Joseph Priestley.

A general history of the Christian church, from the fall of the western empire to the present time (Volume 2) online

. (page 20 of 30)
Online LibraryJoseph PriestleyA general history of the Christian church, from the fall of the western empire to the present time (Volume 2) → online text (page 20 of 30)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

" and unheard of fubfidy, threateniug with cen-
" fures thofe who will not give it. Let us Hop
" the beginning of this evil, and not fuflPer fa
*' fhameful a fervitude to be eftablilhed."

When the kings of England were embarraflfed,
they often gave way ta the exorbitant claims of
the popes ; but this was not the cafe with Edward
I, or III. Clement Y I having given church liv-
infTs in England to two cardinals, Edward HI
imprifoncd their agents and drove them out of the
kingdom, v/ithout paying any rcg.ard to the pope's
remonftrances. And in a. d. 1390 the parliament
of England made a law forbidding any perfon to
go beyond fea to obtain any benefice, on pain of
being impnfoned as a rebel.* Pope Boniface

Y 4 waSr

* In the 26th of Edward III, the flatute dtprovisori
was paded, by which the king, and other lords, might
prefent to benefices of their own, or their anceftor's
foundation, and not the bilhjps of Rome. Neal, Vol.



was much diflurbed at this, as king Richard II
was a perfon he much depended upon ; and he
pubhfiied a bull dedaring the aft to be null, as
well as thofe of the two Edwards to the fame pur-
pofe, and ordering thofe who were in poffefTion of
benefices on the pretence of thofe ordinances to
quit them within two months with reflitution of
the fruits. No regard, however, was paid to this
bull, and the king ordered by proclamation that
all perfons polTeired of benefices, who were then at
the court of Rome, fhould return to England on
the pain of lofing them. Upon this the Englilh
prelates left the court of R.ome with great precipi-
tation, to the great alarm of the pope, who imm.e-
diately lent a nuncio to England ; and at the next


The flatute oi pramuni re, ipaKed in the IGth Richard
II, er.a6ledihat if any perfon purchafed a tranfiation
to a benefice, or any ether inflrun^ent from the court
of Rome, or brought them to England, or received
them there, they fiiould be out of the king's proteaion,
and forfeit their goods ond chattels. NeaL Vol, 1, p, 2.
From this time the archbilhops called no more convo-
cations by their fole authority, but by hcence from the
king, their fynods being formed by writ, or precept
from the crown, dire6led to the archbiliiops to affemblc
their clergy, in order to confult about fuch affairs as he
fliould lay before them. Still, however, their canons
were binding till the acl of the fubmilTion of the cler-
j&y in the reign of Henry Vlll. Il>>



parliament, tho' the king was difpofed to favour the
pope, the nobles oppoled it, but allowed of appli-
cations to Rome till their next meeting.

In A. D. 3376 there was a rifing of many of the
cities belonging to the pope againft his authority,
his ofBcers being driven out, and the people carry-
ing a ftandard, with the word h beriy \i]ion k. The
Florentines having taken the lead in this revolt,
Gregory XI pafled upon them a fentence of ex-
communication and interdiB. He alfo forbad all
perfons to have any commercial intercourfe with
them, deprived them cf all their privileges, and of
their univerhty, confifcated their goods, and aban-
doned their perfotis to any who would feize them,
as flaves. In confequence.of this, the Florentines
eftabiilhed at Avignon, where the pope then refi-
ded, and alfo in other places, were 6bliged to re-
turn home ; thofe who were in England became
ferfs to the king, and their property came into his
poiTeffion.Butat home the Florentines paid no regard
to the cenfure. They were even the more animat-
ed to maintain the league, and publiihed defama-
tory libels againft the chLtrch, and the perfonof the
pope, who then fent an army againft them under
the command of Sir John Plawkwood, but this
made no impreftion upon them. The Florentines,
however, fuffering much in ccnfequence of the
pope's measures, fent Catherine of Sienna, a nun in

Y 5 great


great reputation for fandity, and for hervifions, to
make peace with the pope ; but fhe not being fe-
conded by their own ambalTadors, nothing was
done. At length however, both parties being
weary of the conteft, another treaty was entered
into vvhen the death of Gregory put an end to it ;
and Urban VI, prefently after his eleftlon in a. d.
1378, took off all the cenfures from the people; of

