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created by generations of pious benefactors. The bishops, in their visitations and by their synodical constitutions, endeavoured to sustain a high standard of Christian and clerical life among clergy and people. Grosseteste was untiring in his efforts in this regard, and he was even seriously blamed for the over-severity of his episcopal examinations and corrections. Some few notes as to the constitutions issued by the bishops at this period, will help the reader to understand what were the teachings, practices and high ideals of this period in the history of the English Church, and help to correct the impression, which might perhaps be formed from the tale of the many difficulties, that the higher aims and aspirations were lost sight of in the world of trouble and strife.
To take some examples: In 1246 Bishop Richard de la Wych, of Chichester, issued to his clergy some synodical statutes as to their duties. The salvation of our subjects, he says, rests on us by virtue of our office. “We are bound to see to their correction in spiritual matters, lest any one by want of knowledge may stray from the path of justice, or through presumption dare to contravene the canonical institutions. For this reason, in this holy synod, we propose to issue these mandates lest we, who are bound to render our account of others, may be condemned in the great examination for our own negligence.” The bishop then goes on to treat in a special way of the sacraments. These, he says, "are seven—the Baptism of those entering upon the way of life; the Confirmation of those fighting; the Eucharist for those journeying along the way; the Penance of those who have wandered from it but are returning ; Extreme Unction for those passing away ; Orders for those ministering ; Marriage for those labouring."
The constitution, speaking of Baptism at some length, charges the priest to see that the lay people of his parish know the proper form for administering the sacrament, and when they have had need to make use of it in case of great necessity, the priest is to question them how they have performed the rite, in order to be quite certain that it has been rightly done. The font and the holy oils, as well as the Eucharist, are to be kept under lock and key. No fee is to be demanded for any baptism, confession, or burial, or indeed for any ecclesiastical ministration, but whatever is offered gratuitously may be kept. As to Confirmation, if there be any doubt, the child is to be again confirmed. Parents must present their children within a year of their attaining the proper age to be confirmed, and adults are to be asked by their confessors whether they have received the sacrament. If they have not, as soon as possible after confession, they must be sent to the bishop.
All that surrounds the altar is to be of the greatest cleanliness: the priest must see that the vestments are good and in no wise torn; the Holy Eucharist is not to be reserved for longer than seven days, but must be changed each Sunday; when the Blessed Sacrament is taken to the sick, it must be borne by the priest with the utmost reverence, with cross, lights and holy water, and preceded by one ringing a bell to let the faithful know.
For the sacrament of Penance three things are declared to be necessary—contrition, confession and satisfaction; and the need of contrition or sorrow for sins is to be insisted upon as a necessary condition for the remission of sins.
Only those who have passed a sufficient examination are to be allowed to enter the ranks of the clergy, and no one is to be ordained to sacred Orders if he come with any other design than to serve God alone; ordination, therefore, should be bestowed on no one for money, favour or privilege, and all those in the least tainted with heresy, or suspected of evil or unholy lives, must be rigorously excluded from the service of the altar. Every parish priest ought to labour for the salvation of his people, and as far as his means will allow, he must assist the poor. All the clergy are bound to live at their own churches, and there, according to their ability, to see to the hospitals and other works of charity. All churches are to be carefully looked after, and the chalices, books, and the ecclesiastical ornaments must be sufficient and clean. On the death of a priest, if he has not in his lifetime properly seen to the care of his church, this has to be made good from the property he leaves behind him. All the faithful are to be warned that they must know the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and the Angelical Salutation. The meaning of these the priest must diligently and frequently teach to the people, at least in their native language.
In another set of constitutions issued by Walter Gray, archbishop of York, in 1250, the work of the parishioners in their parish church is stated clearly. They are to be taught and made to understand that it is their duty and privilege to provide the chalice, missal and principal vestments, i.e. chasuble, alb, amice, stole, maniple, girdle, corporals, as well as other vestments for the deacon. According to the means of the parishioners, their churches should have a silk cope for the chief feasts, and two others for the conductors of the choir on those days; a processional cross for feast days and another for funerals; a bier for the dead and a vessel for holy water; the instrument for giving the pax; the great candlestick for Easter ; the thurible; the lamp and bell used in carrying the Blessed Sacrament to the sick; the Lenten veil ; two candlesticks for wax
? Wilkins, Concilia, i. 688-693.
lights; such books as the legend, antiphonar, grayle, psalter, tropary, ordinal, missal and manual; the frontal of the high altar, and three surplices; a proper pyx for the Body of Christ; the banners of the Rogation days; the great bells with their cords; the holy font with its fastenings; the vessel for the chrism; the images in the church; and, in the chancel, the chief image of the saint to whom the church is dedicated. Moreover, to the people pertain all repairs of books and vestments, etc., when needed; the keeping of the lights in the church, and the repairs; and indeed, when necessary, the construction of the nave. The rector has to see to the chancel with its walls, windows and ornaments.
In a third set of constitutions issued by Walter de Kirkham, bishop of Durham, in 1255, the necessity of frequently expounding the moral law and of teaching the people what they should know about the sins by which God is offended, etc., is insisted upon in plain language. The clergy are to preach to the people on holydays and Sundays "in the common and vulgar idiom,” about the sacraments and about the articles of their faith, and to teach them the Pater and Ave, and how they should make the sign of the Cross, lest when the laity be asked on these matters “in the last day's judgement, they shall be able to excuse themselves, by reason of the negligence of priests." Wilkins, Concilia, i. 698.
2 Ibid., 704.
CHAPTER XIX THE POPE'S GIFT OF THE SICILIAN CROWN TO
HENRY'S SON EDMUND In the autumn of 1251, the pope, with his hands already too full of other business, became involved in considerable difficulties as to Sicily. On the deposition of the emperor Frederick II, that kingdom devolved upon the Holy See; and the situation became grave when the emperor's son, Conrad IV, landed at Naples to commence operations for recovering the sceptre. The pope could only protect, or recover his position, by the help of some prince powerful enough to dislodge the Hohenstauffen from southern Italy, and to found there a dynasty faithful to the pope, acknowledging him as overlord. Innocent IV, with this end in view, opened negotiations simultaneously with the royal houses of France and England. In the former kingdom his thoughts turned to Charles of Anjou, who, being very rich, and possessing great domains, could easily collect and support the considerable forces which would be necessary when hostilities were commenced against Conrad IV. By his marriage with the heiress of Provence, also, his estates, stretching along the shores of the Mediterranean, were not too far removed from the papal possessions to make him a useful ally. In August, 1252, therefore, not only was the offer made to Charles, but the king, St. Louis, and the count of Poitiers were asked to urge upon their brother the importance of accepting the pope's offer. At