Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/49

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29
LEGACIES FOR PIOUS USES


complaint. In 811 Charlemagne, in summoning provincial councils throughout his empire, asks them whether that man can be truly said to have renounced the world who unceasingly seeks to augment his possessions, and by promises of heaven and threats of hell persuades the simple and unlearned to disinherit their heirs. who ure thus compelled by poverty to robbery and crime. To this pregnant question the Council of Chalons, in 813, responded by a canon forbidding such practices, and reminding the clergy that the Church should succor the nccdy rather than despoil them; that of Tours replied that it had made inquiry and could find no complaining of exhercdation; that of Reims prudently passed the matter over in silence; and that of Mainz promised restoration in such cases. This check was but temporary; the Church continued to urge its claims on the fears of the dying, and finally Alexander II, about 1170, decreed that no one could make a valid will except in the presence of his parish priest. In some notary drawing a will in the absence of the priest was excommunicated and the body of the testator was refused Christian burial. The reason sometimes alleged for this was the preventing of a heretic from leaving his property to heretics, but the flimsiness of this is shown by the repeated promulgation of the rule in regions where heresy was unknown, and the loud remonstrances against local customs which sought to defeat this development of ecelesiastical greed. Complaints were also sometimes made that the parish priest converted to his personal use legacies which were left for the benefit of pious foundations.[1]

Even after death the control which the Church exercised over one places the the living and the profit to be derived from him were not abandoned. So general was the custom of leaving considerable sums for the pious ministrations by which the Church lightened the


  1. Synod. Andegar. ann. 1294, c. 8. Capit. Car. Mag. . ann. 811, cap. 5. Concil. Cabillon. II, ann. 813, c. 6.Concil. Turonens. III, ann. 813, c. 51. Concil. Remens, ann. 813.-Concil. Mogunt, ann. 813, c. 6.-Can. 10, Extra Lib I, tit. xxvi.-Conci. Narbonn, ann, 1227, c. 5.Concil Tolosan, ann. 1228, c. 5; ann. 1229, c. 16-Concil. Rotomag, ann. 1231, c. 23.-Concil. Arelntens. ann. 1234, c. 21; ann. 1275, c. 8.-Constit. Provin. S. Edmund. Cantuar. ann. 1236, c. 33,-Concil. Albiens. ann. 1254, c. 11.-Concil. Andegav. ann. 1266; 1300. Respons. Epise. Carcassonn. ann. 1275 (Martene Thesaur. I. 1151).-Concil. Nemausiens, aun. 1284, c.8.-Concil. Reatinens, ann. 1303, c. 8.-Concil. Cameracens ann. 1317