Friday, 28 December 2012

Council of Westminster

When King Henry II dared to revive within himself the spirit of William Rufus, he found himself confronted with Anselm, resurrected in the person of Thomas.

  

SUMMA CAUSAE INTER REGEM ET THOMAM.

De prima manifestae inter dominum Cantuariensem et dominum regem discordia causa.

Henricus, nobilis rex Anglorum, dux Normaniae et Aquitaniae et comes Andegavise, venit Londoniam calendis Octob. anno verbi incarnati MCLXIII, et archiepiscopus Cantuariensis Thomas et Eboracensis Rogerius et omnes episcopi Angliae. Sola autem et summa causa concilii fuit, ut metropolitanus Cantuariensis totius Anglise primas esse solemniter monstraretur; cui solus in hoc Eboracensis obviavit : quum ecce praeter spem omnium, rex Anglorum quaedam satis dura proponere coepit.

Primo enim conquestus est de archidiaconorum violentia, quod aliorum delicta in sua verterent lucra, quod peccatorum pretia exigant, et de his suos supra modum luxus exerceant, cum tamen peccantibus debitam correctionem non impendant : dixitque se velle, ne archidiaconi quemquam quantumcumque infamem super aliquo crimine conveniant, praeter officialis sui conscientiam. Moxque ad aliud sermonem vertens, Cogito, inquit, cogitationes pacis, moveorque multum pro bono pacis, quae in regno meo clericorum malitia perturbatur, qui rapinas et furta perpetrant, et homicidia plerumque. Peto igitur et volo, ut tuo, domine Cantuariensis, et coepiscoporum tuorum consensu clerici in maleficiis deprehensi vel convicti vel confessi exauctorentur illico, et mox curise mex lictoribus tradantur, ut omni defensione ecclesiae destituti, corporaliter puniantur. Volo etiam et peto, ut in illa exauctoratione, de meis officialibus aliquem interesse consentiatis, ut exauctoratum clericum mox comprehendat, ne qua ei fiat copia corporalem vindictam effugiendi.

Ad haec, dominus Cantuariensis, cum super petitionis hujus responso nec usque mane impetrare posset inducias, secessit in partem cum episcopis suis. Moxque hinc inde allegatum est : episcopi dicebant secundum leges seculi clericos exauctoratos curiae tradendos, et post poenam spiritualem, corporaliter puniendos : quoniam quo digniores sunt ex privilegio, eo deteriores judicantur in delicto ; et quo deteriores in delicto, eo graviori sunt afficiendi supplicio. Non ergo mirum, inquiunt, si privatiouem ordinis sequatur supplicium corporis. Id ipsum etiam non solum legibus, sed etiam autheuticis probabant exemplis ; Levitas veteris testamenti proponentes in medium, quos reos forte flagitii lege prohibiti, sequebatur mors corporis; vel juxta similitudinem criminis, multatio in membris.

Dominus vero Cantuariensis sacris canonibus consentiens, in contrarium allegabat, asserens omnino injustum fore, et contra canones, et contra Deum, si ob unius punitionem delicti, duo quis subeat judicia. Nec enim Deus judicat bis in id ipsum. Quod enim, inquit, judicat ecclesia, aut justum est aut injustum : sed non dabis injustum, erit ergo justum. Quod, cum non contineat absolutionem, continet damnationem. Si ergo damnatur reus, quum exauctoratur, non debet aliud judicium inchoari ad ejusdem condemnationem peccati. Ad hsec quoque cavendum est, inquit, nobis, ne nostro consensu opprimatur et pereat libertas ecclesise : pro qua, exemplo summi sacerdotis nostri, ex officio tenemur usque ad mortem certare. Nondum autem usque ad mortem restitistis.

