Cathars and Cathar Beliefs in the Languedoc
Confession of Bernard Franque of Goulier


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Source Documents: Confession of Bernard Franque of Goulier

 

 

Introduction

 

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers, created and conducted his own Episcopal inquisition in the first quarter of the fourteenth century. Questioning of those suspected (or "vehemently suspected") of heresy usually took place in a chamber of his Episcopal palace at Pamiers. He sat judicially alongside a Dominican Inquisitor such as the Inquisitor for Toulouse or the Inquisitor for Carcassonne for the most important events and in most cases a Dominican from the local Convent in Pamiers deputizing for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne. Also present were various witnesses - Archdeacons, Priors, rectors, Cistercian monks, Dominican friars, jurists and notaries. Notaries made notes in Occitan, and read them back in the same language "the vulgar tongue" before rewriting a final version in Latin. Witnesses were also questioned. None of the accused here had legal representation, and so faced a panel of legal experts - including one one of the finest canon lawyers in Christendom - alone.

Inquisitors are interested in three things:

  • Discovering and documented examples of "heresy" - any deviation from Catholic teaching (in one notable case for ridiculing the Catholic practice of placing a lighted candle in the mouth of sick people expected to die). Failing to report heresy was also an offense.
  • Discovering the identities of other "heretics" - those who had ever doubted any Catholic doctrine, who had associated with known heretics, or had been present as heretical events such as heretical preaching, Cathar baptisms ("heretication"), Cathar ritual greetings ("adoration"), or Waldensian ordinations.
  • Discovering details that might help identify other heretics, for example the Inquisitors are interested in what Baptized Cathars wore (usually black, dark blue or dark green clothes and cloaks with hoods) and where they meet.

Those accused were sometimes kept temporarily in a tower belonging to the Bishop under the control of the Bishop's jailer. Some, especially those facing more serious accusations were kept in another prison at the Chateau des Allemans, where hearings also took place. Sentences were read out at separate public events, generally in a cemetery - either the cemetery of the Church of Saint-Jean-Martyr in Pamiers or the cemetery of the Church at Allemans. For a first offense fully admitted the accused might be imprisoned at the Wall in Carcassonne, or given a penance such as having to go on pilgrimage. They would also have to wear conspicuous yellow crosses sewn into the front and back of their clothes. For second offenses or first offenses where the accused refused to acknowledge their supposed errors the penalty was death. Baptized Cathars and Waldensians both refused to swear oaths and this was itself sufficient to warrant death. Such "impenitent heretics" were burned alive immediately in the graveyard immediately after the sentence had been announced. There was no appeal.

 

Interrogation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31 October 1320,

Bernard Franque of Goulier

 

?????

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

Bernard Faissier, official of Pamiers,

Brothers Arnaud du Carla, O.P. of the convent of Pamiers,

Bernard de Centelles, monks of Fontfroide

David, monks of Fontfroide

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

 

Against Bernard Franque of Goulier, in the parish of Sos, a leader of heresy

 

The year of the Lord 1320, the 31st of October. Since it has come to the attention of the Reverend Father in Christ, My Lord Jacques, by the Grace of God Bishop of Pamiers, that Bernard Franque of Goulier, in the parish of Vicdessos, has said and taught openly and in public, as a Manichaean heretic, that there are two gods, one good and the other evil, and he has held and taught many other proposition of the said Manichaean sect, wishing to inform himself concerning these facts, my said Lord Bishop, assisted by Brother Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, has received the witnesses above named, who, having taken an oath to tell the pure and entire truth concerning these facts, deposed as is contained in their depositions below.

 

 

Guillaume Séguéla of Goulie, witness

 

Guillaume Séguéla of Goulier, parish of Sos, a sworn witness interrogated concerning these facts, said:

 

About four years ago, I my self, Bernard Franque, and many other whose names I do not recall, were in the main square of the said village in front of the house of Vital Baby. We were talking of God, but I do not recall what specific attribute of God we were discussing. Bernard then said, with myself and all the others listening, that there were in fact two gods, the one benevolent and the other malign. When we heard this, we reproached him, myself as much as the others, and said that there could only be one God. Bernard said on the contrary that there were two, as he had just said.

 

Guillaume Bertrand and Raimond Subra, Esperte of Cap de ville, Bernard Marie, Guillemette, the wife of this Bernard and Raimond of Miègeville, as I recall, said that they had heard this Bernard say elsewhere that there were two gods, to wit a good and a bad. And one time when he said this in a field where Bernard Marie and his wife were cutting the millet of Guillemette del Pech, this latter had strongly disagreed with him. Bernard Augé, of the said place, was accustomed to serve the curé who celebrated mass there, just until he was excommunicated. After the excommunication, this Bernard often assisted the curé. When Arnaud and Bernard were discussing the Gospels and the Epistles among themselves, because they are both clerics, Bernard said that Scripture had another meaning than what Arnaud was claiming, and he did not wish to say what this meaning was.

 

Interrogated as to whether he had made this deposition out of hatred, love, fear, prayer, prompted by a salary or otherwise suborned, he said no, but because it was the truth and did not say anything else pertinent.

