibille, the servant of Michel Dupont of Foix, Esperte, wife of Arnaud of Varilhes.
The same year and day as above, Guillaume of Montaut, rector of the church of Dalou, a sworn witness, was interrogated about that which precedes, and said,
It was 12 years ago - it seems to me, though for sure I do not entirely recall the day or the season - that I was at the church of Dalou and found there Mabille Vaquier, of Dalou, who is now dead. She said to me that she had reprimanded this Beatrice, who was the wife of her uncle, because she did not attend church, and also because she had heard her speak such an evil utterance that she was completely astonished. This utterance was the following: "You believe that what the priests hold on the altar is the body of Christ! Certainly, if that was the body of Christ and even if it was as big as this mountain (gesturing toward Mont Margail), the priests by themselves would already have eaten it!"
Around the same time, the late Jean Roussel said to me at my home, where we were eating, that he had heard Beatrice say "You believe that what the priests have on the altar is the body of Christ! Indeed, if that was the body of Christ, even if it was as big as this mountain, the priests would have already eaten it all!" And because of this, he himself, Jean, had exchanged insulting words with this Beatrice.
And he said nothing more, though he was interrogated diligently. Asked if he were motivated or constrained by entreaty, gain, love or hate in giving this deposition, he said no, but that it was simply the truth.
Confession of Beatrice, widow of Otho Lagleize of Dalou
The year of the Lord 1320, the Wednesday before the feast of St. James (23 July 1320), there was sent by the Reverend Father in Christ Monsignor Jacques, by the grace of God bishop of Pamiers, a letter of citation against Beatrice, widow of Otho Lagleize, living in Varilhes, of which the tenor follows:
Brother Jacques, by divine aid bishop of Pamiers, to his beloved in Christ, curé of Varilhes or his vicar, greetings in the Lord.
We command you to cite at once, and immediately, Beatrice, widow of Otho Lagleize, and Jeanne, wife of Guillaume of Reumaze, Junior, to appear next Saturday before us in our Seat at Pamiers, in person, to respond to certain allegations concerning the Catholic faith of which we wish to know the truth from them and the answers to other questions as may be reasonable.
Given at our episcopal seat, the Wednesday before the feast of Saint James the Apostle 1320. Return the letter with your seal as a sign that you have passed on this mandate.
On the Saturday named in this letter, the said Beatrice, cited by the curé of Varilhes (since this is whose seal appeared on the back of the letter of citation), appeared before the aforementioned bishop at his seat. My lord bishop admonished the said Beatrice that she was strongly suspected of heresy according to information which had been given to him and that she should reply with pure and complete verity on all counts against herself as principal and with others living and dead as witness.
At this admonition and request the said Beatrice said nothing, neither concerning herself nor concerning others, nor did she wish to do so. My aforesaid lord bishop, wishing to guide her, to encourage her to tell the truth and hide nothing and not wishing that she fall into perjury, asked her, without requiring her to take an oath, if she had ever said that if the sacrament of the altar was the true body of Christ, it should not be permitted to be eaten by priests and if it was as grand as Mont Margail, which is close to Dalou, it would have long ago been consummed by the priests alone. She said no.
He asked her if she had seen, received in her home or had gone to see at any time Pierre, Jacques and Guillaume Authié or other heretics. She said no, except that she had seen Pierre Authié, exercising his profession as a notary and in this capacity he had written the act of sale of an item of her husband. She had approved this sale by oath and Pierre had written up the bill of sale and ratified it. He was not reputed to be a heretic at this time and she had not seen him otherwise.
Under questioning by the lord bishop, she said she had been received once for one night at the house of the late Gaillarde Cuq, but she had not heard her speak of any divinations, nor seen any evil spells), nor received any evil teaching from her.
My aforementioned lord bishop, seeing that this Beatrice would not of her own will openly say anything concerning the aforementioned without taking an oath, and wishing to act with benevolence and to wait for her, assigned to her the following Tuesday to appear before him at the aforesaid seat, admonishing her to present herself on that day in person and to be ready to respond to the above allegations and others concerning the faith, under her own oath. The assigned day the said Beatrice accepted of her own free will, promising by her own oath to appear before my lord the bishop for the said assignation, and to respond to the above allegations under oath and to do all that was necessary in this same matter. And she was graciously excused until the said Tuesday by my said lord bishop.
