§ 122. The canon Law.


Literature: Decretum Gratiani emendatum et notationibus illustratum. Una cum glossis, Gregorii XIII. Pont. Max. jussu editum, 6 vols. Rome, 1582.—Corpus juris canonici, ed. J. H. Boehmer, 2 vols. Halle 1747, with Introductions by Boehmer on Gratian’s Decretum, I. 1–42, and the later collections of decretals, II. 1–34.—Best critical ed. by A. L. Richter, 2 vols. Leip., 1839, revised ed. by E. Friedburg Leip., 1879–1881, 2 vols. (vol. I., Decret. Gratiani, vol. II., Decretalium collectiones). —J. Fr. von Schulte (Old-Cath. Prof. in Bonn): D. Gesch. der Quellen und Lit. des kanonischen Rechts von Gratian bis auf die Gegenwart, 3 vols. Stuttg., 1875–1880. —Dodd: Hist. of canon Law, Oxf., 1884. —T. Hinschius: D. Kirchenrecht d. Katholiken und Protestanten, etc., 6 vols. Berl., 1869–1897. —E. Friedberg: Lehrbuch des kath. und evangel. Kirchenrechts, 6th ed., Leip., 1903. —A. von Kirchenheim: Kirchenrecht, Bonn, 1900. —P. Hergenröther (Rom. Cath.): Lehrbuch d. kathol. Rechts, 2d. ed., Freib., 1905. —Other works by Walter, 14th ed., 1877. —Richter-Dove, 8th ed., Leip., Phillimore: The Eccles. Law of the Ch. of Engl., 2 vols. London, 1873, Supplem., 1876.—F. W. Maitland: Rom. Can. Law in the Ch. of Engl., Lond., 1898.—The artt. in Herzog, vol. X. Kanonen-Sammlungen, Kanonisches Rechtsbuch, Kirchenrecht. —Stubbs: Const. Hist. of Engl., II. 170 sqq., III. 295–388.—For extensive list of works on canon Law, see Friedberg: Kirchenrecht, pp. 3–11, and Hergenröther: Kirchenrecht, pp. 15 sqq.


Not the least of the characteristic and imposing products of the mediaeval Church was the gigantic fabric of the canon law.1838  It is embodied in a series of collections containing enactments of Councils and papal decretals, beginning with the collection of Gratian in the twelfth century and ending with the decretals of John XXII. in the fourteenth century. The canon law became the legal buttress of the papal theocracy and remained the ruling code till the Reformation.

The science of canon law looks back to Gratian as its father, and Bologna was the chief centre for its study. Although works on the subject were produced in other lands, Italy, through her universities, was far in the lead in their production till late in the fifteenth century.1839

Under the Roman state, the religious laws—the jus sacrum, jus pontificium — were not a distinct body of legislation . In the Christian Church the conception of a distinct and superior divine law existed from the beginning. The formulation of a written code followed the meeting of Christian synods and their regulations. As the jurisdiction of the hierarchy and the institution of the mediaeval papacy were developed, this legislation came to include civil obligations and all civil penalties except the death penalty.1840  The Church encroached more and more upon the jurisdiction of the civil court. Conflict was inevitable. Not only was the independence of civil law as a distinct branch of procedure threatened, but even its very existence. It was not till the fourteenth century that the secular governments were able successfully to resist such encroachments and to regain some of the just prerogatives of which the civil courts had been robbed. "Oh, that the canon law might be purged from the superfluities of the civil law and be ordered by theology," exclaimed Roger Bacon, writing in the thirteenth century. "Then would the government of the Church be carried on honorably and suitably to its high position."1841

Gratian’s work was preceded by the Penitential Books and a number of imperfect collections of ecclesiastical decisions, the chief of which were, two books of synodal cases by Regino d. 915, the collections of Burchard, bishop of Worms d. 1025, Anselm of Lucca d. 1086, Cardinal Deusdedit about 1087, and Ivo of Chartres d. 1117.1842  The pseudo-Isidorian decretals also belong to this class and they were much used, especially by Burchard.

The work of Gratian superseded these earlier compilations, and it enjoys the honor of being the monumental work on canon law. Gratian, a Camaldulensian monk, and an Italian by birth, taught at the convent of St. Felix, Bologna, at the same time that Irnerius was teaching civil law in the same city. No details of his life have been handed down. His biography is his great compilation which was made about 1140–1150. Its original title, A Concordance of Differing canons, concordantia canonum discordantium, has given way to the simple title, Decretum, the Book of Decrees. The work was a legal encyclopaedia, and at once became the manual in its department, as the Sentences of the Lombard, Gratian’s contemporary, became the manual of theology.1843  This recognition was not due to formal, papal, or synodal sanction, for it never received any. It was issued again and again by learned commentators, the first being one of Gratian’s pupils, Paucapalea. These editors and commentators were called Summists or Glossarists. The official Roman edition was prepared by a papal commission of thirty-five members and issued by Gregory XIII. in 1582. Gregory declared the text to be forever authoritative, but he did not pronounce upon the contents of Gratian’s work.1844

Gratian’s aim was to produce a work in which all real or apparent contradictions between customs and regulations in vogue in the Church should be removed or explained. This he secured by exclusion and by comments, called the dicta Gratiani, sayings of Gratian. The work is divided into three parts. The first, in one hundred and one sections or distinctiones, treats of the sources of canon law, councils and the mode of their convention, the authority of decretals, the election of the Roman pontiff, the election and consecration of bishops, the papal prerogative, papal legates, the ordination of the clergy, clerical celibacy, and kindred topics. The second, in thirty-six sections or causae, discusses different questions of procedure, such as the ordination and trial of bishops and the lower clergy, excommunication, simony, clerical and church property, marriage, heresy, magic, and penance. The third part is devoted to the sacraments of the eucharist and baptism and the consecration of churches. The scholastic method is pursued. A statement is made and objections, if any, are then formally refuted by citation of synodal acts and the testimony of the Fathers, popes, and other churchmen. The first distinction opens with the statement that the human race is governed by two principles, natural law and customs. Then a number of questions are propounded such as what is law, what are customs, what kinds of law there are, what is natural law, civil law, and the law of nations?

Gratian’s volume was soon found to require supplement. The two centuries following its appearance were most fruitful in papal decrees, especially in the pontificates of Alexander III., Innocent III., and Gregory IX. These centuries also witnessed the Lateran and other important Councils. The deliverances of popes and synods, made subsequently to the age of Gratian, were called extravagantes or fugitives.1845  Five compilations, called "the old compilations," were made from 1191 to 1226.1846  The third of these, issued by authority of Innocent III. and containing his decretals, was sent by that pontiff to the university of Bologna to be included in its course of instruction. This compilation was the first book of canon law having papal sanction.

The demand for a complete collection of these materials induced Gregory IX. to commit the task of gathering them into a single volume to his chaplain Raymund de Pennaforte.1847  The work, usually called Decretales Gregorii IX, was finished and sent to Paris and Bologna in 1234 with the direction that it be used for purposes of instruction, and in the trial of cases. The preparation of other compilations was strictly forbidden. Gregory’s collection comprises 185 titles and 1871 decretals and follows the fivefold division of Bernard of Pavia’s work.1848

A new collection, called the Sixth Book, liber sextus — or, as by English writers, the Sext,—was issued by the authority of Boniface VIII., 1298, and carried the collections of Gratian and Gregory IX. into Boniface’s reign. In 1314, Clement V. issued another collection, which included his own decretals and the decrees of the council of Vienne and was called the Seventh Book, liber septimus, or the Clementines. In 1317, John XXII. officially sent Clement’s collection to the universities of Bologna and Paris. Subsequent to the publication of the Clementines, twenty of John’s own decretals were added. In 1500 John Chappuis, in an edition of the liber sextus and the Clementines, added the decretals of John and seventy-one of other popes. This series of collections, namely, Gratian’s Decretum, Gregory IX,’s Decretales, the Sext, the Clementines, and the Extravagantes of John XXII., constitutes the official body of canon law—corpus juris canonici — and was published in the edition of Gregory XllI.

The canon law attempted the task of legislating in detail for all phases of human life—clerical, ecclesiastical, social, domestic—from the cradle to the grave by the sacramental decisions of the priesthood. It invaded the realm of the common law and threatened to completely set it aside. The Church had not only its own code and its specifically religious penalties, but also its own prisons.

This body of law was an improvement upon the arbitrary and barbaric severity of princes. It, at least, started out from the principles of justice and humanity. But it degenerated into an attempt to do for the individual action of the Christian world what the Pharisees attempted to do for Jewish life. It made the huge mistake of substituting an endless number of enactments, often the inventions of casuistry, for inclusive, comprehensive moral principles. It put a crushing restraint upon the progress of thought and bound weights, heavy to be borne, upon the necks of men. It had the virtues and all the vices of the papal system. It protected the clergy in the commission of crimes by demanding that they be tried in ecclesiastical courts for all offences whatsoever. It became a mighty support for the papal claims. It confirmed and perpetuated the fiction of the pseudo-Isidorian decretals and perpetrated new forgeries. It taught that the decisions of Rome are final.1849  As Christ is above the law, even so is the pope.1850  Döllinger closes his examination of the Decretum, by pronouncing it; "filled through and through with forgery and error" and says "it entered like a mighty wedge into the older structural organization of the Church and split it apart. "

The canon law also gave its sanction to the devilish principle of ecclesiastical compulsion, declaring that physical force is to be used to coerce ecclesiastical dissidents. It justified wars against the enemies of religion and the persecution of heretics, even as Sarah, the type of the heavenly Jerusalem, persecuted her handmaid Hagar. And it declared, with Urban II., that he who kills one who is under the sentence of excommunication is not to be dealt with as a murderer.1851  These principles, set forth in clear statements, were advocated by Thomas Aquinas and the other Schoolmen and asserted by the greatest of the popes.

At last the legalistic tyranny became too heavy for the enlightened conscience of Europe to bear, as was the case with the ceremonial law in the days of the Apostles, against which Peter protested at the council of Jerusalem and Paul in his Epistles. The Reformers raised their voices in protest against it. Into the same flames which consumed the papal bull at Wittenberg, 1520, Luther threw a copy of the canon law, the one representing the effrontery of an infallible pope, the other the intolerable arrogance of a human lawgiver in matters of religion, and both destructive of the liberty of the individual. In his Address to the Christian Nobles, Luther declared that it did not contain two lines adapted to instruct a religious man and that it includes so many dangerous regulations that the best disposition of it is to make of it a dung heap.

Even in the Catholic world its enactments have been largely superseded by the canons of the council of Trent, the papal decretals issued since, and the concordats between Catholic princes and the papal see. By virtue of his official infallibility, the pope may at any time supersede them by decisions and dispensations of his own.

The words of Goethe may be applied to the canon law:—


Es erben sich Gesetz und Rechte

Wie eine ewige Krankheit fort

Sie schleppen von Geschlecht sich zum Geschlechte

Und schleichen sich von Ort zu Ort

Vernunft wird Unsinn, Wohlthat Plage.


 § 123. The Papal Supremacy in Church and State.


Literature: See the chapp. on Gregory VII. and Innocent III., and the works there cited.—Bernard: de consideratione, Migne, 182. 727–808.—Th. Aquinas: de regimine principum, and contra errores Graecorum. The latter ed. by *F. H. Reusch, d. 1900: D. Fälschungen in d. Tractat. d. Th. v Aq. gegen die Griechen, Munich, 1889.—The writings of Gregory VII., Alexander III., Innocent III., Gregory IX., etc. Corpus juris canonum, Friedberg’s ed.—*Mirbt: Quellen des Papstthums. —C. Lux: Constitutionum Apostolicarum de generali beneficiorum reservatione, 1265–1378, ... collectio et interpr., Wratislav, 1904.—Maassen: Primat des Bischofs von Rom, Bonn, 1853.—Schulte: D. Macht des röm. Papstthums, Prag, 2d ed., 1871,—*Döllinger-Friedrich: D. Papstthum, Munich, 1892.—*F. X. Leitner: D. hl. Th. von Aquino ueber d. unfehlbare Lehramt d. Papstes, Franf., 1872. Leitner wrote in opposition to Döllinger, and his work is of much importance,—*Bryce: Holy Rom. Emp., VI-XI.—G. B. Adams: Civilizat. during the M. A. chap. X.—W. Barry: The Papal Monarchy, 590–1303, N. Y., 1902. —*J. Haller: Papsttum und Kirchenreform, Berlin, 1903.—*A. Hauck: D. Gedanke der päpstl. Weltherrschaft bis auf Bonifaz VIII., Leip., 1904.—Ranke: Weltgesch., vol. VI.—Harnack: Dogmengesch., II. 392–419. The manuals on Canon Law by Friedberg, Hinschius, Hergenröther.


The papal assumptions of Gregory VII. and Innocent III. have already been presented (pp. 27 sqq., 152 sqq.). A large part of the history of this period is occupied by popes in the effort to realize the papal theocracy, from the opening struggle of Gregory VII. with Henry IV. to the death of Conradin, the Hohenstaufen. Their most vigorous utterances, so far as they are known, were not to summon men and nations to acts of Christian charity, but to enforce the papal jurisdiction. It is not the purpose here to repeat what has already been said, but to set forth the institution of the papacy as a realized fact and the estimate put upon it by Schoolmen and by the popular judgment.

Among the forty-one popes who occupied the chair of St. Peter from Gregory VII. to Boniface VIII., some, as has become evident, were men of rare ability, and occupy a place of first prominence as rulers. There were no scandals in the papal household such as there had been during the preceding period. No emperors from the North were required to descend upon Rome and remove pontiffs incompetent by reason of youth or profligacy. On the other hand, Rome had no reputation as a centre either of piety or of letters. Convents became noted for religious warmth, and Bologna, Paris, and other localities acquired a fame for intellectual culture, but Rome’s reputation was based solely upon her authority as a seat of ecclesiastical prerogative.

The sin of the popes was hierarchical pride, and yet we cannot help but be attracted by those imposing figures whose ideals of universal dominion equalled in ambition the boldest projects of the greater Roman emperors, but differed widely from theirs in the moral element which entered into them.1852

In this period the loftiest claims ever made for the papacy were realized in Western Europe. The pope was recognized as supreme in the Church over all bishops, and with some exceptions as the supreme ruler in temporal affairs. Protest there was against the application of both prerogatives, but the general sentiment of Europe supported the claims. To him belonged fulness of authority in both realms—plenitudo potestatis.

The Pope and the Church. – favorite illustration used by Innocent III. to support the claim of supremacy in the Church was drawn from the relation the head sustains to the body. As the head contains the plenitude of the forces of the body, and has dominion over it, so Peter’s successor, as the head of the Church, possesses the fulness of her prerogatives and the right of rule over her. The pope calls others to share in the care of the Church, but in such a way that there is no loss of authority to the head.1853  Innocent II., in opening the second Lateran Council, had used the same figure, and declared that no ecclesiastical dignity was lawfully held except by permission of the Roman pontiff. According to Gregory VII., he can depose and appoint bishops as he wills. The principle that the Apostolic see is subject to no human jurisdiction, stated by Gelasius, 493, was accepted by Bernard, though Bernard protested against the pope’s making his arbitrary will the law of the Church.1854  The Roman church, said Lanfranc, 1072, is, as it were, the sum of all churches, and all other churches are, as it were, parts of it. The arrangement of all church matters is only authoritative when approved by Peter’s successors.1855

The Fourth Lateran formally pronounced the Roman Church the mother and teacher of all believers, and declared its bishop to be above the patriarchs of Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria in rank and authority. Leo IX., d. 1054, asserted this pretension against Caerularius, the patriarch of Constantinople.1856  Innocent III. vindicated it by substituting a Latin patriarch for the Greek patriarch in that venerable see. The second council of Lyons, 1274, demanded that the Greeks should sign a document acknowledging the "full primacy" of the Roman pontiff and his right to rule over the universal Church.