Ad haec episcopi pereuntem ecclesiae libertatem nullum periculum afferre ecclesiae dicebant : sed aiunt, Potius nunc expedit, ut pereat, ne toti pereamus. Faciamus ergo quod rex petit; alioquin peri- bit fuga a nobis, et non erit, qui requirat animas nostras. Regi vero consentientes, haereditate possidebimus sanctuarium Dei, et in possessionibus ecclesiarum nostrarum securi dormiemus. Malitiae etiam temporis hujus multa indulgenda sunt. [Hoc enim dictum est propter schisma, quod tunc fuit in Romana ecclesia : erat namque apud Alemanniam qui- dam antipapa.] Haec dicebant episcopi, tanquam diei malitia sua non sufficiat, nisi et ipsa augeatur per malitiam episcoporum. Ad hsec dominus Cantuariensis zelo domus Dei succensus : Video, inquit, vos vestras inertias sub specie sustinentise consolari, et dispensationis vestrae praetextu, sponsae Christi libertatem suffocari. Et quis vos fascinavit, O insensati pontifices? Quid prudenti vocabulo dispensationis manifestam iniquitatem vestram contegitis? Quid vocatis dispensationem, totius ecclesiae Christi dispendium? Rebus vocabula serviant; non cum rebus pervertantur vocabula. Quod autem dicitis, malitise temporis multa fore indulgenda ; assentior certe : sed non ob id pec- cata accumulanda esse peccatis. Potens est Deus ecclesiae suae conditionem facere meliorem, quamvis non efnciamini deteriores. Nunquid impotens est Deus subvenire sanctse ecclesise, nisi per vitia docto- rum ecclesiae? Arbitror vos compati infirmitatibus Christi, quasi impotens sit sponsam suam erigere, nisi sensibus nostris adjuvetur. Revera tentat vos Deus. Quaeso namque, quando se debent episcopi offerre discrimini? Numquid in tranquillitate et non in discrimine ? Erubescitis certe fateri, quod in tranquillitate. Restat ergo, ut cum in ecclesia est perturbatio, pastor ecclesise opponat se periculo. Nec enim majoris meriti fuit olim episcopis, in suo sanguine ecclesiam Christi fundare, quam nostris tem- poribus pro ecclesiae libertate sanguinem fundere. Et ego quidem, Deo teste, afiirmo, non esse nobis tutum a forma illa recedere, quam a sanctis patribus nostris accepimus. Nec nos quenquam morti debemus exponere, cum etiam judicio sanguinis nobis non licet interesse.

Haec verba mox ad regem relata sunt. Videns illico quamplures ecclesise, non dico columnas, sed arundines, vento agitari et trepidare, audito quod non per omnia voto regis essent parituri. Et certe statim ante minas cessissent, nisi domini Cantuari- ensis constantiam persensissent. Videns autem rex, quod in verbo illo, ubi voluit proficere, non valuit, citius ad alia se convertit, sciscitans ab eis, si consuetudines suas regales essent ei per omnia servaturi. Dominus vero Cantuariensis cum consilio locutus : Etiam, inquit, in omnibus; salvo tamen per omnia et in omnibus ordine nostro. Et quum postea id ipsum rex a singulis ex ordine qusereret, erat quidem tunc vox illa in ore omnium. Quum vero diutius instaret, volvens et revolvens, si consuetudines suas regales absolute et absque apposita ordinis sui salva- tione, simpliciter omnino se ei servaturum promitteret dominus Cantuariensis ; a Christi vicario, quod voluit, obtinere non valuit. Turbatus est ergo rex vehementer, et omnis Jerosolyma cum illo: subitoque in illa spiritus vehementia exiliens, Londonia discessit universis negotiis suis infectis, et ratiociniis pendentibus. Videres tunc murmur in populo, commotionem in clero. Episcopi turbati et tremuli, regem abeuntem sunt prosecuti ; metuentes, se non prius regem inventuros, quam audirent se omnia bona sua perdituros. Moxque operati sunt cum rege occultam conventionem, omni mentione Dei et ordinis sui postposita: et tam facile regis petitioni assensum praebuerunt, ut viderentur consensisse antequam ille petisse ; adeo ut qui inter eos sestimabantur scientiores, ad opprimendam ecclesise libertatem fierent proniores. Cantuariensis autem solus praesul resedit, considerans ad dextram et ad sinistram ; nec fuit qui cognosceret eum. Requirebat in fratribus solatium : at illi abierunt retro, et jam cum illo non ambulabant. Pacem denique peccatorum videns, et sibi undique imminere discrimen, Unum, inquit, locutus sum ; quod terreni regis regales nullatenus servarem consuetudines, nisi salvo in omnibus ordine meo. Ob id offensam regis incurri: ob id episcopi mei dereliquerunt me : ob id totius orbis oculos offendi. Sed quid ? Velit, nolit mundus : ego cum mortali paciscens homine, nullo unquam tempore Dei mei et ordinis mei immemor ero, Deo volente. Absit a me, ut cujusquam mortalis metu vel gratia, Deum inveniar contempsisse. Si angelus de caelo venerit, et tale mihi cousilium dederit, anathema sit.

