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the familiars of the Holy Office, or others in its interests, were by degrees to work upon him to extort confession as to himself or accusations against others. But this fearful tribunal did not fail to draw upon itself the indignation of men. Its victims, condemned for heresy, were perishing in all directions. The usual apparatus of death, the stake and faggots, had become unsuited to its wholesale and remorseless vengeance. The convicts were so numerous as to require pens made of stakes and filled with straw. It was thus that, before the Archbishop of Rheims and seventeen other prelates, one hundred and eighty- Burnings of three heretics, together with their pastor, were heretics. burned alive. Such outrages against humanity cannot be perpetrated without bringing in the end retribution. In other countries the rising indignation was exasperated by local causes; in England, for instance, by the continual intrusion of Italian ecclesiastics into the richest benefices. Some of them were mere boys; many were non-residents; some had not so much as seen the country from which they drew their ample wealth. The Archbishop of York was excommunicated, with torches and bells, because he would not bestow the abundant revenues of his Church on persons from beyond the Alps ; but for all this “he was blessed by the people.” The archbishopric of Canterbury was held, A.D. 1241, by Boniface of Savoy, to whom had been granted by the pope the first-fruits of all the benefices in his province. His rapacity was boundless. From all the ecclesiastics and ecclesiastical establishments under his control he extorted enormous sums. Some, who, like the Dean of St. Paul's, resisted him, were excommunicated; some, like the aged Sub-prior of St. Bartholomew's, were knocked down by his own hand. Of a military turn
-he often wore a cuirass under his robes—he joined his brother, the Archbishop of Lyons, who was besieging Turin, and wasted the revenues of his see in England in intrigues and petty military enterprises against his enemies in Italy.
Not among the laity alone was there indignation against such a state of things. Mutiny broke out in the y ranks of the Church. It was not that among ing in the the humbler classes the sentiment of piety had Church.
bicome diminished. The Shepherds, under the leadership of the Master of Hungary, passed by tens of thousands through France to excite the clergy to arouse for the rescue of good King Louis, in bondage among the Mussulmen. They asserted that they were commissioned by the Virgin, and were fed miraculously by the Master. Originating in Italy, the Flagellants also passed, two by The Sher
two, through every city, scourging themselves herds and for thirty-three days in memory of the years of
S. our Lord. These dismal enthusiasts emulated each other, and were rivals of the mendicant friars in their hatred of the clergy. The mendicants were beginning to justify that hesitation which Innocent displayed when he was first importuned to authorize them. The papacy had reaped from these orders much good; it was now to gather a fearful evil. They had come to be learned men instead of ferocious bigots. They were now, indeed, among the most cultivated men of their times. They had taken possession of many of the seats of learning. In the University of Paris, out of twelve chairs of theology, three only were occupied by the regular clergy. The mendicant friars
e mendi. had entered into the dangerous paths of heresy. cant friars are They became involved in that fermenting leaven
d. that had come from Spain, and among them revolt broke out.
With an unerring instinct, Rome traced the insurrection to its true source. We have only to look at the measures taken by the popes to understand their opinion. Thus Innocent III., A.D. 1215, regulated, by his legate, the
his schools of Paris, permitting the study of the Rome prohibits the study Dialectics of Aristotle, but forbidding his of science.
ce physical and metaphysical works and their commentaries. These had come through an Arabic channel. A rescript of Gregory XI., A.D. 1231, interdicts those on natural philosophy until they had been purified by the theologians of the Church. These regulations were confirmed by Clement IV. A.D. 1265.
CHAPTER III. THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE WEST-(Continued). OVERTHROW OF THE ITALIAN SYSTEM BY THE COMBINED INTELLECTUAL
AND MORAL ATTACK. Progress of Irreligion among the mendicant Orders.—Publication of heretical Books.—The Everlasting Gospel and the Comment on the
Apocalypse. Conflict between Philip the Fair and Boniface VIII.-Outrage upon
and death of the Pope. The French King removes the Papacy from Rome to Avignon.-Postmortem Trial of the Pope for Atheism and Immorality.-Causes and
Consequences of the Atheism of the Pope. The Templars fall into Infidelity. – Their Trial, Conviction, and
Punishment. Immoralities of the Papal Court at Avignon.-Its return to Rome.
Causes of the great Schism.—Disorganization of the Italian System.