This theory of papal absolutism found full theological and canonical recognition from Thomas Aquinas and Gratian. Gratian declared that to disobey the pope is to disobey God.1857  Thomas reasoned that, as the bishop is head of a diocese, so there must of necessity be a supreme head uniting all dioceses and guaranteeing pure morals and teaching within the Church. The Church triumphant has one ruler, so also must the Church militant have one ruler, the pope. To the pope is committed the plenitude of power and the prelacy over the whole Church. To him belongs the right of determining what are matters of faith.1858

Bonaventura took the same ground. The pope is supreme in all matters pertaining to the Church. He is the source of authority in all that belongs to prelatic administration, yea his authority extends from the highest to the humblest member of the Church.1859  Great bishops might have their disputes with the Apostolic see, but, in the end, they yielded to its claim of supreme jurisdiction. So it was with Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln. He declared, "I know and know full well, that our lord, the pope, has authority to freely act concerning all ecclesiastical benefices."1860

Clement IV. was simply expressing the general opinion of Latin Christendom, when he claimed for the Roman pontiff the "full right to dispose of all churches, ecclesiastical dignities, positions, and benefices."1861

Theoretically it is a disputed point whether an oecumenical council or the pope was regarded as supreme. But, in fact, popes controlled the legislation of the general Councils in this period as though they were supreme, and they fixed the legislation of the Church, as was the case with Gregory IX. The relative authority of pope and council did not become an urgent question till the thirteenth century.

The pope also claimed the right to levy taxes at will on all portions of the Church. This claim, definitely made by the popes of the second half of the thirteenth century, led to the scandalous abuses of the fourteenth century which shocked the moral sense of Christendom and finally called forth the Reformatory Councils of Pisa, Constance, and Basel.

Beginning with Innocent III., it became the fixed custom for the pope to speak of himself as the vicar of Christ and the vicar of God. He was henceforth exclusively addressed as "holiness" or "most holy"—sanctitas or sanctissimus.1862

The Pope and the Individual. – For Cyprian’s motto, "there is no salvation outside of the Church," was substituted, there is no salvation outside of the Roman Church. It was distinctly stated that all who refuse subjection to the pope are heretics.1863  From the pope’s authority to loose and bind no human being is exempted. Nothing is exempted from his jurisdiction.1864

The Pope and the State. – England, Poland, Norway, and Sweden, Portugal, Aragon, Naples, Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily, not to speak of portions of Central Italy, were in this period, for a longer or shorter time, fiefs of the Apostolic see. In 1299, the same claim was made over Scotland. The nations from Edessa to Scotland and from Castile to Riga were reminded that Rome was the throbbing centre of divinely bequeathed authority. The islands of the West were its to bestow. To Peter was given, so Innocent wrote, not only the universal Church, but the whole earth that he might rule it.1865  His practice, as we have seen, followed his pen. There was a time when the pope recognized the superior authority of the emperor, as did Gregory the Great in 593.1866  Peter Damiani, writing in the age of Gregory VII., recognized the distinction and coordination of the two swords and the two realms.1867  But another conception took its place, the subordination of all civil authority under the pope. To depose princes, to absolve subjects from allegiance, to actively foment rebellion as against Frederick II., to divert lands as in Southern France, to give away crowns, to extort by threat of the severest ecclesiastical penalties the payment of tribute, to punish religious dissenters with perpetual imprisonment or turn them over to the secular authorities, knowing death would be the punishment, to send and consecrate crusading armies, and to invade the realm of the civil court, usurp its authority, and annul a nation’s code, as in the case of Magna Charta,—these were the high prerogatives actually exercised by the papacy. The decision rendered on the field of Roncaglia by the jurists of Bologna, asserting the independent rights of the empire, was only an episode, and popes snapped their fingers at the academic impertinence. Now and then the wearers of the tiara were defeated, but they never ceased to insist upon the divine claims of their office. In vain did emperors, like Frederick II., appeal to the Scriptures as giving no countenance to the principle that popes have the right to punish kings and deprive them of their kingdoms.

The declarations of the popes were clear and positive. The figures employed by Gregory VII., comparing the two realms to gold and lead, sun and moon, soul and body, Innocent elaborated and pressed. Gregory asserted that it rested upon him to give account for all the kingdoms of God. 1868  To him had been committed universal dominion—regimen universale.1869 Innocent III. found in Melchizedek, the priest-king, the full type of the pope combining in himself the sacerdotal and regal functions.

Men of less originality and moral power could do no more than reaffirm the claims of these two master rulers and repeat their metaphors. Of these no one had more self-assurance than Gregory IX., who, at an age when most men are decrepit, bravely opposed to Frederick II,’s plans the fiction of the Donation of Constantine. Was not the Roman sceptre committed to the Apostolic see by the first Christian emperor, and did not the Apostolic see transfer the empire from the Greeks to the Germans, Charlemagne and Frederick himself being the successors of Arcadius, Valentinian, Theodosius, and the other Christian emperors of Rome.1870  But Innocent IV., 1254, returned to the position assumed by Hildebrand, that the papacy does not depend upon Constantine for secular dominion, as Peter received it directly from God.1871

When the struggle with the Hohenstaufen had been brought to a close, and peace established by the elevation of Rudolf of Hapsburg to the imperial throne, Gregory X. wrote to Rudolf: "If the sacred chair is vacant, the empire lacks the dispenser of salvation; if the throne is empty, the Church is defenceless before her persecutors. It is the duty of the Church’s ruler to maintain kings in their office, and of kings to protect the rights of the Church."  This was a mild statement of the supremacy of the Apostolic see. It remained for Boniface VIII., in his famous bull, unam sanctam, 1302, to state exactly, though somewhat brusquely, what his predecessors from Hildebrand, and indeed from Nicolas I., had claimed—supreme right to both swords, the spiritual and the temporal, with the one ruling the souls of men and with the other their temporal concerns.

These claims were advocated in special treatises by Bernard and Thomas Aquinas, two of the foremost churchmen of all the Christian centuries. Bernard was the friend of popes and the ruling spirit of Europe during the pontificates of Innocent II. and Eugenius III. the mightiest moral force of his age. Thomas Aquinas wrote as a theologian and with him began the separate treatment of the papacy in systems of theology. In his Rule of Princes and against the Errors of the Greeks, Thomas unequivocally sets forth the supremacy of the Apostolic see over the State as well as in the universal Church. As for Bernard, both Ultramontane and Gallican claim his authority, but there are expressions in his work addressed to Eugenius III., De consideratione, which admit of no other fair interpretation than that the pope is supreme in both realms.

Bernard’s treatise, filling eighty compact columns in the edition of Migne, summons Eugenius, whom he addresses as his spiritual son, to reflect in four directions: upon himself, upon that which is beneath him, upon that which is around about him, and upon that which is above him. Such a voice of warning and admonition has seldom been heard by the occupant of a throne. The author was writing, probably, in the very last year of his life.

Meditating upon himself, it became the pope to remember that he was raised to his office not for the sake of ruling but of being a prophet, not to make show of power but to have care of the churches. The pope is greatest only as he shows himself to be a servant. As pontiff, he is heir of the Apostles, the prince of bishops. He is in the line of the primacy of Abel, Abraham, Melchizedek, Moses, Aaron, Samuel, and Peter. To him belong the keys. Others are intrusted with single flocks, he is pastor of all the sheep and the pastor of pastors. Even bishops he may depose and exclude from the kingdom of heaven. And yet Eugenius is a man. Pope though he is, he is vile as the vilest ashes. Change of position effected no change of person. Even the king, David, became a fool.

The things beneath the pope are the Church and all men to whom the Gospel should be preached.

The things around about the pope are the cardinals and the entire papal household. Here, greed and ambition are to be rebuked, the noise of appealed judicial cases is to be hushed, worthy officials are to be chosen. The Romans are a bad set, flattering the pontiff for what they can make out of his administration. A man who strives after godliness they look upon as a hypocrite.

The faithful counsellor waxed eloquent in describing the ideal pope. He is one of the bishops, not their lord. He is the brother of all, loving God. He is set to be a pattern of righteousness, a defender of the truth, the advocate of the poor, the refuge of the oppressed. He is the priest of the Highest, the vicar of Christ, the anointed of the Lord, the God of Pharaoh; that is, he has authority over disobedient princes.

Bernard distinctly grants the two swords to the pope, who himself draws the spiritual sword and by his wink commands the worldly sword to be unsheathed.1872  It is true he lays stress upon Peter’s Apostolic simplicity and poverty. Peter wore no gems, was attended by no bodyguard, and sat on no white horse. In adopting such outward show "the popes had followed Constantine, not the Apostle."  It is also true that Bernard follows his generation in making the pope the viceregent of God on earth.1873

The views of Thomas Aquinas have already received notice (p. 673). His statements are so positive as to admit of no doubt as to their meaning. In the pope resides the plenitude of power. To the Roman Church obedience is due as to Christ.1874  These are assertions made in his treatise against the errors of the Greeks written at a time when the second council of Lyons was impending and measures were being taken to heal the schism between the East and the West. The pope is both king and priest, and the temporal realm gets its authority from Peter and his successors.1875  Thomas went further still. He declared for the infallibility of the pope. In confirmation of this view he quoted spurious writings of Cyril, but also genuine passages from the Fathers.1876

The popular opinion current among priests and monks was no doubt accurately expressed by Caesar of Heisterbach at the beginning of the thirteenth century when he compared the Church to the firmament, the pope to the sun, the emperor to the moon, the bishops to the stars, the clergy to the day, and the laity to the night.

We stand amazed at the vastness of such claims, but there can be no doubt that they were sincerely believed by popes who asserted them and by theologians and people. The supremacy of the Roman pontiff in the Church and over the State was a fixed conviction. The passage, Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s, quoted to-day for the separation of the two realms, was quoted then but with another interpretation. The Church was defined, as it had been defined by Augustine, as the university of believers by Hugo of St. Victor,1877 universitas fidelium, — or as the congregation of the faithful confessing Christ and the arsenal of the sacraments by Alanus de Insulis.1878  But the idea of the individual liberty of the Christian and his immediate responsibility to Christ, as revealed through the New Testament, had no hold. As a temporary expedient, the fiction of papal sovereignty had some advantage in binding together the disturbed and warring parts of European society. The dread of the decisions of the supreme pontiff held wild and lawless temporal rulers in check. But the theory, as a principle of divine appointment and permanent application, is untenable and pernicious. The states of Europe have long since outgrown it and the Protestant communions of Christendom can never be expected to yield obedience to one who claims to be the vicar of Christ, however willing they may be to show respect to any Roman bishop who exhibits the spirit of Christ as they did to Leo XIII.


 § 124. The Pope and the Curia.


Literature: For the election of a pope.—The text of the laws of Nicolas II. and Gregory X. is given in Mirbt: Quellen, 57 sqq., 146, Friedberg’s ed. of Gratian, I. 78 sq.—W. C. Cartwright: The Papal Conclave, Edinb., 1868.—Zöpffel: D. Papstwahlen etc. vom 11–15. Jahrh., Götting., 1871.—T. A. Trollope: The Papal Conclaves as they were and as they are, Lond., 1876.—L. Lector: Le conclave, etc., Paris, 1894.—Hefele-Knöpfler, IV. 800–826; VI. 146 sqq.—Schwane: Dogmengesch., pp. 522–589.—Friedberg: Kirchenrecht, pp. 165 sqq.—Hergenröther, Kirchenrecht, pp. 267–302.—Artt. Papstwahl., in Herzog, XI. 213–217, by Hinschius and Wetzer-Welte, IX. 1442–1461.

For the financial policy of the curia.—B. P. Woker: D. kirchl. Finanzwesen d. Päpste, Nördl., 1878.—Fabre: Le libre censuum de l’église Romaine, Paris, 1892.—*M. Tangl: D. Taxenwesen der päpstl. Kanzlei vom 13. bis zur Mitte des 15. Jahrh., Innsbr., 1892.—*J. P. Kirsch: Die Finanzverwaltung des Kardinalkollegiums im XIII. und XIV. Jahrh., Munster, 1895.—*P. M. Baumgarten: Untersuchungen und Urkunden über die Camera Collegii Cardinalium, 1295–1437, Leip., 1898.—*A. Gottlob: D. päpstl. Kreuzzugssteuern des 13. Jahrh., Heiligens., 1892; *D. Servitientaxe im 13. Jahrh., Stuttg., 1903.—*O. Jensen: D. englische Peterspfennig, Heidelb., 1903.—Haller: Papsttum u. Kirchenreform, Berlin, 1903.—Hurter: Inn. III., IV. 161 sqq.—For add’l lit. bearing on the financial policy of the popes, especially in the 14th century, see Part II. of this vol. under John XXII.


The curia is the designation given to the cardinals and minor officials of the papal household. Its importance increased greatly in this period through the centralization of authority in Rome. The pope was forced to employ an army of notaries, advocates, procurators, and other officials to share, with him the burdens of the vast amount of business brought to his attention.

In a restricted sense, the word "curia" is applied to the college of cardinals. This body came to sustain to the pope a relation similar to the relation sustained by the chapter to the bishop and a cabinet to a prince. At the oecumenical councils of Lyons, 1245 and 1274, its members were given precedence over all other ecclesiastical dignitaries.

The legislation fixing the mode of choosing the pope originated in this period with Nicolas II., speaking through the council of Rome 1059, and Gregory X., speaking through the second council of Lyons, 1274. From the ninth century, the emperor had claimed the right to confirm or veto papal elections, a right set aside under the influence of Gregory VII. The law of Nicolas, conforming to Gregory’s views, confined the right of election to the cardinals, and this became their primary function. It marks an important step in the complete independence of the papacy, though it was not strictly enforced till after its confirmation by Alexander III, at the Third Lateran, 1179. A majority of two-thirds of the cardinals was made necessary for an election. An important provision made papal elections conducted outside the city of Rome valid.

More precise regulations were shown to be necessary by the long pontifical vacancy of nearly three years following the death of Clement IV. (d. 1268). The law, as perfected under Gregory X., is, with slight modifications, still in force. It provides that, within ten days of a pope’s decease and in the same building where he expired, the cardinals shall assemble to choose a successor. The conclave, —from clavis, meaning key,—or room of meeting, has given its name to the assembly itself. During the progress of the vote, the assembled ecclesiastics are kept secluded from the outside world and receive food through a window. If after three days no conclusion has been reached, the fare is reduced to a single dish for supper and a single dish for dinner. Should eight days pass without a choice, the fare is reduced to bread and wine. The secular authorities are intrusted with the duty of guarding the conclave against interruption and violence.

The committees, or congregations, into which the cardinals are now grouped is of late origin. The oldest, the Holy Office or Congregation of the Inquisition, was established 1542. The red hat was conferred upon them, as a sign of their office, by Innocent IV., 1245; the purple mantle, two hundred years later, by Paul II., 1464. They wear a sapphire ring and by the enactment of Urban VIII., 1630, are addressed as "Eminence."  In 1586 their number was limited by Sixtus V. to seventy. The exact membership within this limit is dependent upon the pleasure of the reigning pontiff. The largest number at any time was under Pius IV., 1559, when there were seventy-six. In the latter half of the thirteenth century the number often ran very low and at one time was reduced to seven. Since Urban VI., 1378–1382, none but a cardinal has been elevated to the papal dignity. The pope’s right to abdicate is based upon the precedents of Gregory VI., 1046, Coelestin V., 1294, and Gregory XII., 1415.

