Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

driven to a temporary and available election. But scarcely had this been done when his incapacity became conspicuous and his removal imperative. It is said that the friends of Benedetto Gaetani, the ablest of the cardinals, through a hole perforated in the pope's chamber wall, at midnight, in a hollow voice, warned him that he retained his dignity muy at the peril of his soul, and in the name of God terrified into commanded him to abdicate. And so, in spite abdication of all importunity, he did. His abdication was considered by many pious persons as striking a death-blow at papal infallibility

It was during his pontificate that the miracle of Loretto The miracle occurred. The house inhabited by the Virgin of Loretto. immediately after her conception had been converted on the death of the Holy Family into a chapel, and St. Luke had presented to it an image, carved by his own hands, still known as our Lady of Loretto. Some angels chancing to be at Nazareth when the Saracen conquerors approached, fearing that the sacred relic might fall into their possession, took the house bodily in their hands, and, carrying it through the air, after several halts, finally deposited it at Loretto in Italy.

So Benedetto Gaetani, whether by such wily procureBoniface ments or not, became Pope Boniface VIII., A.D. VIII. elected 1294. His election was probably due to King pope.

Charles, who held twelve electoral votes, the bitter personal animosity of the Colonnas having been either neutralized or overcome. The first care of Boniface was to consolidate his power and relieve himself of a rival. In the opinion of many it was not possible for a pope to abdicate. Confinement in prison soon (A.D. 1296) settled that ques

tion. The soul of Celestine was seen by a monk Pope Celestine ascending the skies, which opened to receive it

1. into heaven; and a splendid funeral informed his enemies that they must now acknowledge Boniface as the unquestioned pope. But the princely Colonnas, the leaders of the Ghibelline faction in Rome, who had reOnarrel of sisted the abdication of Celestine to the last, Boniface and and were, therefore, mortal enemies of Boniface,

Ronnas. revolted. He published a bull against thein ; he excommunicated them. With an ominous anticipation

ven.

of the future, for they were familiar with the pa pal power, and knew where to touch it to the quick--they appealed to a “General Council.” Since supernatural weapons did not seem to avail, Boniface proclaimed a crusade against them. The issue answered his expectations. Palestrina, one of their strongholds, which in a moment of weakness they had surrendered, was utterly devastated and sown with salt. The Colonnas fled, some of them to France. There, in King Philip the Fair, they found a friend, who was destined to avenge their wrongs, and to inflict on the papacy, a blow from which it never recovered.

This was the state of affairs at the commencement of the quarrel between Philip and Boniface. The Crusades had brought all Europe under taxation to Rome, and loud complaints were everywhere made against the drain of money into Italy. Things had at last come to such a condition that it was not possible to continue pecun the Crusades without resorting to a taxation of necessities the clergy, and this was the true reason of the Of Ror

me.

the stream of money that had thus been passing into Italy had engendered habits of luxury and extravagance. Cost what it might, money must be had in Rome. The perennial necessity under which the kings of England and France found themselves—the necessity of revenue for the carrying out of their temporal projects—could only be satisfied in the same way. The wealth of those nations had insensibly glided into the hands of the Church. In England, Edward I. enforced the taxation of the The King of clergy. They resisted at first, but that sovereign England com

pels the found an ingenious and effectual remedy. He clergy to pay directed his judges to hear no cause in which an taxes. ecclesiastic was a complainant, but to try every suit brought against them; asserting that those who refused to share the burdens of the state had no right to the protection of its laws. They forthwith submitted. In the nature and efficacy of this remedy we for the first time recognize the agency of a class of men soon to rise to power—the lawyers.

In France, Philip the Fair made a similar attempt. It was not to be supposed that Rome would tolerate this

fria

trespassing on what she considered her proper domain, and The King of

accordingly Boniface issued the bull “ Clericis France at laicos,excommunicating kings who should levy tempts it. subsidies on ecclesiastics. Hereupon Philip determined that, if the French clergy were not tributary to him, France should not be tributary to the pope, and issued an edict prohibiting the export of gold and silver from France without his license. But he did not resort to these extreme measures until he had tried others which perhaps he considered less troublesome. He had plundered the Jews, confiscated their property, and expelled them from his dominions. The Church was fairly next in order; and, indeed, the mendicant friars of the lower class, who, as we have seen, were disaffected by the publication of Is abetted by

he “The Everlasting Gospel,” were loud in their the begging denunciations of her wealth, attributing the pre

