Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/311

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291
QUARRELS WITH THE SECULAR CLERGY.

confessions, and enjoying the burial profits, by which they were enormously enriched at the expense of the parish priests. The Mendicants deigned no reply, but Clement spoke for them, denying the allegation of the petition that they were useless to the Church, and asserting that, on the contrary, they were most valuable. "And if," he continued, "their preaching be stopped, about what can you preach to the people? If on humility, you yourselves are the proudest of the world, arrogant and given to pomp. If on poverty, you are the most grasping and most covetous, so that all the benefices in the world will not satisfy you. If on chastity — but we will be silent on this, for God knoweth what each man does and how many of you satisfy your lusts. You hate the Mendicants and shut your doors on them lest they should see your mode of life, while you waste your temporal wealth on pimps and swindlers. You should not complain if the Mendicants receive some temporal possessions from the dying to whom they minister when you have fled, nor that they spend it in buildings where everything is ordered for the honor of God and the Church, in place of wasting it in pleasure and licentiousness. And because you do not likewise, you accuse the Mendicants, for most of you give yourselves up to vain and worldly lives." Under this fierce rebuke, even though uttered by a pope whom St. Birgitta denounced as himself a follower of the lusts of the flesh, there was evidently nothing practicable but submission. Yet the prelates were not silenced, for a few years later Richard, Archbishop of Armagh, preached in London some sermons against the Mendicants, for which they accused him of heresy before Innocent VI. In 1357 he defended himself in a discourse wherein he handled them unsparingly, but his case dragged on, and he died in Avignon, in 1360, before it reached an end. This was not reassuring for the secular clergy, but still the quarrel went on. Thus in 1373 the Franciscan Guardian of Syracuse applied to Gregory XI. for an authentic copy of the bull of John XXII. against the errors of Jean de Poilly, showing that in Sicily the secular clergy were contesting the right of the Mendicants to hear confessions. In 1386 the Council of Salzburg forcibly described the scandals wrought by the intrusion in all parishes, uninvited and irrepressible, of those licentious wandering friars, who kindled discord and set an example of evil, and it proceeded to decree that in future they should not be allowed