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De his qui usurpant sibi, quod soli debeant episcopos ordinare, placuit ut nullus hoc sibi præsumat, nisi assumptis secum aliis septem episcopis: si tamen non potuerit septem, infra tres non audeat ordinare."
I extract the following form of citation of a bishop to consecrate and to assist, in the year 1293. "Venerabili in Christo patri, domino. R. Dei gratia London. episcopo, devoti sui H. permissione divina prior ecclesiæ Christi Cant. et ejusdem loci capitulum, salutem, et ad sinceræ devotionis obsequia se paratos. Quanto majorem devotionem erga nos et ecclesiam nostram Cantuar. geritis, quam frequenti experimento didicimus, tanto vobis honorem facere satagimus præ cæteris ampliorem. Quia igitur discretus vir magister W. de Marchia Bathon. electus, die dominica in festo Pentecostes prox. ventur. in ecclesia nostra Cantuar. prout scitis, Deo propitio, est in episcopum consecrandus, paternitati vestræ supplicamus, quatenus dictis die et loco, omni excusatione remota, tantæ solennitate personaliter interesse velitis, munus consecrationis electo propriis manibus impensur. Quid autem super his facere decreverit sanctitas vestra, per bajulum præsentium nobis literatorie significetis. Dat. etc."2
22 Mansi. Conc. Tom. 2. p. 474.
The clause in the Act 25 Hen. VIII. cap. 20, which required four bishops, was in case the certificate of the election had not been sent to an archbishop; otherwise, two bishops, with the archbishop, were to consecrate. See Gibson, Codex Juris Ecc. p. 111.
23 Richard de Gravesend. consecr. 1280. Ob. 1303. Le Neve.
24 Wilkins. Conc. Tom. 2. p. 195. Other documents of much interest are printed in that place, relating to the same consecration. The see of Canterbury was at that time vacant: but it was not upon that account only that the letter of summons runs in the name of the prior and con
As to the times, that is, the periods of the year, at which general ordinations were to take place, both Baronius 25 and Bellarmine 26 have attempted to prove that the "Jejunia quatuor temporum" as fixed for that purpose, are to be attributed to the days and the authority of the apostles. But there is no evidence whatever, of any weight, in favour of this opinion, whilst on the other hand, there is much in contradiction to it. Not only is there no mention of this fact in the earlier fathers, but there is very ancient authority that Gelasius was the first who limited the seasons of general ordination to certain times of the year. Micrologus says; "Gelasius papa constituit, ut ordinationes presbyterorum, et diaconorum nonnisi certis temporibus fiant.”27 So also Rabanus Maurus; "Sacras ordinationes quatuor temporum diebus opor
vent. Because it appears from a
"The dean and chapter of Canterbury," says bishop Gibson, "claim it as an ancient right of that church, that every bishop of the province is to be consecrated in it, or the archbishop to receive from them a license to consecrate elsewhere. And tho' between the years 1235 and 1300 that point was controverted with the chapter, it ended in their
tere fieri, decreta Gelasii papæ testantur.'
" 28 There
is no doubt, however, that the appropriation of certain times of the year, to the solemnities of general ordinations, is of an antiquity reaching, if not to apostolical, at least to almost primitive times. And there are so many reasons, which will easily occur to the reader, why a rule so general and ancient should be if possible observed, that it cannot but be a subject of sincere gratification to every member of the church of England to observe, not only that it is distinctly repeated by the canons of 1604, but that, during the last few years, the practice of our bishops has been (more exactly, than at one period) in accordance with that rule.
