Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent/Second Part/The Constitutions taken from the ancient Law



Chapters (not listed in original)

Council of Carthage.

From the first part of the Decretum, DUt, XLI. cap. 7.

(Sess. xxv. de ref. cap. 1.)

Let the bishop keep plain furniture and [a plain] table, and poor diet, and let him seek the authority of his dignity by faith and by merits of life. Let him also have a hospitium not far from the church.

Council of Chalcedon.

From the first part of the Decretum, Dist. LXX, cap. 1.

(Sess, xxiii. de ref. cap. 16.)

That no one be absolutely[1] ordained priest, or deacon, or any one constituted in ecclesiastical ordination, unless he who is ordained deserve the appellation of published ordination in the church of his city or estate, or in a martyrium, or in a monastery. But those who are absolutely ordained, the holy synod has decreed to have the imposition of hands unavailing, and that no such act tends to the injury of him who has ordained him.

Alexander III. in the Council of Lateran

from Book 1 of Decretals, tit, VI, on Election and the Power of the Elect, cap. 7.

(Sess. vii. de ref. cap. 1.)

Whereas in all sacred orders and ecclesiastical ministeries, maturity of age, gravity of morals, and knowledge of literature are to be inquired into, with much stronger reason ought these things to be inquired into in case of a bishop, who, placed in charge of others, ought to show in himself, after what manner it may be fitting that others should demean themselves in the house of God. On this account, lest what has been done regarding certain persons to meet the necessity of the time may be drawn by posterity into a precedent, we enact by the present decree, that no one be elected to the rank of a bishop who has not already passed the thirtieth year of life, and has been born from lawful wedlock; and, also, can be proved to be commendable in integrity of life and in knowledge.

Alexander III.

Ibid. § Inferiora.

(Sess. xxiv. de reform, cap. 12.)

The inferior ministries, for instance the deanship, arch-deaconship, and others which have the cure of souls annexed, let no one soever undertake, neither the government of a parochial church, unless he has already reached the twenty-fifth year of his age, and is to be recommended for knowledge and morals. But when he has been admitted, if an arch-deacon, to a deacon, and the dean and others having been admonished, have not been ordained priests at the time prescribed by the canons, let them both be removed from that office, and let it be conferred on others, who may be both willing and able to fill it suitably. And let not the refuge of appeal avail them, if, perchance, to the transgression of that constitution, they should feel disposed to defend themselves by appeal. We enjoin this to be observed, if the canons do not oppose not only in the ease of persons to be promoted, but also regarding those who have been already promoted.

Alexander III. in the Council of Lateran.

From Book III. of the Decretals, tit. IV, of Non-resident Clergy, cap, 3.

(Sess. vii. de ref. cap. 8.)

Because some, setting no limits to their avarice, endeavour to obtain different ecclesiastical dignities, and several parish churches contrary to the institutes of the sacred canons, so that, whilst they scarcely suffice to discharge one office, they claim to themselves the emoluments of very many; we strictly forbid that that be done for the future, when, thererore, a church or an ecclesiastical office has to be disposed of, let such a person be sought for as will be able to reside on the spot, and to take the charge of it on himself. But if the matter should be otherwise, both let him who has received what he has accepted in violation of the sacred canons lose it, and let him who has conferred it, be deprived of the power of giving.

Alexander III.

From Book III, Decret, tit. XLVIII. on the Building or Repairing of Churches.

(Sess. xxi. de reform, cap. 4.)

Know that it has reached our ears that the demesne which is called H, is represented as being so far distant from the Parish church, that, in the winter season, when the rains fall heavily, the parishioners cannot approach it without great difficulty; in consequence, they are not able to be present at their ecclesiastical duties at the proper time. Because, therefore, the aforesaid church is said to abound so greatly in revenues, that, besides the proceeds of that demesne, the minister of it is well able to have support, we command, that if matters are so, you build there a church, and place a priest therein, the obstacle of appeal being taken away, at the presentation of the rector of the greater church, with the canonical assent of the founder, which priest is to receive the ecclesiastical proceeds of the same demesne for his own support; taking care, however, that due honour in it be reserved for the mother church, according to the ability of the place, which, indeed, seems to be possible, when the proprietor of the same demesne is willing to contribute twenty acres of good land for the uses of the priest. But if the parson of the mother church delay to present a proper individual, or shall be disposed to impede that measure, do you, nevertheless, see that the same measure be brought to perfection, and omit not to induct a worthy man, the refugee of appeal being taken away.

Boniface VIII.

From, the Sixth of the Decretals, lib. 1, tit III. on Rescripts, cap. 11.

(Sess. xxv. de reform, cap. 10.)

A statute, which we recently published concerning judges to be deputed by the Apostolic See, we have deemed it necessary to reform for the better by the present sanction, which we command to be observed without infringement, being urged to from regard to utility, because some things contained in it, which were supposed to have been introduced for the common interest (as experience showed), were discovered to possess a mischievous tendency. We therefore enact, that to none but those endowed with dignity, or holding a personate, or to canons of cathedral churches, causes touching the authority of letters of the Apostolic See, or its legates, be in future intrusted; and that they be heard nowhere else than in cities or remarkable places where access to skilful persons may readily be had.

Boniface VIII.

From the Sixth of the Decretals, lib. 3, tit. II. concerning Married Clerks, cap. 1.

(Sen. xxiii. de ret cap. 6.)

Clerks, who have contracted with single persons and virgins, if they lay aside the tonsure and clerical garments, may retain the privilege of the canon issued by our predecessor, Innocent H., in favour of the entire clerical order. [L. c. 29, cxvii. q. 4.] And whereas, according to the Council of Paris [c. 2, X. de foro comp. ii. 2], no clerk can be constrained or condemned by a secular judge, by our present edict we declare, that such clergy, being mamed, cannot, for excesses or offences committed by them, be forced, by a criminal or civil indictment, before the secular seat of judgment, nor ought they to be, by any means, condemned by secular judges themselves, either in person or even in money (that there may not in one way be conceded to the same judges what is denied by another). But in all other cases, or unless, as it is premised, they lay aside the tonsure or clerical garments, even in the premised cases we are unwilling that they should enjoy the clerical privilege.

Boniface VIII.

From the Sixth of the Decretals, lib. 3, tit. III, of Clergy not residing in the Church or Prebend, cap. 1.

(Sess. xxiv. de ref. cap. 12.)