 

Guillaume Bertrand of Goulier, witness

 

Guillaume Bertrand of Goulier, parish of Sos, a sworn witness interrogated on the facts denounced against the said Bernard Franque, and other heretical propositions held by the same, said:

 

About eight or nine years ago, I think, but I do not recall the exact time, one Sunday during the summer, I believe, or on a feast day, I myself and several others whose names I do not recall, were in the main square of Goulier, and with us was Bernard Franque. We began to talk about the way that some men serve God and others serve the devil. Bernard Franque said that indeed there were two gods, one good and the other bad. When I heard Bernard say this, I said that he was speaking ill, because there was only one God. He replied that on the contrary there were two, but that it would be an error to say that the evil god had the power to do good. And, he said, the good all believe in the good god and the wicked all believe in the evil god, and not the good.

 

This Bernard then said that the good god governed and ruled over the entire world.

Interrogated as to whether he had made this deposition out of hatred, love, fear, prayer, prompted by a salary or otherwise suborned, he said no, but because it was the truth and did not say anything else pertinent.

 

Raimond Miègeville of Goulier, witness

 

Raimond Miègeville of Goulier, parish of Sos, a sworn witness interrogated on the facts denounced against the said Bernard Franque, and other heretical propositions held by the same, said:

About four years ago, one Sunday, I do not recall the exact time, but mass had just been said in the church of Saint-Michel de Goulier and several of us were still in the church, at the interior of the chancel, near the altar -- there were present myself, and, I believe, Arnaud Augé, Guillaume Séguéla, Raimond Subra, Benard Marie and the said Benard Franque, all of Goulier. Bernard Franque and Arnaud Augé, who were clerics, were talking in Latin and I myself and the other laypeople could not understand what they were saying. When those two had spoken in Latin, Bernard Franque said in the vulgar tongue that there were two gods, one good and the other evil. The people present reproached him, saying that there could not be an evil god, because he could have no power. Bernard Franque replied that on the contrary he did have power in regards to those who believed in him and had faith in him, and that he could work through them.
Before having heard this from him in the church, I had already heard him say, at the door of his house, that there were two gods, one good and one evil.

 

One other time, I was in the church and it seemed to me that Arnaud Augé, Bernard Marie and this Bernard Franque were also there. We were talking of wills made during times of sickness. Bernard said that the legacies made in these wills and the alms that one makes when one is sick are not valid because they are not made out of love, but out of fear and that only legacies and alms made by people in good health have any validity.

 

Interrogated as to whether he had made this deposition out of hatred, love, fear, prayer, prompted by a salary or otherwise suborned, he said no, but because it was the truth and did not say anything else pertinent.

 

Raimond Subra of Goulier, witness

 

Raimond Subra of Goulier, parish of Sos, a sworn witness interrogated on the facts denounced against the said Bernard Franque, and other heretical propositions held by the same, said:

 

I do not recall the exact time, but it seems to me that it was two or three years ago, on a feast day, late in the day, I was with Bernard in the main square of the town and there were also three other people there whose names I do not recall. We were at the entryway to a house that belonged to Bernard and his brother, who was at Pierre Benet's. Bernard was seated and I was standing, leaning by his side. Before I arrived, Bernard was talking with the other people present. Wishing to hear what they were saying, I leaned against the wall there and I heard Bernard say that there are two gods, one good and the other evil. I said that if there were an evil god, he could not help men to have anything good. Bernard replied that you had the choice of which god you would like to believe in, and on whose side you wished to stand, the good or the evil, then whichever god you believed in and one whose side you had chosen to stand would be the gold to help you.

 

I do not recall having heard Bernard say this any other time, but I heard many other people say that he said these things and many similar things. I do not recall their names.

 

Interrogated as to whether he had made this deposition out of hatred, love, fear, prayer, prompted by a salary or otherwise suborned, he said no, but because it was the truth and did not say anything else pertinent.

 

Bernard Marie of Goulier, witness

 

Bernard Marie of Goulier, a sworn witness interrogated concerning that which precedes, said:

 

About eight years ago, I think, I was in my field of millet, which we were raking and hoeing, and Bernard Franque was also in his field, which abuts mine. These fields are in the territory called Sobre en Maria. We were talking together, myself and this Bernard; and my wife Guillemette, and the late Guillemette del Pech were there with us. It seems to me that we were talking of the many people from Sabarthès who had been cited for heresy at Carcassonne. In the company of others and in their hearing, Bernard said that there were two gods, one god and the other evil and it was up to each man to ally himself with one or the other. Hearing this, I myself and all the others present reprimanded him strongly, telling him that he was speaking badly. He nonetheless did not retract these propositions.

 

Another time, I was in the church of Saint-Michel de Goulier, and there with me were Arnaud Augé, Raimond de Miègeville, Guillaume and this Bernard Franque. This last one said that the alms given by sick people were not valid and would not do any good, because these alms were made by sick people in fear of their sickness. I told him that if a man did not do the things he does or avoid the things he avoids out of fear of God, he would be like a beast.

 

Interrogated as to whether he had made this deposition out of hatred, love, fear, prayer, prompted by a salary or otherwise suborned, he said no, but because it was the truth and did not say anything else pertinent.

 

Arnaud Augé of Goulier, witness

 

Arnaud Augé of Goulier, a sworn witness interrogated concerning that which precedes, said:

 

About two years ago, I think, I was at church and there with me were this Bernard, Guillaume Séguéla and Bernard Marie. I heard Bernard say that the alms made by men during the illness of which they would die would not do any good at all. When I myself and Guillaume Subra, the curé of that place, would talk sometimes about the Gospels and the Epistles to Bernard, he would always say that he understood them differently.

 

Interrogated as to whether he had made this deposition out of hatred, love, fear, prayer, prompted by a salary or otherwise suborned, he said no, but because it was the truth and did not say anything else pertinent.

