Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

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

Chapter 30: Sentence after the Abjuration

Sentence after the Abjuration

And lastly, after we the judges had received her recantation and abjuration as is set forth above, we the said bishop pronounced our definitive sentence in these terms:

"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 in order 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 of perdition and error, which by their varied and foreign doctrines might seduce Christ's faithful people, if our Holy Mother Church with the aid of healthy doctrine and canonical sanctions, 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, especially appointed by him to officiate in this cause, you, Jeanne, commonly called The Maid, have been arraigned to account for many pernicious crimes

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and have been charged in a matter of 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 of 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 theology and both canon and civil law 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 the honor of the orthodox faith before our eyes, so that our judgment may seem to emanate from the face of Our Lord, we say, decree and pronounce that you have gravely sinned by falsely simulating revelations and apparitions, by seducing others, by lightly and rashly believing, by uttering superstitious prophecies, by blaspheming God and His saints, by prevaricating to the law, the Holy Scripture, and the canonical sanctions, by despising God in His sacraments, by fomenting seditions, by apostasy, by falling into the crime of heresy and erring on many points in the Catholic faith. But inasmuch as you have, after repeated charitable admonitions, by God's help through a long delay returned into the bosom of Our Holy Mother Church, and with contrite heart unfeignedly, as we would fain believe, have openly renounced your errors, which since they have lately been reproved in a public sermon, you have with your own lips publicly abjured along with all heresy: according to the form appointed by ecclesiastical sanctions we unbind you by these presents from the bonds of

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excommunication which enchained you, on condition that you return to the Church with a true heart and sincere faith, observing what is and shall be enjoined by us. But inasmuch as you have rashly sinned against God and the Holy Church, we finally and definitely condemn you for salutary penance to perpetual imprisonment, with the bread of sorrow and water of affliction, that you may weep for your faults and never henceforth commit anything to occasion weeping."

The afternoon of the same day, May 24th. Jeanne puts on woman's dress

In the afternoon of the same day we, brother Jean Le Maistre, vicar aforementioned, accompanied by the noble lords and masters Nicolas Midi, Nicolas Loiseleur, Thomas de Courcelles, and brother Ysambard de La Pierre, and several others, repaired to the prison where Jeanne then was. We and our assessors explained to her how God had on this day been most merciful to her, and how the clergy had shown her great mercy by receiving her into the grace and pardon of our Holy Mother Church: how therefore it was right that she, Jeanne, should humbly submit to and obey the sentence and ordinance of the lord judges and ecclesiastics, and should altogether abandon her errors and her former inventions, never to return to them; how, if she did return to them, the Church would not receive her to clemency, and she would be wholly abandoned. Moreover, she was told that she must put off her male costume and take woman's dress, as the Church had commanded.

Jeanne answered that she would willingly wear woman's dress, and in all things obey and submit to the clergy. She was given woman's dress which she put on immediately she had taken off the male costume: she desired and allowed her hair, which had hitherto been cut short round the ears, to be shaved off and removed.

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