Simple heresy is, of course, the province of the newborn Holy Office. Marzone's inquisitors frequently run across heretics while investigating far viler depravities. However, they rarely take it upon themselves to mete out judgement to Cathars and their ilk. For one thing, they have no wish to duplicate able efforts already being made in other quarters. For another, every off-the-books condemnation is one more risk of exposure. Most, however much they might hate heresy, are not prepared to jeopardize their own cause in order to destroy it. Instead, they usually arrange for an anonymous denunciation to be made to the local Dominicans. And they may not wait to do even that until they are sure the area has been cleared of all darker threats. Inquisitors greatly fear the possibility of their unwitting comrades-at-arms stumbling into trouble beyond their strength.

The Inquisition contra Diabolum enim et alii daemones has made some effort to clearly distinguish its jurisdiction from that of the Holy Office proper, although its admittedly incomplete understanding of the enemy makes this process difficult. To a certain extent, it's easier to define what the Inquisition is not; to that end, the major categories of offense against Holy Mother Church are listed below, along with the Inquisition's overall attitude toward each.

  • Heresy: Refers to any self-identified Christian belief or doctrine that knowingly contradicts what is acceptable to the authority of Holy Mother Church. The beliefs of many night-creatures and their human followers could certainly qualify as heresy, and could thus be prosecuted by the Holy Office. However, the Inquisition does its best to see that most such cases are brought to a satisfactory end long before the Holy Office or anyone else even less well-armed against the world's evils notices them. Note that a person who has been taught a heretical belief and simply doesn't know any better is not a heretic technically, but an erring soul for whom Christina mercy prescribes education. It is only when a person has shown the true doctrine and still refuses to believe that she enters the legal category of heresy - the word heresy refers to "choice," meaning that a heretic must have made an informed decision to rebel.
  • Schism: A somewhat weaker pejorative than "heresy." It simply means any rancorous division between groups of the same Church, not necessarily doctrinal. When rival popes arise, for example, the obedience of each refers to the other's obedience as schismatic. The entire Eastern Church is still viewed by the Holy Roman Church as schismatics, and regular formal pleas are made for them to reconcile with their true spiritual father, the pope. However, schismatics are still recognized as fellow Christians, who merit more compassion and respect than heathens or heretics. (After all, the Crusade itself is billed partly as an effort to save hapless Eastern Christians from the infidel's oppression; that Eastern Chritians suffer as greatly from Crusader depredations as Muslims do is more the result of human greed and ignorance than of religious hatred.) Schism concerns the Inquisition not at all, except insofar as it hampers cooperation with the local faithful.
  • Paganism: While paganism could be called an extreme form of heresy, it's not really thought of in the same way at all. When Churchmen condemn pagan practices, what they usually mean is holdovers from the pre-Christian religions of Western Europe, however innocent-seeming: Leaving milk out for the Good Folk, for example, or celebrating fertility rites for good crops, or telling stories about women who sneak out of their homes to ride with Diana under the cold moonlight. To the Church, these ancient beliefs are a disease that has nearly been stamped out, but vigilance must not lapse. The peasantry seems especially wont to hold on to heathen ways; in fact, the words "pagan" and "heathen" literally refer to people living out in the countryside. It is mostly up to local priests to convince their flocks to abandon these remnants and take up equivalent Christian customs, and neither the Holy Office nor the Inquisition really troubles itself with paganism per se in this period. On the other hand, paganism can overlap with the supernatural and sometimes with maleficium. As a result, inquisitors - particularly those who specialize in dark cults and sorcerers - frequently take notice of anything going on around them that smacks of paganism, poking it carefully to see if an inhuman hand might be moving just behind. Pagan deities have been formally classed by some Church scholars as a second tier of demon, ranked below the mighty fallen angels that rebelled with Lucifer at the dawn of Creation. Fairies, goblins, kobolds and other "lesser" spirits of folklore form yet a third tier. Most Church officials treat this as an academic distinction: The Holy Office has its hands quite full enough dealing with "Christian" heresies, thank you. Cathars are far more immediately dangerous than some silly peasant's superstition. But inquisitors use this reasoning to justify pursuing any rumors of strigae or fairy magic that seem more than old wives' tales.
  • Islam: "There shall be no compulsion in religion," decrees the Qur'an, and as a result, medieval Muslims are inclined to leave Jews and Christians alone. However, no Bible scripture exhorts Christians to return the favor. Most Latin Christians consider Islam a heathen faith for all practical purposes; few take seriously the Muslim contention that the three religions of the Book all worship the same God. Islam has "earned" a special enmity among heathen faiths, moreover, by its long presence in the Holy Land and its bloody repulsion of the Franj invaders. Some inquisitors even suspect Musli doctors and scientists, whose knowledge unquestionably outstrips that of the West, of harboring forbidden demonic secrets: Toledo, for example, still reportedly hosts a Muslim-founded university for warlocks (the Red Order, however, does not demonstrate the complete horror of Muslim occultism that its brethren seem to feel it should…). By this point in history any real hope of ultimately converting the Muslims has been abandoned by all but the most idealistic of missionaries - why, even St. Francis failed in the task. Total extermination is the new agenda, an agenda best left to secular men with literal swords. The Poor Knights hope to have recovered or at least hidden away the many important relics remaining in the Holy Land lest they be destroyed in the continuing carnage; but apart from that, they do not stand in the way of their fellow Crusaders and even join them when opportunity permits. (Relations between Muslim and Christians are particularly complex in the Christian Spanish kingdoms as well as al-Andalus; Inquisition chronicles set in that area of the world are likely to be deeply affected by the interplay.)
  • Judaism: Technically, it's not a crime to be a Jew in Western Europe. Jews are tolerated in the Catholic cities by long-standing tradition; indeed, they are even valued for their skills in such arts as medicine, gold-smithing, and money-lending (Christian bankers are still hampered by the anti-usury laws in this regard). However, harsh secular laws constrain their movements, their customs, their dress, and their speech. While Christians think of Jews as their spiritual ancestors - not heathens like the Muslims or the ancient Romans - most also consider Jewry collectively guilty of the Crucifixion. The hatred that seethes under the surface of normal relations erupts whenever a Crusade is called, or an epidemic breaks out, or a Christian child is found murdered. Many Inquisitors have dealth with the truly infernal long enough to take with a grain of salt the devlish myths circulating about Jews: that they have tails or horns, that they sacrifice Christian children in a parody of Calvary, that they poison Christians' wells. However, this is by no means universal. It's easy to believe outlandish things of a people whose ways seem swathed in secrecy, never mind that that perceived secrecy arises from an enforced separation supposedly instituted to protect both populations. At this date, mortal Christian occultists are only vaguely aware of Jewish myticism, but enough information has leaked out to draw unpleasant attention of all sorts to those who practice it. To make matters worse, evil creatures are often well aware of Christian suspicion, and exploit it to throw investigators off their trail; operating out of a ghetto, for example, to frustrate and confuse an inquisitor's pursuit. So far, no one of importance in the Inquisition has thought to propose any sort of cooperation with either local rabbis or the Jewish laity. Most would look deeply askance at such an idea, despite its obvious merits.
  • Maleficium:
  • Demonolatry:

(p. 107)