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Tartars and other eastern nations, But the objectC ENT. which, of all others, occupied most the thoughts..

Рлят II. of this vigilant and zealous pontif, was the design perate state of the Christians in Palestine, who were now reduced to the greatest extremities of misery and weakness. His laborious efforts were therefore employed for the restoration of their former grandeur; they were however employed in vain, and his death, which happened in the year 1292, disconcerted all the projects he had formed for that purpose.

XVI. The death of this pontif was followed by Celestine V. a vacancy of three years in the see of Rome, which was owing to the disputes that arose among the cardinals about the election of a new pope. These disputes were at length terminated, and the contending parties united their suffrages in favour of PETER, surnamed Dr MURRONE, from a mountain where he had hitherto lived in the deepest solitude and with the utmost austerity. This venerable old man, who was in high renown on account of the remarkable sanctity of his life and conversation, was raised to the pontificate in the year 1294, and assumed the name of CELESTINE V. But the austerity of his manners, which was a tacit reproach upon the corruption of the Roman court, and more especially upon the luxury of the cardinals, rendered him extremely disagreeable to a degenerate and licentious clergy; and this dislike was so heightened by the whole course of his administration (which shewed that he had more at heart the reformation and purity of the church, than the increase of its opulence and the propagation of its authority) that he was almost universally considered as unworthy of the pontificate. Hence it was, that several of the cardinals, and particularly BENEDICT CAJETAN, advised him to abdicate the papacy, which he had accepted with such reluctance, and they had the

. pleasure



CENT. pleasure of seeing their advice followed with the XIII. i

u utmost docility. The good man resigned his

dignity the fourth month after his election, and died in the year 1296, in the castle of Fumone, where his tyrannic and suspicious successor kept him in captivity, that he might not be engaged, by the solicitations of his friends, to attempt the recovery of his abdicated honours. His memory was precious to the virtuous part of the church, and he was elevated to the rank of a saint by CLEMENT V. It was from him that the branch of the Benedictine order, called Celestines, and which yet subsists in France and Italy, derived its origin [y].

XVII. BENEDICT CAJETAN, who had persuaded 111.

the good pontif now mentioned to resign his place, succeeded him in it in the year 1294 ; and took the name of BONIFACE VIII. We may say, with truth, of this unworthy prelate, that he was born to be a plague both to church and state, a disturber of the repose of nations, and that his attempts to extend and confirm the despotism of the Roman pontifs, were carried to a length that approached to frenzy. From the moment that he entered upon his new dignity, he laid claim to a supreme and irresistible dominion over all the powers of the earth, both spiritual and temporal, terrified kingdoms and empires with the thunder of his bulls, called princes and sovereign states before his tribunal to decide their quarrels, augmented the papal jurisprudence with a new body of laws, which was entitled, The Sixth Book of the Decretals, declared war against the illustrious family of Colonna, who disputed his title to the pontificate [x]; in a word, exhibited to the

' church, · [y] Helyot, Histoire des Ordres, tom. vi. p. 180. '1? [x] The reasons they alleged for disputing the title of BONIFACE to the pontificate were, that the resignation of CELESTINE was not canonical, and moreover, that it was brought about by fraudulent means.


tic orders.

church, and to Europe, a lively image of the ty-CENT. rannical administration of GREGORY VII. whom

PARI11. he perhaps surpassed in arrogance [a]. It was this pontif that, in the year 1300, instituted the famous jubilee, which, since that time, has been regularly celebrated in the Roman church, at certain fixed periods. But the consideration of this institution, which, was so favourable to the progress of licentiousness and corruption, as also the other exploits of BONIFACE, and his deplorable end, belong to the history of the following century [h].

XVIII. In the council of Lateran that was held in the year 1215, a decree had been passed, by the advice of INNOCENT III. to prevent the in

troduction of new religions, by which was meant, new monastic institutions. This decree however seemed to be very little respected, either by that pontif or his successors, since several religious orders, hitherto unknown in the Christian world, were not only tolerated, but were moreover distinguished by peculiar marks of approbation and favour, and enriched with various privileges and prerogatives. Nor will this tacit abrogation of the decree of INNOCENT appear at all surprising to such as consider the state of the church in this century. For, not to mention many enormities that contributed to the suspension of this decree, we shall only observe, that the enemies of Christianity, and the heretical sects, increased daily every where; and, on the other hand, the secular

clergy [] There is a history of this pontif written by Jo. RUBEUS, a Benedictine monk, whose work, which is entitled BONIFACIUS VIII. e familia Cajetanorum principum Romanus pontifex, was published at Rome in the year 1651, in 4to.