The pope’s coronation and enthronement were an occasion of increasing pomp and ostentation and were usually celebrated with a procession through the city from St. Peter’s to the Lateran in which the nobility and civil authorities as well as the pope and the higher and lower clergy took part. The tiara, or triple crown, seems not to have been used till the reign of Urban V., 1362–1372. This crown is regarded as symbolical of the pope’s rule over heaven, earth, and the lower world; or of his earthly power and his power to loose for time and eternity; or of Rome, the Western patriarchate and the whole earth.

To this period belongs the development of the system of papal legates which proved to be an important instrumentality in the extention of the pope’s jurisdiction. These officials are constantly met with from the pontificate of Gregory VII. Clement IV. likened them to the Roman proconsuls. They were appointed to represent the Apostolic see on special occasions, and took precedence of the bishops in the regions to which they were sent, presided at synods, and claimed for themselves the respect due to the pope himself.

Gregory VII., in commending a legate, quoted Luke 10:16, "whosoever heareth you, heareth me also."1879  He was represented by Cardinal Hugo in Spain and by other legates in Sardinia, France, Denmark, Poland, and England.1880  Hildebrand himself had represented the popes on special missions, and Adrian IV. won distinction by his successful administration of the legatine office in Northern Europe. Papal legates were present at the coronation of William the Conqueror, 1070.

Legates had the reputation of living like princes and depended for their support upon the countries to which they were despatched. Their encroachment upon the prerogatives of the episcopate and their demands for money called forth bitter complaint from one end of Europe to the other. Barbarossa wrote Adrian IV., refusing to receive the papal legates because they came to him as plunderers and not as priests.1881  John of Salisbury and Matthew Paris joined St. Bernard in condemning their assumption and rapacity. Bernard succeeded in finding only two cases of incorruptible legates. One, Martin, who had been sent to Dacia, returned to Italy so poor that he could with difficulty get to Florence and would have had to foot it from there to Rome but for the loan of a horse. Bernard felt his description would be regarded as an idle tale, a legate coming back from the land of gold without gold and traversing the land of silver without possessing silver!  The other case was the legate Gaufrid of Aquitaine who would not accept even fish and vegetables without paying for them so that no one might be able to say, "we have made Abraham rich," Gen. 14:23.1882

Salimbene, the genial Franciscan chronicler, also gives us a dark picture of papal legates of Northern Italy, some of whom he had known personally. He gives the names of twelve, four of whom he specially accuses of unchastity, including Ugolino, afterwards Gregory IX., and mentioning some of their children by name. Two of them were hard drinkers. He makes the general charge that legates "rob the churches and carry off whatsoever they can."1883

As the ultimate legal tribunal of Western Europe, the papal court assumed an importance never dreamed of before. Innumerable cases of appeal were brought before it. If the contestants had money or time, no dispute was too trivial to be contested at Rome. Appeals poured in from princes and kings, chapters and bishops, convents and abbots. Burchard of Ursperg says1884 that there was not a diocese or parish which did not have a case pending at Rome, and all parties who went had their hands full of gold and silver. There was a constant procession of litigants to the Eternal City, so that it once more became literally true that all roads led to Rome. The hours of daylight, as Bernard lamented, were not long enough for these disputes, and the hearings were continued into the night.1885  Appeals were encouraged by the curia, who found in them an inexhaustible source of revenue. Bernard, writing to Eugenius, lamented the time the chief bishop of Christendom took from his proper duties, and consumed upon the hearing of common lawsuits and personal complaints. The halls of the papal palace rang with the laws of Justinian rather than the precepts of the Lord. Bernard himself recognized the right of appeal as an incontestable privilege, but would have limited it to the complaints of widows and the poor, and excluded disputes over property.1886

The expression ad calendas Graecas became proverbial in Rome for delays of justice till one party or the other was dead or, worn out by waiting, gave what was demanded. The following example, given by Bernard, will indicate the extent to which the right of appeal was carried. A marriage ceremony in Paris was suddenly checked by a complainant appearing at the altar and making appeal to Rome against the marriage on the ground that the bride had been promised to him. The priest could not proceed, and bride and bridegroom had to live apart until the case was argued before the curia. So great did the curia’s power become that its decision was regarded as determining what was sound doctrine and what was heresy.1887

In the thirteenth century, the papal exchequer gained an offensive notoriety through the exactions of the curia, but it was not till the fourteenth century, during the period of the Avignon exile, that they aroused a clamorous protest throughout Europe. The increased expenses of the papal household called for large sums, and had to be met. The supreme pontiff has a claim upon the entire communion over which he presides, and the churches recognized its justice. It was expressed by Pascal II. when he wrote to Anselm of Canterbury, 1101: "You know well our daily necessities and our want of means. The work of the Roman church inures to the benefit of all the churches, and every church which sends her gifts thereby recognizes not only that they are in debt to her but to the whole of Christendom as well."1888  It was the scandalous abuse of this just claim that called forth bitter complaint.

As bearing on the papal revenues early in the thirteenth century, a ledger account of the income of Innocent III. has come down to us, prepared by his chamberlain, Cencius, afterwards made a cardinal.1889 Of the 633 bishoprics therein listed, 330 paid tribute of one kind or another to Rome. In addition to gifts of money, all sorts of articles are catalogued—vegetables, wine, grain, fish, wood, wax, linen, yokes of oxen, horses.—Convents, churches, and hospitals made contributions to the pope’s wants. The abbot of Reichenau, at his induction, sent two white horses, a breviary, and a book of the Gospels. A hospital in the see of Terouanne sent 100 herrings, St. Basil’s, in Rome, two loads of fish.

In the latter half of the thirteenth century, the administration of the papal finances was reduced to a system, and definite rules were adopted for the division of the revenues between the pope and the college of cardinals. We are restricted to a single tax list1890 for this period, while for the first half of the fourteenth century we have a number of detailed and highly interesting ledger accounts which give the exact prices levied for papal privileges of all sorts. There, we have fiscal contracts drawn up between prelates and papal officials and receipts such as would be expected in a careful banking system. These lists and other sources of information enable us to conclude what methods were practised from 1250–1300.

The sources from which the papal treasury drew its revenues were the annual tributes of feudal states, called census, payments made by prelates and other holders of church benefices called servitia, visitationes, and annates; and the occasional taxes levied upon the Church at large, or sections of it, for crusades and other special movements. To these usual sources of revenue are to be added assessments for all sorts of specific papal concessions and indulgences.1891

The servitia,1892 visitationes, and annates, originally freewill offerings of the clergy, had come by the end of the thirteenth century to be recognized as obligatory assessments. The annates were payments made by papal appointees of a portion of a year’s income of benefices which the pope reserved to himself the right of filling, such as prebends, canonries, and other livings. The portion was usually one-half. The visitationes were payments made by prelates; that is, archbishops, bishops, and abbots on their visits in Rome.1893  These visits were made at fixed periods, the time being settled by law. The prelates, on taking their oath of office, obligated themselves to make them.

The servitia1894 were gifts of money paid by archbishops, bishops, and abbots at their confirmation in office. They constituted a large source of revenue. The amounts to be paid in each case were computed upon the basis of a year’s income. Once fixed they remained fixed and obligatory until new valuations were made.1895  The levy was usually, though not uniformly, one-third of a year’s income.1896  The exact origin of this form of tribute is not known, but it was recognized as custom, having the force of law before the reign of Nicolas III. (1277–1280), and probably as early as the middle of the thirteenth century.1897  The tax was usually paid by the prelates on their visit in Rome, when the appointment was confirmed. Sometimes the obligation of payment was made through a commercial house.1898

The census included the taxes paid by the State of the Church, the assessments paid by convents and churches under the special protection of the Apostolic see, the tributes of the vassal—states, Naples, Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia, and England, and the income of Peter’s Pence. The tribute of 1000 marks, promised by John for England and Ireland, was over and above the amounts due from Peter’s Pence. The tribute of Sicily in 1272, amounting to 8000 oz. of gold, was divided into two equal parts by Gregory X., one part going to the cardinals. In 1307, a demand was made upon Charles II. of Naples for back payments on this account amounting to the enormous sum of 93,340 oz. of gold. In 1350, the amount due was 88,852 oz.1899

The custom of paying Peter’s Pence, or a stipulated amount for every household, was in vogue in England, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Northern Germany, and Poland, but was never introduced into France though Gregory VII. attempted to collect it there but failed.1900  Robert Guiscard, in 1059, pledged for Sicily twelve denarii for every yoke of oxen to be paid for all time.1901  Far-off Greenland also added its contributions to this tax and it was paid under Olaf, bishop of Gardar, 1246.1902

During the second half of the thirteenth century, the custom was developed of dividing the revenues from visitationes, servitia, and census between the pope and the college of cardinals.1903  Up to that time the cardinals had depended upon benefices held in their own names and the tributes of castles and towns in the papal territory set aside for them by popes. To these sources of revenue were added during the thirteenth century livings in foreign lands which they administered, if administered at all, through vicars. A number of benefices were often held by a member of the curia, but the abuse of pluralities did not reach its largest proportions till the latter half of the fifteenth century. In 1291, Benedict Gaetani (Boniface VIII.) cardinal of S. Nicolas in Carcere, held, in addition to that living, two archdeaneries and two churches in France, three churches in Rome and prebend stalls in Langres, Chartres, Lyons, Paris, Anagni, Todi, Terouanne, and St. Peter’s in Rome.

The half portion, accruing to the cardinals, was divided equally between those dignitaries. In case a cardinal was suspended his portion was divided equally between the papal treasury and the other cardinals. It became customary at the close of the thirteenth century, in appointing a cardinal, to announce that he was entitled to a share of the servitia.1904

During the absence of a cardinal on legatine business or for other reasons, he ceased to participate in the fund.

These revenues were handled by two treasurers: a papal treasurer, or chamberlain, and a treasurer for the college of cardinals.1905  The latter held his office for life. The two offices were never vested in the same person. Each treasurer, at least from the time of Benedict XII. in the fourteenth century, kept his own set of books and at times copies of the papal ledgers were made and turned over to the cardinals. To such a system had the finances been reduced that, as early as the reign of Boniface VIII., the Registers of preceding pontiffs were consulted.1906  In the period 1295–1298, the college of cardinals received as their share, coin amounting to 85,431 gold florins, a sum equal in face value to $200,000.1907

To the pope’s own exchequer went the additional sums accruing from annates as defined above, the special taxes imposed by the pope at will, and the gifts for special papal favors. The crusades against the Saracens and Frederick II. were an inviting pretext for special taxation. They were the cause of endless friction especially in France and England, where the papal mulcts were most frequent and most bitterly complained of. The first papal levy for revenue in France seems to have been in 1188. As early as 1247 such a levy upon church property was met by a firm protest. In 1269, Louis IX. issued the pragmatic sanction which forbade papal taxes being put on church property in France without the sovereign’s consent. One of the most famous levies of mediaeval England was the Saladin tax, for a crusade against the Saracens.

The curia was already, in the time of St. Bernard, notorious for its rapacity. No sums could satisfy its greed, and upon it was heaped the blame for the incessant demands which went out from Rome. Bernard presents a vivid, if perhaps overcolored, picture of this hungry horde of officials and exclaims: "When has Rome refused gold?  Rome has been turned from a shrine into a place of traffic. The Germans travel to Rome with their pack animals laden with treasure. Silver has become as plentiful as hay. It is to Eugenius’ credit that he has turned his face against such gifts. The curia is responsible. They have made Rome a place of buying and selling. The ’Romans,’ for this was the distinctive name given to this body of officials, are a pack of shameless beggars and know not how to decline silver and gold. They are dragons and scorpions, not sheep."1908

The English chronicler, Matthew Paris, writing a century later, has on almost every other page of his chronicle a complaint against the exactions of the papal tax gatherers. One might easily get the impression from his annals, that the English Church and people existed chiefly to fill the Roman treasury. The curia, he said, was like a gulf swallowing up the resources of all classes and the revenues of bishops and abbots.1909  The contemporary Italian chronicler Salimbene has biting words for the luxury and idleness of the cardinals and reports the invectives of Hugh de Digne delivered at the council of Lyons, 1245.1910

Bernard of Cluny and other poets of the time lashed the Curia for its simony.1911  Everything at Rome had its price. Poems, ascribed to Walter Map, abound in bitter invective against the wide-open mouths of the cardinals which only money could fill. In one of them, the Ruin of Rome, the city is compared to the waters between Scylla and Charybdis, more capacious of gold than of ships."

"The meeting place of our pirates, the cardinals"


Ibi latrat Scylla rapax et Charybdis auri capax

Potius quam navium, ibi cursus galearum

Et concursus piratarum, id est cardinalium.


There, at that deep gulf, are the Syrtes and Sirens who threaten the whole world with shipwreck, the gulf which has the mouth of a man but the heart of a devil. There the cardinals sell the patrimony, wearing the aspect of Peter and having the heart of Nero, looking like lambs and having the nature of wolves.1912  In a conversation, purporting to have occurred between Thomas Aquinas and the pope, the pope said, as he showed the theologian the papal treasure-room, "Thomas, Peter could now no longer say as he once said to the lame man "silver and gold have I none.’ "  "Nor," was Thomas’ reply, "has his successor the power now to lay his hand on the lame man and heal him."


 § 125. Bishops.


Although the episcopate lost some of its ancient prestige through the centralization of power in the papacy, the incumbents of the great sees were fully as powerful as the greater secular princes. The old theory, that all bishops are the successors of Peter, had a waning number of open advocates. Bernard said1913 that, like the pope, they were pastors and porters of the kingdom of heaven and fountains of authority, but, in power and rank, they were inferior to the pope who is the immediate successor of the prince of the Apostles. A hundred years later Grosseteste still held to the equal dignity of all bishops as being successors of Peter.1914

By the law of Gregory IX., archbishops took an oath of allegiance to the pope, and Martin V. (1417–1431) extended it so as to include all bishops. Gregory IX. and other popes made this oath the ground of demands for military service. Long before this, in 1139, Innocent II. had addressed the bishops as occupying a relation to the papal see such as vassals occupy to their prince. They were to be known as "bishops by the grace of God and the Apostolic see."1915  Innocent III. distinctly stated that bishops receive their authority by the grace of the pope in whom resides the fulness of authority.1916  The confirmation of bishops by the pope was made a fixed rule by Nicolas III. (1277–1280).1917  And the ancient right which bishops had exercised of resigning their sees was now denied and the privilege made dependent upon the pope’s dispensation.

After the Concordat of Worms, 1122, the appointment of bishops by princes and other lay patrons, in theory, ceased. Pope after pope declared the right of election belonged to the cathedral chapters. But, in fact, the elections were not free. Princes ignored the rights of the chapters and dictated the nominees, or had unsatisfactory elections set aside by appealing to Rome. In France and Spain, a royal writ was required before an election could be had and the royal acceptance of the candidate was interposed as a condition of consecration. In England, in spite of the settlement between Anselm and Henry I., the rights of the chapters were constantly set aside, and disputed elections were a constant recurrence. By John’s charter, the election took place in the chapter house of the cathedral, and the king might exercise the right of nomination and confirmation.1918  In the case of disputed elections, the pope acted as umpire and might set aside all candidates and order a new election, as did Innocent III., in the case of Stephen Langton. The Fourth Lateran established the rule that a chapter, failing to reach a conclusion in three months, forfeited the right of election.

