Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

for church-reform, for the Bohemians considered them as indicating an ever-increasing endeavour on the part of the priests to raise new barriers between themselves and those who were not in holy orders. Thence sprang the fervent devotion of the Bohemians to the chalice which has surprised many writers, and has exposed the Bohemians to the ridicule of both ultramontanes and agnostics ever since the days of Hus. To the Hussites the chalice was an emblem signifying the equality of all true Christians.

The ideal object of all mediæval opponents of the Church of Rome was a return to the simplicity of the primitive church, and the poverty of the clergy which that return was considered to imply. All those who, in mediæval times, wished to rescue the church from the evil plight into which it had fallen—whether they remained in the Church of Rome or were excluded from it-felt and expressed profound veneration for poverty. As Cardinal Newman writes; 1 " It will not be denied that, according to the Scripture view of the church, though all are admitted into her pale, and the rich inclusively, yet the poor are her members with a peculiar suitableness and by a special right. Scripture is ever casting slurs upon wealth and making much of poverty." It has often been noted that, during the long struggle between the popes and the rulers of Germany, known as the contest about investitures, the German emperors very rarely appealed to the popular feeling in their contest with the Roman pontiffs. We find, of course, an exception in the case of Frederick II., who, after his deposition by Pope Innocent IV. at the Council of Lyons in 1245, appealed to the sovereigns of Europe against the pontiff.2 This case is, however, an isolated one, and though the victory of the papacy over Germany cannot be considered a complete one, the tendency to increase the authority and powers of the pope

1 Cardinal Newman, Historical Sketches, vol. i. p. 341, ed. of 1894.

? In the course of this letter the emperor writes: Semper fuit nostrae voluntatis intentio clericos cujusumque ordinis ad hoc inducere, et praecipue ad illum statum reducere ut tales persevereut in fine quales fuerunt in ecclesia primitiva apostolicam vitam ducentes et humilitatem dominicam imitantes. (Huillard Bréholles, Historia diplomatica Frederici Secundi, quoted by Lechler.)

and of the upper ranks of the Roman hierarchy at the expense of the parish-priests and laymen continued, with brief interruptions, up to the time of Hus. The Hussite movement, indeed, can be considered as the first serious obstacle which confronted the extreme autocratic tendencies of Rome. As has been often pointed out, these tendencies were greatly aided by the development of the study of canonic law. These codes, founded on the writings of the jurists of imperial Rome, who maintained the absolute and unlimited power of the sovereign, strongly favoured the claims of the popes to a similar unrestricted authority. The excessive study of canonic law to the detriment of the study of the Bible greatly displeased those who wished the church to be poor and pure. One of the earliest Bohemian reformers, Matthew of Janov, has expressed himself strongly on this subject.1

In close connection with the papal claim of unrestricted authority was the question of the validity of the sacraments when dispensed by unworthy priests. It is difficult to overrate the importance of this question; for if it was admitted that immoral or dishonest priests could not validly administer the sacraments, the whole system of the papal hierarchy ceased to be sustainable. The popular mind was far more agitated by questions such as these than by the subtleties of dogmatic controversy on which later writers have laid so great a stress.

As already mentioned, the rulers of Germany had, during their prolonged struggle with papacy, entirely confined themselves to endeavours to limit the influence of the popes on the politics of Germany. If we except the belated attempt of Frederick II., nothing was done to arrest the development of the Roman hierarchy in an ever-increasingly absolutist sense. The German rulers also made but slight attempts to enlist to their side the popular

1 He writes: Magis nunc sunt in precio doctrine et studium eorum que vulgo jura canonica dicuntur quam studium biblie, prophetarum et evangeliorum et multo pinquiores transferunt ad studendum jura et leges quam sanctam theologiam et studentes talium legum et doctrinarum humanarum magis et cicius promoventur quam scribe et docti in lege Jesu Christi et theologia.” (Mattheas de Janov, Regulae Veteris et Novi Testamenti. I have preserved the spelling as printed by Dr. Kybal from the MS.)

feeling then strongly opposed to the Roman hierarchy, many of whose members were believed by the people to be haughty, avaricious, and devoid of all morality.

In the subsequent struggle between the papacy and the kings of France, matters were different. Writers such as John of Paris and Egydius Colonna, Archbishop of Bourges, strongly opposed the papal claims, and the latter went so far as to deny to the pontiff all right to temporal power. In this struggle the kings of France were victorious, and it was one of the results of their victory that the papal court was transferred to Avignon, a city in the immediate vicinity of the French territory, and which was under the rule of a relation of the King of France. During this struggle between papacy and the rulers of France, the University of Paris played a very great part, and it became for a time the central authority in France on questions of theology; its position was somewhat similar to that of the University of Prague at the beginning of the Hussite wars. The University of Paris thus acquired great fame and students flocked to it from all parts of Europe. Among them was Matthew of Janov, one of the earliest Bohemian church-reformers, whose name will be frequently met in these pages.

