Cathars and Cathar Beliefs in the Languedoc
Guilhem Fort of Montaillou


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Source Documents: Interrogation of Guilhem Fort of Montaillou

 

 

Introduction to Jacques Fournier's Episcopal Inquisition

 

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.

 

 

 

The Case of Guilhem Fort of Montaillou

 

Guilhem Fort was not a baptised Cathar, just an ordinary Cathar believer. Believers prepared to recant their beliefs were usually sentenced to imprisonment, but only for a first offence. Guilhem had already come before the Inquisition at Carcassonne in 1316 and had been imprisoned. Having been released he was obliged to wear yellow crosses to show that he was already a convicted heretic. There was only one possible sentance for a second offence, burning at the stake. Guilhem Fort was cited on 6 Apiri 1321, interrogated four times over the next few months, and burned as a relapsed heretic on 2 August 1321.

 

 

 

Interrogation of Guilhem Fort of Montaillou

 

6 April 1321

 

Confession of Guilhem Fort of Montaillou

 

In the year 1321, the Monday before Palm Sunday (April 6, 1321) a letter of citation was sent by the Reverend Father in Christ My Lord Jacques, by the Grace of God Bishop of Pamiers, the tenor of which follows:

 

"Brother Jacques, by divine grace the Bishop of Pamiers, to his dear vicar in Christ in Montaillou, Raimond Trilhe, greetings in the Lord.

 

Since for very plausible causes and strong presumptions we hold the following strongly suspect of heresy: Bernard Clergue, Guilhem Fort, Guillemette Benet, Esclarmonde, the wife of Raimond Clergue, Vuissane, the wife of Bernard Testanière and Raimonde, the wife of the said Bernard Clergue and since we wish and intend, insofar as we are charged to do so, to investigate them concerning the faith, we order you to cite these named persons at once to appear before us this coming Saturday in our episcopal seat of Pamiers before tierce, to answer concerning the above-mentioned facts concerning the faith, and there to proceed in this matter as is appropriate, signifying to them that if they do not appear on this day before us, we will proceed against them as against those suspect in heresy, according to the law, notwithstanding their absence.

 

Given in our episcopal seat, the Monday before Palm Sunday, the year of the Lord 1321.

Return the letter with a seal as a sign of this accomplished mandate."

 

 

 

 

12 April 1321

Guilhem Fort of Montaillou
In the Episcopal Chamber of the Bishop's palace in Pamiers

 

 

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

Arnaud du Carla, of the order of Preachers of the convent of Pamiers,

Bernard de Centelles, monk of Fontfroide

David, monk of Fontfroide

Guilhem Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

On the Saturday assigned in this letter of citation, appearing were Guilhem Fort, Esclarmonde, the wife of Raimond Clergue, and Vuissane, the wife of Bernard Testanière, who had been cited by the vicar of Montaillou for this Saturday, conforming to the content of the above-mentioned letter, since this citation was completed by the placement of the seal of the vicar, put onto this letter as a sign of the accomplishment of his mandate. Not appearing and not bringing forth any legitimate excuses were Bernard Clergue, Guillemette Benet, and Raimonde, the wife of Bernard Clergue, who had been cited in this letter with the same conditions, according to the terms of this citation, even though the seal of the vicar was made on this letter as a sign of the accomplishment of his mandate. And this is why, after having been duly awaited for a long time, this was taken as evidence of their contumaciousness and they were declared in default, with an exception made for their legitimate excuses, if such were forthcoming. And since on this Saturday My Lord the Bishop was occupied with other affairs and could not attend to following up on the citations issued to the said Guilhem Fort, Esclarmonde and Vuissance, he sent them away and assigned them to the following Monday.

