Saturday, 29 December 2007
Divine scripture also demonstrates the procedure for judging, accusers saying about an accused woman in a prepared judgment ‘“Send for Susanna the daughter of Elchias and wife of Joachim”. And they sent for her and she came with her kin and her children.’ And after testimony was given, the judges condemned her to death. But she was freed, freed by truth, and the false witnesses were punished since they had done harm to their neighbour.
But the woman caught in the act of adultery, and physically present, was not accused through someone else’s testimony or written deposition, which church and Roman laws forbid. Her confession is implied, when it was said to her by the Lord “‘Has no one condemned you?’ and she said ‘No one, Lord’. And Pilate too said about the Lord – though he was seized like a thief and tied up by a band of men, the legitimate procedure of power was maintained, as Augustine said – who was handed over to his prefectural responsibility by the ministers of the Jews, by Anna Caiphas and by Caiphas, “You have handed this man over to me”. Hearing that he was in the power of Herod, he sent him back to Herod. This teaches us to expect Christian and fair judgments from secular men of the world [?], and then to have to apply ecclesiastical healing ointment, ie judges’ medicine, to the infirm. The Apostle demonstrated the same thing, when the faithful were still mixing with the unfaithful, “Already indeed there is plainly a fault among you, that you are judged by outsiders, and not by the brethren. If therefore you have judgments of things pertaining to this world” amongst you, “set them to judge who are the most contemptible in the church.” And Gregory says in the Pastoral Rule “those unadorned with spiritual gifts should at least serve for earthly matters.” And Augustine in his Enchiridon shows that [?] such necessary judgments should not be prohibited, but should be judged amongst the faithful. And St Ambrose: “Since there are wise brothers, let some of these whose judgment the world will respect be chosen to judge. It is very shameful if amongst those who are said to know God none can be found who is able to conduct a judgment.”
 For how can a repentant murderer receive the peace of the church before he is pacified with the litigants? How is discord able to win forgiveness before it is united by the glue of charity? How can the rapacious man, who has exhausted himself in rapine, perform acts worthy of penance, before he has made a peace offering by making amends or satisfaction, according to the judgment of David and the example of Zacherias? Or how can a marriage be dissolved unless according to the Christian laws, by which it had been joined under the Lord? And if it was not initiated but rather usurped, how else should this be proven? So St Gelasius wrote to the Emperor Anastasius, “If bishops of religion obey your law in as much as it pertains to the order of public discipline [?], recognising your imperial power bestowed upon you by supernal disposition; so it is fitting and appropriate for you to obey them, who are endowed with elevating and venerable mysteries. As is written elsewhere, read it again “Return to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” To Caesar then pennies, tribute and livestock, the honour owed so long he faithfully honours the Lord [!], the taxes; to God tithes, first-fruits, oblations and offerings, and continual service. Just as He returned tribute for himself and for Peter, and returned to God what was God’s, doing his Father’s will. And St Augustine says in his sixth sermon on the Gospel of John, “Don’t say ‘What’s the king to me?’ What are your possessions to you? For possessions are possessed by kings’ law.” So questions of secular business are to be sorted out through legal trials – just and Christian ones.
 And about the booklet or secret confession, Leo observed “to all the bishops in Campania, Samnium and Picenum. I am moved by great indignation and grieved by much pain, when I learn that any of you have been forgetful of apostolic tradition, and ruined in the zeal of your error.” And a bit later, “About penance indeed, which is demanded by the faithful: rather than making public a profession of every particular sin in a written booklet [?], let it suffice for the conscience to indicate [them] to the priests alone, in secret confession. Although the plenitude of faith which on account of the fear of God has no qualms about blushing before men is praiseworthy; yet not all sins are of the sort that those requesting penance would not fear to make them known. So let this uncommendable customs be removed, lest many should be kept away from the remedies of penance, because they are embarrassed or because they fear to reveal their deeds to their enemies, by whom they could be struck with legal action. Let that confession suffice which is offered first to God, then to the priest, who goes as an intermediary for the sins of the penitents. For they will then be able to push many to penance, if the conscience of the confessing person is not made public to the ears of the people.” Let them also consider (since the sacred canons order the excommunication of a bishop [?] for as long as he does not communicate with someone who he says confessed secretly to him) whether anyone ought or would dare to submit someone to the laws of public penance, on the grounds of a secret confession, whether a booklet or hearsay. And how much less should a legally initiated marriage be dissolved without certain and obvious reason, which Leo intoned terribly to all the bishops appointed throughout all the provinces, saying “Our warning denounces this too: that if any of the brethren tries to act against the constitutions and dares to ascribe to prohibited things [?], he should know that he will be removed from his office, and he who does not wish to be a companion in discipline will no longer be a participant in communion.”
