Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

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

Chapter 34: Subsequent Documents

SUBSEQUENT DOCUMENTS I Information given after the execution on many things said by her at her end and in articulo mortis. (1)

On Thursday, June 7th, 1431, we the said judges received ex officio information upon certain words spoken by the late Jeanne before many trustworthy persons, whilst she was still in prison and before she was brought to judgment.

And first the venerable and circumspect master Nicolas de Venderès, licentiate in canon law, archdeacon of Eu and canon of the church of Rouen, aged 52 or thereabouts, a witness produced, sworn, received and examined this day, declared upon oath that on Wednesday the last day of May, on the Eve of Corpus Christi last, the said Jeanne, being still in the prison where she was detained in the castle of Rouen, said that considering that the voices which came to her had promised her she should be delivered from prison, and she saw the contrary, she realized and knew that she had been and was deceived by them.

This Jeanne said and confessed that she had seen with her

(1) It is difficult to find anything more logically introduced than this conclusion to the Trial Record. Is it necessary to say that all this is as far as possible from the truth? That it is propaganda after execution? Here, more than in the Trial Record, the judges present their apologia. It is not signed by the notaries.

own eyes and heard with her own cars the voices and apparitions mentioned in this case: at this there were present we, the said judges, master Pierre Maurice, Thomas de Courcelles, Nicolas Loiseleur, brother Martin Ladvenu, master Jacques Le Camus, and several others.

Brother Martin Ladvenu, priest of the order of Preaching brothers, aged about 33, witness produced, received, sworn and examined, said and declared on oath that this Jeanne on the morning of the day an which sentence was delivered against her, said and confessed before she was brought to judgment, in the presence of masters Pierre Maurice, Nicolas Loiseleur, and the said Dominican brother Toutmouillé, that she knew and recognized that she had been deceived by the voices and apparitions which came to her; for these voices promised her, Jeanne, that she should be delivered and set free from prison, and she clearly perceived the contrary.

Asked who induced her to say this, he said that he himself, master Pierre Maurice and master Nicolas Loiseleur exhorted her for the salvation of her soul, and they asked her if it were true that she had received these voices and apparitions. She answered that it was, and continued to say so up to the end: yet she did not precisely describe, at least as far as he understood, in what form they came to her, except as far as he could remember, that they came in great multitude and in the least dimension. Moreover, he then heard Jeanne say and confess that because the clergy held and believed that any spirits which might come to her came and proceeded from evil spirits, she also held and believed in this matter as the clergy did, and would no longer put faith in these spirits. And in his opinion Jeanne was then of sound mind.

He said that on the same day he heard Jeanne say and confess that although in her confessions and answers she had boasted that an angel from God had brought the crown to him she


called her king, that she had accompanied the angel when he brought the crown, and many other things reported at greater length in the trial, nevertheless uncoerced and of her own free will she saw and confessed that in spite of all she had said and boasted on this subject, there was no angel who brought the crown; that she, Jeanne, was the angel who had told and promised her king that she would have him crowned at Reims if she were set to work; that there has been no other crown sent from God, whatever she had said and affirmed in the course of her trial on the subject of the crown and sign given to him she called her king.

The venerable and discreet master Pierre Maurice, professor of sacred theology, canon of Rouen, aged about 38 years, witness produced, received, sworn and examined on this day, said and deposed that he visited her in the morning of the day when the sentence was delivered against this Jeanne, whilst she was still in prison, to exhort her to save her soul: and whilst he was exhorting her and asking her about the angel who, according to her had brought the crown to him she called her king, he heard her answer that she herself was this angel.

Asked about the crown she promised him, and the host of angels who accompanied her, she answered that it was true that they appeared to her in the likeness of certain very minute things.

And finally when he had asked her if this apparition were real, she answered that it was, and whether good or evil spirits, they really had appeared to her, saying in French, "Soint bons, soint mauvais esperits, ilz me sont apparus." She said also that she had heard her voices mostly at the hour of Compline, when the bells were rung; and also in the morning when the bells were rung. He told her it appeared that they were evil spirits who had promised her deliverance and that she had been deceived, whereupon the said Jeanne answered that this


was true, she had been deceived. He heard her say that she referred to the Church to decide whether they were good or evil spirits, and in his opinion she was, when she said that, sound of mind and understanding.

