Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/48

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28
THE CHURCH

they complained to the Dean and Chapter of St. Patroclus, and the story came out, to the scandal of the faithful, but Einhardt was permitted to continue his speculative career. Every function of the priest was thus turned to account, and the complaints of the practice are too frequent and sweeping for us to doubt that it was a general custom. Marriage and funeral ceremonies were refused until the fees demanded were paid in advance, and the Eucharist was withheld from the communicant unless he offered an oblation. To the believer in Transubstantiation nothing could be more in- expressibly shocking, and Peter Cantor well describes the priests of his day as worse than Judas Iscariot. who sold the body of the Lord for thirty pieces of silver, while they do it daily for a denier. Not content with this, many of them transgressed the rules which forbade, except on special occasions, the celebration by a priest of more than one mass a day, and it was almost impossible to enforce its observance ; while those who obeyed the rule invented an in- genious evasion through which, by repeating the Introit, they would split a single mass up into half a dozen, and collect an oblation for each.[1]

If the faithful Christian thus was mulcted throughout life at every turn, the pursuit of gain was continued to his death-bed, and even his body had a speculative value which was turned to account by the ghouls who quarrelled over it. The necessity of the final sacraments for salvation gave rise to an occasional abuse by which they were refused unless an illegal fee or perquisite was paid, such as the sheet on which the dying sinner lay, but this we may well believe was not usual. More profitable was the custom by which the fears of approaching judgment were exploited and legacies for pious uses were suggested as an appropriate atonement for a life of wickedness or cruelty. It is well known how large a portion of the temporal possessions of the Church was procured in this manner, and already in the ninth century it had become a subject of


  1. Cesar. Heisterbac. Dial, Mirac. Diet. ii. cap. 40, 41.-Hist. Monast, S. Lau rent. Leodiens. Lib. v. cap. 39.-Innocent. PP. IIL. Regest. I. 220; I. 104.-Pet Cantor. Verb. abbrev. cap. 27-29, 38-40.-Grandjean, Registre de Benoit XI. No. 975. Concil. Lateran. IV. ann. 1215, c. 63-66.-Concil. Rotomag, ann. 1231, c. 14.-Teulet, Layettes II. 306, No. 2428.-Const. Provin. S. Edmund. Cantuar. ann, 1236, c. 8.-Synod. Wigorn. ann. 1240, c. 16, 26, 29.--Concil. Turon, ann. 1239, c. 4, 17