That Tuesday the said Beatrice did not appear, although she was waited for patiently all the day and because of this my said lord bishop held her to be in contempt of court and accused her of such, ordering and seeing to it that her failure was noted.
After this, the said Beatrice, sought after by the men of the lord bishop carrying letters to bailiffs, officials and justices and such as they were, was found by them in flight, while she was hiding at Mas-Saintes-Puelles, in the diocese of Saint Papoul and was taken prisoner by the men of the lord bishop and the sergeants of the Court of Mas-Saintes-Puelles. She was brought to my lord bishop and presented to him the first of August, the same year as above, with the objects listed below having been found on her person. These were all shown in the presence of the lord bishop and she acknowledged that they had all been with her and that she had fled with them. (This list occurs at the end of her deposition.)
This done, my said lord bishop, holding her strongly suspect concerning the Catholic faith, as much by the preceding information as by her flight and by the objects found on her, wishing to question her, received from her an oath to tell the pure, simple and entire truth both concerning herself as charged as well as concerning others living and dead as witness, on all questions touching the Catholic faith. When the oath was taken he interrogated her:
----- Are you guilty of heresy? Have you had relations and intimacy with the heretics Pierre, Guillaume, Jacques Authié, other heretics, worshiping them, seeing them giving or sending them anything or favoring them in any manner whatsoever?
No, upon my oath, except for what I have told you of Pierre Authié, that I ratified a bill of sale for my husband the knight Bérenger de Roquefort. After I had married this Bérenger, at our wedding ceremony, I saw Guillaume Authié dance. This was 24 years ago or so.
-----Do you know other persons, living or dead, who had any type of relations or intimacy or who committed anything in life or death related to this crime of heresy?
No. But, when I was a little girl, and I was staying at Celles, about 6 years before marrying my first husband, the people went one day to see the body of Christ at the church there. I heard a mason (I do not know his name but I think he was called Oudin) ask where the people were going. Someone replied that they were going to see the body of Christ. He said "They have no great need to rush or hurry to see it, because even if the body of Christ were as big as the Pech de Boulque, it would have already been eaten many times over as pastry!" And these words, which I had heard spoken by this man, I cited sometimes, and repeated at Dalou without adding a word. I do not remember if it was when the people were going to see the body of the Lord at Dalou or some other occasion. It seems to me that it has been 12 years since I cited those words.
-----To which persons and at what other times?
I no longer recall their names.
The 7th of August in the chamber of the episcopal residence, before the bishop and Gailard de Pomiès:
It was 26 years ago in the month of August (I do not recall the day) when I was the wife of the late knight Bérenger of Roquefort, châtelain of Montaillou. The late Raimond Roussel, of Prades, was the bursar and the steward of our house which we held at the castle of Montaillou. He asked me often to leave with him and go to Lombardy to the good Christians who were there, saying to me that the Lord had said that man ought to leave father, mother, wife, husband, son and daughter and follow Him and He would give him the kingdom of heaven. And since the present life is brief and the heavenly kingdom eternal, it was necessary that man not care about the present life, in order to inherit the kingdom of heaven. When I asked him "How could I leave my husband and my sons?" he replied that the Lord had commanded it, and it was better to leave a husband and sons whose eyes were infected, than to abandon Him who lives for all eternity and gives the kingdom of the heavens.
When I asked him "How can it be that God has created such a quantity of men and women if so many among them will not be saved?" He replied that only the good Christians will be saved, and no other, neither religious, nor priest, nor anyone with the exception of the good Christians. Indeed, he said just as it is impossible for the camel to pass through the eye of a needle, so it is impossible that those who have riches will be saved. It is because of this that kings and princes, prelates and religious and all those who have riches, will not be saved, only the good Christians. They remain in Lombardy, because they do not dare do live here, where the wolves and the dogs persecute them. The wolves and the dogs are the bishops and the Preaching Friars (Dominicans) who persecute the good Christians and chase them from the country.
He said he himself had seen and met several of these good Christians. They were such people that when one had heard them speak, one could not ever leave them them and if I myself heard them just one time, I would be theirs forever.
