Thursday, 27 December 2012

Becket's Two Swords Sermon

Roger de Potigny 
[Edwardus Grim; Alanus Tewkesberiensis abbas; Parisiensis Anonymus; decanus Salisburiensis Johannes (1845). J. A. Giles. ed. Vita S. Thomae (etc.). Parker. pp. 112-3.]

Circa Late July 1163

Contigit eo tempore in quodam celebri conventu ut Thomas ad clerum et populum rege praesente sermonem faceret: fuitque ei sermo de regno Dei Christi quod est ecclesia el de regno temporali: deque coronis eorumdem regnorum sacerdo tali videlicet et regali: simul etiam de gladio spiritual et materiali. Cumque sub hac occasione de potestate ecclesiastica et saeculari multa mirabiliter disseruissit, erat enim facundissimus rex ejus verba per singula notabat, intelligeusque quod dignitatem ecclesiasticam cuilibet excelleutiae seculari longe immensum praeferret, non aequo animo accepit. Sensit namque ex verbis illius quantum ab opinione sua archiepiscopus abesset: cum ecclesiam nihil prosus habere  vel posse nisi quantum ipse ei indulgeret, persuasum haberet. Exhinc jam quae in corde regis latuerant qualiter in apertum prodierint, qualiter etiam venerandus antistes pro domo Domini se murum opposuerit: quantave constantia regio furori se pro tuendo ecclesiasticae libertatis jure objecerit consequenter dicendum est. Tyranni namque, qui regnum obtinuerant, jura ecclesiastica annihilaverant penitus: quorum adhaerens vestigiis rex iste Henricus totius ecclesiastica dispositionis et ordinationis summam sibi usurpaverat, nam et episcopatus el abbatias quibus volebat conferebat jamque ipso praecipiente et constituente, sicut populus sic sacerdotes et clerici indifferenter ad saecularia judicia trahebantur.

It so happened, at that time, that at a well-known gathering, Thomas preached a sermon in front of the clergy and people at which the king was present. And the sermon was about the kingdom of Christ the Lord, and the difference between the church and temporal kingdoms:  and about the crowns of these same kingdoms, about one being the sacred and and the other royal. likening the one to a spiritual sword and the other to a material one. When on this occasion after he had admirably discoursed the various secular and ecclesiastical kingdoms using eloquent words, which King noted in detail, the king clearly sensed that he [Becket] vastly and immensely preferred the ecclesiastic dignity above the excellence of anything secular:  at this the king was not won over with equal mind. He felt, indeed, at hearing the Archbishop's words there was a great distance between them in their opinions, with the church to have nothing or to be able to do nothing except in so far as he himself indulged it or persuaded it.

From this it was seen how matters which were in the king's heart and which had hitherto lain hidden, and how now they came out into the open, and how too the venerable bishop, on behalf of the house of Lord, had placed himself on the opposite side of a wall. And how with great determination he has rightfully opposed the fury of the king in defence of the liberty of the church about which consequently he must speak out . Tyrants, thus indeed whenever they obtain the kingdom, thoroughly destroy the church's lawful rights: and this same King Henry, who by following in their footsteps, the whole of the church's organisations and appointments he has usurped the lot unto himself, indeed by conferring both bishoprics and abbacies upon whomsoever he wished, and, by command and decree,  priests and clerics, were to be indiscriminantly dragged before secular judges, as if they were just ordinary people.

Luke 22:38 KJVAnd they said , Lord, behold , here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.


Michael Staunton (7 December 2001). The Lives of Thomas Becket. Manchester University Press. pp. 75–. ISBN 978-0-7190-5455-6.

Guy, John (5 April 2012). Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel, Victim: A 900-Year-Old Story Retold. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 246–. ISBN 978-0-14-193328-3.

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