Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

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

Chapter 25: The Deliberations of the University of Paris are Read

Saturday, May 19th. The deliberations of the University of Paris are read, and the doctors give their opinions

On Saturday following, May 19th, before us the said judges in the chapel of the archiepiscopal manor of Rouen, where we were constituted tribunal, there appeared. the venerable lords and masters Gilles, abbot of Fécamp, Guillaume, abbot of Mortemer, doctors of theology; Nicolas, abbot of Jumièges, Guillaume, abbot of Cormeilles, doctors of canon law; and the abbot of Préaux, the priors of St. Lô and of Longueville, Jean de Nibat, Jacques Guesdon, Jean Fouchier, Maurice du Quesnay, Jean Le Fèvre, Guillaume Le Boucher, Pierre Houdenc, Jean de Châtillon, Erard Emengart, Jean Beaupère, Pierre Maurice, Nicolas Midi, doctors of theology; William Haiton, Nicolas Couppequesne, Thomas de Courcelles, Richard de Grouchet, Pierre Minier, Raoul Le Sauvage, Jean Pigache, bachelors of sacred theology; Raoul Roussel, doctor of canon and civil law; Robert Le Barbier, Denis Gastinel, licentiates in canon law; André Marguerie, in civil law; Nicolas de Venderès, Jean Pinchon, in canon law; Jean Alespée, Gilles Deschamps, Nicolas Caval, in civil law; Jean Bruillot, licentiate in canon law; and Nicolas Loiseleur, canons of Rouen; Jean Le Doulx, Guillaume de Livet, Pierre Carel, Geoffroy du Crotay, Richard des Saulx, Bureau de Cormeilles, Aubert Morel, Jean Duchemin, Laurent du Busc, Jean Colombel,


Raoul Anguy, Guérould Poustel, licentiates in either canon or civil law.

In their presence we the said bishop explained how we had recently received a considerable number of the deliberations and opinions of notable doctors and masters upon the statements and confessions of the said Jeanne; and that from these resolutions we might have proceeded to conclude the judgment of the case, for they were assuredly sufficient. Nevertheless, to show our honor and reverence for our mother the University of Paris, and to obtain a clearer and more detailed elucidation of the matter, to the great peace of our conscience and the edification of all, we had judged it wise to transmit the said statements to our mother the University, and in particular to the Faculties of Theology and Decrees, and to ask the advice of the learned masters of the University, in particular those of these two Faculties. The University, and in particular these two Faculties, burning with no ordinary zeal for the faith, gave us their diligent, mature and solemn counsel upon each of the statements, and addressed them to us in the form of a Public Instrument. Which deliberations contained in the said instrument we ordered to be read aloud, word for word, clearly and publicly, and all the said doctors and masters heard them. And after they had heard the reading of these deliberations of the University and the two Faculties, the said masters gave and expounded to us their opinions, in conformity with those of the said Faculties and University, in addition to the opinions they had already formulated, upon the manner of procedure which we ought henceforth to adopt. We have written below the tenor of these deliberations and of the letters of the University.

First follows the tenor of the letters addressed by the University to Our Lord the King


"To the most excellent, high and mighty prince, the King of France and England, our most feared and sovereign lord. Most excellent prince, our most feared and sovereign lord and father, your royal excellence ought in all things carefully endeavor to keep entire the honor, reverence and glory of the divine Majesty and of His Holy Catholic faith, by the extirpation of errors, false doctrines and all other offenses hostile thereto. In the continuance of this your highness will in all things have effective aid, succor and prosperity through the grace of the Most High, and receive large increase of your high renown. To this end your most noble highness with God's grace began a most excellent work concerning our holy faith, namely the legal proceedings against this woman known as The Maid, against her scandals, errors and crimes, which are manifest in this entire realm, and the form and manner of which we have repeatedly written to you. With the matter and form of this trial we are acquainted by letters we have received, from the account supplied in your name in our general assembly by our agents the very honorable and most reverend masters Jean Beaupère, Jacques de Touraine, Nicolas Midi, masters of theology; who have brought and given us answers on other points with which they were entrusted.

