May 2

The Trial of Jeanne D’Arc

May 2, 1431

Wednesday, May 2nd. Public Admonition of The Maid

On Wednesday, May 2nd, in the year of Our Lord 1431, we the said judges held session in the room of the castle of Rouen near the great hall of the castle, assisted by the reverend fathers, lords and masters assembled at our order:

  • Nicolas de Jumièges,
  • Guillaume de Cormeilles, abbots, doctors of law;
  • the abbot of St. Ouen,
  • the prior of St. Lô, and
  • Pierre, prior of Longueville;
  • Jean de Nibat,
  • Jacques Guesdon,
  • Jean Footer,
  • Maurice du Quesnay,
  • Jean Le Fèvre,
  • Guillaume Le Boucher,
  • Pierre Houdenc,
  • Jean de Châtillon,
  • Erard Emengart,
  • Richard Prati,
  • Jean Carpentier, and
  • Pierre Maurice, doctors;
  • Nicolas Couppequesne,
  • William Haiton,
  • Thomas de Courcelles,
  • Richard de Grouchet,
  • Pierre Minier,
  • Raoul Le Sauvage,
  • Jean Pigache,
  • Jean Maugier, and
  • Jean Eude, bachelors of sacred theology;
  • Raoul Roussel, treasurer of the cathedral of Rouen, doctor of canon and civil laws;
  • Jean Garin, doctor of canon law;
  • Robert Le Barbier,
  • Denis Gastinel,
  • Jean Le Doulx, licentiates of canon and civil laws;
  • Nicolas de Venderès, archdeacon of Eu,
  • Jean Pinchon, archdeacon of Josas;
  • Jean Bruillot, chantry priest of the church of Rouen;
  • Richard des Saulx,
  • Laurent du Busc,
  • Aubert Morel,
  • Jean Duchemin,
  • Jean Colombel,
  • Raoul Anguy,
  • Jean Le Tavernier,
  • Guérould Poustel, licentiates of canon law;
  • André Marguerie, archdeacon of Petit-Caux;
  • Jean Alespée,
  • Gilles Deschamps, chancellor,
  • Nicolas Caval, canons of the cathedral of Rouen;
  • Guillaume de Livet,
  • Pierre Carel,
  • Geoffroy du Crotay;
  • Bureau de Cormeilles, licentiate in civil laws;
  • Guillaume Desjardins,
  • Jean Tiphaine, doctors of medicine;
  • brother Ysambard de La Pierre,
  • Guillaume Legrant,
  • Jean de Rosay, curate of Duclair,
  • brother Jean Des Bats,
  • Eustache Cateleu,
  • Regnault Lejeune,
  • Jean Mahommet,
  • Guillaume Le Cauchois,
  • Jean Le Tonnellier,
  • Laurent Leduc, priests.

We the said bishop addressed the said lords and masters as follows:

“After she had been thoroughly interrogated this woman replied to the articles judicially prepared against her by the Promoter, and we sent the digest of her confessions, drawn up and summarized in the form of twelve articles, to doctors and other persons learned in canon and civil law for the purpose of obtaining their advice.

Already we have adequately perceived that in the opinion and decision of many this woman appears reprehensible in many points, although the case has not finally been decided by us; and before we come to a final judgment many honest, conscientious and learned men have thought it expedient to endeavor by every possible means to instruct this woman on the points in which she seems to be in error, and, as far as we are able, to bring her back to the way and knowledge of truth. This end we have always desired and still with all our strength desire to attain.

This also we ought all to seek, especially we who live in the Church and for the ministration of holy things: we ought to show her in all charity wherein her acts and sayings are out of harmony with the faith, truth, and religion, and charitably warn her to consider her salvation. To this end we first tried to lead her back by means of many notable doctors of theology whom we sent to her on many different days; they gave themselves with all possible zeal to this work though they did not coerce her.

But the cunning of the Devil prevailed and they have not yet been of any effect. When we perceived that private admonitions bore no fruit, it appeared to us opportune that this woman should by you in solemn assembly be gently and charitably admonished to amend: since perhaps your presence and the exhortations of some among you will more easily induce her to humility and obedience, and dissuade her from too much reliance on her own opinion, so that she will give credence to the advice of worthy and learned men, versed in divine and human laws, and will not expose herself to perils so great that they endanger her body and soul.

“To address this solemn admonition to her we have appointed an old and learned master of theology, one particularly understanding in these matters, namely Jean de Châtillon, archdeacon of Évreux, who, if it so please him, will accept the present task of demonstrating to this woman certain points on which she is in error, according to the counsel and consultations we have received from the said authorities, and he will persuade her to abandon her faults and errors and will show her the way of truth.