[end of responsio 11]
Monday, 24 December 2007
Wednesday, 3 October 2007
Friday, 31 August 2007
Monday, 6 August 2007
An explanation must be given for what is written,
Moreover we were informed concerning the venerable Archbishop of Reims that he agreed to this deed, and that he verbally confirmed this through deputies, that is Wenilo Archbishop of Rouen and Hildegar Bishop of Meaux, and that he sent letters of agreement to the king’s meeting and to the bishops’ convention via [Bishop] Adventius, who had spoken with him at Reims about it, and that he had sent via the same Adventius letters of approval to the Apostolic See.
For if the shepherd of the Church and the first of the Apostles, performing exceptional signs and miracles, did not disdain to give an explanation for why he had gone to the Gentiles, why he had eaten with them, and why he had received them in baptism, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, how much more so must not we, sinners that we are, give humble account of ourselves to our accusers when we are accused of something?
Sunday, 5 August 2007
Sunday, 15 July 2007
And let no-one curse us as immodest conversing about immodesty of this kind, which modest ears shun by blushing, since Paul disputed about such matters, among other things, from the fear of God, which he truthfully said had spoken in him. We will dare in no way to be silent about those things which we will be able to perceive from the questions, since he [Jesus] frightens us and says: ‘He who blushes about me and my words, the Son of Man will blush about, when he should come in his majesty and that of the Father and that of the holy angels’. For no-one ought to be exasperated hearing the wickedness of the infirm, which the poisoned cunning of diabolical malignity inflicts on human fragility, knowing himself according to the Apostle to be surrounded by infirmity and considering his own self, lest perhaps he might be tempted. Nor ought he to fear, as blessed Gregory in the Pastoral Rule says: ‘so that, when he knows another’s temptations through condescension, he also is struck by the same temptations, since the water in a basin through which the multitude of the people is cleansed, as the Lord ordered done through Moses, is without doubt contaminated by the same. For when it receives the dirt of those washing, it is as if it loses serenity of cleanliness. But the pastor is in no way to fear these things, since with God subtly considering all things, the more mercifully he is wearied by others’ temptations, the more mercifully he is rescued from his own.’ And as much as he ought both to hear the impurities of others’ sicknesses and to come to the assistance of the sick with medicinal counsel in all ways, just as it seems useful to each ones, so much he cannot not know that God, just as he himself said through the prophet works by sustaining in our iniquities and sees our hidden disgraces and the uncleanliness of thoughts themselves and mercifully bears them with divine expectation. Whence St Augustine says in the fourth book against Julian: ‘Certainly, if we allow those who our power is on (?) to perpetrate crimes before our eyes, we will be guilty with them. But how does He permit innumerable things to happen before our eyes, which He would in no way especially permit, if He did not want? And yet it is just and good that not wanting anyone to perish, after patience he gives a place for penitence.’ [p 114] Why this may happen, St Gregory demonstrates, explaining the witness of Scripture: ‘For the Highest is a patient repayer, since he both suffers our evils and repays. For he tolerates those for a long time, so they may be converted, he does not harshly condemn the converted. '
[End of Preface]
Monday, 25 June 2007
[p 111] But our word is directed to our fellow bishops and through this to us ourselves, so that we may teach the things which the Lord taught, we may preach the things which we ourselves keep steadfastly. For, just as it is written: Ask my priests about the law, thus nevertheless the Lord says: Hearing from me, you will announce to them, hearing indeed either by heavenly inspiration or divine reading, about which is written: I will hear what the Lord God speaks in me, and Scrutinise the scriptures, and The blameless law of the Lord converting souls, the faithful testimony of the Lord providing. But indeed this follows it: You will announce to them from me: ‘from me’, he says, not ‘from you’, since the preacher ought to propose the things that he learned from God or holy scripture or the doctrine of the holy masters to his hearers not adoringly [?] or changeably for the sake of human will, but sincerely and constantly.
