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penalty of suspension, if those things which had been signified unto us should be established, or, if the same should not be lawfully proved, then through canonical purgation, which we had caused to be prescribed to him with three bishops and as many abbats, to withhold him from such excesses, and thereby to recall him to the path of truth. But, inasmuch as the said archbishop, before the citation of the said judges had reached him, had made appeal to the Apostolic See, the said judges, in accordance with the tenor of our letters, indulging him with a space of three months, were careful to assign the same to him as the period within which he was not to delay the prosecution of his said appeal. And further, after the said archbishop had commenced his journey for the purpose of coming to the Apostolic See, fearing lest, through the inclemency of the weather, some danger might befall his person, when by letters and messengers he begged us mercifully to extend the time that had been granted to him, we, assenting to his requests, and imagining that on that account he would more speedily repent of his excesses, as he had found us so propitious and ready to listen to his prayers, appointed until the octave of Saint Martin last past as the time for presenting his appeal for the purpose of exculpating himself; giving it as our command, nevertheless, to the aforesaid judges, that, if by such time the archbishop should have neglected to present himself before us, in such case they were from that time to proceed in his cause according to the tenor of our letters, and make it their object to carry out the instructions given them therein. And whereas the said time has now expired, and he has neither come to the Church of Rome nor sent any proxy in any way to make excuse for his absence, and, in consequence thereof, considering his disobedience and contumacy, we have thought proper to suspend him from the use of the pall, and from the performance of his pontifical duties, and from all ministration in things temporal as well as spiritual, and from the receipt of profits, giving orders by our Apostolic writings to the aforesaid judges, publicly to announce throughout the whole diocese and province of York, that he has been suspended by us. Wherefore, we do command the whole of you, by these Apostolic writings, that you will not henceforth presume to make answer to the said archbishop or to his officers, either in matters spiritual or temporal. But if it shall happen that any questions shall arise between any
in the diocese of York, which ought to be settled by ecclesiastical judgment, you are to take the same
questions for the hearing of our dearly beloved son, Simon, dean of York, and to receive his judgment thereon with humility and firmness; knowing that we, in accordance with the customary mercy of the Apostolic See, have shewn indulgence in appointing the said dean, that, with the advice of the canons residing in the church of York, he may correct the excesses of the clergy, and may settle such questions of them and the laity in the diocese of York as require an ecclesiastical decision. Given at the Lateran, on the tenth day before the calends of January, in the fifth year of our pontificate.”
Another Letter of the same pope on the same subject. “Celestinus, the bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his venerable brother, the bishop of Lincoln, and his dearly beloved sons, the archdeacon of Northampton and the prior of Pontefract, health and the Apostolic benediction. Inasmuch as the holy Roman Church, being founded with perpetual stability upon an immoveable foundation, that is to say, upon a stone squared and true, the Truth, thus speaking of Himself — Upon this rock will I build my church,'*1 has, through the merits of Saint Peter, received the governance and primacy over all other churches, the Lord commanding the chief of the Apostles, 'If thou lovest me, feed my sheep;42 and has received judicial power not only over bodies, but over souls, the same Chief of the Apostles hearing it said by the Lord, Whatever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven' 43—we, whom not our own merits, but the Divine mercy alone, has summoned to the elevation of the Supreme Pontificate, if we wish to form our judgments with true and prudent deliberation, and not to abuse the power to us entrusted, ought, so far as human frailty will permit us, to follow the example of him by whom the Apostolic See was founded, and from whom she has received the care of the other churches, and the fulness of the power of binding and of loosing. For God is wondrous above all things, and inscrutable are the depths of the divine wisdom; and yet, although incomprehensible are His judgments, and unsearchable His ways, still, from the things that He works among us here below, if we look upon them aright, He suggests to us and the other prelates of the churches something for imitation in the form of His judgments; inasmuch as, when, according to the si St. Matt. xviii. 18.