In this period, which abounded with writers,
we find the power of the popes attacked in works
of fome extent, and celebrity. Dante Ah'ghieri,
the famous Italian poet, who was of the Gibelline
party, was ihefirfl who appeared in this new field
of controverfy, in three books de Monarchia. He
was followed by \Vm, Occam, the Francifcan, in a
treatife D& Poicjlate Ecclesiajlica, et feculart, writ-
ten in defence of Philip king of France agalnfl
Jjoniface VIII, and they were followed by feveral
others in different countries of Europe. But in
France the mofl flrenuous defender of the rights
of princes againfl the popes, was Peter de Cunie-
res, the king's attorney general in the parliament of
Autun. In confecjuence of thefe writings, and the
difcufTion which they occafioned, the temporal ju-
rifdi6lion of the clergy was much limited, efpeci-
ally in cafes of excommunication, of fins, and of
oaths; and \n Gtxm.2^\y iht pcntijical law, efpt-



daily that contained in the decretals, lofl, much of
its authority in the courts. Giannone, Vol. 2.
p. 226.

The diQance of pope John XXII from Italy,
and his difiFercnce with the emperor Lev/is, were
the caufes of great diforders in Ita!y, where the
cities were not only oppofcd to one another, but
engaged in open hoflilities and malTacres, and all
forts of crimes were committed. The rebels get-
ting the upperhand, the authority of the pope,
both fpiritual and temporal, was dcfpifed. At
Recanate his officers, lent to enforce his authority,
were attacked and killed, to the number of three
hundred. Of thofe who efcaped, forae were im-
prifoned, fome dragged thro' the llreets, and fome
hanged, &c. On this the pope excommunicated
them, and they defpifing this, he publifhed a cru-
fade againil them. At this time aimofl all the ci-
ties of Italy belonging to the fee of Rome were
pofTeffed by lords and ulurpers, and it was only by
fending armies that they were reduced. Amonor
others John de Vico, calling himfelf prefetl of
Rome, feized upon Viterbo, Tofcanella, and other
places in Tufcany ; and tho' excommunicated by
defcription by John XXII, as an ufurper of lands
belonging to the church, and by name by Cle-
ment VI, he defpifed the cenfures fix years, on
which he was declared to hefufpe^ed of here fy, and



^excommunicated again, as contumacious in matters
ofjaith. At length he was reduced by the warlike
cardinal Albornos.

The fovereignty of the city of Rome, we have,
feen, was long difputed with the popes. At the
accefTion of Clement VI the office oi fenator was
given him for his life, lut not as pope. But
a more fenous cppofition to his civil authority in
th?t city, tho' not avowedly fo, was made in the
time of this pope by Js^icolo di Rienxi, a great erl-
thiifiaft, as Petrarch and many others at this ti-rae
were, for the glyry ofantient Rome. In a. d. 1347
he got himfelf made tribune of the people, and aC
fuming the whole authority, reprefl'ed injullice and
violence, by which the citizens had long fufFered,
with great fpirit and efFecl;. He then proceeded
to affert the right of the Romriiis to the government
of the world, and the appointment of emperors, &c.
But abufing his power, he was expelled by the
people, and fled to the king of Hungary. By
him he was at length delivered to the emperor,
and fent a orifoner to Avionon, where he ccntt-
•nued all the life time of Clement VI. But as it
did not appear that he had done any thing againfl
the church, Innocent VI fenr him m a. n. 1353
with cardinal Albornos into Italy , thinking he might
be of ufe in aopeafing the troubles of that country,
efpecially at Rome, where he Was ftill in great



eftecm with many. Accordingly, finding Rome in
great diforder, and feveral attempts of the people
to leftore tranquility having failed, he tvas received
with joy, and reinftated in his former power ; but
again abuGng his pouter ia a (hocking manner, he
was murdered by the people in a. d. 1354.

It was chiefly the trouble that the citizens of
Rome gave to the popes, from a jealou fy of their
civil power, that induced them to leave it, and at
length to fix their rcfidetice at Avignon, " where
they continued more than half a century. Find-
ing, however, man)' inconveniencies from their re-
fidence out of Italy, and being much importuned
to return, Urban V in a. d, 1367 went to Italy
with a view to refide there. At Viterbo, where he
flayed four months, deputies from Rome offered
him the full fovereignty of the city, and the pof-
fcffion of the caftle of St. Angelo ; and he entered
Rome on the 16th of O^ober, which was fixiy-
three years alter Benedid XI left that city. His
entry was made with two thouiand armed men, the
clergy and the people receiving him ivith great fo-
Icmnity and joy. Being, however, diffatisfied
with their conduft, he left ihem, and returned to
Avignon. The people of Rome being determined
to have a pope who fhou'.d refide among them,
fent a deputation to his fucceflbr, Grcgoiy XI, to
recjuefl that he would come ; and it appearing that