 

Pierre Barba of Goulier, witness

 

Pierre Barba of Goulier, a sworn witness interrogated concerning that which precedes, said:

 

About eight or nine years ago, I think, I was on the main square near the house of Bernard Franque and I do not recall the reason for which Bernard said the following: that there were two gods, one good and the other evil, and that you could serve whichever one you wanted to, the good or the evil. And the god that you served would be the god that would come to your aid.

 

Who was present?

Guillaume Bertrand, and others whose names I do not recall.

It seems to me that one other time I was in the street in front of the house of Bernard, in the territory called Al Terrier de la Esshida den Vidal. This Bernard was there and I heard him say that people had made two gods. I asked him what he meant but he did not wish to say anything more.

 

Who was present?

Many people, but I do not recall their names.

 

Interrogated as to whether he had made this deposition out of hatred, love, fear, prayer, prompted by a salary or otherwise suborned, he said no, but because it was the truth and did not say anything else pertinent.

 

Arnaud Maury of Goulier, witness

 

Arnaud Maury of Goulier, a sworn witness interrogated concerning that which precedes, said:

 

About ten years ago, I heard Bernard Franque say that there were two gods, one good and the other evil, and that you could ally yourself with whichever one you chose. I heard him say this one time at the door of the house that belonged to Pierre Benet, which this Bernard and his brother had sold.

 

Who was present?

Pierre Barbe and Guillaume Bertrand, of Goulier.

 

I heard him say these same words one other time near another house of this Bernard and his brother, which they own in the upper part of the city at the said place Al Terrier den Vidal.

 

Interrogated as to whether he had made this deposition out of hatred, love, fear, prayer, prompted by a salary or otherwise suborned, he said no, but because it was the truth and did not say anything else pertinent

 

 

 

 

7 November 1320,

Confession of Bernard Franque of Goulier

 

?????

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

 

 

 

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

 

Confession of Bernard Franque

 

The year of the Lord 1320, the 7th of November. Since it has come to the attention of the Reverend Father in Christ My Lord Jacques, by the Grace of God Bishop of Pamiers, that Bernard Franque of Goulier, parish of Vicdessos, has, like a Manichaean heretic, said and taught openly that there are two gods, one good and the other evil, and that the good god had only created the spirits and the evil god all the visible and sensible bodies; that he has said that the world is neither ruled nor governed by the good god, but that all is arranged by chance and destiny and everything happens by necessity, positing the principle that all human actions are subjected to necessity and suppressing totally free will; that he has said, believed and taught many other propositions of the said Manichaean sect, and that he has remained for a long time in this error, my said Lord Bishop, wishing to inquire concerning these facts, had the said Bernard brought to the bishop's palace at Pamiers, to hold an inquiry with him concerning these facts, with the assistance of Brother Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne.

 

The accused, having been brought before my said Lord Bishop in the Episcopal Chamber of Pamiers, was interrogated by him simply and without taking an oath:

 

Have you ever believed, said or taught that there are two gods, one good and the other malign?

No.

 

Have you ever believed, said, or taught that the good god created only the spirits and the bad god created all the bodies that can be seen and sensed?

No.

 

Have you ever believed, said or taught this this world here is not ruled or governed by the good god?

No.

 

Have you ever believed, said or taught that this world here is ruled, or more exactly, moved by chance and destiny and not by divine Providence?

No.

 

Have you ever believed, said or taught that everything that happens in the world happens by the necessity of nature, thus suppressing free will?

No.

 

After this, on the same day and year, my said Lord Bishop received from this Bernard an oath taken physically to tell the pure, entire truth concerning the above-said heretical articles and others touching on the Catholic faith, as much concerning himself as charged as concerning others living and dead as witness. This oath taken, he interrogated him on the above-said articles and others, ordering him to tell the truth on this subject, by faith of the oath he took.

 

The same Bernard, by faith of the oath taken, denied as he had before ever having believed, said, or taught that there are two gods, one good and the other evil.

Item, on the second article, he said that he never believed or taught that all corporeal things, visible and sensible, are not the work of the good god. He said also that he did not recall saying this.

 

Item, on the third article, he said he never believed or taught, nor even said, that this world, corporeal and sensible, was not ruled or governed by God.

 

Item, on the fourth article, he said he never believed, taught or said that the world was ruled by chance and destiny, but he had always believed that the world was ruled by divine Providence.

 

On the fifth article, he said he had always believed, right up to the present hour, wherein he was instructed to the contrary by My Lord the Bishop, that everything that happens in the world and also all human actions are obliged beforehand, to be what they are; that nothing can change the course of that which, from the beginning, must occur; and he believed that all human actions, and everything that occurs in the world, must happen by an immutable fate, so that the contrary may not take place at all. This he believed because he thought that God knew in advance everything that happens in the world, that what He knew in advance, He willed to happen; and since the prescience and the will of God, as he believed, cannot change in any way, he believed for this reason that nothing that happened in the world could ever be changed such that it could not happen as it did.

 

And from this belief, to wit that everything takes place out of necessity, he was obliged to believe, he said, that he had not committed any sin, no matter what, because he believed that this sin, whether he wished it or not, he had committed by necessity. And for this reason, he did not have a bad conscience for any sin that he committed or had committed. It followed from this belief, he said, that he did not believe he would earn merit for any good deed, because he believed that it was out of necessity and whether he willed it or not, that he had done this good deed because God had foreseen that he would do it.