Now therefore this woman will be brought before you and be admonished: if any among you thinks he can say or do any good thing to facilitate her return or helpfully instruct her for the salvation of her body and soul, we pray him not to hesitate to speak to us or to the assembly.”

When Jeanne was led in before us and the judges on this day, we, bishop, in our name and on behalf of the Vice-Inquisitor her judge with us, counseled her to attend to the advice and warnings which the lord archdeacon, professor of sacred theology, would address to her, as he was about to utter many things profitable for the salvation of her body and soul, to which she must agree, for if she did not she lay herself open to peril of body and soul: and we explained many things to the said Jeanne, according to the tenor of the memorandum below.

Then we the said judges required the lord archdeacon to proceed charitably to the said admonitions. In obedience to our order the lord archdeacon, beginning to teach and instruct the said Jeanne, explained to her that all faithful Christians were compelled and obliged to believe and hold firmly the Christian faith and its articles; and he warned and required her in a general admonition to correct and reform herself, her words and her deeds, in accordance with the advice of the venerable doctors and masters who were learned in divine, canon and civil law.

To this general monition Jeanne answered, “Read your book,” meaning the scrip the lord archdeacon held in his hand, “and then I will answer you. I trust in God my creator for everything. I love Him with my whole heart.”

And when she was asked if she had anything further to say in answer to this general monition,

She answered: “I trust in my Judge. He is the King of Heaven and of earth.”

Then the lord archdeacon proceeded to the particular monitions which he had to address to Jeanne, according to the tenor of the following memorandum. He began thus:

I. In the first place he reminded her that she had recently said that if anything evil were found in her acts and sayings which the clergy pointed out to her, she would desire to correct herself in that respect. This was a good and laudable thing to say, for every Christian must be meek, ever ready to obey those who are wiser than he, and give greater credit to the judgment of good and learned men than to his own. Since then the acts and words of this woman had been diligently gently examined for many days by doctors and clergy, who had found in them many grave deficiencies: yet, if she wished to reform, as a good devout Christian must, the clergy were always ready to act towards her in all mercy and charity to effect her salvation. If, however, out of arrogant and haughty pride she desired to persist in her own views, and imagine she understood matters of faith better than doctors and learned men, she would expose herself to grave danger.

II. He explained to her, in respect of the revelations and visions she professed to have, that she would not submit to the Church Militant or any living man, but intended to refer herself to God alone in respect of her acts and sayings. He expounded to her on this point the nature of the Church Militant, the authority it derives from God, in Whom its power resides; how every Christian is bound to believe that the Holy Church is one and Catholic, that the Holy Spirit governs it, and it never errs or falls into error; that every Catholic is bound to obey it as a son his mother, and must submit all his acts and sayings to its judgment: that none, whatever his apparitions or revelations, must on their account withdraw from the judgment of the Church, since the apostles submitted their writings to the Church and that the whole Scripture, which is revealed by God, is sent for our belief by our mother the Church as an infallible guide to which we ought to conform in all things without schism or division of any kind, as St. Paul the apostle teaches in many passages. Moreover, every revelation from God leads us to preserve meekness and obedience towards our superiors, and never otherwise: for our Lord never desired any one to presume to call himself subject to God alone or to refer himself in respect of his acts or sayings to Him only. Indeed, he committed and gave into the hands of the clergy the authority and power to know and judge the deeds of the faithful, whether they were good or evil: who scorned them, scorned God; who listened to them listened to God. Finally he warned her that she must believe that the Catholic Church is incapable of error or false judgment, for he who does not hold this belief infringes the article Unam Sanctam which had been explained to her in detail: and he who persists in denying it must be accounted a heretic. He who does not is schismatic, and shows himself an evil thinker in respect of the holiness of the Church and the infallible direction of the Holy Spirit, and the canon laws lay it down that heavy punishment must be inflicted upon such wanderers.

III. She was shown how for a long time she persisted in wearing man’s dress, in the fashion of men-at-arms, and continually and needlessly wears it still, contrary to the honesty of her sex: which is scandalous and against good living and custom; and she wore her hair cut round. All these habits are contrary to the commandments of God declared in Deuteronomy, chapter xxii. “The woman shall not wear, etc.,” contrary to the instruction of the Apostle who says that woman shall veil her head, and to the prohibitions of the Church uttered in the holy Council General, to the teaching of saints, and of doctors in canon and civil law: and are of evil example to other women. And especially the said Jeanne was in error when out of a strange insistence upon her disgraceful dress she preferred not to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at the time ordained of the Church rather than put off this dress and put on another in which she might receive the sacrament reverently and decently: scorning the command of the Church in order to satisfy such an insistent desire, although she had been often warned on this point, particularly about Easter, when she declared she greatly desired to hear Mass and receive Communion. Then we told her to resume woman’s dress, which she had and still refused to do: in which in our opinion she gravely erred. Therefore she was admonished to change these things and put off her male costume.