 

That Monday, to wit the 13th of April, Guilhem Fort appeared in the Episcopal Chamber of Pamiers before my said Lord Bishop, assisted by Brother Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, in the presence of My Lord Guilhem Audibert, licensed in Law and bachelor in Statues, of the religious persons Brother Bernard de Centelles, David, monks of Fontfroide and of myself, Guilhem Peyre-Barthe, notary of the said Lord Bishop, witnesses for this convocation, which Guilhem appearing judicially, swore on the holy Gospels of God to tell the pure and entire truth as much concerning himself as warned as concerning others living and dead as witness. The oath taken, he said, avowed and deposed as follows:

 

About 15 years ago, but I do not otherwise recall the exact time, in the month of May, I went one morning at dawn to the house of Jean Guilabert of Montaillou and found, already dead, Guilhem Guilabert, Jean's son. They had already covered his face, as one habitually covers the face of the dead. In the foyer (foganha) where he was being attended to I found Alamande, the wife of Jean, my sister and Alazaïs, the wife of Arnaud Faure of Montaillou, my niece, who said to me: "Do you wish to see Prades Tavernier, who is one of the good men?" (that is to say, heretics, but I did not know that he was one.) I said yes, and Alazaïs then opened the room where the heretic was. When the door opened the heretic came out towards me and we saluted each other in the customary way. The heretic and I neither said nor did anything more, and he entered at once back into the chamber.

"good men" = the local name for baptised Cathars

 

"heretic" = Inquisotors' name for baptised Cathars

Did you know, or did Alamande and Alazaïs tell you why this heretic had come and what he had done there?

Before I saw the heretic, Alamande and Alazaïs told me that the heretic had come to receive the dead boy, Guilhem Guilabert, into this faith and his sect and make him a Good Christian, and they told me also that the dead boy had, been received by the heretic while alive. And at that moment, I believed that this heretic was a Good Christian and a holy man; I believed also that these women had done a good dead in having this Guilhem hereticated, and I remained in this belief for about a year.

"Good Christian" = another local name for a baptised Cathar

I believed and I believe, that if I have my sins absolved by a bad preacher, that I will still be a sinner; I do not believe I will be absolved. I believe also that such a bad priest cannot absolve anyone for true penance.

This idea, that absolution is effective only if granted by someonefree of sin, was accepted by Cathars but rejected as heretical by the Roman Catholic Church

Did you adore this heretic?

No.

"adore" = the Inquisitors' word to denote the ritual greeting of a baptised Cathar by a Cathar believer.

Were you present at the heretication of Guilhem?

No.

 

Did you see anyone else with the heretic or in the house?

No, except Guilhem Belot, who was accompanying the heretic.

 

Have you avowed that which precedes at any other time before My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne?

No.

 

Have you been cited recently by My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne concerning this heretication?

No.

 

About three years before this took place, the late Guilhem Benet of Montaillou, who was my neighbour, told me, in the house where the heretics were lodged, as he told me, and as I had heard said by others, that those who are called Good Christians (that is to say, heretics) are good and holy men, and that they suffer numerous persecutions for God, that they do not touch women, do not eat meat and are men of great penance, and they alone follow the path of God and save souls; that those who are received by them will enter into paradise after death and that they absolve men of all their sins, that men are saved in their faith and that it is a great charity to do good for them. And he pushed me to believe this and even to see the heretics and to give them something, saying that if I wished to give them something, he would bring it to them.

A good summary: "they do not touch women, do not eat meat and are men of great penance, and they alone follow the path of God and save souls; that those who are received by them will enter into paradise after death"

And he spoke to me often of the same thing in the fields and on the roads and in many other different places, telling me that it was good to adore these heretics. All of this, I believed to be true, and I remained in this belief for two or three years. But I did not go to see the heretics, nor did I give or send them anything nor did I adore them.

"adore" = the Inquisitors' word to denote the ritual greeting of a baptised Cathar by a Cathar believer.

Have you confessed this at Carcassonne?

No, because I did not remember it. !

 

And since he appeared not to have confessed fully, according to the witnesses who said that he was present at this heretication, he was retained by My Lord the Bishop, who gave him a delay to reflect just until the following Wednesday.

"heretication" = the Inquisitors' name for the Consolomentum or Cathar Baptism.

