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1250 [1250]

K. Henry. 8. The Byshops booke agaynst the Pope.

was many hundreth yeres after Christ, before he could acquire or gette any primacie or gouernaunce aboue any other Bishopes, out of hys prouince in Italie: sithe the which tyme he hath euer vsurped more and more. And though some parte of his power was gyuen vnto hym by the consent of the Emperours, Kynges, and Princes, and by the consent also of the clergie in generall Councelles assembled: yet surely he atteyned the most part therof by meruaylous subtilitie and craft, and specially by colludyng with great kynges and princes, somtyme trayninge them into his deuotion by pretence and colour of holynes and sanctimonie, and somtyme constraynyng them by force and tyranny. MarginaliaHow the Byshop of Rome rose by ambition.Wherby the sayde Bishopes of Rome aspired and arose at length vnto such greatnes in strength and authoritie, that they presumed and toke vpon them to be heades, and to put lawes by their owne auctoritie, not onlye vnto all other Bishops within Christendome, but also vnto the Emperours, Kynges, and other the Princes and Lordes of the world, and that vnder the pretense of the authoritie committed vnto them by the Gospel. Wherein the said Bishopes of Rome do not onelye abuse and peruerte the true sense and meaning of Christes worde: but they do also cleane contrarye to the vse and custome of the primitiue Church: and also do manifestlye violate, as well the holy Canons made in the Church immediately after the tyme of the Apostles, as also the decrees and constitutions made in that behalfe, by the holy Fathers of the catholike Church, assembled in the first generall Coūcels: 

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The first eight general councils were 1) the first council of Nicaea (325); 2) the first council of Constantinople (381); 3) the council of Ephesus (431); 4) the council of Chalcedon (451); 5) the second council of Constantinople (553); 6) the third council of Constantinople (680-1); 7) the second council of Nicaea (787); and 8) the fourth council of Constantinople (869).

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MarginaliaFyrst, the generall Councell of Nice decreed, that the Patriarkes of Alexandria, and Antiochia, should haue lyke power ouer the countreyes about those Cities, as the Bishops of Rome had ouer the countreys about Rome.
In the Councell of Mileuitane, it was dereed, that if a clerke of Aphrike would appeale out of Aphricke, vnto any byshop beyond the sea, hee shoulde be taken as a person excommunicate.
In the generall Councell of Constantinople the first, it was lykewyse decreed, that euerye cause betwene any persons, should be determined within the prouinces hwere the matters did lye: and that no bishop shoulde exercise any power out of hys owne dioces or prouince. And thys was also the minde4 of holy S. Cyprian, and of other holy men of Aphrica.
To conclude therfore, the Pope hath no such primacie geuen hym, eyther by the wordes of Scripture, or by any generall Councell, nor by cōmon cōsent of the holy catholicke church.
and finally they do transgresse their own profession, made in their creation. For al the Bishopes of Rome alwayes when they be consecrated and made Byshopes of that see, do make a solemne professiō and vowe, that they shall inuiolably obserue and kepe all the ordināces made in the eight fyrst generall councels: amonge the whiche it is specially prouided and enacted that all causes shall be fynished and determined within the prouince where the same be begon, and that by the Bishopes of the same prouince: and that no Bishop shall exercyse any iurisdiction out of his own diocese or prouince. And diuers such other Canons were then made and confirmed by the sayd Councels, to represse & take away out of the Church, all such primacye and iurisdiction ouer Kynges and Byshopes, as the Bishopes of Rome pretend now to haue ouer the same. And we fynde that diuers good fathers byshopes of Rome dyd greatly reproue, yea and abhorre (as a thing cleane cōtrary to the Gospell, and the decrees of the Churche) MarginaliaConcilium tertium Cartheginense, cap. 26.þt any Bishop of Rome, or els where, should presume, vsurpe, or take vpon hym the tytle and name of the vniuersal bishop, or of the head of all priests, or of the highest prieste, or any suche lyke title. MarginaliaGregorius lib. 4. epistolarum indictione 13. epi. 23.For confirmation wherof, it is out of al doubte, that there is no mencion made, neyther in Scripture, neyther in the wrytinges of any autenticall Doctour or Autour of the Churche, being within the tyme of the Apostles, that Christ did euer make or institute, anye distinction or difference to be in the preeminence of power, order, or iurisdiction, betwene the Apostles them selues, or betwene þe bishopes thē selues: but that they were all equall in power, order, authoritie, and iurisdictiō. And that there is now and syth the tyme of the Apostles, any suche diuersitie, or difference amonge the Bishops, it was deuysed by the auncient fathers of the primitiue Churche, for the preseruation of good order and vnitie of the catholicke Church, and that either by the consent and authoritie, or els at þe least by the permission and sufferance of the Princes and ciuill powers for the tyme rulynge. &c.

