Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/316

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and dislike felt universally for the Order, caused by its greedy seeking after money ; the idleness of so many of its members, leading them into all manner of vices ; the excesses of the vagabond friars, who oppress those who receive them and leave behind them the memory of scandals rather than examples of virtue ; the importunate beggary which renders the friar more terrible than a robber to the wayfarer ; the construction of magnificent palaces, which oppress friends and give occasion to attacks from enemies; the intrusting of preaching and confession to those wholly unfit; the greedy grasping after legacies and burial fees, to the great disturbance of the clergy, and in general the extravagance which would inevitably cause the chilling of charity. Evidently the assaults of St. Amour and the complaints of the clergy were not without foundation ; but this vigorous rebuke was ineffective, and ten years later Bonaventura was obliged to repeat it in even stronger terms. This time he expressed his special horror at the shameless audacity of those brethren who, in their sermons to the laity, attacked the vices of the clergy, and gave rise to scandals, quarrels, and hatreds ; and he wound up by declaring, " It is a foul and profane he to assert one's self the voluntary professor of absolute poverty and then refuse to submit to the lack of anything; to beg abroad like a pauper and to roll in wealth at home." Bonaventura's declamations were in vain, and the struggle in the Order continued, until it ejected its stricter members as heretics, as we shall see when we come to consider the Spiritual Franciscans and the Fraticelli. In the succeeding century both Orders gave free rein to their worldly propensities. St. Birgitta, in her Revelations, which were sanctioned by the Church as inspired, declares that " although founded upon vows of poverty they have amassed riches, place their whole aim in increasing their wealth, dress as richly as bishops, and many of them are more extravagant in their jewelry and ornaments than laymen who are reputed wealthy."[1]

Such was the development of the Mendicant Orders and their

  1. S. Francis. Collat. Monast. Collat. xxi., xxv. — Ejusd. Prophet, xiv., xv. — Ejusd. Epist. 6, 7.— Pet. Rodulphii Hist. Seraph. Relig. Lib. i. fol. 177-8.— Th. de Eccleston de Adv. Minorum Collat. xii.— Waddingi Annal. ann. 1253, No. 30. — S. Bonavent. 0pp. Ed. 1584, T. I. pp. 485-6.— Matt. Paris, ann. 1243 (p. 414).— S. Brigittae Revelat. Lib. iv. c. 33.