 

 

 

20 April 1321

Guilhem Fort of Montaillou
In the Episcopal Chamber of the Bishop's palace in Pamiers

 

 

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Guillaume Audibert,

Bernard de Centelles, monk

David, monk

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

 

 

After this, the same year as above, the 20th of April, the said Guilhem Fort, appearing judicially in the Episcopal Chamber of Pamiers before my said Lord Bishop, in the presence of My Lord Guillaume Audibert, of Brother Bernard de Centelles, David, monks and of me Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary above-mentioned, for these convocations, the previous day that had been fixed above having been moved by reason of the affairs of My Lord the Bishop, he said and deposed under the faith of an oath, after all of his said confession had been read to him intelligibly and in the common tongue. (He was asked if he wished to persevere in it as in a true and regular and confession; he said yes. If he wished to add or retract anything; he said he wished to add that which follows:)

 

The night when Guilhem died, and was hereticated, I came to the house in which he was lying. He had already lost his speech when I arrived. My sister Alamande then told me, as well as my niece Alazaïs, that they had sent Guilhem Belot to seek one of these Good Christians, so that he could receive the sick boy into his faith and his sect, make him a Good Christian, save his soul and absolve him of all his sins. Guilhem was supposed to arrive shortly with the heretic. I told them that they were doing well, and that they would do a good deed in having the sick boy hereticated. And I said this because at the time I believed that heretics were saved and absolved of all their sins, and that immediately after death they would go to paradise. But I did not believe that men could only be saved in the faith of the heretics, but that they could also just as well be saved in the faith that the Roman Church protects as well as in that of the heretics. And because of what these women said, I remained in the house to wait for Guilhem Belot and the heretic. And just a moment later, Guilhem Belot and the heretic Prades Tavernier arrived at the house. I greeted and saluted this heretic, whom I knew to be a heretic. Approaching the bed where the sick boy was lying he made numerous genuflections, placed a book on the head of the sick boy and hereticated him in the view and presence of myself, of Alamande, Alazaïs, Guillemette, the wife of Jean Clémens of Gebetz, Arnaud Faure, Guilhem Authié and Guilhem Belot of Montaillou. But I do not recall if Sibille, my late wife, was present or not. Esclarmonde, my daughter who is presently the wife of Raimond Clergue, and who would have been about eight years old, came by as well. But I do not recall if she came when the heretication was taking place or after. She came to call either me or my wife Sibille. When the heretication was done, I returned home.

"Good Christian" = another local name for a baptised Cathar.


"heretication" = the Inquisitors' name for the Consolomentum or Cathar Baptism.

 

All this took place a long time before dawn. Then, at dawn, I came back to that house, and found the sick boy already dead, and I did and said what I have avowed in my first confession. When the heretic left the chamber where he had been and came into the foyer (foganha), he said me to do him reverence, and then, I adored him, by bending my knees before him. I do not recall whether I said to him: "Bless us....." but I do remember that I said to him: "Good Christian, pray to God for me." And the heretic responded: "May God bless you and bring you to a good end."

"heretic" = Inquisotors' name for baptised Cathars

 

"adore" = the Inquisitors' word to denote the ritual greeting of a baptised Cathar by a Cathar believer.

Did you eat of bread blessed by this heretic?

No.

Did you tell this heretic that you wished to be received into his faith and his sect if you were to become sick unto death?

No.

Baptised Cathars did not believe in transubstantiation (then a novelty). They did however bless bread,following the practice of the earliest Church.

Do you have any other person who is guilty of this crime of heresy?

No. And he said nothing else pertinent.

 

 

 

 

21 April 1321

Guilhem Fort of Montaillou
In the Episcopal Chamber in the Bishop's palace at Pamiers

 

 

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Guillaume Audibert, licensed in Law

Bernard Faissier, official of Pamiers,

Bernard Gaubert, jurist,

Bernard de Centelles, monk

David, monk

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

 

 

After this, the same year as above, the 21st of April, the said Guilhem appeared judicially in the Episcopal Chamber of Pamiers before my said Lord Bishop in the presence of My Lord Guillaume Audibert, licensed in Law, of the simple persons Master Bernard Faissier, official of Pamiers, Bernard Gaubert, jurist, of the religious persons Brother Bernard de Centelles and David, monks of Fontfroide and of me Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary, witnesses for this convocations; he was asked:

 

Did you make this confession judicially before My Lord the Bishop yesterday?

No.

 

Have you made these confessions because you were in prison or by the application or threat of torture, or pushed or seduced by anything or by anyone?

No, I made them spontaneously and voluntarily.

 

Did the things you have avowed in your preceding confessions actually happen and were those words spoken in reality?

Yes.

 

Do you wish to persevere and persist in these preceding confessions as true and accurate?

Yes.

 

After having made these confessions to My Lord the Bishop, have you said to anyone that they were not true, particularly that of yesterday?