The law requiring a bishop to be at least thirty years old1919 and of legitimate birth was often set aside. Geoffrey, natural son of Henry II., was appointed bishop of Lincoln before he was twenty and for six years he enjoyed the revenues of the see without being ordained priest. He was afterwards made archbishop of York. Gerlach of Nassau was made archbishop at twenty. We have in this period no case quite so flagrant as that of Hugh of Vermandois, about 930, who, after poisoning the archbishop of Rheims, put his own son, a child of five, into the office. Disregard of the age-limit reached its height in the latter half of the fifteenth century. The larger sees were a tempting prize to noblemen, and Innocent III. felt it necessary to emphasize merit as a qualification for the episcopal office as against noble birth.

The important right of canonization was withdrawn from the bishops by Alexander III., 1181, and its exercise thenceforth restricted to the pope. Bishops were not popular material for sainthood. Otto of Bamberg is a shining exception.

From the time of Otto the Great, German bishops had the rank of princes.1920  In France, England, and other countries, they were raised to the dignity of the peerage. The three German sees of Treves, Mainz, and Cologne probably enjoyed larger revenues and authority than any other sees in Western Christendom. They gave to the territory along the Rhine the name of the "priests’ alley."  Their three prelates were among the seven electors of the empire. In Northern Germany, the see of Bremen retained its relative importance. Lund was the metropolitan see of Denmark and Scandinavia. In France, the ancient archbishoprics of Lyons and Rheims perpetuated the rank and influence of an earlier period. In England, after the see of Canterbury, Lincoln was the most influential diocese.

The cathedral and collegiate chapters grew in importance. In the earlier part of this period, it was still the custom for the canons belonging to a chapter to live under the same roof and eat at the same table. In the thirteenth century a great change took place. With the increasing wealth of the churches, the chapters threatened to assert the rights of distinct corporations, and to become virtually independent of the bishops.1921  Prebends or stalls—stallum in choro—were furnished with endowments of their own. The sons of nobles coveted and secured these places which brought emolument and influence without work. The canons lived apart by themselves, supported by the revenues of their stalls and their portion of the cathedral income. No places were more often filled by papal appointment in the way of reservation and expectance.1922

The archdeacon, still called as of old, "the bishop’s eye," assisted the bishop in matters of diocesan administration, visited churches, made investigation of the sacred robes and vessels, adjudicated disputes, presided over synods, and, as provided for by the English Constitutions of Otho, instructed the clergy on the sacraments and other subjects. This official threatened to assume the rank of bishop-coadjutor, or even to become independent of the bishop.1923  His duties are frequently dwelt upon by English, German, and French synods. The large dioceses employed a plurality of them. As early as the eleventh century, the see of Treves had five, Cologne six, and Halberstadt thirty.1924  After the Norman Conquest, the English dioceses adopted the system. Lincoln included the archdeaconries of Lincoln, Leicester, Stow, Buckingham, Huntingdon, Northampton, Oxford, and Bedford. Archdeacons were often appointed at an early age, and it became the custom for them to go abroad to pursue the study of canon law before entering upon the duties of their office. They were inclined to allow themselves more liberties than other ecclesiastics, and John of Salisbury propounded the question whether an archdeacon could be saved. Among the better known of the English archdeacons were Thomas à Becket, Walter Map, archdeacon of Oxford, and Peter of Blois, archdeacon of London. Peter complained to Innocent III. that he received no financial support from the 120 churches of London.

A hard struggle was carried on to remove the hand of the secular power from church funds. Synods, local and oecumenical, threatened severest penalties upon any interference of this kind. In 1209, Otto IV. renounced the old right of spoliation—jus spolii or jus exuviarum,—whereby the secular prince might seize the revenues of vacant sees and livings, and appropriate them to himself. The Church was exempted by Innocent III. from all civil taxation at the hands of laymen, except as it was sanctioned by pope or bishop, and lay patrons were enjoined against withholding or seizing for their own use church livings to which they had the right of appointment.1925  The goods, laid aside by clerics from their livings, were the property of the Church,1926 and in case a priest died intestate, it was, in some parts, the privilege of the bishop to administer his estate. Priests were exempt from personal taxation. For prescribed taxes, free gifts so called, were substituted. Peter of Blois commended the piety of certain princes who declined to levy taxes upon churches and other ecclesiastical institutions, even for necessary expenditures, such as the repair of city walls; but met them, if not from their own resources, from booty taken from enemies.1927

Besides the usual income accruing from landed endowments and tithes, the bishop had other sources of revenue. He might at pleasure levy taxes for the spiritual needs of his see,1928 and appropriate the first year’s income of newly appointed priests. Other additions, from the eleventh century on, came in the way of fees and collections for indulgences and gifts at the dedication of churches and altars, and the benediction of cemeteries. Abaelard speaks of the throngs which assembled on such festal occasions, and the large offerings which were, in part, payments for the relaxation of penances.1929

As for the pastoral fidelity and morals of the bishops, there was much ground for complaint, and there are also records of exemplary prelates. As a whole, the prelates were a militant class. No pope of this age wore armor as did John XII., and, at a later time, Julius II., though there were few if any pontiffs, who did not encourage war under the name of religion. Bishops and abbots were often among the bravest warriors and led their troops into the thickest of the fight both on European soil and under Syrian suns. Monks and priests wore armor and went into battle. When the pope asked for the release of the fighting bishop of Beauvais, whom Richard Coeur de Lion had seized, Richard sent him the bishop’s coat of mail clotted with blood and the words taken from the story of Joseph, "We found this. Is it not thy son’s coat?"  Archbishop Christian of Mainz (d. 1183) is said to have felled, with his own hand, nine antagonists in the Lombard war, and to have struck out the teeth of thirty others. Absalom and Andrew of Lund were famous warriors.1930  So were Odo of Bayeux, Roger of York, and Geoffrey, his successor, and many other English prelates. The abbot Henry, afterwards archbishop of Narbonne, went at the head of the armies sent against the Albigenses, and did more, wearing the monk’s garb, to encourage bloodshed than he could have done in military dress.

The chastity of the bishops was often open to just suspicion. The Christian, already referred to, a loyal supporter of Barbarossa, kept a harem.1931  When the confirmation of Geoffrey Riddel to the see of Ely was being prosecuted at the papal court, and Geoffrey was absent, the bishop of Orleans facetiously explained his absence by saying, "He hath married a wife, and therefore he cannot come."1932  The case of Henry of Liége, prince-bishop of Liége, is perhaps the most notorious case. He was cited before Gregory X. at the second council of Lyons, and forced to resign. He was an illiterate, and could not read the book presented to him. For thirty years he had led a shameless life. Two abbesses and a nun were among his concubines and he boasted of having had fourteen children in twenty-two months. The worst seems to have occurred before he was made priest. Innocent IV. had been his strong friend. Salimbene tells the popular tale of his day that the saintly Cistercian, Geoffroi de Péronne, came back from the other world and announced that if he had accepted the bishopric of Tournai, as the pope urged him to do, he would have been burning in hell. From the pages of this chronicler we have the pictures of many unworthy prelates given to wine and pleasure, but also of some who were model pastors.1933

The prelates of Germany had no better reputation than those of Italy, and Caesar of Heisterbach1934 reports the conversation of a Paris clerk, who declared that he "could believe all things, but it was not possible for him to believe that any German bishop could be saved."  When asked the reason for such a judgment, he replied, that the German prelates carried both swords, waged wars, and were more concerned about the pay of soldiers than the salvation of the souls committed to them.

The other side to this picture is not so apt to be presented. Chroniclers are more addicted to point out the scandalous lives of priests than to dwell upon clerical fidelity. There were faithful and good bishops and abbots. The names of Anselm of Canterbury and Hugh of Lincoln, Bernard and Peter the Venerable only need to be mentioned to put us on our guard against accepting the cases of unworthy and profligate prelates which have been handed down as indicating a universal rule.


 § 126. The Lower Clergy.


The cure of souls—regimen animarum — was pronounced by the Fourth Lateran, following Gregory the Great, to be the art of arts, and bishops were admonished to see to it that men capable in knowledge and of fit morals be appointed to benefices. The people were taught to respect the priest for the sake of his holy office and the fifth commandment was adduced as divine authority for submission to him.1935

The old rule was repeated, making the canonical age for consecration to the priesthood twenty-five. Councils and popes laid constant stress upon the priest’s moral obligations, such as integrity, temperance in the use of strong drink,1936 simplicity in diet and dress, abstinence from the practice of usury.1937  He was forbidden to frequent taverns, to play at dice, to attend theatrical and mimic performances, and to allow dances in church buildings and church yards.

The old rules were renewed, debarring from the sacerdotal office persons afflicted with bodily defects, and Innocent III. complained of the bishop of Angoulême for ordaining a priest who had lost a thumb.1938

Beginning with the twelfth century, the number of parishes increased with great rapidity both in the rural districts and in the towns. In German cities the division of the old parishes was encouraged by the citizens, as in Freiburg, Mainz, Worms, and Lübeck, and they insisted upon the right of choosing their pastor.1939  On the other hand, the convents were busy establishing churches and, in Germany, there were thousands under their control.1940  The eleventh and twelfth centuries were a busy time of church building.

What occurred in Germany occurred also in England. But here the endowment of churches and chapels by devout and wealthy laymen was more frequent. Such parishes, it is true, often fell to the charge of the orders, but also a large share of them to the charge of the cathedral chapters and bishops.

Clerical incomes varied fully as much in those days as they do now, if not more. The poorer German priests received from one-tenth to one-twentieth of the incomes of more fortunate rectors and canons.1941  The Fourth Lateran made small salaries responsible for a poorly trained ministry.

The clergy depended for their maintenance chiefly upon the income from lands and the tithe. The theory was that the tenth belonged to the Church, "for the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof."  The principle was extended to include the tithe of the fish-catch, the product of the chase, and the product of commerce.1942  The clergy also received fees for special Sacerdotal services from baptism to burial and rites pertaining to the soul after death. Such fees became general after the twelfth century, but not without vigorous protests against them. The Second Lateran and other synods1943 forbade priests making charges for the administration of baptism, marriage, extreme unction, and other rites, and for sepulture. The ground was taken by Innocent III. that, while gifts for such services were proper, they should be spontaneous and not forced. The Fourth Lateran bade laymen see they were not overlooked.

Priests receiving their benefices from laymen were likened to thieves who came not in by the door but climbed in some other way. The lay patron had the right of nomination—presentatio. To the bishop belonged the right of confirmation—concessio. Laymen venturing to confer a living without the consent of the ecclesiastical authority exposed themselves to the sentence of excommunication.1944  Stories were current of clerics who had bought their way to ordination and to benefices, who afterwards gnawed through their tongues in remorse.1945  The system of pluralities was practised in spite of the decrees of oecumenical and local synods.1946

The ideal of a faithful priest was not a preacher but one who administered the sacraments and other solemn rites upon the living and the dead. Restricted as the education of the priest was, it greatly surpassed that of his lay brother, and it was not so meagre as it has often been represented. There were writers who held up the ignorance of the clergy to scorn, but it is dangerous to base wide generalizations on such statements. Statements of another kind can be adduced to show that a class of priests had literary interests as wide as the age was familiar with. The schools that existed were for the training of the clergy. Synods assumed that clerics could read and prescribed that they should read their breviaries even while travelling on journeys. Peter of Blois urged them to read the Scriptures, which he called David’s harp, a plough working up the fallow field of the heart, and which he compared to drink, medicine, balsam, and a weapon. He also warned priests against allowing themselves "to be enticed away by the puerilities of heathen literature and the inventions of philosophers."  When the universities arose, a large opportunity was offered for culture and the students who attended them were clerics or men who were looking forward to holy orders. The synod of Cologne, 1260, probably struck the medium in regard to the culture of the clergy, when it declared that it did not demand eminent learning of clerics but that they know how to read and properly sing the church service.

The function of parish-preaching was not altogether neglected. Bishops were enjoined by the Fourth Lateran to appoint men capable of preaching in all cathedral and conventual churches. In the eleventh century there was scarcely a German parish in which there was not some preaching during the year, and subsequent to that time, sermons were delivered regularly.1947  The sermons were sometimes in Latin and sometimes in German. Those which are preserved abound in stories and practical lessons and show more dependence upon the Fathers than upon the Scriptures. In England and other parts of Europe sermonizing was a less common practice. English priests were required to give expositions of the Creed, the Ten Commandments, the evangelical precepts, the seven works of mercy, the seven cardinal virtues, and the seven sacraments, and to cover these subjects once a quarter. Grosseteste called upon them to be diligent in visiting the sick night and day, to preach, and to carefully read the Scriptures that they might be able to give a reason for the hope that was in them.1948  In the regions infected with the Albigensian heresy, instruction was ordered given to children in the articles of the Catholic faith. The mendicant monks started out as preachers and supplied a popular demand. The ignorance of the priesthood at times called for inhibitions of preaching, as by the synod of Oxford, 1281.

Not the least important among the priest’s functions was the supervision of wills that the Church might come in for seemly remembrance. State laws in conflict with this custom were set aside. Abuses were recognized by synods, and the synod of Paris, 1212, ordered that laymen should not be compelled to make provision in their wills for the payment of thirty mortuary masses. The priest’s signature insured the validity of a will, and some synods made the failure to call in a priest to attest the last testament a ground of excommunication.1949

Turning to the priest as a member of society, the Church, with unwavering emphasis, insisted upon his independence of the secular tribunal. In the seventh century, Heraclius had granted to the clergy, even in the case of criminal offences, the right of trial in ecclesiastical courts. The Isidorian fiction fully stated this theory. These and other privileges led many to enter the minor clerical orders who had no intention of performing ecclesiastical functions. Council after council pronounced the priest’s person inviolate and upon no other matter was Innocent III. more insistent.1950  Violence offered to a priest was punished with the anathema, and civil authorities venturing to cite clerics to appear before them incurred the same penalty.1951  Such legislation did not, however, bring complete immunity from injury or exempt church property from spoliation. In England, Thomas à Becket is the most noteworthy example. A bishop of Caithness had his tongue cut out. A Spanish bishop received the same treatment at the hands of a king of Aragon. In Germany, Bishop Dietrich of Naumburg, a learned man, was murdered, 1123; as were also Conrad, bishop of Utrecht, 1099; Arnold bishop of Merseburg, 1126, and other bishops. Lawrence, archdeacon of York, was murdered in the vestibule of his church by a knight. The life of Norbert of Magdeburg was attempted twice.1952  The principle which the Church recognized in the punishment of clerical crimes was laid down by Coelestin III., 1192. Theft, homicide, perjury, or other "mortal crimes" were punished with deposition. If the priest persisted in committing offences, he was excommunicated and, at last, turned over to the state for punishment.1953  There was no little complaint against the application of the canon law. Roger Bacon complained bitterly against the time given to its study in Bologna. He declared its study was obliterating the distinction between the clerical and lay professions. The doctors of law called themselves clerks though they had not the tonsure and took to themselves wives. He demanded that, if clergymen and laymen were to be subjected to the same law, it should be the law of England for Englishmen, and of France for Frenchmen and not the law of Lombardy.

