Thursday, 16 May 2013

William Fitzstephen on Council of Clarendon


Extract from


De concilio apud Clarendone habito. 

[35.] Itaque rex, conceptis pridem aliquibus adversus clerum communiter, et nunc adversus Thomam archiepiscopum personaliter, crescentibusque de die in diem stimulatione inimica, simultatibus, statuit de regalibus suis dignitatibus tractare. Convocatur generale concilium, et congregatur apud Clarendoniam. Rex proponit et scribit dignitates et consuetudines, quas avitas et in regno Angliae esse debere dixit. Robertus archidiaconus Oxenfordensis, qui et postea episcopus Herefordensis, et Jordanus archidiaconus Cicestriae, domestici clerici domus archiepiscopi, et quidam alii, intellecta domini regis ira, quae adversus eum graviter concepta quotidianis augebatur incrementis, accepta licentia discesserant ab eo. Rex etiam statim a principio, ex quo iram adversus eum altius conceperat, procuravit longius ab eo amovere duos probos et honestos clericos nutritos ab adolescentia de bonis ipsius archiepiscopi, quorum unus erat thesaurarius Eboracensis, et alter canonicus Sarumet uterque Johannes dictus erat: ne in opportunitatibus suis arcbiepiscopus illorum consilio vel auxilio uteretur. Alterumque eligi et ordinari episcopum Pictavensem; alterum vero exulare jussit. Sed et episcopum Herefordiensem Gilbertum propius ascitum obtinuit a domino papa transferri in Londoniensem episcopum, sicut putabatur, ut ejus contra archiepiscopum uteretur consilio.

Consuetudinum illarum plura capitula erant de libertatis ecclesiasticse conculcatione, de cleri omnimoda oppressione: ut clericus accusatus de furto, vel rapina, vel hujusmodi, primo veniat in curiam rcgis. Item, ut pro quantocunque crimine non excommunicetur comes, vel baro, vel officialis regis, rege inconsulto. Item ne appellationes fierent ad dominum papam, nisi post litem auditam in foro ecclesiastico coram decano, archidiacono, episcopo, archiepiscopo, et tandem in curia regis. Ne ad dominum papam iter arriperent episcopi, vel alii clerici vocati ab eo, vel appellati, vel appellantes ad eum, nisi per licentiam regis. Ne omnis controversia de fidei vel sacramenti transgressione sit in foro ecclesiastico; sed tantum de fide adacta, pro nuptiis, vel dote, vel hujusmodi, quae non debent fieri nisi in facie ecclesiae. De aliter dato fidei sacramento, ut de debitis, vel sic, statuit rex causam esse in foro laico. Item ut episcopi assint omnibus secularibus judiciis regis, praeterquam judicio sanguinis, et aliis in hunc modum, quae palam cum sacris canonum constitutionibus dissonantiam resonabant. Sed scriptae nunquam prius fuerant, nec etiam omnino fuerant in regno Anglise hae cousuetudines. Et etiam si fuissent, ne de antiquitate et usu potius quam de jure niteretur, rex, in illis spuriis statutis firmandis, attendere debuisset: quia Domiuus dicit, leges meas custodite. Item illud, Vae qui condunt leges iniquas. Item nusquam invenitur Dominum dixisse, ego sum consuetudo; sed dixit, ego sum veritas. Item consuetudinis ususve longaevi non tanta est auctoritas; ut aut rationem, ut ait imperator paganus, vincat aut legem. Immo, revelatione facta aequitatis et vcritatis, cedat usus rationi; ut in dccretis scripserunt sancti patres: quorum ergo contra rationem et ecclesiasticam libertatem statuit et scripsit rex Christianus. Sed archiepiscopus Thomas, integer vitae scelerisque purus, alias non poterat attemptari. Immo exquisitissimo dolo et arte maligna hoc ei procuratum est, ut vel has traditiones corroborans incideret in manus Dei, vel respuens incideret in manus regis: et condemnaretur turbator regiae majestatis, inimicus coronse, et occideretur. Dicebaturque hoc commentum fuisse Rogeri archiepiscopi Eboracensis, et Gilberti Londoniensis, et Johannis episcopi Sarum. Nam et postmodum super hoc a domino papa severissime redarguti, se purgaverunt in facie hominum, praestitis sacramentis. Hilario tamen prius obito, 

[36.] Exquirit rex assensum cleri, in his statutis firmandis. Proponitur tandem archiepiscopo, et contradicentibus episcopis discrimen a regis interpretibus, tanquam regi coronam regni auferre velit, si haec decreta confirmare contradixerit. Archiepiscopus annitentibus episcopis diu restitit, diu contradixit. Tandem ultimi nuntii regis venerunt, lacrymosis verbis expresse ei seorsim tracto significantes, quid futurum erat, si non adquiesceret. Timore mortis, et ut rcgem mitigaret, adquievit ad tempus, assensu et in verbo veritatis stipulatione, et sigillorum suorum impressione. Archiepiscopus, et ille Eboracensis, et omnes episcopi, statuta illa firmaverunt servanda regi legitime, sine dolo malo, et in bona fide. Rex eadem postea decreta transmisit domino papae confirmanda; quoe ipse lecta et intellecta reprobavit, expavit, damnavit.

