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1359 [1359]

K. Henry. 8. The Epistle of Volusianus, for Priestes Mariage.

qui futura prospicere valeamus. Quando huc ventum est, vt legi resistere nequeas, melius est nubere quam vri. &c. That is: We beleue that you in so doing, folow no sinister counsell, in that you chuse to be maryed, when otherwise you are not able to lyue chaste. Albeit this coūsaile should haue come into your head before that you entered into Ecclesiasticall orders. But we are not all Gods, to foresee before, what shall happē hereafter. Now for somuch as the matter and case standeth so, that you are not able to resiste the law, better it is to mary then to burne. &c.

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All these premisses well considered, it shall suffice, I trust, though no more were sayd, to proue that this generall law and prohibition of Priestes mariage pretētended to be so auncient, is of no such great tyme, nor long continuance of yeares, as they make it, but rather to be a late deuised doctrine gendered by the Monkes, and grounded vpon no reason, law, nor Scripture, but that certeine, whiche be repyners agaynst the truth, do racke and wrast a few places out of Doctours and ij. or iij. Councels for their pretensed purpose. Whose obiections and blynd cauillations, I as professing here but to wryte storyes, referre to the further discussion of Diuines: in whose bookes thys matter is more at large to be sought and searched. In the meane seasō, so much as apperteyneth to the search of tymes & antiquitie, & to the conseruation of such Actes & monuments as are behoueable for the Churche, I thought hereunto not vnprofitable to be adioyned a certeyne Epistle learned and auncient, MarginaliaVolusianus Byshop of Carthage.of Volusianus Bishop somtimes of Carthage, belōging to þe defēce of priests lawful wedlocke 

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What follows, regarding the letters attributed to Volusuanus, a non-existent fourth century bishop Carthage, is extremely confusing and has hitherto never been properly teased out, although Catherine Hall has made an invaluable contribution to solving the puzzle. During the eleventh century, letters were composed under the name of the revered and relatively recently deceased St. Ulric, a tenth-century bishop of Augsburg. The purpose of these was to provide a historical (or pseudo-historical) justification for the marriage of priests. These letters were widely disseminated throughout Europe and accepted as genuine writings of St. Ulric. (See 'Pseudo-Udalrici epistola de continentia clericorum', ed. L von Heineman in Libelli de lite Imperatorum et Pontificum Saeculis 11-12, I, pp. 255-60 (Monumenta Germaniae Historia) and E. Frauenknecht, Die Verteidigung der Priesterehe in der Reformzeit (Hanover, 1997), pp. 70, 176-80 and 303-15). In the fifteenth century, the humanist scholar Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (later Pope Pius II) came across one of these letters and described it as denunciation of clerical celibacy written by St. Ulric. Piccolomini's description of the letter brought it back into prominence and it was seized upon by Protestants. The letter was printed both by Luther and Robert Barnes. (See Catherine Hall, 'The One-Way Trail: Some Observations on CCC MS 101 and G&CC MS 427', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographic Society 11 [1998], p. 276). In 1556, Matthias Flacius printed the letter and identified Ulric as the author and Pope Nicholas I as the recipient (Catalogus testium veritatis [Basel, 1556], pp. 101-9). Bale, following Flacius, referred to the letter as the work of St. Ulric in his Scriptorum Illustrium maioris Brytanniae…Catalogus (Basel, 1557), p. 118. Yet in a letter to Matthew Parker of 30 July 1560, Bale stated that he, Barnes and other scholars had been 'foully deceyved' by Picclomini's attribution of the letter to Ulric. Now Bale postulated that the letter had been written by a Bishop Gulderic of Utrecht. (CUL MS Add 7489, fo. 4r - NB the Latin for Ulric is Uldericus or Huldericus). What had changed Bale's mind? Almost certainly it was the Catholic polemicist Frederic Staphylus, who pointed out in 1559, that Nicholas I and St. Ulric were not contemporaries. (Ulric was bishop of Augsburg from 924-73 while Nicholas I was pope from 858-67). On this basis, Staphylus denounced the letter as a forgery (Fredericus Staphylus, Defensio pro trimembri theologica M. Lutheri contra aedificationes Babylonicae turris [Augsburg, 1559], sigs. b4r-C1r). Apparently Staphylus's uncomfortably accurate observation inspired Bale to come up with his identification of Bishop Guldericus of Utrecht as the real author of the letter. Unfortunately there was no bishop named Guldericus in Utrecht in the relevant time period. However, sometime between his letter to Parker and his death, Bale discovered a manuscript which had belonged to the monastery of St. Augustine's, Canterbury and is now Gonville and Caius MS 427 (Hall, 'One-way trail', p. 274). This manuscript contained copies of two letters, both supporting clerical marriage and both attributed to the fictitious Bishop Volusianus of Carthage. The first of these letters was the one that Picclomini had discovered and Flacius had printed, and which both scholars had attributed to Ulric. Bale triumphantly concluded that the letters that he had found were both authentic and both written by Volusianus. Bale also, as Foxe declared, gave the manuscript to Matthew Parker (1570, p. 1320). Parker, however, did not do anything with Bale's discovrery for a number of years and Foxe apparently did not know of it. Instead, Foxe reprinted Flacius's version of the letter, with a translation, in the 1563 edition, attributing it to Ulric (1563, pp. 385-88). Unfortunately, in subsequent editions of the A&M, the Flacius version of the letter continued to be reprinted and atrtributed to Ulric (This letter is reprinted from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1562), pp. 101-9), creating considerable confusion.

