The statute “Ex Officio ” or De Heretico Comburendo. “Regarding the heretic who is to be burnt”,
That is to say, that no man within this realm, or other dominion, subject to the king’s majesty, presume to preach publicly or privily, without license first sought and obtained of the diocesan (curates in their own churches, and persons heretofore privileged, and others allowed by the canon law, only excepted): nor that any hereafter do preach, teach, and inform in secret or openly, or make or write any book, contrary to the catholic faith or the determination of holy church nor make any conventicles, or keep and exercise schools by any means, touching the, sect, and their most wicked doctrines and opinion. And further, that no man hereafter do by any means favour any such preacher, or any maker of such conventicles, or any maker or writer of such books; or any such teacher, informer, or stirrer up of the people, nor in any wise maintain or sustain any of them: And that all and singular persons having any books or writngs containing the said wicked doctrines and opinions shall, within forty days after the proclamation of this present ordinance and statute really and effectually deliver, or cause to he delivered, all the said books and writings unto the diocesan of the place. And if any person or persons, of what sex, state, or condition soever he or they be, shall hereafter do or attempt any thing in the premises, or any of them, contrary to this royal ordinance and statute aforesaid, or shall not deliver the said hooks in form aforesaid: that thon the diocesan of the same place, in his own diocese, by authority of the said ordinance and statute, shall cause to be arrested and detained under safe custody in his own prisons the said person or persons, in this behalf defamed or evidently suspected, or any of them, until he or they so offending have canonically purged him or themselves of the articles laid to his or their charge in this behalf; or until he or they have abjured, according as the laws ecclesiastical require, the said wicked sect, preachings, doctrines, and heretical and erroneous opinions so that the said diocesan, by himself or his commissaries, proceed publicly and judicially to all effect of the law against the said persons so arrested and remaining under his safe custody: and that he end and determine the matter within three months after the said arrest (all delays and excuses set apart), according to the canonical sanctions- And if any person, in any case shove expressed, shall be canonically convicted before she diocesan of the place or his commissaries, that then the said diocesan may cause the said person so convicted (according to the measure and quality of his fault) to be kept in his own prisons, so long as to his discretion shall seem expedient.
And further, the said diocesan (except in cases wherein, according to the canonical sanctions, the party oftending ought to be left to the secular court) may charge the said person to pay a fine of money unto the king’s majesty, such as he shall think competent, for the measure and quality of his fault. In which case the said diocesan shall he bound to give notice of the said fine into the king’s majesty’s exchequer, by his letters patent under his seal; to the intent that else said fine may be levied by the king’s authority and to his use, of the goods of the person so convicted.
And further, if any person within the said realm and dominions shall be sententially convicted before the diocesan or his commissaries of the said wicked preachings, doctrines, opinions, schools, and heretical and erroneous informations, or any of them; and will refuse duly to abjure the said wicked sect, preachings, teachings, opinions, schools, and informations; or if, after abjuration once made by the said party, he be pronounced as relapsed by the diocesan of the place or his commissaries, so that by the canonical sanctions he ought to be left to the secular court, whereupon credence shall be given to the diocesan or his commissaries in this behalf: That then the sheriff of the same county, and the mayor and sheriffs, or the sheriff, mayor, or bailiffs of the city, town, or borough of the same county, next to the said diocesan, or his said commissaries, shall personally be present, as oft as they shall be required, to join with the said diocesan or his commissaries in giving sentence against the said persons, or any of them and, after the said sentence so pronounced, shall receive them, and any of them, and cause the same to be burned in an eminent place before the people ; to the intent that this kind of punishment may strike a terror on the mind, of others, that the like wicked doctrines and heretical end erroneous opinions, or the authors and favourers thereof, be not maintained or in any wise tolerated (which God forbid!) within the said realm and dominions, against the catholic faith, and the christian religion, and the determinations of holy church. In all which and singular the premises, concerning the ordinance and statute aforesaid, let the sheriffs, mayors, and bailiffs of the said counties, cities, towns, and boroughs, be attendant on, aiding, and favouring the said diocesians and their commissaries.
This act was rescinded by Henry VIII in 1534 and replaced by one of trial by jury etc see Popes laws rescinded.