Joan keeps the King's secret—defends her male attire—and refuses to acknowledge the authority of her judges.
ARTICLE 1 of the seventy that formed the Act of Accusation against Joan, was really a sort of preamble setting forth that according to Divine and Canon and Civil Law, the Bishop and the Inquisitor of the Faith were in duty bound to drive out of the Kingdom of France all heresies and witchcraft and crimes against the Faith; and to punish all offenders against the Faith, lay or cleric, "whatever be their estate, sex, quality, and pre-eminence," and whether they committed the crimes in Bishop Cauchon's diocese or any part of France, he was competent to judge them.
It was long and wordy and in the stilted, legal phraseology of those times; but above is the substance of it as it comes down to us and after it came the question, which was repeated ceremoniously after every one of the seventy articles as they were read to Joan, one by one, in a loud voice and in the French tongue, by Thomas de Courcelles:
"What have you to say to this article?"
"I believe surely that our Lord, the Pope of Rome, the Bishops, and the other clergy, are established to guard the Christian Faith and punish those who are found wanting therein, but as for me, for my doings, I submit myself to the Heavenly Church—that is to say to God, to the Virgin Mary, and to the Saints in Paradise. I firmly believe I have not wavered in the Christian Faith, nor would I ever."
Article 2 accused Joan, "not only this year, but from her infancy," not only in Bishop Cauchon's diocese, but many other places, of having "composed, contrived and ordained a number of sacrileges and superstitions; she made herself a diviner; she caused herself to be adored and venerated; she invoked demons and evil spirits; consulted them, associated. with them, made and had with them compacts, treaties, conventions," etc., and caused others to do 'the same. Not only that but maintained that all that sorcery, etc., was not a sin, on the contrary, commendable, and ended with the climax that in all this horror, she was caught at "in the limits, Bishop, of your diocese of Beauvais."
As if that gave him perfect warrant to do his worst towards her. To all of which Joan entered a denial in toto.
Article 3 charged her with promulgating doctrines contrary to the Church.
Article 4 went over her early life and how her godmother taught her intercourse with the fairies and evil spirits according to her own confessions.
Joan in answer said: "As to the fairies, I do not know what they are. As to my teaching—I learnt to believe, and have been brought up well and duly to do what a good child ought to do."
Articles 5, 6, 7, still further elaborated about the fairies and the horrible superstitions and were simply denied by Joan.
Articles 8, 9, 10, accused her of leaving home and living with bad women, and getting acquainted with soldiers, learning to ride horses and swear, and finally hauling a young man to court to force him to marry her, which he refused to do because she had been connected with bad women.
Article 11 accused her of boasting she would yet have three sons (by the Holy Spirit).
The next six articles lugubriously described her vile adoption of the dress of a man and her stubborn refusal to put it off, even to hear Mass, or receive Our Savior's Body on Easter Sunday.
"If you refuse to let me hear Mass, it is in the power of Our Lord 'to let me hear Mass without you, when it shall please Him. I make no difference between man's dress and woman's dress for receiving my Savior."
Article 18 charged Joan with inciting to murder and bloodshed inasmuch as she prevented Charles VII making peace with the English. What had she to say?
"As to my Lord of Burgundy, I requested him by my ambassadors and my letters that he would make peace between the King and himself; but as to the English, the peace they need is that they may go away to their own country, to England."
Thirty of the seventy articles were read to her that day, her reply to each in turn being duly recorded. The replies were mostly denials of the sorcery and insubordination to the Church and reference to former answers.
Early next day they were all assembled again and the remaining forty articles read to Joan accusing her of, as usual, dealing with demons, setting herself up for divine honors, un-womanliness in dress, and boldness in her claims to know only what God may know. To all of which her answers were simple and short and to the point; never taking back anything she ever said;
always protesting her humble and thorough adhesion to the Church and the Faith; and always stoutly maintaining that she was sent directly by God to the aid of the French King and the French people.
Article 35 read: "Jeanne hath boasted and affirmed that she did know how to discern those whom God loveth and those whom He hateth. What have you to say on this article?"
"I know well that God, for their well being, loves my King and the Duke of Orleans better than me. I know this by revelation. Of others I know not."
Another article flatly accuses her of acting against the counsel of her Voices, so she was wrong in not obeying as well as in listening 'to and obeying them. Another read:
"Jeanne hath said and published that the Saints, the Angels, and the Archangels speak the French language and not the English language, because the Saints, the Angels, and the Archangels are not on the side of the English, but of the French; she hath outrage the Saints in glory, in implying to them a mortal hatred against a Catholic realm and a nation devoted, according to the will of the Church, to the veneration of all the Saints."
Jeanne tired and annoyed as she was, smiled at the jealousy implied in the accretion.
She might have answered that the Saints spoke to her in the only tongue she understood, but she only said: "I rely upon God and upon what I replied before to this."
