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looked on as a rule of discipline to the English Church. HENRY And notwithstanding the change at the Reformation, there K. of Eng. are several of them still in force, and make part of our canon law. The case standing thus, I shall mention some of the Antiquit. canons which appear to have been new, either in the matter, Boniface, or some other remarkable circumstance; for, by the way, several of them are only Otho's constitutions confirmed, and enforced with farther penalties.
I. The first canon enjoins the archdeacons to inspect the conduct of the parochial clergy, with reference to baptism. And here, the parish priests are commanded to be perfect in the form of this sacrament: to expound and repeat it frequently to their congregation upon Sundays; that in case of necessity the laity may be in a condition to baptize an infant.
II. The second forbids the receiving anything for administering the sacraments: points to the form of absolution, and enjoins confessories to make use of the following words: Ego te absolvo à peccatis tuis, etc. Authoritate qua fungor te absolvo. And at the close of the canon, the synod complains that the benefit of absolution is sometimes denied to people in prison, by the rigours of the keepers. It is therefore decreed, that if any jailer or other person shall hinder a penitent from making his confession, they shall be denied the privilege of Christian burial.
III. By the third, all churches are to be consecrated within two years after they are finished.
IX. The ninth provides against non-residency, and decrees, that all persons instituted to livings should be obliged to resign their other benefices with cure of souls, provided they had any, and swear to reside upon the place. And in case they were no more than deacons at their institution, they were to take priests' orders within a year at the farthest.
X. The tenth is directed against intrusions, and enjoins the ordinary not to admit or institute any clerk, without legal proof of the death, cession, resignation, or deprivation of the last incumbent.
XII. The twelfth provides against cantoning of parishes, or subdividing them into more parsonages or vicarages than formerly. It likewise forbids detaining part of the tithes from the incumbent.
XIII. The thirteenth guards the privilege of sanctuaries; Abp. Cant. and decrees excommunication against those who drag any person out of a church, churchyard, or cloister, hinder him from receiving provisions, or seize anything deposited in those places of protection.
XIV. The fourteenth provides for the solemnizing of marriages; and directs the censures of the Church against those who shall presume to hinder them from being publick.
XV. The fifteenth enjoins executors to make an inventory of the goods of the deceased, and deliver it in to their ordinary; and not presume to administer till they have given such satisfaction.
XVI. By the sixteenth, the bishops are forbidden to sequester the profits of vacant livings, unless in some special cases, where custom and law allow this practice.
XVII. The seventeenth decrees that chapels allowed for the convenience of private persons, should not receive any offerings or perquisites to the prejudice of the mother church. And therefore enjoins the chaplains of those places to restore all such perquisites to the rector of the parish.
XVIII. The eighteenth provides against dilapidations, and decrees that if any rector or vicar shall neglect to repair the houses belonging to his benefice, within two months after notice given him by the bishop or archdeacon, that from thenceforth it shall be lawful for the bishop to sequester, and seize such portions of the profits belonging to the incumbent, as shall be sufficient for repairing the buildings above mentioned.
XX. The twentieth sets forth, that God Almighty, notwithstanding his attribute of mercy, will by no means be bribed for his pardon, nor receive a sacrifice from a sinner by way of compensation. However, some persons of dignity and jurisdiction in the Church do not seem to consider the justice of the divine proceedings; otherwise they would not go such a length in their commutations, and receive money instead of exerting discipline. That this method, instead of relieving the delinquent, made the judge a criminal. Besides, such impunity tended only to encourage dissolution of manners: for, according to St. Isidore, a man of loose practice will never be afraid of taking his liberty, as
long as he is allowed to fine for his fault, and his coffers HENRY can make him innocent: this is the way to debauch the K. of Eng. consciences of the people, to take off the horror of an ill action, and amounts, in effect, to a license to commit sin. The canon, therefore, orders the archdeacons to make use of the discipline of the Church, and never to receive any money upon such scandalous considerations. The bishops are likewise strictly enjoined to take care the archdeacons do their duty in the cases above mentioned.
XXI. The one-and-twentieth declares against the farming of spiritual offices and jurisdictions: it being a scandalous thing that the powers and privileges of the sacerdotal character should be made a commodity in commerce, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost, as it were, set to sale: besides, he that buys these spiritual advantages, will make no scruple to sell them, as his covetousness shall direct. The canon, therefore, strictly forbids the farming the profits arising from any spiritual function or jurisdiction, and declares the contract void, notwithstanding its being drawn in the forms and securities of law; and enjoins that the third part of the profits conveyed by any such bargain, should be expended in repairing and beautifying the cathedral.