And it is said to the listeners, just as to us (may it not be for our judgement): Ask your fathers and they will announce to you, your ancestors and they will teach you, and through us is added to the same as an order: Come sons, hear me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord, thus also elsewhere we are complained about, saying: The pastors themselves do not know understanding, since a good understanding have all those doing that. Also he says: Holding the law, they do not know me, since those who do not faithfully preach to those committed to them about works, life and morals, by word and example, although they may worship by name, they do not know the Lord according to truth, as is written: Who does not know will not be known, that is will be rejected. Therefore there is nothing from whence we may be secure except the mercy of God. From our hands the blood of so many will be demanded in the day of great judgement, as perish in their iniquities without our admonitions. Since the Lord says to each bishop, that, if you should not announce to the wicked his wickedness and that wicked man should not be converted from his wicked life, he himself will die in his wickedness, but I will require his blood from your hand. For it also to be feared that the inspector of consciences, rather how much works, may say to us: You carried the key of knowledge, you yourselves did not enter and although you admonished others by word, who might have been able to enter, you destroyed them by deed. And we should know, and contemplate with very great continual fear and trembling, that just as the episcopal ministry is more spiritual and consequently greater than the royal ministry, so it is more perilous, in as much as we are going also to render account for kings themselves to the king of kings and pastor of pastors in the day of trembling examination.
We decree to be said to all those placed in the bosom of the catholic church that also they themselves should take care to avoid such things, and as much as it is from themselves, not consent to those doing and not support them with adoration. About such the Apostle marvellously says: Since those who do such things will not attain the kingdom of God, and again [p 112]: Those who do such things are worthy of death, not only those who do those things, but also those who consent to those doing. We have therefore omitted those things from this schedule, lest we might seem to have done injury to other lords and our fellow bishops, who know those things sufficiently well and know better and more suitably than us how to expound them to their hearers, especially when frequent apostolic reading is impressed on all those visiting church.
This our first speech presents a beginning [?], since recently certain people from the clerical and certain indeed from the lay order, persons not to be despised because of the place of their office and the merit of religion and also because of the refinement of their devotion and nobility, sent a certain booklet to us, whose text we add under here, with the questions proposed. They asked humbly through our Lord Jesus Christ (who said, Beware, lest you despise one of these little ones; and Give to all those asking you, and Do not turn away the person wanting to borrow from you; and Do not say to your friend, Go away and return and I will give to you tomorrow, if you should be able to give immediately; and ordered the rulers of his church through blessed Peter, that they should be prepared to render account to the satisfaction of everyone asking, since he who conceals the fruits (that is the documents of holy eloquence) is cursed in the people, but the blessing of the Lord is over the head of those selling, since he teaches the things which he learned from the Lord teaching, receiving the greater grace of teaching and he himself will merit to receive from the hearers the prize of faith and confession), that we might in no way neglect their requests, nor dissimulate, nor defer under another excuse. Instead they asked that as quickly as possible we should reply to the secret names [?] of those who related these things about them, and should take care to reply briefly by individual matters, just as they asked, with what the Lord will have given us about these according to scriptural authority and the doctrine of the catholic fathers. About which things we should want to write nothing, but either hear the doctrine of the wise or announce what we feel by word only [?] And even if it had to be written, perhaps we would be able to compose a more order of writing, if we had not wanted or had been able to neglect the advice of such and so many people.
Wednesday, 30 May 2007
Since things are like this, it is necessary for judges of both clerical and public matters that they thus decide judgement under the eyes of the celstial judge in whatever case and about whatever person, so that there may not be anything in the same judgement of passion of evil, fraud, mildness, simulation, or desire or hope of whatever kind of gain, but all unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, that is judgement of justice, equity of truth, purity of truth, lest (may it not happen), we judges may incur the curse which in the in the said prophet is invoked by us and by the whole church: Let the lying lip be charged and They have spoken in heart and heart. Let the Lord ruin all lying lips, which say one thing and conceals another thing in the heart. Sometimes what they say exists, but they interpret what they say in a different sense than they feel by the witness of conscience. And St Jerome in the commentary on Matthew says: He is a false witness who does not understand words in the same sense in which they are said. And about such is written again: The work of their own lips will overcome them, when they are overcome just like a cloak by their confusion [end p 109], that is placed just like a coal of fire in the time of the look of God, namely so that they may burn inside and outside in the eternity going to come. We cannot otherwise be free judges before his gaze, to whom the thought of man is confessed, unless we say true things truly from heart and mouth, since then we may judge justly and that also with fear and trembling, but perhaps we sin through ignorance, since it may be said (?): In the judgement you should judge it will be judged about you, and: If our heart does not censure us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things. And therefore in these things also, which are certain before men, we cannot be secure, knowing, as Paul says, that it is the Lord who judges us, who are often justified by human judgement.
