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1368 [1368]

K. Henry. 8. Allegations against the vj. Articles. Priestes Mariage.

These ij. Epistles 

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In the pages which follow, Foxe is arguing that the recipient of the letters of Volusianus was not Pope Nicholas I, as Bale, Matthias Flacius and Parker maintained, but Nicholas II. Foxe bases his argument on the fact that Nicholas I (858-867) was pope before the drive for clerical celibacy took place, whereas the pontificate of Nicholas II (1058-1061) took place when the Gregorian reform was at its height.

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written to Pope Nicolas vnder the title of Volusianus, giueth vs to vnderstand by the contentes therof, first that he hym selfe was then a maryed Byshop.

Secondly, that þe libertie of Priestes Mariage ought not to bee restrayned by any generall lawe of compulsion: but to be left to euery mans free choyse & voluntary deuotion.

Thirdly, the sayd Epistles beyng written to Pope Nicolas (if the title be true) declare, that thys law prohibityng the lawfull matrimonye of Churchmen, begā first in this Popes tymes generally to bee enacted.

And although it be not here expressed whiche Pope Nicolas this was, yet by the circumstaunce of tyme, & especially by þe wordes of Pope Alexāder 2. Dist. 32. Præter, MarginaliaDist. 32. Præ may probablye be estemed to be Nicolas. 2. and not Nicolas þe first, as some do suppose, amongest whom is Illyricus 

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Matthis Flacius, the author of the Catalogus testium veritatis, was from what had been the Roman province of Illyria (now Croatia) and was thus known as Illyricus.

in Centur. 9. cap. 10. MarginaliaFlac, Illyric. Cētur. 9. cap. 10.and also Ioh. Bale, De Scriptoribus Cent. 2. MarginaliaIoā Baleus, De scriptorib9 Centur. 2.with certein other: frō whose iudgementes although I am loth to dissent, yet notwithstandyng modestly & frely to vtter herein my opiniō, this I suppose, þt if the truth of this matter were throughly tryed, it might peraduenture be founde, that they be herein deceaued, and all by mistakyng a certein place of Gracian. MarginaliaA doubt discussed, whether thys Nicolas was. 1.or 2. to whom Volusianus wrote.For the better explanation whereof, here is to be vnderstāded, that amongest þe distinctions of Gracian there is a constitution, Dist. 32. Nullus, MarginaliaDist. 32. Nullus.the tenour whereof is this: Nullus Missam audiat præsbyteri, quem scit concubinam indubitanter habere, aut subintroductam mulierem. &c. That is, That no man shall heare Masse of any Priest, whom hee knoweth vndoubtedly to haue a concubine, or a womā priuely resorting to him. &c. This Decree for asmuch as Gracian doth alledge vnder þe name and title of Pope Nicolas, not namyng what Nicolas he was, therefore Iohn Bale, and Illyricus one folowyng the other, and they both folowing Volaterane lib. 22. MarginaliaVolateran. Lib. vouche this constitution vpō Nicolas the first. The wordes of Volateran be these, writyng of Nicolas. 1. Multa hic vtilia constituit, inter quæ, nequis concubinam habēti præsbytero aut sacrificanti interesset, vt testatur Gracianus, &c.

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In lyke effect folow also the woordes of Illyricus aforesayd: Decretum fecit ne quis a Sacerdote Sacramenta suscipiat, quem sciret habere concubinam, seu vxorem, and alleageth as Volaterane doth, the sayd Distinct. of Gracian, Distinct. 32. Nullus. In alleaging wherof both they seeme to bee deceaued, mistakyng belyke one Nicolas for an other, as may be proued and made good by iij. or iiij. reasons.

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Fyrst, by the wordes of Pope Alexander. 2. 

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Words of Pope Alexander II
Foxe text Latin

Præter hoc autem ... ductam non reliquerit, &c.


J. Barrie Hall

From an ancient martyrology of the church of Canterbury

Besides this, moreover, we command by our precept that no one should hear mass from a presbyter whom he knows without doubt to have a concubine or a woman secretly introduced. Whence also the holy synod has decreed this chapter under excommunication, saying: Whoever among priests, deacons, subdeacons since the constitution of our holy predecessor Pope Leo of blessed memory, and of Nicholas, concerning the chastity of the clergy has openly taken a concubine or has not left one already taken, etc.

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To you making enquiry whether you ought or ought not to receive communion from a priest who has been taken in adultery or has merely been stained with rumour concerning this, our reply is: No one, however polluted he be, can pollute the divine sacraments which stand as purgatory of all contagions, etc.

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in the nexte Chapter following, MarginaliaDist. 32. Præter.who being the successour of Leo, and Nicolas 2. vseth the same wordes in his Synode of Mantua (whiche Gracian referreth vnto Nicolas) and prosecuteth the same more amplye and fully, MarginaliaThe first reason to proue thys Nicolas to whom Volusianus wrote, to be Nicolas. 2.alledgyng moreouer the former constitution of both hys predecessours Pope Leo, and Nicolas: whiche by all storyes are knowen to be Leo 9. & Nicolas 2. which both were next before him. The wordes of Alexander 2. be these: MarginaliaThe constitution of Pope Alexāder. 2. against priestes mariage.Præter hoc autem præcipiendo mandamus, vt nullus Missam audiat præsbyteri quem scit concubinam habere indubitanter, vel subintroductam mulierem, vnde etiam sancta Synodus hoc capitulum sub excōmunicatione statuit, dicens: Quicunq; Sacerdotum, Diaconorum, Subdiaconorum, post cōstitutū beatæ memoriæ prædecessoris nostri sancti Leonis Papæ, & Nicolai, de castitate clericorū concubinā palam duxerit, vel ductam non reliquerit, &c. By the whiche wordes speakyng of Nicolas hys predecessor, it is euident to vnderstand thys to be Pope Nicolas 2. which was hys next predecessor, and not Pope Nicolas the first, who was about. 200. yeares before hym.