 

But now, instructed to the contrary by My Lord the Bishop, he believed that everything that occurs in the sensible world does not occur out of necessity, but rather could possibly not happen and also that it is in the power of man to do good or ill, that he can do this or that, with the result that he sins when he does ill and gains merit when he does well.

 

Have you had a teacher who taught you these errors?

No, it is just that one says these things commonly in the Sabarthès, when something bad or good happens to someone, that this had been promised to him or it could not have happened otherwise.

 

It is the turn of phrase and the preceding reasoning that made me believe this.

 

Do you know anyone else who believes these errors?

No.

 

Have you ever taught this to anyone?

Not in any formal way, unless I have sometimes said, when something happens to someone, that it could not have happened otherwise, as we say very often in this region.

 

When I was arrested, I said: "What will be will be" and later "It will come to pass as God wills it."

 

At the time when you believed these errors, did you believe that there was a hell where one sends sinners, because it results from what you said that no one sins?

I have always believed that there is a hell in which sinners are punished and a paradise in which the good are rewarded, because I have never pushed my belief to the point of denying hell and paradise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 November 1320,

Bernard Franque of Goulier

 

?????

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

 

 

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

 

(November 10th, at the bishop's palace, before the bishop and Brother Gaillard.)

 

From as long ago as I can remember, which must be about 40 years, since I am in my sixties, I have believed in the principle of there being two gods, one good and the other evil. The evil god was not made by the good god, nor by anyone else, but he is and was by himself; he was not made by another, because he was not made by the good god, nor made by himself nor by anyone else. Later the good god made the earth and all the creatures in it, and the evil god, insofar as he was able, destroyed all the works of the good god, because he was his enemy and the enemy of all creatures pertaining to him. And this lasted just until the incarnation of Christ.

 

Then, Christ incarnate revolted against the evil god and took him and chained him and plunged him, a prisoner, into hell, and now he is in the shadows of hell. Now since the evil god has lost his power, he can no longer destroy the works of the good god, nor do anything else, although he still has the evil will to destroy whatever he can. This evil god no longer has the power to destroy the works of the good god, and this I have believed because of what the Psalm says (49:1): "The Lord, God of gods, has spoken." By "God" I understood the good god and by "gods" the evil god.

 

I was also led to believe this by an example, or a story, which follows:

 

There is a bird called the pelican, who is as luminous as the sun and who accompanies the sun. This bird had small birds. And when he left his young in their nest to accompany the sun elsewhere, a beast came who mutilated his young and cut off their beaks. And when the pelican returned to its young, finding that they had been mutilated and lost their beaks, he cured them. This took place so frequently, that the pelican decided to hide its brilliance and did this in order to hide near its young. When the beast came, he grabbed it and killed it, so that it could no longer mutilate its young and remove their beaks. And this was done. And this is how the young pelicans were delivered from the mutilation visited upon them by this beast, who was seized by the pelican.

 

And in the same way, the good god has made his creatures and the evil god destroyed them just until Christ took off or hid his divinity when he took flesh from the Virgin Mary. And then he took the evil god and put him into the shadows of hell and since then the evil god has not been able to destroy the creatures of the good god. It is because of this belief that I have said from time to time that there are two gods, to wit a good and a bad.

 

I believe and I have believed for all of the above-mentioned time that just as the good god has made all the good creatures, like angels, good human souls, bodies, the sky, the earth, the waters, the fire and the air and the animals useful to men, either to eat, or to carry, work or clothe us, and also the fish useful to eat, so has the evil god made all the demons and the dangerous animals, such as wolves, serpents, toads, flies and all pestilential and venomous animals.

 

The good creatures serve the good god and God helps them; but the evil creatures serve the evil god and he aids them insofar as he is able. And thus, the good god does not help the evil creatures that the devil has made and the evil god does not aid the good creatures, which the good god has made. But each one of them has his creatures, the good god the good creatures and the evil god the evil, and each of them aids his own and not those of the other god. But it is in the power of man to ally himself on the side of the good god or the evil god. If he allies himself with the side of evil, that god will aid him; if he allies himself on the side of the good god, that one will aid him, although the evil god cannot give as much aid as the good one.

 

 

 

 

31 November 1320,

Bernard Franque of Goulier

 

?????

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

Brother Pierre du Prat, Dominican

Bernard de Centelles, monk of Fontfroide

David, monk of Fontfroide

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

 

(November 21st, in the chamber of the bishop's palace, before the bishop and Brother Gaillard.)

 

Have I detained you in a cell? Closed you in any room? Has anyone inflicted tortures on you or menaced you?

No, I was able to move freely throughout the bishop's residence.

 

He was then read word for word in the vulgar tongue and the avowals he made above were explained to him, as they are contained here, and My Lord the Bishop asked him if he had made these avowals, as they are contained herein, before him and the said Brother Gaillard. He said yes.

 

And since he did not wish to respond, if it was true that he had believed in these heretical articles or not, as he had avowed, he took an oath to tell the truth on this article here. The oath taken, the bishop asked him if in truth he had believed these heretical articles during this period, as he had avowed above. He replied that he had believed these articles during this period, as he had avowed.

 

Witnesses: Brother Pierre du Prat, of the order of Preachers, Brothers Bernard de Centelles and David, monks of Fontfroide and myself Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary of my said Lord Bishop, who has written and received all that precedes.

 

 

 

 

22 November 1320,

Bernard Franque of Goulier

 

?????

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

Brother Pierre du Prat, Dominican

Bernard de Centelles, monk of Fontfroide

David, monk of Fontfroide

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

 

(November 22nd, in the chamber of the bishop's palace, before the bishop and Brother Gaillard.)

