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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.
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ENGLAND AND THE POPE.
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 .
and even of those who were responsible agents of the State go, the evidence of an unquestioned acceptance of the spiritual jurisdiction of the Pope, as Head of the Christian Church, is simply overwhelming. In their acceptance of this supreme authority the English were perhaps neither demonstrative nor loudly protesting, but this in no way derogated from their loyal and unquestioning acceptance of the supremacy of the Holy See. History shows that up to the very eve of the rejection of this supremacy the attitude of Englishmen, in spite of difficulties and misunderstandings, had been persistently one of respect for the Pope as their spiritual head. Whilst other nations of Christendom had been in the past centuries engaged in endeavours by diplomacy, and even by force of arms, to capture the Pope that they might use him for their own national profit, England, with nothing to gain, expecting nothing, seeking nothing, had never entered on that line of policy, but had been content to bow to his authority as to that of the appointed Head of Christ's Church on earth. Of this much there can be no doubt. They did not reason about it, nor sift and sort the grounds of their acceptance, any more than a child would dream of searching into, or philosophising upon, the obedience he freely gives to his parents.
That there were at times disagreements and quarrels may be admitted without in the least affecting the real attitude and uninterrupted spiritual dependence of England on the Holy See. Such disputes were wholly the outcome of misunderstandings as to matters in the domain rather of the temporal than of the spiritual, or of points in the broad debatable land that lies between the two jurisdictions. It is a failure to understand the distinction which exists between these that has led many writers to think that in the rejection by Englishmen of claims put forward at various times by the Roman curia in matters wholly temporal, or where the temporal became involved in the spiritual, they have a proof that England never fully acknowledged the spiritual headship of the See of Rome.
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That the Pope did in fact exercise great powers in England over and above those in his spiritual prerogative is a matter of history. No one has more thoroughly examined this subject than Professor Maitland, and the summary of his conclusions given in his History of English Law will serve to correct many misconceptions upon the matter. What he says may be taken as giving a fairly accurate picture of the relations of the Christian nations of Christendom to the Holy See from the twelfth century to the disintegration of the system in the throes of the Reformation. “It was a wonderful system,” he writes. "The whole of Western Europe was subject to the jurisdiction of one tribunal of last resort, the Roman curia. Appeals to it were encouraged by all manner of means, appeals at almost every stage of almost every proceeding. But the Pope was far more than the president of a court of appeal. Very frequently the courts Christian which did justice in England were courts which were acting under his supervision and carrying out his written instructions. A very large part, and by far the most permanently important part, of the ecclesiastical litigation that went on in this country came before English prelates who were sitting as mere delegates of the Pope, commissioned to hear and determine this or that particular case. Bracton, indeed, treats the Pope as the ordinary judge of every Englishman in spiritual things and the only ordinary judge whose powers are unlimited.”
The Pope enjoyed a power of declaring the law to which but very wide and very vague limits could be set. Each separate church might have its customs, but there was a lex communis, a common law, of the universal Church. In the view of the canonist, any special rules of the Church of England have hardly a wider scope, hardly a less de· pendent place, than have the customs of Kent or the bye.
laws of London in the eye of the English lawyer.1
1 History of English Law, i., p. 93-4. Mr. James Gairdner, in a letter to The Guardian, March 1, 1899, says : “ There were, in the Middle We have only to examine the Regesta of the Popes, even up to the dawn of difficulties in the reign of Henry VIII., to see that the system as sketched in this passage was in full working order; and it was herein that chiefly lay the danger even to the spiritual prerogatives of the Head of the Church. Had the Providence of God destined that the nations of the world should have become a Christendom in fact-a theocracy presided over by His Vicar on earth-the system elaborated by the Roman curia would not have tended doubtless to obscure the real and essential prerogatives of the spiritual Head of the Christian Church. As it was by Providence ordained, and as subsequent events have shown, claims of authority to determine matters more or less of the temporal order, together with the worldly pomp and show with which the Popes of the renaissance had surrounded themselves, not only tended to obscure the higher and supernatural powers which are the enduring heritage of St. Peter's successors in the See of Rome; but, however clear the distinction between the necessary and the accidental prerogatives might appear to the mind of the trained theologian or the perception of the saint, to the ordinary man, when the one was called in question the other was imperilled. And, as a fact, in England popular irritation at the interference of the spirituality generally in matters not wholly within the strictly ecclesiastical sphere was, at a given moment, skilfully turned by the small reforming party into national, if tacit, acquiescence in the
or less own, claims of ce ordained,
Ages, in every kingdom of Europe that owned the Pope's jurisdiction, two authorities, the one temporal and the other spiritual, and the head of the spiritual jurisdiction was at Rome. The bishops had the rule over their clergy, even in criminal matters, and over the laity as well in matters of faith. Even a bishop's decision, it is true, might be disputed, and there was an appeal to the Pope ; nay, the Pope's decision might be disputed—and there was an appeal to a general council. Thus there was, in every kingdom, an imperium in imperio, but nobody objected to such a state of matters, not even kings, seeing that they could, as a rule, get anything they wanted out of the Popes-even some things, occasionally, that the Popes ought not to have conceded."