[37.] Archiepiscopus Dei electus, post casum fortior erectus, spiritum resumpsit, poenituit, et se ipsum austerioribus alimentis et indumentis gravius coepit affligere, et se ab officio altaris suspendit, donec per confessionem et condignos poenitentiae fructus a Romano pontifice absolutus, meruit relaxari. Vere poenituit, quia, quantumcunque in eo erat, errata revocare et corrigere parat: coepiscopis revocare concessa vel nolentibus, vel regis timore, qui incubuit super eos, non audentibus. Ad familiare regis domicilium, lapideo muro circumseptam indaginem de Wodestoke, ubi audierat esse regem, iter agit archiepiscopus, aliquid ei locuturus; sed a janua repulsus redit Cantuariam. In maritima apud Rumeneye, villam suam, archiepiscopus recedere deliberans, ut regis iram ad tempus declinaret, bis attentavit mare; sed ventum vel nullum habuit vel contrarium. Quod auditum, regis iram maxime inflammavit.


So the king, finding fault  for a long time, in general, with some of the clergy, and now against archbishop Thomas personally, and with quarrels growing day by day, with an increasing hostility, decided to draw upon his royal privileges. He summoned a general council, which assembled at Clarendon. The king proposed to them, and set down in writing, a list of privileges and customs, which he declared to be ancestral in the kingdom of England and which ought to be enforced. Robert, archdeacon of Oxford, who later became bishop of Hereford, and Jordan, archdeacon of Chichester, domestic clerics in the archbishop's household, and a few others, earnestly reasoning that the king's anger was developing and increasing against the archbishop day by day, received his  permission to leave.  The king also, right from the very start of his ever deepening anger that he had conceived towards the archbishop, caused to be removed from him two upright and honest clerics who had been fostered by the archbishop since their youth from the archbishop's own resources, one of whom was the treasurer of York, and the other, a canon of Salisbury, both were called John: let not the archbishop have use of their help or counsel:  one he arranged to become elected and ordained bishop of Poitiers; the other truly he ordered to be sent into exile. It was supposed that he [the king] planned for Gilbert, bishop of Hereford, to be closer to himself, by obtaining assent from our lord the pope for his translation to the episcopacy of London, in order that he might make full use of his counsel against the archbishop.

Amongst many of those customs were several articles which trampled over ecclesiastical freedoms, oppressing the clergy in all manner of ways: like a clerk accused of theft, or robbery, or the like, who must first appear in the king's court. Likewise, an earl, or a baron, or an official of the king, for no matter how great a sin, may not excommunicated without consulting the king.  Also, no appeals are to be made to our lord the pope until after the cases have been heard in the ecclesiastical court before the dean, the archdeacon, the bishop, the archbishop, and finally the king's court. No journeys to our lord the pope may be made by bishops, or others of the clergy, who may have been summoned by him, or called to him, or are appealing to him, except by the consent of the king. Not every lawsuit concerning faith [oaths] or the transgression of a sacrament [breaking of oaths] is to be heard in an ecclesiastical court; but only those which concern faith, but not marriages, dowries, or similar, which should not take place in an ecclesiastical court. Concerning these other, where a sacramental promise on oath has been given, that those concerning debts, or such, the king should decide such cases in a lay court. Also, that the bishops are to be present at all secular judgments made by the king, except where a judgment of blood is involved, and others in like manner, which plainly resound dissonantly with the sacred canons. 

