The Dominicans were not the only Inquisitors in the Roman Catholic Church, but they might have been the best. Bernardo Gui, another Dominican, literally wrote the book on the subject; you can get it here from Amazon.
Peter was the Inquisitor General for the northern Italy, but preached throughout the whole peninsula in his war on dualistic heresies. He then got the specific assignment of Inquisitor for Lombardy, a hotbed of Catharism. He railed against this belief until the Cathars, recognizing the danger he posed, hired an assassin named Carino de Balsamo. He in turn recruited an accomplice named Manfredo Clitoro. Yeah, I could make fun of their names, but that would be puerile. Yeah, I've been puerile in lots of posts, but I don't feel like it today.
|Domenico tries to outrun the angel with his martyr's crown|
Anyway, Carino and Manfredo lay in wait for their target near Barlassina and chopped his head with some sort of harvesting blade (hatchet, machete, sickle). The blade stuck, which slowed but did not stop the flow of blood. Peter dropped to his knees and began reciting the Apostles Creed. Still kneeling, he decided to write the creed in his own blood as it flowed. He got as far as "Credo in deum patrem" and stopped writing because they finished him off with a knife. Another friar named Domenico had the misfortune to be traveling with him -- they shanked him as he was trying to flee and he died of the wound five days later.
|My favorite: check out the blood flow|
Question for Latinists: The Apostle's Creed begins with "Credo in deum patrem..." I believe into God the Father... Why is it not "...deo patre" instead?
And now, a little heterodoxy: The Cathars, in general, rejected priests as intermediaries between themselves and God. As they looked at the sacraments that kept the people dependent on the priests, they tended to reject those too. Transubstantiation of the Host from bread and wine to body and blood of Christ seemed to them to misrepresent the nature of Jesus. Confession to a priest was useless, and veneration of a crucifix was idolatry. There's more to it -- especially this dualist idea that good and evil are rival universal forces (rather than God & good being the overwhelmingly dominant force) but that's what wikipedia is for.