The Misrepresentation of the Inquisitor Reinerius' Opinion

At least 3 times Nate Barker refers to the Inquisitor Reinerius Saccho with regard to the origins of the Waldenses. It must be noted that most of the time the name is spelled incorrectly, and the passages are both redundant and blatantly misleading.


"...and then quotes Reinarus the Inquisitor who, in report made by him to the Pope on the subject of their Faith, admits, "They have Existed from time Immemorial (a time beyond memory) it would not be difficult to prove that this Poor band of faithful were in the valleys of Piedmont more than 4 centuries before the appearance of Luther, Calvin, and the subsequent lights of the Reformation. Neither has their Church ever been Reformed, whence arises its title of Evangelic."

Citation # 2 Historical Documents 70-1700 A.D.

"The Inquisitor Refineries, who died in 1259, has left it on record: "Concerning the sects of ancient heretics, observe, that there have been more 70: all of which, except the sects of the Manichaeans and the Arians and the Runcarians and the Leonists which have infected Germany. Among these sects, which either still exist or which have formerly existed. There is not one more pernicious to the church than that of the Leonists: and this is for 3 reasons. The first One is because it has been of longer continuance, for some say that it has lasted from the time of Sylvester, others, from the time of the Apostles. The Second reason is because it is more general, for there is scarcely any land, in which this Sect does NOT exist. The Third reason is because, while all other sects, through the enormity of their blasphemies against God, strike horror into the hearers, this of Leonists has a great semblance of Piety, inasmuch as they live justly before men, and believe every point well respecting God together with all articles contained in the creed. . . Then quotes Reinarius the Inquisitor who, in a report made by him to the Pope on the subject of their faith, admits, "They have existed from time immemorial. It would not be difficult to prove that this poor band of the faithful were in the valleys of Piedmont more than four centuries before the appearance of the subsequent lights of the Reformation. Neither has their Church ever been Reformed, whence arises its title of Evangelic".

Citation #3 The Ministry of the Holy Spirit 1000 - 1900 A.D

"The Inquisitor Reinerius, who died in 1259, has left it on record: "Concern the Sects of Ancient Heretics, observe, that there have been more than 70: all of which; except the sects of the Manicheans and the Arians and the Rucanrians and the Leonists which have Infected Germany, have through the favor of God, been destroyed. Among all these sects, which either still EXISTS or which have formerly EXISTED, there is not one more Pernicious to the church than that of the Leonists: and this for three reasons... "

The Actual Truth

First, it should be noted that despite the Catholic Church's "bias" against these alleged Christian pilgrims, Nate doesn't hesitate to quote one of them when it seems to suit his purpose. However, the quote of Reinerius is incomplete, and therefore misleading. From the full context it becomes clear that Reinerius was only reporting on the mistaken belief of some people; he did not hold this belief himself. This is a fact admitted by modern-day Waldensian scholars - a church which, by the way, still exists and looks nothing like the 2x2's. (1) Here is the actual quote from Reinerius' report:
"For some say that it has existed from time of Sylvester, some from the time of the apostles." (2)
Reinerius, who was a former member of the Albigenses, knew quite well what various sects claimed, as seen in this 1254 A.D. report on them:
First They say that the Romish Church, is not the Church of Jesus Christ, but a church of malignants and that it apostatized under Sylvester, when the poison of temporalities was infused into the h. And they say, that they are the church of Christ, because they observe both in word, and deed, the doctrine of Christ, of the Gospel, and of the Apostles.
Their second error is that all vices and sins are in the church, and that they alone live righteously.
That scarcely anyone in the church, but themselves, preserves the evangelical doctrine.
That they are the true poor in spirit, and suffer persecution for righteousness and faith.
That they are the Church of Jesus Christ.
That the Church of Rome is the Harlot in the Apocalypse, on account of its superfluous decoration which the Eastern Church does not regard.
That they despise all the statutes of the Church, because they are heavy and numerous.
That the Pope is the head of all errors.
That the Prelates are Scribes; and the Monks, Pharisees.
That the Pope and all Bishops, are homicides on account of wars.
That we are not to obey Prelates; but only God.
That no one is greater than another in the church. Matt. 23. "All of you are brethren."
That no one ought to bow the knee before a priest. Rev. ii. where the Angel says tojohn "See thou do it not."
That tithes are not to be given, because first fruits were not given to the church.
That the clergy ought not to have possessions; Dent. xviii. "The Priests and all the tribe of Levi, shall not have part and inheritance with the people of Israel, because they eat the sacrifices, and they shall receive nothing else."
That the clergy, and monks, ought not to have Prebends.
That the Bishops and Abbots ought not to have royal rights.
That the land, and the people, are not to be divided into parts.
That it is a bad thing to found and endow churches and monasteries.
That wills are not to be made in favor of Churches-also, that no one ought to be a tenant of the church-also, they condemn all the clergy for idleness, saying that they ought to work with their hands as the Apostles did-also, they reprobate titles of dignity such as Pope, Bishops, etc.-also, that no one is to be forced into belief-also, that they make no account of all ecclesiastical offices-also, that they care nothing for ecclesiastical privileges-also, they despise the immunity of the Church and of ecclesiastical persons and things-also, they condemn Councils, Synods, and Assemblies-also, they say that all parochial rights are invention-also, they say that monastic rules are the traditions of the Pharisees.