The Council of Constance attempts to convert the papal Autocracy into a constitutional Monarchy.-It murders John Huss and Jerome of Prague.- Pontificate of Nicolas V.-End of the intellectual influence of the Italian System.
Itatiamificate of ville murder cert the pap
ABOUT the close of the twelfth century appeared among the mendicant friars that ominous work, which, “The Everlastunder the title of “The Everlasting Gospel,” ing Gospel.” struck terror into the Latin hierarchy. It was affirmed that an angel had brought it from heaven, engraven on copper plates, and had given it to a priest called Cyril, who delivered it to the Abbot Joachim. The abbot
Introduction had been dead about fifty years, when there to it by the was put forth, A.D. 1250, a true exposition of the General of the
Franciscans. tendency of his book, under the form of an introduction, by John of Parma, the general of the Fran. ciscans, as was universally suspected or alleged. Notwith standing its heresy, the work displayed an enlarged and masterly conception of the historical progress of humanity. In this introduction, John of Parma pointed out that the Abbot Joachim, who had not only performed a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but had been reverenced as a prophet, received as of unimpeachable orthodoxy, and canonized, had accepted as his fundamental position that Roman Christianity had done its work, and had now come to its inevitable termination. He proceeded to show that there are epochs or ages in the Divine government of the world ; that, during the Jewish dispensation, it had been under the immediate influence of God the Father; during the Christian dispensation, it had been under that of God the Son; and that the time had now arrived when it would be under the influence of God the Holy Ghost; that, in the coming ages, there would be no longer any need of faith, but that all things would be according to wisdom and reason. It was the ushering in of a new time. So spake, with needful obscurity, the Abbot Joachim, and so, more plainly, the General of the Franciscans in his Introduction. 6. The Everlasting Gospel” was declared by its adherents to have supplanted the New Testament, as that had supplanted the Old-these three books constituting a threefold revelation, answering to the Trinity of the Godhead. At once there was a cry from the whole hierarchy. The Pope, Attempts to
to Alexander IV., without delay, took measures destroy the for the destruction of the book. Whoever kept book.
or concealed a copy was excommunicated. But among the lower mendicants—the Spiritualists, as they were termed—the work was held in the most devout repute. With them it had taken the place of the Holy Scriptures. So far from being suppressed, it was followed, in about forty years, A.D. 1297, by the Comment on the The comment. Apocalypse, by John Peter Oliva, who, in Sicily, on the Apo- had accepted the three epochs or ages, and calypse divided the middle one—the Christian-into seven stages : the age of the Apostles; that of the Martyrs; that of Heresies; that of Hermits; that of the Monastic System ; that of the overthrow of Anti-Christ, and that of the coming Millennium. He agreed with his
predecessors in the impending abolition of Roman Christianity, stigmatized that Church as the purple harlot, and with them affirmed that the pope and all his hierarchy had become superfluous and obsolete — " their work was done, their doom sealed.” His zealous followers de
Spread of clared that the sacraments of the Church were
these docnow all useless, those administering them having
ecclesiastics. no longer any jurisdiction. The burning of thousands of these “ Fratricelli” by the Inquisition was altogether inadequate to suppress them. Eventually, when the Reformation occurred, they mingled among the followers of Luther.
To the internal and doctrinal troubles thus befalling the Church, material and foreign ones of the most vital importance were soon added. The true reason of
Approaching the difficulties into which the papacy was falling difficulties of was now coming conspicuously into light. It the ci was absolutely necessary that money should be drawn to Rome, and the sovereigns of the Western kingdoms, France and England, from which it had hitherto been largely obtained, were determined that it should be so no longer. They had equally urgent need themselves of all that could be extorted. In France, even by St. Louis, it was enacted that the papal power in the election of the clergy should be restrained ; and, complaining of the drain of money from the kingdom to Rome, he applied the effectual remedy of prohibiting any such assessments or taxations for the future.
We have now reached the pontificate of Boniface VIII., an epoch in the intellectual history of Europe. Under the title of Celestine V. a visionary hermit had been raised to the papacy_visionary, for Peter Morrone (such Peter Morrone was his name) had long been indulged in appari- becomes pope. tions of angels and the sounds of phantom bells in the air. Peter was escorted from his cell to his supreme position by admiring crowds; but it very soon became apparent that the life of an anchorite is not a preparation for the duties of a pope. The conclave of cardinals had elected him, not from any impression of his suitableness, but because they were evenly balanced in two parties, neither of which would give way. They were therefore