Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/37

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17
ABUSES OF PAPAL PREROGATIVE.

worse when the pope came himself. Clement V., after his consecration at Lyons, made a progress to Bordeaux, in which he and his retinue so effectually plundered the churches on the road that, after his departure from Bourges, Archbishop Gilles, in order to support life, was obliged to present himself daily among his canons for a share in the distribution of provisions ; and the papal residence at the wealthy Priory of Grammont so impoverished the house that the prior resigned in despair of being able to re-establish its affairs, and his successor was obliged to levy a heavy tax on all the houses of the order. England, after the ignominious surrender of King John, was peculiarly subjected to papal extortion. Rich benefices were bestowed on foreigners, who made no pretext of residence, until the annual revenue thus withdrawn from the island was computed to amount to seventy thousand marks, or three times the income of the crown, and all resistance was suppressed by excommunications which disturbed the whole kingdom. At the general council of Lyons, held in 1245, an address was presented in the name of the Anglican Church, complaining of these oppressions in terms more energetic than respectful, but it accomplished nothing. Ten years later the papal legate, Kustand, made a demand in the name of Alexander IV. for an immense subsidy — the share of the Abbey of St. Albans was no less than six hundred marks — when Fulk, Bishop of London, declared that he would be decapitated, and Walter of Worcester that he would be hanged, sooner than submit ; but this resistance was broken down by the device of trumping up fictitious claims of debts due Italian bankers for moneys alleged to have been advanced to defray expenses before the Roman curia, and these claims were enforced by ex-communication. When Robert Grosseteste of Lincoln found that his efforts to reform his clergy were rendered nugatory by appeals to Rome, where the offenders could always purchase immunity, he visited Innocent IV. in hopes of obtaining some change for the better, and on utterly failing, he bluntly exclaimed to the pope, "Oh, money, money, how much thou canst effect, especially in the Roman court !" This special abuse was one of old standing, and complaints of its demoralizing effect upon the priesthood date back from the time of the establishment of the appellate jurisdiction of Rome under Charles le Chauve. Prelates like Ilildebert of Le Mans, who honestly sought to better the depraved lives