Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/46

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26
THE CHURCH.


urged him to resign all his benefices but one, promising to make good the sacrifice if he should recover, but Philip refused, on the ground that he wished to experience whether he should be subjected to damnnation on that account. The disputatious ardor of the schoolman was gratified. Soon after his death a dusky shade appeared to the good bishop at his prayers, announced itself to be the chancellor's soul, and declared that it was damned to eternity; though it must be admitted that habitual licentiousness was superadded to pluralism as a cause of hopeless perdition.[1]

A clergy recruited in such a manner and subjected to such influences could only, for the most part, be a curse to the people under their spiritual direction. A purchased benefice was naturally regarded as a business investment, to be exploited to the utmost profit, and there was little scruple in turning to account every device for extorting money from parishioncrs, while the duties of the Christian pastorate reccived little attention.

One of the most fruitful sources of quarrel and discontent was the tithe. This most harassing and oppressive form of taxation had long been the cause of incurable trouble, aggravated by the rapacity with which it was cnforced, even to the pitiful collections of the gleaner. It had proved the greatest of the obstacles to Charlemagno's proselyting effforts among the Saxons, and, as we shall see, in tho thirteenth century it led to a most devastating crusade against the Frisians. The resistance of the people to its exaction in some places was such that its non-payment was stigmatized as heresy, and everywhere we see it the cause of scandal

  1. Conci. Lateran. III, ann. 1179 c. 13, 14; IV. ann. 1215 c. 29.Innocent, PP. III. Regest. I. 82, 101, 471.-P. Cantor. Verb. abbrev. cap. 31, 32, 34, 80.- Honor. PP. III. Epist. ad Archiep. Bituricens. ann. 1219.-Urbani. PP. V. Constit. 1307 (Harduin. Concil. VII. 1767).-Isambert. Anc. Loix Franç. I. 252.-Matt. Paris. Hist. Angl. ann. 1246 (Ed. 1644 p. 488)-Wadding. Annal, Minor. ann. 1238, No. 8. D'Argentré, Collect. Judicior. de Nov. Error. I. . 143.
    The correspondence of the papa? chancery under Innocent IV., as prescrved in the official register, for the first threc months of 1245, embraces three hundred and thirty-two letters, and of these about oue fifth are dispensations to sixty-five persons to hold pluralitics (Berger, Registres d'Innoc. IV. t. I.). A considerable proportion of the remainder arc liccnses for violations of canon law, showing how exhaustless were the vices of the clergy as a source of profit to the curia. For the rapacity with which the benefices of the dying were sought and disputed, sce ibid. No. 1611