they were determined upon the meafure, and had
even fixed upon anothor pope if he fhould refufe,
he thought proper to comply with their requeft,
notwithftanding the earnefl remonftrances of his
cardinals, and the king of France. The people of
Rome promifed him the intire fovereignty of their
city; and at the 17th of June a. d. 1377 he ar-
rived at Rome, where he was received with every
demonflration of joy. All the lamps of the church
of St. Peter were lighted on iheoccafion, and they ]
amounted to more than eight thoufand. Rome
has never been without a pope ever fince. After
this, however, two attempts were made to take the
fovereignty of Rome from Boniface IX, but with-
out effeft ; and the pepe afcribing them to the Co*
lonna family, in a. d. 1400 publifhed a violent
bull againft feme of them, repeating all their of*
fences from the time of Boniface VI IL

During the refidenceof the popes at Avignort,
they gained feveral fubftantial advantages with ref*
peft to revenue and territory alfo, tho' they loft
ground in Italy. In a. d. 1306, Clement V ap-
propriated to himfeif all the revenues of the firft
year of all benefices that Ihould be vacant in En-
gland in two years from that time, including bi-
fhoprics, abbeys, priories, prebends, and the fmall-
eft livings ; and this was the beginning oi Annatos.
Before this feme bilhops had requefted of the pope




the revenues of fuch churches as fhould be vacant
in their diocefes for one year, and he thought he
might take to hirnfelf what he had granted to others.

John XXII got much money by the tranfla-
tion of bifhops which had not been frequent before.
In confequence of this when one bifhop di^d many
were benefitted by it, and the pope did not fail to
come in for his (hare. Giannone, Vol 7. p. 229.

It appears by the letters of John XXII, that
in his time Peter's pence w^as paid not only in Eng-
land, but alfo thro' Wales, Ireland, Sweden, Nor-
way, Denmark, and Poland, tho* the origin of the
claim does not appear. But the mod important
acquifition that was made by the popes was that of
the jurifdiftion of Avignon, which was granted to
Clement VI for eighty thoufand florins of trold,
in A. D. 1348, by Joan queen of Naples, who fold
it becaufe (he wanted money. Afterwards the em-
peror, of whom it was held, confented to give him
the intire fovereignty of it.

On the accelTion of Benedid XI the conflitu-
tion of Gregory X was obferved for the fir ft time.
For the cardinals did not enter the conclave for
the ele6lion of a pope till after nine days. It had
been renewed by Ceiefline V, and confirmed by
Boniface VIII.




Of the Difference between Pope Boniface VII, with
Philip le Bel King of France, and, -with the Fami^
ly of Colonna.


E lliall form a more diRinft idea
both of the fpirit of the court of Rome, and alfo of
that which by this time began to prevail among the
laity, from the hiftory of the differences between
pope Boniface VIII with PhiUp le Eel king of
France, and the family of Colonna, which I fhall
therefore fuccinclly relate. Many of the clergy
alfo, who frequently fufFered from the encroach-
ments of the popes, were ready to take part againfl
them, and a fpirit ol free enquiry and difcuffion,
which now prevailed, could not but be unfavoura-
ble to claims fo exorbitant and ill founded as
thofe of the Roman pontiffs.

Boniface VIII, befides the violence of his tem-
per, was thought by many to have ufed unfair
means to procure the refignation of his predeceflTor
Celeftine, and therefore that his own ele6lion was
liable to objeftion ; and this circumftance, toge-
ther v/ith a prevailing opinion of his contempt of



religion, gave his enemies a confiderable advantage
again ft him. *

In the beginning of his pontificate Boniface
jiubhfhed a bull, forbidding the clergy to pay any-
thing by way of fubfidy to the temporal princes
without his exprefs confent. This, coi fideting
the great proportion ot the lands that were then
held by the clergy, and their great wealth, was
thought very unreafonable, thofe perfons who en-
joyed the moft in any ftate being under a natural
obligation to contribute the moft to its defence.
No regard, therefore, was paid to this bull, and
afterwards he limited it, as was mentioned before,
id forced exaflions, leaving the clergy to make
what voluntary contributions they ftiould think


* Great doubts were entertained of the Chrlftianity
of Boniface VIII. One Nicolas depofed, that he was
prefent at a converfation about the religions of the Jews,
Curiftians, and Mahometans, when Boniface faid they
were the invention of men, that there was no life befidcs
the prefent, that there is no change of the facramental
elements in confecration, that there is no refurre6lion;
and that this was not only his opinion, but that of all
men of letters, tho' the fimple and ignorant thought
otherwife. 1 his Nicolas declared to be faid by him.
notinjeft, but feri«u(ly, Fleury^ Vol, 9. p. 179.