The Principal Case between the King and Thomas.

On the first manifestation of open discord between the king and the lord archbishop of Canterbury, and its cause.

Henry, noble king of the English, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine and count of Anjou, came to London on the first October, 1163 AD. [Here too were summoned] Thomas archbishop  of Canterbury, Roger [archbishop of] of York, and all the bishops of England. The main reason that the Council had been summoned was so that the metropolitan archbishop of Canterbury could be solemnly named primate of all England, to which the archbishop of York objected. It was then, quite unexpectedly to all present, the king of England began to outline a set of certain tough proposals.

First, he complained of the violations of the archdeacons, who from the wrongdoings of others had turned these to their own gain, demanding payment as the price of sin, and then applying it to their own excessive luxury, though from the wrongdoings the punishment due had not been shown.  And he went on to say he said that the archdeacons are not to summon or sentence anyone for a crime no matter how infamous, without the  knowledge of his official. Soon after he turned to another matter. 

"I think," he said, "for the sake of peace, and I am very much determined to have the benefit of peace in my kingdom, when matters are thrown into turmoil by the wickedness of clerics, those who commit thefts and robberies, and, above all, murders, I seek and want consensus from you, lord Canterbury and your co-bishops, that when your fellow clerics have been seized in the act, convicted of or confessed to a crime, and who have been dismissed from clerical service [in the ecclesiastical court], for them to be immediately transferred to my court.


First, he complained of the violations to the archdeacons, who the offenses of others had turned these to their own gain, demanding payment as the price of sin, and then applying it to their own excessive luxury, though from the wrongdoers no due correction was rendered. He said that the archdeacons were not to summon or sentence anyone for a crime no matter how infamous, without the  knowledge of his official.

"I think," he said, "for the sake of peace, and I am convinced very much for the good of peace in my kingdom, when matters are thrown into turmoil by the wickedness of clerics, those who commit thefts and robberies, and, above all, murders. I seek and want consensus from you, lord Canterbury and your co-bishops, that when your fellow clerks have been convicted of or confessed crimes, and who have been degraded, to be immediately handed over to the officials of my court. And I would also ask for agreement, that some of my officials take part in the proceedings, so that as soon as the the degradation of the cleric is realised, he is allowed no chance to escape physical punishment."

The lord Canterbury, unable to reach an [agreed] answer to these proposals by the end of the morning and unable able to arrive at a truce, he withdrew into private conference with his bishops. Soon after here and there it was averred, the bishops said, that according to secular laws clerics who have been degraded, after receiving spiritual punishment, should be transferred to the secular court to receive physical punishment,  where they can be dealt with more severely for their offence and there to suffer a heavier punishment because where they are more suited to do this by special privilege. It is thefore not surprising, they said, that punishment of the body should follows removal from the order. This itself is not only proved in law, but even by real examples. In reference amonst the Levites in the Old Testament it was noted that culprits guilty of heinous crimes, the death of the body followed. Or those crimes next in likeness mutilation of the members.