When I asked him how we two could flee and go to the good Christians, because when my husband found out, he would follow us and kill us, Raimond replied that when my husband took a long trip and was a little bit out of the country we could leave and go to the good Christians. I asked him how we would support ourselves when we got there. He replied that they would take care of us and give us enough to live. "But", I said "I am pregnant. What could I do with the infant I am carrying if I leave with you for the good Christians?" "If you give birth to it among them, it will be an angel, and with the aid of God they will make it a king and a holy being because it will come without sin, having no contact with the people of the world, and they will instruct it perfectly in their sect, and it will know no other."
He told me then that all the spirits sinned at the beginning by the sin of pride, believing that they knew more and were worth more than God and for this they had fallen to the earth. These spirits incarnate themselves as a result and the world will not be finished before all of them are incorporated in the bodies of men and women. This is how the spirit of a baby who was just born is just as old as the spirit of an old man.
He said furthermore that when the spirits of men and women who are not good Christians, leave their bodies, they enter into the bodies of other men and women until they have entered nine bodies. If amongst these nine bodies the body of a good Christian is not found, the spirit is damned. If on the contrary it finds the body of a good Christian, the spirit is saved.
I asked him how the spirit of a dead man or woman could enter through the mouth of a pregnant woman and through there to the mouth of the fruit which she carries in her womb. He replied that the spirit could enter into the fruit in the womb of a woman through any part of the body it wished. When I asked him why infants do not talk from birth, if they have the old spirits of other people, he said the God does not wish this. He told me as well that the spirits of God who have sinned place themselves wherever they can in order to dwell there.
He encouraged me then to leave with him to go to the good Christians, citing as examples many noblewomen who had gone. He first told me of Alestra and Serena, two ladies of Châteauverdun, who painted themselves with colors to appear to be foreigners, in order not to be recognized and went to Toulouse. Arriving at an inn, the hostess wished to know if they were heretics or not, and gave them live chickens, asking them to prepare them because she had something to do in the town and left the house. At her return she found the chickens still living and asked them why they had not prepared them. They replied that if the hostess would kill them they would prepare them, but that they would not kill them. The hostess hearing this, went to tell the inquisitors that two heretics were at her inn. They were arrested and burned. When they had to go to the pyre, they asked for water to wash their faces, saying that they did not wish to go to God painted thus.
I said to Raimond that they would have done better to abandon the heresy that caused them to be burned and he said that the good Christians do not feel the fire, because the fire which burns them can do them no harm.
Raimond told me again that one of these two women, at the moment of leaving her house in Châteauverdun had an infant in the cradle and she wished to see it before leaving. She embraced it, the infant laughed and and as she began to leave the place where it was lying, she returned again to him. The infant began to laugh and this merry-go-round began again so often that she could not leave him. She finally ordered the nurse to take away the child and thus she left.
And Raimond told me this to encourage me to do the same!
He told me as well that Stephanie, the wife of the late Guillaume Arnaud, one of the ladies of Châteauverdun had left all and gone to the good Christians. Prades Tavernier, who had recently become a heretic and was called André, had left with her. He said this to convince me to leave but I told him that if 2 or 3 women of my rank left with us, I would have an excuse, but that I would not leave with him, while still young, because people would say of us that we left the country to satisfy our lust.
After having spread his heretical discourse to me quite liberally at several times and places and asked me to part with him, there came one night when we had dined together and he entered secretly into my bedroom and hid himself under my bed. I put the house in order and lay down to sleep and when all was quiet and everyone asleep and I myself was sleeping, Raimond came out from under my bed, placed himself next to me and began to act as if he wished to know me carnally. I said "What is this?" He said to be quiet. I replied "What, churl, remain quiet!" and began to cry and call my sevants who slept near me in the chamber, saying to them that there was a man in my bed.
Hearing this, he left both bed and chamber. The next morning, he said to me that he had done badly to hide himself close to me. I told him "I see now that all your invitations to go to the good Christians are only intended to possess me and sleep with me. If I did not fear that my husband would not believe that I have done nothing dishonest with you, I would send you immediately to the tower dungeon."
We did not speak any further of questions of heresy and a while later Raimond left our house and returned to his home at Prades.
----- Have you believed and do you believe still that which he told you concerning the good Christians, concerning the sin of the spirits in the sky and the reincarnation of spirits?