 

Since he seems to wish to retract his avowals above, my said Lord Bishop physically administered the oath to tell the pure and entire truth about what he was going to say. He said and confessed:

 

I have always believed, I still believe, and I have never believed the contrary, that God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the one true god, creator of all things, and that there is nothing, that there was nothing and there will be nothing that he has not created. I also believe in the same way that the Son of God took human nature from the Virgin Mary, and when he took it he was true God and true man; that he was born of the Virgin Mary on Christmas Day, that he was circumcised the eighth day and baptized by John on Epiphany, presented to the Temple on the day of the Purification of Holy Mary, arrested by the Jews and crucified, and died for our salvation; that he descended into hell and released all his friends but left the others; that he rose again the third day, that is to say, the day of Easter, ascending to heaven on Ascension Day, and sending to his apostles the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, which allowed them to speak all types of languages; that he will come to judge the good and the evil at the end of the world.

 

I also believe the Roman Church, that nothing can have power except God or from God, and that there is only one God. I have never believed the contrary, nor said the contrary, except for one time, at the church of Saint-Michel de Goulier. I said to several people who were interrupting the divine office that there are some people who want to make two gods.

 

I have always remained in this faith and I retract expressly the totality and detail that I have avowed in my preceding confessions, which are contrary to this. I have never believed this, even though I swore before My Lord the Bishop and the other witnesses cited above to have believed this for as long as I can remember, which would be about 40 years. I swore that I believed this out of stupidity, whereas in reality I believed the contrary of what is contained in these avowals.

 

These avowals in which so many errors are found, did you make them out of feature of torture, or imprisonment, or did anyone suborn or indoctrinate you?

No.

Has anyone counseled you to retract them?

No. I did it myself for the salvation of my soul.

 

And since, manifestly, after the witness made judicially by his own avowals, it was evident to My Lord the Bishop and Brother Gaillard that this Bernard had meretriciously and against his own oath retracted his avowals, and that he was a manifest and impenitent heretic, they gave the order that he be guarded at the château des Allemans in strict confinement and the ordered him to be taken there and not to leave without the will of the said Lord Bishop and the said Brother Gaillard.

 

Witnesses Brother Pierre du Prat O.P., Brother Bernard de Centelles, monk of Fontfroide and myself Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, above-mentioned notary.

 

 

 

 

13 December 1320,

Bernard Franque of Goulier

 

?????

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

Guillaume Hugou, Prior of Frontignan,

Brothers David, monk of Fontfroide,

Arnaud du Carla,

Bernard Pontonnier,

Arnaud de Rieux, Dominican, of the convent of Pamiers

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

 

 

(December 13th, in the chamber, before the bishop and Brother Gaillard.)

 

His judicially made confessions were read to him twice and they were explained in the vulgar tongue before the witnesses and myself, notary, above. He took another oath to tell the truth. My Lord the Bishop asked him:

 

Did you believe in your heart, during the time indicated in your confessions, the heretical articles that appear in your preceding depositions, up until the last one where you retract them?

Yes, but I now repent of having believed them.

 

Was it falsely and against your own oath that you retracted these errors in your last deposition, when you said that you did not believe these errors and that you had not believed them?

Yes, in truth I believed them as was contained in my confessions. I retracted these avowals, because I was afraid, if I maintained them, that I would be condemned by My Lord the Bishop.

 

Are you returning to the first depositions that you made because you were incited, suborned, or threatened with torture, out of fear of death or chastisement?

No, but for the salvation of my soul, wishing to repent of that which precedes and return to the faith of the Roman Church.

 

You have believed that the evil god helps the wicked men who serve him, in the same way as the good god aids good men, even though the evil god cannot aid as well as the good god. What do you believe now, and in what way do you think the evil god can help bad men?

He helps them to do ill, and also he gives them possessions, money, temporal honors just as the good god aids men to do good and gives them possessions, riches and honors. I believe that the wicked are bound to serve the evil god, because he has given them these goods, just as the good are bound to serve the good god for the good that he gives to them.

 

Do you then believe that the products of the earth, the abundance of animals and the sons that wicked men own come from the power and aid of the evil god?

My belief does not go quite so far; I believe on the contrary that the good god has made all the products of the earth and the abundance of animals useful to men, either to eat, or the carry burdens or to clothe us. But I believe that the evil god gives money, land and honors to the wicked who serve him.

 

Do you believe that hail, lightning and storms are made by the evil god or by the good god?

I believe that all those things are made by the devil, or the evil god, although with the will and permission of the good god, without which permission the evil god or devil would not be able to do anything and would do nothing.

 

Who made you believe that wicked men are bound to serve the devil or the evil god, because of what they receive from him?

My reflections did not go so far, but I have always believed that one is bound to serve God in return for the goods which the good god gives.

 

What do you believe concerning human souls? By which god or god were they created'

I believe that the good god made the souls of good men and the evil god the souls of evil men.

 

Do you believe then that the souls of the wicked can do good or repent of the evils they have done, if indeed, according to you, they were made by the devil? And the souls of the good, which are made by the good god, can they ever do evil, to the point where they might perish for their sins?