The lord Canterbury on the other hand, argued that the holy canons asserted quite the opposite, arguing that it would be entirely unjust, and contrary to those canons, and against God, if on account of the punishment for one offense, two sentences of a person were to follow.  For God does not judge twice in any case. For that which the church has already judged, he said, it is either just or unjust, But you will not grant an injustice, and then say justice has been done. That sentence since it does not contain absolution, it contains damnation.  If therefore the sinner has been condemned, and then dismissed from clerical service [degraded], a second judgment and punishment for same sin must not be begun. Towards these matters we must beware that by giving our consent, he said, we oppress and destroy the liberty of the Church. We must follow the example of our most high priest, whom we are bound by our office to serve even unto death. For whom we have, however, not yet gone even part of the way towards that death.


To this the bishops replied that the loss of this liberty of the Church would not bring any danger to it. "But" they said "it is better rather, it is lost, than we all perish." Let us therefore do what the king has asked us to do. Otherwise by fleeing we may perish, so let us have regard to our lives. On the other hand those who consent to the King, by inheritance, will possess the sanctuary of God, and shall sleep safe in the possession of their churches. The wickedness also the many things of this time have to be taken for granted. [For this is said to be because of the schism, which was then in the Roman church, which was certainly the case with the  antipope in Germany.]These things the bishops said, as if the evils of the day were not sufficient, and that by the wickedness of the bishops, the same might be increased.

Towards these the Lord of Canterbury, fired with the zeal of the house of God, answered 

I see, he said, you seem to have come with an inertia to sustain your own comfort, wealth, and your wardrobes whilst the Church of Christ's Bride is suffocated. Who has bewitched you, you senseless pontiffs?  What an injustice to the term which you call prudent management. Why with what foresight which you have designated management but which has uncovered an injustice which you have tried to hide? Why do you call this management,  that which is at the expense of the whole of the church of Christ?  Let matters be called by their real names and not be perverted by things or words. I certainly agree with what you say about the evils of our time. But not because of that to pile up sins on top of sins. God is able to make the conditions for his own church better, even if they did not become worse.  Now is God not able to sanitise the churches, except through the faults of its teachers? I think you were touched with the feelings for Christ's disabilities, as if he is not able to raise up his bride, unless it is with our senses to help us. In fact, God is testing you.

I ask when at what critical moment should criticism be offered to the Bishop?  Shall it be in calm and not crisis? You must admit you have blushed in shame. It stands therefore when the Church has been thrown into disorder, for the pastor of the Church to seek to oppose the danger. For there was no greater merit than that to be found in former times when the bishops spilled their blood on behalf of the church of Christ,  than is also when in our own times for us to shed blood on behalf of the liberty of the Church.  And I indeed, as God is my witness, affirm, that it is not safe for us to withdraw from that direction, which we have received from our holy Fathers. We did not do so in the past, we ought not to expose anyone to the death penalty, since we are not even allowed to take part in judgements involving the shedding of blood.

These words were soon reported back to the king. Seeing immediately there were very many of the Church, and I do not speak of unbending rods, but who are more like reeds which are blown about by and tremble in the wind; hearing that they were not in everything obedient to the wish of the king he was certain that if they were confronted with threats they might at once give in, were it not that they had felt deeply the perseverance of the Lord of Canterbury. The king, however, seeing, that in this motion in which he was determined to make progress he was not stronger he quickly turned towards another asking them whether or not they would each uphold his royal customs in every way. The Lord Canterbury, after taking counsel replied, 

"Yes," he said, "in everything, saving yet in all matters and everyone concerning our order."

And then after this the king asked the same of each those present in turn, but when asked on this they each spoke with one voice. Over and over again, he tried to get this promise from the Lord Canterbury, whether he might truly dutifully obey his royal customs absolutely without the addition of  "saving of his order" ; but was unable to obtain what he wanted from the vicar of Christ. After this the king became sorely troubled, and all Jerusalem with him, And suddenly in that same spirit burst forth angrily, and departed from London leaving the whole of these businesses unfinished, and discussions hanging.


