Monday, 8 July 2013

Letter of his Suffragan Bishops to the Thomas Becket: Quae Vestro (1166)

Extract from
Roger of Hoveden (15 November 2012). Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Houedene:. Cambridge University Press. pp. 262–. ISBN 978-1-108-04881-1.
Roger (of Hoveden) (1868). Chronica magistri Rogeri de Houedene. Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer. pp. 262–.


[(1166.) Letter of the suffragans to the archbishop.]

They were glad to hear that he bore his exile patiently and piously.


Epistola suffraganeorum Cantuariensis ecclesiae 
ad  beatum Thomam Cantuariensem archiepiscopum 

"Venerabili patri et domino Thomae, Dei gratia Cantua-
riensi arcbiepiscopo, suffraganei ejusdom ecclesiae episcopi,
et personae per eorundem dioceses locis variis constitutae,
debitam subjectionem et obedientiam.

Quae vestro, pater,
in longinqua discessu inopinata rei ipsius novitate turbata
sunt, vestra sperabamus humilitate et prudentia in pacis
pristinae serenitatem, cooperanto gratia, revocari. Erat
quidem nobis solatio, quod post discessum vestrum, ad
omnes fama divulganto pervenit, vos scilicet in transmarinis
agentem nil altum sapere; vos in dominum nostrum regem
aut regnum ejus nulla machinatione insurgere, sed sponte
susceptum paupertatis onus cum modestia sustinere, lectioni
et orationi insistere, praeteritorumque jacturam temporum
jejuniis, vigiliis, lacrymisque redimere, et spiritualibus oc-
cupatum studiis ad perfectum beatitudinis virtutum incre-
mentis ascendero. Ad pacis bona reformanda vos studiis
hujusmodi gaudebamus insistere: ex quibua spes erat, vos
in cor domini regis nostri banc posse gratiam de super
evocare, ut vobis iram regia pietato remitteret, et illatas
in discessu et ex discessu vestro injurias, ad cor de cajtero
non revocaret. Erat amicis vestris et benevolis nd ipsum
aliquis, dum hrec de vobis audirentur, accessus, et ob conci-
liandum vobis gratiam supplicantes benigne quemque sus-
tinuit. Jam vero quorundam relatione didieimus, quod ad
memoriam anxie revocamus, vos scilicet in eum comma-
torium emisisse, quo salutationem omittitis, quo non ad
obtentum gratia, consilium precesvo porrigitis, quo noncned
amicum quid sentitis aut scribitis, sod intentatis minis inter
dictum aut proocisionis elogium in eum jam dicendum fore
multa severitate proponitis. Quod si quam dure dictum est
tarn fuerit severo completum, quai turbata sunt nou jam
speramus ad pacem redigi, sed in perenne quoddam odium
et inoxorabile pertimcsoimus inflammari. Rerum vero finem
prudentia sancta considerat, dans operam sollicite, ut quod
prudenter inchoat, bono quoque fine concludat. Advertat
itaque, si placot, discretio vestra quo tendat, an conatibus
hujusmodi finem queat obtinere quem optat. Nos quidom
his ausis a spe magna cecidimus, et qui pacis obtinenda!
spem quandoque concepimus, ab ipsis jam spei liminibus
gravi quadam desperatione repellimur. Et dum velut ex
tracto gladio pugna conseritur, pro vobis supplicandi locus
utique non invenitur. Unde patri scribimus ex caritato con-
silium, ne labores laboribus, injurias superaddat injuriis;
sed omissis minis, pationtiaa et humilitati inserviat. Causam
suam Divina dementia, domini sui gratia misericordi
committat, et sic agendo carbones ignis in multorum capita