Clerical manners were a constant subject of conciliar action. Ordination afforded no immunity from vanity and love of ostentation. The extravagance of bishops and other clergy in dress and ornaments gave rise to much scandal. The Third Lateran sought to check vain display by forbidding a retinue of more than 40 or 50 horse to archbishops, 25 to cardinals, and 20 or 30 to bishops. Archdeacons were reduced to the paltry number of 5 or 7 and deans to 2. There was some excuse for retinues in an age of violence with no provision for public police. The chase had its peculiar fascination and bishops were forbidden to take hounds or falcons with them on their journeys of visitation. Dogs and hunting were in localities denied to clergymen altogether.1954

The fondness of the clergy for gay apparel was often rebuked. In Southern France, clergymen ventured to wear red and green colors and to substitute for the close-fitting garment the graceful and flowing open robe. They followed the fashions of the times in ornamenting themselves with buckles and belts of gold and silver and hid the tonsure by wearing their hair long. They affected the latest styles of shoes and paraded about in silk gloves and gilded spurs, with gilded breastbands on their horses and on gilded saddles.1955

Full as the atmosphere of the age was of war-clamor, and many warring prelates as there were, the legislation of the Church was against a fighting clergy. The wearing of swords and dirks and of a military dress was repeatedly forbidden to them. Wars for the extermination of heresy were in a different category from feuds among Catholic Christians. It was in regard to the former that Peter des Roches, bishop of Winchester, said, "As for the enemies of Christ, we shall slay them and purify the face of the earth, that the whole world may be subject to one Catholic Church and become one fold and one shepherd."1956  Priests were prohibited from attending executions, and also tournaments and duels, on the ground that these contests presented the possibility of untimely death to the contestants. In case a combatant received a mortal wound he was entitled to the sacrament but was denied ecclesiastical burial.1957  The Fourth Lateran solemnly enjoined ecclesiastics against pronouncing the death sentence or executing it, and the same council forbade surgery also, so far as it involved cutting and burning, to deacons and subdeacons as well as to priests.

The period opens with the dark picture of clerical morals by Peter Damiani who likened them to the morals of the Cities of the Plain. Bernard, a hundred years later, in condemning clergymen for the use of military dress, declared they had neither the courage of the soldier nor the virtues of the clergyman.1958  A hundred years later still Grosseteste, in describing the low moral and religious state of the English people, made the immoral lives of the clergy responsible for it.

Dice were played even on the altars of Notre Dame, Paris,1959 and dice-playing is often forbidden to priests in the acts of synods. Wine-drinking to excess was also a fault of the clergy, and Salimbene knew Italian clerics who sold wine and kept taverns.1960  According to Caesar of Heisterbach, wine often flowed at the dedication of churches. A Devonshire priest was accustomed to brew his beer in the church-building.

The most famous passage of all is the passage in which Jacob de Vitry describes conditions in Paris. Fornication among clergymen, he says, was considered no sin. Loose women paraded the streets and, as it were by force, drew them to their lodgings. And if they refused, the women pointed the finger at them, crying "Sodomites."  Things were so bad and the leprosy so incurable that it was considered honorable to have one or more concubines. In the same building, school was held upstairs and prostitutes lived below. In the upper story masters read and in the lower story loose women plied their trade. In one part of the building women and their procurors disputed and in another part the clergy held forth in their disputations.1961

The Fourth Lateran arraigned bishops for spending the nights in revelry and wantonness. The archbishopric of Rouen was occupied for 113 years by three prelates of scandalous fame. Two of them were bastards of the ducal house and all rivalled or excelled the barons round about in turbulence and license. A notorious case in high places was that of the papal legate, Cardinal John of Crema. He held a council which forbade priests and the lower clergy to have wives or concubines; but, sent to the bishop of Durham to remonstrate with him over the debauchery which ruled in his palace, the cardinal himself yielded to a woman whom the bishop provided. The bishop regarded it as a jest when he pointed out the cardinal in the act of fornication.

Marriage and concubinage continued to be practised by the clergy in spite of the Hildebrandian legislation. Innocent III. agreed with Hildebrand that a priest with a family is divided in his affections and cannot give to God and the Church his full allegiance in time and thought.1962  Writers, like Salimbene and Caesar of Heisterbach, were severe on married priests. According to the Fourth Lateran, bishops not only violated the canons of the Church themselves by committing the "crime of the flesh," as Gregory VII. called it, but winked at their violation by priests for a money-compensation. A common saying among priests was, si non caste, caute; that is, "if not chaste, at least cautious."  In this way Paul’s words were misinterpreted when he said, "If they cannot contain, let them marry."  Bonaventura, who knew the facts, declared "that very many of the clergy are notoriously unchaste, keeping concubines in their houses and elsewhere or notoriously sinning here and there with many persons."1963

Conditions must have been bad indeed, if they equalled the priestly customs of the fourteenth century and the example set by the popes in the latter half of the fifteenth. Who will forget the example and mistresses of the first and only Scotch cardinal, Archbishop Beaton, who condemned Patrick Hamilton and Wishart to death!  Were not the Swiss Reformers Bullinger and Leo Jud sons of priests, and was not Zwingli, in spite of his offence against the law of continence, in good standing so long as he remained in the papal communion!

The violation of the ecclesiastical law of celibacy was, however, by no means in all cases a violation of the moral law. Without the ceremony of marriage, many a priest lived honorably with the woman he had chosen, and cared for and protected his family. The Roman pontiff’s ordinance, setting aside an appointment of the Almighty, was one of the most offensive pieces of papal legislation and did unspeakable injury to the Church.


 § 127. The Councils.


The legislation of the oecumenical and local synods of this age gives the most impressive evidence of the moral ideals of the Church and its effort to introduce moral reforms. The large number of councils, as compared with the period just before 1050, was a healthy sign.1964  Their time was largely taken up with disciplinary and moral subjects. They legislated upon the relation of the Church to the empire, and the election of the pope, against simony and clerical marriage, upon heresy and measures for its repression, upon the crusades and the truce of God, on the details of clerical conduct and dress, and upon the rites of worship. The doctrine of transubstantiation, defined at the Fourth Lateran, was the only doctrine which was added by oecumenical authority to the list of the great dogmas handed down from the early Church.

At one period one subject, and at another, another subject, was prominent. The character of the legislation also differed with the locality. The synods in Rome, during the latter half of the eleventh century, discussed clerical celibacy, simony, and investiture by laymen. The synods of Southern France and Spain, from the year 1200, abound in decrees upon the subject of heresy. The synods of England and Germany were more concerned about customs of worship and clerical conduct.

A notable feature is the attendance of popes on synods held outside of Rome. Leo IX. attended synods in France and Germany, as well as in Italy. Urban II. presided at the great synod of Clermont, 1095. Innocent II. attended a number of synods outside of Rome. Alexander III. was present at the important synod of Tours, where Thomas à Becket sat at his right. Lucius III. presided at the council of Verona, 1184. Innocent IV. and Gregory X. were present at the first and second councils of Lyons. Such synods had double weight from the presence of the supreme head of Christendom. The synods may be divided into three classes: —

I.  Local Synods, 1050–1122.—The synods held in this, the Hildebrandian period, were a symptom of a new era in Church history. The chief synods were held in Rome and, beginning with 1049, they carried through the reformatory legislation, enforcing clerical celibacy and forbidding simony. The legislation against lay-investiture culminated in the Lenten synods at Rome, 1074 and 1075, presided over by Gregory VII. Local synods, especially in France and England, repeated this legislation. The method of electing a pope was settled by the Roman synod held by Nicolas, and confirmed by the Third Lateran, 1179. The doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, as advocated by Berengar, d. 1088, called forth action at Rome and Vercelli, 1050, and again at Rome, 1059 and 1079. The legislation bearing on the conquest of the Holy Places was inaugurated at Piacenza and more seriously at the synod of Clermont, both held in 1095.

II.  The Oecumenical Councils.—Six general councils were held within a period of one hundred and fifty years, 1123–1274, as against eight held between 325–869, or a period of five hundred years. The first four go by the name of the Lateran Councils, from the Lateran in Rome, where they assembled. The last two were held in Lyons. They were called by the popes, and temporal sovereigns had nothing to do in summoning them.1965  They were presided over by popes, and the dockets of business were prepared by papal direction. The pope ratified their decrees. The first canon of the First Lateran ran, "by the authority of the Apostolic see, we forbid," etc., — auctoritate sedis apostol. prohibemus. It is true that the assent of the assembled prelates was assumed or, if expressly mentioned, the formula ran, "with the assent of the holy synod," or "the holy synod being in session,"—sacro approbante concilio, or sacro praesente concilio. So it was with the Fourth Lateran. The six oecumenical councils are:—

1. The First Lateran, 1123, called by Calixtus II., is listed by the Latins as the Ninth oecumenical council. Its chief business was to ratify the Concordat of Worms. It was the first oecumenical council to forbid the marriage of priests. It renewed Urban II.’s legislation granting indulgences to the Crusaders.

2. The Second Lateran, 1139, opened with an address by Innocent II., consummated the close of the recent papal schism and pronounced against the errors of Arnold of Brescia.

3. The Third Lateran, 1179, under the presidency of Alexander III., celebrated the restoration of peace between the Church and the empire and, falling back on the canon of the Second Lateran, legislated against the Cathari and Patarenes. It ordered separate churches and burial-grounds for lepers. Two hundred and eighty-seven, or, according to other reports, three hundred or three hundred and ninety-six bishops attended.

4. The Fourth Lateran or Twelfth oecumenical, 1215, marks an epoch in the Middle Ages. It established the Inquisition and formulated the doctrine of transubstantiation, the two most far-reaching decrees of the mediaeval Church. Innocent III. dominated the council, and its disciplinary and moral canons are on a high plane and would of themselves have made the assemblage notable. It was here that the matter of Raymund of Toulouse was adjudicated, and here the crusade was appointed for 1217 which afterwards gave Frederick II. and Innocent’s two immediate successors so much trouble. A novel feature was the attendance of a number of Latin patriarchs from the East, possessing meagre authority, but venerable titles. The decisions of the council were quoted as authoritative by Bonaventura and Thomas Aquinas.1966

5. The First council of Lyons, 1245, presided over by Innocent IV., has its fame from the prosecution and deposition of the emperor Frederick II. It also took up the distressed condition of Jerusalem and the menace of the Tartars to Eastern Europe.

6. The Second council of Lyons or the Fourteenth oecumenical, 1274, was summoned by Gregory X., and attended by five hundred bishops and one thousand other ecclesiastics. Gregory opened the sessions with an address as Innocent III. had opened the Fourth Lateran and Innocent IV. the First council of Lyons. The first of its thirty-one canons reaffirmed the doctrine of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son. It repeated the legislation of the Fourth Lateran, prohibiting the institution of new monastic orders. The council’s chief significance was the attempt to reunite the churches of the West and the East, the latter being represented by an imposing delegation.

These oecumenical assemblages have their importance from the questions they discussed and the personalities they brought together. They had an important influence in uniting all parts of Western Christendom and in developing the attachment to the Apostolic see, as the norm of Church unity.

III. Local Synods, 1122–1294.—Some of the local synods of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries are of even more importance than some of the oecumenical councils of the same period. If they were to be characterized for a single subject of legislation, it would be the repression of heresy. Some of them had far more than a local significance, as, for example, the synod of Tours, 1163, when Spain, Sicily, Italy, England, Scotland, and Ireland were represented as well as France. Alexander III. and seventeen cardinals were present. The synod legislated against heresy.

The synod of Verona, 1184, passed a lengthy and notable decree concerning the trial and punishment of heretics. It heard the plea of the Waldenses, but declined to grant it.

The synod of Treves, 1227, passed important canons bearing on the administration of the sacraments.

The synod of Toulouse, 1229, presided over by the papal legate, celebrated the close of the Albigensian crusades and perfected the code of the Inquisition. It has an unenviable distinction among the great synods on account of its decree forbidding laymen to have the Bible in their possession.

These synods were great events, enlightening the age and stirring up thought. Unwholesome as were their measures against ecclesiastical dissent and on certain other subjects, their legislation was, upon the whole, in the right direction of purity of morals and the rights of the people.


 § 128. Church and Clergy in England.


Literature: I. The works of William of Malmesbury, William of Newburgh, Henry of Huntingdon, Roger of Wendover, M. Paris, Richard of Hoveden, John of Salisbury, Walter Map, Giraldus Cambrensis, Ordericus Vitalis, Peter of Blois, Grosseteste, etc.

II. Phillimore: The Eccles. Law of Engl., 2 vols. Lond., 1873, Supplem., 1870.—Stubbs: Select Charters of Engl. Const. Hist., 8th ed., Oxf., 1896; Constit. Hist. of Engl., 6th ed., 1897, 3 vols.—Gee and Hardy: Documents Illustr. of Engl. Ch. Hist., Lond., 1896.—F. W. Maitland: Rom. Canon Law in the Ch. of Engl., Lond., 1898.—Jessopp: The Coming of the Friars.—H. D. Traill: Social England, a Record of the Progress of the People, etc., 2 vols. Lond., 2d ed., 1894.—W. R. W. Stephens: A Hist. of the Engl. Church, 1066–1272, Lond., 1901. Freeman: The Norman Conquest and William Rufus.—Histt. of England and the Ch. of England, etc.—Dict. of Nat. Biogr.


With the Norman Conquest the Roman curia began to manifest anxious concern for the English Church and to reach out for her revenues. Reverent as the Saxon kings had been towards the pope, as was shown in their visits to Rome and the payment of Peter’s Pence, the wild condition of the country during the invasions of the Danes offered little attraction to the Church rulers of the South. Henry Of Huntingdon called the England of his day—the twelfth century—"Merrie England"1967 and said that Englishmen were a free people, free in spirit and free in tongue, with even more freedom in giving, having abundance for themselves and something to spare for their neighbors across the sea. The Romans were quick to find this out and treated the English Church as a rich mine to be worked. It is probable that in no other part of Christendom were such constant and unblushing demands made upon church patronage and goods.1968  On the other hand, in no country was so persistent a struggle maintained for popular rights in Church and state against the impositions both of pope and crown.

Among the first distinct papal encroachments upon the liberties of the English Church were the appointment of legates and the demand that the archbishop go to Rome to receive the pallium. The first legates to England seem to have been sent at the invitation of William the Conqueror, 1070, to take up the case of Stigand, the Saxon archbishop of Canterbury, who had espoused the cause of the antipope. It was not long before the appointment of foreign legates was resisted and the pope, after the refusal to receive several of his representatives, was forced to yield and made it a rule to associate the legatine authority with the archbishops of Canterbury and York,—a rule, however, which had many exceptions. The legates of English birth were called legati nati in distinction from the foreign appointees, called le nati a latere.

The pope’s right to interfere in the appointment of bishops and to fill benefices was asserted soon after the Conqueror’s death. In such matters, the king showed an almost equally strong hand. Again and again the pope quashed the elections of chapters either upon his own motion or at the king’s appeal. Eugenius III. set aside William, canonically chosen archbishop of York. Stephen Langton 1207, Edmund Rich 1234, the Franciscan Kilwardby 1273, Peckham 1279, and Reynolds 1313, all archbishops of Canterbury, were substituted for the candidates canonically elected. Bonaventura was substituted for William Langton, elected archbishop of York, 1264. Such cases were constantly recurring. Bishops, already consecrated, were set aside by the pope in virtue of his "fulness of power," as was the case when Richard de Bury, d. 1345, was substituted for Robert Graystanes in the see of Durham.