You could see it in the people as they whispered, and commotion amongst the clergy. Bishops frightened and trembling that followed his departure, each fearing that they did not want to be the first to discover to hear how, from the king that all their wordly goods had been forfeit. Soon after, they organised a secret meeting with the king, in which all mention of God and His order was set aside. And so easily did they proffer their assent to the king's petition, in order that it might be seen that they had longed to agree about this before. Indeed even those amongst them considered to be the more knowledgeable, even they became more prone to agreeing to the overthrow of the freedom of the church. Nevertheless, the archbishop of  Canterbury sat down, looking to both his right and left. Seeing there was no one that wanted to know him, he sought moral support from amongst the friars: even they, however, turned their backs and no longer walked with him now.

Seeing finally the peace of the sinners, and himself critically threatened from every side, he spoke "One thing, I have said, I cannot keep to any of the royal customs of an earthly king in any way, unless it is in all things without prejudice to my order. But, on account of this I have incurred the wrath of the king: on account of this my bishops have abandoned me: on account of this  I have offended in the eyes of the whole world. But why? Whether the world likes it or not, when I as a mortal make a bargain as a man, not at any time can I forget my God and my order, God willing. Far be it from me to any mortal man's fear or favour for it to be discovered that I have scorned God. Were an angel  to come down from heaven, and do so much a thing as to give me this advice, let him be anathema."


Sources 

'Summa Causae Inter Regem et Thomam' 
MTB, IV, pp. 201–5. 

Migne (1854). Patrologiae cursus completus: sive Bibliotheca universalisTomus CXC. J. P. Migne. pp. 395–


Universität Zürich Corpus Corporum
William FitzStephen
De tentatione diaboli per malos et iniustos homines facta.


Alternative Source
By William FitzStephen
Edwardus Grim; Alanus Tewkesberiensis abbas; Parisiensis Anonymus; decanus Salisburiensis Johannes (1845). Vita S. Thomae (etc.). Parker. pp. 209-214.


References


Dudley Julius Medley (1926). Original illustrations of English constitutional history (2nd Edition ed.). Methuen & co., ltd.. pp. 72–3.

Frank Barlow (1990). Thomas Becket. University of California Press. pp. 95–. ISBN 978-0-520-07175-9.

Frank Barlow (28 June 2011). Edward the Confessor. Yale University Press. pp. 326–. ISBN 978-0-300-18382-5.

Michael Staunton (2001). The Lives of Thomas Becket. Manchester University Press. pp. 79–. ISBN 978-0-7190-5455-6

Michael Staunton (2006). Thomas Becket and His Biographers. Boydell Press. pp. 110–. ISBN 978-1-84383-271-3

James J. Spigelman (2004). Becket & Henry: The Becket Lectures. James Spigelman. pp. 113–. ISBN 978-0-646-43477-3.

Anne Duggan (2004). Thomas Becket. Bloomsbury USA. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-0-340-74137-5.

Guy, John (5 April 2012). Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel, Victim: A 900-Year-Old Story Retold. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 502–. ISBN 978-0-14-193328-3.

John Allen Giles (1846). The Life and Letters of Thomas à Becket. Chapter XVI: Council of Westminster: Whittaker and Company. pp. 176–.

William Holden Hutton (1926). Thomas Becket. Cambridge University Press. pp. 78–. ISBN 978-1-107-66171-4.

James Craigie Robertson (1859). Becket, archbishop of Canterbury: A biography. J. Murray. pp. 89–.


Michael Staunton (2001). The Lives of Thomas Becket. Manchester University Press. pp. 79–83. ISBN 978-0-7190-5455-6.
18. The Council of Westminster (October 1163)

Materials IV, 201-5

University of Zurich: Corpus Corporum
(Patrologia Latina Tomus 190 0396B)
VI. Summa Causae Inter Regem Et Thomam.

Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence); trans. Janet Shirley (1975). Garnier's Becket Phillimore. pp. 23–. ISBN 978-0-85033-200-1.
Lines 826-880
Stanzas 166-176
Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence) (1922). La vie de saint Thomas Becket. C.W.K. Gleerup. p. 30.

Whitelock, Brett, and Brooke, eds., Councils and Synods, Volume 1 part 2 1066–1204 pp. 848-52
#158 1 OCTOBER 1163 - ROYAL COUNCIL OF WESTMINSTER. ISBN: 978-0198223948


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