coacervet et congerat. Accenderetur bon modo caritas, et
quod minae non poterant, inspiranto Domino bonorumque
consilio suadente, sola fortasse pietas obtineret. Bonum erat
de paupertate voluntaria glorioso laudari, quam de beneficii
ingratitudino ab omnibus in commune notari. Insedit alte
cunctorum mentibus, quam benignus vobis dominus rex
noster exstiterit, in quam vos gloriam ab exili provexerit,
in familiarem gratiam tarn laeta vos monte susceperit, ut
dominationis sua} loca, quae a Boreali oceano Pyreneum
usque porrecta sunt, adeo potestati vestraa cuncta subjecerit,
ut in his solum hos beatos reputaret opinio, qui in vestris
oculis poterant complacere. Et ne vestram gloriam mobi
litas posset mundana concutere, vos in his qua? Dei sunt:
voluit immobiliter radicare; et dissuadente matre sua, regno
acclamante, ecclesia Dei, quoad licuit, suspirante et inge-
miscente, vos in earn qua pra?estis dignitatem modis omni-
bus studuit sublimare, sperans se de caatero regnare feli-
citer, et ope vestra et consilio summa seeuritate gaudere.
Si ergo securim accipit unde securitatem sperabat, quae do
vobis erit in cunctorum ore narratio? Qua? retributionis
bacteuus inaudita? rememoratio? Parcatis ergo, si placet,
fames vestra, parcatis et gloria?, et humilitate dominum
nostrum, filiumque vestrum caritate vincere studeatis. Ad
quod si nostra vos monita niovere nequeunt, debet saltern
summi pontificis, sancta?que Bomana? eeclesia? dilectio et
fidelitas inclinare. Vobis enim suaderi debet e facili, ne
quid attentare velitis, quod laboranti jamdiu matri vestra?
labores augeat; quove multorum inobedientiam deploranti
in eornm qui obediunt amissione dolor accrescat. Quid
enim si vestra, quod absit, exacerbatione et opera, domi-
nus noster, quern largiente Domino populi sequuntur et
regna, a domino papa recesserit. Ipsumque sibi fortassis
adversum vos solatia denegantem, sequi de cautero declina-
verit? Ipsum namque in hoc, qua? supplicatione, qua?
dona, quot quantave promissa sollicitant? In petra tamen
bucusque flrmus perstitit et totum quod mundus offcrrc
potest victor alta mente caleavit. Umim nobis timori est,
ut quern oblata? divitia?, et totum quod in hominum gloria
pretiosum est, flcctere nequiverunt, animi sui valeat indig-
natio sola subvertere. Quod si per vos acciderit, in thre-
nos totus ire poteritis, et lacrymarum fontem oculis vestris
de ecetero negare nulla quidem. ratione poteritis. Revoce-
tis itaque, si placet, sublimitati vestra? consilium, domino
quidem papa?, sancta? que Romana? ecclesia?, vobisque etiam,
si placet, advertere, modis omnibus, si processerit, ob-
futnrum. Sed qui penes vos alta sapiunt, vos forte hac via
progredi non permittunt. Hortantur cxperiri quis sitis in
dominum nostrum regem, et in omnia qua? sua sunt potes-
tatem exercere qua praestis. Quae nimirum potestas pec-
canti timenda est, satisfacere noleuti formidanda. Dominum
vero regem non quidem nunquam peccasse dicimus, sed
semper Domino paratum satisfacere confidenter dicimus et
prasdicamus. Rex a Domino constitutus paci providet per
omnia subjectorum, et ut banc conservet ecclesiis et com-
missis sibi populis, dignitates regibus ante se debitas et
inaudila] remuneratio exhibitas sibi vult ot exigit exhiberi. 