This violence, done to the rights of the chapters, led to a vast amount of litigation. Almost every bishop had to fight a battle at Rome before he obtained his see. Between 1215–1264 not fewer than thirty cases of contested episcopal elections were carried to Rome. It was a bad day when the pope or the king could not find a dissident minority in a chapter and, through appeals, secure a hearing at Rome and finally a reversal of the chapter’s decision. Of the four hundred and seventy decretals of Alexander III., accepted by Gregory IX., about one hundred and eighty were directed to England.1969

The regular appointment to benefices was also invalidated by the pernicious custom of papal reservations which threatened even in this period to include every high office in the English Church. A little later, in 1317, the supreme pontiff reserved for his own appointment the sees of Worcester, Hereford, Durham, and Rochester; in 1320 Lincoln and Winchester; in 1322, 1323 Lichfield and Winchester; 1325 Carlisle and Norwich; 1327 Worcester, Exeter, and Hereford.1970

Another way by which the pope asserted his overlordship in the English Church was the translation of a bishop from one see to another. This, said Matthew Paris (V. 228), "became custom so that one church seemed to be the paramour of the other."

The English clergy and the barons looked upon these practices with disfavor, and, as at the Mad Parliament, 1258, demanded the freedom of capitular elections. The Constitutions of Clarendon, 1164, clearly expressed the national opposition, but the pope continued to go his own way.

The convents, for the most part, escaped papal interference in the election of their abbots. The reason is to be sought in the support which the orders gave to the pope in his struggle to reduce the episcopate to subjection. Nor did the crown venture to interfere, repelled, no doubt, by the compact organization of the monastic orders, the order rising to the defence of an attacked abbey.

The participation of the English bishops in the House of Lords was based originally upon the tax of scutage. From this followed their equal right to deliberate upon public affairs with the barons. At a time when this body contained less than forty lay peers, it included twenty bishops and twenty-six abbots. Most of the bishops and abbots, it would seem, had houses in London, which had taken the place of Winchester as the centre of national life.1971  As the emoluments of the higher ecclesiastical dignities increased, they were sought and secured by noblemen for their sons and by members of the royal house. Odo, bishop of Bayeux, d. 1097, was the brother of William the Conqueror. Two of Stephen’s nephews were made respectively bishop of Durham and archbishop of York. Ethelmar, brother of Henry III., received the see of Winchester, 1250,1972 and the archbishopric of Canterbury was provided for Henry’s uncle, Boniface. Geoffrey, son of Henry II., was made bishop of Lincoln when a lad, and afterwards transferred to York. Among the men of humble birth who rose to highest ecclesiastical rank were Edmund Rich and Robert Kilwardby.

The honors of canonization were reached by Hugh of Lincoln, Rich of Canterbury, and Richard of Wyche, bishop of Chichester, not to speak of Anselm and Thomas à Becket. The cases of proud and warring prelates were numerous, and the custom whereby bishops held the chief offices at the court was not adapted to develope the religious virtues. Richard Flambard, bishop of Durham under William Rufus, Hugh, bishop of Lichfield, 1188–1195, and Peter des Roches of Winchester, 1205–1238, supporter of John, are among the more flagrant examples of prelates who brought no virtues to their office and learned none. William Longchamp, bishop of Ely and favorite of Richard I., was followed by a retinue of 1000 men.1973  The council of London, 1237, presided over by the cardinal legate, Otho, reminded the bishops of their duty to "sow the word of life in the field of the Lord."  And, lest they should forget their responsibilities, they were to listen twice a year to the reading of their oath of consecration.

The English chapters were divided almost equally between the two classes of clergy, monks and seculars. To the former class belonged Canterbury, Winchester, Durham, Norwich, Coventry, Rochester, Worcester, Ely, and Bath. The chapters of York, London, Exeter, Lichfield, Wells, Hereford, Lincoln, Salisbury, Llandaff, St. Asaph, St. David’s, and Chichester were made up of secular clergy. As the chapters asserted the rights of distinct corporations, their estates were treated as distinct from those of the bishop. It not infrequently happened that the bishop lost all influence in his chapter. The dean, in case the canons were seculars, and the prior, in case they were monks, actually supplanted the bishop in the control of the cathedral when the bishop and canons were hostile to each other. The Fourth Lateran, however, recognized the superior right of the bishop to enter the church and conduct the service. The Third Lateran ordered questions in the chapter settled by a majority vote, no matter what the traditional customs had been.

The pope and the English sovereign vied with one another in appropriating the revenues of the English Church, though it is probable the pope outdid the king. In William Rufus’ reign, a high ecclesiastic was no sooner dead than a royal clerk took inventory of his goods and rents, and appropriated them for the crown. The evil was so great in Stephen’s reign that the saying ran that "Christ and his saints slept."  Sees were kept vacant that the crown might sequester their revenues. The principle of taxing ecclesiastical property cannot awaken just criticism. Levies for military equipment on the basis of scutage go back into the Saxon period. In the latter half of the twelfth century a new system came into vogue, and a sum of money was substituted. The first levy on the moveables of the clergy including tithes and offerings, called the spiritualia, seems to have been made in 1188 by Henry II. This was the famous Saladin tax intended for use against the Turks.1974  For the ransom of Richard I. even the sacred vessels and books of the clergy were taxed. Under John the taxation was on an elaborate scale, but it became even more exacting under Henry III., 1216–1272. In 1294 Edward I. threatened to outlaw the clergy if they refused to grant him a half of their revenues for his war with France. The dean of St. Paul’s remonstrated with the king for this unheard-of demand, and fell dead from the shock which the exhibition of the king’s wrath made upon him. Unwilling as the clergy may have been to pay these levies, it is said they seldom refused a tenth when parliament voted its just share. The taxes for crusades were made directly by the popes, and also through the sovereign. As late as 1288, Nicolas IV. granted Edward I. a tenth for six years for a crusade.1975

The papal receipts from England came from three sources—Peter’s Pence, the tribute of John, and special taxations. Peter’s Pence, which seems to have started with Offa II., king of Mercia, in the eighth century and was the first monetary tribute of the English people to Rome, was originally a free gift but subsequently was treated as a debt.1976  The failure to promptly meet the payment became a frequent subject of papal complaint to king and bishops. In letters to Henry I., 1115, and to the archbishop of Canterbury, Pascal reminded them that not one half of the "gift" had been paid to St. Peter. Innocent III. gave his legate sharp orders to collect it and complained that the bishops kept back part of the tax for their own use. The tax of a penny for each household was compounded for £201.7s.; but, in 1306, William de Testa, the papal legate, was commanded to ignore the change and to revert to the original levy. Beginning with the thirteenth century, the matter of collection was taken out of the hands of the bishops and placed in the hands of the papal legate. By the law of Gregory X. two subcollectors were assigned to each see with wages of 3 soldi a day, the wages being afterwards increased to 5 and 8 soldi. Peter’s Pence, with other tributes to Rome, was abolished by Henry VIII.’s law of 1534.

The tribute of one thousand marks, promised by John, was paid with great unwillingness by the nation or not paid at all. In 1275, as John XXI. reminded the English king, the payments were behind seven years. By 1301 the arrearage amounted to twelve thousand marks. It would seem as if the tax was discontinued after 1334 and, in 1366, parliament forbade its further payment and struck off all arrearages since 1334.1977  The popes, however, continued to make the claim, and the tax was paid in part or in whole.

The special taxes levied by popes were for the crusades in the East and against Frederick II. and for the expenses of the papal household. Gregory IX., 1229, with the king’s sanction, levied a tax of a tenth for himself. The extraordinary demand, made by Innocent IV., 1246, of a third of all clerical revenues for three years and a half, was refused by a notable gathering of bishops and abbots at Reading and appeal was made to a general council.1978

The most fruitful method which Rome employed for draining the revenues of the English Church was by requisition upon her benefices and special taxation of bishops and other dignitaries for their offices. The rapacity of the Roman proconsuls seemed to be revived. The first formal demand was made by Honorius III., 1226, and required that two prebends in each cathedral and two positions in each monastery be placed at the pope’s disposal. Italians were already in possession of English livings.

In 1231, Gregory IX. forbade the English bishops conferring any more prebends until positions were provided for five Romans. In 1240, the same pontiff made the cool requisition upon the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops of Lincoln and Salisbury of places for three hundred Italians.1979  It was a constant complaint that Italian succeeded Italian. And the bitter indignation was expressed in words such as Shakespeare used in his King John (Act III., Sc. 1):

"that no Italian priest

Shall tithe or toil in our dominions."


Innocent IV. was the most unblushing offender. He appointed boys to prebends, as at Salisbury, and Grosseteste spoke of some of his appointees as children, parvuli. A protest, directed to him, complained that "an endless number of Italians "held appointments in England and that they took out of the kingdom 60,000 marks yearly or more than half the amount realized by the king from the realm.1980

As early as 1256, the pope claimed the first-fruits of bishoprics, the claim to be in force for five years. Later they were made a fixed rule.1981  The papal legates could not be expected to fall behind their unscrupulous or complaisant masters. When Martin arrived in 1244, he asked for 30,000 marks and seized benefices worth more than 3000 marks a year. These officials were freely denominated indefatigable extortioners, bloodsuckers, and "wolves, whose bloody jaws were consuming the English clergy."1982  Money-getting was also esteemed the chief business of the papal representatives in Scotland.1983  Matthew Paris compared the "bloodsucking extortion" to the work of a harlot, vulgar and shameless, venally offering herself to all, and bent upon staining the purity of the English Church. The people, he says, were estranged in body, though not in heart, from the pope who acted in the spirit of a stepfather and from the Roman Church who treated England like a stepmother.1984  The popular indignation at times found vent in something more significant than words. Martin, after receiving textures, vases, furniture, and horses, as well as gold and silver, was given short shrift by the barons to get out of the kingdom. When he applied to the king for safe conduct, the king replied, "The devil give you safe conduct to hell and all the way through it."

The Norman Conquest exerted a wholesome, influence upon the Church in England, and introduced a new era of church building and the erection of monasteries and the regular and canonical observance of the church’s ritual. The thirteenth century was a notable period of church extension. The system of endowed vicarages was developed.

Hugh de Wells created several hundred vicarages and Grosseteste continued the policy and provided for their maintenance out of the revenues of the older churches. Chantries were endowed where mass was said for the repose of the souls of the dead, and in time these were often united to constitute independent vicarages or parishes. The synod of Westminster, 1102, provided for a more just treatment of the ill-paid vicars. The Constitutions of Otho forbade the tearing down of old historic buildings and the erection of new ones without the consent of the bishop.

The Normans also introduced a new era of clerical education. Before their arrival, so William of Malmesbury says,1985 the clergy were content with a slight degree of learning and could scarcely stammer the words of the sacraments. A satisfactory idea of the extent and dispersion of learning among the clergy it is difficult, if not impossible, to obtain. A high authority, Dr. Stubbs,1986 makes the doubtful statement that every one admitted even to minor orders must have been able to read and write. It happened, however, that bishops were rejected for failing in their examinations and others were admitted to their sees though they were unable to read.1987  As for preaching, a sermon from an English parochial priest in the Middle Ages was probably a rare thing. There were at all times some men of literary ability among the English clergy as is attested by the chronicles that have come down to us, by such writers as John of Salisbury, Walter Map, and Peter of Blois (who was imported from France), and by the Schoolmen who filled the chairs at Oxford in its early history.

In spite of the measures of Anselm and other prelates, clerical marriage and concubinage continued in England. Writing to Anselm, Pascal II. spoke of the majority of the English priests as married. Laws were enacted forbidding the people to attend mass said by an offending priest; and women who did not quit priestly houses were to be treated as adulteresses and denied burial in sacred ground. An English priest in the time of Adrian IV. named his daughter Hadriana, a reminder to the pope that he himself was the son of a priest.1988  Some relief was attempted by the introduction of the Augustinian rule, requiring priests to live together; but it was adopted in the single English cathedral of Carlisle and in a few Scotch cathedrals. The records of the courts leave no doubt of the coarse vice which prevailed in clerical groups. Even after the twelfth century, many of the bishops were married or had semi-legitimated families. According to Matthew Paris, Grosseteste was on the point of resigning his see on account of the low morals of his clergy.

The attempt to introduce the law of Gratian into England was never wholly successful. Archbishop Arundel might declare that "in all cases the canons and laws were authoritative which proceeded from the porter of eternal life and death, who sits in the seat of God Himself, and to whom God has committed the laws of the divine realm."1989  But the barons, as at the parliament of Merton, 1236, resisted the foreign claim. William the Conqueror provided for ecclesiastical courts, under the charge of bishops and archdeacons, which took the place of the hundred court.

Suits, however, touching the temporalities of the clergy were tried in the secular courts,1990 as were also offences against the forestry laws and the laws of hunting. But all matters pertaining to wills and to marriage were reserved for the clerical court. These provisions gave the Church vast power. It was inevitable, however, that there should be a clash of jurisdiction, and, in fact, endless disputes arose in the settlement of matters pertaining to advowsons, tithes, and other such cases. The relative leniency of the penalties meted out to clerics led many to enter at least the lower orders, and enroll themselves as clerks who never had any idea of performing clerical functions.

The more important acts pertaining to the Church in England in this period were, in addition to William’s mandates for dividing the civil and church courts, the canons of the council of London, 1108, the Clarendon Constitutions, 1164, John’s brief surrendering his kingdom, 1213, the Constitutions of Otho, 1237, and the Mortmain Act of 1279. The Mortmain Act, which was one of the most important English parliamentary acts of the Middle Ages, forbade the alienation of lands to the Church so as to exempt them from the payment of taxation to the state.


 § 129. Two English Bishops.


For Hugh of Lincoln: The magna vita, by his chaplain, Adam, ed. by Dimock, Lond., 1864;—a metrical Life, ed. by Dimock, Lond., 1860,—G. G. Perry: St. Hugh of Avalon, Lond., 1879.—H. Thurston (Rom. Cath.): St Hugh of Lincoln, Lond., 1898, transl. from the French, with copious additions.—J. A. Froude: A Bishop of the Twelfth Century, in Short Studies on Great Subjects, 2d series, pp. 54–86.

For Grosseteste: His Epistolae, ed. by Luard, Lond., 1861; Monumenta Franc., ed. by Brewer.—M. Paris, Luard’s ed.—Lives of Grosseteste, by Pegge, Lond., 1793.—Lechler, in his Life of Wiclif, transl. by Lorimer, pp. 20–40.—G. G. Perry, Lond., 1871.—Felten, Freib., 1887.—F. S. Stevenson, Lond., 1899.—M. Creighton: in Hist. Lectt. and Addresses, Lond., 1903.—C. Bigg, in Wayside Sketches in Eccles. Hist., Lond., 1906. — Dict. of Nat’l Biog.


Most prominent among the English ecclesiastics of the period, as faithful administrators of their sees, are Hugh and Robert Grosseteste, both bishops of Lincoln.1991

Hugh of Lincoln, or Hugh of Avalon, as he is also called, 1140–1200, was pronounced by Ruskin the most attractive sacerdotal figure known to him in history;1992 and Froude passed upon him the eulogy that he "was one of the most beautiful spirits ever incarnated in human clay, whose story should be familiar to every English boy."