IV. The said Jeanne, not content to wear this costume with the aforesaid aggravating circumstances, even wished to up. hold that in this she acted wisely and did not err. But to say that one is acting well when one goes against the teaching of the saints, against the commandments of God and His apostles, in scorn of the teachings of the Church, out of mere obstinacy in wearing a dishonest and indecent dress, is to deviate from the faith; and he who sustains it falls into heresy. Moreover, she desired to attribute the responsibility for her sins to God and His saints: wherein she blasphemed God and His saints by attributing unseemly things to them: for they wish all honesty to be preserved and all perversities and sins avoided, nor would they have the commandments of the Church disdained for such ends. Therefore he admonished her to cease from pronouncing such blasphemies, from rashly attributing such thoughts to God and His saints, and from maintaining them as lawful.

V. Many doctors and notable ecclesiastics have considered and examined with diligence the statements of the said Jeanne concerning her revelations and apparitions, and in view of the manifest falsehoods regarding the crown brought to Charles, and the coming of the angels, which she had invented, falsehoods and imaginations which have been recognized as such, both by those who afterwards were of our party and by others; in view also of her statements touching the kisses and embraces she gave to St. Catherine and St. Margaret, who, if she were believed, came to her every day, and even many times daily with no special intention or apparent manifestation, when there was no reason why they should come so frequently, and no precedent of saints revealing themselves in such miraculous apparitions; considering that she said she knew nothing of their limbs or any other details of their person, except their head, which does not accord with such frequent visions, in view also of many commands she declares they gave her, such as to wear man’s dress, and to make such answers as she did in the trial, commands not in accord with God and His saints and which cannot be allowed to have emanated from them; in view finally of numerous other points which the doctors and learned men have well weighed in this matter: they see and recognize that such revelations and apparitions were not sent from God as she boasts. And then she was shown how dangerous in the extreme it was to believe audaciously that one is fit to receive such apparitions and revelations, for she lied in respect of things in the province of God, falsely prophesying and telling of things to come, which power God had not granted her, but she discovered it in the imaginations of her heart; and from it nothing can ensue but the seduction of the people, the springing up of new sects and many other ills inclining to the overthrow of the Church and the Catholic people.

And how grave and dangerous it is to search curiously into the things passing our understanding, to put faith in what is new without consulting the opinion of the Church and its prelates; and even to invent new and unaccustomed things, for devils are wont to insinuate themselves into this kind of oddity, either by occult instigation or by visible apparitions in which they transform themselves into angels of light, and beneath an appearance of piety or some other good they lead one on to pernicious pacts, plunge one into error, as is permitted by God to punish the presumption of those who allow themselves to be carried away by such things. Therefore he admonished her to renounce these vain imaginations, to cease propagating such falsehoods, and to return to the way of truth.

VI. These revelations so invented had been as it were the root which had induced her to so many other crimes, and so, usurping the office of God, she had not hesitated to announce and affirm future and contingent events, the presence of hidden objects, such as a sword buried in the ground; and further she had boasted of knowing with certainty that some people were loved by God; and for her own part she knew she would receive forgiveness for the sin she had committed by hurling herself from the tower of Beaurevoir: which was nothing but divination, presumption and rashness. She said also that she had adored these novel things which appeared to her, although she had concerning them no sufficient proof for her to believe that they were good spirits; that she had not taken the counsel of priests or any other ecclesiastic on this point, but presumed too much upon herself, in a matter wherein the danger of idolatry is ever imminent: she had rashly believed where she should not have given. the faintest credence, even if there were a sort of reality in these apparitions (which nevertheless to our mind are false). Moreover, she dared to say that she believed these apparitions to be St. Catherine and St. Margaret and angels as firmly as she believed in the Catholic faith; wherein she showed a rash credulity and appeared to indicate that there is no more or stronger reason to believe in the Christian faith and its articles, which the Church has handed down to us, than in certain apparitions of a new and unaccustomed kind. In this she had no judgment or consultation of the Church: further, Christ and His saints teach that it is not meet to give faith lightly to such apparitions, and she was told to consider these things carefully.