No.

 

The morning when I adored this heretic, he said to me, standing, and also to Alamande and to Alazaïs, that he and those of his sect followed the path of God, that no one could be saved unless by them, that they could save souls and absolve men of all their sins, that those who were received by them went to paradise immediately after death, that they were good and holy men, and that they suffered persecutions for the sake of God, and that those who persecute, arrest and denounce them will never see the face of God.

For Cathars, it was the Catholic Church that had split from the true Church in the fourth century and had now become heretical.

Have you believed these heretical propositions?

Yes, and I remained in this belief for about two years.

 

And since, as he has said above, he believed just until now that if a sinful priest absolved him of his sins, he did not believe he would have been absolved and that he believed that no bad priest could absolve the sins of anyone who confessed to him, articles both erroneous and heretical, he was instructed by my said Lord Bishop not to believe these articles in the future, because the virtue or wickedness of the priest cannot vitiate the sacraments of Christ nor give them their virtue, except for a heretic priest, because he is separated from the church or from the ecclesiastical unity and cannot absolve anyone of sins. But even if he is otherwise a sinner, he can absolve those who are subject to him in the case where they are confessed to him.

This is a statement of the orthodox Catholic position.

Do you wish to believe and persevere in the future in this belief?

Yes, I have remained in this erroneous belief because no one until now had ever told me the contrary.

 

These errors that you have confessed to have believed previously, have you ever avowed them before the Inquisitor of Carcassonne? And have you spoken to him of the above errors or the fact that you were present at this heretication, and that you have adored this heretic?

No, because I was ill when I was in the city, and later, I did not return there to avow these things. But I did confess to a Friar Minor of Puigcerda, who imposed on me the penance of fasting in the future on bread and water the eves of the feasts of Saint Mary, and no longer to eat meat in the future on Saturday.

 

And since, as a result of that which precedes, he has believed for a long time that the heretics are good and holy men, who alone hold to the pathway of God, that no one can be saved if not by them, that they can absolve all sins, that they can save souls, that those who are received and hereticated by them will go straightaway to heaven upon their death, that they suffer persecutions for the sake of God, that those who persecute, denounce or otherwise do ill to them can never see the face of God, and that he believed that the heretication and adoration of heretics were good deeds, he was asked if he wished to abandon these errors. He said yes.

 

While he was being interrogated about the other heretics of the Manichaean sect, he appeared not to believe in the resurrection of the body. He was asked:

Do you believe in the resurrection of the human body after death?

Even though I have heard this preached in the church, I could never believe it, because it seemed to me that the human body dissolves and returns to the earth, and this is why I could not believe and I still do not believe that such a body can ever be resuscitated. But I believe indeed and I have believed that human souls live after the death of the body and that all will be judged by Christ on Judgment Day. But on Judgment Day, the souls will not be back, according to what I believe and have believed, in their own bodies; their bodies will rot in the earth, reduced into ashes or transformed into earth.

The "heretics" are specifically identified as being of "Manichaean sect" - ie Dualists.

 

Cathars rejected the doctrine of the resurrection of the body. This rejection also constituted

"heresy"

I used to believe that the souls of the good would go to the celestial paradise, but that the souls of the wicked, now and after Judgment, would travel along cliffs and precipices (per les tertres e?ls bauces) and that the demons would throw them from the cliffs into the precipices.

 

Who taught you these errors?

I myself, upon reflection, have decided that after death human bodies will not be resuscitated and will not live again. I have decided also the souls will appear at the last Judgment without their bodies, will be judged by Christ, but that the souls of the wicked, both now and after the Judgment, will travel along cliffs and be thrown into precipices. This I believe and I have believed, informed by the fact that one commonly speaks, in the region of Sault and d'Alion that Arnaude Riba de Belcair, in the diocese of Alet, traveled among the souls of dead men and women and it was commonly said that she saw the souls of the wicked being menaced by demons along the cliffs and other steep places and that the demons threw them across the rock faces.

 

She also saw souls that had flesh, bones and all their members, such as their head, feet, hands and other limbs. And even though the souls had a body of this type, and were thrown by the demons, from which they suffered and were greatly afflicted, they could never die. I have heard tell that when My Lord Laurent, the rector of Belcaire, reprimanded this woman because she affirmed this, a smith of that place named Bernard de n?Alazaïs said to the rector that he had also seen souls traveling in the same manner along the cliffs and steep places and that they were cast down into the precipices. And for this reason the priest left her alone.