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And shortly after followeth: And for the better confirmation of this parte, we thinke it also conuenient, that all Byshops and preachers shal instruct and teache the people committed vnto their spirituall charge, that Christ dyd by expresse wordes prohibite, that none of his Apostles or any of their successours, should vnder the pretense of the autoritie gyuen vnto thē by Christ, take vpon them the authoritie of the sworde, that is to say, the authoritie of kynges, or of any ciuill power in this worlde, yea or any authoritie to make lawes or ordinances in causes appertaynyng vnto ciuill powers. Trouth it is, that priestes and byshops may execute al such temporall power and iurisdiction, as is committed vnto them by the ordinance and authoritie of kynges or other ciuill powers, and by the consent of the people (as Officers and Ministers vnder the said kynges and powers) so longe as it shall please the sayd kynges and people to permitte and suffre thē so to vse and execute the same. Notwithstandinge if any bishop, of what estate or dignitie so euer he be, be he byshop of Rome, or of any other Citie, Prouince, or Dioces, do presume, or take vpon hym authoritie or iurisdiction, in causes or matters which appertaine vnto kings and the ciuill powers and their courtes, & will maintaine or thinke, that he may so do by the authoritie of Christ and his gospell, although the kynges and princes wold not permitte & suffre him so to do: no doubt that bishop is not worthy to be called a bishop, MarginaliaThe bishop of Rome iudged to be a Tirāne and vsurper.but rather a Tyranne and an vsurper of other mens rightes, cōtrary to the lawes of God, and is worthy to be reputed none otherwyse, than he that goeth about to subuerte the kyngdome of Christ. For the kyngdome of Christe in his church is a spirituall, and not a carnall kyngedome of the worlde, that is to saye, the very kyngdome that Christ by hym selfe or by his Apostels and Disciples, sought here in this worlde, was to bringe all nations from the carnall kyngdome of the Prince of darcknes, vnto the lyght of his spirituall kyngdome, and so to reigne hym selfe in the hartes of people by grace, fayth, hope, and charitie. And therfore, syth Christ dyd neuer seeke nor exercise any worldly kyngdome or dominion in this world, but rather refusinge and flying from the same, dyd leaue the sayd worldly gouernance of kyngdomes, realmes, and nations, to be gouerned by princes and potentates (in lyke maner as he dyd fynde them) and cōmaunded also his Apostles and Disciples to do the semblable, as it was sayd before: what soeuer priest or byshop will arrogate or presume vpon hym any such authoritie, and will pretend the authoritie of the Gospell for his defence therin, he doth nothyng els, but (in maner, as you would say) crowneth Christ againe with a crowne of thorne, and traduceth & bryngeth him forth agayne with his mantell of purpure vpon his backe, to be mocked and scorned of the world, as the Iewes dyd to thire owne damnation.

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This doctrine was subscribed & allowed by the witnes and testimonie of these Byshops and other learned men, whose names here vnder folow, as appeareth in the Byshops booke forenamed.

¶ Testes.

MarginaliaTestimonyes of bishops of England agaynst the Pope.Thomas Cātuarien.
Edouardus Ebor.
Iohannes London.
Cuthbertus Dunel.
Stephanus Winton.
Robertus Carliolen.
Ioannes Exon.
Ioannes Lincoln.
Ioannes Bathonien.
Rolandus Couen. &
Thomas Elien.
Nicolaus Sarum.
Ioannes Bangor.

Edouardus Herefor.
Hugo Wigornien.
Ioannes Roffen.
Ricardus Cicestren.
Guliel. Norwicen.
Guilielmus Menenē.
Robertus Assauen.
Robertus Landauē.

Ricardus, Wolman
Archdiaco. Sudbur.
Guilielmus Knight,
Arch. Richmōd.
Ioannes Bell, Arch.

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