I But, to return to my more immediate purpose, proceed to extract some orders upon the point, previous to the sixteenth century. First, the 99th of the oftenquoted excerpts of archbishop Egbert: Presbytero
28 De Instit. Cleric. lib. 2. cap. 24. p. 338. ibid. See also the notes of Quesnel, upon the 10th epistle of S. Leo: where he attributes to that pontiff the first restriction laid upon the ancient customs. Amalarius says, that all the popes, from Clement to Simplicius, ordained only in the month of December. De Off. lib. 2. cap. 1. "Simplicius primus sacravit in Februario, ni fallor, nullam ob aliam causam, nisi intimando conjungendos propinquius Christi corpori, qui per sacrum ministerium provehuntur." Edit. Hittorpius. p. 157. But there is ample evidence from records still
extant that Amalarius was mistaken and that the custom in the primitive ages, at Rome as in all other parts of the Catholic Church, was to ordain at any time of the year, when it was judged desirable or necessary. Mabillon in his Museum Italicum, tom. 2. p. 103, supposes that the frequent custom, certainly observed by some popes, to ordain only in the winter, was on account of the great heat of the summer, and the numerous duties to be fulfilled in the autumn: but Catalani derides this idea. Comment. in Pontif. tom. 1. p. 47.
rum vero et diaconorum in quatuor temporum sabbatis, scilicet, ut dum hæc ordinatio coram populo agitur, sub omnium testificatione electorum ordinatorumque opinio discutiatur." 29 Again, of a council at Winchester, soon after the Conquest, in which canon the "certain times" must be interpreted of the Ember days. "4. Quod ordinationes certis temporibus fiant." 50 And lastly, the Pupilla oculi. "Celebrari possunt sacri ordines generaliter in sabbatis quatuor temporum, et in sabbato ante dominicam in passione et in sabbato sancto pascha: in aliis autem temporibus nemini licet sacros ordines conferre nisi soli papæ: et si aliis temporibus conferantur ordinati recipiunt ordinem; sed non executionem ordinis. Minores autem ordines licite conferuntur ab episcopis in diebus dominicis et in aliis diebus solennibus, aut festis aliquibus, sed non valde multis, ut non videatur generalem ordinationem facere." 31
Having, in a previous dissertation, (Vol. 1. p. cci.) remarked upon the strict rules which were anciently enforced, that all the sacraments should be freely administered, without charge or demand of money, I shall refer the reader to that place, and to the places from the Concilia which are there cited.32 These
29 Wilkins. Conc. tom. 1. p. 107. And the same archbishop in his penitential: "Hi sunt legitimi quatuor temporum dies, qui legitime observari debent: id est, Kal. Martii, prima hebdomada; et Kal. Junii, secunda hebdomada; et Kal. Septembr. tertia hebdomada; et Kal. Decembr. hebdomada proxima ante natale Christi."
Thorpe. Ancient Laws, vol. 2. p. 235.
30 Wilkins. Concil. tom. 1. p.
31 Lib. vij. cap. 3.
32 An ancient political song of the time of Henry III., after complaining of some vices and immoralities of the clergy, proceeds:
"Donum Dei non donatur,
enactments, as regarded the conferring of Holy Orders, were grounded (as it is expressly stated in the 43rd of the excerpts of Egbert) upon the very ancient (so called) apostolical canon. "If any bishop, presbyter or deacon, shall obtain possession of that dignity by money, let both him and the person who ordained him. be deposed, and also altogether cut off from communion, as Simon Magus was." And here I would remark, having just cited these excerptions, that the 45th adopts an African canon, “ Episcopus absque concilio presbyterorum clericos non ordinet."
Few injunctions were more frequently repeated, or of earlier date, than that every bishop should confine himself, in the discharge of his duties, strictly to his own diocese: I shall now extract a few orders relating to this, which bear upon the power of celebrating ordinations. The second canon of the council of Hertford (Herutford) in the year 673, is general in its object, but important from its early date: "Ut nullus episcoporum parochiam alterius invadat, sed contentus sit gubernatione creditæ sibi plebis."" Archbishop Egbert inserts in his excerpts part of a canon (the 16th) of the council of Nice, to the same effect: but I pass on to the 11th canon of the synod of Chal
Nisi gratis conferatur ;
quem sic ambit ambitus,
33 Wilkins. Conc. tom. 1. p. 43. But compare a canon, said to be of a council in Ireland, two hundred years before this: "Episcopus quilibet, qui de sua in alteram progreditur parochiam, nec ordinare præsumat, nisi permissionem acceperit ab eo, qui in suo principatu est." Ibid. p. 3.