Brother Jean Toutmouillé, priest of the order of Preaching brothers, about 34 years of age, witness produced, received, sworn, and examined on Thursday, said and deposed that on the morning of the day when the sentence was delivered against this Jeanne, to wit Wednesday, the Eve of the Feast of Corpus Christi, he, in the company of brother Martin Ladvenu of the same order, visited this Jeanne to exhort her to save her soul, and heard her say to Pierre Maurice who had preceded him there, that what she had said and confessed touching the crown was pure fiction, and she herself was the angel: this the said master Pierre took down in Latin. Then she was questioned about the voices which came to her, and the apparitions. She answered that she really had heard voices, chiefly when the bells were being rung at Compline or Matins; although master Pierre told her that sometimes when men hear bells they imagine they hear and catch certain words.

The said Jeanne said and confessed that she had had apparitions come to her, sometimes in a great multitude, sometimes in a small number, or in minute things: she did not otherwise describe their form and figure.

He said that on the same day, after our arrival in the room where she was detained, we the said bishop said to Jeanne in French, before the vicar of the lord Inquisitor, "Now, Jeanne, you have always told us that your voices promised you you would be delivered; you now see how they have deceived you. Tell us the truth now." Then Jeanne answered us, "Truly I see they have indeed deceived me." He did not hear her say anything more, except that at first, before we the judges had


arrived in her prison, Jeanne was asked whether she believed that the said voices and apparitions proceeded from good or evil spirits: and she replied, "I do not know. I refer me to my Mother the Church," or "to you who are of the Church." In his opinion Jeanne was then of sound mind, and he heard Jeanne herself confess that she was of sound mind.

Jacques Le Camus, priest, canon of Reims, aged about 53 years, witness produced, sworn and examined on this day, said and deposed under oath that in the morning of Wednesday, the Eve of Corpus Christi last, he accompanied us the said bishop to the room where Jeanne was detained in the castle of Rouen, and heard this Jeanne publicly confess in a voice audible to all those present that she Jeanne had seen the apparitions come to her and had heard their voices, promising that she should be delivered; and since she recognized that they had deceived her she believed they were -not good voices or good things. A little while later she confessed her sins to brother Martin of the order of Preaching brothers, and after receiving the sacrament of confession and penance, when the said brother was about to administer the sacrament of the Eucharist to her, and held the consecrated host in his hands, he asked her, "Do you believe this is the body of Christ?" And the said Jeanne answered, "Yes, and He alone can deliver me. I ask for it to be administered to me." Then the same brother said to her, "Do you still believe in these voices?" She answered, "I believe in God alone, and will no longer put faith in these voices, because they have deceived me."

Master Thomas de Courcelles, master of arts and bachelor of theology, aged about 30 years, witness produced, received, sworn and examined on this day, said and deposed under oath that on Wednesday, the Eve of Corpus Christi, he, being in our presence in the room where the said Jeanne was detained in the castle of Rouen, heard and understood us the said bishop to ask


Jeanne if her voices had told her she would be delivered. And she answered that her voices had told her she would be delivered, and she should keep a good countenance. She added, he thought, sententiously, "I see indeed that I have been deceived." And then we the said bishop told Jeanne she could then see that these voices were not good spirits, and did not come from God, for if they did, they would never have uttered false or lying things.

Master Nicolas Loiseleur, master of arts, canon of the churches of Rouen and Chartres, aged about 40 years, witness produced, received, sworn, and examined on this day, said and deposed under oath that on the morning of Wednesday, the Eve of Corpus Christi last, he went with the venerable master Pierre Maurice, professor of sacred theology, to the prison where Jeanne, commonly known as The Maid, was confined, to exhort and admonish her for her salvation. Required to speak the truth concerning the angel who, according to her statements in the trial, had brought to him she called her king a most precious crown of very fine gold, and urged not to hide the truth inasmuch as she had nothing more to do but consider the salvation of her soul, the witness heard her say that it was she, Jeanne, who had announced to her king the crown mentioned in the trial, that she was the angel, and there had been no other angel but herself.

