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1157 [1156]

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

or by our ministerie. Which if you graunt to be so, then the Lord would neuer haue spoken so to his Disciples and the people, touching the Phariseis, saying 

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Matt. 23: 3.

: What so euer they byd you obserue, that obserue and do.

MarginaliaMath. 23. And againe, if it were so, the Lord would not haue sent forth Iudas, whom he knewe should betray hym, with the other Disciples to preache, neither would haue committed to him the power of working myracles, & of geuyng health, nor admitted hym to the Communion of the Supper. MarginaliaThe wickednes of the Ministers make not the ministerye worse. And if our impurity shoulde infect our holy misteries or ministrations, and make them woorse that heare and receiue the same, then the Lorde would neuer haue touched the Leper whom he had healed, neyther woulde he haue kyssed hym, neyther woulde haue eaten with Symon an other Leper, neyther would haue suffered his feete to be kyssed, & with the teares to be washed and with the heare to be dried, and his head to be annoynted of Mary the synner.

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Therefore the holy Canons haue thus decreed, that no man whiche rightly receyueth the Lordes Sacramentes of an heretique, shoulde be therfore any thyng corrupted by his hereticall prauitie, nor the saide Sacramentes shoulde be any whytte distayned by the infection of hym. Whereuppon the Church of Rome in a certeine Epistle directed vnto Anastasius the Emperour, by Anastasius the Pope, did so ordeyne & write, that none of al them whom Acatius dyd baptise, or whō he ordeyned Canonically to be priestes or Leuites, should be any thing hurt by the name of the saide Acatius: so that thereby the Sacramentes whiche by him were ministred, should seeme the lesse firme and effectual. For the sacrament of Baptisme also beyng ministred of an adulterer or a theefe (which God forefend to be in the Church) doth come vnto the receyuer neuer a whyt the woorse. What ment that voyce which sounded by the Doue, but that it excluded al euyl and impuritie of the corruption of man? in the which it is declared and said 

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John 1: 33.

: This is he whiche baptiseth. &c. MarginaliaMath. 3. For if the beames of this visible Sunne passing by the filthye places receiue no spotte of filthynes thereby, much more the grace of hym which made this visible Sunne, is not tyed to any woorthynes of our workes. What soeuer therfore any minister of the Church worketh in his function to the behoofe of the people, all that taketh his effect by the operation of God. Thus witnesseth Paul by whom Christ speaketh 
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1 Cor. 3: 6.

: I haue planted, and Apollo hath watered, but it is the Lord that hath geuē the encrease. Marginalia1. Cor. 3. God regardeth not so much, who or what maner of person dooth preache, but that he so preache, that he may confirme them that be nought, and cause thē to preach well of Christ. For such is the operation of Gods mighty grace, that by euyll men he wynneth good men, and by reprobate and wicked persons he getteth and gathereth together those that be good.

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By these and suche other reasons and authorityes aboue alleged, you ought to be perswaded, neyther to abandon vs that be marryed, from the administration of diuine seruice, nor yet to excommunicate suche, to whom the matter nothing perteyneth, from the communion thereof. And if we be euyl, we are euyll to our selues, and hurt our selues more then others. And suche as you suppose peraduenture to be vitious, yet may haue some good thing inwardly whiche you knowe not of.

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For many there be whom you iudge to be incontinent, which lyue more chastly then they whom you so greatly extoll for their continencie. We that haue wyues, according to the Apostles mynde 

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1 Cor. 7: 29.

, so haue them as though we had them not. Marginalia1. Cor. 7. Which gyft of continencie for as muche as you can not geue vs, pray therfore with vs and for vs, that he wil geue it vnto vs, who only is the geuer therof, and without whō no man is able to lyue continently. For otherwise we can not haue it, vnles we pray vnto hym frō the botome of our hartes, who is knowen to be the authour and geuer therof. And this same (saith Salomon) 
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Wisdom 8: 21.

is wisdome, to knowe whose gyfte it is: MarginaliaSap. 8. neyther is there any gyft aboue this.

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These two 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, geueth vs to vnderstande by the contentes therof, first that he hym selfe was then a marryed Bishop.

Secondly, that the libertie of priestes Marriage ought not to bee restrayned by any generall Lawe, of compulsion: but to be left to euerye mans free choyse and voluntarye deuotion.

Thirdly the said Epistles being written to Pope Nicolas (if the title be true) declare, that this law prohibityng the lawfull matrimonie of Churchmen, began firste in this Popes tymes generally to be enacted.

And although it be not here expressed, whiche Pope Nicolas this was, yet by the circumstaunce of tyme, and especially by the wordes of Pope Alexander 2. Distinct. 32. 