-- ---Have you ever revealed the propositions of Raimond to anyone?
No, except to a Friar Minor of the convent of Limoux, in sacramental confession.
-----Has anyone else heard the heretical propositions that you heard from this Raimond?
I do not recall that there was anyone else present.
Alazais Gonelle, from the diocese of Alet, often came to my house to talk to me and she told me on the part of this Raimond that it would be good for us to leave for Lombardy and the good Christians, because they alone would save our souls, since one could only be saved in their sect. If I wished to leave with Raimond, she herself, Alazais, would leave with us and she knew that if some of us left for Lombardy and the good Christians, Algée of Martre, from Camurac in the diocese of Alet, would leave with them.
This Alazais was the concubine of Guillaume Clerge, the brother of the rector of Montaillou and this Algée is the sister of the mother of the rector. But I have never seen Algée.
-- ---What do you understand by these good Christians whom Raimond and this Alazais cite constantly?
By 'good Christians' I understand heretics.
About 25 years ago, I was living in Montaillou and one day in the month of July, Alazais, the wife of Bernard Ribas of Montaillou knocked on my door. I went to see what she wanted. She said that she wanted vinegar. I ordered it to be given to her. She then said that she did not want any, but that she wished to speak to me. I said that I could not and she left. The same day she came back to my house and knocked on the door. I sent to know what she wanted and she said that her daughter was sick and asked me to come down to her house, because her daughter wished very much to see me. I said to her that I could not come down to her house, because it was only a short time since I had come from childbed. This Alazais came again to my house, the same day, asking and supplicating that I would come to see her daugher, which I did not wish to do.
The same day, I had made a "re-dyed" candle for the church of Saint Marie de Carnesses (church of Montaillou, pilgrimage destination - the candle is for the rite of purification after childbirth - editor's note). I called for a woman who lived with the rector of Montaillou, Pierre d'Espéra (this woman was from Limbrassac) and we went together to the church. In the descent from Montaillou, we met this Alazais who was driving 2 geese; she asked me to come to her house to see her daughter Guillemette (the wife of Pierre Clergue of Montaillou). I said that I could not go, and she said that her brother Prades Tavernier was there and wished to speak with me because Stephanie, the wife of Guillaume Arnaud of Châteauverdun, had been charged with a message that he wished to give to me.
But since it was well known that Prades Tavernier had left the country with Stephanie to travel to the heretics, I asked Alazais to leave me, because I did not wish to talk to Prades. She left me then and I did not see Prades Tavernier nor speak to him after he departed the country with Stephanie.
About 21 years ago, about one year after the death of my husband, I wished to go to confess at the church of Montaillou during Lent. When I was there, I went to Pierre Clergue, the rector, who listened to confessions behind the altar of Saint Mary. As soon as I had kneeled down before him, he embraced me, saying to me that there was no other woman in the world that he loved so much as me. In my stupefaction I left without being confessed.
Later, towards Easter, he came to visit me several times, and asked me to give myself to him. I said to him one day when he was soliciting me in my own home that I would rather give myself to 4 men than to one priest, because I had heard that a woman who had been known carnally by a priest could not see the face of God. To which he responded that I was stupid and ignorant, because the sin was the same for a woman to be known by her husband or by any other man, equally whether the man was her husband or a priest. It was an even greater sin with a husband, he said because the spouse believed she did not sin with a husband, but she had a conscience with other men. The sin was therefore greater in the first case.
I asked him how he could talk thus, being a priest, because one said in church that marriage had been instituted by God and that it was the first sacrament, instituted by God between Adam and Eve, so that there would be no sin when spouses knew one another. He replied "If it was God who instituted marriage between Adam and Eve and if he created them, why did he not guard them from sin?" I understood then that he was saying that God did not create Adam and Eve and had not instituted marriage between them. He added that the Church taught many falsehoods. The ecclesiastics said this, because they were not inspired by respect or fear. Indeed, in part the Gospel and the Pater, and all the other texts of Scripture were "affitilhas", a word that one uses in the vulgar tongue to designate words that one adds to what one has heard. I replied to him that because of this the ecclesiastics plunged the people into error.
The 8th of August 1320, in the Chamber of the bishop's palace, before the bishop and Gaillard of Pomiès.