 

For this reason, I believed that this woman and this man of Belcaire told the truth in all respects.

 

Have you taught these errors to anyone?

No.

 

Do you recall any other specific person who had said this?

No, but this is commonly spoken of in the region of Sault and of d'Alion.

 

And since, as a result of that which precedes, he has believed just until now that human bodies will never be resuscitated after death, that the souls that have left their bodies will appear and be judged at the last Judgment of Christ without their bodies, and they will live eternally thus, that the human souls of the wicked, before and after the Judgment, will travel along cliffs and hilly places being thrown into the precipices of the mountains and valleys, and that they will have flesh and bone and corporeal members, all of which are errors against the Catholic faith, the said Guilhem was instructed to the contrary by My Lord the Bishop. Having been thus instructed, he confessed that he believed and promised to believe in the future, that all dead men will rise and that their souls will put on again their own human bodies in which they lived during the present life. Item, that the souls reunited to their own bodies will present themselves at the Last Judgment of Christ and that all men, body and soul, will be judged by Christ; that the souls will be eternally in their bodies and will be glorified or damned in them. Item, that the place of punishment of the souls of the wicked, who died in mortal sin, as a general rule, is now and after Judgment, Hell, in which the impious will be tortured. Item, that the human souls having left the bodies that they had in the present life, will be incorporeal, having neither flesh nor bone.

 

Asked if he wished to abandon all these errors he said:

 

I, Guilhem Fort, 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;

This session is a pantomime. All present would have known that Guilhem would be sentenced to death by burning at the stake for "heresy", whatever he said now.

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.

 

 

 

 

1 August 1321

Guilhem Fort of Montaillou

In the Episcopal Chamber of the Bishop's Palace at Pamiers

 

 

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Jean de Beaune, Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

Bernard Gui, Inquisitor of Toulouse of the Order of Preachers

Brother Pierre d'Annoires, companion of my said lord Inquisitor,

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary of My Lord the Bishop,

Menet de Robécourt, notary of My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne

Guillaume Julia, notary of My Lord the Inquisitor of Toulouse, who have written and received that which precedes

 

 

 

 

After this, the same year as above, of the Lord 1321, the 1st of August, Guilhem Fort of Montaillou appeared judicially in the chamber of the Bishop of Pamiers, before my said Lord Bishop and the religious persons Brothers Jean de Beaune, Inquisitor of Carcassonne, and Bernard Gui, Inquisitor of Toulouse of the Order of Preachers. Having sworn to tell the truth, he was once again interrogated and examined on certain points in the confession that he made before my said Lord Bishop.

 

He said and avowed:

 

It was about twenty years ago, it seems to me, that Guilhem Benet of Montaillou told me that a sinful priest who was in a state of sin could not absolve a penitent of the sins confessed to him, and I believed and continued to believe to be true, and I remained of this belief until I confessed concerning heresy before Brother Geoffroy, the late Inquisitor of Carcassonne. I abjured heresy and I abandoned this belief.

 

After this confession and this abjuration, I believed again that a sinful priest who was in a state of sin could not absolve a penitent of the sins confessed to him, and for myself, I would not consider myself absolved if If were to have confessed and been absolved by such a sinful priest.

 

At what time did you return to this belief?

About four year ago, and this I believed because of the evil life of priests.

Once again, the question of whether sinsul priests are able to administer valid sacraments.

This error concerning the resurrection of the body, which is completely contained in my other confession, I began to believed, instructed as I was by the said Guilhem Benet, about twenty years ago, and I remained in this error when I confessed concerning heresy to Brother Geoffroy, the Inquisitor. And after this abjuration of heresy, I abandoned this error and my belief; it is now three years, it seems to me, since I have returned to the belief in this error, to wit that human bodies will not be resuscitated.

 

Why did you not avow before Brother Geoffroy that you have seen and adored Prades Tavernier of Prades, the heretic and you had knowledge of the heretication of the late Guilhem Guilabert of Montaillou, as has become evident more completely in the confession made by you before My Lord the Bishop?

