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mother; but it will rather, as behoves royal benevolence and magnanimity, approve their purpose and encourage and assist its fulfilment. Your Majesty may be assured that all who have counselled you in this matter otherwise, have not regarded your kingly honour.” 1
By the beginning of July, 1246, William de Powick and Henry de la Mere, the messengers who had been dispatched by parliament to the pope, were back again in England. To hear the account of their mission, parliament was summoned to meet the king at Winchester on 7th July. The deputation, from the national point of view, was a complete failure; Innocent IV showed no disposition to abate his calls upon the purse of the English clergy. The pope had sent for them, and they went to the audience expecting to receive some encouraging assurance to take back to their countrymen; but the Holy Father had merely said: “The English king, who kicks against the yoke and 'Fredericises' --or follows in the steps of the emperor-has his opinion, and I have mine, which I intend to follow.” After this, nothing more was to be done, for, as the messengers describe the situation, "from that moment scarcely any Englishman could do any business in the Curia; indeed, all were treated as schismatics."
In reply to the letter of the English king, Pope Innocent wrote on 12th June, begging Henry not to object to his requiring a twentieth part of the ecclesiastical revenues of England, and hinting that he would moderate his practice of appointing to benefices in the English Church. He was anxious, he says, out of love and affection for the sovereign, to do whatever was pleasing to him, provided it was consistent" with his duty to God and the honour of the Roman Church.” The royal messengers had told him how the
Grosseteste, Epist., p. 341.
tallage, imposed on English benefices, was objected to, and had asked him to desist both from exacting this, and from providing to livings in the Church of the country. The tax, he explained, had been settled after long deliberation in the Council of Lyons. It was considered that the danger in the Holy Land was a common danger to all Christendom, and that the money needful should consequently be met by all Christian countries. For this reason the pope pleads that the king will allow the tax to be levied. As to the question of “provisions," Innocent IV points out that he is obliged to reward those who in the time of its adversity had been faithful to the Holy See; still, he promises to moderate the demands he has made, so as to satisfy the royal objections to the practice.
Bishop Grosseteste's views of the limitations of the kingly power in matters ecclesiastical, were clearly stated to Henry himself during the course of the year 1246. The king had desired him to admit one Robert Passelew to the living of St. Peter's, Northampton, which the bishop conscientiously could not do, considering him unfit to have the cure of souls. In announcing his refusal and his reasons, he draws a careful distinction between the royal and the sacerdotal powers. “We recognise,” he says, "two principles of authority in the world; the authority of the priesthood, and that of the king. The first directs all pertaining to eternal peace; the second, all pertaining to temporal peace
—they mutually help each other, and as a consequence, neither should be an impediment to the other—the sacerdotal authority certainly does not interfere with the regal in its government of the State by just laws, in its protection of it by arms, in its making it illustrious by insuring good morals: so on the other hand, the royal authority does not
? Rymer, i. 266.
hinder the sacerdotal in watching over the safety of the flock, in ministering to it the bread of the word of God, in manifesting illustrious examples of holy works, in insisting upon vigils, fastings and assiduous prayers, which as the Apostle testifies, cannot be done by him “who entangleth himself with secular business." ? Wherefore the secular power, the help of the sacerdotal, cannot entangle those who are dedicated to the pastoral charge in secular affairs." The bishop then goes on to declare that he wishes to see both powers duly supported in their own sphere by those devoted to them: "that is, that spiritual matters should be in the hands of ecclesiastics and spiritual persons, and secular matters in those of lay people.” In conclusion, he warns Henry not to think, as he apparently was inclined to do, that the anointing of the sovereign at his coronation gave him any ecclesiastical dignity. It was a sign, no doubt, of the sevenfold gift of the Holy Spirit poured out upon the newly-crowned king, “but this unction in no way raises the royal dignity above the sacerdotal, or even makes it equal to it, still less does it confer any sacerdotal power."!
The king was angry at the attitude taken by the bishop of Lincoln, and made no attempt to conceal it; and this having been conveyed to Grosseteste, he wrote another letter upon the same subject. In this he asked Henry's pardon if his words had offended him, but he did not in any way retreat from his position. To Archbishop Boniface of Canterbury, however, he wrote on the subject in the strongest terms. He was appointed to his high office, he tells him, to correct abuses and to help people to do their duty, not to compel any one to act wickedly. Now the acts of the archiepiscopal official are to be assumed to be the acts of the archbishop, and this officer has ordered him, the 1 2 Tim., ii. 4.
? Grosseteste, Epist., 349.
bishop, to admit Passelew, whom he has judged to be wholly unworthy, to the living of Northampton. He has pointed out that to obey against his conscience is wholly illicit, and would be "like the guilt of idolatry.” He consequently has refused; and he begs the archbishop to pause before he inflicts such an injury on the Church of God, as to proceed to the induction of such a man into any living.'
Grosseteste was supported in his determination to prevent, at all costs, the intrusion of unworthy candidates into any of his livings, by the authority of his friend and adviser, the Franciscan, Adam Marsh. In a letter written to the bishop about this time, the friar urges the great responsibilities that rest upon those who have the filling up of benefices. He rejoices to understand that Grosseteste has resisted all improper presentations, even at the risk of making himself unpopular with other bishops, of opposing the wish of nobles, and even of withstanding the authority of the king or the demands of the Roman officials. When the cure of souls is in question, the greatest care must be exercised by every worthy bishop, and the help of the Holy Spirit should be sought, that the person chosen may prove to be a fitting pastor.
In the early part of the year 1246 the king of England sought the pope's intervention to protect what he held to be his rights in Provence. Raymond Berenger V had died the previous year, leaving four daughters, the last of whom, Beatrix, was married to Charles, duke of Anjou, the brother of St. Louis, king of France. Assisted by the influence and authority of his royal brother, Charles claimed to succeed as count of Provence in right of his wife. In 1236, Henry III had married Eleanor, another i Grosseteste, Epist., 355.
* Mon. Franciscana, i. 139.
daughter of the late Count Raymond, and he seems to have considered that he also had interests in the country, which had been ignored by the succession of the French king's brother. He consequently sent his agents, Bartholomew Pesce and Brother Ralph, a Trinitarian, to beg the pope to interfere on his behalf and that of his brother, Richard of Cornwall. He asked for three things : first, that by his papal authority Innocent IV would protect their rights in Provence ; secondly, that he would at once send a legate to prohibit Charles of Anjou from taking possession of the cities and towns of the country; and thirdly, that he would not admit any will or disposition of the late count, until some reasonable period for inquiry and examination had been allowed to pass. It was not the first time that the question of these English rights had been broached to the pope, a former messenger from Henry to the Curia having already spoken of the matter, so that Innocent was prepared with his reply. It was in the negative: the pope declared that he could not see his way to interfere directly in the matter at all, but he promised to write to the king of France and his brother Charles, to engage them to deal liberally with any rights which the wives of Henry and his brother Richard might have in the country of their origin.”
The king's envoys, though they failed in the direct object of their mission, appear to have induced the pope to grant another favour likely to prove useful. This was to secure a letter, addressed to the bishops and nobles of England, urging them to return to their sovereign the lands and other possessions of the Crown, which he had granted
1 The four daughters of Berenger were married to the kings of France and England, to Charles of Anjou, and Richard of Cornwall.
Registres d'Innocent IV, i. No. 1,967.