Whilst the archdeacon was explaining all this to Jeanne in French, according to the text of the memorandum, She answered as follows:

And first, concerning the first and second articles of this memorandum, she said: “As I have answered you before, so I will answer you now.”

And when she had been told of the nature of the Church Militant, and had been admonished to believe and hold the article Unam Sanctam, and that she must submit to the Church Militant according to the tenor of Article II of the memorial, She answered: “I believe indeed in the Church on earth; but for my words and deeds, as I have already declared, I trust in and refer me to God.” Then she said: “I believe that the Church Militant cannot err or fail; but in respect of my deeds and words I submit them and refer in everything to God who caused me to do what I have done.” She said she submitted to God her creator who had caused her to do those things, and referred herself to Him and to her own self concerning them. ‘

Asked if she wished to say that she had no judge on earth and whether our Holy Father the Pope were not her judge, She answered: “I will not say anything more. I have a good master, Our Lord, to whom I refer everything, and to none other.”

When she was told that if she would not believe in the Church and the article Unam Sanctam Ecclesiam Catholicam she would be a heretic, and would suffer the punishment of fire by the sentence of other judges, She answered: “I will say no more to you: and if I saw the fire, I should say all that I do now to you, and nothing more.”

Asked whether if the General Council, or Our Holy Father the Pope, the cardinals and other ecclesiastics were present, she would submit and refer herself to the said General Council She answered: “You will get nothing further from me.”

Asked if she would submit to Our Holy Father the Pope, She answered, “Take me to him, and I will reply to him,” and would make no other answer.

In respect of what was said of her dress in Articles III and IV, She answered that as for her dress she would willingly take a long dress and a woman’s hood and go to Church and receive the sacrament of the Eucharist, as she had formerly said, provided that immediately after her return she might take it off and wear her present dress. And when it was explained to her that she was in no need of wearing this dress, particularly in prison, she said: “When I have done what God sent me to do I will resume woman’s dress.”

Asked if she thought she was doing well to wear man’s dress, She answered: “I refer me to Our Lord.”

Then when she was admonished and the contents of the fourth article were explained to her, She answered that she had blasphemed neither God nor His saints. And admonished to discontinue the wearing of this dress* and the belief that it was good to wear it, and advised to resume woman’s dress, she said she would not do otherwise.

Asked whether whenever St. Catherine or St. Margaret came to her she made the sign of the cross, She answered that sometimes she did, and sometimes she did not.

Asked about what she had been told regarding her revelations in Article V of the memorandum, She answered that on that question she referred herself to her judge, namely God. She said her revelations came to her from God direct.

Asked, concerning the sign given to her king, whether she would defer to the archbishop of Reims, to the Sire de Boussac, to Charles de Bourbon, to the Sire de la Trémouille and to Étienne called La Hire, to whom or to some of whom she said she had shown the crown, since they were present when the angel brought it to him she calls her king and gave it to the archbishop; asked whether she would refer to others of her party writing under their seal of this matter, She answered: “Give me a messenger and I will write to them about this trial.” Otherwise she would not believe in or refer to them.

Asked, with regard to the sixth article, about [the temerity of her belief and] her presumption in prophesying of future and contingent events, She answered: I refer me to my judge, that is to God, and to my earlier answers written in this book.”

Asked whether if she were sent three or four clergy of her own party under a safe conduct she would refer herself to them concerning the apparitions and all that was contained in the trial, she replied that we should first let them come and then she would answer: otherwise she would not refer herself or submit to them in this trial.

Asked whether she would refer herself and submit to the church of Poitiers where she was examined, She answered: “Do you think you will catch me in that way and draw me to you so?”

Then in conclusion she was abundantly admonished anew in general to submit to the Church under pain of being abandoned by the Church; for if the Church abandoned her she would be in great peril of body and soul, her soul would be in danger of eternal fire and her body of temporal fire by the sentence of other judges. She answered: “You will not do as you say against me without evil overtaking you, in body and soul.”

Asked to give at least one reason why she would not refer herself to the Church, she would make no other reply.

Whereupon many doctors and learned men of divers estates and faculties admonished and charitably guided her, exhorting her to submit to the Church Universal and Militant, to Our Holy Father the Pope, to the sacred General Council, and explaining to her the perils of body and soul to which she exposed herself by her refusal to submit her acts and sayings to the Church Militant. She answered as before.

Finally we the said bishop told Jeanne to be sure to take into serious account the said admonitions, our counsel and charitable exhortations, and to change her mind. She answered by the question: “How long will you give me to think it over?” We told her that she must think it over immediately and answer as she wished: but as she made no further reply we left the place and the said Jeanne was taken back to her prison.

Return to top