Page images
PDF
EPUB

a

astick, who lived a long time at power to commute. This exception Rome, and very well knows the stile also is difficult to be accounted for, and the practices of that church. in whatever manner it be understood. We read over the bull together. I The prince called to the crown observed to him my surprize at the might before have made a vow of pope's seeming to concern himself so celibacy. I think, from the momuch for the voyage beyond-sea, or A ment he ascended the throne, he ought the croisades; and that I thought they to be released from that vow, that were no longer in question in the he might have children to succeed 14th century, but must have been him. Another supposition is, that entirely ceased. He answered me, the king and queen, out of a devotion that the three articles excepted in the very common at that time, might'. bull might be an antient form, which, have made a vow, tho' married, to having began in the time of the B live in continence. But neither did croisades, might have been conti. this vow suit the sovereign princes, nued in the Roman datary by a kind and the pope ought immediately to of rote of the secretaries. But be absolve them from it, should they fides this, he added, that in the time even have had children already, and of Clement VI. the popes had not that, because death might take them altogether laid aside the thoughts of away from them. He ought not the conqueft of the Holy Land, that Cthen to refuse the king's confessor this deyout chimera ftill ran in their the power of dispensing with this heads, and that this pope had brought vow, or at least commuting it, as king John into a new project of a well as so many others. croisade; which, however, could not The abbé to whom I started these be executed.

difficulties, answered them, by ob. The second case excepted in the serving to me, that the

popes

had dispensation seems much less impor- D always looked upon the vow of tant; it is of a vow to go to Rome chastity as one of the most facred on pilgrimage, ad limina apoftolorum, and most respectable. In regard to that is, to visit the churches of St. the inconveniency there would be in Peter and St. Paul. My ecclefiaftick making the sovereigns observe it, he gave me the following reason, why represented to me, that tho' the holy the pope would not remit this vow : father excepts in his bull this vow, « The popes, said he, have always E and some others, he did not think looked upon this proceeding of the for that reason that they ought to be princes as of great consequence. inviolable. He only meant by it, They have understood it as a kind that it was not for the king's confessor of homage paid them by crowned to dispense with them, because he heads. By this journey of devotion reserved those cases to himself, they seemed to acknowledge the fu. After this little commentary, which periority of the pope, and the au- F I am sure, Sir, will not displease thority of the holy see."

you, let us come to the important not believe, Sir, that, besides this point, which is that of the oaths. abbé's reason for urging the vow, If you have found the holy father those sort of pilgrimages brought a a little scrupulous in granting a dirgreat deal of money to Rome, elpe- pensation for certain vows, which cially when they were princes whom seem to you of no great consequence, devotion brought thither? Gyou will find him more tractable up

Finally, the vow of chastity and on the relt : Full power to the concontinence, 'is also excepted from fessors of the kings of France, in chose that the king's confessor had perpetuity, to ablolve them from

Do you

17511

Authentickness of the BULL

165 their oaths, when they should be was when those pieces, which they never so little incommoded by them. gave for ancient, were donations in Here is no exception, no limitati. favour of their order. The bull on, as in respect to the vows: They in question is not of that kind, and are disengaged from their oaths for it does not concern them. They some works of piety, that shall be rather were concerned to suppress it prescribed to them by a confeffor of A for the honour of their church, than their own chusing

to expose it to all the world. Nothing is more commodions for To satisfy you entirely, Dom the princes, whom the pope has a Luke d'Acheri tells us from whence mind to favour, than a like decifion. he had the brief, viz. from a manuBut it is purely what is vague in it, fcript preserved by the Benedi&tines which has made you think it re- of St. Florent at Saumur, which is quired a new examination. One B a collection of bulls granted by secan hardly believe, that the head of veral popes in favour of the kings of the church should have exposed him- France *. This monk is not the self to such a degree. Perhaps this only one who has mentioned this bull offends us only because we do piece. John du Tillet, well known not well understand it. Might it among the historians of France, had not receive a good sense ? You have given the substance of it 100 years conversed, you say, with some of your C before the Benedictine. We have a friends about it. They have turned work of his, intitled, An account of it every way to try to make some

the kings of France, their crown and thing tolerable of it, and you have house. In an inventory he gives us caken upon you to be, as it were, of the privileges and indulgences the reporter, to communicate to me granted to the kings of France by the all that came into their minds upon popes, we find this title, « A bull it.

D from pope Clement VI. giving power The first doubt which the fingu- to the confessors of king John and larity of this act raised in you, con- queen Joan his wife, to commute the cerns its authentickness. You ask vows by chem made, and oaths, into me therefore, whether it may not other works of charity. Du Tillet be a counterfeit piece? You desire was chief register of the parliament to know from whence he that has of Paris, and had examined all the given it to the publick, had it. No e records of it. He has led us therething can be more fair than this fore to the spring-head, and pointed method. We should always be very out the very trunk where this original fure of a fact, before we pretend bull is locked up t. to explain it.