Indeed, to nearly all the accusations and the "What have you to say to this?" her answer was: " I have replied to that already."
And so their badgering efforts to make her contradict herself always failed.
"Jeanne is not afraid to lie in court, and to violate her own oath when on the subject of her revelations."
"Jeanne bath labored to scandalize the people, to induce them to believe in her talk, taking to herself the authority of God and His Angels."
"Jeanne bath abused the revelations and prophecies that she saith she hath had from God, to procure for herself lucre and temporal profit."
"She bath denied making certain predictions because they were not realized, though many people of trust report to have heard her make them."
"Jeanne doth behave unseemly with men, and refuses the society of women."
With phrases like these began each each article and the rest of the article contains the statement of facts to prove the accusation. To all of which Jeanne made denial or else simply referred to her former answers to the same charges.
Article 70 lied the boldest of all for it proclaimed:
"All and each of these propositions contained in these Articles are true, notorious and manifest; the accused hath recognized and acknowledged these things as true, many times and sufficiently, before witnesses proved and worthy of belief, in and out of court."
Poor Jeanne's ears were full of these vile accusations against her and her heart sore (only that the Holy Spirit was sustaining her) at the overwhelming power and numbers and persistency of her enemies and their evident hatred of her this Wednesday of Holy Week in the year 1431.
She knew now they were thirsting for her death. The Seventy Articles were a jumble of every crime against God and man. But she did not lose her head nor her courage. She gave them no satisfaction. The official record for this day ends thus:
"We, the Bishop, did then address to Jeanne a Canonical Admonition. We told her that all the Assessors were persons of consummate knowledge,
experts in law, human and divine, who desired and intended to proceed against her, as they had already done up to this time, with kindness and piety, and that, far from seeking vengeance or punishment, they desired, on the contrary, only her instruction and return into the way of truth and salvation." And then he offered to appoint counsel to plead her cause for her.
"To our exhortations Jeanne replied: I As to that on which you admonish me for my good and for our Faith, I thank you and all the company also; as to the counsel which you offer me, also I thank you; but I have no intention of desisting from the counsel of Our Lord"'
Cauchon was not pleased with the answer, and the more he thought it over the less and less pleased was he. Joan had never for one moment directly or implicitly, acknowledged his right to try her or judge her, and it was not at all clear that she recognized the tribunal over which he sat, as the voice of the Church. That was a point to clear up and insist upon. It must be made plain that it was the Church she was opposing. Accordingly, on Saturday, Easter Eve, he and his little crowd of tormentors presented themselves before Joan in her prison again.
"Will you refer yourself to the judgment of the Church on earth for all you have said or done, be it good or bad? Especially will you refer to the Church the cases, crimes, and offenses which are imputed to you and everything which touches on this 'trial? --- If the Church Militant tells you that your revelations are illusions, or diabolical things, will you defer to the Church?"
"I will defer to God whose commandment I always do. I know well that that which is contained in my Case has come to me by the command of God. What I affirm in the Case is, that I have acted by the order of God; it is impossible for me to say otherwise. In case the Church should prescribe the contrary, I should not refer to any one in the world, but to God alone whose commandment I always follow."
Cauchon was furious. She must be made to acknowledge his right to condemn her visions as illusions and her subsequent acts as diabolical.
"Do you not believe that you are subject to the Church of God which is on earth, that is to say to our Lord the Pope, to the Cardinals, 'the Archbishops, Bishops, and other prelates of the Church?"
"Yes, I believe myself subject to them; but God must be served first."
"Have your Voices commanded you not to submit to the Church Militant, which is on earth, nor to its decisions?"
"I answer nothing from my own head; what I answer is by command of my Voices; they do not order me to disobey the Church, but God must be served first."
Cauchon retired to cogitate again the simple wisdom of this " Daughter of God " so fearfully tried.
Meanwhile the Earl of Warwick and the Duke of Bedford in the name of the boy king were impatient with Cauchon. In other parts of France the French troops were gaining on the English. The Duke of Burgundy was showing less and less interest in his English allies. It was known that Joan was on trial and the fame of her, the fine courage she showed the English even in her chains was abroad. Many of the assessors were weakening in their antagonism to her. Cauchon must hurry and do something tangible. Easter Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, a committee sat on the Seventy Articles and boiled them down to twelve without altering the vicious substance nor the bitter spirit of them.
Copies of the Twelve Articles were sent to each of the assessors, most of whom had gone back to Paris for Easter. They were warned to read them at once and give their judgment on them as early as possible; and not later than April 10, Easter Sunday was on April 1 that year.
On the 18th of April the whole band trailed after Cauchon again to the prison of Joan to get her to say something that would look like acknowledgment of their right as " the Church " to judge her. They found her very ill, and she piteously appealed to them that she might have the Sacraments, and if it pleased God she should die, that she would have burial in consecrated ground.
Now they thought they had her.