Entirely disapproving the custom, which has come in vogue in certain parts, according to which canons and other beneficed persons, or clergy of cathedral and other collegiate churches, enjoy daily distributions (which are otherwise named manual benefices, or victuals, and are bestowed only on residents), after what manner soever they may be present in the cities or other places in which the churches themselves stand, though they may not attend at the divine offices, precisely as if they officiated regularly in the same offices in the very churches, we decree, that these daily distributions, of what things soever they consist, be bestowed on the canons and other beneficed persons and clergy of the very churches, who may attend at the same offices in the churches themselves, according to the proportioned ordination of any church already made or even to be made. But whoever shall receive anything out of these distributions otherwise (excepting those who might be excused by infirmity, or a just and reasonable bodily necessity, or the evident interest of the Church), he is not to acquire the ownership of the things so received, nor is he to make them his own; nay, he is to be bound to a restitution of all that he has received contrary to this our constitution. Concerning the distributions also to be given away for the anniversaries of the dead, we decree that the same thing is to be observed.

Boniface VIII.

From the Sixth of the Decretals, lib. 3, tit, XVI. on the State of the Regulars, cap. 1.

(Sess. xxv. de regul. et monial. cap. 5.)

Desiring to make wholesome provision for the dangerous and detestable state of certain nuns (who, the reins of decency being released, and monastic modesty and respect for sex being shamefully cast aside, wander about, sometimes through the habitations of secular persons outside their own monasteries, and frequently admit suspicious persons within the same monasteries, to the grievous offence of Him to whom they have devoted their purity of their own free will, the opproorium of religion, and the scandal of very many), by the present constitution, which is for ever to continue valid, we ordain, that all and every nun, present and future, of what profession and order soever may be, in whatever parts of the world existing, ought for the future to remain under perpetual enclosure in their monasteries, so that no one of them who has professed religion tacitly or expressly is to have or can have, on any account or any pretext soever (unless it should perchance be evident that some of them evidently laboured under such a disease, that she could not reside with others without great danger or scandal), permission to leave their monasteries for the future, and that no person in any respect indecent, or even decent (unless there arise a reasonable and manifest cause, and according to the special license of him who may be concerned), is to have no ingress nor access to the same, so that, thus separated from all mundane and public sights, they may be more at liberty altogether to serve God, and, all opportunity of lasciviousness being taken away, they may be able more carefully to guard their hearts for the same and their bodies in all sanctify. And, indeed, that this salutary statute may more conveniently be observed, we strictly inhibit any females from being admitted for the future among the sisters in the monasteries of the non-mendicant orders, unless as many as can be supported without penury out of the goods or revenues of the monasteries themselves; decreeing whatever may be done otherwise to be null and void.

But when the abbess or prioress of any monastery shall have to do homage for the feud by which she holds the monastery from some prince or temporal lord, or to take an oath of fealty to him (unless that she may be able to do this through the proctor), she may in that case have liberty to leave her monastery with a seemly and becoming society, sure to return forthwith after the homage is done, or the oath of fealty has been taken, so that nothing soever may be done to the detriment of residence or of monasterial seclusion.

Furthermore, that nuns may have no cause or opportunity for straying about, we beg, require, and beseech, by the bowels of the mercy of Jesus Christ, of all secular princes and other temporal lords, still recommending the same persons (so to do) for the remission of sins, that they would suffer the abbesses and prioresses themselves, and all nuns soever, bearing charge of their monasteries, as also the administration and affairs of the same, under what names soever they may be styled, to conduct their litigations through the medium of proctors in their tribunals or courts, so that it may not be necessary that they should stray about instead of appointing proctors (who in some places are called attorneys[2]), or other such persons. But if any shall presume [to act] otherwise, refusing to comply with such reasonable and holy exhortation, as it is contrary to justice that women (especially religious women) should conduct lawsuits personally, and as it is swerving from the path of decorum, and involves the danger of souls, they should be forced to this (line of conduct) by ecclesiastical censure, through their own ecclesiastical ordinaries. But on the bishops and other prelates, superior and inferior, whoever they be, we enjoin, that they themselves shall see that the causes and transactions, which the aforesaid nuns shall have to manage, be carried on and managed in their own presence, or in the courts of the same, whether they be homages, oaths of fealty, lawsuits, or other matters, through the agency of their proctors.

And since it be not enough to establish laws, unless there were persons who would take charge of their being duly put in execution, we strictly command all patriarchs, primates, archbishops, and bishops collectively, in virtue of holy obedience, under the invocation of divine judgment, and the threat of eternal malediction, that any of them, with respect to the monasteries of nuns subjected to them by ordinary right, in their state and in their own diocese, [should be mindful] by their own authority, but, in regard to those which belong immediately to the Roman Church, by authority of the Apostolic See; but that abbots and other excepted prelates of churches, monasteries, and orders whatsoever, should be mindful, in such monasteries subjected to them, to take measures as soon as they conveniently can, regarding a proper closing, where such does not exist, at the expense of the monasteries themselves, and through the alms of the faithful, which they should take care to be carefully made for this purpose, and shutting in the nuns themselves, if they would avoid the acrimony of the Divine anger and ours, by checking contradictory and rebellious persons by ecclesiastical censure, appeal being laid aside, calling in, if need shall be, the aid of the secular arm. But through this let not the ordinaries of the several places believe that any jurisdiction or power in other respects is by any means granted to them.

Clement V. in the Council or Vienna.

Ex Clementinis, lib, 1, tit. VI. touching the Age, and Quallty^ and Order, of those to be set over, cap. 2.

(Sess. xxii. de refonn. cap. 4.)

That those who are bound or shall hereafter be bound to divine offices in cathedral or collegiate, secular or regular churches, may the more readily be induced to take on them holy orders, we determine that no one in future shall have a voice in the chapter in such churches (although this may be freely conceded to them by others), unless he has been placed in the order of subdeaconship. But let those who now peacefully hold in the same churches, or shall in future hold dignities, personates, offices, or prebends, to which certain orders have been annexed, unless (a just impediment being wanting) they shall cause themselves to be promoted to such orders within a year from thence, until they have been advanced to them, by no means have a voice in the chapter of the same; and let the half of the distributions given to those who attend at certain hours, be deducted from them, any customs or statutes notwithstanding; the other penalties, which are of right enacted against those refusing to be promoted to orders, being nevertheless to continue in their proper force.

Clement V. in the Council of Vienna.

Ex Clementinis lib. 3, tit, I. on the Life and Becoming Demeanour of Clerks.

(Sess. xiv. de reform, cap. 6.)

Since he who, laying aside the garments suited to his order, presumes to take others, and to wear them in public without any reasonable cause, renders himself unworthy of the privilege of the professors of that order, we decree, by the present constitution, that whatever clerk shall wear a striped or party-coloured dress (unless a reasonable cause exists), if he happen to be beneficed, shall be suspended from the enjoyment of the emoluments of the benefices which he holds; but if he be not beneficed, yet being placed in holy orders within the priesthood, he is rendered for the same length of time incapable of holding an ecclesiastical benefice.