In quo si inter ipsum
et vos aliqua est oborta contentio, a summo super hoc pon-
tifice paterna gratia per venerabiles fratres nostros Lundo-
niensem et Hercfordensem episcopos conventus et commo-
nitus, non in coelum os suum posuit, sed de omnibus in
ecclesia vel ecclesiastica persona qucecunque se gravatam
ostendet, se non alienum quterere, sed ecclesia; regni sui
pariturum judicio humiliter et mansueto respondit. Quod qui
dem et factis implere paratus est, et dulce reputat obsequinm,
cum monetur ut corrigat si quid offenderit in Dominum.
Neo solum satisfacere, sed et, si jus exigat, in hoc satis
dare paratus est. Igitur et satis dare satisquo facere volen
tcm, ecclesisB se judicio in his qua; sunt ecclesia; neo in
modico subtrahentem, colla Christi jugo subdentem, quo
jure, qua lege, quove canone, aut interdicto gravabitis, aut
securi, quod absit, evangelica prrecidetis? Non impetu qui
dem ferri, sed judicio prudenter regi laudabilo est. Unde
nostrum omnium una est in commune petitio, ne consilio
praecipiti mactare pergatis et perdere, sed commissis ovi
bus, ut vitam, ut pacem, ut securitatem habeant, paterna
studeatis gratia providere. Movet quidem omnes nos, quod
in fratrem nostrum dominum Saresberiensem episcopum, et
decanum ejus, prrepostcre, ut quidam asstimant, nuper actum
audivimus. In quos suspensionis aut damnationis poenam
ante motam de culpa controversiam, calorem, ut videtur,
iracundioe, plusquam justitia; secuti tramitem, intorsistis.
Ordo judiciorum novus hie est, huiusque legibus et cano-
nibus, ut speramus, incognitus, damnare primum, et do
culpa postremo cognoscere. Quem ne in dominum nostrum
regem et regnum ejus, nec in nos et commissas nobis
ecclesias et parochias, in domini papa; damnum, sanctaeque
ecclesiae Romanae dedecus et detrimentum, vestraaque con
fusionis augmentum non modicum, exercere tentetis et ex
tendere: remedium vobis appellationis opponimus, et qui
contra metum gravaminuin, in facie ecclesia;, viva jamdu-
dum voce ad dominum papam appellavimus, iterato jam
nunc ad ipsum scripto etiam appellamus, et appellationi
terminum diem Ascensionis Dominica; designamus: quanta
quidem possumus devotione supplicantes, ut inito salubriori
consilio, vestris ac nostris laboribus expensisque parcatis,
causamque vestram in hoc, ut remedium habere queat,
ponere studeatis.

Valere vos optamus in Domino, pater."
The Letter of the suffragans of the Church of Canterbury to the blessed Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury.