"In truth when we had heard and well considered this account, it appeared to us that in this woman's trial extreme gravity and a holy and just procedure had been observed, which must be pleasing to all men. Therefore we give most humble thanks, first to the sovereign Majesty, then to your most high nobility, with a humble and loyal affection; and finally to all those who from reverence of God have given their pains, labor and energies to this matter, for the good of our holy faith.

"Further, most dread and sovereign lord, according to the pleasure of your instructions and demands in letters and through these reverend masters, after many assemblies as well


as great and mature deliberations among ourselves, we return to your excellence our counsel, conclusions and deliberations on the points, statements and articles which were transmitted and explained to us; and we are always prepared to employ ourselves whole-heartedly in matters so directly concerning our faith, as our profession directly enjoins, and as we have at all times shown to the best of our ability. If anything further remained to be said or expounded by us, these honorable and reverend masters, who now return to your highness and who were present at our deliberations, will be able to set forth, expound and declare all that pertains thereto in accordance with our intention. May it please your magnificence to give faith to all they shall say in our name and receive them with especial recommendation: for in truth they have shown great diligence in the said matters from pure and holy affection, unsparing of their efforts, their persons and their faculties, and careless of the great and threatening dangers particularly on the roads; and indeed through their wisdom, their ordered and discreet prudence this matter has been and shall be conducted to its end, if it please God, with wisdom, holiness and reason.

"Finally we humbly beseech your excellent highness to bring this matter as soon and diligently as possible to its conclusion, for in truth the length and delays are perilous, and a great and notable reparation is necessary to bring the people, so scandalized by this woman, back to a true and holy doctrine and belief. To the entire exaltation and integrity of our faith and for the praise of the eternal God who may in His grace maintain your excellency in prosperity until you reach eternal glory. Written at Paris in our solemn assembly, met at St. Bernard, on May 14th, 1431. Your most humble daughter the University of Paris."

Signed: Hébert.


Then follows the tenor of the letters addressed by the University of Paris to Us the said bishop

"To the reverend father and lord in Christ the bishop of Beauvais. The diligent labor of pastoral vigilance is shown to be animated by an immense fervor of most singular charity, my lord and most reverend father, when a most firm righteousness never, in its stable and constant industry, out of pious concern for the public safety, ceases from work on behalf of our holy faith. The virile and famous martial spirit of your most sincere fervor showed its true measure when thanks to your valiant and forceful probity this woman commonly known as The Maid was brought into the hands of your justice by the propitious grace of Christ; by her poison widely discharged the most Christian flock of almost the entire western world seemed infected: the vigilant solicitude of your reverence which is ever at pains to perform the duties of a true pastor did not fail to oppose thereto a public obstacle.

"In our general assembly divers famous doctors of theology, our agents, masters Jean Beaupère, Jacques de Touraine and Nicolas Midi elegantly explained to us the form and conduct of the procedures already begun against the grave offenses of this perfidious woman, with certain propositions, articles, letters from our lord the king and from your reverence, credentials and demands. When we had heard their speeches in full we resolved to address our most active gratitude to your highness and reverence who has never displayed indifference when this celebrated work of exalting the divine name is in question, or the integrity and glory of the orthodox faith, and the salutary edification of the faithful people. We approved of this celebrated trial, and of its form, and considered it to be according to the holy canons and to emanate from the most eloquent and experienced minds. And out of respect for our lord the king and our ancient devotion to your reverence


we granted all the requests which the said doctors presented to us verbally or in writing, since we desired with all our strength and sincere affection to please you, reverend father.