YoL. IV. Z


Philip refenting this interference of the pope in
matters of civi) policy, in a. d. 1296 publifhed an
ordonance, forbidding any gold, lilver, or jewels
to be carried out of the kingdom, or any flrangers
to fr.iffick in it. The pope, knowing that this
wholly relpe6ied himfelf, and his agents, was ex-
ceediiigly offended, and remonflrated with the king
on the luhje6l, threatening him with ecclefiaflical
cenfures it he did not revoke his ordonance. This,
however, the king did not do ; but it was not the
immediate caufe of the rupture beween them.

About the fame time Boniface, having a dif-
ference with the two cardinals of the family of Co-
lonna, fummoned them to appear before him.
But they refufed to go; and went fo far as openly
to affert, that, the refignation of Celefline being
uncanonical, he was not rightful pope, and even
demanded a general council to deiermin'? the quef-
tion. A writmg expiefFing this, publifhed May
loth, A. D. 1297, ^^^ fjgned by many perfons,
efpecialiy the French ; and on the fame day the
pope pubhthed a bull of excommunication againfl
them, depoCng ihem from their cardinalfhip, and
ordering them once more to appear before him,
under the penalty of the confifcation of their goods.
They difregardipg this, he prcfent'y after ilfued
two other bulls againll them, and their near rela-
tions, elpecially James Colonna, furnamed Sciar-

SecH. the christian church, 555

ra, ordering them to be purfued as heretics.
They conne6ling themfelves with Frederic king of
Sicily, who was at open variance with the P'^pe,
and receiving his ambalTadors in the city of Pale-
Ilrina in a. d. 1298, tlie pope demolifhed their
palace, and the houfes they had in Rome ; and
moreover publifhed a crufade againfl them, with
the fame indulgences as for the war in the holy
land, in order to drive them from Paleftrina, and
the other places which they held in the neighbour-
hood of Rome.

An army being hy this means aflfembled, and
Nepi taken, the Colonna's furrendered to the pope,
and he took ofF the excommunication he had laid
them under ; but he entirely ruined and demolifhi
ed their caftle at Paleftrina. This being a viola-
tion of the terms on which they had furrendered,
they revolted at the end of the year, when the
pope refumed his excommunication ; and they^
dreadmg his power, fled, fome to Sic ly, and
others into France, where they lived in exile during
all the pontificate of Boniface, and where they were
materially ferviceable to Philip in the rupture,
whicK on the following occafion, foon took place
between him and the pope.

In A. D. 1301 Bernard de SailTet bifliop of Pa-
miers, having endeavoured to perfuade the count
de Foix, and the count de Comminges, to revolt

^ 2 from



from ihe king, and having faid that his city of Pa-
miers did not belong to the kingdom, the king,
with the advice of his lords, and alfo of many,
d .6lors. both clergy and laity, caufed him to be
arrpfted and committed him as a prifoner to the
archbifliop of Narbonne his metropolitan, with
the conlentofthe bifhop of Senlis, and the arch-
bifhop of Rheims. At the fame time the king fent
to the popCj to requeft that he would degrade him,
that he might be punifhed as any other perfon
guilty of the fame crime.

In tMe mean time the pope, having heard of
the iranlattion, wrote to the king, infilling on the
bifhop bcmg fet at libeity, and having his goods,
and thofe of his church, rtflored to him, and that
he m^ght with all freed, m come to Rome to be
judged there. He alio ordered (he archbifhop of
Narbonne to release ihe bifhop, notwithflanding
the kind's orders to the contrary. At the fame
time he addreffed another bull to the king himfelf,
in which he fays, '■ God has fet us over kings and
*« kingdoms, to pull up and to deflroy, to build
ard to plant. Do not therefore, perfuade your-
feifth^it ycu have no fuperior, and that you are
~ *' nni iuijeft to the head of the ecclefiaflif^al hier-
*' archy. He who thinks fo is mad. and he w^ho
" maintains it i'lrf|;nately is an infidel, feparated
*' from the- flock of the good paftor," Then, after





enumerating the mifdemeanors of the king with re-
fpe6l to the clergy, and the kingdom in general,
he fummoned the prelates of France, and the
himelf, to appear before him on the fijft of No-

The king, highly provoked at this, aflembled
the principal lords of the kingdom, ecciefiaflical
2nd fecular; and on the nth of February a. d,
1302, after pubhlhmg it by found ot trump- 1
thro' the city, he pubticly burned the bull. Then,
in a parliament held at Paris, he enumerated all
the exaflions and abufes of the court ot Rome,
which he faid were increafing every day, and iaid
that he was determmed to put a ftop to them. 1 he
Barons, having deliberated on the funjctl, de-
clared that they were determined to bear thefe im-
poiitions no longer, even tho' the king fhould be
willing to do it. But the clergy were much em-
barraffed, profelling allegiance to the kmg tor the
fiefs they held of him, but requefted leave to at-
tend the pope, on account of the obedience they
likewife owed to him. This, however, the barons
declared they would bv no means permit.