"To their venerable father and lord, Thomas, by the grace of God, archbishop of Canterbury, the suffragan bishops of that church and the beneficed clergy appointed over the various places throughout their dioceses, due submission and obedience. Whereas, father, on your departure for foreign parts, through the very unexpectedness and novelty of the circumstance, considerable confusion arose, still, we did hope, through your humility and prudence, with the aid of the Divine favour, for a re- turn therefrom to the serenity of our former peaceful state. That was, indeed, a solace to us, which, after your departure, reached us all by general report ; that you, while passing your time in the parts beyond sea, had no ulterior designs ; that you were guilty of no machinations against our lord the king or against his kingdom, but endured with, moderation the burden of poverty which you had spontaneously taken upon yourself ; that you were devoting your time to reading and prayer, and were atoning for the loss of time past by fastings, watchings, and tears, and, occupied in spiritual pursuits, were making your way, by the increase of your virtues, to the perfection of blessedness. We rejoiced to hear that by pursuits of this nature you were applying yourself to the restoration of the blessings of peace ; and, in consequence thereof, we did entertain a hope that you would be enabled also to bring the heart of our lord the king to feelings of graciousness, so that, in his royal clemency, he might cease to be angered against you, and no longer recall to mind the injuries that had been inflicted upon him in your departure, and in the consequences thereof. Your friends and well-wishers did enjoy some access to him while these things were heard of you, and when they made entreaties for the bestowal on you of his favour, he received each with benignity. But now, from the information of certain persons, we have learned that which we recall to mind with anxiety, namely, that you have issued against him a letter of warning, in which you omit the salutation, and in which you do not make any attempt to gain his favor, or have recourse to entreaties : in which you neither breathe nor write aught in a friendly spirit; but, on the contrary', with extreme severity, you declare in the threats which you utter against him, that you will shortly have to pronounce against him an interdict or else sentence of excommunication. Know, should this be carried out with as much severity as it has been asserted with harshness, we then no longer have any hope that peace may succeed the present state of confusion, but are greatly afraid that he will be inflamed to a lasting and inexorable hatred. But the prudence of the devout takes into consideration the results of things, using its best endeavours that what it has commenced with discretion it may also bring to a good end. Therefore, if so it please you, let your discreetness consider to what it tends, and whether, by attempts of this nature, it can obtain the end which is its object. As for us, in consequence of these endeavours, we have fallen from great hopes, and after conceiving the hope of at some time obtaining peace, we now find ourselves repelled by deep despair from the very threshold of hope. And thus, while the combat is being waged as it M'cre with the sword drawn, there is no room whatever to be found for entreaty in your behalf. Therefore do we write to our father what in our Christian love is our advice to him, not to super- add difficulties to difficulties, injuries to injuries, but rather, desisting from threats, to observe patience and humility. Let him entrust his cause to the Divine clemency, to the favour and mercy of his lord, and, thus doing, let him heap and gather hot coals of fire upon the heads of many. By thus acting, brotherly love will be excited, and, the Lord inspiring and the advice of the good prevailing, perhaps piety alone would be enabled to do that which threats have proved unable. It would be as well for you to be spoken of in terms of praise for your voluntary submission to poverty, as, for ingratitude for benefits received to become the subject of general remark. For all persons have a full recollection how kind the king our master has shewn himself towards you, to what a pity of glory he has raised you from an humble station, and how he has with feelings so joyous received you into his especial favor, that the whole of the various portions of his dominions, which extend from the northern ocean to the Pyrenees, he has rendered subject to your power ; so much so, that in them public opinion considered those only as fortunate who were able to find grace in your eyes. And, that no worldly fickleness might be able to shake your glory, he has willed immoveably to root you in the things which belong to God. While his mother dissuaded him, the kingdom expostulated, the Church of God, so far as she could, sighed and groaned, he made it his object, in every possible way, to raise you to that elevated post which you now enjoy, hoping that he should for the future reign hap- pily, and, amid the greatest security, rejoice in your aid and counsel. If, then, he receives injury where he looks for security, what will be the remark made on you by the voice of all ? What will be your reward, or what your character, in consequence of your having made such a return as this ? Do, then, if so it please you, spare your own character, spare, too, your own fame, and, in humility, endeavour to surpass our lord, and, in Christian charity, your son. If, however, our advice cannot prevail upon you to do this, at least the love and fidelity of the Supreme Pontiff, and of the holy Roman Church, right to influence you. For you ought easily to be persuaded not to wish to make any attempt which may increase the labours of your mother, who has now laboured so long, by causing her grief, which deplores the disobedience of many, to be increased by the loss of those who are obedient. For what