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For later opinions, I shall content myself with quoting, first, the Pupilla Oculi. "Septem sunt ordines sive gradus: et sic loquendo de ordine, ut est sacramentum, et characterem imprimit;-prima tonsura non est ordo sed dispositio quædam ad ordinem.-Episcopatus autem non est ordo proprie, sed dignitas, sive excellentia in ordine, tum quia non imprimit characterem, tum etiam quia omnis ordo ordinatur ad sacramentum eucharistiæ." 38 And secondly, Lyndwood: "Ut volunt theologi quasi omnes, solum sunt septem ordines. Unde secundum eos, tonsura, quæ vocatur psalmistatus, non est ordo sed solum dispositio ad ordines: sic etiam episcopatus, secundum eos, non est ordo in quantum sacramentum, sed dignitas. Ordo namque sumitur
38 Pars. vij. cap. 1. C. The author of the " Manipulus curatorum," is decided against reckoning the tonsure as an order, but he continues; "De episcopatu vero utrum sit spiritualis ordo dubito." Lib. 5. Cap. ij. And Guillermus Parisiensis, de vij. sacramentis, draws a distinction similar to that laid down in the Pupilla, saying also, that the episcopate presupposes the priesthood, and depends upon it. fol. xij. b. But he does not clearly decide the point, that is, in his opinion. I quote this book, as it was also in much estimation among the English clergy of the 15th century. Compare also, the "Parochiale curatorum," Tit. 9. cap. vj. edit. 1514.
T later opinions of the Roman theologians seem to incline
to consider the episcopate as a distinct order: see Perrone, Prælect. Theol. vol. viij. p. 126. Dens Theologia. tom. 7. p. 39. But Thomas Aquinas plainly said, "episcopatus non est ordo." In 4. sect. dist. 24. q. 2. art. 2. And Bonaventure, "Episcopatus, prout distinguitur contra sacerdotium, non est proprie nomen ordinis, nec novus character imprimitur, nec nova potestas datur, sed potestas data ampliatur." Opera. tom. 5. p. 369. Bellarmin takes a middle line between the two extremes. He reckons seven orders, and dividing the priesthood, declares that ordination to the episcopate is a sacrament, confers grace, and impresses a character. Opera. tom. 3. p. 609. Compare Bonacina. tom. 1. Disp. viij. p. 219.
multipliciter. Nam aliquando est nomen dignitatis, et sic episcopatus dicitur ordo: aliquando est nomen officii, et sic psalmistatus dicitur ordo: aliquando est nomen spiritualis potestatis, et sic diaconatus dicitur ordo." 39
As an office, there is no evidence that the "Modus faciendi tonsuras" can be traced higher than the seventh century. Hence we do not find any prayers or forms in the oldest MSS. and sacramentaries, "de clerico faciendo." Not that it can be disputed, that the practice of distinguishing the clergy by their hair, is of very high antiquity: first probably introduced to a moderate and seemly extent, for the sake of outward decency and gravity, according to the admonition of the Apostles; afterwards restricted within the limits of a certain fashion, and shape. And it is not difficult to trace the progress of these restrictions, in the canons of successive councils, as time went on.40 The reason why, about the time that I have mentioned above, the conferring of the tonsure came to be a separate and distinct office, probably was, because parents were then accustomed to dedicate their children to the
39 Lib. 3. Tit. 1. Ut clericalis. verb. Ordinis. But compare Lib. 1. Tit. 4. Eos qui. verb. Sacros ordines where he enumerates eight. I may add here, that it was not simply through humility, but probably as claiming their highest privilege, that we find bishops anciently styling themselves priests, and ministers. Thus a letter of a bishop of Durham to king Henry V. is subscribed "Your humble Preest of Duresme." Cotton MS. Vesp. F. xiij.
fol. 29. And archbishop Becket,
40 Cf. Carth. IV. Can. 44.
sacred ministry, and to leave them in monasteries, at an age too young to permit of their performing even the lowest functions of ostiarius or lector: when, nevertheless, it was desirable that a mark should be set upon them, that they were no longer merely secular.“1
As to the shape, and fashion of the tonsure, many writers have not hesitated to trace it up to the authority of S. Peter himself. For instance, Rabanus Maurus. "Sunt quidam doctorum, qui asserunt, diversas ob causas Petrum apostolum hunc ritum primum sumpsisse primitus." But long before his time, Bede records an epistle of the abbot Ceolfrid, about the year 710, to whom an application had been made, for an opinion, concerning the variety of tonsures: who says; "inter omnes tamen, quas reperimus tonsuras, nullam magis sequendam nobis amplectendamque jure dixerim ea, quam in capite suo gestabat ille, cui se confitenti Dominus ait, 'Tu es Petrus.'--Neque vero ob id tantum in coronam attondemur, quia Petrus ita attonsus est; etc."43 And such would seem to be still
41 Whence the definitions of the canonists may be reduced to this: "Tonsura; cæremonia ab ecclesia instituta, qua laicus baptizatus, et sacramento confirmationis consignatus, sacro ritu in clerum instituitur."
