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ment was to be left to a General Council to meet at Vienne in
the autumn, 1310, but which, owing to the length of the trial,
was delayed until the autumn of the ensuing year. Even then
the issues were not quite clear. By far the greater number of
the assembled Fathers were of opinion that, considering the
nature of the imputations hitherto gleaned, the Order should
be heard on its own behalf, and that to condemn it unheard,
as heretical, would involve a crime against God, and an act of
injustice. Only a small minority, consisting mostly of French-
men, was in favour of summary judgment, but this minority,
backed as it was by the personal presence of Philip the Fine,
who insisted on the immediate removal of the Order, succeeded
in gaining the day. The result was that the Order was, not
indeed by a definitive judgment {per modum defmitivae senten-
tiae), but by a special Apostolical ordinance {per modum
Provisionis seu ordinationis apostolicae) , abolished (spring, 1312),
its properties being made over to the Knights of St. John,
save only those situate in the Spanish peninsula which the Pope
reserved to himself in view of an object of his own. In the
Bull publishing this decree {Vox in excelso), among the reasons
alleged for dissolving the Order were the following : that the
Templars had fallen into disrepute on account of their alleged
heresies, that they were an object of scandal to sovereigns
and bishops, and that, owing to the conquest of the Holy Land,
they could no longer fulfil the task for which they existed. In
the discourse with which the Pope introduced his Bull before
publishing it, Clement alleged a further, and much more telling
reason, viz. : Ne scandalizetur rex Franciae. Without a doubt
Philip IV was the moving power behind these measures,



The Knights Templar 51

making his influence felt even after the dissolution. The
decision as to what was to be done with the dignitaries of the
Order, a decision which by right belonged to the Pope, was
usurped by the king. The court to whom they were handed
condemned them to be imprisoned for life ; two of them, one
being the grand-master Jacques de Molay, ended their lives
in the flames for having refused to repeat the confessions
which had been previously wrung from them (1314). During
the actual trial hundreds of the Knights had already been
burnt as backsliders (as many as fifty-four perishing together
at Paris), or had died under torture or in the dungeon.
There is now very little doubt as to the true motives of all
this cruelty, yet, at the time, people were not wanting who
really believed the charges to be well-founded. 1

II. The goods of the Templars did not devolve in their
entirety on the Knights of St. John,^ much of their property
being seized by the sovereigns. In the Spanish peninsula
where the Order had been exonerated by the Council of Tarra-
gona (1312), their possessions were bestowed on the local
Orders of Knights, or used to found new Orders, such as the
Order of Christ in Portugal. The papal decision, nevertheless,
was greatly to the advantage of the Knights of St. John, and
with the new means at their disposal, they soon earned new
laurels in the struggle with the infidel. During this period
(1310-1522), the headquarters of the Order were at Rhodes.
On the capture of the island by sultan Sohman II, Malta,
together with the islands of Gozo and Comino, was made
over to them by Charles V (1530). Hence the name of Knights
of Malta by which they were sometimes known. When
Malta came into the possession of France (1798), and then
into that of England (1814), the Knights had already lost
all their power and, as a result of the political changes which
followed the French Revolution, they soon dwindled away
to nothing. The remaining Orders of Knighthood at about
the same time were transformed into mere orders of merit.

' H. Prutz, Geheimlehre u. Geheimstatnten des Tempelherrenordens, 1879;
Entwicklung u. Untergang d. T. 1888 ; Jungmann, Diss. 31 ; Z. f. k. Th.
1881.

- Reumont, Die letzten Zeiten des JO. 1844 I Doublet, Mem. hist,
sur I' invasion et V occupation de Malte par une armee franfaise en 1798,
1883.

E 2



52 A Manual of Church History



C. New Orders and Congregations

The most noteworthy of the religious societies which
sprang into being during this period were :

I. The congregation of the Brethren of the Common
Life, or of the Knights-brothers.^ Their founder was Gerard
Groot of Deventer (1340-84). Having, after his conversion,
resolved to devote himself to the preaching of penance, he
gathered around him at his house a few scholars and young
clerics whom he engaged in the transcribing of manuscripts.
His disciple Florentius Radewin, with his consent, formed
these young men into a community. New houses soon
sprung up, and the society began to win fame for the instruc-
tion it imparted to studious youth. Groot, by assigning a
part of his house as an asylum for virgins and widows, also
laid the foundation of a society of Sisters of the Common
Life. The foundation, owing to its possessing a monastic
form, though without the customary binding vows, was
vehemently assailed by the Mendicants. To give his estab-
lishments a rallying point, Groot conceived the idea of erecting
a monastery, or rather a chapter, regulated by the rule of
St. Augustine. His plan was reahsed after his death by the
house at Windesheim (1386), which became the nucleus of
a very considerable society. In Germany the institution
owed its success mainly to Johann Busch.