vailing religious demoralization to it. They pointed to the exa mple of our Lord and his disciples; and when their antagonists replied that even He condescended to make use of money, the malignant fanatics maintained their doctrines, amid the applause of a jeering populace, by answering that it was not St. Peter, but Judas, who was intrusted with the purse, and that the pope stood in need of the bitter rebuke which Jesus had of old administered to his prototype Peter, saying, “ Get thee behind me, Satan; for thou savourest not of the things that be of God, but of the things that be of men” (Mark viii. 33). Under that authority they affirmed that they might stigmatize the great culprit without guilt. So the king ventured to put forth his hand and touch what the Church had, and she cursed him to his face. At first a literary war ensued : the pope published his bull, the king his reply. Already the policy which Philip was following, and the ability he

was displaying, manifested that he had attached and ably sus was tained by the to himself that new power of which the King

of England had taken advantage-a power soon to become the mortal enemy of the ecclesiastic-the Device of the lawyers. In the meantime, money must be had jubilee. in Rome; when, by the singularly felicitous device of the proclamation of a year of jubilee, A.D. 1300, large sums were again brought into Italy.

Boniface had thus four antagonists on his hands -- the King of France, the Colonnas, the lawyers, and the four the mendicants. By the latter, both high and enemies of low, he was cordially hated. Thus the higher Boniface. English Franciscans were enraged against him because he refused to let them hold lands. They attempted to bribe him with 40,000 ducats; but he seized the money at the banker's, under the pretence that it had no owners, as the mendicants were vowed to poverty, and then denied the privilege. As to the lower Franciscans, heresy was fast spreading among them. They were not only infected with the doctrines of " The Everlasting Gospel, but had even descended into the abyss of irreligion one step more by placing St. Francis in the stead of our Saviour. They were incessantly repeating in the ears of the laity that the pope was Anti-Christ, “ The Man of Sin.” The quarrel between Philip and Boniface was every moment increasing in bitterness. The former seized and between the imprisoned a papal nuncio, who had been selected French king

. and the pope. because he was known to be personally offensive; the latter retaliated by the issue of bulls protesting against such an outrage, interfering between the king and his French clergy, and citing the latter to appear in Rome and take cognizance of their master's misdoings. The monarch was actually invited to be present and hear his own doom. In the lesser bull—if it be authentic and the king's rejoinder, both parties seem to have lost their temper. This was followed by the celebrated the bull “ Ausculta Fili,at which the king's indigna- “ Ausculta tion knew no bounds. He had it publicly burnt muz. in Paris at the sound of a trumpet; assembled the StatesGeneral; and, under the advice of his lawyers, skilfully brought the issue to this: Does the king hold the realm of France of God or of the pope? Without difficulty it might be seen how the French clergy would be compelled to act: since many of them held fiefs of the king, all were in fear of the intrusion of Italian ecclesiastics into the rich benefices. France, therefore, supported her they monarch. On his side, Boniface, in the bull “ T'nam “ Unam Sanctam,” asserted his power by declaring that it is necessary to salvation to believe that “every human being is subject to the Pontiff of Rome.” Philip, foreseeing the desperate nature of the approaching conflict, and aiming to attach his people firmly to him by putting himself forth as their protector against priestly tyranny, again skilfully appealed to their sentiments by denouncing the Inquisition as an atrocious barbarity, an outrage on human rights, violating all law, resorting to new and unheard-of tortures, and doing deeds at which men's minds revolt with horror. In the South of France this language was thoroughly understood. The lawyers, among William de whom William de Nogaret was conspicuous, ably Nogaret. assisted him ; indeed, his whole movement exhibited the extraordinary intelligence of his advisers. It has been affirmed, and is, perhaps, not untrue, that De Nogaret's father had been burnt by the Inquisition. The great lawyer was bent on revenge. The States-General, under his suggestions, entertained four propositions :

nctam.

1. That Boniface was not the true pope; 2. That the States he was a heretic; 3. That he was a simoniac; General.

4. That he was a man weighed down with crimes. De Nogaret, learning from the Colonnas how to touch the papacy in a vital point, demanded that the whole subject should be referred to a “General Council” to be summoned by the king. A second meeting of the States-General was held. William de Plaisian, the Lord of Vezenoble, appeared with charges against the pope. Out of a long list, many of which could not possibly be true, some may

na be mentioned : that Boniface neither believed in against the the immortality nor incorruptibility of the soul, pope. nor in a life to come, nor in the real presence in the Eucharist; that he did not observe the fasts of the Church - not even Lent; that he spoke of the cardinals, monks, and friars as hypocrites; that the Holy Land had been lost through his fault; that the subsidies for its relief had been embezzled by him; that his holy predecessor, Celestine, through his inhumanity had been brought to death; that he had said that fornication and other obscene practices are no sin; that he was a Sodomite, and had caused clerks to be murdered in his presence; that he had enriched himself by simony ; that his nephew's wife had borne him two illegitimate sons. These, with other still

AC

S

« AnteriorContinuar »