And then she was asked if she had really sent a crown to him she called her king. She replied that there was nothing beyond the promise of coronation which she herself made to him, assuring him he would be crowned.

Master Nicolas Loiseleur said also that often, before master Pierre, the two Preaching brothers, ourselves, and many others, he heard Jeanne say that she really had received revelations and apparitions of spirits; that she had been deceived in these revelations, which she well recognized and perceived because


although they had promised her deliverance from prison, she saw only the contrary; upon whether these spirits were good or evil she referred to the clergy, but she put and would put no more faith in them.

He said that he exhorted her to destroy the error she had sown among the people, to confess publicly that she had deceived herself and the people by putting faith in such revelations and exhorting the people to believe in them; he exhorted her humbly to ask pardon for this. Jeanne answered that she would willingly do so, but she did not imagine that she would remember when the proper time came, that is when she was in judgment before the people; and she asked her confessor to remind her of it and of other things tending to her salvation. From this and from many other signs he thought that Jeanne was of sound mind, for she showed great signs of contrition and penitence for the crimes she had committed. He heard her, in prison before many witnesses and in public afterwards, ask with great contrition of heart pardon of the English and Burgundians for having caused them to be slain, put to flight and, as she confessed, sorely afflicted.


Here follows the tenor of the letters which our lord the King addressed to the emperor, to the kings, dukes and other princes of all Christendom

"Your imperial highness, most serene king and our very dear brother, is famous for the devout affection and zeal which he exercises to the honor of the Catholic faith and the glory of Christ's name: your mighty efforts and strenuous labors are assiduously directed towards the protection of the faithful people and the overthrow of the malice of heretics, and your spirits exult with great joy whenever you learn that the holy faith has been exalted in your lands and the pestilence of error


oppressed. Wherefore we are moved to write to your serene highness upon the just punishment which for her faults a certain lying prophetess who not long ago appeared in our kingdom of France recently suffered.

"A certain woman whom the vulgar called The Maid had in fact arisen, who with an astonishing presumption, and contrary to natural decency, had adopted man's dress, assumed military arms, dared to take part in the massacre of men in bloody encounters and appeared in divers battles. Her presumption grew until she boasted that she was sent from God to lead their martial struggles, and that St. Michael, St. Gabriel, a host of other angels, with St. Catherine and St. Margaret, appeared visibly to her. So for almost a whole year she gradually seduced the people until the greater part turned away from the truth, put their trust in fables about the accomplishments of this superstitious woman which common report spread through almost the whole world. At last, taking compassion on His people whom He perceived to be stirred too easily by these dangerous and novel credulities, before receiving any proof that she was inspired by God, the divine mercy delivered this woman into our hands and power. Although she had inflicted many defeats upon our men and had brought great harm to our kingdoms, and it would therefore have been permissible for us to submit her forthwith to grave punishments, nevertheless not for one moment did we design to avenge our injury in that way or commit her to the secular authority for punishment. We were summoned by the bishop of the diocese in which she was captured to surrender her for judgment to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, for she was commonly accused of grave and scandalous crimes hostile to the orthodox faith and the Christian religion. We therefore, as befits a Christian king reverencing the ecclesiastical authority with filial affection, immediately delivered the said woman to the judgment of Our


Holy Mother Church and the jurisdiction of the said bishop.

"And certainly he, with all solemnity and most honorable gravity, after securing the collaboration of the vicar of the Inquisitor of Heretical Error, conducted this famous trial for the honor of God and the salutary edification of the people. After this woman had been for many days examined by the said judges, they submitted her confessions and statements to the decision of the doctors and masters of the University of Paris and many other learned authorities, and according to their advice they declared this woman to be manifestly superstitious, idolatrous, a prophetess, a caller up of demons, blasphemous towards God and His saints, schismatic and greatly erring from the faith of Jesus Christ. Indeed, to purge this miserable sinner of her pernicious crimes and to medicine her soul in the extremity of its frailty, she was for many days repeatedly admonished by charitable exhortations to reject all her errors, to walk in the straight path of truth and to keep herself from the grave dangers which threatened her body and soul.