Born near Grenoble, France, he was taken in his ninth year, on his mother’s death, to a convent; afterwards he entered the Grande Chartreuse, and followed an invitation from Henry II., about 1180, to take charge of the Carthusian monastery of St. Witham, which the king had founded a few years before. In 1186 he was chosen bishop of Lincoln, the most extensive diocese in England.1993

Hugh’s friendship with Henry did not prevent him from resisting the king’s interference in the affairs of his diocese. When the king attempted to force a courtier into one of the prebends of Lincoln, the bishop sent the reply, "Tell the king that hereafter ecclesiastical benefices are to be bestowed not upon courtiers but upon ecclesiastics."  He excommunicated the grand forester for encroaching upon the rights of the people. The king was enraged, but the bishop remained firm. The forests were strictly guarded so as to protect the game, and also, as is probable, to prevent Saxons from taking refuge in their recesses. The foresters and rangers were hated officials. The loss of the eyes and other brutal mutilations were the penalties for encroachment.

Towards Richard and John, Hugh showed the same independent spirit as towards Henry. At the council of Oxford, 1197, he dared to refuse consent to Richard’s demands for money, an almost unheard-of thing.1994  The king’s wrath was allayed by a visit the prelate paid him at his castle on the rock of Andely. This was the famous castle built in a single year, of which Philip said, "I would take it if it were iron."  To which Richard replied, "I would hold it if it were butter."  Upon Hugh’s departure, Richard is reported to have said, "If all prelates were like the bishop of Lincoln, not a prince among us could lift his head against them."

Hugh’s enlightened treatment of the Jews has already been referred to. He showed his interest in the lepers, built them a house, cared for them with his own hands, and called them "the flowers of Paradise, and jewels in the crown of heaven."  The Third Lateran had ordered separate churches and burial grounds for lepers. His treatment of the tomb of Fair Rosamonde was more in consonance with the canons of that age than agreeable to the spirit of our own. When, on a visit to Gadstow, he found her buried in the convent church, with lamps kept constantly burning over her body, he ordered the body removed, saying that her life was scandalous, and that such treatment would be a lesson to others to lead chaste lives. In his last moments Hugh was laid on a cross of ashes. John, who was holding a council at Lincoln, helped to carry the body to its resting-place. The archbishop of Canterbury and many bishops took part in the burial ceremonies. The Jews shed tears. Hugh was canonized in 1220, and his shrine became a place of pilgrimage.

One of the striking stories told of Hugh, the story of the swan, is attested by his chaplain and by Giraldus Cambrensis, who witnessed the swan’s movements. The swan, which had its nest at Stow, one of the bishop’s manors, was savage and unmanageable till Hugh first saw it. The bird at once became docile, and learned to follow the bishop’s voice, eat from his hand, and to put his bill up his sleeve. It seemed to know instinctively when the bishop was coming on a visit, and for several days before would fly up and down the lake flapping its wings. It kept guard over him when he slept.

Robert Grosseteste, 1175–1253, had a wider range of influence than Hugh, and was probably the most noteworthy Englishman of his generation.1995  No prelate of his century was so bold in telling the pope his duty. To his other qualities he added the tastes and acquisitions of the scholar. He was a reformer of abuses, and a forerunner of Wyclif in his use of the Scriptures. Roger Bacon, his ardent admirer, said that no one really knew the sciences but Robert of Lincoln.1996  His great influence is attested by the fact that for generations he was referred to as Lincolniensis, "he of Lincoln."

Born in England, and of humble origin, a fact which was made by the monks of Lincoln an occasion of derision, he pursued his studies in Oxford and Paris, and subsequently became chancellor of Oxford. He was acquainted with Greek, and knew some Hebrew. He was a prolific writer, and was closely associated with Adam Marsh.1997

No one welcomed the advent of the Mendicant Friars to England with more enthusiasm than did Grosseteste. He regarded their coming as the dawn of a new era, and delivered the first lectures in their school at Oxford, and left. them his, library, though he never took the gray cowl himself, as did Adam Marsh.

On being raised to the see of Lincoln, 1235, Grosseteste set out in the work of reforming monastic and clerical abuses, which brought him uninterrupted trouble till the close of his career. He set himself against drinking bouts, games in the churches and churchyards, and parish parades at episcopal visitations. The thoroughness of his episcopal oversight was a novelty. He came down like a hammer upon the monks, reports Matthew Paris, and the first year be removed seven abbots and four priors. At Ramsey he examined the very beds, and broke open the monks’ coffers like "a burglar," destroying their silver utensils and ornaments.1998  To the monks, who were about to choose an abbot, He wrote: "When you choose one to look after your swine, you make diligent search for a person possessing proper qualifications. And you ask the questions, Is he physically capable?  Has he the requisite experience?  Is he willing to take them into fitting pastures in the morning, to defend them against thieves and wild beasts, to watch over them at night?  And are not your souls of more value than many swine?"

The most protracted contest of his life was with his dean and chapter over the right of episcopal visitation.1999  The canons preached against him in his cathedral. But Grosseteste cited the cases of Samuel, who visited Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and David, who defended his father’s flocks. He was finally sustained by the pope.

In no way did the great bishop win a more sure place in history than by his vigorous resistance to the appointment of unworthy Italians to English livings and to other papal measures. In 1252, he opposed the collection of a tenth for a crusade which had the pope’s sanction. He declined to execute the king’s mandate legitimatizing children born before wedlock. His most famous refusal to instal an Italian, was the case of the pope’s nephew, Frederick of Lavagna. The pope issued a letter threatening with excommunication any one who might venture to oppose the young man’s induction. Grosseteste, then seventy-five years old, replied, declaring, "I disobey, resist, and rebel."2000  Matthew Paris (III. 393), professing to describe the scene in the papal household when the letter was received, relates that Innocent IV., raved away at the deaf and foolish dotard who had so audaciously dared to sit in judgment upon his actions."  Notwithstanding this attitude to the appointment of unworthy Italians, the bishop recognized the principle that to the pope belongs the right of appointing to all the benefices of the church.2001

On his visit to Lyons, 1250, Grosseteste’s memorandum against the abuses of the clergy was read in the pope’s presence. "Not in dispensing the mass but in teaching the living truth" does the work of the pastor consist, so it declared. "The lives of the clergy are the book of the laity."  Adam Marsh, who was standing by, compared the arraignment to the arraignments of Elijah, John the Baptist, Paul, Athanasius, and Augustine of Hippo.

According to Matthew Paris, on the night of Grosseteste’s death strange bells were heard. Miracles were reported performed at his tomb, and the rumor ran that, when Innocent was proposing to have the bishop’s body removed from its resting-place in the cathedral, Grosseteste appeared to the pope in a dream, gave him a sound reprimand, and left him half dead. The popular veneration was shown in the legend that on the night of Innocent IV’s death the bishop appeared to him with the words, "Aryse, wretch, and come to thy dome."

In the earlier part of his life, Grosseteste preached in Latin; in the latter he often used the vernacular. He was the greatest English preacher of his age. He was not above the superstitions of his time, and one of his famous sermons was preached before Henry III. at the reception of the reputed blood of Christ.2002  His writings are full of Scriptural quotations, and he urged the importance of the study of the Scriptures at the university, and the dedication of the morning hours to it, and emphasized their authority.2003  Wyclif quoted his protest against the practices of Rome,2004 and he has been regarded as a forerunner of the English Reformation.

Of Grosseteste’s writings the best known was probably his de cessatione legalium, the End of the Law, a book intended to convince the Jews. With the aid of John of Basingstoke, he translated the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, which Basingstoke had found in Constantinople.2005  He seems to have been a man of sterling common sense, as the following counsels indicate. To a friar he said:, Three things are necessary for earthly well-being, food, sleep, and a merry heart."  To another friar addicted to melancholy, he prescribed, as penance, a cupfull of the best wine. After the medicine had been taken, Grosseteste said, "Dear brother, if you would frequently do such penance, you would have a better ordered conscience."2006

Matthew Paris (V. 407) summed up the bishop’s career in these words:—

"He was an open confuter of both popes and kings, the corrector of monks, the director of priests, the instructor of clerks, the supporter of scholars, a preacher to the people, a persecutor of the incontinent, the unwearied student of the Scriptures, a crusher and despiser of the Romans. At the table of bodily meat, he was hospitable, eloquent, courteous, and affable; at the spiritual table, devout, tearful, and contrite. In the episcopal office he was sedulous, dignified, and indefatigable."



* Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. The material has been carefully compared and corrected according to the Eerdmans reproduction of the 1907 edition by Charles Scribner's sons, with emendations by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.

1838  Jus canonicum or ecclesiastica constitutio, in distinction from the civil code, jus civile. See Decr. Grat. Dist., III. Friedberg’s ed., I. 5. The term "canones" was the prevailing term till the 12th century when the expression jus canonicum came into general use.

1839  See Schulte, I. 2 sq.

1840  Döllinger-Friedrich, Papstthum, p. 403, says, "Leaving out the execution of the death penalty, I do not know a single function of the state which the Church did not assume. Is it, therefore, strange that the thought should arise, that the state is really superfluous or that its only significance is to act as a dumb executioner of the will of the Church?"

1841  Bridges’s ed., I. p. Ixxxiii.

1842  For full list see Friedberg, p. 126; Schulte, I. 43 sqq.; Hergenröther, p. 179.

1843  Peter the Lombard drew heavily from Gratian, especially in the fourth book of his Sentences, where he reproduced many of Gratian’s distinctiones entire. See Baltzer, D. Sentenzen des P. Lombardus, pp. 10 sq., etc.

1844  Perpetuo integrum et incorruptum conservetur. See Schulte’s remarks on Gratian’s influences I. 69-71.

1845  Quia extra Decretum Gratiani vagabantur.

1846  Friedberg’s ed., Quinque compilationes antiquae, Leip., 1882. The first, made by Bernard of Pavia, 1191 in his Breviarium extravagantium, distributes the materials under five heads,—judge, sentence, clergy, marriage, crime.

1847  Gregory’s bull is given in Wetzer-Welte, III. 1146-1450.

1848  Friedberg gives the text, II. 6-927, and also Gregory IX,’s letter transmitting the decretals to the university of Bologna.

1849  Dist., XIX. 3, Friedberg, I. 61. Romana ecclesia, cui nos Christus preesse voluit, posita est, omnibus, quicquid statuit, quicquid ordinat, perpetuo, irrefragabiliter observandum est.

1850  Causa, XXV. I. 16; Döllinger, Papstthum, pp. 55 sqq. Gratian misquoted the 36th canon of the Sixth Oecumenical council which, giving to the patriarch of Constantinople equal rights with the patriarch of Rome, made it say the very opposite. Misquoting the synod of Carthage of 418, which forbade appeals across the sea, Gratian made the synod say the very opposite. Causa, II. 6, 37. Leaning upon pseudo-Isidore, Gratian allows the transfer of bishops from one see to the other with the assent of the pope. Causa, VII. I. 34.

1851  See Causa, XXIII. 4, 5, 6, Friedberg’s ed., I. 899-950.

1852  Ranke wrote, Weltgesch., VIII. 410, that at Rome the authorities put him on the Index because he did not regard the papacy as a divine institution. Nevertheless, he said, "I hold the papacy to be one of the mightiest of all institutions that have appeared in history, and one that is most worthy of inspiring us with wonder and admiration."

1853  See Innocent’s letter in Decr. Greg., III. 8, 5, Friedberg’s ed., II. 489.

1854  Sedes apost. a nemine judicatur. For Bernard, see Ep., 213; de consid., III. 4

1855  See Gee and Hardy, Doc. of Engl. Ch. Hist., p. 53.

1856  See Schwane, p. 531.

1857  Causa, XXV. I, 11, Friedberg’s ed., I. 1009. Anathema apud deum, qui censuram Rom. pontificum violat.

1858  Christi vicarius in totam eccles. univ. praelationem obtinet ... Pontificem pertinet quae fidei sunt determinare. C. errores Graec., II. 32, 36. Also Th. Aq., Summa, II. 2, q. I. 10.

1859  Brevil., VI. 12, Peltier’s ed., VII. 327. Christi vicarius fons, origo, et regula omnium principatuum eccles., etc.

1860  Ep., 49. See Luard’s ed., p. x.

1861  Ad quem plenaria de omnibus totius orbis beneficiis eccles. pertinet, etc. Lib. Sext., Friedberg, II. 102.

1862  So Thomas Aquinas in his c. errores Graec. Bernard, Epp., 187. 341, 356, 396, etc.

1863  The Dictatus papae of Deusdedit. Mirbt, p. 113.

1864  Deus nullum excepit, nihil ab ejus potestate subtraxit. Reg., IV. 2.

1865  Petro non solum universam eccles. sed totum reliquit seculum gubernandum. Ep. I. 401, Mirbt, p. 130.

1866  Hauck, p. 1.

1867  Mirbt, Quellen, pp. 99 sq.

1868  Reg., I. 63, Migne, 148. 569.

1869  Reg., II. 51.

1870  Bréholles, IV. 914-923.

1871  See Döllinger, Papstthum, pp. 67, 404. Leo X,’s bull against Luther reaffirmed this fiction of the transfer of the empire from the Greeks to the Germans by the pope. See copy of the bull in this Hist., VI. 233.

1872  De consid., IV. 3, Migne, 82, 776. Uterque Ecclesiae et spiritualis gladius et materialis; sed is quidem pro Ecclesia, ille vero et ab Ecclesia exserendus: ille sacerdotis, is militis manu, sed sane ad nutum sacerdotis, et jussum imperatoris.

1873  Bishop Reinkens, of the old Catholic Church, in his annotated translation of Bernard’s treatise, de consideratione, argues for the other view namely, that Bernard does not present the theory of the "Caesar-pope." He also argues, pp. vi sq., that Bernard regarded the bishops as receiving their authority not from the pope but directly from God. His edition was issued at the time of the Vatican council of 1870 and as a protest against the dogma of papal infallibility. The position taken above is the position of most writers, both Protestant and Catholic.

1874  Rom. ecclesiae obediendum est tanquam domino J. Christo. Reusch’s ed., p. 9.

1875  Rom. episcopus dici potest rex et sacerdos .... Sicut corpus per animam habet virtutem et operationem ita et temporalis jurisdictio principum per spiritualem Petri et successorum eius. De regim., II. 10.

1876  See Werner, D. hl. Thomas, I. 760 sqq., 794 sqq.; and especially Reusch and Leitner.

1877  De sacr., II. 1, 2, Migne, 176. 141, etc.

1878  Migne, 210. 613.

1879  Reg., II. 44, Migne, 148. 392.

1880  Reg., I.7; I. 29, VIII. 10; II. 32; II. 51; II. 73; I. 70, Migne, 148. 290, 312, 387, 405, 423, 345.

1881  Hefele, V. 565. The permanent nuntiatures at Catholic courts were first established in the 16th century. Such are now maintained at Munich, Vienna, Lisbon, Madrid, and Brussels.

1882  De consid., IV. 5.

1883  Coulton, From St. Francis to Dante, pp. 252 sqq.

1884  See Döllinger, Papstthum, p. 76.

1885  Quale est istud demane ad vesperam litigare, aut litigantes audire? Utinam sufficeret diei malitia sua! non sunt liberae noctes.

1886  De consid., I. 4-6; III. 2.

1887  John of Salisbury, Polycrat., VI. 64, qui a doctrina vestra dissentit aut hereticus aut schismaticus est.

1888  Quoted by Jensen, p. 42.

1889  See Hurter, Innocent III., III. 121-149. One is amazed at the extent and variety of the articles and at the curious names of the coins derived from different countries.

1890  Tangl, pp. 7 sqq. The full treatment of the subject of the papal finances belongs to the period of the Avignon exile. It has called forth a distinct body of literature, beginning with the work of Woker and including the careful works of Tangl, Kirsch, Goeller, Gottlob, Baumgarten, and others.