Speaking of marriage, he said to me that many of the rules governing it did not proceed from the will of God, who had not forbidden wedding one's own full sister nor another blood relative, since in the beginning brothers knew their sisters. But when many brothers had only one or two beautiful sisters each one wished to have them. As a result there was bloodshed between them and that is why the Church has forbidden a brother to know carnally his sister or blood relative. But before God the sin is the same, whether it concerns a stranger, a sister or another relative because the sin is just as bad with a wife as with another, to the point where it is almost greater between man and wife because one does not confess it and is united without shame.
He added that marriage was perfect and accomplished when one person promised his faith to another. What one does in Church to the spouses, such as nuptial benediction was only secular pomp and had no value and had only been instituted by the Church for the glory of this world.
He told me as well that a man and woman could commit freely any sort of sin while they lived in the world and live according to their good pleasure. It was sufficient to be received into the sect of the good Christians at one's death to be saved and be absolved of all the sins committed in this life. He said this was justified because Christ had said to his apostles to leave father, mother spouse and children and all that they possessed to follow Him, in order to have the kingdom of heaven. Peter replied to Christ, "If we, who have left all and followed You, we have the kingdom of heaven, what will be the fate of those who are sick and cannot follow You?" The Lord replied to Peter that his "friends" would come and impose their hands on the heads of the sick. The sick would be cured, and, once cured, would follow him and have the kingdom of heaven.
These "friends of God" the rector said were the good Christians, who are called heretics. The imposition of hands that they give to the dying saves them and absolves them of all their sins.
To prove that it would be better for the world if brother were to marry sister he told me "Look, we are four brothers. I am a priest and do not wish to marry. If my brothers Guillaume and Bernard had wed Esclarmonde and Guillemette, our sisters, our house would not have been ruined by having to give them a dowry. Our house would have remained intact. With one woman who could have entered into the house for Raimond, our brother, we would have had enough spouses and our house would have been more rich. It is thus better that the brother wed the sister or the sister the brother, because when she leaves the paternal house with a large sum to wed a stranger the house will find itself ruined."
With these arguments and many others, he influenced me to the point that during the octave of Saints Peter and Paul I gave myself to him one night in my house. This happened again often, and he saw me then during one and a half years, coming to spend the night two or three times per week in my house near the chateau of Montaillou. I myself went twice to his house, to unite myself to him. He also knew me carnally one year on the night of Christmas and he nevertheless said mass the next day, even though there were other priests present.
That night of the Nativity, when he wished to have relations with me, I said to him "How can you wish to commit such a grave sin on such a holy night?" He replied that the sin of having commerce with a woman was the same on the night of the Birth of the Saviour as on any other night. Since, both at that time and others, he said mass the next day after having known me the preceding night, without being confessed (because there was no other priest,) I often asked him how he could celebrate mass after having committed such a sin the preceding night. He replied that the sole valid confession is that which one makes to God, who knows the sin before it is committed and who alone can absolve it. But the confession that one makes to a priest who does not know it until the moment it is spoken and who has no power to absolve is worth nothing and is only done for the pomp and ostentation of the world. Because God alone can absolve sins, man does not have the power.
He added that I ought not confess the sin which I committed with him to another priest, but to God alone, who knew it and could absolve me, which no man could do. To incite me to believe that neither the Sovereign pontiff nor the other bishops nor the priests who depend on them have this power, he alleged that St. Peter was not a pope in this life, but as soon as he had died his bones were thrown into a pit where they remained for a number of years. When they were discovered they were washed and placed on the throne on which the Roman pontiffs sat. Just as the bones of St. Peter did not have the power to absolve when they were enthroned and made apostolic, neither Peter, who had become "apostolic" nor the Roman pontiffs who had been made Popes on that throne could absolve. Only the good Christians who suffered persecutions and death, like Saints Lawrence, Stephen and Bartholemew, could absolve, but not the bishops nor the priests subject to the Roman church, who were heretics and persecutors of the good Christians. God had taken this ability from them and retained it for Himself and transmitted it only to the good Christians whom he had known and announced in advance would suffer persecution.
I asked him then, if the confession made to priests was worth nothing, and they had no power to absolve, why he himself heard confessions, made absolution and imposed penances. This priest told me that it was necessary for him and the other priests to act thus, even though it was worth nothing, because without it they would lose their revenues, and no one would give them anything if they did not do as the Church prescribed.