The same regulation we enact regarding other clergy, publicly laying aside the vestis talaris[3] and the clerical tonsure. But a person holding a dignity, personate, or any other benefice upon which the cure of souls is incumbent, as likewise all others constituted in the priesthood, and any religious persons soever, whom it behoveth to display internal goodness by the decency of their external garb, if (except from a reasonable cause) they shall publicly wear a garment of this kind, or publicly carry on their head an infula or pileus linens,[4] they by the very fact, being beneficed, to wit, are to be suspended for a year from the enjoyment of the fruits of the benefices which they hold. But all other priests and all religous persons soever are to be rendered for the same time incapable of holding any ecclesiastical benefice soever. But let both such and all other clerks soever using the epitogium[5] or tdbardua fœderatus usque ad oram, and so short, that it evidently seems to be an inferior garment, let the secular clergy, and the religious holding administration, be bound with a month to give it to the poor; but [let the other religious holding administration be bound within that same space of time to assign it over to their superiors, to be converted to some pious uses. Otherwise let beneficed persons know that they have incurred the aforesaid penalties of suspension, but the others the penalties of incapability [to hold a benefice] during the same period of time.

To this ordinance we yet further add, that clerks, especially beneficed, must not use in public 'caligæ scacatæ[6] ruby or green.

Clement V. in the Council of Vienna.

Ex Clementinis, lib. 3, tit XI. concerning Religious Houses, cap. 2.

(Sess. vii. de reform, cap. 15, et Seas. xxv. de reform, cap. 8.)

Because it sometimes happens that the rectors of xenodochia, of leprosy-houses, alms-houses, or hospitals, laying aside all care of the places, neglect to wrest the goods, chattels, and their rights from the hands of occupiers and usurpers, nay, more, allow them to tumble down and be destroyed, the houses and buildings to be disfigured with ruins, and not heeding the fact that the places were founded and endowed for this purpose, that paupers and leprous persons might be admitted within them, and be supported from the revenues thereof, they inhumanly refuse to do so, converting the same revenues to their own uses, to their own damnation, when, however, these things which were intended for a certain use by the liberality of the faithful, ought to be applied to that use, and not to any other (saving, however, the authority of the Apostolic See), we, detesting such negligence and abuse, ordain, with the approbation of this sacared council, that those to whom that duty appertains by right or statute, framed at the time of forming the places, or by custom legitimately prescribed, or by privilege of the Apostolic See, should make it their study to introduce wholesome reforms into these same places in all the aforesaid particulars, and cause those that have been unduly seized on, lost, and sequestered, to be brought back to the due state, and that they should not omit to force the aforesaid rectors to admit these miserable persons, and to allow them due support, according to the means and revenues of the places themselves. In which, if they perchance evince any negligence or deficiency, we enjoin the ordinaries of the places, that although the aforesaid pious places may possess the privilege of exemption, they are to fulfil all and each of the preceding particulars, and that they compel those same rectors, not privileged by their own, but those exempted and other privileged persons by the apostolic authority; restrainrng all refractory persons, of what state or condition soever they may be, or those who abet the same rectors by their counsel, aid, or favour touching the matters premised, by means of ecclesiastical censure and other remedies of the law; yet thereby occasioning no prejudice to the exemptions or privileges themselves as to other matters. But in order that what has been premised may more properly be observed, let none of these places be conferred on secular clergy as a benefice, although this may have been observed by custom (which we condemn entirely), unless at their foundation it may have been constituted otherwise, or provision regarding a rector may have to be made for such places by election. But let the government of these be intrusted to provident, competent men of good testimony, who may know how, be willing and able to direct the places themselves, their goods and rights, and faithfully to dispense their proceeds and revenues to the use of miserable persons, and men who are not likely to apply the aforesaid goods to other uses; in which we burden the consciences of those to whom the commission of the aforesaid places appertains, under the invocation of the divine judgment. Let those also, to whom the government or administration of the aforesaid places shall be committed, be bound to make oath after the manner of guardians and curators, and to draw up inventories regarding the goods of the places themselves, and render an account of then: administration every year to the ordinaries or others, who have such places under them, or to those to be deputed by them. But if any one shall attempt to act otherwise, we decree that the collation, provision, or the ordination itself is destitute of all validity. But we by no means wish that the matters premised should extend to the hospitals of military orders, or of other religious persons. The rectors of which hospitals we command, in virtue of holy obedience, that they take care to provide for the poor therein, according to the institutes of their orders and the ancient observances, and to afford in them the due need of hospital attendance, to which they should be constrained by severe strictness, any statutes or usages soever notwithstanding. But it is part of our intention, that if any hospital, having an altar or altars, or cemetery, from a remote period, and officiating priests, and persons ministering the ecclesiastical sacraments to the poor, or if the parochial rectors should have been wont to officiate in them, the ancient custom premised may be preserved with respect to exercising and administering the aforesaid spiritual matters.

Eugenius IV.

From lib. 5, Extravagantium communium, tit. VII. de privilegiis, cap. 3

(This is abrogated in Sess. xxiii. de reform, cap. 1, and Sess. xxiv. de reform, cap. 11.)

Placed by the will of the divine clemency on the conspicuous watch-tower of the Apostolic See, we readily direct our attention to those things, through which the officials of the aforesaid see may, in obedience to it (to which, as. the mother of all the faithful, the multitude flock from different parts of the world, to seek the salvation of souls and to attain justice), be more securely and peaceably enabled to show themselves alert. Hence it is that we, moved by certain reasonable causes, treading in the footsteps of some of our predecessors, more strictly prohibit the ordinaries of places, as also their commissioners and delegates, and all others, each and every one, by what power and authority soever they may be distinguished, of what dignity, grade, or pre-eminence soever they may be, from presuming to proceed against the aforesaid officials, by what title soever they may be named, being in obedience to us and to the aforesaid see now and for the time, and also against any other persons soever coming to the aforesaid see for the prosecution of the causes and transactions on one side or the other, and delaying in it (during the prosecution of such transactions and causes), or from promulging against them sentence of excommunication, suspension, or interdict, or of privation of offices or benefices, or any other sentence soever.

For we declare all and every process and sentence passed and entertained contrary to the tenor and meaning of this our prohibition, and [all] to be hereafter entertained and promulged, and whatever may thence follow, as null, void, and unavailing, and to have been, or to be, of no validity or moment. In like manner, whatever may have been attempted wittingly or ignorantly contrary to this by any person, of what authority soever, either hitherto, or may happen to be attempted hereafter, we likewise decree that it be null and void, and nevertheless against all and each of the ordinaries and officials, commissaries and their delegates, who, by interfering with any dignities and ecclesiastical benefices soever of the aforesaid officials, either prosecuting such transactions before the Holy See, by depriving them of them, and decreeing or declaring them to be private persons, or by conferring them on other persons under any private pretext, or by interfering with them in any way soever, we promulge as well against the givers as the receivers, sentence of excommunication, suspension, and interdict, which [sentence] we will that they incur by the very fact; from which sentence of excommunication they shall be unable to be absolved, unless by us, or persons to be deputed by us, unless they be at the very point of death.

