ter[>rpti'd in favour of the general thesis. As early as the eleventh century this sermon had taken the form of a metrical dramatic dialogue, the stage- arrangement adhering closely to the original. Addi- tions and adaptations wore gradually introduced. A Kouen iiiuiui.script of ilic thirteenth century out- lined in l)ui-:iiige (('ilo.'is:irium, s. v. Festum) ex- hibit.s twenty-eight pr(>i)hct.s as taking part in the play. After Terce, the rubric directs, "let the pro- cession move to the church, in the centre of which let there be a furnace . . . and an idol for the brethren to refuse to worship." The procession filed into the choir. On the one side were seated Moses, Amos, Isaias, Aaron . . . Balaam and his Ass . . . Zachary and Klizal)cth, John the Baptist and Simeon. The three Gentile prophets sat opposite. The pro- ceedings were conducted under the auspices of .St. Au- gustine, whom the precentor represented. Begin- ning with Moses, the presiding dignitary called on each of the prophets, who successively testified to the birth of the Messiah. When the Sibyl had re- cited her acrostic lines on the Signs of Judgment (Du M^ril, 186), all the prophets sang in unison a hymn of praise to the long-sought Saviour. Mass immediately followed. In all this the part that pleased the congregation was the role of Balaam and the Ass; hence the popular designation of the "Processus Proplietarum" as "the Feast of the Ass ". The part of Balaam was soon dissociated from its surroundings an<l expanded into an inde- pendent drama. The Rouen rubrics direct that two messengers be sent by King Balaak to bring forth the prophet. Bahuim advances riding on a gorgeously caparisoned ass (a wooden, or hobby, ass, for the rubric immediately bids somebody to hide beneath the trappings — not an enviable position when the further direction to the rider was carried out — "and let him goad the ass with his spurs"). From the Chester pageant it is clear that the prophet rode on a wooden animal, since the rubric supposes that the speaker for the beast is "in asind" (Thos. Wright, "The Chester Plays," I, v). Then follows the scene in which the ass meets the angered angel and protests at length against the cruelty of the rider. Once detached from the parent stem, the "Festum .\sinorum" branched in various directions. In the Beauvais thirteenth-century document, quoted by the editors of Ducange, the "Feast of As.ses" is already an independent Trope with the date and purpo.se of its celebration changed. At Beauvais the Ass may have continued his minor role of en- livening the long procession of Prophets. On the fourteenth of Januarj', however, he discharged an im- portant function in that city's festivities. On the feast of the Flight into Egj-pt the most lieautiful girl in the city, with a pretty cliiid in her arms, was placed on a richly draped a.ss, and conducted with religious gravity to .St. .Stephen's Church. The Ass (possibly a wooden figure) was stationed at the right of the altar, and the Mass was begun. After the Introit a Latin Prose was sung. The first stanza and its French refrain may ser\'e as a specimen of the nine that follow: —
Pulcher et fortissimus
Ilez. Sire Asnes, car chantez, Bello lK)uche rechignez, Vnus aurez du foin assez Et dp I'avoine a plantez.
— " From the Eastern lands the Ass is come, beautiful and very brave, well fitted to bear bur- dens. I'd! Sir Ass, and sing. Open your pretty mouth. Hay will be yours in plenty, and oats in abundance."
Mass was continued, and at its end, apparently without awakening the least consciousness of its impropriety, the following direction was observed: "In fine Missae sacerdos, versus ad populuni, vice 'Ite, .Missa Est", ter hinhannabit: populus vero, vice 'Deo Gratias', ter respondebit, 'Hinliam, hinham, hinham.' " — " .\t the end of Mass, the priest, having turned to the people, in lieu of saying the 'I'e, Missa est', will bray thrice; the people instead of replying 'Deo Gratias' say, 'Hinham, hinham, hinham. '^" — This is the .sole instance of a service of this nature in connection with the Feiust of the .^ss. The Festum Asinorum gradually lost its identity, and became incorporated in the ceremonies of the Deriosuil or united in the general merry-making on the Feast of Fools. The "Processus Proplietarum", whence it drew its origin, survives in the Corpus Christi and Whitsun Cycles, that stand at the head of the modern English drama.
T. J. Crowley.
Assessor of the Holy Office, an official of the Congri'gatiiin of the liii|uisition. The Holy Office is better known as the Congregation of the Univer- sal Inquisition. Its functions at present are to watch over matters connected with faith and to examine into the suspected tenets of persons or books. The Ass&ssor holds the office next in dignity after the Cardinals of the Congregation. He is a secular prel- ate or an honorary chamberlain of the Pope. It is his duty to make the relation or report of the Holy Office in a given case. When the con.sultors of the Congregation alone assemble, the Assessor
E resides over them and afterwards lays their votes efore the Cardinal Inquisitors. When the Congre- gation has reached a decision, the A.s.ses.sor commu- nicates the result to the Pope on the same evening, in case the latter hiis not presided over the as.sembly. The Asse.ssor must Ije present at all four meetings of this Congregation. On Saturday he examines into the matters laid before the lloly Ofiice and decides, together with four other officials, whether a vote of the consultors lie necessary in the case, or whether the Cardinals of the Congregation should pass upon the matter at once. On Monday,- he calls the consultors into council. He is present on Wednesday at the secret meeting of the Cardinals and on Thursday at the solemn session which some- times takes place under (he presidency of the Pope. The Assessor has also charge of the Secretariate and sees that current business is expedited. The office of assessor is so imiiortant that it is included among the cardinalitial appointments; that is, the only pro- motion considered proper for an assessor is to raise him to the rank of cardinal.
Haart. The Roman Cnurt (New York. 1895): Homphhet Vrhr, rl Orbit (London, 1899), 409, 410; Wkrnz, Jut Decret. II (Itoine, 1899).
WiLu.vM H. W. Fann-ino.
Assessors, in ecclesiastical law, are learned persons whose function is to counsel a judge with whom they are associated in the trial of causes. They are called assessors because they sit Iseside (I.at. assidere) the judge. Assessors are required to examine docu- ments, consult precedents, and in general explore the laws for points bearing on the cause at i.ssue. A judge who is either overburdened with business or conscious of his inexperience in law cases may voluntarily associate assessors with himself, or they may he assigned to him by superior authority. As- sessors are exfx;cted to lie men beyond suspicion of partiality, whose learning is conceded. In case of an appeal against the judge's actions or nilings, they are to!« unexceptionable witnesses. As as- sessors are advisers of the judge, and not judges themselves, they are not endowe<l with any juris- diction. Neither do they bear a public character, but are present at triab in a private capacity. They