I no longer remember; later, I confessed this during one Lent to a Friar Minor of Puigcerda, who gave me absolution and assigned my penance as not eating meat on Saturday.

Friar Minor = Franciscan

What was the name of this Friar Minor?

I do not know.

 

That which precedes was avowed by the said Guilaume Fort in the presence of Brother Pierre d'Annoires, companion of my said lord Inquisitor, and of us, Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary of My Lord the Bishop, Menet de Robécourt, notary of My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne and Guillaume Julia, notary of My Lord the Inquisitor of Toulouse, who have written and received that which precedes.

 

 

 

 

1 August, 1321

Guilhem Fort of Montaillou
In the Episcopal Chamber of the Bishop's Palace at Pamiers

 

 

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Jean de Beaune, Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

Bernard Gui, Inquisitor of Toulouse of the Order of Preachers

Raimond, Bishop of Mirepoix,

Guillaume, abbot of Boulbonne,

Bernard d'Albi, canon of Salvagnac,

Arnaud de Verdeille, official of Mirepoix,

Guillaume Audibert, canon of Limoux,

Hugues de Bilhères, jurist of Pamiers,

Jacques Camelle, jurist of Pamiers,

Guillaume de Saint-Julien, jurist of Pamiers,

Bernard den Alias, jurist of Pamiers,

Jacques Delglat, jurist of Pamiers,

Bernard Carbonnel, priest,

Raimond Bernard, rector of the church of Orsans in the diocese of Mirepoix,

Germain de Castelnau, Archdeacon,

Jacques d'Albenon, Prior,

Hugues du Breuil, sacrist of the church of Pamiers,

Maurand, canon of the church of Saint-Sernin of Toulouse,

Bernard Faissier, official of Pamiers,

Raimond d'Arnave, jurist of Belpech,

Brother Gaillard de Pomiès,

Raimond Sans,

Raimond Barthe, of the Order of Preachers of the convent of Pamiers,

Pierre Sicre, companion of My Lord the Inquisitor of Toulouse,

Guillaume Peyre,

Guillaume Fléchier, of the order of Friars Minor of the convent of Pamiers,

Guillaume Gras,

Raimond Escudié, of the order of Notre-Dame of MonCarmel,

Jean Itier,

Raimond de Saverdun of the order of Saint-Augustin, of the convent of Pamiers,

Bataille de Penne, notary of my said Lord Bishop of Pamiers.

 

The number of churchmen present shows the seriousness of the charges as does the presence of both Inquisitors Jean de Beaune and Bernard Gui.

After this, the same year [day?] as above, the said Guilhem Fort was brought into the presence of our said lords bishop and Inquisitors in the Episcopal Chamber of Pamiers, the said Lord Bishop and Inquisitors being assisted by the Reverend Father in Christ My Lord Raimond, by the Grace of God bishop of Mirepoix, and of the venerable Father in Christ My Lord Guillaume, abbot of Boulbonne, of other experts and religious named here below, and of us notaries named above and below. The confession or addition above, made today, was read to him and repeated intelligibly and in the common tongue, explained and made comprehensible. Which confession or addition, as he has said, having been read to him, repeated in the common tongue, and plainly understood by him, as he himself said, he was asked if this confession was true, and contained the truth on all points. He said and responded under the faith of an oath taken today that this addition or confession was in all points true and contained no error, ratifying, approving and confirming it. Renewing it nonetheless, he said and affirmed that he wished to hold and persevere in it, as well as in the other points confessed by him before my said Lord Bishop of Pamiers, concluding in the present affair. And he wished to hold it as finished, asking that he be dealt with mercifully.

 