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MarginaliaThe 2. reason.The second reason, I take out of the next Chapter of Gracian goyng before, where he alledgeth agayne þe same Nicolas writyng to Otho Archbyshop. Whiche Otho was then in the tyme of this Nicolas 2. Archbyshop of Colen, and was afterward in the Councell of Mantua vnder Pope Alexander 2. teste Ioan. Quintio Iureconsulto. MarginaliaEx Ioā. Quintio In speculo Sacerdotij.Wherby it must nedes bee graūted, that this was Nicolas the second, and not the first.

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MarginaliaThe thyrd reason.The thyrd coniecture or reason is this, for that pope Nicolas the first neuer made any such Acte or Decree, that Priestes that were entangled with a concubine, should neither sing Masse, nor that any should resorte to heare the Masse of such. &c. but rather the contrary. For so we read in þe historie of Antoninus, MarginaliaAntoninus Part. 2. tit. 16.and in the Decrees, 15. q. 8. Sciscitantibus. Sciscitantibus vobis si a sacerdote qui fuerit comprehensus in adulterio, siue de hoc sola fama resperserit, debeatis cōmunionem suscipere, nec ne, respōdenius: Non potest aliquis quantumcunq; pollutus sit, Sacramenta diuina polluere, quæ purgatoria cunctarum contagionum existunt. &c.

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And yet more playnlye also afterwarde hee saith: MarginaliaDist. 18. Consulendam.Consulendum decernitis vtrum præsbyterum habentem vxorem debeatis sustentare & honorare, an a vobis proijcere? In quo respondemus, quoniam licet ipsi valde sint reprehensibiles, vos tamen conuenit Deum imitari, qui solem suū oriri facit super bonos, & malos, deijcere enim a vobis eos nō debetis. Dist. 18. Cōsulendum. &c. MarginaliaEx Antonino ibidem.That is: Where ye demaunde concernyng the Priest that hath a wyfe, whether ye ought to susteyne hym, and honour hym, or reiecte hym from you, we aunswere: That albeit they be very much blame worthy, yet ye ought to bee folowers of God, whiche maketh his sonne to rise both vpon the good, and vpō the bad. And therfore ye ought not to reiect such, away from you, &c. And this Nicolas, Antoninus confesseth playnly to be Nicolas the first. Wherby it is not onely vnlyke, but also most certayne that Nicolas the first was not the father of this constitution, either to exterminate maryed Priestes from their Churches, or to excommunicate the people from receauyng their cōmunion, much lesse then from hearyng their seruice.

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MarginaliaThe fourth reason out of the words of Volusianus.Fourthly, for as much then as it is vndoubted that Nicolas 2. and Alexander the 2. throughe the instigation of wicked Hildebrand, were the authors of that constitution wherof Gracian speaketh, it remayneth playne by the wordes of Volusianus in the latter ende of hys letter (wherein he maketh mention both of dischargyng the Priest frō singyng Masse, and the people from hearyng) that the sayd Epistle was written not to Pope Nicolas the first, but to the 2. for because both these were Decreed agaynst maryed Priestes vnder Nicolas 2. and Alexander 2. as is afore declared.

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And further, lest my iudgement herein should seme to stand alone & singular, wtout some to take my part, I will here produce for me a Parisian Doctor, & a famous lawyer Ioānes Quintius aboue mēcioned, who in his booke De Clericorū moribus, MarginaliaEx testimonio Ioan. Quintij De Clericorū moribus.playnly accordeth with myne opiniō, touchyng this Nicolas author of the Decree aforesayd, where he writeth in this wordes: Nicolaus Papa Othoni Coloniēsi Archiepisc. &c. Quinque fuerunt hoc nomine pontifices. Primū, secundumuè oportuit esse, qui hæc rescripserit, ille Roma nus. an. 860. hic Burgūdus, an: 1059. Reliquos Nicolaos antecessit Gracianus, qui scripsit hæc, anno. 1150. Posteriorē fuisse credo, qui in Pannomiæ lib. 3. Tit. de lapsis, nominatur Nicolaus iunior, cuius est & aliud decretum sequens. &c. MarginaliaThe author of thys booke of Pānomiæ, was Iue Carpotensis, in which booke he complyled diuers Canons of Popes and Byshops.That is to say in Englishe: Pope Nicolas writyng to Otho Archbyshop of Colen. Glos. There haue bene in all, v. Popes called by this name of Nicolas. Of the whiche v. this Nicolas the writer hereof must be either the first, or second: the one a Romane, an. 860. the other a Burgūdian, an. 1059. or. 1060. The other Nicolas lyued after Gratian, who wrote, in the yeare. 1150. In my iudgement I suppose this to be Nicolas the second, whiche in the thyrd booke of the lawes called Pannomiæ Tit. de lapsis, is named Nicolas the yonger. Whiche

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