Tuesday, 1 May 2007
Tuesday, 27 March 2007
The wife [Teutberga] of the lord king Lothar was first of all accused [?] of fornication, that her brother had committed a dreadful deed with her in masculine intercourse between her thighs, as ‘men are accustomed to commit sin with men’, and that she had thereof conceived. And that, in order that the disgrace might be hidden, she had drunk a potion and had aborted the progeny. She denied this. For the sake of proof, and in the absence of witnesses, it was decided by the judgment of the lay nobles, by the counsel of the bishops, and by the agreement of the king, that a champion of this women should go to the ordeal of boiling water. After he was found to be uncooked, that woman was restored to the marital bed and to the ordained royal union, from which she had been suspended. Then, after a length of time, the pamphlet which we sent to you [the Booklet of Eight Chapters, see below]was written by some bishops, though we do not know whether about the same act or concerning something done after the beginning of the marital union. And it was widely suggested that because of the secret confession which the booklet mentioned, all you remaining bishops should take the floor, and should definitively remove her from marital union, and, if you should demand more, that she should be compelled to give you a booklet complete with her own signature. This way, just as Ebbo, the former bishop of Reims, was removed both from his seat and his [episcopal] order thanks to a booklet of secret confession, so she, through a booklet of secret confession, should be removed from marital union.
Concerning the venerable archbishop of Reims [Hincmar], we were told that he consented to this procedure, and that through bishops, that is Wenilo archbishop of Rouen and Bishop Hildegar, he passed on his verbal agreement. And that through Adventius [bishop of Metz], who had spoken to him at Reims about this, he had sent letters of his agreement to the royal meeting and to the bishops’ meeting, and that he had sent through this same Adventius letters to the apostolic seat [Rome]. Now, we demand that you tell us, in all Truthfulness, which is God, how much of all this should be authoritatively accepted as truth.
Now, the text of the Booklet of Eight Chapters runs like this [p.115]:
Chapter 1. We bishops, who were recently convened to the Palace of Aachen, have arranged to bring to the attention of our brothers and co-bishops what we learned and what we discovered there, so that they, physically hearing and spiritually understanding[?], might discern and work out in unanimous counsel what conclusion and what end they might put to this matter.
Chapter 2. The glorious king Lothar had an informal and secret meeting with us. There, he humbly and in devoted purety set forth his own particular and specific needs, and sought advice and a remdey. We, admiring his good will, were led and bent to compassion by his tears and sighs, by God’s will. To the king as he entreated, begged and pounded [the floor], we gave counsel and medicinal remedy.
Chapter 3. As we listened, not without grief and sadness, the king began to tell us about his wife in a melancholy tone of voice. He wanted to keep her, but she with constant and insistent requests was demanding that, freed from marital chains, as unworthy by her own account of the marital bed, she should take the veil and be worthy to serve Christ the Lord.
Chapter 4. Meanwhile a messenger of this queen summoned us, asking that we would not delay to go to her. As we went, she hurried to meet us. She almost threw herself at our feet, and begged us in hese words: “For the sake of God and of your ministry, I beg you, give me counsel.”
Chapter 5.We replied to her, as we stood, “So that”, we said, “God might give us counsel, which we could pass healthily and truthfully onto you, tell us, in a stratight and true confession of your conscience: what is it that you seek advice about with such agitation [?]. For unless we know the truth, we cannot give you that which you seek. But we warn you first, and by God’s authority and our own we carefully command: you must not confess any misdeed falsely ascribed to you, whether on account of the enticements of anyone’s persuasion is deception, or by fear of any punishment or death, since this would lead us into error: may it not be so! Rather, as we said above, reveal to us the truth of the matter, neither more nor less. And we, with God’s help, will struggle to give you advice and assistance, so that you will not be cheated of your justice in any respect.
Chapter 6. “May God and my conscience be my witnesses”, she said, “and with my confessor also as a witness, I will stray neither to the right nor left in what I say and confess about myseulf, saying nothing except what is truthful. I admit,” she said, “and I know this about myself, that I am not worthy to remain in conjugal union. And I present to you this bishop Gunter [of Cologne], to whom I confessed. He knows that I am not worthy.” And she turned to this bishop, and pleading, said “I ask, bishop, that you make your co-brothers to understand, as best you can, what it is about, just as I myself bore witness [to you].” The bishop replied to her “It would be better”, he said, that you yourself should open up to my co-brothers what still remains hidden, so that they might hear what they should judge upon from your own lips”. But she said “What need is there that I should say anything other than what you know? For God’s sake, tell them my necessity, so that you together my lord [husband] might give my permission to do what I want to. Since ‘even for the whole world’, I am unwilling to lose my soul. And so I ask you, for the sake of God and the ministry which you took on, do not deny to me that which I demand, for the salvation of my soul”
Chapter 7. Then we bishops asked in concern whether, if her request was granted, she would make some protestation or prepare a trap. To this she said unconstrainedly ‘Through the faith which I nourish, I promise to you in the presence of God that I shall never in eternity make a protestation, either directly or through any cunning.”