They seized on her eagerness for the Sacraments and for Christian burial to scare her into accedance to their wishes. They declared if she would not submit to the Church, the Church must abandon her as an infidel. She assured them she believed in the Christian Faith; in the divine revelation of the Holy Scriptures; that she loved God and would die a Christian, but she could make no other answer to their demands than she had made. She must leave the rest to God. Balked again they were and badly. But they had no notion of letting her die thus.
The best doctor was sent to her, and told to cure her; that the King of England had bought her too dearly to let her die quietly and privately. She must be publicly burned at the stake. The English Cardinal and the Earl of Warwick together visited her and admonished the doctor to do his best; and he did, and Joan was cured of the fever that had attacked her, so that by the 2d of May she was able to face her judges once more assembled in the great hall of the Castle.
The meeting had been in session some time without her, listening to Cauchon's summing up of the whole case, in which he represented how he and his assistant assessors had gently tried to win her from her devilishness, but without avail. But once more they were going to admonish her and for this purpose "an ancient master in theology, very learned and singularly well versed in these affairs, Maitre Jean de Chatillon, Archdeacon of Evreux " was invited to try his powers of persuasion on her.
Joan was then brought before the assembly and told why she was sent for. The Lord Archdeacon was invited to proceed. He did, reading at first from manuscript describing the unity and beauty of the Church and the necessity of abiding by her rules for the government of the faithful.
And then he beleeched her, with fervent voice and gesture, to listen to the gentle Bishops and Judges, here present, who had her soul's safety on their consciences, etc., etc. But Joan had only the one answer for him as for the others.
"I rely on God, who caused me to do all 'these things. --- If I saw the fire I should say nothing different."
They assailed her again and again, representing her as defying and denying the Church Militant.
"I believe that the Church Militant cannot err or fail; but as to my words and deeds, I submit them and refer them all to God, who caused me to do what I have done."
Finally, in desperation, they forgot themselves and asked her: " Will you submit to our Holy Father the Pope?"
"Take me to him, I will reply to him."
Canonists then and since and now regard this as an appeal to the Pope—informal but valid—and her legal right, if there had been any legality at all in her trial by Cauchon, which there was not.
One of the assessors reminded Joan that there was a council of prelates siting at Basle just then, in which prelates of her party were as numerous as the others, and asked would she be willing to let her case go to them.
Yes, if there were true French prelates in the council, she would submit her case to them, she said. But Cauchon quickly changed the subject, telling the Judge, who offered the suggestion to mind his own business, "in the devil's name."
The whole day's strenuous efforts of that big band of theologians failed to get anything different from Joan, and in disgust, and wearied, even more than she was, they ordered her back to prison.
That day week they returned to the charge.
They assembled this time in the torture chamber of the castle. All the instruments were there in front of her and then they told her they could force her to tell the truth and acknowledge her sorceries. The executioners were standing ready at a word to force her back into ways of truth and salvation. But they did not scare Joan. Her pale face was a shade paler, and her poor bound hands clasped her chains convulsively; but she said bravely, yet quietly and slowly, as if half to herself:
"Truly, if you tear me limb from limb, and separate soul from body, I will tell you nothing else; and if I were to say anything else, I should always afterwards declare that you made me say it by force. Last Thursday I received comfort from St. Gabriel, and I asked counsel
of my Voices, if I ought to submit because the clergy were pressing me hard. I asked of my Voices if I should be burned, and they answered me: 'Wait on Our Lord, He will help thee.' "
The judges "seeing the manner of her replies, and her obdurate mind, and feeling that the agony of torture would not do her any good, postponed the torture until they had further counsel." She was sent back to prison and they took counsel together. Three of them were for putting her on the rack to "break her stubbornness." Eleven were of the opinion it would do no good, seeing she might retract, as she said she would, and fearing also in the state of her health, she might not survive it, and the King of England wanted a public execution.
There was, then, a week's rest all around, while the reply from the University of Paris was awaited. It came. The twelve Articles had been duly considered and the decision was that Joan's St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret were really Belial, Satan and Behemoth; Joan a crafty traitor and liar and heretic. But they advised still further gentle admonitions. On May 23d, Pierre Maurice brought her the compliments of the University and a lengthy exhortation to save her life and her soul by telling the truth.
"If I saw the fire lit, if I were in the flames; I would say no other thing than I have said," was Joan's answer, which as the recorder wrote down he characterized in a marginal note as "Jeanne's superb answer."
Pierre Maurice was a Canon of the Cathedral of Rouen and he and the Rouen clergy in the trial were all sorry for Joan, and in no hurry to send her to the stake, but the English Lords were, and gave Cauchon no peace.
Then the Judges announced that they could delay sentence and punishment no longer, and declared the Process concluded, and ordered all to assemble again to-morrow " to hear the law which will be laid down by Us, the Judges, competent in this Process, and 'the sentence which shall be pronounced by Us, to be afterwards carried out and proceeded with according to law and right."