XXIII. The three-and-twentieth provides against alienating any part of the tithes from the parochial clergy. And here the bishops are strictly forbidden to appropriate any church in their diocese to another bishop, or to any religious house, unless the person or persons to whom the appropriation is made are under the pressure of apparent poverty, or some other sufficient reason may be assigned as may plainly justify the practice.
The canon proceeds to take notice that these appropriations gave occasion to great abuse and misapplication of the Church revenues. That sometimes the whole profits of the livings were swept away, and no vicar provided to take care of the parish; and where there was a vicar settled, they allowed him so slender a maintenance that he was in no condition to support his function: and here the monasteries are plainly taxed, as appears by the enacting part of the canon, by virtue of which, all the religious, exempt and not exempt, the Cistercians, and others, who are possessed of appropriated livings, are obliged to present vicars to such
BONI Abp. Cant.
churches within six months to their respective diocesans, and to allow them a sufficient proportion of the living for their maintenance. And in case of failure, the diocesans are authorized to put this part of the canon in execution.
XXIV. The twenty-fourth provides against the misapplying the goods of intestate persons, and decrees, that the provision in this case, formerly made by the English prelates, with the consent of the king and barons, should be strictly observed, and that no prelates, or any other persons, should either seize, or manage the assets of intestate persons contrary to that constitution.
13 Ed. I. c. 19.
This provision, hinted by the canon, was an act of parliament, as is observed in Linwood: and, by the word olim, Constitut. and its not being mentioned among the statutes of king Othobon, in loc. Henry III., it was most probably made in the reign of this
prince's predecessors. However, we have something of this kind repeated in an act of his successor, king Edward I. The statute runs thus: Whereas, after the death of a person dying intestate, who is bounden to some other for debt, the goods came to the ordinary to be disposed: the ordinary from henceforth shall be bound to answer th debts, as far forth as the goods of the dead will extend, in such sort as the executors of the same party should have been bounden if he had made a testament."
XXV. The twenty-fifth states the condition of ecclesiastical judges, and decrees, that no archbishop, nor other ordinary, should delegate the hearing of causes to any but dignitaries, and persons of spiritual jurisdiction, or, at least, to none under canons of cathedrals or collegiate churches.
XXVI. The twenty-sixth settles the form and circumstances of sending out citations, and provides, that the person prosecuted may have due notice to make his appearance at the court.
XXVII. The twenty-seventh reinforces Otho's constitution, and makes a supplemental provision with reference to advocates. And here it is decreed, that no advocate shall be allowed to practise, without producing the letters of the diocesan to testify that he has taken the oath to manage fairly in his faculty, and be true to his client: or for want. of producing such a testimonial, to take a new oath to that purpose.
XXVIII. The twenty-eighth sets forth, that since the HENRY design of courts of justice, of what kind soever, is to settle K. of Eng. controversies, and bring the parties to an accord; those ecclesiastical judges (for the canon is only concerned with such) who entangle the process, and prolong the suit, abuse their character, and act counter to the end of their office. By such prevarications as these, God Almighty is provoked, our neighbour injured, the honour of the court blemished, and misunderstandings and disputes cherished, and kept on foot. To prevent these mischiefs, the canon decrees, that whoever shall receive any consideration to spin out the cause, or hinder the parties from coming to an agreement, shall be bound to immediate restitution, and, over and above, fined to the value of the bribe for the use of the poor: and, in case of delay, laid under excommunication till he has made satisfaction.
XXIX. The twenty-ninth orders that the taking off excommunications and other censures of the Church should be made publick, and notified at proper times and places, that the persons concerned may sustain no farther damage.
XXX. The thirtieth, in the preamble, declaims with great vehemence against pluralities, and complains that people of figure and interest overbore the canons, and possessed themselves of several livings with cure of souls that this was sometimes done by mere violence and intrusion, without either dispensation from the pope, or institution from the diocesan. That the consequences of this disorder were extremely pernicious: that the Church suffered both in her credit and authority: that the force of religion was weakened, and the foundations of it almost sapped: that charity was, in a manner, extinguished this way, and poor scholars quite discouraged by seeing vacant benefices thus uncanonically seized by the wealthy and powerful; and thus, to speak clearly, the wretched pluralist may be said rather to steal than enjoy the profits. The legislative part of this canon has been touched already in the ninth, and, being somewhat long, I shall pursue it no farther.
XXXI. The one-and-thirtieth goes upon resembling matter; declares strongly against commendams. It sets forth, that breach of trust, evasions of law, and foul dealing, are most intolerable in churchmen: that some clerks,