I believe that since the souls of the wicked were made by the evil god, they cannot do good nor repent of the evil they have done, nor can they ever be saved. I believe also that since the souls of the good were made by the good god, they cannot do evil, nor be damned. And because of this I believe that paradise is the place where the good human souls and the good angels are sent with the good god and hell is the place where the devil is sent, or the evil god, all the demons and the human souls of wicked men, believing that that it was not for their justice or their virtue that the good angels and the souls of the good should enter into paradise, but because they were all made by the good god; and that the souls of the wicked and the demons would not go to hell with the evil god because they were sinners, or because they had committed sins, but because they were created by the evil god.

 

Do you believe that animals have rational souls?

No.

 

Do you believe that human souls subsist in their nature after the death of the body?

Yes, because I have always believed that the human soul is immortal.

 

Do you believe then that Christ came and was incarnated to save human souls?

Yes, because since the sin of Adam all human souls are sinners. The souls created by the good god are liberated from this sin by Christ, even though they could never perish, since they were made by the good god; but the souls of the wicked are not liberated from sin by Christ, even though he could have done it, and they cannot escape perishing because it is necessary that what the devil has created belongs to him just as what the good god has made is of God.

 

Do you believe that baptism is beneficial for the salvation of the baptized?

I have believed that the souls of all baptized men will be saved, so that none of them will perish nor be damned, because God has made all of them. But since I do not know if the souls of Jews and pagans were made by the good god or the evil, I do not know if the spirits of those will be saved or damned. And I have never otherwise reflected on this.

But the heretics, because they have abandoned the faith in God, when they are made heretics, the baptism they have received will not help to save their souls, and this is why I believed they will not be saved.

 

Do you believe that through penance the soul of the baptized can be liberated from all sin?

Yes, but pagans, Jews and heretics, insofar as they remain in a faith contrary to the faith in God, cannot be liberated from sin by penance.

 

Do you believe that the true body of Christ is present in the sacrament of the altar?

Ordinary bread is placed on the altar, but after the priest says the words that the Lord said at the Last Supper, the bread is changed into the body of Christ and in the same way the wine is changed into the blood of Christ, so that after the consecration the true body and blood of Christ are present on the altar.

 

Do you believe that the sacraments of penance and the altar are the exclusive prerogative of priests?

Yes, and no one else can perform or administer these sacraments.

 

Do you believe that God has instituted the sacrament of marriage?

Yes.

 

Do you believe that the human soul will return to the same body that it had during this present life at the common resurrection and that after this the human body will not die nor be corrupted again?

Yes, and it is in both body and spirit that the elect and the damned will be perpetually rewarded or punished in heaven or hell.

 

Do you believe that masses, alms, prayers, fasts and pious legacies made for pious reasons by the faithful departed are useful to the souls that are in purgatory and will help them be liberated more rapidly from the pains of purgatory?

Yes.

 

Do you believe that the human bodies that are damned were made by the good god?

Since the good god made Adam, from whom proceed all human bodies through generation, I believe that the good god has made all the bodies of men, both good and wicked.

 

Do you believe that all souls ever created were made all at once at the beginning or successively according to the generations of men?

I do not know what I believe concerning this. I would like to be instructed concerning this.

 

Do you believe that the soul is a spiritual entity?

It is not corporeal, but it is a spirit, a spiritual entity.

 

Which god, the good or the bad, created hell?

I believe it was the evil god who was the creator of hell, just as the good god was of paradise.

 

Do you believe that God has never pitied demons or the souls of the impious?

No.

 

Do you believe that the good angels and the souls of good men who are in paradise can never be damned, or that the demons the the souls of the impious who are in hell can never be saved?

I have always believed that the good angels and the good souls will never be damned, and that the demons and the human souls who are in hell will never be saved. And I have always believed that demons and impious human souls will be tortured in the perpetual fire of hell.

 

Do you think that there is remission for sins only in the Catholic church of Christ, and that there can be no remission of sins outside the church?

Yes.

 

Do you believe that it was the devil (or the evil god) who created the bodies of the wicked?

Yes, and for this reason these bodies do evil and sin, because they are the work of the devil. And this I believe because the evil god has created the souls and also the bodies of the wicked; the good god has only created good ones.

 

Have you been instructed in these errors by anyone?

No, unless it was a man who said he came from the region of Pallars, whose name I do not know, about 14 years ago, who was in my house at Goulier and who told me the above story of the pelican.

 

Who was present, when this man told you this?

Garsende, my late sister-in-law.

 

Did you adore this man or give him anything?

I did not adore him and I only gave him something to eat.

 

Do you think that this man was a heretic?

No.

 

Have you told or taught these errors to any other men or women?

One time I was in the millet field, I think it was in the region called Al Pla de Mespela, in the territory of Goulier. Bernard Séguéla, alias Bernard Marie, was there, as well as Raimond Subra, Raimond Miègeville, Guillemette den Vidal den Pech and myself and also Vital de Goulier. I said in front of all these people that there were two gods, one good and the other bad and they replied that I had spoken badly.

 

When did this occur?

I no longer recall.

Another time I was in the street in front of my house, which adjoins Pierre Benet's. I think Pierre Vital, Raimond Miègeville, Guillemette, the wife of Pierre Amiel and Vital Baby of Goulier were there. And I said again that there were two gods, one good and the other bad.

I believe I also said this in other places, although I do not recall where, nor the people to whom I said this. If I remember, I will confess it willingly.

 

After this, my said Lord Bishop, having extracted the articles contained in the confessions voluntarily made by the said Bernard, having read them to him in the vulgar tongue, and the said Bernard acknowledged having confessed judicially and equally to have believed each of these articles during the time indicated, and asking and pleading to be informed and instructed by my said Lord Bishop as to what he ought to believe in the future about these articles, declared himself ready to believe now and in the future the faith upheld and preached by the Roman Church, and repented greatly of having ever believed these articles.

