Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/47

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27
TITHES.—SALE OF SACRAMENTS.


ous altercation between pastor and flock, and between rival claim ants, giving rise to a very intricate branch of canon law. Carlyle states that at the outbreak of the French Revolution there were no less than sixty thousand cases arising from tithes then pending before the courts, and though the statement may be exaggerated, it is by no means improbable. Anciently the tithe had been divided into four parts, of which one went to the bishop, one to the parish pricst, one to the fabric of the Church, and one to the poor, but in the prevailing acquisitiveness of the period, bishop and priest each seized and hold all they could get, the Church received little, and the poor none at all.[1]

The portion of the tithe which the priest could retain in this scramble was rarely sufficient for his wants, addicted as he frequently was to dissolute living, and exposed to the rapacity of his superiors. The form of simony which consists in selling his sacred ministrations therefore became general. Thus confession, which was now becoming obligatory on the faithful and the exclusive function of the priest, afforded a wide field for perverse ingenuity. Some confessors rated the sacrament of penitence so low that for a chicken or a pint of wine they would grant absolution for any sin, but others understood its productiveness far better. It is related of Einhardt, the priest of Socst, by a contemporary, that he sharply reproved a parishioner who, in preparation for Easter, confessed incontinence during Lent, and demanded of him eighteen deniers that he might say eighteen masses for his soul. Another came who said that during Lent he had abstained from his wife, and he was fined the same amount for masses because he had lost the chance of begetting a child, as was his duty. Both men had to sell their harvests prematurely to raise money to pay the fine, and, happening to meet upon the market-place, compared notes, when

  1. Clement. PP. IV. Epist. 456, (Marteno Thesaur. II. 461)-Alcuini Epist i. ad Arnon. Salisburg. (Pez Thcsaur. II. . 4)-Decreti P. II. Caus, XII. Grutiani Comment, in Q. I. cap. i; Caus. xvI. Q. i. cap. 42, 43, 45-47, 56, 57; Caus xVI. Q. vii. cap. 1-8.-Extra Lib. III. tit. xxx.--Conci otomnag. ann. 1189 c. 23. -Oonci. Wigorn. ann. 1240 c. 44, 45.-Concil Mertonens. ann, 1300.-Conci apud Pennam Fidelem ann. 1302 c. 7-Concil. Maghfeldens. ann. 1332.-Concil. Londin. ann. 1842 c. 4, 5.Conci. Nimociens, ann. 1298 c. 16. Conci Nicosiens, ann. 1340 c. 1-Concil. Marciac. ann, 1826 c. 30.-Concil. Vaurens. ann. 1308 c. G8-70-Gerholi Reichersperg. Lib, de Edificio Dei c. 46