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will anything be demanded, nor indeed will presents even be received for anything, beyond the usual fees for the issue of Bulls.
“... Is it not lawful, is it not proper, is it not expedient, that in such a way daughters should reach out their hands to help their mother, who for their sakes is occupied in many and great undertakings? Did not many prelates and men of great influence urge this course at the last General Council? Did they not then seem earnestly to wish it? But at the time it was the Holy See that postponed the settlement of the affair, lest it might appear to have called the Council for that reason. To carry into effect this loving and pious design, by which the honour of God's Church may be greatly increased, and many occasions of maligning it be removed, we beg, ask, and exhort all of you in the Lord, and by these our Apostolic letters command you to make these provisions in your cathedral and other churches, in the way described.” Finally, in order to remove a standing grievance, the pope declared his intention, upon the completion of the suggested arrangements, to direct that upon the death of “beneficed Roman clerics” in England, the cures should revert to their original purpose, “lest,” as he says, “if they should be given to successive foreigners, as has sometimes happened, they become useless to the parishioners of the church continually residing there.” ?
When these papal letters had been read and their purport fully understood, Cardinal Langton explained to the assembly that similar proposals had been made in France and had been rejected by the French bishops. In order that they might not take a false step, before having fully grasped the situation in all its bearings, he laid before them a brief account of the council of Bourges, which had been
? Reg. S. Osmundi, i. 366 seqq.
convoked in France by the legate Romanus for the same end for which the English meeting had been summoned by the nuncio Otho. At the French synod there had been present the archbishops of Lyons, Sens, Rheims, Rouen, Tours, Bourges, etc., with about a hundred suffragan bishops, as well as a great number of abbots, prelates and proctors of cathedral churches. Before commencing the actual business, the legate had suggested that all but the archbishops, bishops and abbots might return to their cures. The proctors representing the various ecclesiastical corporations, however, having got wind of the demands about to be made by Romanus on the pope's behalf, protested beforehand against any attempt to take the revenues of the prebends for the support of the Roman Curia. The whole nation, they declared, was against such a scandal, and that the king—St. Louis—and all the prelates and priests of France were ready to resist to the last, “even unto deprivation of every honour.” “For," concludes this outspoken protest, “this would mean the ruin of the Church and kingdom.” 1.
On the legate Romanus endeavouring to explain the advantages which might follow if what the pope asked was granted, the proctor of the archbishop of Lyons replied at length, emphasising in the strongest terms the fixed determination of the clergy to resist the proposed exactions. “The clergy feared,” he said, “even more than the actual demands now made, the appointment of papal questors to collect the papal revenues, were these demands granted; for these collectors, under the name of 'procurations,' would certainly claim large additional fees for their expenses."
The appeal of the spokesman of the French clergy to the legate was concluded by what reads almost like a threat. “Your zeal,” he said, “ for the Universal Church
1 Reg. S. Osmundi, ii. 51.
and for the Holy Roman See should move you; for it is to be feared that if all are made to feel the universal oppression, there will be a universal defection, which God forbid!” After such plain speaking there was nothing for the legate to do but to draw back as gracefully as he might. He stated that this demand which he had put forward had been decided upon after he had left the Curia, and that personally he would not have consented to it, and indeed was very sorry that it had ever been made. He added also that he believed that it was made on the understanding that it should not be enforced in France, unless other Christian countries, the Empire, England and Spain were willing to accept it. He finally pledged himself that no further attempt should be made in this direction until the prelates of other countries had given their assent to the proposed taxation, “which,” he added, “I do not think will be the case.” 1
This exposition of what had happened in France left a profound impression on the English assembly. This is evidenced not only by the record in the English chronicles of the period, but also by the full entry of Langton's account in the episcopal register of Salisbury. The result of the English meeting, in view of what had happened in France, was a foregone conclusion. When the archbishop finally proposed the question to the assembled prelates, as he had been instructed to do by the pope's letters, “all,” says the chronicler,“ burst out into laughter at the covetousness of the Romans who did not understand the force of the moral:
Quod virtus reddit, non copia, sufficientem
To dispose finally of the matter, however, King Henry
1 Reg. S. Osmundi, ii. 54.
called the prelates and some of the chief nobles apart; and having talked over the whole business, they gave the following reply to the request Archbishop Langton had made in the name of Pope Honorius:
“What the lord pope asks us to do is a matter which affects the whole Christian world. We are placed, as it were, on the very confines of the world, and consequently desire to see how other kingdoms will act in regard to these proposed exactions. When we shall have the example of what others do before our eyes, the lord pope will not find us more backward in obedience.”
With this reply given to the demands of the Curia on behalf of the king and the prelates, the assembly was dismissed.
Matthew Paris, iii. 109.
CHAPTER VI ENGLISH ECCLESIASTICAL POLITICS FROM THE
DEPARTURE OF THE NUNCIO OTHO TO THE
DEATH OF ARCHBISHOP LANGTON WHEN the papal proposals had been disposed of in the great meeting at St. Paul's, in the May of 1226, the Church in England once more returned to its normal state of government. The continued action of the pope on both ecclesiastical and lay affairs is still, however, manifested in the documents of the period. Thus, to take one or two examples of his direction in matters of state during the year 1226. Early in the year, Honorius III writes to Guy of Lusignan blaming him for his opposition to Henry. He reminds him that the oath of fidelity, by which he, as a vassal, was bound to the English king, was held everywhere as a sacred obligation. History will teach him how much men who understood their duty in this matter had suffered rather than be false, whilst, “as we have learnt," he says, “from the complaints of our beloved son in Christ, Henry, the illustrious king of the English," you have not hesitated without cause to break your fealty to him. He warns him of his sin in thus going back upon his solemn word, and declares that he is bound to warn him to return to his duty to his king, and being reconciled to his earthly lord, he may know that he has made his peace with his heavenly king. If, within a month, Guy de Lusignan has