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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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Præter, MarginaliaDist. 30. Præter. it may probably be esteemed to be Nicolas. 2. and not Nicolas the first, as some doo suppose, amongst 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.
Marginalia[illegible text] and also Iohn Bale, De Scriptoribus Cent. 2. Marginalia[illegible text] with certaine other: from whose iudgementes although I am loth to dissent, yet notwithstanding modestly and freely to vtter herein my opinion, this I suppose, that if þe truth of this matter were throughly tryed, it might peraduenture be founde, that they be herein deceyued, and all by mistakyng a certaine place of Gracian. MarginaliaA doubt discussed whether this Nicolas was. 1.or 2. to whom Volusianus wrote. For the better explanation wherof, here is to be vnderstanded, that amongst the distinctions of Gracian there is a constitution, Dist. 32. Nullus, MarginaliaDist. 32. Nullus. the tenour wherof 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 prieste, whom he knoweth vndoubtedly to haue a Concubine, or a woman priuily resortyng to hym. &c.

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This Decree for as much as Gracian doth allege vnder the name and title of Pope Nicolas, not namyng what Nicolas he was, therefore Iohn Bale and Illyricus, one folowyng the other, & they both folowing Volaterane Lib. 22. Marginalia[illegible text] do vouch this constitution vpon Nicolas the first. The wordes of Volateran be these, writing of Nicolas the first: Multa hic vtilia constituit, inter quæ, nequis Concubinam habēti præsbytero aut sacrificanti interesset, vt testatur Gracianus. &c.

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In like effecte folowe also the woordes of Illyricus aforesaide: Decretum fecit, ne quis a Sacerdote Sacramenta suscipiat,, quem sciret habere Concubinam, seu vxorem, and allegeth, as Volaterane dooth, the sayde Distinctin of, Graciam Distinct. 32. Nullus. In allegyng wherof both they seeme to be deceyued, mistaking belike one Nicolas for an other, as may be proued, and made good by three or foure reasons.

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First, by the wordes of Pope Alexander the second, in the nexte Chapter following, Marginalia[illegible text] who being the successour of Leo and Nicolas the second, vseth the same wordes in his Synode of Mantua (which Gracian referreth vnto Nicolas and prosecuteth the same more amply and fully, MarginaliaThe first reason to proue this Nicolas to whom Volusianus wrote, to be Nicolas. 2. alleging moreouer the former constitution of both his predecessours Pope Leo and Nicolas: whiche by all storyes are knowen to be Leo the nynth, & Nicolas the secōd, which both were nexte before hym. The woordes of Alexander 2. be these: MarginaliaThe constitution of Pope Alexander. 2. agaynst priestes mariage. Præter hoc autē præcipiendo mandamus, vt nullus Missam audiat præsbyteri quem scit Cōncubinam habere indubitanter, vel subintroductam mulierem, vnde etiam sancta Synodus hoc capitulum sub excommunicatione statuit, dicens: Quicunque Sacerdotum, diaconorum, Subdiaconorum, post cōstitutum beatæ memoriæ prædecessoris nostri sancti Leonis Papæ, et Nicolai, de castitate Clericorum, Concubinam palam duxerit, vel ductam non reliquerit, &c. By the whiche wordes speakyng of Nicolas his predecessor, it is euident to vnderstande this to be Pope Nicolas the seconde, which was his next predecessor, and not pope Nicolas the first, who was about. 200. yeares before hym.

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MarginaliaThe 2. reason. The seconde reason, I take out of the next Chapter of Gracian goyng before, where he allegeth agayne the same Nicolas writyng to Otho Archbishop. Which Otho was then in the tyme of this Nicolas the second Archbishop of Colen, and was afterwarde in the Councell of Mantua, vnder Pope Alexander 2. teste Ioan. Quintio, Iure consulto. MarginaliaEx Ioan. Quintio In speculo Sacerdotij. Wherby it must needes be graunted, that this was Nicolas the second, and not the first.

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MarginaliaThe thyrd reason The thyrde coniecture or reason is this, for that Pope Nicolas þe first neuer made any such Act or Decree, þt Priestes þt were entangled with a Concubine, should neyther sing Masse, nor that any should resort to heare the Masse of suche. &c, but rather the contrarye. For so we reade 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 Comunionem suscipere, nec ne, respondenius: Non potest aliquis quantumcunque pollutus sit, sacramenta diuina polluere, quæ Purgatoria cunctarum contagionum existunt. &c.

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And yet more playnely also afterwarde he sayth: MarginaliaDist. 18. Consulendam. Consulendum decernitis vtrum præsbyterum habentem vxorem debeatis sustentare et honorare, an a vobis proijcere? In quo respondemus, quoniam licet ipsi valde sint reprehensibiles, vos tamen conuenit Deum imitari, qui solem suum oriri facit super bonos et malos, deijcere enim a vobis eos nō debetis. Distinct. 18. Cōsulendum. &c. MarginaliaEx Antonino ibidem That is: Where ye demaunde concernyng the Prieste that hath a wyfe, whether ye ought to susteyne hym, and honour him, or reiecte hym from you, we answeare: That albeit they be verye muche blame worthy, yet ye ought to be folowers of God, whiche maketh his sunne to ryse both vpō the good, and vpon the badde. And therefore ye ought not to reiecte such away from you. &c.

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