communication do him, especially if he be the subject of another sovereign?
A. Very great harm. For by the Pope’s or bishop’s signification of it to the civil power, he shall be punished sufficiently.
B. He were in an ill case then, that adventured to write or speak in defence of the civil power, that must be punished by him whose rights he defended, like Uzza, that was slain because he would needs, unbidden, put forth his hand to keep the ark from falling. But if a whole nation should revolt from the Pope at once, what effect could excommunication have upon the nation?
A. Why, they should have no more mass said, at least by any of the Pope’s priests. Besides, the Pope would have no more to do with them, but cast them off, and so they would be in the same case as if a nation should be cast off by their king, and left to be governed by themselves, or whom they would.
B. This would not be taken so much for a punishment to the people, as to the King; and therefore when a Pope excommunicates a whole nation, methinks he rather excommunicates himself than them. But I pray you tell me, what were the rights the Pope pretended to in the kingdoms of other princes?
A. First, an exemption of all priests, friars, and monks, in criminal causes, from the cognizance of civil judges. Secondly, collation of benefices on whom he pleased, native or stranger, and exaction of tenths, first fruits, and other payments. Thirdly, appeals to Rome in all causes where the Church could pretend to be concerned. Fourthly, to be the supreme judge concerning lawfulness of marriage, that is, concerning the hereditary succession of Kings, and to have the cognizance of all causes concerning adultery and fornication.
B. Good! A monopoly of women.
A. Fifthly, a power of absolving subjects of their duties, and of their oaths of fidelity to their lawful sovereigns, when the Pope should think fit for the extirpation of heresy.