Imatges de pÓgina

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.' 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


sure, are well known. That the clergy should be distinguished by their dress, from the rest of the people, to a moderate extent, is just and reasonable. Whether "tonsure" was a distinction of such a kind, must depend of course upon the customs of the age, and it certainly sprung from a commendable zeal, though not according to knowledge, and it received the sanction of eccle

siastical authority. Remembering however the arguments which each party produced, and the heat with which the controversy was pursued, it is to be lamented that such a subject should have been thought sufficiently weighty, to divide the Church.


p. 200. Edit. Aldus. 45 Sessio VI. De reform. Cap.5. 46 Cf. Bonacina. tom. 1. Disput. viij. p. 224. And the expo

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." *7

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." 48 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.

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.

inceps proficere desperaret: cui mater ait: Fili, arbitror, laica et inordinata quam gestas tonsura doloris tui est causa; unde et postmodum clericaliter attonsus doloris incommodo caruit." The same writer also relating the horrible cruelties of the Scotch, in Edward I.'s time, says: "Quod auditu horrendum est,-parvos clericulos primas literas addiscentes ad numerum circiter ducentorum in scolis existentes, obstructis ostiis igne supposito concremaverunt." 50

I must add a few remarks upon the tonsure, as observed by the minor or the higher orders. There are frequent canons directed against neglect, or concealment of it. "We enjoin, that no man in holy orders conceal his tonsure," is the 47th of the canons under K. Edgar.51 Again, in the 13th century, some synodal constitutions of the diocese of Norwich: "Clerici vero non beneficiati, qui reprehensibiles fuerint in tonsura, ut ad superiores ordines, aut ad beneficium admittantur, quousque per tantum tempus tonsuram gesserint competentem, quo judicant præteriti temporis scandalum redemisse." 52 And the poems (socalled) of Walter Mapes, shortly before this time, make the contempt of the tonsure, one token of the irreligious priest. "Hic generosior tonsuram despicit, Alter ad clerici nomen erubuit." Like some men now-a-days, those priests of the middle ages, desired to be in dress, as well as in their occupation and pur

49 De event. Angliæ. Script. instr. princ. edit. Anglia Xtiana. X. tom. 2. p. 2432.

p. 187.

50 Ibid. p. 2488. See also, an anecdote from Fordun, Scotichronicon, Lib. viij. c. 18. cited in a note to Giraldus Cambr. de


Thorpe. Ancient laws. &c. vol. 2. p. 255.

52 Wilkins. Conc. tom. 1. p.



suits, as little different from laymen as they could be; "Sic inter laicos clerus defloruit."53 Lastly, one of the visitation articles for the diocese of London, in Q. Mary's reign, enquires: Item, whether they and every each of them doth go in priestly apparel and habit, having their beards and crowns shaven? or whether any of them doth go in laymen's habits and apparel, or otherwise disguise themselves, that they cannot easily be discovered or known from laymen?" 5

There was a difference, it is quite clear from the English councils, between the "tonsura" and the "corona": although the two are frequently confounded, and sometimes both meant by the use of either term alone. When both are named, one must doubtless be understood to relate to the length of the hair, the other to the bare circle on the top of the head: the shaven crown. I shall cite some canons directed to this point. Of York, in 1195. "Statuimus etiam, ut clerici, qui ab episcopo coronam susceperunt, tonsuram habeant, et coronam." Of the provincial council at Oxford, in 1222: "ut nec ipsi, nec alii clerici comam nutriant, sed honeste tonsi et coronati convenienter incedant." Of a synod at Lambeth, in 1261: "Item statuimus, quod omnes -- qui privilegio clericali gaudere voluerint, tonsuram decentem, et coronam rasi capitis deferant competentem."55 The following sup

53 Apocalypsis Goliæ. 7. 329. 54 Wilkins. Conc. tom. 4. p. 107. Compare the Injunctions of cardinal Pole for the diocese of Gloucester; ibid. p. 146. It is well known that to be reduced to a lay condition, as a punishment, involved the removal of

the tonsure and early in the eighth century, we find this specified, among the excerpts of Egbert, (citing Fructuosus,) in the case of a criminous monk: "coronam capitis, quam gestat, amittat." Ibid. tom. 1. p. 105.

55 Wilkins. Conc. tom. 1. p.

port the distinction which I have suggested: a constitution of bishop Cantilupe, in 1240: "De clericorum tonsuris. nec crines, nec comam nutriant, sed decenter et circulariter tondeantur, coronam habentes decentis amplitudinis, secundum quod exegerit ordo, quo fuerint insigniti." And a pastoral epistle of archbishop Morton: "Incedent etiam omnes et singuli presbyteri, et clerici ejusdem nostræ provinciæ, coronas et tonsuras gerentes, aures patentes ostendendo." Lyndwood has a gloss upon the provincial constitution cited above. "Tonsi; hæc tonsura sic fiet, ut aures sint patentes. Et hoc, si religiosus sit, altius: si sæcularis, dimissius. Et sic, quod inter presbyterum et alios inferiores sit differentia. Coronati; rasura superior, et tonsura inferior, faciunt de circulo capillorum coronam." 57


[ocr errors]

Before I proceed to other matters connected with this great subject of ordinations, I must again remind

502. 589.755. Compare p. 626. 716. tom. 2. p. 4. and tom. 3. p. 60. Also " coronæ patentes ;" tom. 1. p. 382 and 551.

56 Ibid. tom. 1. p. 670. tom. 3. 620. cf. p. 658. The corona p. "decentis amplitudinis" refers to the dimensions which, according to the use of some churches, were encreased, with each successive step in the sacred ministry: at least, as Lyndwood remarks, in the text, the corona of the priesthood was distinguished from that any lower order.


57 Lib. 3. tit. 1. Ut clericalis. And compare J. de Athon. cap.

Quoniam de habitu. verb. Tonsu


If the student desires to investigate accurately the subject of the Tonsure, its history, various fashions, the mystical reasons proposed for it, the laws and canons of the Roman church directed towards its proper observance, and other details, he should consult Thomassin, Ecc. discipl. Pars. 1. lib. 2. Durandus. Rationale. lib. 2. cap. 1. Saussajus, Panoplia Cleric. Lib. 1. 2. and the less common ritualists, Alcuin, Amalarius, or the Gemma Animæ, in Hittorpius' collection, or in the Auctarium to the Bibl. Patrum, tom. 1.

« AnteriorContinua »