Secondly, they condemn all the Sacraments of the Church; in the first place, as to baptism, they say that the Catechism is nothing - also, that the ablution which is given to infants profits nothing....

Also, they condemn the sacrament of Marriage, saying that married persons sin mortally if they come together without the hope of offspring-also, they disregard compaternity-also, they despise the degrees of affinity, carnal and spiritual, and the impediments of Orders, and of public decency, and of ecclesiastical prohibitions-also, they say that a woman after child-bearing does not require benediction, or introduction-also, they say that the church has erred in prohibiting the marriage of the Clergy, while even those of the East mary - also, they say that the continent do not sin in kisses and embraces.

The sacrament of Unction, they reprobate, because it is only given to the rich; and because several priests are required for it-also, they say that the sacrament of Orders is nothing-also, they say that every good layman is a priest, as the Apostles were laymen-also, that the prayer of an evil priest does not profit-also, they deride the clerical tonsure-also, that Latin prayer does not profit the vulgar-also, they make it a matter of ridicule that illegitimate persons and wicked sinners are raised to eminence in the church-also, they say that every layman, and even woman ought to preach, 1. Cor. xiv. "I would that ye spake in tongues, that the church might receive edification"-also, whatever is preached which cannot be proved by the text of Scripture they consider as fabulous....

... also, they say that the doctrine of Christ and the Apostles is sufficient for salvation without the statutes of the church-that the tradition of the church is the tradition of the Pharisees; and that there is more made of the transgression of a human tradition than of a divine law. Matt. xv. "Why do ye transgress the commands of God by reason of your traditions?" Also, they reject the mystical sense in the holy Scriptures, principally as it regards the sayings and doings delivered in the Church by tradition; as that the cock upon the steeple signifies a doctor. (3)
That Reinerius was merely reporting a commonly-held belief, rather than expressing his own opinion is supported by others at the time (4), including David of Augsburg who also reported that the Waldenses regarded themselves as the only true Christians (5).

Indeed, the overwhelming evidence is such that even those scholars hostile to the Roman Catholic Church have reached the conclusion that the Waldenses were merely a sect that began in the Middle Ages from Peter Waldo (6), including leading Mennonite scholar Harold S. Bender:
"The tempting and romantic theory of apostolic succession from the apostles down to the Anabaptists through successive Old Evangelical groups, which has been very popular with those among Mennonites and Baptists, who feel the need of such an apostolic succession, always include the Waldenses as the last link before the Anabaptists. It has. . .no basis in fact. (7)

(1) Pius Melia, The Origin, Persecutions and Doctrines of the Waldenses (New York: AMS Press, 1978 reprint of 1870 version.
(2) Reinerius Saccho, Summa de Catharis et Pauperibus de Lugduno in Maitland, S.R. Facts and Documents Illustrative of the History, Doctrine, and Rites of the Ancient Albigenses and Waldenses (London: C.J.G. and F. Rivington, 1832) p. 406.
(3) Reinerius Saccho, "Of the Sects of Modern Heretics" (1254), in S. R. Maitland,trans., History of the Albigenses and Waldenses (London: C. J. G. and F. Rivington, 1832), pp. 407-413.
(4) "Passau Anonymous: On the Origins of Heresy and the Sect of the Waldensians", in Peters, Heresy and Authority, pp. 150-163.
(5) "David of Augsburg on the Waldensians of Bavaria", ibid, pp. 149-150.
(6) Johann Lorenz von Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, 7th ed., tr & ed. James Murdock (London: William Tegg, 1848) pp. 428-29.
(7) Christian Neff and H.S. Bender, "Waldenses" The Mennonite Encyclopedia vol. IV, (Scottdale, PA: Mennonite Publishing House, 1955) pp. 874-876.

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© Copyright Clay Randall, 2001