Sivut kuvina

pretend, nor never did, that all their authority is given them immediately by God. They have authority now to do divers things by the grant of kings and princes, just as many temporal men also have, and by such grants they have such rights in such things as temporal men have in theirs."1

Some authority and power they certainly have from God, he says, "For the greatest and highest and most excellent authority that they have, either God has himself given it to them, or else they are very presumptuous and usurp many things far above all reason. For I have never read, or at least I do not remember to have read, that any king granted them the authority that now not only prelates but other poor plain priests daily take on them in ministering the sacraments and consecrating the Blessed Body of Christ."11

Another popular book of the period, published by Berthelet, just on the eve of the Reformation, is the anonymous Dialogue between a Knight and a Clerk concerning the power spiritual and temporal. We are not here concerned with the author's views as to the power of the Popes, but only with what he states about the attitude of men's minds to the difficulties consequent upon the confusion of the two jurisdictions. Miles (the Knight), who, of course, took the part of the upholder of the secular power, clearly distinguished, like Saint-German, between directly spiritual prerogatives and the authority and position assured to the clergy by the State. "God forbid," he says, "that I should deny the right of Holy Church to know and correct men for their sins. Not to hold this would be to deny the sacrament of Penance and Confession altogether."* Moreover, like Saint-German, this author, in the person of Miles, insists that the temporality "are bound to find

[ocr errors]

the spirituality that worship and serve God all that is necessary for them. For so do all nations."1 But the direction of such temporalities must, he contends, be in the hands of the State. "What," asks the conservative cleric, in the person of Clericus, "What have princes and kings to do with the governance of our temporalities? Let them take their own and order their own, and suffer us to be in peace with ours."

"Sir," replies Miles, "the princes must in any wise have to do therewith. I pray you, ought not men above all things to mind the health of our souls? Ought not we to see the wills of our forefathers fulfilled? Falleth it not to you to pray for our forefathers that are passed out of this life? And did not our fathers give you our temporalities right plentifully, to the intent that you should pray for them and spend it all to the honour of God? And ye do nothing so; but ye spend your temporalities in sinful deeds and vanities, which temporalities ye should spend in works of charity, and in alms-deeds to the poor and needy. For to this purpose our forefathers gave 'great and huge dominions.' You have received them 'to the intent to have clothes and food . . . and all overplus besides these you ought to spend on deeds of mercy and pity, as on poor people that are in need, and on such as are sick and diseased and oppressed with misery.' "*

Further, Miles hints that there are many at that time who were casting hungry eyes upon the riches of the Church, and that were it not for the protecting power of the State, the clergy would soon find that they were in worse plight than they think themselves to be. And, in answer to the complaints of Clericus that ecclesiastics are taxed too hardly for money to be spent on soldiers, ships, and engines of war, he tells him that there is no reason in the nature of things why ecclesiastical property should not bear the burden of national works as well as every other kind of wealth. "I pray you hold your noise," he exclaims somewhat rudely; "stop your grudging and grumbling, and listen patiently. Look at your many neighbours round about you in the land, who, wanting the wherewith to support life, gape still after your goods. If the king's power failed, what rest should you have? Would not the gentlemen such as be needy, and such as have spent their substance prodigally, when they have consumed their own, turn to yours, and waste and destroy all you have? Therefore, the king's strength is to you instead of a strong wall, and you wot well that the king's peace is your peace, and the king's safeguard is your safeguard."1

Ibid, f. 11. • Ibid., f. 14.

The foregoing pages represent some of the practical difficulties which were being experienced-^n the eve_of the Reformation between the ecclesiastical. and-iay- portion of the State in the question of jurisdiction. Everything points to the fact that the chief difficulty was certainly not religious. The ecclesiastical jurisdiction in matters spiritual was cordially admitted by all but a few fanatics. What even many churchmen objected to, were the claims for exemption put forward by ecclesiastics in the name of religion, which they felt to be a stretching of spiritual prerogatives into the domain of the temporal sovereign. History has shown that most of these claims have in practice been disallowed, not only without detriment to the spiritual work of the Church, but in some instances at least it was the frank recognition of the State rights, which, under Providence, saved nations from the general defection which seemed to threaten the old ecclesiastical system. Most of the difficulties which were, as we have seen, experienced and debated in England were unfelt in Spain, where the sovereign from the first made his position as to the temporalities of the Church clearly understood by all. In Naples, in like manner, the right of State patronage, however objectionable to the ecclesi- 1 A Dialogue, &c., ul sup., p. 17.

astical legists, was strictly maintained. In France, the danger which at one time threatened an overthrow of religion similar to that which had fallen on Germany, and which at the time was looming dark over England, was averted by the celebrated Concordat between Leo X. and Francis I. By this settlement of outstanding difficulties between the two jurisdictions, all rights of election to ecclesiastical dignities was swept away with the full and express sanction of the Pope. The nomination of all bishops and other dignitaries was vested in the king, subject, of course, to Papal confirmation. All appeals were, in the first place, to be carried in ordinary cases to immediate superiors acting in the fixed tribunals of the country, and then only to the Holy See. The Papal power of appointment to benefices was by this agreement strictly limited; and the policy of the document was generally directed to securing the most important ecclesiastical positions, including even parish churches in towns, to educated men. It is to this settlement of outstanding difficulties, the constant causes of friction — a settlement of difficulties which must be regarded as economic and administrative rather than as religious — that so good a judge as M. Hanotaux, the statesman and historian, attributes nothing less than the maintenance of the old religion in France. In his opinion, this Concordat did in fact remove, to a great extent, the genuine grievances which had long been felt by the people at large, which elsewhere the Reformers of the sixteenth century skilfully seized upon, as likely to afford them the most plausible means for furthering their schemes of change in matters strictly religious.

[ocr errors]


Nothing is more necessary for one who desires to appreciate the true meaning of the English Reformation than to understand the attitude of men's minds to the Pope and the See of Rome on the eve of the great change. As in the event, the religious upheaval did, in fact, lead to a national rejection of the jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, it is not unnatural that those who do not look below the surface should see in this act the outcome and inevitable consequence of long-continued irritation at a foreign domination. The renunciation of Papal jurisdiction, in other words, is taken as sufficient evidence of national hostility to the Holy See. If this be the true explanation of the fact, it is obvious that in the literature of the period immediately preceding the formal renunciation of ecclesiastical dependence on Rome, evidence more or less abundant will be found of this feeling of dislike, if not of detestation, for a yoke which we are told had become unbearable.

At the outset, it must be confessed that any one who will go to the literature of the period with the expectation of collecting evidence of this kind is doomed to disappointment. If we put on one side the diatribes and scurrilous invectives of advanced reformers, when the day of the doctrinal Reformation had already dawned, the inquirer in this field of knowledge can hardly fail to be struck by the absence of indications of any real hostility to the See of Rome in the period in question. So far as the works of the age are concerned: so far, too, as the acts of individuals

« EdellinenJatka »