6 janvier 1412 – 6 janvier 2012
A special guest-series by Côme de Prévigny
Joan of Arc (II) : A Saint in isolation
Joan interrogated in prison by His Eminence Henry Beaufort,
Cardinal-Bishop of Winchester
"God takes great pity on the people of France. It is necessary that you, Joan, that you go to France," her voices repeated to her unceasingly. She said it time and again, both to her brothers in arms as to her judges: she would rather a thousand times to return to the house of her parents than to enlist in such a trying adventure. But God had entrusted to her a mission to which she would remain forever faithful during the two decades of her earthly existence. She was obedient to the point of death, and death at the stake. Before a life that is so brief, so oriented towards God, how to avoid seeing in her a Christlike figure, a bearer of lessons for our times?
The Johannic epic, following a life as hidden as it was bright, seems as ephemeral as the predication of Our Lord through Galilee and Judea. The fortifications opened up before the attacks of Joan's armies, as the villages of the Holy Land were convinced by the invincible preaching of Christ. And, nonetheless, the acclamations at the gates of the cities were as a prelude to a tragic outcome, in which the Maid was to go up to the stake as the Son of God had carried His Cross up to Golgotha. Joan, the young shepherdess from Lorraine, was inhabited by God. Even amidst combats, she wandered away to kneel down and find council from the Creator. Jesus, the son of a carpenter, frequently withdrew from the band of his disciples in order to speak, face to face, with His Father.
The trial for sorcery started in Rouen against Joan was iniquitous. And yet it assembled the entire Establishment of the official Church. One hundred and twenty men took part in it, including a Cardinal, a prince of the Church, a great number of bishops, dozens of canons, sixty doctors in Canon Law or Theology, ten abbots, ten representatives of the University of Paris, the brightest part of ecclesiastical science in the heart of Christendom. In their presence, the shepherdess, despite her replied filled with common sense and inspired by the Holy Spirit, was condemned in advance, as the son of the carpenter seemed condemned beforehand when summoned to appear before the Sanhedrin. In the presence of this sign of contradiction, the English applied such an intense pressure on the court presided by the Bishop of Beauvais that it recalled that of the people used by the Hebraic authorities and who greatly influenced the decision of Pontius Pilate. Alas, not even the ecclesiastical authorities are protected from yielding to ideology, power, or the opinions of the age, to the detriment of the common good, and in such cases their verdicts, far from expressing the will of God, simply betray the mandate that was given to them.
In the course of Joan's trial, among those who used the most sacred titles in order to utter sentences that were true abuses of authority, there were plotters, such as the Count of Warwick, such as Pierre Cauchon, who made every effort to obtain death for Joan. After the English wardens had ensnared her and made her wear man's clothes in order to prevent their assaults, the Bishop of Beauvais rejoiced: "She has been caught,"  he said to those around him, elated for finding a reason to sacrifice her on the altar of human whims. Also among these authorities were the adulators, the cowards who paved the way for the accusation, such as Abbot of Fécamp, who, not without incurring in false humility, presented himself as uncapable of speaking up after "doctors so numerous and so great that their like cannot perhaps be found in the universe" . As Pontius Pilate, he washed his hands, thus giving support to the worst informers. It happens similarly in the course of the passion of the Church, with those who suffered in silence and with those who above all expected the direct condemnation of the defenders of traditional doctrine. The court that condemned Christ proceeded in the same way. Both judge and party, it delivered an unappealable decision. Discarding the most elementary rules of justice, it heard only the accusers and grasped at the most irrelevant details to soothe the hatred of Salome's heirs, who, moved by a hateful whim, one day demanded a head on a plate!
[Part I: A Saint in armor]
[Part III: A Saint under excommunication]
 Transcript of the trial of Joan of Arc, Deposition of Friar Isambard de la Pierre, O.P.
 Transcript of the trial of Joan of Arc, 44th session, April 12, 1431.