"But the spirit of pride took hold of her mind so that her iron heart could by no means be softened by healthful teaching and salutary counsel. On the contrary, she obstinately boasted that she had done it all at the command of God and of the saints who visibly appeared to her; and, which was still worse, that she recognized no earthly judge, would submit to none except God Himself and the blessed ones of the triumphant land, and spurned the judgment of our Holy Father the Pope, of the Council General and of , all the Church Militant. From which the said judges, seeing the hardness of her heart, summoned this woman before the people, and declared her errors to her in a public sermon, addressing final warnings to her. At last the judges' sentence of condemnation was begun; but before the reading of it was finished this


woman altered her former way of speech and announced that she would utter better things. This her judges welcomed with joy, hoping to have redeemed her body and soul from perdition, and they lent willing ears to her speech: then she submitted herself to the authority of the Church, loudly denied and abjured her errors and pernicious crimes, and signed with her own hand the formula of this recantation and abjuration.

"As our pious Mother Church rejoices when a sinner repents, and to the fold brings back the lamb wandering in the wilderness, so she confined her in prison for her salutary penance. But the fire of her pride which then seemed stifled, renewed by the breath of devils, suddenly burst out in poisonous flames; this wretched woman returned to her errors, to her false infamies which she lately had vomited away. Finally, as the ecclesiastical sanctions decree, to avoid the infection of the other members of Christ, she was given up to the judgment of the secular power which decided that her body was to be burned. Seeing then the nearness of her latter end, this wretched woman openly acknowledged and fully confessed that the spirits which she claimed had visibly appeared to her were only evil and lying spirits, that her deliverance from prison had been falsely promised by the spirits, who she confessed had mocked and deceived her.

"Such was the issue, such her end, most serene king, which we have thought it wise to make known to you so that your royal highness may perfectly understand the thing itself, and inform others of this woman's death. For there is one thing which we esteem altogether necessary for the faithful people, that by your serene highness and other princes both ecclesiastical and secular the Catholic peoples may zealously be taught not to put their faith lightly in superstitions and erroneous frivolities, especially at a time such as we have just experienced, when we have in divers parts seen many false prophets


and sowers of errors arise, who, armed with their impudent boldness against our Holy Mother Church, would doubtless infect the whole people of Christ if heavenly mercy and its faithful ministers did not endeavor with watchful care to repulse and punish the efforts of these evil men.

"May the Lord Jesus Christ keep your highness, most serene king, to protect his Church and the Christian religion, for many days in prosperity and the fulfillment of your desires.

"Given at Rouen, June 8th, 1431"

Here follows the tenor of the letters addressed by our lord the King to the prelates of the Church, to the dukes, counts and other nobles and to the cities of his kingdom of France

"Reverend father in God, it is fairly common report everywhere how more than two years ago the woman who called herself Jeanne the Maid, a false prophetess, did against divine law and the estate of her sex, dress in man's clothes, a thing abominable to God, and in that condition journeyed to our chief enemy, whom, with others of his party, clergy, nobles and populace, she frequently gave to understand that she was sent from God, and presumptuously boasted that she often had personal and visible communication with St. Michael and a great host of angels and saints of Paradise, as well as with St. Catherine and St. Margaret. By these falsehoods and the hope she held out of future victories, she withdrew the hearts of many men and women from the way of truth, and converted them to fables and lies. She clad herself also in arms such as are worn by knights and squires, raised a standard, and, in excessive outrage, pride and presumption, asked to be given and allowed to bear the very noble and excellent arms of France, which she in fact obtained, and wore in many conflicts and assaults, as her brothers are said to have done: they were a