"On the principal question we took care to hold many most serious consultations and deliberations in which, after the matter had been frequently discussed with all liberty and candor, we decided to have drawn up in writing these deliberations and consultations at which in the end we had unanimously arrived: these the said doctors our agents who return to your reverence will faithfully show you. They will take care also to explain certain other things more fittingly explained at great length and which we more fully declare in our letters to our lord the king of which a copy is enclosed. May your reverence receive with especial recommendation these eminent doctors who have not spared their energies: who, heedless of perils and labors, have not ceased toiling at this matter of faith. To the accomplishment of this most famous task which has not been vainly undertaken we will give our succor and perseverance to your reverence's tireless zeal until reason shall decide that the divine Majesty has been appeased by a reparation proportionate to the offense, that the truth of our orthodox faith remains stainless, and the iniquitous and scandalous demoralization of the people is past. Then when the Prince of shepherds shall appear he will grant to the pastoral fervor of your reverence a crown of eternal glory. Written at Paris in our general assembly solemnly held at St. Bernard on May 13th, 1431. The Rector and the University of Paris."

Signed: Hébert.

Then follows the deliberation of the University of Paris

"In the name of the Lord, amen. Be it known and patent to all by the tenor of this present public instrument that in


the year of the Lord 1431, indiction nine, on the 19th [29th] day of April in the vacancy of the apostolic see our mother the University of Paris was assembled and called together solemnly at St. Bernard in respect of two articles. The first and principal of these articles was to hear the reading of letters and propositions from the most Christian prince our lord the king, from his council and the lord judges, regarding the proceedings in matter of faith against a certain woman of the name of Jeanne commonly called The Maid, and to deliberate thereupon; the second was ordinary, concerning supplications and complaints. These articles were expounded by the venerable and prudent master Pierre de Gouda, master of arts, rector of the University and president of the assembly.

"When these letters had been opened and read, and their credentials explained by one of the ambassadors of our lord the king, a member of his council and one of the judges sent to the University, the twelve articles inserted below were read: My lord the rector discovered, proposed and declared that the content of the articles just mentioned was important and difficult, and concerned the orthodox faith, the Christian religion and the holy laws. He said that the task of considering and qualifying these articles concerned especially the venerable Faculties of Theology and Decrees, according to their professions; he added that the University could not deliberate and decide upon the judgment of these matters and articles without the aid of the said Faculties; the decision and judgment of the Faculties would then be submitted to the University, together or separately. After this explanation the rector opened the deliberation on each and every one of the things which had just been set forth in the general assembly of all the masters and doctors here present. Whereupon each Faculty or Nation retired and met separately in the place where it customarily assembled to consider the most difficult matters


and tasks; and each of them continued to hold sessions there. After the mature- deliberations of the Faculties and Nations the private decisions of each were made public in accordance with custom and were reported in common. Finally the University through the offices of the lord rector and in conformity with the deliberations of the Faculties and Nations resolved to entrust the decisions of this matter and the qualifying of the said articles to the Faculties of Theology and Decrees, and their deliberations should be reported to the University.

"In the year and indiction aforesaid on the fourteenth day of March, during the vacancy of the apostolic see, the said mother the University of Paris was solemnly assembled at St. Bernard to consider two articles. The chief one was to hear the reading of the deliberations of the venerable Faculties of Theology and Decrees on a matter of faith according to the commission of the University dated April [29th]. After the matter of this article was fully and gravely expounded by the office of the lord rector, the said lord required the Faculties present at the assembly to make known and report their deliberations on this subject, and their judgment on the articles, in the presence of the University. Whereupon the venerable Faculty of Theology through the medium of master Jean de Troies, then vice-dean of the Faculty, answered that on many frequent occasions each of the said Faculties of Theology and Decrees in whole or in special commissions had assembled to judge the matter and qualify the articles. In the end they each after long and mature deliberation had doctrinally reached a decision according to the exact tenor of a certain memorandum which master Jean held in his hands. In the presence of the University he first displayed and then read it in a clear and loud voice, with the articles already mentioned. The tenor of these articles, judgments and qualifications contained in the said memorandum are given below word for word."



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