Chapter 8. What we learned from our co-brother [Gunther], grieving, anguished , lamenting, and regretting that he had ever been aware of this confession, this we will tell our brothers and co-bishops face to face, according to the licence given us. So that, as we said in the beginning, they might understand the gist of this hitherto hidden matter, and then everyone, with one mind and one agreement, might dispel error and raise up Truth. [P.116]
Wednesday, 31 January 2007
But also shown by this spiritual reason, it is not a little case that is brought forward (?) about so great a dignity of a very eminent name, and such people, so that the kings of the earth and all the people, princes and all the judges of the land, young men and maidens, old men and young ought to apply their mind to this case. And truth of judgement and priestly concord and care about royal gentleness and patience and love ought to be applied towards its honour. Whence it is written: the honour of the king loves judgement and justice strengthens his throne and again justice and judgement are the preparation of your seat. And although there are other virtues, without which one cannot reach the eternal kingdom, yet a tyrant can be made without these three, which we have proposed, but no-one can profitably obtain and earthly throne. That is without gentleness, since the gentle will inherit the earth; without patience, since patience is better than a strong man and he who dominates his mind than a capturer of cities and in patience you will possess your souls; without true love, about which is said, You who love the Lord hate evil, since he who loves iniquity hates his soul. And again in the Psalms it is written: Aim, proceed fortunately and rule because of truth and gentleness and justice, since he will keep truth following gentleness with justice, so that neither will he abandon zeal of righteousness in weight of gentleness nor on the other hand will weight of gentleness disturb zeal of righteousness. Since as Wisdom says, the king who sits in the throne of judgement dispels all evil from his view, and again, the king who judges the poor in truth, his throne will be strengthened forever.
However from (?) priestly concord and the part of discrimination (?) it is said to the Lord: Your mercy is before my eyes and I delight in your truth. I have not sat with the council of vanity and I will not enter with those bearing iniquitous things. I have hated the church of the malignant and I will not sit with the impious. I will wash my hands among the innocent and I will place them around your altar, O Lord, so that I may hear the voice of your praise and recount all your marvels. But, at St Gregory says: I see others, who obtain the secret offices of accusing through the position of mastership (?), because they admitted they saw (?) something illicit, and yet since they fear to offend the favour of whatever power they do not presume to accuse. Whoever that person is, what else is he doing except seeing a wolf coming and fleeing? He flees, because he is silent; he is silent since, with eternal grace despised, he loved temporal glory more and he absconded before the face of the powerful man into the hiding places of his silence, and just like the public prosecutions (?), thus secretly he gave a place to fear. It is well said about such: They love the glory of men more than God. Therefore such a person is whoever, if these things are judged strictly and public prosecution is absent and yet he denies Christ by being silent. [end p 108]
Saturday, 27 January 2007
Thursday, 18 January 2007
The holy Roman church, as the mother and teacher, nurse and instructress of all churches, is to be consulted about all things ducious and obscure and her healthful admonitions are to be kept. This should be done particularly by those who live in those regions in which divine grace, through her preaching, has given birth to all in faith and nourished them with Catholic milk, whom it preordained to eternal life. Since [?], just as the blessed Innocent wrote to Decentius Bishop of Gubbio, it is clear that in all Italy, Gaul, Spain, Africa and Sicily, the islands and interiors [?], there were no churches instituted except those that the venerable Peter or his successor bishops founded. Therefore it is necessary that they follow what the Roman church keeps, from which church without doubt they received their origin, lest when they favour foreign assertions, the head of the institutions seems to be lost. But also since blessed Celestine, bishop of the same first see said to Venerius and the other Gallican bishops that the universal church was struck by whatever novelty and writing to Nestor of Constantinople decreed that all ought to know what is happening, since the case of all is being affected, the voice of our humility speaks to all. Since, although this is a matter of a king and queen, namely man and wife, who according to holy authority are now not two but one flesh, the case of all is generally affected, since marriage is called by the holy apostle a great sacrament in Christ and the church, in which the salvation of all is believed to consist. [end of p 107]