Done in the presence and witness of the Lord Bishop and abbot, and the experts and other religious who follow, to wit: My Lord Bernard d'Albi, canon of Salvagnac, Arnaud de Verdeille, official of Mirepoix, Guillaume Audibert, canon of Limoux, Hugues de Bilhères, Jacques Camelle, Guillaume de Saint-Julien, Bernard den Alias, Jacques Delglat, jurists of Pamiers, of My Lord Bernard Carbonnel, priest, My Lord Raimond Bernard, rector of the church of Orsans in the diocese of Mirepoix, My Lords Germain de Castelnau, Archdeacon, Jacques d'Albenon, Prior, Hugues du Breuil, sacrist of the church of Pamiers, Maurand, canon of the church of Saint-Sernin of Toulouse, Bernard Faissier, official of Pamiers, Raimond d'Arnave, jurist of Belpech, of the religious lords Brother Gaillard de Pomiès, Raimond Sans, Raimond Barthe, of the Order of Preachers of the convent of Pamiers, Pierre Sicre, companion of My Lord the Inquisitor of Toulouse, Guillaume Peyre, Guillaume Fléchier, of the order of Friars Minor of the convent of Pamiers, Guillaume Gras, Raimond Escudié, of the order of Notre-Dame of MonCarmel, Jean Itier, Raimond de Saverdun of the order of Saint-Augustin, of the convent of Pamiers, and Bataille de Penne, notary of my said Lord Bishop of Pamiers, who was equally present.

 

After this, the same day at the hour of vespers, the said Guilhem Fort, appearing judicially in the Episcopal Chamber of Pamiers before our lords the Bishop of Pamiers and Inquisitors above-mentioned, swore on the holy Gospels of God touched by his hand to tell the pure and entire truth on all point touching the catholic faith, and the Inquisition, and on the fact of heresy, as much concerning himself as charged as concerning others living and dead as witness. The extract and the confession made by him before my said Lord Bishop was read to him intelligibly. Asked if he wished to hold and persevere in it, or add, change, retract, correct or amend anything, he said and responded that he wished to hold and persevere in it except that he had never assisted at the heretication he had sworn to have assisted at, even though he was sworn to have done so by four witnesses.

 

Made in the presence of the simpler persons My Lord Guillaume Audibert, canon of the diocese of Limoges, and of Brothers Pierre d'Annoires, Pierre Sicre, O.P., and of us, Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary of my said Lord Bishop, Menet de Robécourt, notary of my said lord Inquisitor of Carcassonne and Guillaume Julia, notary of my said lord Inquisitor of Toulouse, who have received and written that which precedes.

 

And since the said Guilhem was wearing crosses on his breast as well as on his back which Brother Geoffroy of Ablis, the late Inquisitor of Carcassonne had imposed on him as penance for what he had committed in the matter of heresy, My Lord the Bishop asked if he had those letters of penance. He said yes and gave them at once to My Lord the Bishop. The tenor of those letters is as so:

 

"To all those who see or hear the present letter, Brother Geoffrey of Ablis, of the order of the Preaching Friars, Inquisitor in the realm of France commissioned by the Apostolic See, eternal salvation in the Lord.

 

Since Guilhem Fort of Montaillou in the diocese of Pamiers, as a result of his confession made in the regular course of justice, in the view of two men who were passing along the road near to where he was, in his field where he was making a fence, and that he has said that he knew these men were heretics;

 

Item, that there live in another place two heretics who are called Pierre de Berga and Benard de Foix;

 

Item, since he has entered once into the house of a person whom he names in his confession, that he lived and found there two men whom he did not recognize and when they saw him, they ran and hid themselves in a building full of sheaves and straw; that he did not concern himself with this, because he believed certainly that they were heretics; that he left this house and left those heretics there;

 

That he saw once, accompanied and led from one place to another Prades Tavernier the heretic; and another heretic named Raimond;

 

Committing these deeds, 15 years before his regularly and judicially made confession;

 

Since he did not wish to avow that which precedes until after being cited and convoked and that he denied the truth at first, against him own oath taken regularly for justice.

 

We, since he, having been inspired to the good, came back to the bosom of the holy mother Church, that he had at first abjured all heresy and received from us the benefit of absolution according to the form of the Church, enjoined him as penance and as the title of penance for all that which precedes, in detestation of his original error, to wear in perpetuity on all his clothing, except his shirt, two crosses of felt of the color yellow, one in front on his breast and the other in back between his shoulders; that in the future he would not go anywhere, inside his house or out, without wearing these crosses visible and apparent; that he would mend them if they became tattered, would replace them if and when they were worn out; that their dimensions would be two and a half palms in length, one arm and two palms in the other direction, to wit the transverse; that each arm would have the size of three digits (fingers);

 