You go farther, and add, that it In answer, therefore, I shall ob. is likely Dom Luke d'Acheri, who

, serve, first, that there might be some was the first that gave this bull enground for your scruple, had it been tire, did not look upon it in so bad a

F any protestant controverfift who had light as we. If he had thought it so drawn this odious bull out of dark- ignominious for his church, he would ness. But I think that having it have been aware, you say, of makfrom the hand of a Benedictine, iting it known, without necessity. But cannot be suspected by us. It is this objection proves at molt, that the true, some charters, which had been Benedi&tine wanted a little prudence, produced by those monks, great G and was more touched with the searchers into old citles, have been pleasure of discovering anecdotes, more than once distrusted; but it than with the honour of the holy fee.

After Spicilegium, com. 4, P. 21. In tbe trunk marked wiibin, Bullæ paprles, quamplurina prịvilegia & facultates regibus concelsa continentes, Du Tiller, laf dition, 160728: 47a.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

and your

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

After all, his reserve would have selves, of our own mere motion,
been of no great service, since du the necessity of doing certain things,
Tillet had already said, long before, to which, without it, we should not
in brief, what the bull contained. have been obliged, at least precisely
But from the open manner in which and determinately. A vow differs
hé has published this brief, you from an oath, in as much as this
conclude that he gave it some soft- A principally and directly relates to
ned sense.' But you will own, Sir, some man to whom it is made, cal-
that on this supposition he was very - ling God to witness to what we have
wrong not to communicate to the engaged ourselves t.”
publick, in a little note, that fa- I own however, that a man to
vourable explanation, which would make his vow ftill more solemn, and
have taken off all the scandal.. to bind himself more, might add
That which he has not done, you B an oath to it. He might declare,

friends have undertaken. that, in case he should not execute You have, first of all, contrived what he had engaged to do, he was a'turn of phrase, which would di- ready to submit to all the divine venminish a little the blow the bull gives geance. What follows from thence ? to found morals; which is, to refer That this vow ought to be inviolable. what it says of the oaths to the vows And on your supposition this is preof which it had spoken, and not to C cisely that from which the pope dirthe treaties or the promises the king engages the prince the most easily. had made. According to this, the If the question be a simple vow to vows and the oaths would not be two go on pilgrimage to Rome, the pope different articles. The pope's deci- retuses the king's confessor the power fion would be reduced only to this, 10 coinmute it : But for any other that the confessor might cominute the vow where an oaih has intervened, vows even made with an oath. But D he gives him authoriy to annul it, the construction of the Latin text if the king finds it ever so little incannot bear this palliative. Pray convenient. You will own, Sir, that consult the original *: I send you this is a fine decision, and very pro. the bull entire, because you tell me per to falve the honour of the pontiff! that you have not any longer at your And indeed, du Tillet and d'Acheri disposal M. de la Chapelle's work, have taken care not to confound thus where it is inserted.

E the vows and oaths. Both of them Vows and oaths in the general are make two separate articles of them.' two things, which should not be con- Here is the title which the Benedicfounded, and which even very rarely tine has put to the bull, “ That the mcet together. Every one knows,

confeffor to the king and queen may that a vow is a religious promise commute their

and

their. made to the Lord, which is generally oaths I." done on aking some favour, as the F After all, say you, there is r.o cure of a disease, the success of an mention made in this bull either undertaking, &c.

And they ac- of conventions, or alliances, or any quit themfelves of it afterwards, to thing like it. Why therefore should tellily their gratitude.

it be charged with having served the says M. Barbeirac, is an engage- kings of France to violate the faith ment into which we enter directly to- of treaties? But, Sir, when it speaks wards God, and a voluntary engage-G of the oaths which they and their ment whereby we impose on our- successors could not conveniently

kecp, le should have been in tbe bull, Indulgemus ut conleffor valeat cummulare in alia operr pétatis, vota etiam cum juramento ; whereas it is, nec non juramenta, ibat is, We grane bim the power to commute tbe vows, as also the outbs. † Cumberland's tranflation, ob... 16. no: 4. 1 Quad confeffor pozefi mutare viia jurameria ec: Lw2.

VOWS

66 A vow,

1751. Prasice of Eccleñasticks with regard to Oaths. 167 keep, this can be understood only. It has thereby happened, that an of the obligatory oaths, whereby oath is one of the things whereby the we have engaged ourselves to some ecclesiasticks have most advanced thing. An oath very often signifies their temporal interest, and incroacha promise made with an oath. It is ed upon the rights of the magiftrates. a short way of fpeaking, common The use of an oath was introduced to all languages. When we speak, A into most of the affairs of life, and as for example, of an oath of fidelity, the ecclegasticks cunningly seized the

is plain that we mean thereby the right of judging of the validity of promise that any one has made to be oaths, they drew on themselves, by faithful.

this means, all civil causes *". You offer still another argument This, if I remember right, is all to prove, that the question here is that

you

have communicated to me, not of treaties or promises. The bull B to discharge this bull of what

appears fays, that the vows and the oaths odious at the first reading. One canmade by the king may be commuted not plead better for it than you, coninto other works of piety. You lay a jointly with your friends, have done. great ttress upon the word other. Had

you had a pension from Rome, Treaties upon political affairs are not you would not have employed your: works of piety. - It must be said, felf in it with more zeal, Buc it is therefore, either that the pope has C nobler in you to have done it in a expressed himself altogether impro. disinterested manner, and in favour perly, or that the dispensation con- of the head of a religion opposite to cerns solely the vows accompanied . yours. Not to be behind-hand with with an oath.

