Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

The Trial of Joan of Arc
By W.P. Barrett

Chapter 33: May 30th, the Last Day of This Trial

I Wednesday the last day of May (30th) and the last day of this trial

On the following day, Wednesday, the last day of May, Jeanne was summoned before us to hear the sentence of law pronounced by the Usher appointed to this case, and contained at greater length in the tenor of our letters and the relation of the said Usher. Here follows the tenor of the letters: Tenor of the summons

"Pierre by divine mercy bishop of Beauvais and Jean Le Maistre, vicar of the distinguished doctor, master Jean Graverent, appointed by the apostolic Holy See Inquisitor of the Faith and of Heretical Error in the kingdom of France, to all public priests, rectors of churches established in this town of Rouen or elsewhere in this diocese, to each and every one, according to this present summons, greeting in Our Lord. For certain causes and reasons more extensively set forth elsewhere, a certain woman commonly called Jeanne the Maid, relapsed into many errors against the orthodox faith, after a public abjuration of those errors before the face of the Church, has fallen into them once more, as is and has been duly and sufficiently proven by her statements and assertions and otherwise. Therefore we expressly command and enjoin

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each one of you as he shall be required, without waiting for or excusing yourself because of another, to summon the said Jeanne t appear in person before Us at 8 o'clock to-morrow morning in the Old market Place of Rouen, on order to hear Us declare her relapsed, excommunicate, and heretic, with the intimation customary in such cases. Given in the chapel of the archiepiscopal manor of Rouen, on Tuesday, May 29th, in the year of Our Lord, 1431.P

Signed: G. Manchon. G. Boisguillaume

Then follows the tenor of the Usher's letter in respect of the preceding summons

"To the reverend father and lord in Christ the lord Pierre by divine mercy bishop of Beauvais and to brother Jean Le Maistre, vicar of the renowned doctor, master Jean Graverent, appointed by the apostolic Holy See Inquisitor of the faith and of heretical Error in the kingdom of France, your humble Jean Massieu, priest, dean of the Christendom of Rouen, with all due reverence, obedience and respect. I inform your reverend paternities that in virtue of your mandate addressed to me, to which these present letters are annexed, I have summoned in person this woman commonly called The Maid to appear before you this Wednesday after Holy Trinity at eight o'clock in the morning, at the Old Market of Rouen, according to the form and tenor of your mandate and my instructions from you. Which things, done by me, I signify to your reverend paternities by these present letters signed with my seal. Given in the year of Our Lord, 1431, on this Wednesday at seven o'clock in the morning."

Final sentence pronounced before the people

Afterwards, towards nine o'clock in the morning of the same day we the said judges repaired to the Old Market of

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Rouen, near the church of St. Sauveur, in the presence of and assisted by the reverend fathers in Christ the lord bishops of Thérouanne and of Noyon, masters Jean de Châtillon, André Marguerie, Nicolas de Venderès, Raoul Roussel, Denis Gastinel, Guillaume Le Boucher, Jean Alespée, Pierre Houdenc, William Haiton, the prior of Longueville, Pierre Maurice and many other lords, masters and clergy. The said Jeanne was led before us in view of a great multitude of people assembled in this place; she was placed upon a scaffold or platform. For her salutary admonition and the edification of the people a solemn sermon was delivered by the distinguished doctor of theology, master Nicolas Midi. He took as his text the words of the Apostle in the twelfth chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, "Si quid patitur unum membrum, compatiuntur alia membra. . . . Where one member suffer, all the members suffer with it."

When this sermon was over we once more admonished Jeanne to look to the salvation of her soul, to reflect on her misdeeds and to repent and show true contrition for them. We exhorted her to believe the counsel of the clergy and notable persons who instructed and taught her things concerning her salvation, and especially of the two venerable Preaching brothers who were then standing near her, and whom we had appointed to instruct her continually and zealously to address to her salutary admonitions and profitable counsels. Finally we the bishop and vicar aforesaid, having regard to what has gone before, in which it is manifest that this woman had in her obstinate rashness never truly abandoned her errors and abominable crimes; but rather that she had shown herself infinitely more damnable by the diabolical malice of her obstinacy in the false simulation of contrition, penitence and correction, and by the perjury of God's holy name and the blasphemy of His saints: that she had by such

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means declared herself obstinate, incorrigible, a heretic, relapsed in heresy, altogether unworthy of grace and of the communion which in our earlier sentence we had mercifully offered her. In view of all the things to be considered in this matter, and after mature deliberation and counsel with many learned persons, we proceeded to the final sentence in these terms:

"In the name of the Lord, amen. As often as the poisonous virus of heresy obstinately attaches itself to a member of the Church and transforms him into a limb of Satan, most diligent care must be taken to prevent the foul contagion of this pernicious leprosy from spreading to other parts of the mystic body of Christ. The decrees of the holy Fathers have laid down that hardened heretics must be separated from the midst of the just, rather than permit such pernicious vipers to lodge in the bosom of Our Holy Mother Church, to the great peril of the rest. Therefore, we, Pierre by divine mercy bishop of Beauvais and brother Jean Le Maistre, vicar of the renowned doctor Jean Graverent, the Inquisitor of heretical Error and especially appointed by him in this case, both competent judges in this trial, have declared by a just judgment that you, Jeanne, commonly called The Maid, have fallen into divers errors and crimes of schism, idolatry, invocation of demons and many other misdeeds. Nevertheless, since the Church never closes her bosom to the wanderer who returns, esteeming that with a pure spirit and unfeigned faith you had cut yourself off from these errors and crimes because on a certain day you renounced them, swore in public, vowed and promised never to return to the said errors or heresy under any influence or in any manner whatever; but rather to remain indissolubly in the unity of the Catholic Church and the Communion of the Roman pontiff, as is proven at greater length in the formula signed by your own hand. Since subsequently,