II. The Minims, or fratres minimi, founded by Francis
of Paula, and approved by Rome in 1474, were commonly
known in France as Bons hommes, and in Spain as Fathers
of the Victory ; they were, when at their best, in possession
of some 450 houses.

III. The Olivetans, or congregation of our Lady of Mount
Olivet, came into existence through the foundation of a monastery
on Monte Oliveto in the neighbourhood of Siena by Giovanni
Tolomei (Bg. by Marechaux, 1888). The congregation was
chiefly confined to Italy and Sicily.

IV. The Jesuats were founded for nursing the sick and the care
of the poor by Giovanni Colombino of Siena in the latter half of
the fourteenth century, and approved by Urban V in 1364. Bg.

1 K. Grube, G. Groot u. s. Stiftungen, 1882 ; /. Busch, 1881 ; Bonet
Maury, G. de Groot d'apr^s des documents inedits, 1878.



Secular Priests and Mendicants 53

of Colombino by Rambuteau. 1892 ; L'UniversUe, 1895, XX,
66-87.

V. The Alexian Brothers, also known as Cellites, or Lollards
(men of prayer), a congregation of lay-brothers devoted to the care
of the sick and the burial of the dead, came into existence in the
Netherlands at about the same time, owing to the prevalence of
the Black Death, and were granted the rule of St. Augustine by
Sixtus IV. Cp. KL. T, 532.

VI. The Jeronymites, or hermits of St. Jerome, four congrega
tions which originated in the fourteenth century in Spain and Italy,
and soon spread to other countries. Of these the oldest and most
important grew out of the union of some tertiaries of St. Francis
formed by Peter Ferdinand Pecha, a chamberlain to Peter the
Cruel (1370-73)-

VII. The Bridgittines originated at a monastery erected by
St. Bridget of Sweden at Vadstena in 1363. They were widespread
in the North, and were sometimes known as the Order of the
Saviour, owing to the belief that their foundress had received the
rule in a vision from our Lord Himself. In its constitution the
Order resembled that of Fontevraud, having double monasteries,
and the administration of the whole settlement being in the hands
of the abbess. Mg. on St. Bridget by Clarus, 1856 ; Hammerich-
MiCHELSEN, 1872 ; B. RiNGSEis, 1890 ,* G. Binder, 1891 ;
Flavigny, 1892 ; T. Hojer, Studier i Vadstena Klosters och Birgit-
tenordens liistoria 1905 (down to 1350).



§149

The Parish Clergy and the Mendicants*

The share in the parish work taken by the Religious Orders,
particularly by the Mendicants, had aroused considerable
discontent even in the previous period. Complaints were made
of various encroachments, it being urged that the Friars
took on themselves nearly the whole of the work of the parish,
granted excessive indulgences, used their rights to the dis-
advantage of episcopal jurisdiction, &c. The power, which
had been granted them by Clement IV and Martin IV, to
preach and hear confessions, even without the permission of
the parish priest, provided they had leave of the bishop,
was of a nature to lead to conflict. Instead of acting as

' EuBEL, Gesch. der oberrheinischen Minoritenprovinz, 1886 ; R. Qu.
1895, PP- 393-405 ; C. Paulus, Welt und Ordensklerus beim Ausgange des 13
Jahrh. im Kampfe um die P/arrrechte, 1901,



54 ^ Manual of Church History

assistants to the parish clergy, the Mendicants soon became
their rivals, and their competition was all the more annoying
in that it affected the income of the parishes.^ The complaints
induced Boniface VIII to place certain restrictions on the
activity of the Franciscans and Dominicans ; they were to
preach in parish churches only by leave of the parish priest,
nor were they to preach even elsewhere whilst service was
in progress at the church ; in order to hear confessions they
were first to obtain the bishop's permission, or rather that
of the Pope ; interments were indeed to be allowed in their
churches, but of the fees and legacies, a fourth was to be
given to the clergy of the parish.^ These ordinances which,
in the meantime, had been recalled by Benedict XI, were
re-enacted by Clement V at the Council of Vienne.^ Neither
the seculars nor the regulars were, however, satisfied with
this settlement. Either side sought to increase its own
rights at the other's expense. The discontent of the parish
clergy increased, when, as soon was the case, the other Mendi-
cants, i.e. the Augustinians and Carmelites, were granted
the same rights as the Friars Minor and Friars Preachers.
Some of the Franciscans, to entice the simple, even spread
abroad superstitious notions as to the value of their habit to
those at the point of death.^' Hence the quarrel proceeded
apace, the Holy See being frequently compelled to intervene.
Sixtus IV in 1478 undertook to define more clearly the rights
and duties of either party, but having himself been a Franciscan
he proved too favourable to the Mendicants, dispensing them
from the Quarta funeralium, and even giving them the power
to absolve from sins reserved by the bishop. The only result
of the measure was to increase the discontent of the seculars.
Ultimately at the Fifth Lateran Council, Leo X again reduced
the rights of the regulars (1516).