 

The tenor of these heretical articles is the following:

 

I) In the beginning there were two gods, one good and the other evil.

 

II) The evil god was not made by the good god, nor by anyone else, but he existed by himself, neither created or engendered by anyone.

 

III) The good god created all the good creatures, such as good angels, good human souls, and good bodies, that is to say, the sky, the earth, the waters and the animals useful to good men, either to eat or to carry burdens, to clothe oneself or to work. And the evil god made all the demons and the human souls of all the wicked men, and also their bodies, serpents, toads, wolves, flies and generally all harmful and venomous animals.

 

IV) The good god and the evil god are opposed and the evil god, before the arrival of Christ, destroyed the good creatures of God, when the good god was far away from them, and after this the good god tended to them. But Christ, in coming and in taking our humanity, hid his brilliance and hid himself among the good creatures when the evil god came to destroy them, as was his wont, and he caught him with a ruse and after catching him chained him and placed him then in chains, in hell amongst the shadows. And after this the evil god could not destroy the good creatures of the good god, although he still had his evil intentions. Item, the good creatures serve the good god and the evil creatures the evil god, and each of these two gods aids his own creatures and not those of the other god.

 

V) It is in the power of man to ally himself with the side of the good god or that of the evil god, and the god with whom he allies himself will aid him as he is able. But the evil god cannot aid a man as much as the good god.

 

VI) The good god aids good men to do well and gives them riches, possessions and honors; and the evil god aids the wicked to do ill and gives them riches, possessions and honors.

 

VII) Good men are bound to serve God because of the goods that are given to them by him, and the wicked serve the evil god because of what is given to them by the evil god. But the products of the earth and the increase of animals which the wicked posses are not the works of the evil god, but of the good god, even though money, possession and the honors that the wicked possess are given by the evil god.

 

VIII) Hail, lightning, and storms were made by the evil god, but with the will and permission of the good god.

 

IX) Since evil human souls were created by the evil god, they cannot do good, nor even be saved; and since the souls of the good were made by the good god, even though they can sometime sin, they can never be damned

 

X) Paradise and hell are not places destined for angels or men by reason of their works, good or evil, but only by virtue of their creation, since good angels and good men will enter into paradise because they were created by the good god, and demons and the wicked go to hell because they were created by the evil god. It follows therefore that each creature will be sent with its god, the good with the good, the evil with the evil.

 

XI) Everything that happens in the world happens by necessity, and things can not turn out otherwise than they do, by reason of the infallibility and immutability of the divine prescience, prescience that necessarily follows the divine will.

 

XII) A man cannot do otherwise than what he does; and what he does he does whether or not he wills it.

 

XIII) A man does not sin, no matter what he does; he himself, Bernard, has no bad conscience, no matter what sin he has committed because when he committed the sin he committed, he would have done it whether or not he willed it. No man earns merit by doing good, because he does it of necessity.

 

XIV) Christ came to liberate good souls from the sin of Adam. But if they had not been liberated by him, they would still not have perished, because they were made by the good god. But since the souls of the wicked were not liberated by Christ from sin, even though he could have done it, their souls cannot help but perish, because it is necessary that the devil owns the souls he has created.

 

XV) The souls of all the baptized who guard the faith and do not fall into heresy will be saved, and none of them will perish, because, he believed, all these souls were made by the good god. But since he does not know if the souls of Jews or pagans were made by the good god or the evil god, he does not know if their souls will be saved or damned.

 

XVI) Hell was made by the evil god and paradise by the good.

 

XVII) All the wicked were made by the evil god, both body and soul, and the good by the good god (Although he has said elsewhere that God made Adam, from whom all men descend, and that he believes that all human bodies were made by the good god.)

 

XVIII) The confession above was made the same year and day as above, in the presence of My Lord Guillaume Hugou, Prior of Frontignan, and the religious persons Brothers David, monk of Fontfroide, Arnaud du Carla, Bernard Pontonnier, Arnaud de Rieux, O.P. of the convent of Pamiers and of myself Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary above-mentioned.

 

 

 

 

21 December 1320,

Bernard Franque of Goulier

 

?????

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

Bernard Faissier, official of Pamiers,

Brothers Arnaud du Carla, O.P. of the convent of Pamiers,

Bernard de Centelles, monks of Fontfroide

David, monks of Fontfroide

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

 

After this, the 21st of December, the said Bernard appearing judicially before my said Lord Bishop and Brother Gaillard de Pomiès, in the Episcopal Chamber, said that he recalled that Guillaume Séguéla de Goulier had told him one time in the church of Goulier that the heretics say and preach that there are two gods, one good and the other evil, and that he had said nothing in reply to this.

The man from the region of Pallars who told me the story of the pelican was called Guillaume Faure. He came from the village of Olas. This man told me that he had seen the devil in the form of a tree. It did not please me to talk with him.

 

After this, the said Bernard was instructed by my said Lord Bishop to the contrary of each of these heretical articles that he had avowed above, one by one and in detail. When this was done, he confessed that he believed in one God, origin and creator of all things, by whom the devil and the souls of the wicked were made and engendered according to their nature, and that they were sinful and wicked by their own will, but that their nature is good and it is the sinfulness of their voluntary action which receives the name of sin and error.

 

All non-rational creatures, whether they are harmful or beneficial to humans were made by God, because their nature is good in itself and also good for men, when he uses them in the proper manner. Nothing is contrary to God by nature, although demons and the wicked do things that are not pleasing to God, in living against his precepts.