shield azure with two fleurs-de-lis or, and a sword between supporting a crown. In such condition she went to the fields and led men of arms and passage in troops and great companies to commit and exercise inhuman cruelties by shedding human blood, causing popular seditions and tumults, inciting the people to perjury and pernicious rebellions, false and superstitious beliefs, by disturbing all true peace and renewing mortal Wars, permitting herself to be worshiped and revered by many as a holy woman, and working many damnable things too long to describe, which have nevertheless been well known in many places to the great scandal of almost all Christendom. But, taking compassion on His loyal people, the divine power did not leave them in danger or suffer them to dwell in the vain, perilous and novel credulities in which they so lightly believed, and in His great mercy and clemency permitted the said woman to be captured before Compiègne and delivered into our power and jurisdiction. We were forthwith summoned by the bishop of the diocese in which she had been taken to surrender her to him, her ecclesiastical judge, as accused and defamed of the crime of treason against God. As much out of reverence for Our Holy Mother Church to whose ordinances we prefer our own acts and desires, as we ought, as for the honor and exultation of our holy faith, we delivered the said Jeanne to him to be tried, for we did not wish the men and officers of our secular justice to avenge or punish her, as we might legally have done in view of the great harm, inconvenience, horrible murders, detestable cruelties and other unnumbered ills which she had wrought against our lordship and our loyal and obedient people. This bishop, in conjunction with the vicar of the Inquisitor of Errors and Heresies, having called together a great number of solemn masters and doctors of theology and canon law, with all solemnity and due gravity, opened the proceedings against this Jeanne. After she had been


questioned for many days by him, and by the Inquisitor, her judges, they submitted her confessions and statements to the mature consideration of the said masters and doctors, and in a general manner to all the Faculties of our very dear and beloved daughter the University of Paris, to whom the confessions and statements were sent. Following these opinions and decisions the judges found this woman superstitious, a witch, idolatrous, a caller up of demons, blasphemous towards God and His saints, schismatic and greatly erring in the faith of Jesus Christ. And to reduce and restore her to the union and communion of our Holy Mother Church, to purge her of such horrible, detestable and pernicious crimes and sins, to cure and keep her soul from the eternal pain of damnation, she was often charitably and gently admonished at great length to put behind her and reject all her errors and humbly to return to the way and narrow path, or she put herself in great danger of body and soul. But the perilous spirit of pride and outrageous presumption which ever attempts to prevent and obstruct the union and safety of loyal Christians, so controlled and held this Jeanne in its chains that no healthful teaching or counsel, no administration of gentle exhortation, could humble or soften the hardness and stubbornness of her heart. Nay, she often boasted that everything she had done was well done, by the command of God and the virgin saints who had visibly appeared to her: and what is worse, she did and would recognize on earth God alone and the saints of Paradise, and refused and rejected the judgment of our Holy Father the Pope, of the Council General, and the Church Militant and Universal.

"Now the ecclesiastical judges, seeing the persistence of her hardness and obstinacy of spirit, had her brought before the clergy and the people assembled in great multitude, and in their presence her deeds, crimes and errors were solemnly and publicly preached, set forth and declared by a notable master of


theology, to the exaltation of our said Christian faith, the extirpation of errors, the edification and correction of the Christian people. Once more she was charitably admonished to return to the union of Holy Church, and correct her faults and errors: but she remained headstrong and stubborn. Wherefore the judges proceeded to pronounce against her the sentence, lawfully ordained for such cases. But before the sentence was altogether read she began, it appeared, to regain her courage, saying that she would return to Holy Church, which the judges and clergy willingly and joyfully heard, and favorably received, hoping by such means to redeem her body and soul from perdition and torment. Then she submitted herself to the ordinance of the Holy Church, recanted with her own lips and publicly abjured her errors and detestable crimes, signing with her own hand the formula of recantation and abjuration.

"As our Mother Church rejoices when the sinner repents, wishing to restore to the others the lamb wandering in the desert, she condemned this Jeanne to prison for her salutary penance. But hardly had the fire of her pride seemed extinguished in her, when under the breath of the Enemy it burst out into poisonous flames, and soon the wretched woman fell back into the errors and false madness which she had formerly professed and since recanted and abjured. Therefore, as the judgments and institutions of the Church ordain, to prevent the contamination of the other members of Jesus Christ, she was again publicly admonished, and for her relapse into her wonted crimes and faults was abandoned to the secular justice which forthwith condemned her to be burned. When she saw her end approach she fully recognized and acknowledged that the spirits which she said had so often appeared to her were evil and false, that the promises they had made her were untrue, and so she confessed that she had been mocked and deceived by the spirits.


