« PredošláPokračovať »
own diocese, in the hopes that it may induce the pope to resist the persuasion which he was exerting in the Curia to secure the triumph of his cause. On their knees, they say, they beg the Holy Father to put a bridle upon the malice of Aylmer, so that “he, who has reverence for no one, may be taught that he is subject to the Apostolic See.”
Towards the end of the year 1258 the pope replied to the letters of the barons. The letter is long and deals with many important questions other than that which seemed so pressing to his petitioners. In fact, the papal letter is almost identical with a Bull sent to the king of England at the same time, and only at the end is there added a clause, specially dealing with the case of the elect of Winchester. In this final portion of the Apostolic letter, Alexander IV says that he has considered what they urge against Aylmer, and is “much disturbed and grieved,” supposing what they say “to be true.” He cannot, however, proceed to a judicial inquiry since the elect of Winchester has no proctor, and justice requires that his side should be heard before judgement is given. So matters rested ; but not for long. It was in the following year that the monks of Winchester endeavoured to settle the question of the bishop's return, by electing de Wengham the chancellor, above referred to. The king, as has been said, consented conditionally upon Aylmer not being able to obtain episcopal consecration. Pope Alexander IV, however, was not inclined to hearken to the bitter cry of the barons against the elect, and seems to have regarded their complaints as mainly political. He had already on 30th July, 1255, permitted Aylmer to defer his consecration, on the plea that he was not yet thirty years of age, and had given him a dispensation from the 1 Additamenta, 409.
? Ibid., 415.
canonical law, which obliged every bishop-elect to seek consecration within six months of his confirmation, on pain of losing the office altogether. Whatever may have been his reasons, at this present juncture the pope practically answered the petitioners by consecrating Aylmer on 16th May, 1260. Almost immediately the bishop set out for England, intending to force himself, if there were need, by excommunication and interdict, upon the monks and diocese of Winchester. That he did not determine to take this course with the king's sanction, is clear from the letter sent by Henry himself to the pope, declaring that he would not consent under any circumstances to Aylmer's return to England. The loyalty of the English in their obedience to the Holy See, was, however, never put to the test ; for Bishop Aylmer, whilst on his way to England, died in Paris on 4th December of this same year 1260. His death came as a great relief to many, whilst none appear to have regretted this solution of a great scandal. The last that is heard of this unworthy prelate is a reference in a letter from Pope Urban IV to Albert of Parma, a papal official in England, where it is said that Aylmer, the late bishop, had promised eighty marks to the Roman cardinals, and the pope directed him to endeavour to procure the payment from his executors. i Registres d'Alexandre IV, i. No. 686. 2 Royal Letters, ii. 147.
3 Brit. Mus. Add. MS., 15,360, f. 10.
THE ENGLISH CHURCH IN THE LAST YEARS OF
WHEN Pope Innocent IV died on 7th December, 1254, many grave matters concerning England still awaited solution. Before passing on to consider the attitude of his successor, Alexander IV, towards England, it may be well to examine briefly into the state of ecclesiastical affairs in the country during the three or four last years of Pope Innocent's reign, and to make an attempt to determine the relations then existing between Rome and England.
The papal “provisions” of foreigners to English benefices, which during the whole of this reign had given rise to such dissatisfaction in the country, though perhaps somewhat fewer in number, were still sufficiently numerous to keep alive a spirit of discontent, which occasionally found expression in the letters and speeches of even the most loyal churchmen. Although some mitigation of the evil had been obtained from Rome, in such papal enactments, for example, as that no Italian should succeed an Italian in any living; still, in practice dispensations from these restrictions were readily found when necessary. An example may be given of the case of St. Alban's in 1251. In the December of that year the pope sent his letters to the abbot and convent in favour of John de Camezana, his nephew, who desired to have the church of Wingrave, the patronage of which belonged to the abbey. The living was not at the time vacant; but the pope took to himself the next presentation in favour of Camezana, and he dispensed for this time with the law forbiding one Italian to succeed another in the holding of any benefice. After stating this case, the chronicler appears rather to apologise for finding a place for the incident in a general history of the times. But, he says, “ I have concluded to insert it, that readers may see with what injuries and oppressions the Roman Curia harasses us poor English. This is what alienates our hearts, though not our persons, from our father the pope, who seems driven (to treat us) with the harshness of a conqueror; and from our mother the Roman Church, which acts towards us with the persecuting spirit of a step-mother.” 1
Similar heartburnings had been experienced in France, then under the rule of St. Louis. Pope Innocent IV, in order to be able to carry on his quarrel with the emperor, and to continue the struggle of the Christian arms against the Moslem power in the Holy Land, was forced to take many exceptional measures to obtain money. However necessary the object—and about the crusades at least there can be little doubt—the measures taken were contrary to the truest interest of Christian countries, as tending to alienate peoples and their rulers from the centre of Christendom. These exactions, it must be remembered, weighed as heavily on the French clergy as they did on those of England. Innocent IV felt himself bound to recompense the faithful services of those who surrounded him, and the readiest, and it would almost seem the only means of doing so, was to make the endowments of England and France pay for these services in the shape of pensions, prebends, and benefices. Louis of France, in spite, or rather perhaps
Matthew Paris, v. 232-233.
because, of his ardent devotion to religion, felt himself bound to protect, even against him whom he regarded as the head and supreme authority in the Church, the prerogatives of his Crown and the rights and possessions of his subjects.
In May, 1247, the archbishop of Canterbury, then in the Curia, tells his brother, Peter of Savoy, of representations being then made to the pope at Lyons by envoys from France. The embassy consisted of the marshal of France, Ferri Pasté, representing the king, and the bishops of Soissons and Troyes sent by the French clergy. They complained of the abuse of authority on the part of the Roman Curia, and the special points indicated are precisely those with which every student of the English records is familiar. The pope replied in such a vague way as to give little satisfaction to the envoys, and they were forced to leave after only three days' sojourn, without having effected much by their representations.' St. Louis, however, clearly shared their feelings and desires, for a second embassy was dispatched to the pope at the beginning of June to make even stronger representations, and there was reason. M. Elie Berger, the editor of the Registers of Innocent IV, thus describes the action of the papal officials in France at this time. Men constantly heard the words : “Give me so much, or I will excommunicate you.” They “saw priests of the highest dignity, the successors of the Apostles, and with them all the ministers of the Church, treated by order of the apostolic nuncios as if they were slaves or Jews. . . . For the first time this system was put in practice by the cardinal-bishop of Praeneste, who, during
? Additamenta, 131-133; cf. Lavisse, Histoire de France, III., ii. 65. M. Langlois, the author of this section, notes that the knowledge of this Mémoire is due to Matthew Paris, who has preserved it.