[b] In this account of the popes, I have chiefly followed DANIEL PAPEBROCH, Francis Pagi, and MURATORI, in his Annales lialiæ, consulting at the same time the original sources collected by the last mentioned author in his Rerum Ialicaruin Scriptores.

CE N T. clergy were more attentive to their worldly ad- ! XIII.

i vantages than to the interests of the church, and - spent in mirth and jollity the opulence with which

the piety of their ancestors had enriched that:
sacred body. The monastic orders also had al-
most all degenerated from their primitive sanc-
tity, and, exhibiting the most offensive and
shocking examples of licentiousness and vice to
public view, rendered by their flagitious lives the
cause of heresy triumphant, instead of retarding
its progress. All these things being considered,
it was thought necessary to encourage the esta-
blishment of new monastic societies, who, by the
sanctity of their manners, might attract the esteem
and veneration of the people, and diminish the
indignation which the tyranny and ambition of
the pontifs had so universally excited : and who,
by their diligence and address, their discourses
and their arguments, their power and arms, when
these violent means were required, might discover,
persecute, convert, and vanquish the growing

tribe of heretics. veral of XIX. Of the religious societies that arose in the monas- this century some are now entirely suppressed,

while others continue to flourish, and are in tions suppressed. high repute at this present time. Among the

former we may reckon the Humiliate (a title expressive of great humility and self-abasement), whose origin may be traced to a much earlier period than the present century, though their order was confirmed and new modelled by INNOCENT III, who subjected it to the rule of St BENEDICT. These humble monks became so shockingly licentious in process of time, that, in the year 1571, Pope Pius V. was obliged to dissolve their society [c]. We may also place in the list of the suppressed monasteries the Jacobins, who were

, erected

tic in

[c] HELYOT, Hist. des Ordres, tom. vi. p. 142.

erected into a religious order by INNOCENTIII. [d],C EN T. and who, in this very century, not long after the part u.

XIII. council of Lyons, were deprived of their charter ; the Vallischolares, or scholars of the valley, so called from their being instituted by the scholares, i. e. the four professors of divinity in the university of Paris, and from a deep vale in the province of Champagne in which they assembled and fixed their residence in the year 1234 [e]. This society, whose foundation was laid about the commencement of this century, was formerly governed by the rule of St AUGUSTIN, but is now incorporated into the order of the Regular canons of St Genivieve. To the same class belong the order of the blessed Virgin Mary the mother of Christ, which had its commencement in the year 1266, and was suppressed in 1274 [A]; the Knights of faith and charity, who undertook to disperse the bands of robbers that infested the public roads in France, and who were favoured with the peculiar protection and approbation of GREGORY IX. [8]; the Hermits of St William duke of Aquitaine [b]; not to mention the Brethren of the Sack, the Bethlebemites, and other orders of inferior note, that started up in this century, which, of all others, was the most remarkable for the number and variety of monastic establishments, that date their origin from it [i].

XX. [d] MATTH. Paris, Hist. Major, p. 161.

[e] BOULAY, Histor. Acad. Paris. tom. iii. p. 15.--Acia Sanct. Mens. Februar. tom. i. p. 482. [f] Dion. SAMMARTHANI Gallia Christiana, tom. i. p. 653.

[5] Gallia Christ, tom. i. Append. p. 165.---MARTENE, Voyo. age Liter. de deaux Benedictins, tom. ii. p. 23.

[b] Jo. BOLLANDI De ordine Eremilar. S. Guilielmi Comm. in actis SS. Februar. tom. ii. p. 472.

[i]. MATTH. PARIS, Hist. Major, p. 815. edit. Watts, where speaking of the prodigious number of convents that were founded in England during this century, he expresseth himself thus : “ Tot jam apparuerunt ordines in Anglia, ut ordinum confusio * videretur inordinata,"

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