But we will, by our own certain knowledge, that the above be binding, and operate on all persons soever from the day in which these presents are affixed to the doors of the Basilic of the prince of the apostles, in the city. All apostolical and general, or proyindal or synodal councils soever, edicts, constitutions, ordinances, and apostolic privileges, by which the effect of these presents might in any way be impeded or delayed, even though special mention might have to be made of them and of their entire tenor in these presents, find which by these presents we wish to hold as sufficiently expressed, and all other things soever to the contrary notwithstanding. To no one then, etc.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, in the year of the incarnation of our Lord 1432, on the 8th of the Ides of March, the second of our pontificate.

Gregory X. at the Council of Lyons

From the Sixth of the Decretals, lib. 1, tit, VI. on Election and the Power of the Elected, cap. 14.

(Sees. vii. de reform, cap. 3.)

Though a canon, put forth by our predecessor, Pope Alexander III., of happy memory, has decreed among other matters, that no person is to undertake the government of a parochial church, unless he has reached the twenty-fifth year of his age, and is worthy of being recommended by his knowledge and morals, and that such person, when elected to this government, if, having been admonished, he is not ordained to the priesthood at the time fixed by the canons, is to be removed from the duty of such government, and that it be conferred on some other person; because, however, in the observance of the above-mentioned canon, many show themselves negligent: we, wishing that their dangerous negligence be made up for by the execution of the law, ordain by our present decree, that no one be admitted to the government of a parochial church, unless he be qualified by morals, knowledge, and age; decreeing that collations to be made of parochial churches to those who have not reached their twenty-fifth year shall hereafter be utterly invalid. He, also, who shall be appointed to such government, that he may take better care of the flock intrusted to him, is bound personally to reside in the parochial church of which he may be rector, and cause himself to be promoted to the priesthood within a year, to be reckoned from the time of the government having been committed to him. But if he shall not have been promoted within the said time, let him, by the authority of the present constitution, be deprived of the church intrusted to him, without any previous admonition. But touching the residence as above mentioned, the ordinary may grant a dispensation according as a reasonable cause requires it.

Gregory X. in the Council of Lyons.

From the Sixth of the Decretals, lib. 1, tit, XVI, on the Office of the Ordmainary cap, 3.

(Sees. vii. de reform, cap. 5.)

Let the ordinaries of places strictly compel their subjects holding several dignities or churches, to whom is intrusted the cure of souls, or a personate, or dignity with another benefice, to which a similar cure is annexed, to exhibit the dispensations, by the authority of which they claim canonically ta hold churches, personates, or dignities, within a time to be settled by the will of the ordinaries themselves, according to the nature of the proceeding. But if it perchance happen that, just impediment being wanting, no dispensation is exhibited within the same time, let the benefices of the church, personates,[7] or dignities, which it is evident are held illicitly without a dispensation, be freely conferred on proper persons, through those to whom the collation thereof appertains. But if the dispensation exhibited appear to be sufficient, let the person exhibiting it not be molested in such benefices as he holds canonically. Let the ordinary, however, take care that the cure of souls be not neglected in the same churches, personates, or dignities, and that the benefices themselves be not defrauded of their due rights. But if doubt be entertained concerning the sufficiency of the dispensation exhibited, regarding this, recourse is to be had to the Apostolic See, whose province it is to estimate what he would wish to be the limit of its own grant. Yet further, in conferring personates, and dignities, and other benefices having the cure of souls annexed, let the same ordinaries observe this diligence, that they do not presume to confer a personate, dignity, or other benefice having a similar cure of souls, on anj person holding several of the same kind, until a dispensation evidently sufficient be shown by them regarding those so obtained, which being shown, we desire that they at length proceed to the collation, if it appear by the same that the person on whom the collation is to be made can freely retain such personate, dignity, or benefice, along with those already held, or if he freely and willingly resign those which he thus holds. Otherwise, let a collation made of personates, dignities, and such benefices, be of no moment soever.

Gregory X. in the Council of Lyons.

From the Sixth of the Decretals, lib. 3, tit, XX, on Estimates or Exactions made under a Plea of Procuration, cap. 2.

(Sess. xxiv. de reform. cap 2.)

The audacity of the perverse requires that we be not content with the mere prohibition of misdemeanours, but also, that we impose a penalty on those offending. Willing, therefore, that the constitution of Pope Innocent IV., of happy memory, our predecessor, published regarding the non-acceptance of procurations in money, or on the receiving of gifts interdicted to visitants and their associates, which the temerity of many is said to transgress, should be inviolably preserved, we decree that it be strengthened by the addition of a penalty; enacting, that all and every individual who shall presume to exact money on account of a procuration due to him on the score of a visitation, or even to receive it from a willing person, or in any other way to violate the constitution itself by receiving presents, or, the office of visitation not being rendered, [by receiving] a procuration in victuals, or anything else under the plea of a procuration, let such persons be bound to refund, within a month, double of that, which they may have received, to the church from which it may have been received. Otherwise, let patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, delaying to restore this double sum within the prescribed time, know that henceforward their entrance into the church is interdicted. But let inferior functionaries know that they are suspended from their office and benefice, no remission, largess, or favour of the givers being to avail them in this particular.

Innocent III. in the Council of Lateran.

From Book 1 of the Decretals, tit. XXXI, on the Office of the Judge, cap. 15.

(Sess. V. de reform, cap. 2.)

Among other matters which tend to the salvation of the Christian people, the food of the word of God is known to be especially necessary to them; because, as the body is nourished by material, so is the soul by spiritual rood, because not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word which proceeds from the mouth of God.[8] Whence, whereas it frequently happens that bishops, on account of their manifold engagements, or corporeal infirmities, or the incursions of enemies, or other causes (not to mention deficiency of knowledge, which in them is to be reprobated, and no longer to be tolerated for the future), are not of themselves sufficient to minister to the people the word of God, more especially throughout their extensive and scattered dioceses; by a general constitution, we enact, that the bishops appoint competent men to perform in a wholesome way the office of holy preaching, men powerful in work and in speech, who, instead of themselves, seeing they are unable, anxiously visiting the people committed to them, may edrfy them by word and example, to whom,[9] when they are in want, let them[10] minister the necessaries, lest for lack of necessaries they be obliged to desist from their undertaking. Whence, we enjoin that proper persons be ordained as well in cathedral as in other conventual churches, whom the bishops may be able to have as coadjutors and assistants, not only in the office of preaching, but also in hearing confessions, and enjoining penance, and in other matters relating to the salvation of souls. But if any one neglect to fulfil this, let him be subjected to strict retribution.

Innocent III.

From Book 3 of the Decretals, tit, V. on Prebends and Dignities, cap. 28.