1 Hefele, VI, 130, 241, 256.

^ C. 2, Extrav. comm. de sepult. 3, 6.

^ Ibid. c. I de privil. 5, 7.

■* Cp. Hefele, VI, 982 ; VII, 582.



CHAPTER IV

ECCLESIASTICAL LITERATURE

§150

Scholasticism i

Two men, both of them Franciscans and natives of England,
exercised a far-reaching influence on the learning of the period.
Of these one was John Duns Scotus, who taught at Oxford
and at Paris, and died in the same year in which he was sum-
moned to Cologne (1308) .^ As his title of Doctor subtilts
denotes, he was remarkable for his subtlety. He succeeded
in establishing a new school distinct from that of the Thomists,
nor was it long before his doctrines were embraced throughout
his Order. There were now in existence two schools between
which the main points of difference concerned the doctrine
of Justification and the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed
Virgin, a question which had been debated even :n the previous
period. With regard to the former matter, whereas the
Thomists generally followed St. Augustine, the Scotists
preferred to lay greater stress on the human factor ; with
regard to the latter, the Immaculate Conception was denied
by Thomas Aquinas and asserted by Scotus. ^ The latter
matter gave rise to frequent and violent disputes ; Sixtus
IV was compelled (1483) to forbid the use of the epithet of
heretic by the contending parties ; even at the beginning

' K. Werner, Die Scholastik des spdteren MA. 4 vol. 1881-87.

" Opp. ed. Wadding, 12 fol. 1639 ; ed. nova 26 torn. 1891 flf, R. See-
berg, Theologie des Duns Scotus, 1900 ; Tk. Qu. 1902, pp. 259-79 (for his
Theology) ; Z.f. k. Th. 1906, pp. 454-69 (for his views respecting the Immacu-
late Conception) .

^ Rad\, Controversiae inter S. Thomam et Scotum, 1599 ; W. Tobbe, Die
Stellting des hi. Thomas zur unbtfleckten Emp/dngnis der Gottesmutter, 1892 ;
Th. Qu. 1S79, pp. 355-401.



56 A Manual of Church History

of the sixteenth century the spite engendered by the question
was responsible for the execution of four of the Friars at
the Dominican monastery at Bern.^

The second great Franciscan was Scotus's disciple William
Occam, called after his birthplace, the village of Ockham in
Surrey, who undertook the defence of Lewis of Bavaria in
his conflict with the papacy, and was variously known as
Doctor invincihilis, and Venerahilis inceptor (f c. 1347). It
has been usual to define the latter title by adding the word
Nominalium, for whereas previously Realism had been the
prevalent theory, through Occam's efforts, Nominalism now came
to the fore. As a matter of fact, however, using the expressions
brought into currency by the new logic which had been taught
at Paris since the middle of the thirteenth century, and of
which the classical handbook was the Parva logicalia of Peter
the Spaniard (better known as John XXI), Occam described
general ideas, not as nomina, but as termini which take the
place (supponere) in our minds of the things which they denote,
or as signs {signa) of an unknown reality. Only in the fifteenth
century, for the purposes of discrediting it as heretical, was
the new system styled Nominalism.- All the same, it had all
along been opposed to Realism.

Scholasticism had, moreover, but little inventive power left.
As the numerous universities which sprang up during the
fourteenth and fifteenth century show, minds were not at a
standstill, but in spite of this the amount of useful work
forthcoming was very small. After scholasticism had reached
its prime with Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus, teachers came
to confine their efforts to the propagation and defence of the
doctrines of one or other of these masters. What they added
mostly consisted of subtle distinctions not seldom devoid oi
any meaning. This is no matter for surprise. Without a
fuller and more exact knowledge of history further real progress
was not possible ; only towards the end of the period was the
way cleared, by the awakening of historical criticism in the
fifteenth century.

* N. Paulus, Ein JusHzmord an vier Dominikanern, 1897 ; ^- Steck, Der
Berner Jetzerprozess, 1902 ; Die Akten des Jetzerprozesses, 1904.

" Cp. E. Hermelink, Die thcol. Fakultat in Tiihingen vor der Reformation
(1477-1534), 1906, pp. 96 ff., 139 a.