"Such was the issue of her works, such the end of this woman, with which we acquaint you by these presents, reverend father in God, so that you may be perfectly informed of this matter, and in such places of your diocese as you may think fit you may by public sermons or other means make these things known for the good and exultation of our holy faith and the edification of the Christian people who have so long been deceived and abused by this woman's works. Thus you may, as befits your dignity, assure that none among the people entrusted to you shall dare to put faith lightly in such errors and dangerous superstitions, especially at the present time when we see many false prophets and sowers of damnable errors arising against our Holy Mother Church in mad audacity and outrageous presumption, who might perhaps infect the Christian people with the virus of false belief, if Jesus Christ in His mercy did not oppose them, and you and His ministers following your profession did not diligently endeavor to repulse and punish the wills and mad audacity of these evil men.

"Given in our town of Rouen, June 28th, 1431


Here follows the recantation of a certain friar who had spoken evil of the judges who tried this woman

"Reverend father in Christ and lord, and you, religious person and master, vicar of the religious person Jean Graverent renowned professor of sacred theology and Inquisitor of Heretical Error in the kingdom of France, especially appointed by the authority of the Holy See, I, Pierre Bosquier friar of the order of Preaching brothers, a miserable sinner and your subject, being desirous as a good and true Catholic to obey in all things my Holy Mother the Church and you the judges in this case, with all humility and devotion, as I confess I am bound to


do; as from information made at your command you have found me guilty of the following: that I on the last day of May, on the eve of the Feast of Corpus Christi, I said that you and those who judged this woman Jeanne, commonly called The Maid, had done and did wrong; which words, seeing that this Jeanne had appeared before you in judgment and on trial of faith, are evil-sounding and appear to incline somewhat to heretical error; which words, so help me God, since it has been found that I uttered them, were said and uttered by me in thoughtlessness and inadvertence, and in drink. I confess that in this matter I have gravely sinned, and I ask pardon of our Holy Mother Church and of you, my judges and most feared lords, on handed knees and with clasped hands: I ask mercy of the Church, and most humbly submit to your correction, amendment and punishment, humbly praying that it may be without rigor."

V Here follows the sentence of this friar

"In the name of the lord, amen. We, Pierre by divine mercy bishop of Beauvais and brother Jean Le Maistre, appointed in this city and diocese of Rouen by the renowned doctor Jean Graverent, Inquisitor of Heretical Error, himself appointed by apostolic authority to that office in the kingdom of France, to be his deputy and vicar in all that concerns the following case, having seen the facts of the process in matter of faith against the religious person brother Pierre Bosquier, and having considered the information collected at our command upon the charges of which he is accused; and seeing that it was and is perfectly manifest from the information that the accused said and uttered, in a certain place before few witnesses, not long after we had by our final sentence surrendered a certain woman, Jeanne, commonly called The Maid, to the secular


justice as a heretic, that we did wrong, and that all who judged her also did wrong, by which he seemed to favor this Jeanne and grievously sinned and erred: seeing nevertheless that the said brother Pierre declared his desire, as a good and true Catholic, to obey in all things with humility and devotion our Holy Mother Church and Us, his judges, has willingly submitted to our orders and correction, and has declared himself ready to obey our commands, we, preferring merciful to rigorous justice, and remembering the quality of his person and that these words were spoken in drink, absolve him from the sentences he has incurred thereby, keep him in the fellowship of the Catholics, and restore him to good repute, if need be. Nevertheless we condemn him to imprisonment with bread and water until Easter next in the monastery of the Preaching brothers, in this final sentence pronounced by us in tribunal in these terms, subject to our mercy and moderation. Given at Rouen, August 8th, 1431."


Copy of the letters addressed by the University of Paris to our Holy Father the Pope, to the Emperor, and the College of Cardinals

"We believe, most Holy Father, that vigilant endeavors to prevent the contamination of the Holy Church by the poison of the errors of false prophets and evil men, are the more necessary since the end of the world appears to be at hand. For the doctor of the nations latterly announced these dangerous times to come, when men will no longer hold to sound beliefs: for they will turn away from the truth, and be converted to fables. The gospel also said: 'There will arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.' So when we see new prophets arise who boast of receiving