On this they wrote to the pope, earnellly in^
treating that he would revoke his order ; fince, if
they left the kingdom, all the barons would con-
fider them as guilty of high treafon, and as to ec-
clefiaftical cenfures, they defpifed them. The ba-

' Zi 3 ron&



rons alfo wrote to the cardinals, appealing to them
againft the pope, and exhorting them to prevent a
r. pture between the holy fee and the kingdom of
Fiance ; perfuaded, they faid, after enumerating
the encroachments of the pope on the rights of the
king, that they could not approve of fuch novel-
ties, and fuch a fuolifti undertaking. The cardi-
nals in their anfwer apologized for the pope, as
roc having meant to claim any thing to the pre-
jr.r'ice of the kiag's rights in things ol a temporal

'i ho' no prelates attended from France, the
pope held the coui cil to which he had fummoned
ihem, OQober 30^1, a. d. 1302, when he pub-
lifhed a bull, in which he maintained that, in the
church there are two /words, the one fpiritual, em-*
ployed by the pope, and the other temporal, in
the hands of princes, according to the order or
permifhon of the pope; and that to hold a con-
trary do6lrine w?s Manicheifm, or that of txvo
principles. He concluded with faying, that it
was neceffary to falvation, that every human being
be fubjeft to the pope. On the fame day he pub-
lifhed an excommunication againft all thofe who
bad hindered any perfon from going to Rome, tho*
they fnouid be kings or emperors, which was evi-
dently levelled at the king of France, for prevent-
ing his prelates attending that council.




The pope then fent a nuncio into France, re-
quiring of the king, among other things, to jullify
his condu6t in burnin- his bull, under (he penalty
of revokuig all the privileges granted by hiniielf
or his predeceffors to him, his hnnilv, or his offi-
cers ; and informing him that, if he did not give
him fafisfaftion with refpeft to his complaint, he
would proceed againfl: him temporally and fpirit-
ually, as he fhould judge proper. The king an-
fvvered particularly, and without afperity, to every
article of his complamts ; declaring that he had
no intention to do any thing in contempt of the
pope, or of the church ; but the pope was by no
means fatisfied with it.

After this, the king held a council at Paris, at-
terlded by many prelates, as well as lords ; when
William de Nogarct, a profelTorof law, maintained
that Boniface was unjuftly poiTefled of theholy fee;
that he was a manifefl heretic, a fimoniac, and guilty
of numberlefs enormous crimes; and that lie could not
be tolera'jed but with the deftru61ion of the church.
He then demanded a general council for the pur-
pofe of depiiling him, and faid that, in the mean
time, he ought to be ieized and imprifoned. Laft-
ly, addreffing himfelf to the king, he faid, " You,
*' Sire, are bound to do this for the maintenance
*' of the faith, efpecially as a king whofe duty it
*' is to exterminate ail the wicked, by the oath

Z 4 «« that*


" that you have taken to proteQ: the churches o!
** your kingdom, and by the example of your an-
" ceftois, which obliges you to deliver the Roman
*' church from oppreflion."

The Pope perceiving that the difference muft
now be deci led by arms, in order to ftrengthen
himfelf againft Philip, declared his approbation of
the eledion of Albert of Auftria to the empire,
tho' he had oppofed him before,' treating him as
a rebel, and a murderer of Adolphus. But be-
fore he d(d this Albert acknowledged the power
of the pope ta create an emperor, that kings and
emperors receive from the pope the power of the
mateiial fword, and promifed to defend the rights
of the pope againll all his enemies, and to make
fio alliance with them, but to make war on them
if the pope fhould order him to do fo. The pope
alfo gained Frederic king of Sicily by abfolving
him from the excommunication he lay under, tak-
ing off the interdift from his kingdom, and ap-
proving his marriage; Frederic acknowledging
that he held the kingdom of Sicily as vaffal to the
pope, and promifing to pay him every year three
thoufand ounces of gold. He was alfo to fend hi-m
an hundred knights well armed, to ferve for three
months, as often as the pope fhould have occalion
for them, and to have for friends and enemies thofe

of the church of Rome.


brmKi^BR 'UU[;2


Online LibraryJoseph PriestleyA general history of the Christian church, from the fall of the western empire to the present time (Volume 2) → online text (page 20 of 30)