if, and God forbid it should be so, through your irritation of him, or by your agency, our lord the king, whom people and kingdoms follow and obey, the gift of the Lord, should withdraw from our lord the pope, and decline to follow him for the future, after his refusal to give him satisfaction against you ? For, what entreaties, what gifts, what promises, and how many of them, are strongly urging him to this step ! whereas he has hitherto stood firmly upon a rock, and has victoriously, with feelings of deep devotion, trodden under foot the whole that the world could make offer of. One thing only do we fear, that him whom these offers of riches, and the whole of that which in the estimation of men is precious, could not influence, the indignation of his feelings of themselves may be enabled to overcome. Should this come to pass through your agency, you will have entirely to adopt the lamentations of Jeremiah, and in future will never by any means be enabled to deny unto your eyes a fountain of tears. Recollect, therefore, if so it please you, that the design of your highness, if it should succeed, will in every way conduce to the injury of our lord the pope and the holy Roman Church, and, if so it please you, of yourself as well. But those who are near you, and have deep designs, perhaps will not allow you to proceed upon this path. They entreat you to make trial against our lord the king who you are, and, in all matters which belong to him, to exercise your utmost possible power. For what power is there an object of fear to the sinful, of dread to him who refuses to give satisfaction ? We do not, indeed, say that our lord the king has never done amiss, but we do say, and aver with confidence, that he has always been ready to make satisfaction to our lord. The king, who has been so appointed by the Lord, he provides for the peace of his subjects in all things, that he may be enabled to preserve the same for the churches and the people entrusted to him, while, at the same time, the dignities which were the due of and accorded to the kings before him, he asks as his own due and to be accorded to him. Wherefore, it any disagreement has arisen between him and you, having been convened and warned thereon by the Supreme Pontiff, in his paternal love, through our venerable brethren the bishops ofj London and Hereford, he has not treated the same with supercilioiisness, but has shown that be does not require what does not belong to him in all those matters in which any grievance has been put forward relative to a church or any ecclesiastical person, and has humbly and meekly made answer that he will conform to the judgment of the Church of his kingdom ; which he is also prepared to fulfil in deed, and to esteem it a pleasing obedience when he is advised to correct the same, if he has been guilty of any offence towards God. And, not only to give satisfaction, but also to make reparation, if required, is ' he prepared. If then, he is ready both to give satisfaction and to make reparation to the Church in those matters which concern the Church, and not in the least to shrink there- from, thus bowing his neck to the yoke of Christ, with what right, by what law, by w hat canon or interdict will you oppress him. or, which God forbid, with what weapon of the Gospel will you smite him r Not to be carried away by impulse, but to be prudently regulated by the judgment, is a thmgworthy of praise. Therefore, this is the common petition of us all, that you will not give way to precipitate counsels, and thus betray us, but rather by your paternal kindness make it your study to provide for the sheep entrusted to your charge, that they may enjoy life, and peace, and security. Indeed, that is a subject of concern to us all, which we have lately heard of as being done, preposterously as some think, against our brother the bishop of Salisbury and his dean. Against them, following, as it seems to us, rather the warmth of anger than the path of jus- tice, you have hurled the penalties of suspension or condemnation before an enquiry has taken place as to their faults. This is a new method of giving judgment, hitherto, we trust, unknown to laws and canons, first to condemn for it, and afterwards to take cognizance of the fault. This we beg you not to attempt to put in practice against our lord the king and his kingdom, or against ourselves and the churches and dioceses entrusted to our chaise, to the detriment of our lord the pope, to the loss and disgrace of the holy Church of Rome, and to the no slight increase of your own confusion. To such a course on your part we oppose the remedy of appeal, having already in the face of the Church personally made appeal to our lord the pope against our fears of oppression. And now once more do we appeal to him in writing, and we name the day of the Ascension of Our Lord as the appointed time for our appeal.


Still, with all possible duteousness, we entreat you, adopting more healthful counsels, to spare your own and our labour and expense, and to make it your endeavour to place your case in such a position that it may admit of a remedy. Father, we wish you farewell in the Lord."

Sources
Saint Thomas (à Becket) (2000). "Letter 93"The Correspondence of Thomas Becket: Archbishop of Canterbury, 1162-1170. Oxford University Press. pp. 382–. ISBN 978-0-19-820892-1.

Gallica.bnf.fr
Rolls Series (1881). Materials for the history of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, canonized by pope Alexander III, A. D. 1173. Vol. 5  p.408-13. ed. by James Craigie Robertson,
Epistola CCV: Quae vestro, pater
Thomae Cantuariensi archiepiscopo Clerus Angliae
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. 372–. ISBN 978-1-108-04926-9.
References
Thurot Charles. Observations sur le texte de plusieurs documents relatifs à Thomas Becket.
In: Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 15e année, 1871. pp. 153-159.
doi : 10.3406/crai.1871.67768

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