There, for seventeen years, Friar Bernard [Gui] directed the hunt for heretics, and their reconciliation of punishment. During the whole period he tried 930 cases, an average of about 54 a year, or slightly more than one a week. This conveys an impression of ceaseless activity that is perhaps far from accurate. He presided at only 18 sermones generales during the whole period. This suggests that he dealt with his heretics in batches, about once a year on the average…

[Of the 930 sentences he passed,] [t]he 42 whom he found to be obstinate and incurable heretics, with no hope of reformation, he turned over to the secular officials for the usual penalty. These constitute about eight percent, by the highest possible reckoning, of the total number of the condemned…Of the forty-two burned at the stake, seventeen were condemned at one sermon generalis on April 5, 1310; this suggests that the Inquisition had discovered some unusually large and dangerous conspiracy, and had dealt rigorously with it. Bernard failed in eight of every hundred cases that he prosecuted – for the Inquisitor deemed it a failure when he could not win a man back to a sane Christian life, and had to turn him over to the State. The general average for the Medieval Inquisition may have been higher. It has been estimated that ten out of every hundred convictions ended at the stake.

William Thomas Walsh, Characters of the Inquisition (1940)


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