Sources and translations

This blog provides our draft translation of Carolingian texts, mostly linked to Hincmar of Rheims or the divorce of Lothar II and Theutberga.


The texts translated are as follows:

Page references are given in square brackets in the translation. All these translations are works in progress and have not been checked for errors or readability. Readers are strongly advised to check the Latin text themselves.


Friday, 3 September 2010

Letter on Stephen 9: final suggestions and comments

[p 106] For also St Syricus took care to place something about the blessing of betrothed women in his decretals. About whom, the holy canons decree what is noted, and we thence have said some things, and we should now say other things more, if we had heard that a priestly blessing in the ecclesiastical way had been given to this wedding, about which we speak, But the priestly blessing did not have a place in that in which owed faith was absent, especially since scripture says: "In whatever home you should enter, first say: Peace on this house. And if they should be a son of peace in it, your peace will rest upon it, if not, your peace will return to you." [Luke 10: 5-6] And Peter said about the Lord from the faithful: "Faith purifying their hearts". [Acts 15: 9] And again it is written: "All their works in faith" and again: "For what is not from faith is sin". [Romans 14: 23] And where sin remains before suitable satisfaction blessing has no place. For prayer benefits nothing, as blessed Gregory says, where there is iniquitous action.

[p 106] After all these things, if Raymond should not want to receive his daughter, or she should decide to remain in her liberty, it is to be indicated to them that if she herself should commit whatever debauchery [stuprum], whatever should be wrongly done, will pertain to him or her, but not to Stephen.

[p 106] But you ought, holy bishops, to suggest, make known and order both Raymond, Stephen and their relatives and friends from divine mandate that they have peace among themselves, which the Lord orders, and without which they will not be able to see God, except for judgement. And the prince of the land with the primores ought to be busy to do this, lest for the sake of this case scandals and plots may happen in the church and kingdom. Those who should scorn to obey should be made, according to the gospel precept, like a heathen and publican, and according to the Apostle, let it be noted who does not obey the word, so that no one may be associated with him; and he who should not receive this doctrine of peace, let no one greet him, so that he may not communicate his sin and just as the canons decree neither let his offering be received in the shrine. And he who should not want to return to peace, let him remain excommunicated as long as he should despise returning to peace, and let him hasten to return as quickly as possible to charity, which covers a multitude of sins. And again it is written in the canons that from the council two or three judges should be chosen and sent to determine (?) all the things which ought to be examined and determined by clerical judgement, and that will be able to be determined more reasonably and conveniently elsewhere than in the same council. And whoever should be proved from contumacy not to want to obey the judges, when this should be proved by the bishop of the first see, let him send a letter, so that no one may communicate with him, until he should obey. About which matter the holy synod have taken care to choose you who are of the first sees of the Aquitaine kingdom for determining this case with your fellow bishops and the prince and primores of this land. Without this determination whoever should delay to obey you will not be able to avoid his peril and the invective of excommunication.

[p 107] I have taken care to collect these things from gospel truth and apostolic and canonical authority or doctrine and tradition of the Catholic fathers, just as the holy synod ordered, for the sake of the mediocrity of my little capacity. No one ought to be angry at me about this, just as I have heard, that certain ones are. Since I have not composed my words with my senses nor have I presumed to claim for myself what is not mine, nor have I taken care to write something that is not mine in this case by stating or demanding, prejudging the rational statement of no one, nor dishonouring authority or wanting to force necessity of obeying on any one. But I remind your very loved and revered fraternity, as blessed Leo writes to Rusticus Bishop of Narbonne: that, just as there are certain things which can be overthrown by no reason, thus there are many things it may be proper to be moderate about, either for the sake of the consideration of the age or for necessity of events, as long as that condition is always preserved, that in things which should either be obscure or doubtful, we should recognise that to be followed, which is found neither contrary to gospel precepts nor against the decrees of the saints.

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