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In 1566, Nicholas Harpsfield repeated Staphylus's criticisms (Nicholas Harpsfield, Dialogi sex [Antwerp, 1566], pp. 146-52). Apparently in response to this, Parker had the pseudo-Volusianus letters printed from the manuscript Bale had given him (Epistolae duae D. Volusiani…[London, 1569], STC 24872). At first Foxe seems to have been unaware of the letters attributed to Volusianus when he began the 1570 edition, since he reprinted the letter attributed to Ulric from Flacius. But Parker eventually loaned Foxe Bale's manuscript of the two letters and Foxe included them in the A&M. He also referred the reader back to his earlier translation of the first letter and supplied his own translation of the second letter. And, where Bale and Parker maintained that the letters were sent to Nicolas I, Foxe argued that they were sent to Nicholas II.

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Thomas S. Freeman

, whiche Æneas Syluius in Descriptione Germaniæ, also Illyricus in Catal. and Melancth. Lib. De coniugio, do father vpō MarginaliaHulderichus Byshop of Augusta, about the yeare of our Lorde, 00.Hulderichus Bishop of Augusta in the tyme of Pope Nicolas 2. but as I find it in an olde written example 
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Gonville & Caius MS 427.

, sent by Iohn Bale to the right reuerend in the Lord, Math. Archbyshop of Canterbury, as it is ioyned in the same booke, so it beareth also þe same title & name of Volusianus Byshop of Carthage: ioynyng also withall, an other Latine Epistle, whiche perhappes hath not bene sene in Print before. The Copyes of whiche both Epistles, as beyng pertinent to the purpose present, here vnder ensue in forme as foloweth.

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¶ The Epistle in Latin 
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This is reprinted from Epistolae duae D. Volusiani…(London, 1569), STC 24872, pp. 1-12.

of Volusianus, or as some thinke, of Hulderichus Byshop of Augusta, to Pope Nicolas, agaynst the forbyddyng of Priestes Mariage.
Epistola Volusiani Carthanigensis Episcopi ad Nicolaum Romanorum Episcopum.

Hæc est reseriptio Volusiani Carthanigēsis Episcopi, in qua Papæ Nicolao de continentia clericorum, nō iustè sed impiè, nec canonicè, sed indiscretè tractanti ità respondit.

Nicolao Domino & patri peruigili sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Prouisori, Volusianus solo nomine Episcopus, amorem vt filius, timorem vt seruus.

