Thursday, May 15, 2008

1252 Pope Innocent IV issues Ad extirpanda

Ad extirpanda is the incipit designating a papal bull issued on May 15, 1252, by Pope Innocent IV, which was confirmed by Pope Alexander IV on November 30, 1259, and by Pope Clement IV on November 3, 1265. It explicitly authorized the use of torture for eliciting confessions from heretics during the Inquisition, although it also limited its uses. Innocent IV reasoned in his bull that as heretics are "murderers of souls as well as robbers of God’s sacraments and of the Christian faith...", they are "to be coerced—as are thieves and bandits—into confessing their errors and accusing others, although one must stop short of danger to life or limb." The bull conceded to the State a portion of the property to be confiscated from convicted heretics. The State in return assumed the burden of carrying out the penalty.

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