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the tottering and almost fallen Church of Christ, and to raise it again to its pristine height." As a beginning, the Holy Father has commanded them to lay bare to him "those most grave abuses, that is diseases, by which the Church of God, and this Roman curia especially, is afflicted," and which has brought about the state of ruin now so evident. The initial cause of all has been, they declare, that the Popes have surrounded themselves with people who only told them what they thought would be pleasant to them, and who had not the honesty and loyalty to speak the truth. This adulation had deceived the Roman Pontiffs about many things. "To get the truth to their ears was always most difficult. Teachers sprung up who were ready to declare that the Pope was the master of all benefices, and as master might by right sell them as his own." As a consequence, it was taught that the Pope could not be guilty of simony, and that the will of the Pope was the highest law, and could override all law. "From this source, Holy Father," they continue, "as from the Trojan horse, so many abuses and most grievous diseases have grown up in the Church of God." Even pagans, they say, scoff at the state of the Christian Church as it is at present, and they, the commissioners, beg the Pope not to delay in immediately taking in hand the correction of the manifest abuses which afflict and disgrace the Church of Christ. "Begin the cure," they say, "whence sprung the disease. Follow the teaching of the Apostle St. Paul: 'be a dispenser, not a lord.'"
They then proceed to note the abuses which to them are most apparent, and to suggest remedies. We are not concerned with these further than to point out that, as a preliminary, they state that the true principle of government is, that what is the law must be kept, and that dispensations should be granted only on the most urgent causes, since nothing brings government to such bad repute as the continual exercise of the power of dispensation. Further, they note that it is certainly not lawful for the Vicar of Christ to make any profit (lucrum) by the dispensations he is obliged to give.
Sturmius, in his preface, says he had hopes of better things, now that there was a Pope ready to listen. "It is a rare thing, and much more than man could hope for, that there should come a Bishop of Rome who would require his prelates upon their oath to open the truth, to show abuses, and to seek remedies for them." He is pleased to think that these four cardinals, Sadolet, Paul Caraffa, Contarini, and Reginald Pole had allowed fully and frankly that a great portion of the difficulty had come from the unfortunate attitude of the Popes in regard to worldly affairs. "You acknowledge," he says, " that no lordship is committed to the Bishop of Rome, but rather a certain cure by which he may rule things in the church according to good order. If you admit this to be true and will entirely grant us this, a great part of our (i.e., Lutheran) controversy is taken away; granting this also, that we did not dissent from you without great and just causes." The three points the cardinals claimed for the Pope, it may be noted, were; (i) that he was to be Bishop of Rome; (2) that he was to be universal Bishop; and (3) that he should be allowed temporal sovereignty over certain cities in Italy.1 Again we find the same view put
1 Johann Sturmius, Epistle sent to the cardinals and prelates that were appointed by the Bishop of Rome to search out the abuses of the Church. Translated by Richard Morysine. Berthelet, 1538.
A later copy of the Concilium de emendanda Ecclesia, printed by Sturmius with his letter in 1538, in the British Museum, formerly belonged to Cecil. The title-page has his signature, "Gulielmus Cecilius, 1540," and there are marks and words underlined, and some few observations from his pen in the margin. It is interesting to note that what struck the statesman as a youth were just the points which could be turned against the temporal claims of the Roman See.
The special evils needing correction which the committee of cardinals note, and which they call abuses, are collected under 22 headings, some of which are the following:—
before the English people in this translation: the chief objection to the admission of Papal prerogatives was the "lordship" which he claimed over and above the spiritual powers he exercised as successor of St. Peter. On this point we find preachers and writers of the period insisting most clearly and definitely. Some, of course, attack the spiritual jurisdiction directly, but most commonly such attacks are flavoured and served up for general consumption by a supply of abuse of the temporal assumptions and the worldly show of the Popes. This appealed to the popular mind, and to the growing sense of national aims and objects, and the real issue of the spiritual head
(1) Ordination of priests without cure of souls, not learned, of lower order in life, and too young and of doubtful morals: They suggest that each diocese should have a magister to see that candidates are properly instructed—none to be ordained except by their own bishop.
(2) Benefices, and in particular, episcopal sees, are given to people with interest, and not because their elevation would be good for the church. They suggest that the best man should be chosen, and residence should be insisted on, and consequently " non Italo conferendum est beneficium in Hispania aut in Britannia aut ex contra."