But only the good Christians and those who were received by them after having adored them could absolve other men of their sins. And it was not necessary for those who wished to be absolved by them to confess to them, it sufficed to give oneself to God and to the good Christians, and they would absolve them solely by the imposition of hands.
He told me all this and what follows at my house, from time to time near a window which looked over the road, during which time I deloused his head, sometimes by the fire, sometimes when I was in bed. We guarded against being heard by others when we talked of this subject. I do not recall well if Sibille my servant, the daughter of Arnaud Teisseyre of Montaillou, who became the concubine of Raimond Clergue, heard anything.
This priest told me that God had only created spirits, those which can neither be corrupted or destroyed, because the world of God would live eternally. But all the bodies which one sees and one senses, that is to say the sky and the earth and all that is found therein, with the sole exception of spirits, these were created by the devil, who rules the world. Because it was he who made them all - he who could not make anything stable and solid - these things are the prey of corruption.
He told me one time that God in the beginning made a man who talked and walked. Upon seeing this man, the devil made the body of another man, who could not walk or talk. God said to him "Why do you not make your man the sort who can walk and talk?" The devil replied that he could not, and asked God to make his man walk and talk. God replied that he would do so willingly, since what he would put in this man would be from Him, God. The devil replied that he would like that. God then breathed into the mouth of the man that the devil had made and this man began to walk and talk. Because of this, the spirit of man is from God and the body is from the devil.
He told me also that God had made all the spirits of heaven and that these spirits sinned by the sin of pride, wishing to be equal to God. By reason of this sin they fell from the sky through the air and onto the earth. They dwell and penetrate into the bodies they meet, indiscriminately, whether into the bodies of brute beasts or the bodies of men. And these spirits who are in the bodies of brutes are also endowed with reason and knowledge just as those in human bodies, except that they cannot talk when they dwell in the bodies of brute beasts. And the fact that the spirits who are in the bodies of brutes are endowed with reason and knowledge can be seen because they flee what is noxious to them and seek what is profitable. This is why it is a sin to kill such a brute beast or a man, because each one as well as the other has a spirit endowed with reason and understanding. He said also that it was necessary for these spirits to enter into a human body to do penance for this sin of pride and that this must be done before the world is finished. It is only in human bodies, he said, that the spirits can do penance for this sin. They cannot do it in the bodies of brute beasts.
He told me also that if these spirits who have thus sinned can enter into the body of a good Christian they rejoice greatly because when they leave that body they will return to the sky from which they fell. If they have not entered into the body of a good Christian, but into another man or another woman, when they leave the body, they enter, if they can, into the body of another man or woman and so on up to nine bodies (if they do not enter into the body of a good Christian man or woman).
But, if in these nine bodies which they enter successively there is not the body of a good Christian man or woman, upon leaving the ninth body they are totally lost and can never more do penance. He told me that all this is true in a general manner, but when spirits who consent to the betrayal of Christ, as was the case of Judas and other Jews, leave their bodies, they are immediately lost and cannot do penance later. They will no longer enter into human bodies to do penance. But those who were present at the betrayal of Christ, without consenting, enter into nine bodies, like the others.
This priest told me also that only those spirits who enter into the body of good Christians will be saved and no others, whether Christian, Jew or Saracen. According to what he said, all the good Christians, those who adore them, believe in them and enter into their sect will be saved. And he said his mother Mengarde was saved, because she had done much good to the good Christians, and na Roqua and Raimond Roché her son, who were imprisoned for a while because of heresy, drew all their subsistence from her house. His mother did so much good for these two because they were heretics and believers.
This priest told me also that those spirits who were in the heavens and sinned in rebelling against God divided themselves - certain ones of them plotted and rebelled against God and those were the first to leave the heavens. Their sin was as grave as hell and they are demons. But there were other spirits who did not plot the revolt against God nor rebelled overtly, but who wished to follow those who engineered this revolt. These ones fell onto the earth and into the air and are incorporated into the bodies of men and animals, do penance and are saved or damned, as was said previously.