That he would visit in addition the candles of Notre-Dame de Vauverg, the Tables of Montpellier de Serignan, of Rocamadour, of Puy, of Chartres, of Paris, of Pontoise, of Souillac, of Saint-Denis, of Saint-Louis in France, of Saint-Martial, of Saint-Léonard in the diocese of Limoges, of Saint-Antoine of Viennois, of Saint-Gilles in Provence, of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert and of Saint-Vincent of Castres;

 

That he will visit also every year as long as he lives the church of Pamiers on the feast of Saint Antonin, bring the letters of witnesses of each of these above-mentioned pilgrimages and visits;

 

That he will confess three times per year, to wit before Easter, Pentecost and Christmas, and that in the same feasts he will take communion, unless he abstains on the advice of his curé; that he will listen to the entire parish masses on Sundays and Feast days, and the sermons made therein, wherever he finds himself, on all occasions, unless he has a legitimate excuse;

 

That at mass he will present himself to the celebrating priests, between the Epistle and the Gospel, publicly, taking the hand of the vergers and receive discipline from them; that he will also follow the processions that take place in the regions where he will be, between the clergy and the people, carrying sticks, and that he will receive discipline of the one who is at the last station of the procession;

 

That he will abstain from all servile work on canonical days and respect feasts; ! That he will never retain nor usurp the tithes, the first fruits, offerings of animals, oblations, alms and other rights to the Church, but he will pay them all fully;

 

That he will abstain from usurers and thieves even if committed by someone else and he will restore anything he receives from such;

 

That he will not observe augurs, divinations and magic spells;

 

That in the future he will not undertake any public function;

 

That he will pursue heretics as well, by whatever name they are designated; and protect the Catholic faith with all his power;

 

And he will present the present letters the first Sunday of each month to his own curé, and have them read and explained in the common tongue, in order to be confirmed in what he ought to do and what he ought to abstain from.

 

This, we enjoin on him, except that we and our successors in this charge have the power to freely add, retract, and change the said penances at any time that this seems to be useful to ourselves or to our successors.

 

In faith of which we have judged the need to affix our seal to the present.

Given at Carcassonne, the 5th kalends of April, the year of the Lord 1316 (March 28, 1316)

 

 

 

 

2 August, 1321

Guilhem Fort of Montaillou
In the Bishop's Tower at Pamiers

 

 

Bataille de Penne, notary of My Lord the Bishop

Jean Routinier, priest, rector of Génat,

Jacques de Montsaly,

Pierre Rega, jailer of this tower.

 

 

 

After this, the same year as above, the 2nd of August, Bataille de Penne, notary of My Lord the Bishop, came on the order of the said lords Inquisitor and bishop to the tower of Pamiers of my said Lord Bishop, and there the said Bataille cited precisely and peremptorily the said Guilhem, who was detained there, to appear the same day before tierce in the cemetery Saint-Jean of Pamiers before them, there to hear sentence by reason of the above-mentioned facts avowed by him, and otherwise perform there what is appropriate, an assignation which the said Guilhem accepted of his own free will and spontaneously in the presence and witness of the rector of Génat, Jean Routinier, priest, of Jacques de Montsaly and of Pierre Rega, jailer of this tower.

 

 

 

 

2 August, 1321

Guilhem Fort of Montaillou
In the Cemetery of the Church of Saint-Jean-Martyr of Pamiers

 

 

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Jean de Beaune, Inquisitor of Carcassonne ?

Bernard Gui, Inquisitor of Toulouse of the Order of Preachers ?

 

 

 

 

On the day assigned above to the said Guilhem, he appeared in the cemetery of Saint-Jean-Martyr as he had been order by the said Bataille and there the said lords bishop and Inquisitor proceeded to pronounce the sentence on the said Guilhem in the following manner: "Let all know, etc." The said citation and also the sentence on this Guilhem were received by the said Bataille and he received them in his protocol because I, Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary commissioned by My Lord the Bishop in the facts touching the Catholic faith, was not able to be present because of the malady from which I am suffering. But I have transcribed them from the notes of the said Bataille and have written them and inserted them in the present book on the order of my said Lord Bishop.

 

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.

 
   

 

 


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

There is no other surviving record of the two heretics mentioned above: Pierre de Berga (Barcelona) and Bernard de Foix.

Guilhem Fort was burned as a relapsed heretic on 2 August 1321 (after the sentence given by the Bishop & Inquisitor as related above) . (Hist. Inquisitionis, p. 287-288).

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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