Monday, 19 May 2014

The Letter - Etsi Pro Animi - 28th Feb 1164 Pope to Becket

Baron George Lyttelton Lyttelton (1769). The history of the life of King Henry the Second, Volume 4 Printed for J. Dodsley. pp. 34–.

It appears by a letter from Alexander to Becket, dated the third of the Calends of March in the year eleven hundred and sixty-four, that some time after the breaking up of the council of Clarendon Becket had joined with the archbishop of York, in writing to that pontiff, to support a request which Henry made, by Geoffry Ridel, archdeacon of Canterbury and John of Oxford, that his Holiness would confirm the ancient customs and dignities of his realm, by the authority of the apostolick fee, to him and his successors. But the pope says, in the same letter, that he had refused his assent. And one cannot wonder that he did; for such a request- was, in reality, desiring the assistance of the papal power against itself. Indeed a bull had been granted by Pope Calixtus the Second to King Henry the First, which confirmed all the laws and customs of his realm: nor is it improbable that Henry the Second relied on that precedent in making this application; Alexander being now, as Calixtus was then, driven from Rome by a schism: but many circumstances made a difference, both in the times and the question. The papal authority had not gained such a fooling in England under King Henry the First; as under his successor; and therefore less was given up by the grant of Calixtus, than would have been sacrificed by Alexander, if he had sent one of the same purport to Henry the Second. Nor had Henry the First, when be obtained that concession, Engaged himself far in favour of Calixtus as his grandson had now done in favor of Alexander; and with the court of Rome, as other courts, no gratitude for past services has so much weight as present utility.


Thomas Becket (st., abp. of Canterbury.) (1845). Epistolæ sancti Thomæ Cantuariensis ... et aliorum, ed. ab I.A. Giles. pp. 1–.

University of Zurich
Corpus Corporum
Patrologia Latina Tomus 200/0285C 


(0285D)


Etsi pro animi tui prudentia et fidei sinceritate personam tuam uberiori dulcedine charitatis et flagrantiori desiderio velimus semper diligere, et honori ac exaltationi tuae, sicut charissimi fratris nostri, ardentiori animo aspirare, nos tamen et te ipsum, qui magna columna es ecclesiae tuae, cautius convenit temporum qualitatem attendere, et provida dispensationis moderatione motum principis delinire. Novit siquidem industria tua, cui divina dispensatio magnae providentiae ac gratiae donum indulsit, quam ferventem dispositionem circa regni sui gubernationem charissimus in Christo filius noster Henricus, illustris rex Anglorum, dependat et eamdem velit dispositionem, ut firmior habeatur et habeat maiorem favorem, auctoritate Romanae Ecclesiae roborari. (0286B) Unde cum olim per venerabilem fratrem Lexoviensem episcopum et dilectum filium nostrum Pictaviensem archidiaconum, a nobis et fratribus nostris instantius postulasset legationem totius Angliae Eboracensi archiepiscopo indulgeri, et tam tibi quam universis episcopis mandari rogasset, ut antiquas regni sui consuetudines et dignitates conservaretis, nobis eius petitiones praeter suum arbitrium moderantibus, statim post reditum nuntiorum suorum, vix audito quod a nobis reportaverant, dilectos filios nostros Gaufredum archidiaconum tuum et magistrum Ioannem ad nostram praesentiam destinavit, et per eos quod prius petierat, et maiora a nobis instantissime postulavit. Et ut suo desiderio faciliorem animum praeberemus, fraternitatis tuae et praedicti archiepiscopi ad nos litteras impetravit. Quod enim de antiquis consuetudinibus et dignitatibus conservandis prius mandari rogaverat, nuper, sicut tu et alii observare promiseratis, ea cum multa instantia petiit auctoritate apostolicae sedis sibi et suis posteris confirmari. (0286C)


Sed nos petitionem istam nequaquam admisimus. Verumtamen ne ad nimiam amaritudinem et vehementiorem animi turbationem eum circa nos et te ipsum provocaremus, ne etiam id consideratione tui putaretur quomodolibet impediri, nos tibi et nobis, ne forte in maiorem calorem iracundiae adversus te exardesceret, consultius providere volentes, et pensantes tempora periculosa, legationis litteras praefato archiepiscopo concedendas eidem regi concessimus. (0286D)


Quoniam vero votis principum condescendendum est, et suae obtemperandum voluntati, prudentiam tuam monemus, consulimus, et omnimodis exhortamur, quatenus sicut vir prudens et discretus, necessitatem temporis metiens, et quae inde tibi et ecclesiae tuae possent provenire pericula, fideli meditatione attendens, praenominato regi in omnibus et per omnia, salva honestate ecclesiastici ordinis, deferre satagas, et eius tibi gratiam et amorem incessanter recuperare intendas; ne secus faciendo, eum contra nos et vos ipsos conturbes, et hi, qui non eodem spiritu ambulant, tibi et nobis valeant propter hoc insultare. Nos enim, data nobis opportunitate, de honore et augmento tuo cum eodem rege diligenter et sollicite conferemus, et circa conservanda iura et dignitates ecclesiae tuae necessariam diligentiam adhibebimus, et cautelam, quam convenit adhibere.


Datum Senonis, III Kalendas Martii.


Translation [date corrected]

John Allen Giles (1846). The Life and Letters of Thomas à Becket: Now First Gathered from the Contemporary Historians Volume I. Letter XVII: Whittaker and Company. pp. 232–.

LETTER XVII.

THE POPE TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, SENS, FEB. 28.

"Although your great prudence and integrity entitle you always to our regard, and make us ever anxious to maintain your honour, yet we must watch the temper of the times, and endeavour by prudent management to mitigate the wrath of kings. You know how much zeal our dearly beloved son Henry, the illustrious king of England, has shown in attending to the affairs of his kingdom, and how desirous he is that his arrangements should receive our ratification. Wherefore, when his late messengers, our venerable brother Arnulf, bishop of Lisieux, and our dear son, the archdeacon of Poitiers, petitioned us to grant the legation of all England to the Archbishop of York, and to command you, and all the bishops, to observe the ancient constitutions and dignities of his kingdom, and we unexpectedly modified his petition, he hardly listened to their report, but dispatched Geoffrey, your archdeacon, and Master John, to request the same things again, and even more: and he accompanied his petition with letters from yourself, and the Archbishop of York. In the matter of the dignities, though you and others had given your consent to them, yet we could not grant his request. But that we might not altogether exasperate him against us, and also for your own sake, and considering the evil nature of the times, we have granted the legation to the above-named archbishop. And, forasmuch as condescension must be shown to the will of princes, we advise, and in every way exhort your prudence, to consider well the necessities of the times, and the perils which may befall the Church, and so endeavour to please the king, saving the credit of the ecclesiastical order, that you may not, by doing otherwise, set him against both you and us, and cause those who are of a different spirit to mock and deride us. We will not fail, when an opportunity offers, to speak to the king in every way that may tend to maintain and to increase your honour, and the rights and privileges of your Church. Given at Sens, the 28th of February."


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