He told me also that the good Christians do not believe that God can make the seeds of those things born on the earth increase, bloom and multiply. If this was so, God would also be able to make a seed grow as well on bare rock as in arable soil and seeds thrown on the rock would grow just as well as those thrown into the soil. But this happens, he said because the earth is fertile, and God intervenes in no way.
He told me also that the good Christians do not believe that Christ took human flesh from the holy Virgin, nor that he descended to take human flesh from her, because before Saint Mary was born, Christ existed for all eternity. He only hid himself (s'adombra) in the blessed Mary, without taking anything from her. Explaining this word (adombration) this priest told me that the wine in the tun is within its shadow without taking anything from it, but is merely contained. Just so Christ dwelled in the Virgin Mary, without taking anything from her, but was simply in her as the contained is within the container.
He told me also that Christ, although he dined with his disciples, never ate or drank, although it seemed as if he did so.
He told me also that since the outrage of crucifixion was performed on Christ on the cross, no one should adore or venerate the cross.
He told me also that to swear falsely on the Gospels was not a sin, but only to swear falsely by God.
He told me that the church of God exists only where there is a good Christian, because he is the Church of God, but anywhere else there is no Church of God and the other men are not the Church of God.
He told me also that when the good Christians are burned for their faith, they are martyrs of Christ.
He told me also that when these good Christians have received someone into their sect, they should afterwards neither eat nor drink, except cold water, and, when these people then die of starvation, they will be the saints of God.
He told me also that the fire in which the good Christians were burnt did not make them suffer, because God assisted them so that they would not suffer the fire nor have great pain.
The said Raimond Roussel told me of a man who was gravely ill, when a priest came to him and asked if he wished to see and receive the body of the Lord. This man replied that he wished to see the body of the Lord more than anything else in the world. This priest went to seek the body of the Lord and bring it to this sick man. He took it out of its case and held it in his hands, showing it to the sick man and asked him about the articles of faith, especially if he believed that this was indeed the body of Christ. The ill man, indignantly replied to the priest "You stinking villainous churl, if that which you hold were the body of Christ, and even if it was as big as a large mountain, you and your fellow priests would have long since eaten it!" And he refused to receive the body of the Lord.
Pierre Clergue, the rector told me that this world here, which the devil made, grows corrupt, dwindles to nothing and will destroy itself entirely, but before that happens, God will reassemble his friends and draw them to himself, so that they will not see the tumult that there will be at the end and destruction of the world.
When I left the country of Alion to contract marriage with my second husband, Otho Lagleize of Dalou, this rector told me that he was displeased that I was going down to the low country, because I could never save my soul there, since no one would dare henceforth to speak to me of the good Christians or to come see me to save my soul. I was going to live with wolves and dogs, of which, he said, none will be saved. He called dogs and wolves all the Catholics who were not of the sect of the good Christians.
He told me as well that if one day my heart inclined me to be received in the sect of the good Christians, that I should let him know at once, because he would see to it that there was a good Christian to receive me into the sect and save my soul. I told him that I did not wish to be received into such a sect, but that I wished to be saved in the faith where I found myself, citing my sister Gentille, who used this phrase first.
And these heretical arguments continued between us during approximately two years, and this priest taught me all of this.
-----These errors and these heresies that the rector of the church of Montaillou, Pierre Clergue, told you and taught you, did you believe them and do you still believe them?
Last year, when I left the country of Alion (Montaillou), from Easter until the following August, I believed these errors plainly and perfectly to the point where I would not hesitate to undergo any pain for their defense. I believed that they were true, as taught by this priest, who, because he was a priest, I believed to speak to truth. But when I was at Crampagna with my second husband and I heard the preaching of the Preachers (Dominicans) and the Minors (Franciscans), and I dwelt among faithful Christians, I abandoned these errors and heresies and I confessed to the tribunal of penance to a Franciscan of the convent of Limoux, in the church of Our Lady of Marseille, where I had gone to see my sister Gentille, who lives in Limoux and was the wife of the late Paga of Post. This confession I made 15 years ago and for about 5 years I remained believing these heresies without confessing them, though I confessed in that time other sins I had committed.
At the time when I believed in these heresies, I did not see (neither before nor since) a heretic that I knew to be a heretic, although I believed them to be the good men, because they suffered matyrdom for God and also because of what this priest had taught me, that it was only in their sect that one could be saved.
