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was causing wide-spread discontent. “For these reasons, then, and others which we are unwilling to set down, the lord king affectionately begs you, as his most beloved Father in Christ, and for the honour of God, for your own honour, and for that of the Roman Church, earnestly requests, if you would remove scandal from the hearts of many and retain the devotion of the French Church and kingdom, that you put an end to these grievances, and cancel what has been done lately, since a great many people have on this account been excommunicated and suspended” by your officials.
The attitude towards provisions and other papal exactions, manifested both in France and in England, was perfectly consistent with absolute loyalty to the pope as sole head of the Universal Church. It was also in fact not inconsistent with a full admission of the theoretic rights of the popes to act as they were doing in regard to ecclesiastical revenues. At the moment it was the practical question of the possibility of such taxation that disturbed the rulers of the two kingdoms. No suspicion of any disloyalty, still less of any open teaching contrary to the full acceptance of the supremacy of the Roman Pontiff, is to be found in the letters and tracts of the period. On the other hand the Catholic position is assumed, and even constantly stated, as if no other view or teaching was possible or tenable.
1 Matth. Paris, Additamenta, 99-112. This document is only known in the collection of Matthew Paris, but it is accepted by M. Berger (St. Louis et Innocent IV, 270, seqq.), and also by M. Ch. Langlois (Lavisse Hist. de France Ili, ii. 65) as genuine. On 2nd May, 1247, a previous memorial of the grievances of the French clergy had apparently been presented to the pope by the bishops of Soissons and Troyes, the archdeacon of Tours, and the provost of Rouen. The reply of Innocent IV was vague, and it would seem that Saint Louis, not being satisfied with it, addressed the above second remonstrance to him.
Some of the statements are abundantly clear; and the letter or tract written about this time, at the pope's request, by Adam Marsh, the friend of Bishop Grosseteste, is perhaps the best exposition of the then belief of the western world as to the position of the papacy in the Christian dispensation. His first chapter, or division, is intended to prove that “ by divine institution there is only one supreme pontiff, who presides over all nations of the world.” He argues from analogy that a head or chief is necessary. Applying to the “high priests, the successors of the apostles," the words of the psalmist, Nimis confortatus est principatus eorum, he says, “Thou, O Holy Father, hast succeeded them in the inheritance. You are their heir, and the world your inheritance.". The pope, like St. Peter, he declares, has received the whole world to govern; the rest of the bishops have charge of one ship or Church.3 To the pope is committed the care of the visible Church throughout the whole world, as being the “one Vicar of Christ,” since the divine purpose was to bring all into one fold, and to make “one fold and one shepherd.” Of all parts and countries of the world, none is bound more securely by every tie of gratitude to the pope than England; and none is more loyal to him. “Above all other countries it acknowledges itself as subject to your holy government.” It possesses all the strength of the Catholic faith; it has devotion to the Apostolic See, and prides itself on the promptitude of its obedience. Then, after speaking of the design of Henry III to recover the Holy Land by his sword, Friar Marsh adds, “Shall we therefore assert that the spiritual sword only is to be wielded by the ecclesiastic, and that he has nothing to do with the material sword ? Most certainly not: he has the use of
1 Mon. Fran., i. 415. 2 Ibid., 418. • Ibid., 419. 4 Ibid., 429.
both, but in a different manner. The sword of the word is for his use, the iron sword is to be wielded at his command." The innocence of the ecclesiastical hierarchy is not helped by using the arms of the world. Eliseus, weak, alone, and unarmed, was helped by the heavenly chariot and horses, and overcame the strength of an earthly army. So, when Moses lifted his hands, Israel overcame. “Let the successors of the apostles never forget, I pray, the words, 'If God is for us, who is against us?' These are the words (of God) who said to the disciples, ‘Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the world.'”
It is not quite evident what effect the protests of the English representatives at the Council of Lyons had upon the subsequent deliberations of the fathers. The pope is not known to have made any formal reply to the paper of complaints presented to him. If Matthew Paris was correctly informed—and most of the information we now possess about the Council of Lyons is derived from his chronicle—Pope Innocent IV immediately turned the attention of the meeting from the unpleasant matters raised by the English representatives to the “more important business" (altiori negotio) of the emperor, against whom he forthwith “in full Council, and not without causing stupor and horror on all who heard him,” fulminated a sentence of excommunication.”
In the general constitutions of the Council, there is, however, some slight indication that the representations of the English nation had some weight. The first clauses of these constitutions dealt with the conduct of ecclesiastical causes and with the powers of delegates and judges, in compelling the presence of the parties in various suits. The privileges of papal legates are thus determined. ? Mon. Fran., i. 437.
2 Matthew Paris, iv. 445
To relieve the subjects of the Church “from burdens and to remove scandals," it is decreed that “legates of the Roman Church, however ample their powers,—have no authority, by virtue of their office, to confer benefices.” ? In two articles, the question of excommunication is briefly dealt with. Excommunication is to be regarded as remedial and medicinal, and not as intended to inflict a mortal blow or as being the final word of the Church. All such sentences must therefore be in writing, and a statement of the cause was to be furnished to the excommunicated person, within a month of the day the sentence was promulgated. A superior should have no difficulty in relaxing the sentence, if he thought fit, and judges were to understand that they have no right to fulminate sentences without due consideration.
The statuta, although approved of by all, were, in form and matter, more the decisions of the pope than of the Council. Some of the articles were communicated to the meeting, as having been published before the Council, some during the session and some even afterwards. There was much discussion about the crusades, and many wise provisions were made for pushing forward the preparations; but a difficulty arose upon the question of money contributions. The Fathers objected to the payment being made to officials appointed for the purpose by the Holy See, as they declared that rightly or wrongly the faithful believed that frequently the money subscribed for the Holy Land had been used for other purposes.
This was apparently the termination of the business of the Council, and the English proctors looked in vain for the direct reply to their representations, which the pope had promised. Innocent IV evidently desired to pass it by
Matthew Paris, iv. 467.
in silence, and the sittings of the Council terminated without anything more being said on the matter. The English were angry, and the king's agents left with the threat that they would henceforth never pay the annual tribute, nor allow the revenues of their churches to be disposed of against their wills. The pope, upon hearing of their indignation and of their resolution as to the tribute, sent for each of the English bishops present and obliged him to set his signature to the charter made by King John. The bishops taken thus unawares and singly, did not dare to refuse. But upon hearing of this, King Henry vowed that he would never again as long as he lived pay any annual tribute to the Roman Curia.
Bishop Grosseteste left Lyons shortly after the conclusion of the Council. He was accompanied by Friar Adam Marsh and his socius, Friar John of Stamford. From Rouen the bishop wrote to William of Nottingham, the minister of the Minorites in England, to give him some details of their journey. At Beaune the socius, Friar John, was taken ill with fever, but after a few days they were able to bring him with them to Nogent, and thence down the Seine to Paris. Fearing, however, that the climate of the city would be bad for the invalid, they had carried him by water to Rouen and so to Mantes. At this latter place it became evident that the Friar socius was now too ill to be moved, and as Friar Adam Marsh was unwilling to leave him without the company of some of his brethren, the bishop suggests that the minister should send Friar Peter of Tewkesbury and others to take charge of the sick man, and so enable Friar Marsh to come on with him to England. Grosseteste adds that it would not be safe to leave Friar Adam too long in this part of France, since at
? Matthew Paris, iv. 479.