The successful struggle of France against papacy was no doubt bne of the causes of the energetic resistance offered to Rome by Louis of Bavaria, King of the Germans. A man of moderate intelligence, he entirely overlooked the immense difference between the position of a ruler of Germany, where the local potentates were ever increasing their power, and that of a king of France—a country in which even then a contrary, that is to say, a centralist tendency, began to appear. As had been the case in France, in Germany also, the sovereign found able literary men who devoted much talent and erudition to the defence of Louis of Bavaria.

Egydius writes: “Tertio declarandum est quod Christus in institutione spiritualis potestatis nullum commisit vel potius promisit Dominium terre

Ecce Christus Jesus, Rex Regum Dominus dominantium regale fugit dominium et fastuosum fastigium. Iqitur qua ratione vel autoritate vicarius ejus vindicabit sibi culmen vel nomen Regiae dignitatis ? " (Goldast., Monarchia Imperii Romani, tom. ii. p. 95 and ff.)

norum.

Such men were Marsiglio of Padua, John of Jandun, William of Occam, and others. If, on the whole, Louis's struggle with papacy may be considered as having been unsuccessful, this cannot be entirely attributed to his incompetence, but to a certain extent also to the extreme vehemence of his literary allies, which alienated many moderate-minded men.

These were fully aware of the necessity for church-reform-no right-minded man at that time could fail to perceive it—but they objected to the revolutionary character of some of the writings of Louis's allies. This applies particularly to Marsiglio of Padua's Defensor Pacis. In this strange work almost all the subsequent attacks on papacy are foreshadowed, and it has, as Neander has written, already what may be called a Protestant character. The Defensor is one of the most important works that belong to the Middle Ages. It contains the germ not only of Protestantism, but also of all those liberal and democratic views that only attained their full development centuries later. I shall here, however, as far as the necessary coherence of my work permits, limit myself to outlining that part of Marsiglio's work in which he expresses opinions similar to those of Hus and the other Bohemian reformers. Marsiglio of Padua, born in the city of that name about the year 1270, studied for a considerable time at the University of Paris and was, in 1312, rector of that university. It is stated that in Paris he fell under the influence of William of Occam. They were men of about the same age, but it is probable—though the dates of the works of both writers are uncertain that Occam expressed disagreement with the papal rule at an earlier period than Marsiglio. The latter appears also at this period already to have made the acquaintance of several Italian and German scholars-mostly monks belonging to the order of the minorites—who afterwards became his allies when he undertook to defend the cause of King Louis against papal aggression. Marsiglio, whose views were on most subjects entirely opposed to those then generally accepted by the Roman

The best account of the lives and writings of these men is still that given by Dr. Riezler in his brilliant work, Die Literarischen Widersacher der Päpste.

B

Church, appears to have at this period already incurred the suspicion of heresy. It was at Paris that, in conjunction with his colleague, John of Jandun, he composed his masterpiece, the Defensor Pacis. It was reported that the two scholars had written the book in the space of two months. To all those who have even a superficial acquaintance with the Defensor this can only mean that it was during that time that they gathered together and shaped into a unity the results of many years of study. With this newly-written book as an introduction, Marsiglio and Jandun proceeded to the court of King Louis, who was then residing at Nürnberg

As Dr. Riezler has written, the Defensor is one " of those books that have been more praised than read.” The reason is not far to seek. The constant repetitions, the incessant minute definitions, and all the armoury of mediæval scholasticism render the book most difficult and tedious to read. The mediævalism of the form of the book is the more striking when we note how very modern are the ideas which it contains. After referring to the necessity of peace in the world, a wish from which Marsiglio derived the namė of his book, the author first gives a definition of the state, founded on Aristotle, in accordance with whom he also enumerates the different forms of government. Every state should be governed by laws, and all citizens, with the exception of foreigners, bondsmen, and women, should act as legislators. The prince, being human, cannot be considered as being infallible, and he should therefore be controlled in his actions by the legislators. In the last-nineteenth -chapter of the first part, Marsiglio raises the question why this system, which would ensure peace, cannot be carried out. The answer is: Because of the extreme power which, since the donation of Constantine, the church has acquired, and because of the interference of the clergy in temporal matters. This leads to the second part, which is far more important for the study of Hus, whose ideas Marsiglio here frequently anticipates. In this part the author deals with papacy, priesthood, and their relations to the temporal power. Marsiglio begins by defining the conception church

« PredošláPokračovať »