MarginaliaThe epistle of Volusianus, or as some say, of Hulderichus, to the Pope, in defence of priestes mariage.CVm tua, ô Pater & Domine, decreta super clericorum cōtinentia nuper mihi transmissa, à discretione inuenirem aliena, timor me turbauit cum tristitia. Timor quidem propter hoc, quòd dicitur, pastoris sententia, siue iusta siue iniusta, timenda est. Timebam enim infirmis Scripturæ auditoribus, qui vel iustæ vix obediunt sententiæ, ne iniustam conculcantes liberè, onerosa, imò importabili pastoris præuaricatione præcepti, se obligarent. Tristitia verò vel compassio, dum cōsiderabā, qua ratione membra cauere possent, capite suo tam graui morbo laborante. Quid enim grauius quid totius Ecclesiæ compassione dignius, quàm te summæ sedis Pontificem, ad quem totius Ecclesiæ spectat examen, à sancta discretione vel minimum exorbitare? Nō parū quippe ab hac deniasti, cum clericos, quos ad abstinentiam coniugij monere debebas, ad hanc imperiosa quadā violētia cogi volebas. Nunquid enim meritò communi omnium sapientum iudicio hæc est violentia, cum contra Euangelicam institutionem, ac sancti Spiritus dictationem, ad priuata aliquis decreta cogitur exequenda?

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Cum ergo plurima veteris ac noui Testamenti supperant exempla, sanctam (vt nosti) discretionem docētia, tuæ rogo negraue sit paternitati, vel pauca ex pluribus huic paginæ interseri. Dominus quidē in veteri lege sacerdoti coniugiū constituit, quod illi postmodū interdixisse non legitur. Sed idē in Euāgelio loquitur: Sunt eunuchi, qui se castrauerunt propter regnum cœlorum, sed non omnes hoc verbum capiunt: qui potest capere, capiat. MarginaliaMath. 19 

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Matt. 19: 12

.Qua propter Apostolus quoq; ait: De virginibus præceptū Domini non habeo, cōsilium autē do. Marginalia1. Cor. 7 
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1 Cor. 7: 25.

.
Qui etiam iuxta prædictum Domini, non omnes hoc consilium capere posse considerās, sed multos eiusdē consilij assentatores, hominibus, non Deo, pro falsa specie continentiæ placere volentes, grauiora vides committere, patrum scilicet vxores subagitare, masculorum ac pecudum amplexus non abhorrere: ne morbi huius aspersione adusq̀ pestilentiam conualescente, nimium status labefactetur Ecclesiæ totius: Propter fornicationem, dixit, vnusquisq̀ suam vxorem habeat. MarginaliaScriptura per peraui intellecta.Quod specialiter ad laicos pertinere, ijdem mentiūtur hypocritæ: qui licet in quouis sanctissimo ordine constituti, alienis tamen vxoribus non dubitant abuti. Et quod flendo cernimus, omnes in supradictis sæuiūt sceleribus. Hi nimirum non rectè Scripturam intellexerunt, cuius mamillam quia durius pressere, sanguinem pro lacte biberunt. Nam illud Apostolicū: Vnusquisq̀ suam habeat vxorem, MarginaliaDurius præmendo sanguis elicitur.nullum excipit verè, nisi professorem continentiæ, vel eū qui de continuanda in Domino virginitate præfixit.

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Quod nihilominus tuā, Pater venerande, condecet strenuitatem, vt omnē qui tibi manu vel ore votū faciens cōtinentiæ, postea voluerit apotatare, aut ad votū exequēdum ex debito constringas, aut ab omni ordine, canonica autoritate deponas: & hoc vt viriliter implere sufficias, me omnesq̀ mei ordinis viros adiutores habebis non pigros. Verùm vt huius voti nescios omninò scias non esse cogendos, audi Apostolū dicentem ad Timoth 

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1 Tim. 3: 2.