1891  Monies from these sources were called "monies of the college," pecuniae colegii, and were often entered into the books of the college of cardinals under the head of servitia, census, visitationes, and proventus. Kirsch, Finanzverw., p. 5, Baumgarten, p. xcvi.

1892  The terms servitia and annatae were used more or less interchangeably, but the former was usually applied to the gifts of prelates, the latter to the payments of the lower clerics. Gottlob, Servitientaxe, p.1.

1893  Such a visit was called a visitatio ad limina apostolorum, and was not limited to the city of Rome. The visits upon which a tax was paid were called visitationes reales in distinction from other visits called visitationes verbales. Kirsch, pp. 22 sq.

1894  For the meaning and history of the word, see Gottlob, Servitientaxe, pp. 14-17. They were called servitia communia in distinction from the servitia pro familia or servitia minuta, which were smaller fees given to the officials of the papal household and officials of the body of cardinals, called familiares. These lesser fees were also matter of exact regulation, and usually amounted to one-fourteenth or one-twentieth of the servitium commune. Up to 1298 we hear of only two distinct fees for the members of the papal household. In 1299 we hear of three, and in the fourteenth century the number of the servitia minuta was increased to five. Gottlob, Servitientaxe, pp.101 sqq.; Kirsch, pp. 12 sqq.

1895  Kirsch, p. 12, gives the documents in which appeals were made for a reduction of the tribute by the archbishops of Narbonne, 1341, and Cashel, 1332, and the abbot of Amiens, 1344. In the case of the abbot, the amount was reduced from 4000 to 2500 gold florins.

1896  See the cases from which Kirsch deduces the rule, p. 9.

1897  The case of the abbot of St. Edmundsbury seems to belong here. In 1248 he paid to the Roman see 800 marks. M. Paris, Luard’s ed., V. 40; Tangl, p. 6.

1898  The promises to pay were called obligationes. Receipts, quitationes, were given by the papal treasurer, or the treasurer of the college of cardinals, or by both. Kirsch gives original documents. He was the first to clear up the subject of the servitia.

1899  Kirsch, p. 32.

1900  Hurter, III. 136.

1901  Jensen, p. 36.

1902  See O’Gorman, Hist. of the Cath. Ch. in the U. S., p. 6. Nicolas Breakspear, Adrian IV., as cardinal legate, secured the promise of Peter’s Pence from Norway and Sweden at the synod of Linkoping, 1152. Jensen, p. 12.

1903  Kirsch, pp. 22, 23, 25. Nicolas IV., 1288, was the first to establish an equal division of the census in the bull coelestis altitudo.

1904  Such a formula dating from 1296 is given by Kirsch, p. 58. The number of the cardinals is distinctly stated in the ledger-books and also the names of cardinals who had forfeited their rights by deposition.

1905  camerarius collegii dominorum cardinalium. The first treasurer whose name is known was William de Bray, cardinal-priest of St. Marks, 1272-1282. For a list of his successors to 1401, see Kirsch, pp. 44-46, and Baumgarten, pp. xliii sqq.

1906  Kirsch, p. 66. Baumgarten, p. xxiii, is of a different opinion and puts the first systematically kept ledgers in 1295.

1907  For a list of the strange coins paid into this fund and a computation of their value in gold florins, see Kirsch, pp. 56 sq. Kirsch estimates the gold florin as equivalent in face value to 10 marks or $2.50 and the mark in the 14th century as having four times the purchasing power of a mark to-day.

1908  De consid., III.1, 3. Bernard returns again and again (in his de consid., I. 11; IV. 4, etc., and his Letters) to the venality of the curia. He even suggested that Eugenius might have to leave Rome to get away from its corruption, De consid., IV. 3.

1909  Luard’s ed., V. 96.

1910  Coulton’s ed., pp. 261 sq.

1911  Bernard of Cluny in his de contemptu mundi has the following lines:—

Roma dat omnibus omnia, dantibus omnia Romae

Cum pretio: quia jure ibi via, jus perit omne

Ut rota labitur, ergo vocabitur hinc rota a Roma

Roma nocens nocet, atque viam docet ipsa nocendi

Jura relinquere, lucra requirere, pallia vendi

1912  The Latin Poems of Walter Mapes, ed. by T. Wright, London, 1841, p. 218.

1913  De consid., II. 8; III. 4; IV. 8. After the resurrection, Peter went to Jesus on the lake. The lake signified the world and Peter has charge over the world, and each Apostle charge over his own little boat. James was satisfied with jurisdiction over Jerusalem and acknowledged Peter’s authority over the entire Church.

1914  Letter 23, Luard’s ed., principes ecclesiastici qui vicem Petri tenent.

1915  In a vigorous letter to Innocent, Bernard complained that bishops were deprived by the curia of the power to right wrongs in their own dioceses and to exercise the function of the keys. Ep., 178, Migne, 182. 310.

1916  See Döllinger, Papstthum, pp. 73, 409 sq. Innocent referred back to Leo I., who had written to a bishop of Thessalonica, vices enim nostras ita tuae credidimus charitati, ut in partem sis vocatus sollicitudinis, non in plenitudinem potestatis. Ep., VI. Migne, LIV. 671.

1917  Lib. Sextus, I. 6, 16, Friedberg’s ed., II. 954 sqq.

1918  Stubbs, Const. Hist., III. 303 sq., refers to "the shadowy freedom of election."

1919  Third Lat., can. 3.

1920  Hauck, III. 28 sqq.

1921  capitula clausa. Hurter, III. 355, pronounced the change a sign of decay.

1922  The prospective occupants of stalls were called canonici in herbis, canons on the commons; the actual incumbents, canonici in floribus et fructibus. The Third Lateran forbade the appointment of canons to stalls not yet vacant, but Alexander IV., 1254, sanctioned the appointment of as many as four such expectants. See Art. Kapitel, Herzog, X. 38.

1923  Third Lat., can. 6, Friedberg, pp. 188 sqq. Innocent III. recognized the archdeacon as the bishop’s representative. Hurter, III. 362 sq.

1924  Hauck, IV. 10 sqq. Metz, Toul, Mainz, etc., also employed a number of archdeacons.

1925  Third Lat., can. 19, Fourth Lat., can. 46. This principle was recognized by Frederick II., 1220. Also Narbonne, 1127, can. 12; Toulouse, 1229, can. 20 sq., etc.

1926  Third Lat., can. 15.

1927  Epp., 112, 121.

1928  Subsidium charitativum. Third Lateran.

1929  Ethica, 25, Migne, 178. 672 sq.

1930  See Hurter, III. 292 sqq., for a list of warrior prelates.

1931  Gregorovius, IV. 610.

1932  Stubbs’ ed. of Hoveden, II.58.

1933  Coulton’s ed., p. 264 sqq.

1934  Dial., II. 27, Strange’s ed., I. 99.

1935  Innocent III. Ep., II. 142. "Hundreds of times," says Harter, III. 388, does this pope insist upon obedience from the priest to his superior and says ’the evil of disobedience is the crime of idolatry,’ inobedientiae malum est scelus idolatriae.

1936  Fourth Lateran, can. 15.

1937  The practice of usury so frequently forbidden to priests was also forbidden to the laity, laicis usura dampnabilis est. Gratiani Decr. causa, XIV. 4, 9, Friedberg’s ed., I. 737.

1938  Ep., I. 231.

1939  Hauck, IV. 29 sqq.

1940  The Gregorian Decretals discuss chapels controlled by monks. Friedberg’s ed., II. 607 sqq.

1941  Hauck, IV. 47 sq. In some dioceses priests were said to receive only one-sixteenth of the tithes due them, the rest being appropriated by the lay patron or bishop. So the synod of Mainz, Hefele, VI. 75.

1942  The last claim, made by the archbishop of Bergen, was rejected by Innocent III. Ep., I. 217.

1943  Piacenza, 1095; London, 1138, 1175; Oxford, 1222; Treves, 1227, etc. Caesar of Heisterbach, Dial., II. 7, tells of priests who for bribes gave burial to unchurched persons.

1944  First Lat., can. 9; Second Lat., can. 10; Third Lat., can. 17; synods of Nismes, 1096, Troyes, 1107, Rheims, 1119, etc. The Gregorian Decretals are full on the subject of patrons and their rights. Friedberg’s ed., II. 609-622. Innocent III. laid down the rule, quod beneficia non possint conferri per saeculares. Ep., I. 64, IX. 234, quoted by Hurter, III. 381.

1945  Hurter, III. 395.

1946  Third Lat., can. 13; Fourth Lat., can. 29; Paris, 1212, etc.

1947  Hauck, IV. 40. Cruel, Deutsche Predigt, etc., expresses a less favorable judgment and estimates that one-half of the German clergy in the 13th century were uneducated and unable to preach. Coulton, p. 277, referring more especially to Italy, speaks "of the abyss of ignorance among the clergy at which we may well stagger."

1948  The Constitutions of Otho, 1237. Grosseteste, Letters, LII., Luard’s ed., p. 154 sqq.

1949  So the synods of Cashel, 1171, Narbonne, 1127, Rouen, 1231, etc.

1950  Ep., VI. 199, etc. Writing to the abp. of Pisa, he expressed amazement that the abp. should have declared a cleric, receiving injury from a layman, might submit his case to a lay tribunal. Ep., IX. 63.

1951  Clermont, 1095, 1130; Rheims, 1131, 1148; Second Lat., Third Lat., can. 12, etc.

1952  Innocent III. Ep., V. 79; M. Paris, IV. 578; Hauck, IV. 83 sqq.; M. Paris, IV. 496; vita Norberti, 18. Salembene(sic) reports the murder of a bishop of Mantua in a political quarrel. Coulton’s ed., p. 35.

1953  Greg., Decret., II.1, 10, Friedberg’s ed., II. 242.

1954  Third Lat., etc.

1955  Fourth Lat., can. 16; Soissons, 1079, London, 1102, 1175; Rheims, 1171; Paris, 1212; Montpellier, 1215, etc. Innocent III.’s letters also make reference to the worldly garb of the priests. See Hurter, III. 391.

1956  M. Paris, an. 1238.

1957  Rouen, 1083; Soissons, 1079; Clermont, 1095; Fourth Lateran; Treves, 1227; Rouen, 1231. The Constitutions of Otho, 1237, etc.

1958  De consid., III. 5. habitu milites, quaestu clericos, actu neutrum exhibent.

1959  Chart. univ. Paris, I. No. 470.

1960  Coulton’s ed., 272 sqq.

1961  See text; Rashdall, Universities, II. 690.

1962  Ep., I. 469, VI. 103, etc., Migne, 214. 436; 215. 110.

1963  Libellus apologet. and Quare fratres Minores praedicant.

1964  Hergenröther, Kathol. Kirchenrecht, p. 342, speaks of the rarity of synods from 900-1050 as a sign of the laxity of Catholic discpline.

1965  Döllinger-Friedrich, D. Papstthum, p. 88 sqq.

1966  Summa, supplem., VIII. 4, Migne, IV. 946, etc.

1967  Anglia plena jocis. William Fitzstephen (quoted by Traill, I. 377 sq.) dwells upon the Englishman’s love of sports that day,—football, boating, archery, etc.

1968  Haller, Papsttum, p. 27.

1969  Maitland, p. 123; Jessopp gives many cases of these appeals.

1970  Stubbs, III. 322 sq.

1971  Fitzstephen, as quoted by Traill, I. 383.

1972  The king entered the chapter and forced the election. The pope yielded, but to prove "he had not sown on a barren coast without reaping benefit of harvest, at once made a demand of 5000 marks for a favorite." M. Paris, V. 179 sqq.

1973  Hurter, III. 331 sqq., speaks of the English bishops in the time of Innocent III. as most corrupt. Stubbs, III. 327 sq., finds it to the credit of the bishops that there were so few instances of "removal from their sees for any penal reason."

1974  Stubbs, II. 180.

1975  Upon the valuation of 1291, the clerical tax should have amounted to £20,000. Stubbs, III. 360.

1976  Jensen, D. englische Peterspfennig, Heidelb., 1903, and Liebermann, The Peter’s Pence and the Population of Engl. about 1164, in Engl. Hist. Rev., 1896. The Saxon designations of Peter’s Pence were romfeoh and heordpfennig. The Normans called it romascot, and the popes usually referred to it as denarius, census, or res beati Petri, and "gift," eleemosyna.

1977  Jensen, pp. 60-64, with elaborate list of authorities.

1978  M. Paris, IV. 580.

1979  M. Paris, IV. 32. This chronicler says that Edmund, archbishop of Canterbury, was so harassed by these demands that in despair he exiled himself from the kingdom.

1980  M. Paris, IV. 285, 443.

1981  Stubbs, III. 348.

1982  M. Paris, II. 229, IV. 60, 100, 136, 160, 284, 626, etc.

1983  M. Paris, II. 210, IV. 610, says of Geoffrey, bishop of Bethlehem, legate to Scotland, that it was hoped that as "adamant attracts iron, so he would draw to himself the much coveted monies of Scotland."

1984  V. 233.

1985  III. 245.

1986  III. 283.

1987  M. Paris, III. 170. See Stubbs, III. 383, note.

1988  John of Salisbury, Ep. 27, Migne, 199. 18.

1989  See Maitland, p. 18.

1990  Stubbs, I. 306 sq., III. 353 sqq.

1991  Stubbs, Const. Hist., II.313, in pronouncing the thirteenth century "the golden age of English churchmanship," has reference more particularly to the influence the bishops had upon the formation of the English constitution.

1992  Praeterita III. 1.

1993  Cencio’s register gave the number of households owing Peter’s Pence, as 10,080 for Lincoln, 4160 for Winchester, 3960 for London, and 1896 for Canterbury.

1994  Stubbs, ed. of Hoveden, IV. p. xcii, calls this a "landmark of English constitutional history, the first clear case of a refusal of a money grant demanded directly by the crown."

1995  His name is spelt Grossetete, Grosthead, Greathead, etc. The Latin forms, Grossum Caput and Capito, were also used. Fuller, with more quaintness than authority, says he got his name from the bigness of his head, "having large stowage to receive and store of brains to fill it." Stevenson, p. 337, adduces three lines along which Grosseteste did conspicuous service; namely, as an ecclesiastical reformer, a friend of learning, and a statesman.

1996  Solus ... novit scientias. Bridges’ ed., I. 67. Gower, in his confessio amantis, praises the "grete clerke Grosseteste."

1997  The Mon. Francisc. gives sixty of Marsh’s letters to Grosseteste.

1998  M. Paris, V. 226. The methods the bishop resorted to for determining the fidelity of the nuns to their vows is also recorded by M. Paris.

1999  Letter 127. See Luard’s Introd., p. 114.

2000  Ep. 128. Adam Marsh referred to the letter "as that fearless answer written with so much prudence, eloquence, and vigor, which will, with God’s aid, benefit all ages to come." See Stevenson, p. 312. M. Paris, V. 257, states that Grosseteste declared he would be acting like the devil if he were to deliver the cure of souls over to the Romans, "whom he hated like poison."

2001  De omnibus beneficiis eccles. libere potest ordinare. Ep., 49, Luard’s ed., p. 145.

2002  M. Paris, IV. 643 sqq., VI. 138-144.

2003  ·Ep. 2. auctoritas irrefragabilis scripturae.

2004  Bishop Hall quoted Grosseteste for his scriptural views, and Field, Of the Church, IV. 384 sqq., quoted him against the pope’s claim to supreme authority, but wrongly.

2005  Pegge devotes twenty-five closely filled pages with the list of the bishop’s books.

2006  Mon. Franc., p. 64.