(Sees. vii. de reform, cap. 4.)

It was with much foresight prohibited at the Council of Lateran, that no one should receive different ecclesiastical dignities, or several parochial churches, contrary to the institutes of the sacred canons; otherwise the receiver should lose one so received, and the person conferring it should be deprived of the power of bestowing it. But because, by reason of the presumption and greediness of certain persons, none or rare advantage has hitherto resulted from the aforesaid statute, we, desirous to meet [the ever] more evidently and more expressly, determine by our present decree, that whoever shall receive any benefice having the cure of souls annexed, if he previously held such a benefice, shall be by the very act deprived thereof, and if perchance he should strive to retain it, he be also deprived of the other. He, also, to whom the granting of the former belongs, may freely confer that, after the reception of the other, upon the person to whom it may seem to be conferred deservedly, and if he shall delay to confer it beyond six months, the collation is not only to devolve upon others, according to the statute of the Council of Lateran, but also, he is to be obliged to make over as much out of his own proceeds for the good of the church to which the benefice belongs, as it is evident has been derived since the time of its homing vacant. The same regulation we decree to be observed with respect to personates, adding, that no one is to presume to hold in the same church a pluralitv of dignities or personates. In the case, however, or exalted and learned persons, who are to be honoured with greater benefices, a dispensation may be granted by the Apostolic See, when reason shall require it.

Innocent III.

Ibid. cap. 29.

(Sess. vii. de reform, cap. 3.)

It is too grievous and too absurd, that some prelates of churches, when they are able to promote qualified persons to ecclesiastical benefices, scruple not to select unworthy persons, who have not the suffrage either of correctness of morals, nor of the possession of learning, following the affections of the flesh, not the judgment of reason; from which source, no one of sound mind can be ignorant what heavy destruction results to the churches. Wishing, therefore, to remedy this disease, we enjoin that, passing by the unworthy, they select the deserving, who may be willing and able to bestow on God and the churches a grateful service, and that a careful examination be made annually touching this matter in the provincial council, in such a manner that he who, after the first and second correction, has been found blame-worthy, may be suspended from conferring benefices by the council itself, a provident and reputable person being appointed in the same council, who may supply the defect of the suspended person in conferring benefices. And let this same be observed with respect to the chapters which may have transgressed in these particulars. But let the delinquency of the metropolitan be left to the judgment of the superior, to be reported on the part of the council. But that this wholesome provision may obtain fuller effect, let the sentence of such suspension, besides the authority of the Roman pontiff, or of the proper patriarch, be by no means relaxed, that in this, also, the four patriarchal sees may be especially honoured.

Innocent III. in the Council of Lateran.

From Book 3 of the Decretals, tit, XXXV. on the State of Monks, cap. 7.

(Sess. xxv. de regul. et monial. cap. 8.)

In every kingdom and province, let there be every three years, without detriment to the right of the diocesan pontiffs, a common chapter of the abbots, and of the priors not having their own abbots, who have been accustomed to attend such chapters, at which all not labouring under a canonical impediment are to assemble at one of the monasteries suited for this purpose; this check being applied, that none of them is to bring more than six evictions and eight persons. But at the commencement of this innovation, let them cite in charity two abbots of the Cistercian order, who may be near at hand, to afford advice and timely aid, as by long custom they are more fully informed in holding such chapters; who are to associate without contradiction with themselves from among themselves, two persons whom they shall consider to be expedient. And let these four preside over the entire chapter, so that from this none of them is to assume the authority of precedence, whence, should it seem expedient, they may be changed after careful deliberation. But let such chapter be held on some certain days successively, according to the custom of the Cistercian order, in which a careful consideration may be entertained touching the reformation of the order and regular observance; and let whatever may have been ordained with the approbation of these four persons, be inviolably observed by all, all excuse, contradiction, and appeal being removed, a provision nevertheless being made as to where the chapter is to be held in the following term. And let those who may assemble lead a life in common, and let them contribute proportionally to all the common expenses in such a manner, that, if all cannot dwell in the same houses, at least the greater number may tarry together in different houses. Let there be ordained in the same chapter religious and circumspect persons, who may in our stead be careful to visit each abbey of the same kingdom or province, not only of the monks but of the nuns also, according to the prescribed form, correcting and reforming whatever they may observe to stand in need of the office of correction and reform, so that, should they know that the rector of a place ought to be removed entirely, signify to his own bishop that he should take care to remove him; which should he not do, the visitors themselves must refer it to the inquiry of the Apostolic See. This same [ordinance] we desire and recommend that the regular canons observe according to their own order. But if in this innovation aught of difficulty should arise, which cannot be got over by the aforesaid persons, reference may be made without scandal to the judgment of the Apostolic See, all the other points being without infraction observed, which may have been provided for by united deliberation.

Furthermore, let the diocesan bishops so study to reform the monasteries subjected to them, that when the aforesaid visitors may come to them, they may find more in them which may be deserving of commendation than of correction; most attentively taking care that the monasteries already mentioned be not oppressed by them with undue burdens, because we desire that the rights of the superiors be observed, so that we should not wish to allow of the wrongs to the inferiors.[11] To this end, we strictly enjoin, as well to diocesan bishops as to the persons who shall preside over the holding of the chapters, that appeal being removed by ecclesiastical censure, they would restrain advocates, patrons, vice-lords, rectors and consuls, nobles and soldiers, or any other persons soever, that they presume not to offend the monasteries in persons and things. And if perchance they should offend, they should not neglect to force them to make satisfaction, to the end that they may be able the more freely and quietly to do services unto Almighty God.

Innocent III. in the Council of Lateran.

From Book 4 of the Decretals, tit. III. on Clandestine Betrothal, cap. 3.

(Seas. xxiv. decret. de reform, matr. cap. 1.)

Whereas the prohibition of the conjugal tie has been recalled in the three last degrees, we desire it to be strictly observed in other cases. Whence, treading in the footsteps of our predecessors, we altogether prohibit clandestine marriages; forbidding even any priest from being present at such. Wherefore, extending the special usage of some places to others generally, we decree, that when marriages are to be contracted, they be called out publicly by the priests[12] in the churches, a sufficient period being defined, that within it whosoever may be willing and able may oppose a legitimate impediment, and the presbyters themselves may nevertheless examine whether any impediment stand in the way. But when a probable conjecture shall appear against the tie to be contracted, let the person so contracted be expressly interdicted, until it shall appear from plain proofs what ought to be done on the subject.

Innocent III. in the Council of Lateran.

From Book 5 of Decretals, tit I. on Accusations and Inquisitions and Denunciation of cap. 24.

(Sess. xxiv. de reform, cap. 5.)