revelations from God and the blessed of the triumphant land, when we see them announce to men the future and things passing the keenness of human thoughts, daring to accomplish new and unwonted acts, then it is fitting to our pastoral solicitude to set all our energies to prevent them from overwhelming the people, too eager to believe new things, by these strange doctrines, before the spirits which they claim to come from God have been confirmed. It would indeed be easy for these crafty and dangerous sowers of deceitful inventions to infect the Catholic people, if every one, without the approbation and consent of our Holy Mother Church, were free to invent supernatural revelations at his own pleasure, and could usurp the authority of God, and His saints. Therefore, most Holy Father, the watchful diligence lately shown by the reverend father in Christ, the lord bishop of Beauvais and the vicar of the lord Inquisitor of Heretical Error, appointed by the apostolic Holy See to the kingdom of France, for the protection of the Christian religion, seems to us most commendable. For these have been at pains to examine carefully a certain woman, captured in the limits of the diocese of Beauvais, wearing the costume and armor of a man, accused judicially before them of falsely inventing divine revelations, of grave crimes against the orthodox faith: and they showed the whole truth of her actions.

"And after they had acquainted us with the course of the trial and asked us to give them our opinion on certain articles affirmed by her, so that it should not be said that silence has covered up that which was done for the exaltation of the orthodox faith, we resolved to inform your Highness of what we received. As we were instructed by the said lord judges, this woman, calling herself Jeanne the Maid, of her own accord, in her trial, confessed many points which, weighed by the diligent examination of many prelates, maturely considered by the doctors and other men learned in canon and civil law, submitted


to the decision and judgment of our University, proved she should be held superstitious, a prophetess, a caller up of demons, idolatrous, blasphemous towards God and the Saints, schismatic and in every way erring in the faith of Jesus Christ. Full of affliction and sorrow for the soul of this miserable sinner caught in the pernicious snares of so many crimes, her judges, by frequent warnings and charitable exhortations, set all their efforts to draw her back from the path of her error and to effect her subjugation to the judgment of our Holy Mother Church. But the spirit of wickedness had so completely filled her heart that for a long time she rejected our salutary monitions with a hardened heart, refused to submit to any living man, of whatever dignity, or to the holy Council General, and recognized no other judge than God. At last it came to pass that the persevering labor of the said judges slightly diminished her great presumption: listening to their sound counsels, she denied and verbally abjured her errors, in the presence of a great multitude of people; she subscribed to and signed with her own hand a formula of abjuration and recantation. But hardly had a few days passed, when this wretched woman fell back into her former foolishness, and adhered once more to the errors which she had denied. Therefore the said judges condemned her, in their final decree, as a relapsed heretic, and gave her over to the judgment of the secular power. Now, when this woman learned that the destruction of her body was near, she confessed before all with many lamentations that she had been mocked and deceived by these spirits which she said had appeared visibly before her; and repenting in articulo mortis, she asked pardon of all: and so quitted this life. Wherefore it was clearly recognized by all how dangerous it was, how fearful, to give too light credence to the modern inventions which have for some time past been scattered in this most Christian kingdom, not by this woman


only, but by many others also; and all the faithful of the Christian religion must be warned by such a sad example not to act so hastily after their own desires, but to listen to the teachings of the Church and the instruction of the prelates rather than the fables of superstitious women. For if we are at last through our own faults arrived at the point where witches falsely prophesying in God's name but without His authority, are better received by the frivolous people than pastors and doctors of the Church to whom Christ formerly said, 'Go ye and teach the nations,' the end is come, religion will perish, faith is in decay, the Church is trampled underfoot and the iniquity of Satan dominates the whole world. Which may Jesus Christ prevent, and under the happy direction of your Beatitude, keep His flock from stain and contamination."

For the College of Cardinals

"Most reverend fathers, we have esteemed it good for the welfare of the faith and the Christian religion to declare to the Holy Father and Sovereign Pontiff what we have heard and known upon the condemnation of the scandals committed in this kingdom by a certain woman; and we wrote to His Holiness in these terms, 'We believe, most Holy Father, that vigilant endeavors, etc.' Since, reverend fathers, Our Lord has placed you at this sublime vantage-point of the Holy See to discover what is happening in the whole world, especially that which concerns the integrity of the faith, we have considered that it was in no way proper for this matter to remain unknown to you, who are in fact the light of the world, from whom no semblance of truth must be hid, so that all loyal Christians may receive salutary instructions from you in matters of faith. May the Most High keep you in happiness to the salvation of His Holy Church!"




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