But never before have these customs ever been written down, not even at all in the kingdom of England. And even if they had been, not mentioning the prestige of antiquity of their use or any preference to their legal right, the king, when establishing those spurious statutes, ought to have paid attention to them: because the Lord says, <<Ye shall keep my laws.>>  [Leviticus 19:19].  Similarly, the text, <<Woe unto them that make wicked laws.>>[Isaiah 10:1]  Also, nowhere do we find the Lord saying that, <<I am a custom.>>, but says instead. <<I am the Truth.>>[John 14:6] Also, the use of an ancient custom for which the authority is not so great; or for that reason which a pagan emperor can say <<Either I can win or take by law.>> [Codex 8.52(53).2 (Imperator Constantinus)] Indeed, the revelation that equity and truth yield to the use of reason, as is written in the decrees of the holy fathers [Gratian, Decr. Pars I. Dis. viii. cc 3-9]; which is consequently therefore against the reason, and liberty of the church and thus wrote the Christian king.  But archbishop Thomas, wholesome in life and clear of villainy; was not otherwise able to be assailed. Indeed, it was by the most exquisite deception and malign art that he was manipulated, that either by supporting these traditions he put himself in the hands of God, or by rejecting he fell into the hands of the king, that as a disrupter of the king's majesty, he would be condemned, and as an enemy of Crown, be slain. And this was said to have been the fabrication of Roger, archbishop of York, and of Gilbert, bishop of London, and Hilary, bishop of Chichester, and of John, the bishop of Salisbury. In fact, after a while, they was most severely.reprimanded by the pope, and they purged themselves in the presence of the people, having sworn oaths. Hilary [bishop of Chichester], however, died before this, 

The king demanded the assent of the clergy in the confirmation of these statutes. It was suggested at length to the archbishop and contradicted by the bishops the difference to the king by interpreters, that he might be seen as wishing to take away the crown of the kingdom from the king, as it were, if when confirming these decrees, he contradicted. The archbishop resisted the assistance of the bishops, and for a long time opposed. At last the final messengers of the king came, and in tearful words expressed to him outlining separately the matters of significance, of what the future held, if he did not acquiesce. Out of fear of death, and so that he might appease the king, he acquiesced at the time, and on stipulation gave assent on oath, and by the impression of their seals. The Archbishop [of Canterbury], and he of York, and all the bishops, confirmed that those ordinances which the king had lawfully established, and they were to be observed honestly and without evil intent, and in good faith. The king later sent these decrees to the lord pope for confirmation; which he himself read and understood and rejected: and those he was afraid of he condemned.

The Archbishop, elect of God, having fallen [from grace], picked himself up more strongly. He took up the spirit again and repented, and began to afflict himself with more austere foods and heavier clothing, and refrained from performing office at the altar, until he was absolved by the Roman pontiff, through confession and by the worthy fruits of repentance, and deserved to be released. In truth penitent,  because,  no matter how much there was in it, he was prepared to revoke and correct his sins: his fellow bishops did not dare to revoke what they had conceded, either because they did not want to, or out of fear of the king, who had leaned heavily upon them. He journeyed to the king's family dwelling at Woodstock, which has a stone wall surrounding its hunting grounds, where he had heard that the king was. He wanted to speak to him,  but was repulsed at the gate, and returned to Canterbury. The Archbishop withdrew to his manor by the sea coast at Romney to deliberate, and to avoid the king's wrath for a time. He twice attempted a sea crossing, but either there was no wind, or it was contrary, which, when the king heard about this, inflamed his greatest anger. 

References

James Craigie Robertson (15 November 2012). Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury (Canonized by Pope Alexander III, AD 1173). Cambridge University Press. pp. 46–. ISBN 978-1-108-04927-6.


of Canterbury William; Benedict (Abbot of Peterborough); John (of Salisbury, Bishop of Chartres); of Tewkesbury Alan, Edward Grim, William Fitzstephen, of Bosham Herbert (1877).Materials for the history of Thomas Becket: Vita Sancti Thomæ, Cantuariensis archiepiscopi et martyris, auctore Willelmo filio Stephani. Vita Sancti Thomæ, archiepiscopi et martyris, auctore Herberto de Boseham. Longman.  p. 49

Materials for the history of Thomas Becket: Vita Sancti Thomæ, Cantuariensis archiepiscopi et martyris, auctore Willelmo filio Stephani. Vita Sancti Thomæ, archiepiscopi et martyris, auctore Herberto de Boseham
Volume 3 of Materials for the history of Thomas Becket: archbishop of CanterburyJames Craigie Robertson

Roger of Hoveden (1853). H.T. Riley, ed. The Annals of Roger de Hoveden: Comprising The History of England and of Other Countries of Europe from A.D. 732 to A.D. 1201. H.G. Bohn. pp. 260–.


John Lingard on the Council of Clarendon

Matthew Paris
D. Wilins (1715) Concilia Magnae Britanniae et Hiberniae p. 435
 https://archive.org/stream/conciliamagnaebr01wilk#page/435/mode/1up

Richard Barber (2003). Henry Plantagenet. The Chronology of the Council of Clarendon: Boydell Press. pp. 243–. ISBN 978-0-85115-993-5.


"It is by no means by accident that th old statement, formulated by Tertullian and then used by Cyprian and Augustine, that Christ had not said: I am custom, but that he had said, I am the truth, was now taken up again." [by pope Gregory VII].
 
Gallica
Materials for the history of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, canonized by pope Alexander III, A. D. 1173. Vol. 3 / ed. by James Craigie Robertson.






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