42 St. John, xxi. 16, 17. 13 St. Matt. xvi. 19, xviii. 18.
account contained in the Gospel, he gave orders for the barren tree in his vineyard to be cut down, that it might not cumber the ground, he prefaced the same, saying : • Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree and find none; therefore cut it down ;'44 we, though but the least, and subject to the defects of human frailty, considering the same with constant meditation within ourselves, on hearing the excesses of the archbishop of York, and the rumours of his disgraceful mode of life and his frivolous conversation being repeated in the hearing of ourselves and of our brethren, we did not immediately form a judgment against him, but, after the manner of Him whose mercies are beyond the rest of His works, ceased not, by multiplied letters and mandates, to exert ourselves, for no small period of time, for his correction, that the barren tree might shoot forth to fruit, and recover the vigour which it had lost ; at one time, by our admonitions, recalling him to the ways of salvation, at another, by threats of suspension from his duties and benefices, deterring him from the paths of his iniquity and error, as, indeed, we believe is manifest to yourselves, who have known the whole circumstances of the case, and the whole process of these matters, in the order in which they have taken place. And whereas it has come to our hearing, from the information of the clergy and the chapter of the church of York, and the testimonies of our dearly beloved sons, Robert of York, and Roger of Selby, and eleven other abbats of the Præmonstratensian order, seem manifestly to declare the same, that Geoffrey, archbishop of York, disregarding the oaths of the office entrusted to him, uselessly occupying himself with hunting and hawking, and other military pursuits, has, since his promotion, given neither hand nor thought to the ordination of the clergy, dedication of churches, or the celebration of synods, nor yet has pronounced a benediction on any abbat, although both against clergy and abbats he has accustomed himself indiscreetly to let loose his tongue, at his own will and pleasure, for the purpose of uttering maledictions and pronouncing sentence of excommunication. The liberties and approved customs of the Church he nullifies and subverts, appeals, which are wont to be the refuge of the oppressed, he has, to the injury of the Roman See, brought into contempt, and many persons, because they have made appeal to ourselves, he has ordered to be thrown into prison and placed in irons. The
44 St. Luke, xiii. 7.
beneficed clergy of the church, after appeal made to us, he has spoiled of dignities and benefices, and some of the canons, des pising their appeal, he has subjected to excommunication. In his presence the privileges of the Roman Pontiffs are utterly deprived of all authority, and he who, under other circumstances, would probably have been safe by pleading our privilege in his presence, loses the benefit of the protection he thereby hoped to gain. When it so happens that any one has been restored to a church or possession by the judges delegate through our authority, the person by whom the said judgment is to be put in execution, he immediately looks upon as an enemy. Indeed, many so restored he has reduced to destitution, and entering their churches by means of his servants by force, is said to have broken down the doors of the churches, and by violent means expelled them. Many persons also he has perniciously made to incur the danger of perjury, withdrawing them by means of violent compulsion from the obedience which by oath they had canonically promised his archdeacons to observe. Still more, attacking the greater church with a multitude of armed men, he has caused the door of the chapter house to be broken open by force, and to be carried away; the property of the canons, and that of many other persons who had deposited their possessions in the church as though in a treasury, he has caused to be violently withheld from them; respecting all which matter the chaplain of York has made appeal to our presence. We have also understood, from the testimony of the persons before-named, that sometimes, when churches were vacant, he has not admitted fit and proper persons when presented by those to whom the presentation belongs, but has given the same to either youths or persons of bad character, thus discharging the duty both of him who presents and of him who institutes; or else at his own will and option, he causes them to be vacated, in order that their revenues may be applied to his own use; and that which was intended for the sustenance of some worthy clerk, he does not hesitate to keep in his own hands. They have also stated, in addition, that whereas spiritual gifts ought to be bestowed without reward and without corruptness, frequently, when he bestows a benefice, he either splits it into two parts, contrary to the canonical statutes of the church, or else retains upon it a new and unusual charge; and many who had been excommunicated or suspended, he has absolved through the intervention of nothing else than money. In his sight
religious and honest men are despised and condemned, while
low and suspected persons easily obtain his familiar acquaint- anceship and favour. Wherefore we, hearing of rumours so
disgraceful, not once but many times, and that by the letters both of the aforesaid parties as also of others in the kingdom of England and in the province of York, after having frequently given ear thereto, wishing to withhold him from these excesses, and to recall him to the performance of the duties of the pastoral office, have thought proper to entrust to you the inquiry into these reports, that convening the abbats, priors, and other ecclesiastical persons of the diocese of York, you might make diligent enquiry on the matters aforesaid, and if lawful accusers should come forward against him, after hearing what is alleged on the one side and on the other, reducing the deposition of the witnesses to writing, make it your duty to transmit to the Apostolic See their attestations, signed with your seals, assigning to each party a fitting time within which to present themselves before us, for the purpose of hearing sentence pronounced. We also remember that there was inscribed in the some letters, that in case of accusers not being forthcoming, and if public report should be in his disfavour, you were, all obstacle of appeal removed, to call upon him to clear himself with (the oaths of] three bishops and as many abbats. And if he should chance to make any default therein, you were of our own authority to denounce him as suspended from all pontifical duties, and the management of the archbishopric. But inasmuch as the said archbishop, before he was cited by you to a hearing, as he informed us by his letters and his deputies, had thought fit to appeal to the Apostolic See, and you assigned him the calends of January as the term for prosecuting the said appeal, being disposed to be considerate of his exertions and expenses, and fearing that if he should come to the city in the hot season, some danger might result to his person from the inclemency of the weather, as soon as it had been intimated to us that he had set out upon his journey, for the purpose of coming to the Apostolic See, and was prepared to make answer on the offences imputed to him, we, in accordance with the wonted beneficence of the Apostolic See, thought proper to put off the time of making his appeal from then until the octave of Saint Martin last past, suspending all that had been determined on against him until the said time, and recalling to its