was a name common to all Kings. Is not he a bishop now, to whom God hath committed the charge of all the souls of his subjects, both of the laity and the clergy? And though he be in relation to our Saviour, who is the chief pastor, but a sheep, yet, compared to his own subjects, they are all sheep, both laic and cleric, and he only shepherd. And seeing a Christian bishop is but a Christian endued with power to govern the clergy, it follows that every Christian king is not only a bishop, but an arch-bishop, and his whole dominion his diocese. And though it were granted, that imposition of hands is necessary from a priest; yet, seeing Kings have the government of the clergy, that are his subjects even before baptism; the baptism itself, wherein he is received as a Christian, is a sufficient imposition of hands, so that whereas before he was a bishop, now he is a Christian bishop.
A. For my part I agree with you: this prohibition of marriage to priests came in about the time of Pope Gregory the Seventh, and William the First, King of England; by which means the Pope had in England, what with secular and what with regular priests, a great many lusty bachelors at his service.
Secondly, that auricular confession to a priest was necessary to salvation. It is true that, before that time, confession to a priest was usual, and performed for the most part by him that confessed, in writing. But that use was taken away about the time of King Edward III., and priests commanded to take confessions from the mouth of the confitent: and men did generally believe, that without confession and absolution before their departure out of the world, they could not be saved; and having absolution from a priest, that they could not be damned. You understand by this, how much every man would stand in awe of the Pope and clergy, more than they would of the King; and what inconvenience it is to a state for their subjects to confess their secret thoughts to spies.
B. Yes, as much as eternal torture is more terrible than