After what maimer and how a prelate ought to proceed to inquire into and to punish the excesses of his subjects, is evidently inferred from the authorities of the New and Old Testament, from which subsequently proceeded the canonical enactments, as on a former occasion we distinctly noted, and now confirm by the approbation of the sacred council. For it is read in the Gospel, that the steward who had got into bad repute with his master, as though he had wasted his goods, heard from him:[13] What is this I hear of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest no longer he steward. And in Genesis, the Lord says:[14]I will go down and see, whether they have filled up the cry which indeed hath reached me. From which authorities it is clearly proved that not only when the subject, but even when the prelate transgresses,[15] if it reach the ears of the superior by clamour and report, not indeed by the evil-intentioned and evil speakers, but by provident and reputable persons, and not once only, but frequently (which is intimated by clamour and evinced by general report), he ought, in presence of the seniors of the church, carefully to investigate the truth, to the end that, if the nature of the thing should require it, canonical severity may punish the offence of the delinquent, not as though he were the author and informer, but as though he were performing the duty of his office from the reports of fame or the denunciation of clamour. But although this is to be observed in the case of subjects, a more careful observation is to be made in the case of prelates, who are set up as it were as a mark for the arrow.[16] And because they cannot please all, inasmuch as by their office they are obliged not only to reprove, but also to rebuke, nay, sometimes also to suspend, on some occasions even to bind, they frequently incur the ill-will and hatred of many, and become exposed to treachery; it is for this reason the holy fathers with foresight ordained, that an impeachment against prelates be not readily listened to, lest, the pillars being shaken, the edifice should totter, unless diligent caution be applied, by means of which the door may be shut against not only false, but also against malignant crimination. But in such manner did they wish to provide for the interests of prelates, that they might not be accused unjustly, so, however, as to beware that they did not offend insolently, finding a suitable remedy against both diseases, to the end that a criminal accusation, which is brought in order to procure degradation,[17] may by no means be admitted, unless a legitimate inscription precede. But when any one has become so infamous by reason of his excesses, that the cry now ascends, which can no longer be concealed without scandal, or tolerated without danger, without a scruple of doubt, a desire to inquire into and punish his excesses should proceed, not from any lurking hate, but from a feeling; of charity, inasmuch as, if the excess be serious, though he may not be degraded from his order, he may, however, be removed from the administration, which is according to the sentence in the Scripture, for the steward to be removed from his stewardship, who cannot render a proper account of his stewardship. Wherefore, he ought to be present against whom the inquiry is to be made, unless he shall absent himself through contumacy, and those heads are to be explained to him, concerning which inquiry shall have to be made, that he may have an opportunity of defending himself. And not only the sayings, but the names also of the witnesses are to be published for him, that it may appear what may have been said and by whom; and, also, lawful exceptions and replies are to be admitted, lest by a suppression of names there may be occasioned a daring spirit of defaming, and by an exclusion of exceptions, a spirit of alleging falsehood. To correct, therefore, the excesses of his subjects, the prelate ought to arise so much the more diligently, as he would incur greater damnation in allowing their offences to pass by uncorrected; against whom, to say nothing of our excesses, though there are three modes of proceeding, viz., by their accusation, denunciation, and inquisition, so however that diligent caution be applied in all cases, lest by taking an easy short cut a heavy loss be sustained, as an inscription ought legitimatelv to precede an accusation, so also ought a charitable admonition to precede a denunciation, and a clamorous insinuation an inquisition, such check being always employed, that according to the form of the trial, the form of the sentence also be worded. This order, however, we do not think ought always and in every particular to be observed regarding regular persons, who, when occasion requires, can be removed from their administration more readily and more freely.

Innocent III.

From book 5 of the Decretals, tit. XXXIII, on Privileges and Excess of Privilege, cap, 16.

(Sess. xxiv. de refonn. cap. 11.)

Whereas the chapel of the duke of Burgundy is said to enjoy this privilege, that no archbishop or bishop dare to publish sentences either of suspension, or excommunication, or interdict against the persons of the canons of that chapel, some canons of the aforesaid chapel who hold parochial churches from you, by occasion of the aforesaid privilege in those also whose jurisdiction appertains to you, say that they are exempt, so that however seriously they may sometimes transgress, they may refuse to submit to your correction and sentence. Wherefore, we command that in so far as they are exempt, with respect to the same chapel you may submit reverently to the apostolic privileges, but in so fer as they are known to refer to your jurisdiction with respect to parochial churches or otherwise, you may freely follow up with regard to the same that which is due to your office.

Innocent III. in the Council of Lateran.

From Book 5 of the Decretals, tit, XXX VIII, on Penances and Permissions, cap. 12.

(Sees. xiii. de sacr. euch. can. 9, et Seas. xiv. de sacr. pœnit. can. 8.)

Every one of the faithful of either sex, when such person has reached the years of discretion, should alone confess all his or her sins faithfully, at least once a year to his own priest, and endeavour to fulfil according to his ability the penance enjoined on him, receiving reverently, at least at Easter, the sacrament of the Eucharist, unless perchance he may think it right to abstain for a time from receiving it, for some reasonable cause, according to the advice of his own priest; otherwise, whilst living, let such person be debarred from entering the church, and when dead, let him be deprived of Christian burial. Whence, let this salutary statute be published frequently in the churches, that no one may in the blindness of ignorance take on a veil of excuse. But if any one shall wish to confess his sins to a strange priest for a just cause, let him first demand and obtain leave from his own priest, since, otherwise, the other can neither loose nor bind him.

Innocent IV. in the Council of Lyons.

From the Sixth of the Pecretah, lib. 2, tit. XV. de appellat. cap. 3.

(Sess. xxii. de reform, cap. 7.)

"Romana ecclesia et infra, Whereas the consistory or auditory of the suffragans of the church of Rheims and of their officials (who generally examine into the causes appertaining to their court in their stead), is to be accounted as one and the same, an appeal is to be made from the officials themselves not to the aforesaid suffragans (lest the appeal might seem to be made from the same to themselves), but by right to the court of Rheims. But the appeal ought to be made from the archdeacons and other inferior suffragan prelates subject to the same, and from their officials to the suffragans themselves, and not to the same court (omitting the aforesaid suffragans), unless custom warrants the church of Rheims in doing something else in this particular. But when an appeal has been made from the audience of the same suffragans or their officials to the above-mentioned court, let the archbishop of Rheims for the time being, or his official, on no account cite the parties, in the case of an appeal being lodged, before the definitive sentence, and let them not commit it to others, without expressing a probable or lawful cause of the same appeal.

But if, the parties being cited, it be set forth either that the appeal had not been made at all, or not within ten days after the interlocutory or final sentence, or something else of the kind, and thus that the matter did not devolve by appeal upon the same archbishop or his official: let the same (unless it first be evident to them that the cause itself was laid wholly before them) not presume to prevent them from proceeding in that cause, or [from going on] to the execution of the sentence.

