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334


BASLE


Gnade (Freiburg, 1S81V. Fonk in Theulog. Quartahchrifl, LXX; Ramsay in The Eipoaitor. 1896; Egar in American Church Reriew. 1878-79: The North Ameriean Review, XC, 356; Chase m Christian Review, XXIII, XXIV.

Joseph McSorley.

Basin, Ecclesiasticai, Use of. — Basins were extensively used in the Jewish Ritual and were in early use in Christian churches for ablutions and to receive lamp-drippings etc. The Missal prescribes its use at the "Lavabo" of the Mass fRit. Cel. vii, 10); the "C;T?remoniale Episcoporum " provides a basin for bearing the cruets (Lib. I, xi, 10) and for the pre- paratory ablutions of bishops (ibid., 12). They are ordinarily of ornamented metal.

C\T\i.*.si. Cfrrenwniate Episcoporum comment. (Paris, 1860), I, 225-229; Van der Stappen, Sacra Liturgia (Mechlin, 1902), III, 111-112; Walcott, Sacred Archeology (London, 1868), <i2-63; Kennedy in Hast., Diet, of Bible, s. v.

John B. Peterson.

Basle, Augustine Francis. See Mysore, Dio- cese OF.

Basle, CoiTNCiL of, convoked by Pope Martin V in 1431, closed at Lausanne in 1449. The position of the pope as the common leather of the Christian world had been seriously compromised by the trans- fer of the papal court to Avignon, and by the subse- quent identification of the interests of the Church with those of a particular race. Men began to re- gard the papacy more as a national than a universal institution, and their feeling of religious loyalty was often nearly balanced bj- the promptings of national jealousy. Nor was the papacy likely to be strength- ened by the events of the Great Western Schism (1378-1417), when rival claimants were seen con- tending for the throne of St. Peter and for the alle- giance of the Christian nations. Such a spectacle was well calculated to shake men's belief in the monarchical form of government and to drive them to seek elsewliere a remedy for the evils which then afflicted the Church. It was not strange that the advocates of a general council as the final arbitra- tor, the ultimate court of appeal to which all, even the pope, must yield, should have secured a ready attention. The success of the Council of Constance (1414-18) in securing the withdrawal or deposition of the three rival popes had supplied a strong ar- gument in favour of the conciliar theory. It is clear both from the speeches of some of the Fathers of Constance as well as from its decrees that such a feeling was rapidl.y gaining ground, and that many jieople had come to regard the government of the Church by general councils, convoked at regular intervals, as the one most in harmony with the needs of the time. As a result, in the 39th session iif the Council of Constance (9 October, 1417) we find it decreed: that general councils shoukl be lield frequently; that the next should be convoked within li\'e years; the following seven years later, and after I his, a council should be held ever}' ten years; that I he place of convocation should be determined by the council itself, and could not be changed even by ihe pope unless in case of war or pestilence, and then only with the consent of at least two-thirds of the cardinals. It was in accordance with this decree tliat Martin V convoked the Council of Basle, and it is only by understanding the feeling underlying this decree that we can grasp the significance of the dispute waged between Eugene IV and the council. Which was to govern the Church? Was it to be the pope or the council? That was the issue really at staKe.

Wliether Basle is to be regarded as a general council, and if so, in what sense, has been often warmly discussed. The extreme Galileans (e. g. lOdmund Richer, Hist. Concil. Gen., Ill, vii) contend that it should be reckoned as oecumenical from its beginning (1431) till its end in Lausanne (1449); wliile the moderate writers of the Galilean school


(e. g. Nat. Alexander, IX, pp. 43.3-599) admit thai after the appearance of the Bull of Eugene I\ (18 September, 1437) transferring the council to Ferrara, the proceedings at Basle can be regarded only as the work of a schismatical conventicle. On the other hand, writers like Bellarmine (Dc Concil., I, vii), Roncaglia, and Holstein absolutely refuse to number Basle among the general councils of the Church on account of the small number of bishops in attendance at the beginning, and the subsequent rebellious attitude in face of the papal decrees of dissolution. The true opinion seems to be that put forward by Hefele (Conciliengesch., 2d ed., I, 63-99) that the assembly at Basle may be regarded as oecumenical from the beginning until the Bull "Doctoris Cientium" (IS September, 1437) transferred its sessions to Ferrara, and that the decrees passed during that period regarding the extirpation of heresy, the establishment of peace among Christian nations, and the reform of the Church, if they are not prejudicial to the Apos- tolic See, may be considered as the decrees of a general council. In accordance with the above- mentioned decree of Constance, the Cotmcil of Pavia had been convoked by Martin V (1423), and on the appearance of the plague in that city its sessions were transferred to Sienna, ^'e^y little was done except to determine the place where the next council should be held. An Italian city was looked upon with disfavour, as likely to be too friendly to the papacy; the French bishops and the Paris LTniversity were anxious that some place in France should be selected; but finally, owing mainly to the representations of Emperor Sigismund, Basle w-as agreed upon by all, and this choice having been made, the council was dissolved (7 March, 1424). As the time approached for the assembling of the council Martin V was urged from all sides to place no obstacle in the way, and though knowing the tendency at the time, and "fearing that the council would lead to revolution rather than reform, he finally gave his consent and appointed Cardinal Giuliano Cfesarini as president (1 Februarj', 1431). The principal purpose of the council w'as to be the reformation of the Church in its "head and members", the settlement of the Hussite wars, the establishment of peace among the nations of Europe, and finally the reunion of the Western and Easterc Churches. The ilemands of the Roman Curia- its constant interference in the bestowal of bene- fices, the right of appeal on all matters to the preju- dice of the local authorities, the financial burdens involved in such institutions as annates, expectancies, and reservations, not to speak of the direct papal taxation, only too common since the thirteenth ccntun,'. had given just grounds for complaint to the clergj^ and secular powers of the different nations. These papal ta.xes and encroachments on the rights of the local authorities, both ecclesiastical and civil, had long been bitterly resented, especially in Eng- land and Germany, and it was because a remedy for these abuses was hoped for only from a general council that people regarded sympathetically the assembly at Basle, even at times when they did not agree with its methods. In addition to these, the question of simony, of concubinage among the clergj', of reorganization of diocesan and provincial sjTiods, of the abuse of censures, especially of inter- dict, called for some reform in the discipline of the Church. But besides these disciphnarj- matters the teaching of WycUf and Hus had found sympa- thetic supporters in England and Bohemia, and notW'ithstanding the condemnation at Constance the Hussites were still a powerful party in the latter country. Though the death of their leader Ziska (1424) had proved a serious loss, the different sections still continued the struggle, and Emperor