Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/65

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45
INDULGENCES.

people of Kome itself. The ingenious method of granting indulgences to those who took the cross, and then releasing them from service for a sum of money, had become too cumbrous, and the purchase of salvation simplified itself into a direct payment, so that John was able to raise funds for his private wars by thus distributing the treasures of salvation over Christendom, and ordering the prelates everywhere to establish coffers in the churches by which the pious could help the Church while they saved their souls. The prelates who saw with regret the coins of their parishioners disappear into the never-satisfied maelstrom of the Holy See, in vain endeavored to resist. They were no longer independent, and the slender barriers which they sought to erect were easily swept away.[1]

These money payments were doubtless more practically efficacious than an indulgence, remitting a certain number of days of penance, offered to all who would earnestly pray to God, especially during the solemnity of the mass, for the success of the same pope in his death-struggle with Louis of Bavaria. This is a specimen of the minor indulgences which were frequently granted as a stimulus to acts of devotion, such as visiting cathedrals on the anniversaries of their patron saints ; reciting, for the peace and prosperity of the Church, on bended knees, the Pater Foster five times, in honor of the five wounds of Christ ; the Ave Maria seven times, in honor of the seven joys of the Virgin, and other similar

practices, [2]


  1. Matt. Paris. Hist. Angl. ann. 1251 (p. 553, Ed. 1644).— Chron. Turon. ann. 1226.— Joannis PP. XXII. Regest. iv. 73, 74, 76, 77, 95, 97, 99.— Baluz. et Mansi Miscell. III. 242.— Concil. Ravennat. ann. 1314, c. 20.
  2. Concil. Avenion. ann. 1326, c. 3. — Concil. Marciacens. ann. 1326, c. 45. — Concil. Vaurens. ann. 1368, c. 127. — Concil. Narbonn. ann. 1374, c. 27.
    The magic character attributed to these formulas of devotion is well illustrated by the story of Thierry d'Avesnes, who, during a raid into the territories of Baldwin of Mons, burned the convents of St. Waltruda of Mons, and St. Aldegondu of Maubeuge. Thereupon a holy hermit had a vision in which he saw the two angry saints demanding from the Virgin satisfaction for their injuries. This the Virgin refused, because Ada, the wife of Thierry, rendered to her the most grateful service by repeating the Ave Maria sixty times a day — twenty standing, twenty on her knees, and twenty prostrate. The saints still insisted on their wrongs, and the Virgin at length promised them revenge, when it could be inflicted without injury to Ada. Some years afterwards Thierry incautiously pro-