Mysticism 57

Apart from the church reformers, who will be dealt with in § 158,
other well-known exponents of learning were :

(i) Durandus of St. Pour^ain {Doctor resolutissimus) , a. Domini-
can professor at Paris, and later on (1326-34) bishop of Meaux.
His great work was a commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard.

{2) Thomas Bradwardine {Doctor profundus), professor at
Oxford, and finally archbishop of Canterbury, though he died
the very year of his appointment. He was a strict Augustinian.

(3) Gabriel Biel, professor at Tiibingen, and the last senten-
tiary of the Middle Ages (f 1495). Th. Qu. 1865 ; KL. II, 804 ff.

Finally, mention must be made of two men, who, though the\'
both struck a new path, remained on the whole within the sphere
of scholasticism. One was the Spaniard Raymond of Sabunde, a
Toulouse professor (f c. 1450), who, in his Liher creaturarum, sought
to demonstrate the doctrines of Christianity by an appeal to reason
and to Nature, and thus became the founder of Natural Theology
(M. HuTTLER, Die Rcligionsphil. d. R. v. S. 1851 ; Z. f. hist. Th.
1859). The other was Nicholas of Cusa, dean of the collegiate
church of St. Florin at Coblence, a zealous member of the Council
of Basel, later on a follower of Eugene IV, and ultimately cardinal
and bishop of Brixen (11464). Equally conspicuous by the extent
and the depth of his learning, he set himself the task of constructing
a system which should bring controversy to an end. He laid great
stress on the limits of human knowledge, and upheld the view that
the essence of things is beyond the power of our understanding ;
hence the title of his principal work : De docta ignorantia. Mg.
by ScHARPFF, 1843 ; Diix, 2 vol. 1847 > Ubinger, 1888 ; KL. IX,
306-15.



§151

The Mystics 1

Whilst scholasticism had already entered on its period of
decay, mysticism w^as bearing its choicest fruit, more especially
in Germany, and among the Dominicans. The greatest mystics
of the time were :

I. Master Eckhart,- who ultimately settled at Cologne
(t 1327). To some extent his speculation w^ent astray into the
maze of pantheism, though this would not seem to have been
intentional. Subsequently to his death, twenty-eight of his

' Pfeiffer, Deutsche Mystiker des 14 Jahrh. 2 vol. 1845-57 ; Greith,
Die deutsche M. im Predigerorden, 1861 ; Preger, Gesch. der d. M. im MA.
3 vol. 1874-92 ; R. Langenberg, Quellen u. Forsclmngen zur Gesch. d. d. M.
1902.

- A. Pummerer, Der gegenwdrtige Stand der Eckhart-Forschiing, 1903,



58 A Manual of Church History

theses were condemned by John XXII (1329), seventeen as
heretical and the remainder as erroneous and savouring of
heresy.

II. John Tauler^ of Strasburg (1290-1361), a preacher of
great power.

III. Henry Sense ^ (or Suso), surnamed Amandus (1295-
1366), who seems to have been born at Constance (not at
Uberhngen), certainly lived as a Dominican at that town, and
died at Ulm. Of all the German mystics he was the sweetest
and most attractive.

IV. Jan van Ruysbroek,^ prior of the canons regular at
Groenendael near Brussels (ti38i), who, owing to the pro-
fundity of his utterances, was known in his own circle as the
' spokesman of the Holy Ghost.'

V. The unknown author of a German Theology ''" was an
inmate of the house of the German knights at Frankfort at
the end of the fourteenth or beginning of the fifteenth century.

VI. John Gerson,5 professor and chancellor of the
University of Paris (f 1429), who, while not depriving mysticism
of a certain speculative element, nevertheless gave it a pre-
ponderantly practical or ethical character.

VII. Thomas a Kempis,^ a canon at Agnetenberg near
Zwolle (ti47i), the writer of many mystical works, among
which must be reckoned the Imitation of Christ, a book which
stands in a category apart, and than which few have found
more readers. The authorship of the work has been the sub-
ject of much controversy, some having assigned it, though
without reason, to Gerson, whilst others still more unfoundedly
had ascribed it to a certain Benedictine abbot John Gersen
at Vercelli, a personage of whom history knows nothing, and
who was probably only Gerson's shadow.

The spirit which animated these men soon spread to others.
The evils of the time, the political unrest in Germany, and the

i.Mg. by K. Schmidt, 1841.

- Ed. K. BiHLMEYER, I907.

* Mg. by Auger, 1892 ; Otterloo, 1896.

■* Ed. in German F. Pfeiffer, 4th ed. 1900 ; A. Heglkr, Sebastian
Francks lat. Paraphrase der deutschen Theologie, 1901.

^ Mg. by Schwab, 1858 ; Masson, 1S94.




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