(3) Pensions reserved from Benefices. Though the Pope, "who is the universal dispenser of the goods of the church," may reserve a part for a pious use, e.g., for the poor, &c., still not to reserve sufficient for the proper purpose of the beneficiary, and still more to give a pension out of a benefice to one rich enough without, is wrong.
(4) Change of benefices for the sake of gain, and handing on benefices by arrangement or always assigning episcopal sees to coadjutors, is the cause of outcry against the clergy, and is in reality making private property out of what is public.
(5) Permission to clergy to hold more than one benefice.
(6) Cardinals being allowed to hold sees. They ought to be counsellors to the Pope in Rome, and when holding sees they are more or less dependent on the will of the kings, and so cannot give independent advice and speak their minds.
(7) Absence of bishops from their sees.
(8) Such religious houses as needed correction should be forbidden to profess members, and when they die out, their places should be taken by fervent religious. Confessors for convents must be approved by the ordinaries of the place.
ship was obscured by the plea of national sentiment and safeguards.
To take one more example: Bishop Tunstall, on Palm Sunday, 1539, preached before the king and court. His object was to defend the rejection of the Papal supremacy and jurisdiction. He declaimed against the notion that the Popes were to be considered as free from subjection to worldly powers, maintaining that in this they were like all other men. "The Popes," he says, "exalt their seat above the stars of God, and ascend above the clouds, and will be like to God Almighty. . . . The Bishop of Rome offers his feet to be kissed, shod with his shoes on. This I saw myself, being present thirty-four years ago,
(9) The use of the keys ought never, under any pretext, to be granted for money.
(10) Questors of the Holy Spirit, St. Anthony, &c., who foster superstition among the poor people, should be prohibited.
(11) Confessional privileges and use of portable altars to be very rarely allowed.
(12) No indulgences to be granted except once a year, and in the great cities only.
Finally they say of Rome: "Hsec Romana civitas et ecclesia mater est et magistra aliarum ecclesiarum," and hence it should be a model to all. Foreigners, however, who come to St. Peter's find that priests "sordidi, ignari, induti paramentis et vestibus quibus nec in sordidis aedibus honeste uti possent, missas celebrant."
Cardinal Sadolet, on receiving a copy of Sturmius's letter, replied in kindly terms. He had, he declared, a high opinion of "Sturmius, Melanchthon, and Bucer, looking on them as most learned men, kindly disposed, and cordially friendly to him. He looked upon it as the peculiar characteristic of Luther to try and overwhelm all his opponents with shouts and attacks." He speaks of the great piety of Pope Clement from personal knowledge. His wars were, he said, rather the work of his adversaries than his own (De consilio, ed. J. G. Schelhorn, 1748, p. 91).
He also, in 1539, penned the De Christiana Ecclesia (in Specilegium Romanum, ii., p. 101 seqq.), sending it to Cardinal Salicati, and asking him to pass it on to Cardinal Contarini. It was the outcome of conversations about the troubles of the Church, and the result of the movement was the Council of Trent, to restore, as Sadolet says, ecclesiastical discipline " quae nunc tota paene nobis e manibus elapsa est."
when Julius, the Bishop of Rome, stood on his feet and one of his chamberlains held up his skirt because it stood not, as he thought, with his dignity that he should do it himself, that his shoes might appear, whilst a nobleman of great age prostrated himself upon the ground and kissed his shoes."1
To us, to-day, much that was written and spoken at this time will appear, like many of the above passages, foolish and exaggerated; but the language served its purpose, and contributed more than anything else to lower the Popes in the eyes of the people, and to justify in their minds the overthrow of the ecclesiastical system which had postulated the Pope as the Universal Father of the Christian Church. Each Sunday, in every parish church throughout the country, they had been invited in the bidding prayer, as their fathers had been for generations, to remember their duty of praying for their common Father, the Pope. When the Pope's authority was finally rejected by the English king and his advisers, it was necessary to justify this serious breach with the past religious practice, and the works of the period prove beyond doubt that this was done in the popular mind by turning men's thoughts to the temporal aspect of the Papacy, and making them think that it was for the national profit and honour that this foreign yoke should be cast off. Whilst this is clear, it is also equally clear in the works of the time that the purely religious aspect of the question was as far as possible relegated to a secondary place in the discussions. This was perhaps not unnatural, as the duty of defending the rejection of the Papal supremacy can hardly have been very tasteful to those who were forced by the strong arm of the State to justify it before the people. As late as 1540 we are told by a contemporary writer that the spirituality under the
1 Sermon on Palm Sunday, Berthelet, 1539.