42 De instit. Cleric. lib. 1. cap. 3. Bibl. Patrum. Auct. tom. 1. p. 546. See also Alcuin, cap. de tonsura; Amalarius, de div. Off. Lib. 2. Cap. 5. Compare also the prayer or exhortation in the office below, beginning, "Oremus, dilectissimi."
43 Hist. Ecc. Lib. 5. Cap. 21.
The excerpts however of his contemporary Egbert, although they recognize the tonsure of S. Peter, follow another common view taken by the early canonists : "Exordium tonsuræ a Nazaræis incepit, qui crine servato post vitæ magnæ continentiam caput radebant, ut devotionem Domino consecrarent." Wilkins. Conc. tom. 1. p. 111. I am not speaking of the varieties of the tonsure in that age, but of its supposed original. The disputes which took place in the eighth century as to the proper shape of the ton
the accredited teaching of the church of Rome, according to the Tridentine catechism. "Primum autem omnium, ferunt, apostolorum principem eam consuetudinem induxisse ad memoriam coronæ, quæ ex spinis contexta Salvatoris nostri capiti fuit imposita."**
It is most probable that in England, before the reformation, the strict rules which were in force that a bishop should confer orders only within the limits of his own diocese, except with license, did not apply to the giving of the tonsure. The common opinion of the canonists inclined to that liberty, and it was therefore generally exercised. I would observe that one of the decrees of the council of Trent, at first sight, appears to have removed this privilege from the bishops of the Roman communion: "Nulli episcopo liceat, cujusvis privilegii prætextu, pontificalia in alterius diœcesi exercere, nisi de ordinarii loci expressa licentia, et in personas eidem ordinario subjectas tantum." 45 But the later commentators understand this to have respect to the public wearing of the pontifical vestments on such an occasion; and that if performed privately, the conferring of the tonsure is still permitted.46
I would remark here that not only bishops, but priests, by special permission, or privilege, as in the case of abbots, were permitted to confer the tonsure: and even the minor orders. Thus, the Pupilla laid down: "Episcopus et nullus inferior eo, potest ordines conferre auctoritate propria et ordinaria potestate. Alii vero non episcopi, ut abbates, ex privilegio vel speciali permissione possunt minores ordines conferre. Sacros autem solus episcopus."
At a very late period we find the tonsure ordered to be given to those scholars, who were to be educated at the expense of the cathedral establishments throughout the realm. The legatine constitutions of cardinal Pole divide these scholars into two classes, according to their age: and further direct: "Incedent autem omnes, utriusque sint classis, cum tonsura et vestitu clericali, eodemque vivendi modo utentur, et divinis in ecclesia officiis inservient." And that this was not a new custom, we may conclude from what Knyghton says of the early years of archbishop Edmund, in the reign of Henry II. "In primis annis, capitis dolore ita acriter vexatus est, ut in literis de
sitions of Balsamon and Zonaras upon the 14th and 35th Apostolical canons: Bevereg. Pandect. tom. 1. p. 9. 24.
47 Pars. vij. Cap. 2. A. Compare Cap. 1. C. Modern writers of the Roman church limit this, to cases of special dispensation from the court of Rome. There is a privilege extant, of pope Innocent VIII. in 1489, giving to some Cistercian abbots power to ordain to the diaconate. This
has been a great perplexity to the later canonists, and some deny that the privilege was really granted. See Henriquez, Summa, in add, ad lib. X. de Ord. Vuitasse de Ord. pars. 1. 5. 2. Morinus. Exercit. xi. Cap. 2. Hallier. de Ord. tom. 2. p. 274.
48 Wilkins. Conc: tom. 4. p. 125. The same archbishop, also, in the "Reformatio Angliæ," orders the like habit and tonsure, for the poor scholars. p. 24.