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BONNER


675


BONNER


was brought to the church of Vellereille of which one of the canons of Bonne-Esp^rance was the parish priest. In 1833 it was solemnly brought back to the abbey cliurch, or, as it is now, the seminary church.

Annales Premonst., The Life of St. Frederic: Decleves, Notre Dame de Bonne-Eaperance,

Martin Geudens.

Bonner, Edmund, Bishop of London, b. about 1.500; d. 1.569. He was the son of Edmund Bonner, a sawyer of Potter's Henley in Worcestershire, Eng- land, and Elizabeth Frodsham. Doubt was cast on his legitimacy by Bale and other opponents, who as- serted that he was the natural son of a priest named Savage, but Strj'pe and other Anglican WTiters, in- cluding the historian S. R. Maitland, have shown the groundless nature of these assertions. He was edu- cated at Pembroke College, Oxford, then Broadgate Hall, where he took his degree as Bachelor both of canon and of civil law in 1.519, and was ordained priest about the same time. In 1525 he became doc- tor of civil law and soon after entered the service of Cardinal Wolsey, which brought him to the notice of the king and Cromwell, and thus led to a diplomatic career. After the fall of Wolsey, he remained faith- ful to him and was with him at the time of his arrest and death. When the question of the king's divorce was raised, he was employed by the king as his agent at Rome, where he remained a whole year, 1532-33. During the following years he was mucli employed on important embassies in the king's interests, first to the pope to appeal against the excommunication pro- nounced in July, 1533, afterwards to the emperor to dissuade him from attending the general council which the pope wished to summon at Vicenza, and again to the French Court to succeed Gardiner there as am- bassador. In this capacity he proved capable and successful, though irritation was frequently caused by his overbearing and dictatorial manner. Mean- while his services were rewarded by successive grants of the livings of Cherry Burton (Yorks), Ripple fWorcester), Blaydon (Durham), and East Dereham (Norfolk), and he was made Arclideacon of Leicester in 1535. Finally, while ambassador in France, he was elected Bishop of Hereford (27th November, 1538) but owing to his absence he could neither be consecrated nor take possession of his .see, and he was still abroad when he was translated to the Bishopric of London. Elected in November, 1539, he returned, and was con.secrated 4th April, 1540. Almost his first duty was to try heretics under Henry's Act of the Six Articles, and though his action seems to have been only official, accusations of excessive cruelty and bias against the accused were spread broadcast by his ene- mies, and from the first he seems to have been un- popular in London. During the years 1542-43 he was again abroad in Spain and Germany as ambassador to the emperor, at the end of which time he returned to London. The death of the king on 28th January, 1547, proved the turning point in his career. Hitherto he had shown himself entirely subservient to the sovereign, supporting him in the matter of the di- vorce, approving of the suppression of the religious houses, taking the oath of supremacy which Fisher and More refused at the cost of life itself, and ac- cepting schismatical consecration and institution. But while acting in this way, he had always resisted the innovations of the Reformers, and held to the doctrines of the old religion. Therefore from the first he put himself in opposition to the religious changes introduced by Protector Somerset and Archbishop Cranmer.

He opposed the "Visitors" appointed by the Coun- cil, and was committed to prison for so doing. Though not long a prisoner, after two years of un- satisfactory struggle lie came again into conflict with the Protector owing to his omission to enforce the


use of the new Prayer Book. When ordered to preach at St. Paul's Cross he did so, but with such significant omissions in the matter which had been prescribed touching the king's authority, that he was finally deprived of his see and sent as a prisoner to the- Marshalsea. Here he remained till the accession of Mary in 1553. On 5th of August in that year he took possession of his diocese once more. In estimating: Bishop Bonner's conduct on his restoration to his see the difficulties of the position must be recalled. There was in London an extremely violent reforming; element which opposed in every way the restoration of Catholic worsliip. For twenty years the authority of the Holy See had been set at naught and ridiculed in unsparing terms, and though the Parliament in 1554 welcomed Pole as Papal Legate and sought absolution and reconciliation from him witli apparent unanimit}', there was a real hostility to the whole proceeding among a considerable section of the pop- ulace. During 1554 Bonner carried out a visitation of his diocese, restoring the Mass and the manifold practices and emblems of Catholic life, but the work was carried out slowly and vaXh difficulty. To help in the work, Bonner published a list of thirty-seven "Articles to be enquired of", but the.se led to such disturbances that they were temporarily withdrawn. While many rejoiced to have the old worship re- stored, others exhibited the most implacable hos- tility. As Bonner sat at St. Paul's Cross to hear Gilbert Bourne preach, when reference was made to the bishop's sufferings under Edward VI a dagger was thrown at the preacher. At St. Margaret's, West- minster, a murderous assault was made on the priest giving Holy Communion, the Blessed Sacrament itself was the object of profane outrages, and street brawls arising out of religious disputes were frequent. Meanwhile many of the Reformers attacked the Queen herself in terms that were clearly treasonable. Had these been proceeded against by the civil power much evil might have been averted, but unfortunately it was thought at the time that, as the root of tlie evil lay in the religious question, the offenders would best be dealt wth by the ecclesiastical tribunals, and on Bonner, as Bishop of London, fell the cliief burden. Besides his judicial work in his own diocese, Bonner was appointed to carry out the painful task of de- grading Cranmer at Oxford in February, 1556. The part he took in these affairs gave rise to intense hatred on tlie part of the Reformers, and by them he was represented as hounding men and women to death with merciless vindictiveness. Foxe in his "Book of MartjTs" summed up this view in two doggerel lines: "This cannibal in three years space three hundred

martyrs slew They were his food, he loved so blood, he spared none

he knew. " That this was an absolutely ungrounded charge is shown by the letter from the king and queen in Council, addressed to Bonner on the express ground that he was not proceeding with sufficient energj'. As to the number of his "victims" Foxe, whose un- trustworthiness now needs no demonstration, has ex- aggerated according to his wont. The number of persons who were executed under the laws against heresy in his jurisdiction seems to have been about 120. As to these persons Mr. Gairdner writes "Over their ultimate fate it must be remembered he had no control, when once they were declared to be irre- claimable heretics and handed over to the secular power; but he always strove by gentle suasion first to reconcile them to the Church". Throughout the "Book of MartjTs" Foxe is un.sparing in his accusa- tions of cruelty against the bishop; but his charges have been impartially examined at great length oy Dr. Maitland, who comes to the same decision as the Cathohc writers against Foxe, and sums it up by