: Oportet (inquit) Episcopum irreprehensibilem esse, vnius vxoris virum. MarginaliaTitus. 2.Quā sententiam ne quis ad solā Ecclesiam verteret, subiunxit: Qui autem domui sua praesse nescit, quomodo Ecclesia Dei diligentiam habebit? Similter inquit: Diaconi sint vnius vxoris viri, qui filijs suis bene prasint, & suis domibus. Hanc autem vxorem a sacerdote benedicendam esse, sancti Syluestri Papæ decretis scio te sufficienter docuisse. His & huiusmodi sanctæ Scripturæ sententijs, Regulæ clericorum scriptor non immeritò concordans, ait: Clericus sit pudicus, aut certè vnius matrimonij vinculo fœderatus. Ex quibus omnibus veraciter colligit, quòd Episcopus & Diaconus reprehensibiles notantur, si in mulieribus multis diuiduntur. Si verò vnam sub obtentu religionis abijciunt, vtrunq̀, scilicet Episcopum & Diaconum, sine graduum differentia, hic Canonica damnat sententia: MarginaliaCan. Apost. 5.Episcopus aut Præsbyter vxorem propriam nequaquam sub obtentu religionis abijciat. si verò reiecerit, excommunicetur: MarginaliaIf thys rule of S. Austen be true, better it is for the papists, to admitte the mariage of priestes, then that adulterie, Sodomitrie, & other like incōueniāces shoulde followe, as they do.& si perseuerauerit, deijciatur. Sanctus quoq̀ Augustinus, sanctæ discretionis non inscius: Nullum, inquit, tam graue facinus est, quin admittendum sit, vt deuitetur peius.

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Legimus præterea in secundo Tripartitæ Ecclesiasticæ libro historiæ, quòd cum Synodus Nicæna hæc eadem vellet sancire decreta, vt videlicet Episcopi, Præsbyteri, Diaconi, post consecrationem à proprijs vxoribus vel omninò abstinerent, vel gradū deponerēt: surgens in medio Paphnutius, (ex illis Martyribus quos Maximus Imperator, oculis eorum dextris euulsis, & sinistris suris incisis, damnauit) contradixit, honorabiles confessus nuptias, ac castitatem esse dicens connubium cum propria vxore: persuasitq̀ Cōcilio ne talem ponerent legē: grauē asserens essem causā, quæ aut ipsis, aut eorū cōiugibus occasio fornicationis existeret. Et hæc quidē Paphnuti9, licet nuptiarū expers, exposuit: Synodusq̀ eius sententiam laudauit, & nihil ex hac parte sanciuit, sed hoc in vniuscuisq̀ voluntate, non in necessitate dimisit.

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Sunt verò aliqui, qui sanctum Gregorium suæ sectæ sumūt adiutorem: quorum quidem temeritatem rideo, ignorantiā doleo. Ignorāt enim, quòd periculosum huius hæc decretum à S. Gregorio factum, condigno pœnitentiæ fruct postmodum ab eodem sit purgatum. MarginaliaVj. M. Infantes heades foūd in Gregories pondes.Quippè cùm die quadam in viuarium suum propter pisces misisset, & allata inde plus quā sex milia infantum capita videret, intima mox ductus pœnitentia ingemuit, & factum à se de abstinentia decretum, tantæ cædis causam confessus, condigno illud, vt dixi, pœnitentiæ fructu purgauit: suoq; decreto prorsus damnato, Apostolicū illud laudauit consilium: Melius est nubere quam vri: Marginalia1. Cor. 7. 

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1 Cor. 7: 38.

addens ex sua parte: Melius est nubere, quam mortis occasionem præbere. Hunc forsitan rei euentum si illi mecum legissent, non tam temerè, credo, iudicarent, Dominicum saltem timente, præceptum 
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Matt. 7: 1.

:
Nolite iudicare, vt non iudicemini. MarginaliaMath. 7.Inde Paulus dicit 
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Rom. 14: 4.

:
Tu quis es, qui indicas alienum seruum? suo Domino stat, aut cadit. Stabit autem: potens est enim Dominus statuere illum. MarginaliaRom. 14.Cesse ergo sanctitas tua cogere, quos tantùm deberet admonere: ne priuato (quod absit) præcepto, tam veteri quàm nouo cōtrarius inueniaris testamēto. MarginaliaAugustinus.Nam, vt ait sanctus Augustinus ad Donatum: Solum est quòd in tua iusticia pertimescimus, ne non

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