But if it be objected that the appeal laid arose from an unjust cause, or from one not altogether legitimate before the sentence, and in consequence thereof that no such appeal is to be admitted; the aforesaid archbishop or his official cannot prevent them from proceeding in the cause, unless the appeal being first received, as arising from a probable cause, they begin to learn regarding such a cause whether it be true. But if it be said that the appeal was made after sentence in cases not interfered with by law (as after sentence pronounced on a manifest and notorious crime, or one to which the party has confessed), or in such like, they may prevent the sentence being carried into execution (after they have begun to take cognizance whether the appeal interposed by him is to be received or not). Against another also, who makes any attempt after their inhibition regarding the matter in dispute between the appellant and his adversary, they cannot claim any jurisdiction to themselves on an occasion of this kind. But when he who sends forth the voice of appeal on any cause to the court of Rheims, he must, nevertheless, submit in other causes to the jurisdiction of his ordinary; let not the archbishop of Rheims or his official interfere with his jurisdiction in other cases, so as entirely to take such appellant from the power of the same ordinary. But the appeal ought to be made to them from the bishops of the aforesaid province relative to causes in which they exercise temporal jurisdiction, unless perchance it may be necessary to appeal to another, by custom or privilege, or some other special right. Sentences also of interdict, or of suspension, or excommunication, promulged against an appellant by him from whom it is supposed to appeal, are by no means to be revoked and declared null and void, unless the parties be summoned, and the appeal be duly taken cognizance of. But when an appeal has been made before sentence to the archbishop of Rheims from the audience of his suffragan on any cause, let the same archbishop (after he has examined the cause, and ascertained that it is not a reasonable one) not delay to send back the cause to the same suffragan.

Innocent IV. in the Council of Lyons.

From the Sixth of the Decretals, lib. 5, tit. VII. de Privilegiis, cap. 1.

(Seas. vii. de reform, cap. 14.)

Wishing that the liberty, which the Apostolic See. has conceded to some with a privilege of exemption, should be observed so unimpaired, that both others may not infrine it, and they themselves may not exceed its limits, we define by an irrefagable declaration, that, however much those so expected may enjoy such liberty, still, however, with respect to the offence, whether of contract, or of the matter concerning which proceedings are taken against them, they may duly be convened before the ordinaries of the plaises, and they may with respect to this exercise their Jurisdiction against them (as justice requires).

Are they then altogether deprived of the advantage of liberty in these instances? Certainly not; because neither in presence of the ordinaries themselves, provided it was in the exempted place that the fault was committed, or the contract entered into, or the matter, the subject of litigation, took place nor where they hold a residence, if they commit the offence elsewhere, or make the contract, or the matter itself occur, can they be convened in any respect regarding these points; nor under the pretext of residence are the diocesans of places (if they be convened where they have committed the offence, or have entered into a contract, or the matter itself takes place) to have any power to send them back there, or to enjoin them to answer there; reserving, nevertheless, other cases, in which the canonical institutes direct them to be subject to the jurisdiction of the bishops. And this, same decree we pass concerning those to whom it has been conceded by apostolic privilege, that they are not obliged to answer those bringing complaints against them except before one judge. But against those, to whom indulgence has been conceded by the Apostolic; See, that they cannot be interdicted, suspended, or excommunicated by any one, as several of them are religious persons, in whose privilege it is contained, that no bishop or archbishop can presume to interdict, suspend, or excommunicate the monks of their monasteries for any cause, or in any place the same ordinaries cannot at all exercise their jurisdiction with regard to those matters, wheresoever they may be, unless perchance the monks themselves have been appointed to the priorships of their monasteries, subject to the same ordinanes. For then, though they may freely be recalled to the same monasteries, and be considered as monks of those as well as of the priorships themselves (as it is not inconsistent that any one should hold a monastic place in both), it is known that one is subject to another monastery, or is dependent on it; with respect, however, to the same priorships, the aforesaid ordinaries can lawfully avail themselves of their jurisdiction in these even, as far as the preceding (as long as, they tarry in them).

Leo X. in the Council of Lateran.

Sess. X. regarding the Printing of Books.

(Sess. iy. decret. de edit, et usu sacr. libror. et reg.. x. de libris prohibitis, suprà.)

Lest that which has been wholesomely invented unto the glory of God, and the increase of the faith, and the propagation of the liberal arts, be converted to the contrary effect, and bring forth detriment to the salvation of the faithful of Christ, we deemed it right that our solicitude should be exercised concerning the printing of books, lest in future thorns grow up along with the good seed, or poisons be mixed up with medicines. Wishing, therefore, to provide an opportune remedy for these, with the approbation of this sacred council, that the business of the printing of such books may succeed with the greater prosperity, in proportion as a more close search shall be employed with greater diligence and caution: we decree and ordain that hence-forward in the time to come, no one shall presume to print, or to cause to be printed, any book, or any writing soever, as well in our city as in all other cities and dioceses soever, unless such books or writings be first carefully examined in the city by our vicar and the master of the sacred palace, but in other states and dioceses by the bishop, or some other person possessing an acquaintance with science, to be deputed for that purpose by the same bishop, and by the inquisitor of heretical depravity, in the state or diocese in which the printing of such books might take place, and be approved by their subscription with their own hand, to be affixed gratuitously and without delay, under the sentence of excommunication. But whosoever shall presume to act otherwise, beside the loss of the books so printed, and their being publicly burnt, and the payment of one hundred ducats to the manufactory of the prince of the apostles in the city, without hope of its being remitted, and the suspension for an entire year of the practice of printing, let him be entangled in sentence of excommunication, and finally, his contumacy becoming worse, let him be so chastised by his bishop or our vicar respectively through all the remedies of the law, that others may not presume after his example to attempt the like. To no one, therefore, etc. But if any one, etc.

Given at Rome, in the public Basilica, solemnly celebrated on the year of the incarnation of our Lord 1515, fourth of May, in the third year of our pontificate.

Sixtus IV.

Ex lib. 3, Extravagantium communium, tit. XII. touching the Relics and the Veneration of Saints, cap. 1.

(Sess. V. decret. de pecc. orig.)