I have great regret at having heard these heretical remarks and more to have believed these heresies and I am ready to undergo the penance which my lord bishop would like to impose on me for this.
And since she had plainly avowed in the matter of heresy and sorcery,
as much concerning herself as concerning others, living or dead, that she
had great repentance at having committed this and wished to return to the
unity of the Church and the Catholic faith; that she demanded absolution
and was ready also to the the penance that my lord bishop would judge to
be good to impose on her by reason of the above mentioned faults.
For these reasons, my said lord bishop, having received from her the abjuration of heresy and the promise under oath which follows according to the forms of the Church, gave her the absolution of sentence that she had incurred for the crimes of heresy and witchcraft, if she would plainly confess and repent of that which precedes. Failing this, it was not the intention of my lord bishop, as he told her, to absolve her of these charges. The said Béatrice was commanded nevertheless, if she recalled in the future anything concerning heresy, to bring forth her avowals as much against herself as against others living or dead.
The tenor of this abjuration and this sworn statement under oath is the following:
"I, Béatrice, appearing for questioning before you, Reverend father in Christ my lord Jacques, by the grace of God bishop of Pamiers, abjure entirely all heresy against the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Roman Church, and all beliefs of heretics, of whatever sect condemned by the Roman Church and especially the sect to which I held, and all complicity, aid, defense and company of heretics, under pain of what is rightfully due in the case of a relapse into judicially abjured heresy;
Item I swear and promise to pursue according to my power the heretics of whatever sect condemned by the Roman Church and especially the sect to which I held, and the believers, deceivers, aiders and abetters of these heretics, including those whom I know or believe to be in flight by reason of heresy, and against any one of them, to have them arrested and deported according to my power to my said lord bishop or to the inquisitors of the heretical deviation at all time and in whatever places that I know the existence of the above said or any one of them.
Item I swear and promise to hold, preserve and defend the Catholic faith that the Holy Roman Church preaches and observes.
Item I swear and promise to obey and to defer to the orders of the Church, of my lord the bishop and the inquisitors, and to appear on the day or days fixed by them or their replacements, at all times and in whatever place that I receive the order or request on their part, by messenger or by letter or by other means, to never flee nor to absent myself knowingly or in a spirit of contumaciousness and to receive and accomplish according to my power the punishment and the penance that they have judged fit to impose on me. And to this end, I pledge my person and all my worldly goods.
After which, the same year as above, the 5th of March the said Beatrice appeared for questioning before my said lord bishop and the religous person Brother Jean de Beaune of the order of the Preachers, inquisitor of the heretical deviation, in the kingdom of France appointed by the apostolic Seat, in the chamber of the bishopry. Under faith of the oath taken by her, she said and confessed that the extract of her deposition was sufficient for the present case and asked for judgement to be passed according to these facts and that she be shown mercy. And my lord bishop thus concludes the present affair.
And my said lord bishop and inquisitor assigned to the said Beatrice a day to hear definitive sentence concerning that which precedes, the Sunday following 8 of March before terce, in the house of the Preachers of Pamiers.
Made the year and date above, in the presence of the religious persons Brother Gaillard de Pomiès, prior of the convent of the Preacher Brothers of Pamiers, Arnaud du Carla, of the same convent, Brother Peter, compagnon of my said lord inquisitor, David and Bernard de Centelles, monks of Fontfroide of the order of Cîteaux and my lord Germain of Castelnau, archdeacon of the church of Pamiers, witnesses for those convoked, and of us Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary of my lord the bishop and Barthélemy Adalbert, notary of the Inquisition, who assisted us in that which precedes and recited it and wrote it.
And the Sunday assigned to the said Beatrice, she appeared in the cemetery of Saint Jean Martyr de Pamiers, and was given sentence by my lords the bishop and the inquisitor as follows: "Sachent tous, etc.". See this sentence in the Book of sentence of the Inquisition.
And I, Rainaud Jabbaud, cleric of Toulouse, sworn to the service of the Inquisition, have on the order of my lord the bishop, faithfully corrected the above confessions against the original.
Note - Beatrice was condemned to the Wall on March 8, 1321. She lived to see her sentence commuted to the wearing of double crosses on July 4, 1322.
English Translation © 1996 by Nancy P. Stork.