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after this abjuration of your errors the author of schism and heresy has arisen in your heart which he has seduced and since you are fallen again -- O, sorrow! -- into these errors and crimes as the dog returns to his vomit, as it is sufficiently and manifestly clear from your willing confessions and statements, we have concluded in most celebrated decisions that the denial of your previous inventions and errors was merely verbal. Therefore we declare that you are fallen again into your former errors and under the sentence of excommunication which you originally incurred we decree that you are a relapsed heretic; and by this sentence which we deliver in writing and pronounce from this tribunal, we denounce you as a rotten member, which, so that you shall not infect the other members of Christ, must be cast out of the unity of the Church, cut off from her body, and given over to the secular power: we cast you off, separate and abandon you, praying this same secular power on this side of death and the mutilation of your limbs, to moderate its judgment towards you, and if true signs of repentance appear in you to permit the sacrament of penance to be administered to you.

The sentence of which the greater part was read before Jeanne's abjuration

"In the name of the Lord, amen. All pastors of the Church who desire and endeavor to lead the Lord's flock faithfully must, when the perfidious sower of errors laboriously attempts with great cunning to infect the flock of Christ with virulent poisons, assemble their whole strength to combat the assaults of the Evil one with greater vigilance and more urgent solicitude. This is particularly necessary in these dangerous times in which the words of the apostle announced that many false prophets would come into the world and introduce sects

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of perdition and error which by their varied and foreign doctrines might seduce Christ's faithful people, if Our Holy Mother Church did not struggle to overthrow these erroneous inventions.

"Therefore before us your competent judges, namely Pierre by divine mercy bishop of Beauvais and brother Jean Le Maistre, vicar in this city and diocese of the notable master Jean Graverent, Inquisitor of Heretical Error in the kingdom of France, and especially appointed by him to officiate in this cause, you, Jeanne, commonly called The Maid, have been arraigned to account for many pernicious crimes and have been charged in a matter of the faith. And having seen and examined with diligence the course of your trial and all that occurred therein, principally the answers, confessions and affirmations which you made, after having also considered the most notable decision of the masters of the Faculties of Theology and Decrees in the University of Paris, in addition to that of the general assembly of the University, and of the prelates, doctors and men learned in canon and civil law and in theology who were met together in a great multitude in this town of Rouen and elsewhere for the discussion and judgment of your statements, words and deeds-, having taken counsel and mature conference with those zealots of the Christian faith, and having seen and weighed all there is to see and weigh in this matter, all that we and any man of judgment and law could and should observe: We, having Christ and the honor of the orthodox faith before our eyes, so that our judgment may seem to emanate from the face of Our Lord, have said and decreed that in the simulation of your revelations and apparitions you have been pernicious, seductive, presumptuous, of light belief, rash, superstitious, a witch, a blasphemer of God and His saints, a despiser of Him in His sacraments, a prevaricator of the divine teaching

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and the ecclesiastical sanctions, seditious, cruel, apostate, schismatic, erring gravely in our faith, and that by these means you have rashly trespassed against God and the Holy Church.

"Moreover, although you have very often, not by Us only but also by certain learned expert masters and doctors full of zeal for the salvation of your soul, been duly and sufficiently admonished to amend and reform yourself, and to submit to the disposition, decision and correction of Holy Mother Church, you would not, and cared not to do so, and even in the hardness of your heart stubbornly and obstinately declared that you would not, and on many occasions expressly refused to submit to Our Holy Father the Pope and the holy General Council. Therefore, we declare you of right excommunicate and heretic, being stubborn and obstinate in your crimes, excesses and errors; and we pronounce it meet to abandon you and do abandon you to the secular justice as a limb of Satan, infected with the leprosy of heresy, cut off from the Church, in order to prevent the infection of the other members of Christ; praying this same power on this side of death and the mutilation of your limbs to moderate its judgment towards you, and if true signs of penance appear in you to permit the sacrament of penance to be administered to you."

Attestations by the notaries appointed in this trial

"I, Guillaume Colles, otherwise called Boisguillaume, priest of the diocese of Rouen, by apostolic authority sworn notary in the archiepiscopal court of Rouen and in this trial, I attest that the collation of this present trial has been duly made with the original minute of III leaves, and therefore I have signed this present copy of the proceedings with my seal at the bottom

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of each leaf: In witness whereof I have signed with my own hand, followed by the two other notaries."

Boisguillaume.

"And I, Guillaume Manchon, priest of the diocese of Rouen, apostolic notary by imperial and pontifical authority, sworn notary of the archiepiscopal court of Rouen, and, with others, in this process, I attest that I was present with the other notaries in the collation of the said trial and that the collation was duly made with the original register of the proceedings. Therefore with the other notaries I have subscribed the present trial with my own hand and have affixed thereto my sign manual, as I was required."

G. Manchon.

"And I, Nicolas Taquel, priest of the diocese of Rouen, notary public by apostolic authority, sworn notary of the archiepiscopal court of Rouen and called to a part of this said process, I attest that with the other notaries I saw and heard the collation of this trial with the original register of the proceedings and that the collation has been duly made. Therefore with the other notaries I have subscribed the present trial with my own hand and have affixed thereto my sign manual, as I was required."

N. Taquel

[Here are the seals of the Bishop of Beauvais and of the Inquisitor.]

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