When we investigate with the scrutiny of devout consideration the exalted insignia of the merits with which the queen of the heavens, the glorious virgin mother of God, advanced to the ethereal dwellings, shining amid the constellations as the morning star, and revolve beneath the secrets of our breast, that she herself, as the path of mercy, the mother of grace, and the friend of piety, the consoler of the human race, the sedulous and vigilant advocate on behalf of the salvation of the faithful, who are oppressed by the load of their offences, intercedes with the King whom she has brought forth; we consider it meet, nay, rather due, to invite by indulgences and the remissions of sins, that they may thereby become more fitted for divine grace, by the merits and intercession of the same Virgin, all the faithful in Christ to return thanks and praises for the wonderful conception of the immaculate Virgin to Almighty God (where Providence regarding from eternity the humility of the same Virgin, for the reconciling to its author human nature, which, by the fall of the first man, became subject unto eternal death, by the preparation of the Holy Ghost, constituted her as the habitation of his only begotten, from whom he should take on him the flesh of our mortality for the redemption of his people, and she should remain, nevertheless, an immaculate virgin after the birth), and offer up masses and other divine offices instituted for that purpose in the church of God, and be present at them. Induced, therefore, by this consideration, confiding in the authority of the same Almighty God, and in that of his blessed apostles Peter and Paul, by the apostolic authority, which is to be in force for ever, by this constitution, we decree and ordain, that all and every one of the faithful of Christ, of both sexes, who shall devoutly celebrate and offer up on the day of the festival of the Conception of the same Virgin Mary, and during its octave, the mass and office of the Conception I of the same glorious Virgin, according to the pious, devout, and praise-worthy ordinance of our deloved son Leonardi de Nogarole, clerk of Verona, our notary, and the institution of such mass and office which emanated down from us, or shall be present thereat in the canonical hours; as often as they shall do so, they are to obtain the same-precise indulgence and remission of sins which, according to the constitutions of Urban IV., of happy memory, approved at the Council of Vienna, and of Martin V., and of other Roman pontiffs, our predecessors, those are entitled to, who celebrate and offer up the mass in canonical hours, at the festival of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ from the first evening and during its octave, according to the constitutions of the Roman Church, or who are present at the mass, at the office, and at such hours; these presents to be in force for all time.[18]

Given at Rome, at Saint Peter's, in the year of the incarnation of our Lord 1476, third of the calends of March, in the sixth year of our pontificate.

Sixtus IV.

Ibid. cap. 2.

(Sess. V. Decret. de peccato originali.)

We bear a burden too onerous and painful, when unfavourable reports are brought to us regarding certain ecclesiastical persons. But in the excesses committed in preaching by those who are deputed to announce the word of God, we are the more provoked at it, in proportion as they remain with greater danger uncorrected, when the errors, which are impressed on the hearts of many by thus preaching publicly in a more diffused and damnable manner, cannot easily be done away with. And truly, when the holy Roman Church solemnly publicly celebrates a festival concerning the conception of the undefiled and (ever Virgin Mary), and has ordained regarding this a special and peculiar office, some preachers of different orders, as we have heard, in their discourses to the people publicly have hitherto not blushed to affirm, through different states and lands, and cease not daily to preach, that all those who hold or assert, that the same glorious and immaculate mother of God was conceived without the stain of original sin, commit deadly sin, or that they are heretics; that those celebrating the office of the same immaculate conception, and hearing the discourses of those who affirm that she was conceived without such stain, sin grievously. But not content with the aforesaid preachings, they have published books got up about these their assertions, from whose assertions and preachings no inconsiderable scandals have arisen in the minds of the faithful, and still greater are dreaded to arise every day. We then, desiring to obviate such rash daring and perverse and scandalous assertions, which may thence arise in the Church of God, as far as is permitted us from on high, of our own proper motion, not at the instance of any petition presented to us on the point, but from our own mere deliberation and certain knowledge, reprobate and condemn by apostolic authority, by the tenor of these presents, such assertions of the same preachers, and of any other persons soever, who presume to affirm that those who believe or hold that the same mother of God was at her conception preserved from the stain of original sin, are for this reason polluted with the stain of any heresy, or committed mortal sin; or that when celebrating such office of the conception, or listening to such discourses, that they incur the guilt of any sin, as being false and erroneous, and utterly foreign from the truth; and, moreover, in this respect, the aforesaid published books containing such assertion, and by the aforesaid motion, knowledge, and authority, we determine and ordain, that the preachers of the word of God, and any other persons soever, of what state, grade, order, or condition soever they may be, who in future shall presume, by rash daring, to affirm to the people, or in any other way soever, that such assertions, so disapproved and condemned by us, are true, or to read as true the aforesaid books, to hold or to keep them, after they have obtained the knowledge of these presents, incur by the very fact sentence of excommunication, from which they cannot obtain the benefit of absolution from any other person save from the Roman Pontiff, except at the very point of death. Likewise, by a similar motion, knowledge, and authority, subjecting to the same penalty and censure those who shall presume to assert, holding a contrary opinion, viz. that the glorious Virgin Mary was conceived with original sin, incur the guilt of heresy, or deadly sin, when it was not yet decided by the Roman Church and the Apostolic See; any apostolic constitutions and ordinances soever to the contrary notwithstanding;, to which, whether in common or separately, there may exist an indult from the Apostolic See, that they cannot be interdicted, suspended, or excommunicated by apostolic letters, not making full, express, and word for word mention of such indult. And lest at any time they may be able to allege ignorance with regard to the foregoing, we desire that the requisite ordinaries of the places would deliver, in their discourses to the people, and cause to be published the present letters in the churches situate in their states, and in remarkable places of their dioceses, when a considerable multitude of the people has assembled for divine service. Moreover, because it would be difficult to convey the present letters to the individual places, wherein it might be expedient, we also will and decree, by the aforesaid authority, that a copy of the same letter, drawn up by the hand of a notary-public, and confirmed with the authentic seal of some ecclesiastical prelate, be observed everywhere, as the same original letter would be observed, if it were exhibited or shown. Be it lawful, therefore, for no person soever to infringe this page of our reprobation, condemnation, statute, ordinance, will, and decree, or by rash attempt to contravene it. But if any one shall presiune to attempt it, let him know that he will incur the indignation of Almighty God, and of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. Given at Borne, at Saint Peter's, in the year of the incarnation of our Lord 1483, the day before the nones of September, in the thirteenth year of our pontificate.

  1. I. e. without a title to orders.
  2. Adoraati.
  3. I.e. a, garment reaching to the ankles.
  4. I.e. a linen cap or turban. So Synod. Perg. apud Muratori, vol. ix. p. 547: "Tonsuram et habitura deferant clericales ordini suo et statui competentes. ..... Infulam de sera sive serico more laicali minime deferentes." See also Du Cange, vol. iii. p. 1428, sq.
  5. The epitogium was a kind of cloak. With these precepts compare the similar prohibitions quoted in Du Cange, 1. c. p. 114, and vol. yi. p. 938, s. v. tabardum.
  6. I. e. plaid or check patterns. Cf. Du Cange, vol. vi. p. 167.
  7. A kind of benefice, explained in a former note.
  8. Deut. viii. 3; Matt. iv. 4.
  9. I. e. the deputed preachers.
  10. I. e. the bishops.
  11. Ut inferionim nolimiis injurias sustinere.
  12. Presbyteros.
  13. Luke xvi. 2.
  14. Gen. xviii. 24.
  15. Excedit.
  16. Lament, iii. 12.
  17. Diminutio capitis.
  18. Præsentibus perpetuis temporibus valituris.