 

They could not do evil in any way, unless God permitted it. It was not necessary for Christ to hide his divinity in order to catch the devil by surprise, and the allegory of the pelican is not relevant here, because it is false in itself and inappropriate.

 

All creatures, as creatures, serve the good god and are aided and sustained by him, even though people say that the wicked, in doing ill, serve the devil.

 

The devil cannot aid men, except to accomplish evil deeds, nor give him possession, money or honors.

 

These things are given to the good and the wicked by the good god, dispenser of all goods.

 

Men cannot serve the devil in anything, but only God, who gives all goods.

 

Hail, lightning and storms and all such things come from the good god.

 

All human souls, when they are in a mortal body, can do both good and evil; they sin by themselves and do good with the aid of God and there is not a human soul that God has not created.

 

Paradise is the place of good souls and angels, not because they were made by the good god, but because they are just, and hell is the dwelling place of demons and wicked souls, not because the devil has made them, but because they are sinners. Many things happen in the world in a contingent fashion and not by necessity, and human actions are contingent. It is in the power of man to do one thing and not another, meaning that men sin when they do evil, because they had the ability not to do this evil, and they earn merit when they do well, because they had the ability not to do this good. This is why one should have a conscience about what one does.

 

Christ came to liberate all souls from sin because all souls would have perished had they not been liberated. Many souls were liberated by Christ from sin and later they fell into sin and were damned, not because they were created by an evil god, but because of their sins. And many of those who were damned could have been saved, if they had willed it, with the help of God; many of those who were saved could have perished, if they had willed to live against the precepts of God, and this was a possibility because of their free will. Not all the souls of the baptized will be saved, but many will perish, although at the present time no one, since the promulgation of the Gospel, can be saved without being baptized or having had the intention.

 

The baptized are not saved because they were created by the good god, but because they have received the sacrament of the baptism of Christ which is given for the remission of all sins.

 

Hell is a place of punishment made by the good god to punish demons and the impious. The bodies and the souls of men, good or evil, were created by the good and true god.

 

This faith he declared now to be his own and that he wished to live and die in it, that he would never again in the future believe the errors contained in the said articles, nor speak of them or teach them; that if he knew any man or woman who believed, spoke or taught these errors, he would denounce that person at once to my said Lord Bishop or to the Inquisitors, saying that he repented greatly of having believed these errors, to have held them and taught them; that he was ready to do all penance and said:

 

I, Bernard Franque, appearing judicially before you, Reverend Father in Christ, Jacques, by the Grace of God Bishop of Pamiers, abjure entirely all heresy that rises against the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Roman Church, and all beliefs of heretics, of any sect condemned by the Roman Church, and especially of the sect which I followed, and all complicity, welcome, defense and frequenting of these heretics, under pain of punishment which is due in case of a relapse into the heresy here renounced judicially;

 

Item,I swear and promise to pursue according to my power the heretics of any sect condemned by the Roman Church and especially the sect that I followed, and the believers, followers, welcomers and defenders of these heretics, and those that I know or believe to be in flight for reason of heresy, and to have arrested and sent, according to my power, any heretic at all among them to my said Lord Bishop or to the Inquisitors of the heretical deviation at all times and in any place that I learn of the existence of the above said or one amongst them;

 

Item, I swear and promise to hold, guard and defend the Catholic faith which the Holy Roman Church preaches and observes;

 

Item, I swear and promise to obey and defer to the order of the Church, to My Lord the Bishop and the Inquisitors and to appear on the day and days assigned before them or their replacements, at all times and in whatever place that I receive the order or requisition on their part, by messenger or by letter or in some other way, to never flee not absent myself knowingly in a spirit of contumaciousness and to receive and accomplish according to my power the punishment and the penance that they may judge good to impose upon me. And to this effect I engage my person and all my goods.

 

Witnesses Brother David, monk of Fontfroide, Brother Arnaud du Carla, and myself Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, above-mentioned notary.

 

 

 

 

7 March 1320 (1321),

Bernard Franque of Goulier

 

House of the Preachers [ie Dominicans] of Pamiers

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

Germain de Castelnau, Archdeacon of the church of Pamiers

David, monk of Fontfroide

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

 

After this, the same year as above, the 7th of March...in the house of the Preachers of Pamiers. (Formula of ratification before the Inquisitor, as above).

 

Done the year and day as above, in the presence of the religious persons My Lord Germain de Castelnau, Archdeacon of the church of Pamiers, David, monk of Fontfroide, witnesses to these convocations, and of myself Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary of my said Lord Bishop, who has written and received all of this, in the presence of Master Menet, notary of the Inquisition.

 

The Sunday assigned to the said Bernard, he appeared judicially in the cemetery Saint-Jean-Martyr of Pamiers and there our said lords bishop and Inquisitor proceeded to pronounce sentence against the said Bernard as follows: "Let all know, etc." See this sentence in the Book of Sentences of the Inquisition.

And I, Rainaud Jabbaud, cleric of Toulouse, sworn in the matter of the Inquisition, have, on the order of My Lord the Bishop, faithfully corrected the said confessions against the original.

 















NOTES

Condemned to the dungeon of the Wall on March 8, 1321 (new calendar),

He was liberated with the wearing of double crosses on January 17, 1329.


 

 

 

 

 


 

Translation by Nancy Stork, San José State University - to whom many thanks for permission to reproduce this text.

 

 

               

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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