you in generosity, I am going to supIt must be owned, Sir, that this ply what you have omitted, and to laft turn is contrived with great sub. Turnih you

with two or three very tilly. However, I believe it is not D specious turns to serve as a varnish very difficult to answer it. It may to the bull. be said, that these words, into other I take the first of these palliatives works of piety, relate principally to from the translation which M. de la the vows, but they may likewise be Chapelle has given us of it. Would relative to the promises supported by you have believed, Sir, that the rean oath. Every one knows, that an porter of the bull should be the very oath is an act of religion, a branch E person to furnish wherewithal to of adoration, a manner of invoking make its apology? In the mean time the name of God. There is there. the scandal almost entirely disappears fore no reason to be surprised at the in his version. “ We grant by thele bull's ranging it among the works or presents, (he makes the pope fay! the acts of piety. The popes have that the confessor of the king and even a great interest in putting the the queen may commute into other oaths always in that clais. It is by F works of piety, the vows already looking on them in this light that made, or to be made, except only they have drawn to themselves the the vows of beyond-sea, of visicing cognizance of those cales.

the churches of the blessed Peter and Here is a remark of M. Barbeirac's Paul, of chastity, and of continence, proper to confirm what I have ad- as well as the oaths by them taken vanced.. “ The christian princes, or to be taken for the future, which says he, often charged the bithop G they cannot conveniently keep.", with the cognizance of the validiiy Pray observe, that in this manner of oaths, and with the dispensation of translating, the oaths are ranged of those which they hould find null. among the cases excep:ed out of its

a

[ocr errors]

* Barbeirac upon Puffendorff, p. 483.

dispensation. The translator has ob- dispensation itself, unless you will ferved in it the fame regimen, and say, that it takes away with one hand has diftinguished those two articles what it has given with the other, by a single comma. See how M. This then is, probably, what the holy de la Chapelle makes the pope say father meant : Perceiving how odi. quite the contrary to what he ex- ous the violation of a treaty backed pressed in his brief. If you consult A by an oath would appear, and that the original, you will see with the

upon so fight a pretence as that of

fo a first cast of the eye, that the oaths the bare inconveniency which the are plainly included in the dispensa- king might suffer by it, he acquaints tion, and not in the exceptions or the confessor, that he is to take good the reserved cases.

heed to impose on the king, in those Another more specious argument cases, good works really pleasing to in favour of the bull, and which has B God, for instance, alms large enough also flipped you, is, that this dispen. to make a kind of compensation, fation seems to be conditional, and according to Daniel's exhortation to to have a limitation which falves all. Nebuchadnezzar, Redeem thy fins The king's confessor is to make use by alms. Now for a fin of the naof it only conformable to the will ture of perjury, there requires givof God, and only so far as it shall ing abundantly to the poor. have nothing contrary to the Salva-C When I had found out this explition of the king and queen. Indul- cation, I Aattered myself with having gemus, ut confesor valeat commutare hit the mark. In the conversation vota, nec non juramenta in alia which I had with my abbé, which I opera pietatis, prout fecundum Deum, have mentioned to you already, I

' , & animarum faluri viderit convenire. did not fail to communicate my conThis corrective seems fufficient for jecture to him, and even with a sort us not to be any longer warranted to Dof confidence. But he fell a laughsay, that the bull furnishes the kingsing, and answered me, that if I had of France with a most easy expedi. been better acquainted with the forms Cat to violate the faith of treaties.

of the Roman chancery, I should A wise confeffor, who shall be atten. not have put myself to the expence tive to these laft words, will not ab. of fixing precise ideas to those ex. solve the king from his oath without pressions. They are merely phrases great precautions. When he shall & of ftile, said he to me, and which consult the will of God and the in- ought not to be infifted on. terests of the princes falvation, he When I had gotten this key, I cannot abuse the power which is pac no longer puzzled myself about those into his hands.

little forms. I left the out-works to See, Sir, whether I do not fur. come to he body of the place. I nish means of defence, which are asked him how he understood this disat least as good as yours, I mean as F pensation from the oaths which might dazzling; for as for folidity, they a little incommode the king ? He have no more than the foregoing. frankly owned to me that it was an Weigh well the terms of the bull, inexplicable enigma to him, and that and you will see that this limitation, he did not comprehend it. I might which at first light seems so specious, have answered him, that the bull did falls only upon the choice of the not fin in obscurity, that, on the works of piety which the confessor G contrary, its fault was having spoken fall impose upon the prince, to com- too plain. pensate for the vows and the oaths, I believe, Sir, that thus it is that from which he fhall absolve him.

you judge of it now, and that after This restriction cannot regard the the little

discussion in which you have 3

a

[ocr errors]

engaged

« PreviousContinue »